Bright and early I rose this morning. It was the dawn of a day with a lot of emotion tied into it. Dear friends we’re going through fear and pain and excitement and healing, I found myself lost in a sea of worry around my Dedicant study with a map-in-bottle bobbing toward me, and I arose with contemplation over dreams, earlier omens, and my relationships with the Gods over the past year.
Such a feeling washes (hah) over me with this card. The serpent looks suspicious, sad. It emerges from the sea foam, still dripping. It looks to me as if it knows their time is ending. The waters are gray. The sky is gray. All is silver and morose.
When I first started exploring a relationship with the gods my mentor led me to Artio. I was immediately struck by her majesty. I love bears and their image is strong in my heart. I was visited by a bear in a vision many years ago, a vision that led me to seek a faith practice once more. My love for Artio still feels as strong as ever. Visions of Raven and a whole lot of bird houses led me to discover Nantosuelta later on, which in turn led me to discovering my Grove of Raven’s Cry.
Then came emotions over a loss of nature. They’d always been inside me, waxing and waning, but my stronger connection to more Druid friends (particularly back east) made me long deeply for the brooks and forests of my youth. I whined and envied all the while having spent a decade of my life with the sunny shores of Southern California literally a walk down the street. So I made a real effort, a strong pledge to seek out a Goddess of the sea who struck my eye. I sought out Nehalennia and opened my heart to her. I recieved a stone and I devoted a lantern to her, the lantern taking the role of my hearth fire at the altar, out of necessity.
My mentor cautioned me, in one of many emotional tangles, that relationships with the Gods are fluid. They are just like mortal relationships. They may come and bond with you for life, they may arrive to teach a lesson or pass a warning and that’s it. To be honest, the idea of saying goodbye to any of the Goddesses I have spoken to and made offering to is heartbreaking. It saddens me.
Very recently I was called to act in the role of my Grove’s membership to give offering to the Shining Ones during Imbolc. As it was to be my first performance at a public ritual I made a strong effort to meet with Brighid, as we would be working with Her primarily during the rite. What resulted was an intense and vivid meditation, an omen guided by Her, and an unforgettable Imbolc followed shortly by great blessings flowing from Her grace. I was stunned. I didn’t know what I could possibly do to thank Her. I made a huge offering during a long personal ritual at home and have been thinking on Her since, the change She has brought to our family so powerful that it stands as a trinket itself to remind me of the promise I made.
While I know there is not a rule pertaining to the number of Gods one can worship upon ones altar, I am left this morning feeling that Nehalennia has left me a stepping stone and is a guiding hand forward. My outpouring of love for Her did not go unnoticed but She shows no sign of wishing to wed. I am a little saddened, but I also fully understand. And as I type this out I feel that I truly mean that. I’m not just “saying that” because it’s right to do so.
But the sadness still lingers and it makes me think about the potential for more separation. I have all these icons on my altar for Artio and Nantosuelta. I have the lovely lantern at the center of my altar, an icon for a Goddess who is no less important than any other but does not share the bond I share with others. The thought of having these physical reminders, honestly, makes me sad. If Artio took Her leave what would I do with the little ironwood bear carving? Would I put it away? Would I get rid of it somewhere? Would I just leave it there? These are questions I can’t honestly answer right now.
But as I see that serpent, sad and gray amongst a turbulent and muted sea, I realize that sorrow and sadness is a reality. It’s inevitable. The Water Dragon reminds us that we must embrace the sorrow as it comes, but know it. Be patient as one can and let the sorrow emerge slowly and carefully. Do now rip the arrowhead from your skin but push it slowly through. Feel the pain and know where it comes from, know what it means, and when the sorrow emerges fully and when it is slain watch where it’s bones fall. Seek out the broken remains of that sadness and see what fruit they bear. Sorrow is not merely a poor beast meant to be feared, it is a journey with potential for great reward should you see all of it’s gray scales and it’s haunting stare and understand.
Now I face an emotion I’ve not felt since meeting Artio… Perhaps moreso. Brigantia. Bright Brighid of the forge. She has come into my life with such fire. I feel such a warm sensation whenever I look on an image of Her. It’s easy for me to say “Yeah! Brigantia! Take me under your wing! Let us forge an eternal bond!” but that is my beastly heart rushing on.
Still though I cannot help but think of Her constantly. Perhaps the stone from Nehalennia was indeed a pathway to Brigantia. Perhaps it is a foundation meant to support an anvil with a heart of flame.