Worship versus Coworker

Hope says:

You may have noticed that I don’t ‘worship’ any deity. I believe that they exist, since I have personal proof of it, but I don’t pray to anyone in particular. On occasion a reflexive few words will wing their way into the other spheres/planes – we all do that – but by and large I consciously try not to pray. I don’t want Someone to get the wrong idea.

And I seem to have a different view of things from my compatriots. Not a bad thing, really. Nammu wanted my input so there must be some validity to it. If not in this subject, in others.

I differentiate between ‘faith’ and ‘worship’. You can have faith without worship, even though it’s more common connected. I have faith that the Powers exist. I don’t believe that they actually care about humans, per se. They are playing a Great Game, with rules we don’t know, for goals we don’t know, using us (and others) as pieces on the board.  They might have favorites – I know they often claim to – but really, how much attachment can you have to a game piece?

Which leads us to receiving teaching from the Powers. Is a teacher/student relationship inherently unequal? In some ways, but if the teacher didn’t think the student was capable of learning, of ascending to the teacher’s level in knowledge, why would they bother teaching?  To make you a more effective game piece?

I like Coyvere’s explanation of how he views this, and it’s one that Nammu agrees with. She wants me to understand/believe that I am her child, and that she cares about/for me. And that the family/clan simile is valid. Does this make Tiamat my aunt or my cousin? The important thing to know is this – WE may view our relationship as a family/clan but do the deities/Powers view it the same way? Would Tiamat acknowledge me as a cousin/niece? It does no good if the idea is all on one side.

Sometime during the day I will light a stick of incense to Nammu and Loki, or perhaps a candle to Hermes, Nammu, and Loki. These are the deities I have invited into my home, and as a hostess I have certain responsibilities towards guests. I will also occasionally make an offering of food or beer or wine or coffee to them, inviting them to join us in a meal or a drink. I talk to them as I would talk to any guest in my home. I don’t worship them although I’m not above trying bribery to get something I want! I tell Nammu that I’m ready to learn what she wants to teach me, and I will ask for lessons, make demands, and generally joke around. Nic says I view them as equals, and I guess I do. I know that they don’t consider me so. As Coyvere says, a very young sibling attempting to sit in on an adult conversation. But I will work with them to accomplish something, or work with someone they designate. And I can refuse to work with them as well.

You can’t worship beings when you see yourself intrinsically their equal, or having the ability to become their equal. You can have faith in their existence, belief in their Power, and work both with and for them, but you can’t worship them.

 

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Coyote Notes

Wow! Youse guys are covering a lot of territory. I man not sure even where to begin, so here are my random thoughts and ideas you have inspired.

First, no one is arguing that religion and relationship with deity is the same, and that is a good thing. Using religion as a guide for relationship with deity is like buying your wardrobe off the rack at a one-size-fits-all store. The clothes will probably work, but they will seldom be functional or comfortable for most people. When they are wrong, they are very wrong and will start to chafe quite quickly. On the other hand, cold folks sometimes are so relieved to find clothing that they will cling to any rag for the comfort it brings.

On the difference between belief and worship, I think if you read the previous posts and replace ‘worship’ with ‘trust’ you will get a clearer discussion. I both believe and have faith that the gods exist, but some I trust and some I do not. The more I understand who a deity is and how it functions, the more I trust  it. Because I understand it’s function, I can know and trust it to act in particular ways in particular situations. I trust Hecate, but I do not go to her for healing. She is a great healer with vast knowledge, but I appreciate a bit of compassion with my healing. Healing is not her primary mission. I would go to Hecate if I wanted to understand the components of a spell that was harming me and analyze precisely how it functioned. In my own limited understanding of her, I know Hecate primarily as a goddess of magick and a great teacher. I trust her to be as I understand her – she is not all things to all people, a misperception of the gods that grows from the Judeo-Christian perception of Yahweh as a universal intelligence. The whole point of being pantheistic is understanding that some things are different from others. When you go to war, call a warrior. When you need to heal, call a healer. When you need to understand how someone did something weird magickally and you want to break it down into its components, analyze it, and develop a counter to destroy it and then adapt those techniques for your own use, call Hecate.

Relationships with deity are very complex, and they are as subject to our perceptions, ideas, and emotions as any relationship with any human being – and perhaps more so. Our relationships are guided (and limited) by our perceptions of the universe as filtered through both our intellectual and emotional selves. The relationship with deity is also deeply affected by our understanding of what deity is – an area of knowledge shrouded in myth, mystery, and misunderstanding. Think about what your relationship with an older brother might be like if your brother was 20 years older than you and was a Navy Seal. When you are five years old, your brother is a distant god. His infrequent visits home are punctuated with stories filled with blood and glory, and gifts from foreign lands. As you enter high school, your brother is a senior officer in the Navy with vast powers and experience – you have a more clear image of what he does and hope to follow in his footsteps, but he is still so far ahead of you that you perceive the difference between yourself and him to be vast.

At age 25 you have enlisted and gone through a lot of training. You now have a real, experiential understanding of your brother’s path and are gaining your own experience and adventures, while your brother has retired from the military and now teaches at a private company. When you hit age 45, you and your brother have bridged the gap. You share the same pains and experiences. He is still your senior, but he is helping you through the pain he has already experienced and passed through. He is no longer your god, but your supportive and beloved teacher. He will use his own connections to aid you in finding a place as your retire from the military, perhaps even working as a junior employee under him directly.

Now imagine that your older brother is 5000 years older than you. That is how I see the gods, and that is what shapes my relationship with them. Some of them do things I have little interest in. I respect them for their knowledge and power, but I understand that I will not follow their path. I love Raphael and trust him to heal me, but I will never be a healer like he is. It is not what I am. A deity whose path I have followed for many years is Hades. My instant bond upon meeting him started vast changes in my life. First he forced me intellectually to confront my Judeo-Christian ideas of the underworld and it’s functioning, and emotionally to confront the idea that the thing that I loved and that loved me the most in the universe ruled over death. And that was Step One… Since then, my big brother has put me through the wringer, but having passed through it, I can see how every act and each situation taught me valuable things and forced me to grow. As I grew in my primary path, I also met other older siblings and cousins. Some of them I have become close to and learned to trust. They are teachers and friends. Others have been prickly and hard to approach, but I have learned to approach them with love and respect, and they help when I bring them knowledge of events that fit in their particular sphere.

So, in terms of defining how relationships with deity work, how can we do that? If you were part of a huge clan with fifty siblings and hundreds of cousins, could you define your relationship with each of them in a single paragraph? How would you describe your relationship with the grandfather of a different clan? People write books about that stuff, and a lot of those fall short. All you can really define is how you approach relationships , and the only question you can really answer is how well that works for you. I approach deity as elder family members, with love and respect, but ultimately with the idea that we are all part of the same family and that someday I will be an elder following in their footsteps. How does that work for me? I drink beer with Hades. I swap recipes with Hecate. I trade jokes with Coyote. My family guides and supports me. We do not have a relationship based on power or authority. Power and authority are constructs that take the place of trust, love, and understanding.

Hierarchy is a construct in the same way. I do not obey Hades because he is above me or because he is more powerful than I am. I do as he asks because he knows more than I do and I trust that he has my best interests at heart. I am not on Hecate’s path, although I respect and love her as a teacher, so if she asked me to perform a task, I would trust that it was something important that required someone with my skills in that particular place at that particular time. In the same way, when I ask my gods to teach me, generally I have reached the right level of knowledge and understanding to ask the right questions. If they do not answer me, it is because I am asking the wrong questions or have skipped an essential step required for me to understand the answer. Often they will give me an answer that I only comprehend about 10% of, and then I have to spend weeks or months working on understanding the rest of it. Those are the really GOOD questions!

So this sort of circles back to the beginning – worship versus right relationship. Since I am in a loving relationship with deity that I see as family, worshipping them as distant powers is almost incomprehensible to me. The idea of their punishing me is equally bizarre – if I fail at a task they have given me, my failure is a greater punishment than some random affliction of discomfort or pain. What point would that possibly serve?

 

More Wyrd Wonderings

From: Hope

I’ve heard many stories of the gods appearing to us in various guises so that we can recognize them. Right now, with the Marvel stories/movies, a lot of people have reported that Loki and Thor use the actors to make recognizing them easy. It makes sense to do that. We are a visual species.  I’ve heard of even old relationships wherein the gods have decided to change their appearances to resemble someone else, throwing the mortals for a loop and making them uncomfortable also.

Odin is also connected with the Wild Hunt. I wonder if there’s a connection with Herne/Cernunnos/Odin? All aspects of one god or all separate gods?

How did you meet Him? What is your connection? Why did you choose Him? If someone is interested in getting to know him, how would you recommend they do so?

From Glory:

I think they are similar energies, but definitely NOT the say deity. I always get frustrated when I see Herne is Cernunnos, or Herne/Cernunnos images when I do a search. It just frustrates me. Yes, they are similar, but that doesn’t mean they are the same. Even with Odin, perhaps different sides of the same die. “Okay, Odin, you take 1-2, Herne, you take 3-4, and Cernunnos, you take 5-6. Ready? Roll!” (yes, that was a joking conversation partially in my head that I felt compelled to share. LOL).

I actually met Herne when I was doing a Deity Focus for my First Degree at my online school. With each lesson we were asked to complete a Deity Focus, a bit of homework meant to have us ‘go out and meet’ different deities to see who they are, what they are about, how to work with them. But most importantly, to see how you connect with them, if you’re compatible or not. Sometimes they would have answers and connect, other times nothing but radio silence, which is an answer in and of itself. We’re not meant to work with all deities. We won’t have as strong a connection with some as we do with others. Some are more visceral, some are tenuous. Much like people in our lives, there are connections for a season or reason.

Herne turned out to be a very strong connection. I initially met him during work on my first lesson with the online school I attend. We were asked to research a Deity we were called to, and he had been mentioned offhand in the lesson material so I started researching him more. There really isn’t much about him out there. Later in my studies we were asked to complete the Deity Focus and I again revisited the connection that had started months before with that initial lesson. I had attended our online Mabon Ritual and he was the God called for that particular Sabbat. It was a reminder that he was still there and a feeling of coming home. A reminder that even though I’m not always actively seeking him, he has chosen me and that he was always there, even when I didn’t reach out. He claims me as his. I am his Priestess. He is a guide on my own Wild Hunt, the search to find myself, where I belong, and my purpose in this life. Seeking my Shadows and working through them to be stronger and more whole. I don’t know that I would say I so much chose him, as I found him and he kept popping up in reading. So I listened and stuck with him. And things have grown from there.

I think to truly work with Herne one has to realize that he is one you have to actually work with to learn about. He isn’t widely honored or worshipped. And he is, sadly, misidentified as Cernunnos as often as not. I think the best way to get to know him is outside, under the trees, in the dark of night. Sit against a tree and just be open to meeting and talking to him. If you can’t be outside under the trees, then meditation in such a setting is the next best thing. He loves his Hunt. He is tasked with taking down the worst of society, incorporating them into his Hunt, and seeking to find justice for their misdeeds. He is very much one who will force you to look at your deeper self, face your dark side, and work on it or be consumed. I have often referred to working with Herne as my own sort of Wild Hunt. A search for who I am. A search for what lies beneath. It’s a bit of a wild ride, and not for the faint of heart. He may just find you, more than you can seek him out. Either way, don’t force it. You can’t tame the wind , and you definitely cannot tame the Lord of the Wild Hunt!

From: Nettle

I love the die analogy there, Glory – totally makes sense to me!

While I do think deities fall into archetypes – healer, hearth, warrior, etc – and there may be a higher intelligence beyond our understanding now that links them somehow, each god energy does have it’s own unique flavor.

From: Glory

I figured it was a good one us AD&D nerds could enjoy. And it made more sense than ‘two sides of the same coin’ because Hope asked about three different deities.

I agree. Even when they have similar domains, Diana is still Diana and not wholly Artemis, nor is Artemis, Diana. They share the same domains in different pantheons so were different to those peoples. Though maybe that’s different, maybe they are the same, since their stories overlap so completely at times. But I think they have a different air to them. The ‘flavor’ or tenor/feel has been different for each deity I have worked with or had speak to/through me. It’s hard to describe, since it’s so innate and ingrained into my fabric. If that makes any sense.

From: Hope

I think the reason the Roman/Greek gods have so much overlap is because the Romans took their gods from the Greeks – blatantly. Throwing a different name onto the same stories doesn’t make a new set of deities. Cultural appropriation!

From: Glory

Sadly, I think the same, but didn’t want to be cheeky and point it out. Lol.

From: Nettle

Thus even laying a path for the Roman Catholic church to steal deities and make them saints. Be cheeky, my dear!

From: Glory

Ooh! Fair point well made, m’dear. Fair point well made. I hadn’t even thought of it that way. Silly Romans always stealing stuff to make it their own!

Glory on Herne

What do you do when a Deity comes to you in one form, but looks nothing like the visage ancient and modern societies alike have given him? In my case, I go with the flow.

This happened to me years ago when I began my Path to seek out my Patron Deities. In doing research one name kept popping up and resonating with me – Herne the Hunter. An image began to form in my mind’s eye of a strong, well muscled, tall, very dark skinned man. With eyes and skin the color of night and long braided hair. The description of him largely resembled the way I picture the character Doyle from the Merry Gentry novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. (Yes, I do have a rather vivid mental landscape, and a very diverse reading library that brings characters to life!). But I digress. You see, the imagery I described is nothing like the horned woodsman from a quaint English village, now is it? Nope, not in the least. So my logical brain railed against the vision I was seeing as belonging to the name I was hearing. How could these two images be the same person? I know that, yes, Doyle did help to lead the Wild Hunt in the Merry books. But that was the only connection. Or, was it?

You see, sometimes Deity comes to us in an image we can see and connect with. And sometimes Deity adapts and changes their visage as time goes on. Think of it as growing and evolving. If you were an immortal entity would you not try on new styles and faces now and then to see what it was like? Change it up! New hair color or style, new clothes, and sure, why not even a new skin tone to blend in better with the night you call home?

Herne does lead one leg of the Wild Hunt, after all. [I’m informed that one or the other (Odin, Cernunnos, Herne) starts it and then passes it off to the next. UPG. Well, it makes sense.]  Doesn’t it make sense that sometimes the horns traditional imagery portray him with would get in the way and catch on something as he hunts down those doing wrong and evil? Wouldn’t it make sense that blending in with the night and then stepping from the shadows to take your prey would be all the scarier, deadlier, and even more effective? I think so. And I think that is why he comes to me as a vision of the darkest night. Because that is how I see the cold, dark hand of Justice – swift and efficient.

Of course, I speak of Herne as a full blown Deity, not a ghost mentioned in prose and a singular local myth. That is because that is how he comes to me. But just who is Herne, you ask? Herne is ‘first’ popularly mentioned in ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ by William Shakespeare. He is first and foremost a spirit or ghost of Windsor Forest. He aggrieved the king by hunting a stag in the King’s Forest. He then either hung himself or was hung for his crimes, depending on the myth you read. Upon his death, however it came about, he came back as an avenging spirit to hunt wrongdoers. Herne uses the horns of the stag that lead to his death to give him a horned visage as he leads the Wild Hunt. This may be how he first really gained his form and notoriety, but his fame took off from there. The tree Herne is rumored to have hung from has been tended and replanted when it falls for whatever reason by the royal family from that point forward. Herne gained his momentum from there and that part of the legend took off. But I often wonder who he was, and why he is so closely tied to Cernunnos.

Perhaps Herne the man was a child of Cernunnos, either in practice or blood. Much as Hercules and Perseus were the sons of Zeus, it makes sense that the Celtic Deities would have dalliances with mortal women ( Cu Chulainn is one such demigod of Celtic origin). Herne was born to live his life in service to his father and in the end, whether he was rightly or wrongly accused and convicted of killing the King’s stag, he ultimately is hanged for that crime. His life ends, either by suicide or the king’s justice. Having been sired by or claimed by Cernunnos as one of his own, Herne’s spirit knows the horns of the felled stag will give him a new life and carry him forward to gather the souls of others in the Wild Hunt, and the visage takes shape.

Mind you, in the instance above, there are two different theories that lead to the same fate. The first theory being that Herne was a Priest or Adept of Cernunnos and gained the knowledge through his study and worship. The second possibility being that Herne was a demigod son of Cernunnos and had the inherent knowledge and ability gifted to him by his immortal father. Dos this mean that either is true? No. It is just as likely that it is a folk tale, started by the Great Bard himself, and has given rise to an aspect of Cernunnos in a small area of England. My inner self says there is a grain of the truth in my musings, though. Herne came from somewhere to inspire the Bard. He has a real and traceable holding on a region in England where even the monarchy continues to honor him. So the musing of his origins and the deeper meaning to his story is a natural progression, are they not?

How does this go back to my original statement of ‘What do you do when a Deity comes to you in one form, but looks nothing like the visage ancient and modern societies alike have given him?’ As I said at the start, I go with the flow. I have come to accept that the visage I have of Herne, although not traditional, is just as real tome as is the visage others have. He comes to me in that visage because that is what I see in him and what I need to see in order to accept the role he has for me. It also leads me on a journey of discovery – of both him and myself. Thinking of what his real origins and story are. And thinking of how it may parallel my own journey. This is, after all, a path of discovery and learning. We learn about ourselves as we learn about the Deities who call us. This path we are called to is a journey with the destination as fluid and changing as the winds that blowus along the landscapes we travel. Go with the flow. You never know where they will lead. You just may come up with a kernel of truth and insight you never expected. Like the possible origins of your Patron God!

Wyrd Wonderings

A series of emails between the three of us, discussing Nettle’s post on Nammu. Coyvere and Nettle thought it would be good background, to show our interactions and how we find consensus on a post. We won’t show it for every post – not every post requires the back-and-forth – but on the more contentious ones.

From: Hope

Nettle,

that sure seems both complex and rather – not sure how to put it – hmmm – off target? for a dragon. I can see that approach working for someone like Danu, especially the plants/herbs, but a dragon? Maybe we need to define ‘dragon’ in this context, so that people don’t think ‘fire breathing, virgin eating, big scaled lizard’. Or automatically think of something like Godzilla. Or somehow Fae. But not sure that bringing up any Infernal links a good idea, if there are any. I’m still at sea about that. How many will automatically assume that Nammu is pure magickal energy? Or is she? Is there actually a physical component? Would incense attract her or is that for us? Pomegranates and dates harken back to when she was a viable Power in the world, but is there anything ‘modern’ that would attract her as well? What about a chant like the Greeks/Romans use, listing her attributes?

Glory, you putz around with dragons as well. I know you don’t have to call them, but if you were to give someone instructions on how to do it, what would you say?

From: Nettle

I so love your questions.

I don’t think of dragons as fire breathing virgin-eaters or at least haven’t in the past 5 to 10 years since I started working with Nammu. (Ah yes – her famous quote: humans give me heartburn! Hope)  Dragons are primal energy, not lizards. They are connected to that lizard part of our brain so that is where I think people get that lizard idea. Snakes and lizards frighten most of us at our core so I think that is why humans started using the imagery of snakes, lizards, and dragons as ‘bad guys’. Because we have this fear it’s easy to then get people to stop worshipping something that is more alien and less human. It is this collective fear that has given us the image for ‘dragon’. She or other dragons are NOT Godzilla. Like the Fae, theya re working with us, just on an energetic level. How they look physically is and is not what I think of when I picture a dragon in my AD&D mind. It’s more raw energy – I guess more chaotic but not chaos magick. They can, and Nammu will, take on the ‘form’ of a dragon as we picture them in our AD&D minds but that is not their true form. For now, she – like all the deities – are pretty much energy. BUT I’ve never been one to think that the gods are just sitting around a table looking down at us from their astral homes. I’ve always thought of them as energy.

Plants, yes, work for Nammu, or so she says. It is a way for her energy to infuse with someone. The plants or the talisman give her a physical place to hang out. Is she physical in that space? I don’t know. That would be a huge discussion involving physics and such. Does dark matter take up space as we understand it?

You need to explain Infernals to me because I think we might have some confusion over who and what the Infernals are. A language issue.

Incense is both for us and for her. All ritual should connect with people on a multitude of levels, through all our senses – sight, taste, touch, smell, and hearing if you can bring that in. Each person will have one or two senses that work best for them in ritual when it comes to ‘feeling’ or ‘sensing’ deity.

Anything modern that would attract her? I dunno – good question; you ask her, my dear, and see what she says. In my brain she’s rather adamant on the pomegranates, dates, and sparklies.

I don’t do chants. My weakest sense is hearing. I’m good with feeling and smells. If you have a chant for her that would be great. I just don’t, my dear. Truly Glory’s strong point is getting those chants and hearing those poems.

From: Hope

As I said to Glory, we’re a visually oriented species, so we need to be able to ‘see’ something in our minds to assign a name or quality to it. If plants work for Nammu, then your inclusion of plants is a valid way to reach her. If’s not something I ever associated with her, but that’s me.

Infernals, like Tiamat is supposed to be an Infernal, or Lucifer, or Lilith. That sort of thing. I know all the press is bad, and it’s written by their enemies, but even Coyvere is leery of working with them.

If you say she’s adamant about poms and dates and sparklies then I believe you. It fits in with her background.

From: Nettle

She, Nammu, helped us become an agricultural based species. Her city, one of the first human cities, was built because of our moving from hunter-gatherers to agrarian society. If that doesn’t scream plants and herbs I’m not sure what else does. Though she wouldn’t mind a tasty chicken or three in your backyard…a goat – she’d really like a goat or a sheep – talk about your Small Farm Goddess!

Hope, YOU are a visually oriented species! Not everyone of us needs to physically see something to feel it or to sense it. I am a smell and feel type – I don’t see things with my eyes. I can kind of see things in my mind but it’s all based on feel or emotions, not actual sight. Everyone’s brain is different and we all interpret the messages we get through our own brain and symbolism.

The Infernals were given a bad rap by Christianity and to a pointy some of that is true. Tiamat is not a gentle goddess. There is very little that is soft about her – she’s kickass, as is Lilith and Lucifer. They all have points in time where we might need to ask them for help. They are all deities that you must be careful of when you ask for something. Is that really so different than asking Loki or Hekate for something? Coyvere is leery and he will admit that because he grew up Catholic he still has some issues. Of the three, Lilith is the one I’m most comfortable working with, then Tiamat – but she can be a bitch – and then Lucifer, but I’m not one who works in the Christian pantheon much.

From: Hope

I was referencing your first post on Nammu. She’s only mentioned that one time, so I didn’t/don’t know what else she did or is responsible for. Small farm goddess – lol!

No, I wasn’t speaking magickally. I mean that our species is primarily visually oriented. We depend upon our vision far more than scent or hearing or touch. Not to say we can’t sharpen the other senses if vision goes missing.

A lot of people have the same religious background as Coyvere and so have some residual nervousness about the Infernals. I only mention it because I don’t know if Nammu is one of them or not, and it might color some people’s perceptions of her. Remember my interactions with the deities is extremely limited.

 

 

 

 

How Does One Talk To A Dragon?

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Nammu and Kali

Awhile ago Hope asked me to write out how one would contact Nammu or another dragon. I said ‘Dragons don’t come when called – they aren’t dogs!’ To which she replied, ‘Don’t be flippant, ass!’. Perhaps there were a few more words in our conversation (Yes, it is somewhat condensed – Hope) and a slight variation in language, but you get the point. One of the best parts of working with Hope and Glory on this project is that we hold one another accountable and push one another magickally. For me, that is always struggling to get the goop that is in my head out onto paper.

It took me a few long weeks but I think I have answered her question on ‘How does one talk with Nammu?’

Contacting a deity for the first time is always tricky, so first make sure you have your spiritual guardian present. (She’s assuming you have one of these neat, nifty things. Hope) If that is an ancestor, a spirit guide, a trusted deity you work for, have them present and watching over you. They will act as a filter between you and in this case Nammu. Always check with your guardians first to see if this is a good idea. (And if they don’t, find out why. Or do it anyway. Hope) I could spend hours writing a post on how to make sure you have contacted the right deity but I’m hoping at this point in time you all know how to tell you have the right deity you wish to talk to.

Gather your supplies beforehand. Below is a list of supplies for two different rituals to use to contact Nammu. The first one I offer you is using clay to make a talisman for yourself. The second one is to plant some herbs in a pot, which you can use for cooking or whatever.

For A Talisman:

Mud/Clay (the red clay – no fake stuff but air dry is fine and works great)

Sandalwood, dragonsblood, or frankincense (you’ll want the raw resin)

Charcoal tablets and burner (this can already be dedicated to your guardian but not to some other deity you work with)

Pomegranate(s)

Dates

Wine – something you like and would want to share. If you don’t drink, pomegranate juice is good.

Copper bead or trinket.

Garnet(s) or some other deep purple to red stone/gem.

Nammu’s time is dawn and at sunset when the moon is still visible in the sky. She can also be found in full daylight in those times when both sun and moon are in the sky. She does prefer outdoors.

First Ritual

Pick your time, gather all your supplies (optional is a pretty plate with some dates and pom seeds for you to nibble on) , and pick your place. Decide ahead of time on your spoken intention, and write it down if necessary. Create a sacred space. For me that is a circle in my back yard or at a friends’ house, someplace outside where you can see and feel the sun and moon. Remember, I’m not a ritualist, I’m just a kitchen witch, so I go on my gut instinct more often than not. I rarely call the quarters but I do always call my guardian and cast a circle.

Light the charcoal tablet and add the resin. Speak your intention aloud or in your head – something like ‘I would like to meet and speak with Nammu’. Take a few minutes to focus your thoughts and energy on Nammu.

Next, using your clay, make a shape – maybe a dragon, maybe a flower, maybe a simple sphere or box – whatever your gut tells you to do. Let your intention and energy flow into the creation of your talisman. Place a garnet or some other stone on the inside, or the copper bead or trinket.

Once you have finished with your creation, set it aside for a moment in some sunny spot where it can dry for a few days. Perhaps on the pretty plate you had your dates and pom seeds on. Before you dash to wash the clay off your hands, take your glass of juice or wine and make an offering first to your guardian and/or the earth, enjoy a sip yourself, and offer one to Nammu. If you have dates and/or pom seeds you can make the same offering with the food. Enjoy a quiet meditation until you can’t deal with the messy hands any longer. Release the circle, thank any that have helped you, and go about your day.

Once the clay has dried you will want to spend time meditating with your talisman for a good long while, for some people it will be a month, for others longer. You will know how long – trust your gut.

Second Ritual

Pick your time and gather your supplies. In place of the clay you will want herb seeds or starts – parsley, arugula, thyme (wild oregano), rosemary, sage, tarragon, mustard, or sumac, just to name a few. Get something you like and will use in your cooking or meal preparation.

You’ll also need potting soil and a pot with drainage holes and a dish to catch the excess water. Get a pot that appeals to you – there are many beautiful ones on the market. Even places like Home Depot carries them.

Follow the outline of the first ritual until you get to the part about playing with clay. Here you’ll play with soil. Take the pot in your hands and energetically clean the vessel, preparing it and setting your intention to ‘create a space for Nammu to inhabit, if she likes and if she wishes to bless this nourishment for you and your loved ones’.

Do the same with the soil and the water.

Use some of the soil to fill the pot and as you are filling it add some of your garnets or other stones/gems. Just a few – Nammu is a dragon after all, and she does like her sparkly pretties.

Plant the seeds or starts as directed and water with the sweet water of life. Put the pot in a nice sunny spot in your garden or a sunny window where it will live and grow. Enjoy your creation for a moment, then use your grubby hands to offer the wine/juice to your guardian/the earth, yourself, and Nammu. Share the food, if any, with them as well. Release your circle, thank those who helped, and go about your day.

As your herbs grow, be sure to use them in your meals or other magickal workings. If they die for some reason, repeat the ritual. It make take some time for you to find ones that will flourish in your area.

Hope you enjoy some conversations with Nammu.

Namaste,

Nettle

Nammu As Seen By Nettle

“The Sumerians believed that the first thing that existed was the primordial sea (associated with the goddess Nammu), from which emerged heaven (An) and earth (Ki), united as though they were a large mountain in the midst of the sea. An and Ki produced within or between them Enlil, (Air), and as the air began to stir in the darkness within the mountain, it separated sky and earth.

Then to see better, Enlil begot the modd god Nanna, who in turn begot the sun god, Utu, presumably to make the light brighter. By this time the world had come into being, for the sky (An) by expansion of air (Enlil) had reached a great height, and the earth (Ki) had made a solid floor below, with sun and moon to bring light.

When air moved above earth ( or when Enlil united with his mother Ki) and received the aid of water (Enki), plants and animals came into being. Finally, man was created by the joint efforts of Nammu, the primeval sea, Ninurta mother earth, and Enki, the water god.”

Sumerian creation myth as retold by Neal Robbins

This is one of the oldest recorded myths in human history, dating back to 3000 BCE. These myths date back before the Babylonians and were recovered in the late 20th century by archeologists in southern Iraq. Sumerian culture started in the area upriver from the meeting place of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Their civilization consisted of cities, agriculture (including domesticated animals), a complex social structure, temples, music, and the beginnings of written languages.

The poem/myth continues with the story of how Nammu, tired from days of work digging trenches and making bread, went to her son:

The gods were dredging the rivers,

   were piling up their silt

   on projecting bends–

 and the gods lugging the clay

   began complaining 

She woke her son Enki (En = lord, Ki = Earth) and the two of them fashioned humans.

Mix the heart of the clay that is over the abyss,

 The good and princely fashioners will thicken the clay,

 You, [Nammu] do you bring the limbs into existence;

 Ninmah [earth-mother or birth goddess] will work above you,

 The goddesses [of birth] .  . . will stand by you at your fashioning;

 O my mother, decree its [the newborn’s] fate,

 Ninmah will bind upon it the image (?) of the gods,

 It is man . . . .   

 

Creation myths offer an interesting insight into how we have evolved as a race. Looking back at these older myths, poems, and song of our creation the gods are more primal and less human-like. As civilizations have grown our gods/goddesses have become more like us. My personal thought is that it is not so much that we are created in God’s image as we gave the gods our image.

There is a theory that I like that both our bodies and our gods are shaped by the planet on which we live, shaped by the Gaia-sphere. Our bodies are shaped by the DNA of our planet, and the parts of the divine that are able to touch us here are filtered by our mother, Gaia, so that parts of the universe that are alien to us cannot enter. So our images/selves and the images we form of our deities shape each other. This idea has a certain appeal.

In the past few decades we have made startling discoveries into our own histories changing how many of us thought we came to be and even more startling discoveries outside our Gaia-sphere into the possibility of life on other planets. We are beginning to learn how small and tiny we are on this outer spiral of the Milky Way, and yet our expanding knowledge is causing us to grow in leaps and bounds.

I have heard from those of us who are long practitioners of the pagan or magi way speak of the old gods/goddesses returning or re-awakening. I believe our Gaia-sphere is starting to expand. While it is unclear to most what this change will bring, it is clear that change is coming.  We are standing on the precipice of change for our species. What is our next evolutionary leap? How much conscious awareness are we going to be able to bring to this evolution?

Nammu (or Namma) and Tiamat

Nammu is the Sumerian goddess of water and creation, and Tiamat is the primordial goddess of the sea who united fresh and salt water to create the cosmos. Tiamat is often seen as a serpent or water dragon in the early portrait of her. Very little is known of Nammu – she is mentioned only once in a line of texts of An-Anum where she is given the title of ‘Mother who gave birth to the heavens and earth’.

It was conventional wisdom among archeologists that Tiamat evolved from Nammu, that they are both one and the same. Both later then evolved into Ishtar. As a pagan worshipper who has studied and worked with both they share an archetype of creation goddesses but they are three separate beings.

Nammu gave up her power willingly, handing it over to her son Enki. Tiamat was betrayed by her children, who slaughtered her and flung her body into the heavens where she became the night sky. Nammu represents the sweet water of life; Tiamat represents the salty water of birth. These are just simple examples of their differences.

Both represent a primal aspect of creation. I met Tiamat first, in my younger baby pagan days. I must admit that my first dealings with her were not pleasant. I had fallen into that Christian mindset of not really understanding the underworld, but that’s another topic for another day.

Nammu is really the one I want to talk about today.

Nammu first came to me in dreams, very hard and graphic dreams. In these dreams I was always worshipping in her temples, and every one ended with my death as the temples were attacked and all within slaughtered. Yet with these horrible dreams there was an overwhelming sense of peace. I was in the right place and I died in the right way, in her presence. I am struggling to find the words to really describe all that I felt in these dreams. It comes down to an overwhelming sense of being mothered. That sensation a child feels when picked up by a parent and hugged or rocked to feel safe. There was the sensation of familiarity within the dream – the layout of the temple, the colors, the smells – even in death. The dreams ended with me being cradled in the palm of a giant purple/garnet colored dragon whispering ‘Remember…”.

When a dragon tells you to remember something, it’s easy to remember.

Nammu is active again now, after 5,000 years of slumber. At the changing of our age, she is once again creating and becoming part of the new age. As a caring mother-creator, her energy is present and growing around us.

For a long time, human deities have ruled the mind of humanity. In the dark ages humanity was isolated from many influences. This time of isolation is over, and many teachers will be returning to us. One of the things I would like to talk more about in this blog is how one worships or works with a deity or being that isn’t human. Working with dragons, Fae, and other non-humans isn’t the same as working with the more human deities. For now keep in mind that these beings are not human – they don’t think like humans and they need or want little from humans. They are willing to teach, however, if one shows curiosity and initiative.