What is a god?
In Druidry, there is no specific theology, no creeds you need to affirm to be a Druid. Polytheist Druids who worship many gods rub shoulders with monotheistic Christian Druids and godless atheist Druids. Druidry does not depend on belief, but sooner or later through myths and tales, rituals and meditations, the gods will make themselves known.
A god can be seen as a story, an idea. The named gods of various cultures and mythologies can be understood as human attempts to explain the unexplainable, to give a name to the unnameable, to know the unknown.
The gods were born from human experience, both personal and shared. When faced with the immensities of life, humans gave birth to metaphor, myth, poetry, theology. Gods of earth and sea, thunder and fire, war and death, love and abundance, sprung up like mushrooms after rain; organic, growing, living and connected.
Beyond all the named gods, beyond the myths and symbols, beyond religion and worship, when all words fail and all understanding fades into unknowing, there is – what?
How can words describe that which is beyond description? To name a god is to tame a god, yet the sacred powers of the universe, or multiverse, or All That Is, are beyond name, beyond form, and far beyond human ability to tame.
Distant as the farthest galaxy, yet as close as the breath in our lungs. Vaster than the universe, yet smaller than a grain of sand. Endless as time, yet as new as birth. Older than life, or death, or love, and far, far older than regret. This is the sacred, eternal, ever-changing, ever-present but never captured, never fully apprehended.
For the sake of a word, for the need to communicate, with all the limitations of language, I call this Spirit. You could as well call it The Force, or the Tao, Nwyfre, Chi, Prana, Ruach, or even God. That which can be named is not the eternal.
Spirit moves through all things and is all things. All gods, all beings, all life and death and past and future and space and time and here and now. The damp earth beneath my feet, the crashing waves of the ocean, the whisper of the wind, the light of sun and moon and stars, the dance of worlds and distant galaxies. The love that lights the spark of life, the peace that receives the silence at the end of all things.
It is this Spirit to which I call when I chant the Awen, the Druid’s sacred word of inspiration. It is this Sprit I hear in the Oran Mor, the song of the world. It is this Spirit which pulses in my veins and in the veins of the earth. It is this Spirit which, like the mycelial web in a forest, connects the greatest tree to the smallest moss.
Beyond the horizon of the known, yet known with the intimacy of instinct, the great question never to be answered. That Which Is, and of which we are all a part. To me, that is the essence of the sacred.
Is this a god? How would even we know one if we met one?
[Prompt from Alison Leigh Lilly’s 30 Days of Druidry]