"Her hair is the sky, Her eyes the stars, the soil Her skin, the mountains Her breasts, the ocean Her womb. Her spirit is in everything, from the trees, rocks, and animals, to each human being. Because of Her, we are therefore divine ourselves, and should respect ourself and every person, because we are all connected by Her. She is the nurturer, the giver, the taker, She who gives birth, She who brings death, She who destroys and She who creates. She plants the seed with one hand and reaps the crop with the other." - A reflection on the divine feminine by Tempest
In this section, we will look at core concepts within the spiritual matrix of the Modern Tradition.
In discussing the Divine, remember that these are ideas to mull over and form your own opinion on, because your own personal belief system is exactly that--no one can tell you what you should believe, you need discover what works best for yourself, find your own mysteries and answers.
What is the Divine?
There are many ways of viewing the Divine - in fact there are a lot of different viewpoints on the relationship between human beings and the Divine Realm, just within the Pagan umbrella. Some believe that the deities are specific, whole entities, each with their own personality. Others see deities as archetypes, representations of the Divine spirit. Some believe deities to be the spirits of ancestors, saints, elemental entities. However, most agree that deities are not separate from us, and the world we live in; that they are a part of this whole system.
Meet the Gods
The Modern Tradition is pantheistic and polytheistic - meaning we see the divine in all things, and that we commune with a multitude of distinct Gods. We recognize the divine feminine, masculine, and other - as the Gods exist outside of a simple binary system. As we are the merger of several different cultural traditions, we embrace a diverse pantheon. We believe the Gods can call to our blood - its genetic roots, as well as our spiritual roots - referring to other cultures we have been a part of in previous lives. We believe that we have an active, interactive, personal relationship with the Gods. A House may have specific deities it is aligned with as a group, but an individual Witch can and will work outside of those, depending upon whom he or she is aligned with. Deity can be looked upon as many things: individual entities with their own distinct personalities that are given sustenance by those who worship them, the souls of our ancestors, the mythic come to life, the animation of a place or object, or the Divine Source itself in whatever form it chooses, etc.
Within the Modern Tradition, we believe in the Self-Divine. If all things are connected by the Greater Divine, the Spirit, the force that binds, it is a part of all things, including ourselves. The human spirit or soul has several parts that speaks to this connection. There is our waking self, who is in command most of the time--the mundane, everyday self. There is our subconscious, who is always talking just below our mundane self. And then, the divine self, that which is most intricately connected to the Greater Divine, the Gods, the Ancestors. The subconscious acts as a go-between, whispering in our dreams the knowledge of the self-divine.
Image: Detail from "The Star Goddess" by Laura Tempest Zakroff