|Posted by Tony on May 7, 2016 at 1:55 PM|
The other day at Beltaine a good friend of mine came to the rite resplendent in pagan finery, including a beautiful cloak. (In Colorado, a cloak something you have a 50/50 chance of needing at Beltaine.) A newer grove member commented to the effect of 'He looks so good, I never dress like that for ritual so that I appear humble before the Gods.' I commented something to the effect of 'bling out all you want to, I dress the way I do because this kind of stuff is a big part of what I do on High Day.' (At the time I was moving boxes and hand carting the Maypole base into position.)
I wanted to more thoughtfully address this comment, but we were running a little behind, and I didn't have time. To the new person, if you recognize yourself, this is in NO WAY meant to chide. Also, I might misremember the conversation, I'm old and forgetful. I'm giving the answer I wish I had had time for, and using this as an opportunity to get some personal thoughts out there.
I believe that the idea that we have to be humble before the Gods is a concept that we absorb from Christianity. Even if we were not raised Christian, Western culture is so steeped in Christianity that we cannot help but be influenced by it. I believe that even a small matter such as dress points up differences in Pagan vs. Christian mind set. A major leitmotif in Christianity is that people should be humble and obeisant to their God. In Western paganism the God/desses are much more like us, only more powerful. Without questions of Who made who, our deities are similar to ourselves. They are grandious, they are great. And they expect us to take our own raw materiel and forge something worthwhile out of ourselves. They expect us to emulate them and to be great ourselves.
Put another way, Christianity frequently uses the metaphor of sheep, The old Gods want lions!
When the Celts buried important tribal leaders, they buried them with lavish grave goods. They believed that the dead would be important in the afterlife, and would need things that maintained their life style. Our ancestors didn't separate the profane and the sacred. Our minds, hearts, and yes, our physicality were consitered one functional unit. The soul was not thought to be made greater by ignoring the physical.
I believe that part of being our best self, is looking our best. So, wear that bling, work it!!!!!!