For the Gods · The Pagan Experience 2015 · The Wild Hunt

Sacrifice and the Gods (The Pagan Experience)

I don’t remember ever feeling mercury in retrograde so powerfully before. I’m not sure if it’s because I always put this feeling of brain mush, incoherence and the desire to be a hermit down to my depression, or PMDD, but I’ve never attributed it to MiR.

This time it’s been featuring questioning every recent decision, questioning every thought in my mind, taking what people say and suggest WAY too seriously which then leads me to questioning myself; along with staying up to 4am watching telly online, doing artwork to keep myself sane while up to 4am, and wanting to fight with my Muggle for no reason at all.

Mercury in Retrograde at it’s finest.

Recently I read a wonderful post on personal practice, as part of The Pagan Experience blog project, by Migdalit Or. The closing sentence has left me thinking, pondering, and wanting to rip my heart out from the sadness it has since brought forward..

“I could not possibly imagine how empty life would be without them [the Gods].”

Migdalit Or: Real Life Paganism.

One of the main aspects of Herne that I love is that to me, he represents sacrifice. Sacrifice of what you love and hold dear, whether it be forcibly removed from you or by self sacrifice, and the end result (good or bad) of that action. For Him, it was the unwilling sacrifice of his hunting skills in return for his life, which resulted in him taking his life.

Imagine for a moment something you don’t believe you could be without. It could be your friends and family, a favoured ability such as being able to sing, the use of your limbs, your independence. Now imagine that being ripped away. What would you do? Would you cope?

At one point or another in our lives, most of us will have to experience this in some form of another. It could be for a brief moment, weeks, months, years, or until death.

For my husband, he has proclaimed numerous times that if he permanently lost the use of his legs, he would follow Herne’s path to the Oak tree. As a runner, I get it and I don’t blame him. For me, it would be my eyesight. As someone who has worn glasses since June 3, 1993 my sight is pretty poor. I can’t read anything without my glasses unless it’s an inch from my nose. If I lost my ability to see, I’d lose my ability to craft – no more painting, no more drawing, no more forms of enjoyment that keeps my sanity. Would I follow Herne to the Oak tree if I did? Maybe, depending on circumstance. But I would happily to sacrifice anything else to keep my ability to see.

The main thought that the above sentence brought up for me is “what would I do if all of a sudden I couldn’t feel the presence of my Gods?” I have felt “blocked” twice since beginning this path all those years ago, but it was a blockage I put on myself because everything was moving so quickly, I was young and I was scared. But what if one day I found that Herne had just walked away? That for whatever reason it was required for me to sacrifice, willingly or unwillingly, my relationship with my Patron, my teacher, my friend?

Just the idea of it makes me want to hang onto them for dear life, with my arms wrapped around their legs crying like a child, begging them to never to leave me.

– My response to the above sentence.

What would you do? What if one day you woke up, and everything that made you ‘you’ was gone? For those of us who’s personal practice is so entwined with daily life, what if one day you woke up and felt like a complete Muggle? I use that term purely because we all have an idea of what it means – someone who isn’t Pagan.

The idea of having to sacrifice my relationship with Herne makes me gut-achingly sad. It makes me want to curl up into a ball, hide in a corner under a blanket, and sob. I can’t bare the idea of suddenly losing my world where the presence of my Gods are always with me. To not be able to feel His presence, to hear His jokes, to laugh with Him, to run to Him and curl up in His arms when I don’t feel I can turn to anyone else, or to journey and honour and sing and drum to and with and for Him… it would be like knowing happiness and bliss, and then forgetting what it’s like.

Growth and chance happen through sacrifice. The new cannot thrive until the old has been removed. Through the unwilling sacrifice of his abilities, through the following action of suicide by hanging at the Oak, Herne found life in death and became who he is today. He sought vengeance for what happened to him at each Winter Solstice through his Wild Hunt. His story is known, it has moved through fact and fiction, through mythology and tales, through the ages and He is still known. He has become more than the Hunter that he once was – He IS the hunt.

He is the hunter and the hunted, the bow and the arrow, the stalker and the prey. He is the dance we all dance when we are striving to make our mark, and the sacrifice that comes in hand. For one to win, another must lose. For one to eat, another must die. For the land to grow, the land must die. For the sun to shine, the rain must fall.

To honour Herne is to know, understand and experience sacrifice. But sacrificing my relationship with Him is one that I never wish to experience.

2 thoughts on “Sacrifice and the Gods (The Pagan Experience)

  1. MiR or not I so hear what you are saying. For many years of my life I was struggling to be person that was not truly me and as a result I went completely “head blind”; the magic disappeared from my life and I felt very remote from the Gods and their world. It was a time during which I would look into the mirror and have no idea just who that person was anymore.
    Magic and the gods, I understood are so much a part of my identity that I cannot loose the one without also loosing the other.

    1. You just explained my late teens. I hear you. It’s nice to know that we’re not alone with that feeling, but I never want to feel that again. I love being my own kind of normal!

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