Having cocktails with one of my lodge brothers a few nights ago, I had the interesting pleasure of talking to the fellow on the stool next to me. He was from Peru and in Minneapolis, he said, to flip houses (or properties more generally). This is called “being in real estate.” He was an interesting fellow and we got to talking about Masonry. His father and grandfather were Masons, but he himself said he could never say that there was a Supreme Being. We told him that was sort of a deal-breaker. I found it interesting to probe and I came away with the feeling that he wasn’t very happy. He was in the bar alone, and the bartenders all knew him by name. That’s not necessarily bad, but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him.
Belief in a Supreme Being, I tried to explain is really the belief that all beings are ultimately one. Supreme Being is a cosmological state. You can personify it and you can believe it cares about you personally, and you can even call it the Allfather or the Great Architect of the Universe, but you might also call it the Ground of All Being, or the Big Bang.
Last night I watched the film of Dan Brown’s novel Angels and Demons. (Wouldn’t it be nice to have Hollywood making your novels into movies and raking in the bread?) In that movie he mentioned the idea of “the God particle.” In the film, it was utterly unclear what the heck the physicists thought that “particle” was, but I found the idea intriguing because I know that Brown usually bases such details on actual scientists’ ideas. It seemed to have something to do with antimatter. I don’t know, is the idea that a particle of antimatter caused the Big Bang? I suppose I could look it up on Google…
But whatever the theory, it doesn’t matter to me. My faith is founded in a personal relationship with God my imaginary friend. People seem to think that faith requires a scientific theory, or that it isn’t “true” unless it can be explained in scientific theories. But God isn’t a conclusion. God is a premise. He’s the predicate of all being. As a druid, I also consider the Supreme Being to be the predicate of all Divinity. However many individual gods and goddesses you may acknowledge or talk to, there is a Divinity that unites them all as a father unites a group of children.
Think about that. It doesn’t mean that all the children are the same being, or identical with their father. It means that there is somebody who gave them their existence. Of course mothers give children their existence too, but not without fathers. And women have to get men to be the father of their children, so it is ultimately at act of male will (artificial insemination excepted). So, the idea of God the Father is simply a poetical way of understanding the First Cause, the creative act of will that brings something new out of chaos. The old argument about whether God creates ex nihilo (out of nothing) or if in fact there was something there for him to work with like the clay from which a sculptor creates a statue. But I always find that argument rather pointless. Supreme Being, surely, can be permitted to create a cosmos out of itself if if wants to.
That said, the druid way of looking at this cosmological moment of creation (which is always happening) is to see the absolute will conjoined in connubial bliss with the world of forms. I like to think of God the Father as the yin and yang united in the famous Taoist circle. An act of will splits this yin and yang apart, but only for the purposes of creating the yin world of forms to correspond with the yang force of will. I know that feminists get touchy about this sort of binary system, but it really isn’t that simple. And it most certainly does not mean that women do not have will or spirit. That would make about as much sense as claiming that men don’t have material bodies. It is only God the Father whose yang half does not have a body because he becomes imbodied through his yin half.
Confused yet? Well, I’m thinking of the world of forms not only as matter but as all form. The Goddess is as we might say Supreme Form and the God Supreme Will, but behind those two figures is a Divine Being about which we can no very little because we only can experience It through Being and Form. Form desends, as the Kabbalah teaches, through archetype, thought, and feeling, at last into matter. And that, by the way, is the only part of creation that scientists study, material being.
Explaining this on a bar stool is not easy.
But here’s the thing: What does it mean to say, as Mason’s do, that we put our trust in God? Since I was raised a Christian, it seems quite natural to trust God, but obviously there are many people in the world who do not do so. And the reason for this is, I suspect, because they have had experiences that have led them to stop trusting God’s ministers. Quite likely, they have been exposed to communism or some other philosophical position that tells them that believing in Deity is stupid and if they believe in it, they are being duped by professional priests and churchmen, or imams, yogis, or monks who are just part of the big bad conspiracy to keep the common people, the workers, subservient and pliable. An honest look at history and one can see the point. So much evil and oppression has been carried out in the name of God that it is easy to be disillusioned.
I have another friend who is highly suspicious of Freemasons because he has run into a few who seemed unethical or in some way hypocritical. Every organization of human beings is going to have its share of unethical and even evil men. Men are just prone to evil and serving themselves and their own passions. Men like to dominate other people. It gives them a kick. But don’t go blaming God for that behavior. Well, yes, he is sort of responsible for the effects of testosterone, true. Yahweh (or Jehovah) in the Bible, can come across as overbearing and concerned only with making sure his children worship him and nobody else. But if you are going to question the Bible as a flawed book authored by flawed men, it does not follow that God is flawed. Don’t confuse one representation of the Supreme Being with what He’s really like.
Feminist spirituality has tended to dismiss God the Father along with all men as fundamentally abusive, overbearing, rapists. The Mother Goddess is worshipped in his stead. Well, I worship the Great Mother and several of her daughters and grand daughters, but I’m not prepared to murder all the boys. Maleness and masculinity, also descends into the world from beyond our ken. I go with C. G. Jung’s diagnosis of civilization that we have become imbalanced — the men have tried to get everyone to believe that men are fundamentally superior to women. The old argument was that they were not only stronger, but more clever. I should hope that in the past couple of generations that idea has been laid to rest — at least in western cultures. Patriarchy has been exposed to scrutiny and women have been allowed to compete with men intellectually in just about every walk of life. It has been demonstrated that women are just as smart as men. Some women are far more intelligent that some men.
Haven’t we really understood that form millennia? The Goddess of Wisdom is Sophia, or Athena, or Minerva, and in the Celtic pantheon, Brighid. My grove celebrated Brighid festival today. The festival of Imbolc is celebrated as the time to usher in the waxing light of the Sun, the candle in the dark, growing brighter by the day. Come, Lady, and bring the Spring!
Will is not the same thing as wisdom. Those men who have believed that women are not as smart as men, or not as “rational,” are a minority but they yell and brag very loudly. It’s a cheap and easy way for men to boost their self-image. They don’t have to actually do anything, exhibit any intelligence, or even any talent. All they have to do is convince themselves that men are innately superior to women and they get a big boost to the old ego. But look how, in doing so, they demonstrate their inferior reasoning skills. Instead of actual reason, such men are embracing an irrational phallic worship. Sadly, the same men who are such devotees of Priapus, are frequently the most homophobic. They are afraid of both men and women. It is very sad.
I put my trust in the Lord God. I also put my trust in the Lady Goddess. The more gods and goddesses the better as far as I’m concerned, and as long as people aren’t confusing their own egos with Deity.
Brighid, divine bard, inspire me in my work. Bring light, inspiration, art, and healing. Lady Bri, bring the Spring!