Around 2 AM this morning, I was watching and looking for more of Marina Abramović's performance art, when I happened to come across a picture of her bottle-feeding a baby tiger. My mind was instantly transported to the Wiccan Charge of the Goddess. For those who may not know what the Charge of the Goddess is, it is a poem written by Doreen Valiente, for use in Esbats and Sabbats, and most usually spoken by the High Priestess presiding over the ritual after having drawing down the Moon. The version I'm using here is Starhawk's adaptation of the Charge, because her version was the first I ever read.
Listen to the words of the Great Mother, Who of old was called Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid, and by many other names:
Whenever you have need of anything, once a month, and better it be when the moon is full, you shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me Who is Queen of all the Wise.
You shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that you be free you shall be naked in your rites.
Sing, feast, dance, make music and love, all in My Presence, for Mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and Mine also is joy on earth.
For My law is love is unto all beings. Mine is the secret that opens the door of youth, and Mine is the cup of wine of life that is the cauldron of Cerridwen, that is the holy grail of immortality.
I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal, and beyond death I give peace and freedom and reunion with those that have gone before.
Nor do I demand aught of sacrifice, for behold, I am the Mother of all things and My love is poured out upon the earth.
Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of Whose feet are the hosts of Heaven, whose body encircles the universe:
I Who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters,
I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.
For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.
From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.
Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.
Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire.
I'm not sure why I've latched on to Ms. Abramović, connecting her with the Divine Feminine, but I can say this is the closest I've felt to the Great Goddess since 2011. It could just be that I resonate with the archetype Marina's carriage emanates.
I'm nowhere near acknowledging the existence of any sort to any deity, but I have to admit to myself that I'm not an atheist. By the same token, the revelations and theories that seem to have exploded in the science communities over the past few years give rise to a kind of wonderment of existence, of being a part of living, sentient organism. It is believed that information is never lost. It can be transformed into something we can't see, but it is not gone. In some form, everything is still cradled within the cosmos.
Combined with that theory, the line in the Charge, From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return, has given me a level of comfort I thought I would never feel again. Not since 2011. How long will this last? I do not know. Could it magnify and allow me to return to the Craft? I do not know. Is it simply a fleeting subconscious attempt to cling to the memories of a time when I felt much more in control of my life than I am now? Perhaps. Still, I do not know. Will I ever know?
I do not know.
Spirituality, however, is not something you know. At least it shouldn't be. Unwavering certainty is the pathway to religious extremism, which is about as far from spirituality as a person can get, in my opinion. A person has to believe enough to engage in spiritual practice of any sort, and I know deep in my bones that I am not there yet, and may never again be. Some may suggest I cast or find a Circle and see where it takes me, but I can't do that. I always took my responsibilities as a High Priestess very seriously and I feel being involved in a ritual of any sort would be hypocrital of me. I tried to explain this - unsuccessfully - to the Mother Unit and Matt, when they tried to get me to attend a full moon drum circle. Since rhythm and song were intrinsic in my own rituals and the ones I led in Hecate Triskele, and this drum circle is held on every Esbat, my conscience won't allow me to get involved. I would feel like a phony and a liar to myself and everyone with whom I've practiced since embracing Witchcraft, and everything I'd ever believed or done within that context would be worthless, devoid of any sincerity. That's something I cannot and will not do.
That said, I think it would be wise of me to avoid Marina Abramović for a while.
Edit: The background image I used for the Marina Charge is an artist rendering of what scientists believe the universe looks like.