This morning the task was to wake up before dawn, face northeast, light an orange candle, call upon the maiden aspect of the Great Goddess, and intone the sound “you” twice before meditating on the maiden for fifteen to twenty minutes.
I did all of that. I can’t tell you what’s gotten into me of late. It’s probably the fact that I can feel Autumn coming in the chilly mornings that began just after Lammas. That always gets my magical juices flowing. I want to feel joy in my religion again and, for me, that means going back to Wicca, where my wonder with, and joy in, Paganism started. It means chucking all the “Silly Rabbit, Wicca is for kids,” internal chatter with which every Pagan gets inundated. There is that crowd, you know, that sucks the joy out of everything. There is that crowd that knows better. There is that crowd that points out all the flaws and peccadillos of everyone else’s religion while touting their own as the A#1 most authentic.
Nertz to them. I dig Wicca, witchy toad warts and all. It tickles me. It makes me feel that little thrill I first felt when I came to Paganism. It forces my intellect to give it a rest already and teaches me to go with the flow. My long-held philosophy is that, in the end, none of us will have it right and we’ll all be surprised, so why not go with what feels good?
All of this to explain why I’m back in the Wicca: A Year and a Day book.
I’ve tried many, many times to work with this book and have never made it past the Maiden intonation. I did it today and am very proud of myself. It wasn’t too hard. I woke up at around 11:00pm and couldn’t sleep at all thereafter so, at 5:19am, an hour before sunrise, there was me and the Maiden and the orange candle and a big “Why not?”
I really don’t know why the sound of “you” is supposed to be associated with the Maiden. The book didn’t explain that, but there’s a lot that’s inexplicable about Wicca, so I rolled with it. I can’t say that intoning it made the exercise any deeper, but surrendering to the process is a part of the process, so there you go.
Once the candle was lit and I set my intention to meet the Maiden aspect of the Great Goddess, I sat in my cushy desk chair and thought. My thoughts ran all over the place all at once. This, I thought, could be Maiden energy—a young maiden frolicking willy-nilly through the fields of mentation. But then I got a little more serious and a little deeper. I asked Kore, pre-underworld Persephone, to tell me about the maiden aspect of the Great Goddess. She told me that because the Great Goddess is the progenitor of all goddesses, gods, humans, and everything else, all goddesses and all humans were maidens to her once. Even the most fierce crone you could ever think of was once a maiden in her sight. I thought of Hera in particular, (not that Hera is a crone), before her life became so complicated. I thought of how free she must have felt—how her radiance was just beginning to bloom.
I told Kore that was all well and good, but I wanted to understand the Great Goddess herself in her maiden aspect. My mind went immediately to the power that created all the worlds and all the universe and all the gods and all the people and all the animals and all the things and I got a bit dizzy. Kore told me that the Great Goddess in her maiden aspect is a bit beyond my comprehension, but that I may know her by her descendants and by her works: The goddesses, Spring, flowers—that whole table of correspondences. Paraphrasing Hypatia, another maiden, Kore reminded me that I must first understand what’s at my door before I can hope to understand anything beyond it. I took that to heart.
The most important thing I learned today though is that the Great Goddess is sentient. I thought perhaps she was not, but Kore told me otherwise. She is sentient and she hears me. When I called her, she responded. She is so big that she is responsive to even the tiniest detail. She knows how many hairs are on your head. She knows all about the falling sparrow.
I hadn’t supposed that. I am in awe.