This post has been a long time coming. Not that this means it will be a very well written post, so please don’t get your expectations too high. It’s been a long time coming simply because I’ve never really found the words to express how I feel about this – but I’m going to give it an attempt anyhow.
So, my path has been winding. Sometimes way off in one direction, and then a seemingly folding in on itself, coming back to centre only to go past the fulcrum and off again the other way.
Drawn to different ideas, feelings and thoughts. Sometimes feeling scattered, sometimes completely focussed.
I’ve never strongly been drawn to a female deity — though have had an interest in Hathor for quite a number of years. But I have had a draw to a masculine deity. The Horned God in Wicca was always easier for me to connect to than the Lady. Perhaps simply due to the fact that in life I often get along better with men than women. I think that I am somewhat uncomfortable or not in touch with myself as female (not in the sense of identifying as male, but simply not able to embrace myself) – but that is another post.
One thing I had noticed from time to time in the past few years was the feeling of a presence. Large. Ancient. Solid. Silent yet moving. Breathing… the only thing I could think of to describe it was a Mountain. I found that when I came across different scriptures – Psalms most specifically, and narrowing that down I’d say 29 and 104 off the top of my mind – that I would experience the same feeling of ancientness as the unseen Mountain.
Once I spoke to a scholarly, magically inclined friend from the interwebs about this. This feeling that felt like dejavu — an ancient presence that I didn’t know… and he spoke of how time can layer over, it’s not linear. I pondered that, and considered it, but still as this ‘presence’ it made little sense.
I could sense what I would imagine the vast high places of the Near East to be like. Fleeting strange feelings that made themselves evident as imagery.
Then, although I had come across this before, I came across again the name El.
I had been looking up Asherah, for personal interest. Looking for scholarly stuff to support the fact that people used to see God the Father as a Mother and Father — that God had a consort. And although I had read this before, for some reason this time when I read about Asherah (Athiratu) and came across El — I had that wave of ancient feeling.
Huge, silent, but very alive.
I realized that one of the main things that kept bringing me back from paganism to Christianity and Judaism were these aspects of El (and sometimes Ba’al) which became merged into Yahweh as the Israelites moved away from polytheism to monotheism.
I realized that certain passages from the OT would bring about that same feeling within myself – parts of me recognizing phrases that seemed to be reminiscent of El the Father of the Patriarchs. The Creator of All. El the Benevolent. El was not an angry judgemental God according to the Baal epic (cuneiform writings found at Ras Shamra). El had little in common with Yahweh of the OT except perhaps that Yahweh took on El’s titles. Lord of the Hosts of Heaven, Father of All etc. El is used in the bible many many times… and I could go into a huge discussion about the origins of Yahweh but I won’t do that here. I will leave a link to this, regarding the convergence: http://www.adath-shalom.ca/israelite_religion.htm#convergence (the whole page is an amazing read, not just this section… give it a look )
Along with realizing how strong of a pull I felt to El, I also finally felt a connection to a female Deity – Athiratu.
I still consider myself a soft polytheist however – I used to feel quite strictly that they were all reflections of the same being. Kind of like how on a disco ball, each piece of mirror reflects out a different ray of light.
I used to think that those different reflections were all aspects of the same deity , I now see it more as each reflection on that whole IS a deity within itself.
I feel like they are different Deities of the same Power, manifested in different ways, acting in different ways. — at least that is how it feels for me.
The Lady in the Craft is not Aradia for me. I realize that for many Traditional Wiccans I would then be told that I am not properly a Wiccan — with my Canaanite pantheon being foremost for me right now. But I can’t help feel that Athiratu, the Queen of the Heavens, of All Creation, She who Treads on the Sea (or days/time) is the main Female Deity for me at this point. Her qualities fill the Form of the Lady for me right now… and even Anat has a rightful place there.
Considered bloodthirsty, but really to me she feels like the Earth. Violent and merciless sometimes and caring, loyal and provider at others. Commanded by Baal to :
Remove war from the earth,
set love in the ground,
pour peace into the heart of the earth,
tranquillity into the heart of the fields.
The more I learn about the Canaanite Pantheon, the more I feel I have come home.
I understand this draw to the OT, the feeling of this ancient Mountain – El the Bull, known to reside up high on the mountain at the convergence of the two rivers. The Lady Athiratu , Queen at the side of the ocean, depicted with her cauldron, washing clothes. I have no real one tangible qualifying statement except —– The nagging feeling of the Mountain has been satiated upon learning about the Canaanite pantheon. For me, I take that as one of the markers on my map telling me I am headed in the right direction. At least for now