One of the most interesting sides of working with Gods and Goddesses that I have found comes from how They get depicted by various folks. What makes it even more interesting is how tightly folks will hold to the notion that the way their own mind’s eye depicts the Gods and Goddesses is the ONLY way that They should be portrayed. That single empirical attitude makes me cringe every time I hear it – whether it comes from a Pagan, Polytheist or even a Monotheist.
Let’s consider the monotheistic Christian God and His progeny, Jesus ben Joseph. Now, I am not arguing the divinity or what not here – I am purely looking at the manner in which these two figures get depicted. Both are typically shown as white males. God typically is shown as a greying man with a long, flowing beard. JbJ gets shown as a long-haired hippy type, typically with long blondish-brown hair and typically a goatee or fairly stylized beard. Now, there are folks who will decry this, and point out that JbJ was born in a part of the world where the typical skin-tone is brownish, not the lighter skinned European tones we tend to see in paintings and even in movie scenes. So, given that – who’s right? Who has the correct essence here?
Well, I say that both are right. If JbJ looks like a white, European hippy when you make your connection with him – awesome. Its what works for your Mind’s Eye. Your Mind’s Eye will lay down a depiction that works for you. That doesn’t make it the sole depiction out there, just the one that manifests in your own Mind’s Eye. If JbJ looks a bit more like an Egyptian bricklayer who has seen the sun for far too many days of his life, that works too. For you.
When I first felt I was being contacted by The Morrigan, I had a tough time trying to figure out if it was Her or not. My depiction of the Gods is a bit more modern than most people tend to think. The Valkyrie that were showing up were dressed in jeans, boots and typically t-shirts. Coyote and Crow both tend to manifest in my Mind’s Eye like a pair of dusty hitch-hikers in the midwest. Torn up jeans, worn cowboy boots, disheveled hair, five-o’clock shadows on their cheeks and chin, a t-shirt and a beat up jeans jacket if the weather is cooler. None of those are typical depictions that you will hear or read about from other people. That’s because this is what works for my Mind’s Eye. I think of any of the Gods showed up looking anything close to their depictions in the Deities and DemiGods handbook from the Advanced Dungeon and Dragons collection – I’d likely have a heart attack. I know I would have a tough time relating to Them.
So why the t-shirt and jeans motif?? To be honest, I’m not completely sure, but I do have my own theory. I am most comfortable in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Since this is where my own personal comfort level is, I project that within my Mind’s Eye when working directly with the Gods. Who knows, They may have me depicted in a toga in Their own Mind’s Eye. I don’t ask because its really just not that important to me. Nor is it really important to me how others depict the Gods in their own Mind’s Eye.
Now, there will be folks who are closer to being purists when it comes to the depiction of the Gods. They will saw that most of what I am describing her is a person’s fanciful imagination, and not a proper vision of the Gods. Well, I’ll agree with the first part – what my inner Mind’s Eye depicts is definitely part of my “fanciful imagination.” Without that in place, my mind would have a very difficult time understanding, comprehending, and translating what I see from beyond the veil (my opinion, thankyouverymuch). The second part? Well, I can understand, comprehend and relate to the point that is being made. Visions of the Gods tend to have similarities that help identify what is what. But its a debate stage I refuse to wade into because I am not here to tell anyone that what they experience is real or not. I leave that type of rule-chasing for those that feel the need to go there.
Seriously, if someone wants to play dress-up with the Gods and put Aphrodite in a sheer negligee, go for it. If She has a problem with it, She’s going to make sure you know. But that’s between you and Her. Me? I’ll be hanging out at The Four Winds Bar (hat tip to Blue Oyster Cult) having a drink. Make mine two fingers of Bushmills Black. Neat, please.