Immanence

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

That quote may seem rather cliché, especially to many pagans (or anyone who listens to that idiot Wayne Dyer), but it’s always rung true for me on some level. Sure, I am human, and yes, I do have spiritual experiences — but I’m never not connected to that divinity, to the Source that permeates all.

I’m a medium-scrambled polytheist. But I’m also a pantheist and a panentheist. I believe that the divine is not only immanent within the universe but transcends it as well. Now you see where the scrambled comes in — it takes a certain amount of paradox for these beliefs to exist side by side. That’s okay, though, because paradoxes are holy.

The Morrigan is an individual, to me; She is one being, She is not an archetype. But She comes from somewhere — we all do — and She doesn’t stand alone, just like the rest of us — we’re all defined by relationships. Just as I am an individual being and not an archetype, I’m made up of relationships: the relationship of plants and animals making the food my body takes in as nourishment, of love and DNA with my mother, of air in my lungs that I breathe out as CO2 to feed plants who in turn breathe out O2 to feed me. This doesn’t mean I’m indistinguishable from my mother, or plants and animals, but that we all exist in a web of relationships, and that each relationship is important to each other. 

This is, to me, the core of immanence. Each point in the complicated web of relationships that makes up life on this planet comes from the divine source. “We are all thoughts in the divine mind,” as Christopher Penczak would say. If you read my creation story of the Smith, the Deep One, and the Phantom, you’ll see my ideas on this: the universe was created by a trio of divinity; They created our souls, and the souls of every living thing on earth (and all planets with life on them). They also created Themselves — reflections of Themselves, Their “children”, who would become gods and goddesses for us to worship here on earth, in forms we could comprehend.

So Brighid would come from the Smith, who is also the Lady of the Stars, and we would know Her to be patroness of writing, and healing, and the forge, and we would understand a small part of the vastness of space and the stars within. Manannan mac Lir would come from Deep One, who is the great void between stars, the water in which the fire dwells, and we would know Him as lord of the oceans and the land of the dead, as the rain and the mist, as a gentle, loving figure, full of mirth — or a man as powerful and virile as the sea itself. Morrigan would come from the Phantom, who is the one Between, neither one nor the other, bringing balance to duality, and we would know Her as the queen of fighting, fornication, and firewater, Lady of the Dead, the dark soil, the blood in our veins, ruler of sovereignty — over ourselves and the land.

And there are other original sources, besides the Smith and the Deep One and the Phantom, sleeping in the dark until the Smith will bring the day again and They can wake up. They contribute Their own energy to the Smith as She forges our souls, so we all come from all of Them.

Those original Ones are immanent within each and every thing on this planet, and we each have a relationship with those things.

We are never not connected to divinity. It’s hard to remember, in the crush of daily life, and keys for remembrance are important. That’s why things like ritual, art, song, dance, religion become so important to humans — they help us remember.

And when we create, we put a little bit of ourselves into our creations — so art and music, they have divinity immanent within, too.

Immanence is divinity within, made up of a web of relationships. We can’t exist in a vacuum, and neither can the gods. 

 

PS: Totally relatedly, I once created a magazine with my business partner/friend/buddy-guy and we called it Immanence. It’s an art and culture and sustainability magazine for Powell River, on the Sunshine Coast, and it’s still going strong. Going, at least. Yes, I came up with the name, and I used to have a column called The Isis Crisis: Old Gods for a New World, where I would give 101 introductions to random pagan goddesses (gods, too, eventually — I wanted to start with the feminine principle because we’re so indoctrinated into thinking male = default). It wasn’t anything radical by my standards, but it was by Powell River‘s standards.

No, I don’t live there anymore. Wonder why.

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