I have been focused on the art of surrender lately – I am deeply interested in what it takes for your average modern person to consciously live the Will of the Gods, what the difference is between partial and complete surrender (I have the sinking suspicion the latter feels like sitting between two stools, while the other feels like connected bliss) and what a contemporary mystic’s journey can be like…and in this case, how that journey begins.
When I was first exploring paganism and Reclaiming witchcraft (later coming to the Feri Tradition through Reclaiming) I hand-picked the Goddesses and Gods that I wanted to work with, calling to the energies which sparkled and sparked outside of me, just within the reach of my imagination. I found it intensely powerful to strike up my first Goddess relationship with Brighid, keeper of the forge of my heart. Over the years, I have worked with many Goddesses, as I have felt called…but the deepest relationships I have experienced with the Divine have emerged when I have trusted the Divine to choose me.
A few years back, in the midst of a small crisis of faith, I was feeling very disconnected from my spirituality and practice. I wouldn’t call it a dark night of the soul – it felt more like a gray apathy of the psyche. I discussed this feeling of spiritual disconnection with a trusted friend, and she suggested that I create an altar: barely decorated, with a white altar cloth and a bowl of salt water, she suggested I sit in front of this altar every night and ask to be contacted by gods, being open to Whomever wanted to come through and make contact. This idea intrigued me, as I had never before relinquished so much control of my spiritual connection with deity. It felt like a growing edge, and I love growing edges.
So I created the altar. And I sat, every night. And I asked, every night, to have a spiritual experience of the Divine, whatever spiritual experience I most needed. I opened myself up, and left behind any preconceptions about who or what “should” come to work with me. And I began to trust that I would receive the things that I needed. About a week into this practice, I began having dreams of a man leading me to the ocean…a man with a cane and a wry, winking smile leading me to the powers of the sea, an ocean both motherly and treacherous. Through these dreams, I was given the choice to develop a profound, powerful, and transformative relationship with Yemaya. I accepted Her invitation.
Prior to having these dreams, I had never worked with Yemaya, or any of the Orishas. I doubt that I would have come to Yemaya or beauty of the Yoruba spiritual system of my own accord, as ensconced in Celtic and Greek traditions as I was at the time, coupled with my scant knowledge of African traditions. Still, Yemaya called to me, and still calls to me, an unexpected and perfect gift.
From this one experience, I have learned to keep my eyes open for signs that I am being “god-stalked,” a description that makes my soul smile. I love the idea that Yemaya pounced on my soul, claiming it as her own. I am forever grateful for my beloved friend’s suggestion to quiet myself, to trust, to surrender to the Call. (It’s hard to hear the Divine over the sound of your own flailing. Spinning wheels drown it out.)
Since then, I have had other Gods and Goddesses come in and out of my life, on their own timetables, some like lightning, others like the slow growing of the grass. Currently, I am being god-stalked by Nimue, the maiden Goddess of the Feri Tradition. All signs point to a wild ride.
Ahh, surrender. What adventure and joy you bring.