It’s hard to hear the gods.
It’s easy to hear the whispers of our own wants and fears. These are the first voices when we turn inward, and the second, and the third. We’ll gladly give them the masks of gods because we are in love with them. We love our wants because they tell us we’ll get everything we wish for with just a little time, just a little faith, maybe a dash of determination. Our fears tell us that nothing could be different than it is, that it would be too dangerous to change anything—and we love that too. So we live our lives passively, reassured, and if we remain unhappy we whisper, “everything has a purpose.”
What do the gods truly say? Often they are silent. They know that if they spoke we would not listen, and gods do not do pointless things.
They are silent, because they see that we prefer the company of wants and fears, wants and fears, and who goes to a house uninvited?
They are silent, simply because they have seen so much. They know that, irrespective of our individual pains, the world remains a glorious place.
When I was younger I went for esoteric practices. I sought visions and prophesies and messages from the gods. This is the most dangerous of all sciences because it is the most enchanting. To pursue myth means to open up to an endless field of imagination, where every tree talks and every rock has an ancient spirit—each of them ready to tell you the grand significance of your daydreams. The more extravagant a vision is, the more we like it. But extravagant visions are the ones that mean the least.
I learned to read cards, and spoke with startling clarity (because I spoke of wants and fears). I learned to sense spirits, and choose the right offering for each one, and hear them speak softly in my ear, always of wants and fears. I did the most demanding and far fetched meditations from the Himalayas and from the Middle Ages, and I got the vision I sought, a vision of my wants triumphing my fears.
Today I rarely practice the esoteric arts. When I do it’s more for the simple joy of it. It’s the way you read an old, favorite book: you aren’t surprised by the ending, but there’s a certain pleasure in hearing the words again.
Sometimes I seem very unreligious. What good is a priest who doesn’t hear voices? Why listen to someone who doesn’t read the stars, the cards, the numbers, the smoke, the crystals or even dreams?
Even here, on the journal of my spiritual search, I rarely write about religion. It gets showy all too easily. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a pastor breathing the Holy Spirit or a Sybil breathing Apollo’s breath. The gods don’t whisper of fears and wants, they only speak of truths; and most of us, when we seek religion, are there to get away from truths.
There are useful spiritual practices, and those are the ones aimed at the self. The self is the one tool the gods gave each and every one of us, the only tool that is with us all our days and must suffer whenever we suffer. So the self has a level of trustworthiness that visions, mentors, priests and even parents cannot match. It’s dangerous to get to know yourself because there is no room to secretly doubt the things you find, even when you dislike them. You can always find another guru or chase another vision, but you cannot beg another self.
To know yourself is only half of the practice. It may even be the least important part. But whatever little bits you find, you can shine them everyday. Everyday you can polish your true self until it gleams and serves as a light, a beacon past your wants and fears.
If the gods ever speak, that might be when you’ll hear them.
Lúnasa Days is a tale of finding yourself. It has been called “like Paulo Coelho only darker.”
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