God Herself

blackgoddess

Quakoralina, the Star Goddess

A lovely black woman is waiting, waiting
In the boundless night.
A river of blackbirds are mating, mating,
In the dim starlight.

Down out of the sky they come winging, winging,
Drawn to Her black flame,
And the melody they are singing, singing,
Is Her holy name.

In the dust of Her feet are the hosts of heaven,
And Her star-sequined hair
Is crowned with a coven of six and seven
Blue suns burning there.

—Victor Anderson

The expression God Herself could be called a Faery koan.  Victor once wrote in a letter that Lilith was honored by the Harpy Coven, to which he belonged in his early life, not as “the Goddess,” but as God Herself.   This is an important distinction.  In a letter to Anaar published in the book, The Heart of the Initiate, Victor clarified:

When we say “Goddess” in my tradition, we mean God Herself, because God was first worshipped and first perceived by the ancient humans as the Great Mother, although this Great Mother has the power that we think of as male. … 

Later in the same letter, Victor taught:

We also speak of the Goddess as Kali when we say, 

Hail, Blessed Mother,
whose body is light
and whose voice is truth.
Power of darkness
and womb of light.

And we know in physics that the blacker the body, the brighter will be the light when it’s heated to incandescence. So black is power.

In one instance known to me, Victor did speak of God Herself as “our Father-Mother Spirit”:  the two expressions denote the same concept:

Our Father-Mother Spirit who dwells
In the Aka world of light above,
We call upon you, honoring and hallowing your name.

Victor Anderson, Prayer for Beginning the New Path (1972)

I like to think of blackness as pure potential.  My mind cannot conceive of a time when the separation between darkness and light had yet to exist, but I can look at the black candle which is used to represent the Star Goddess on the altar in our rites.  In that blackness, I can see a symbol of the Womb which pre-existed all.   In the way I was taught, we begin every formal rite by lighting the black candle, and chanting a prayer to Her from Whom all being flowed:  the lighting of the candle is a symbolic remembrance of  Her Pure Self becoming divided into Darkness and Light.  An instance of what Mircea Eliade called “the eternal return.”  In the Aradia text, it is said that She divided Herself  out of love.  This Creation brought forth the Lightbringer, the Consort, of Whom Victor frequently stated that He came into being not because God Herself needed Him, but because She desired Him out of Her pure lust.  It is a mythic statement of  a profound metaphysical truth, one that has found expression in recent time in some quantum physics theories I’m not even going to attempt to paraphrase.

In the way the Faery Tradition views Divinity, there is no conflict between the themes of Unity and Multiplicity–the One and the Many as it has been called in philosophy.  Just as a vast multitude may share the steps of the same Dance, so the shining infinitudes, the vast illimitable tapestry of Her creation, is united in the link all share with Her.  One of Victor’s most essential teachings is encapsulated in the statement:

God is Self, and Self is God, and God is a Person like Myself.

Again, simple words that englobe a complex and profound truth.  It is partly to be understood in terms of etheric anatomy.  You will note that the statement comes in three parts that compose a single sentence:  that represents a clue.  Victor chose words very carefully.  He valued impeccability in Craft teaching.  The spark of Divinity that is the core element of the Self, or Soul, of a living human being, is connected to the same force that brought forth the Universe in love: the Being we call God Herself.  Aleister Crowley expressed the same thought when he taught:  Every man and every woman is a star.  I also feel that Harry Hay’s vision of subject-SUBJECT consciousness, a praxis he intended to be the foundation of the Radical Faerie movement, could be said, turning around a favorite expression of Victor’s, to be taking the power of Divinity and raising it to the level of Humanity.  Think about it.

Every time I utter the phrase God Herself, I feel that I am reconfiguring my own mind to a slightly deeper, more profound level of resonance with the hidden Force that runs through every sentient being in the Universe.  Witches, like Taoists, know from experience that even rocks have consciousness.  The essence of the Work is not to understand this intellectually, but to LIVE it at a gut level of experience and epiphany.  When the fire of inner gnosis illuminates every breath, every heartbeat, every moment, everything is possible.

One of my favorite explications Victor gave of how what is commonly called Divinity suffuses all life-force is in the same letter quoted above:

So we who follow the Craft, by whatever name it is called, should be very natural in everything we do. Live a normal, wholesome life. Whatever we do, it is because God Herself needs to do it. When we make love, God needs to make love. When we eat, God needs to eat. We breathe, God needs to breathe. And we have a saying in my tradition of the Craft, which is a little tough to wrap yourself around, but it’s a very good saying: God is self, and self is God, and God is a person like myself.

sheelanagig-tira-brandon-evans

(Sheela-na-gig by Changeling)

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5 Responses to God Herself

  1. Peter M. says:

    Great post Shimmer! I love the final quote from Victor.

    Like

  2. Me says:

    This, brother. This! xx

    Liked by 1 person

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