We are writing the two thousand and sixteenth year of the Common Era now. One thousand and sixteen y ears after the last Germanic tribe held their last Thing, and even a few centuries more than that since Christianity has first taken foot in Europe. That’s a long time. A time during which the Sky God from Palestine’s command “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” has become somewhat moral obligation for pretty much the majority of the Western World (or has it?)
He doesn’t say “There are no other Gods”, by the way, no, he just doesn’t want his followers like the other Gods more than they like him. That’s understandable, I guess, and I see how hard it is to feel good about such things when I observe my 14 year old still struggling with feeling good about me loving his younger sister just as much as I love him. Although, sometimes this feeling creeps up that it’s not the God’s issue…but I digress.
So, back to the topic, to the fact that for roughly 2,000 years, the Christian Church has tried to pound the believe in other Gods, or, a Goddess even, out of people’s heads, minds, and souls. But here’s the thing. Today is January 5th. 2016. And still, STILL, after such a long time, some people in the Alps – claiming to be staunch Catholics even – will deck the main dining room table with fresh, white linen, will place a loaf of bread and a glass filled with milk in the center, and go to bed.
Because, during that night, when the church tower bell has struck midnight, the Percht will visit people’s homes, and – together with the souls of those who had departed the past year – feast on the bread and the milk. But nobody is allowed to watch, because guess who she is? Why the Goddess of course! Borbet, the crone aspect of the Alpine Goddess Trinity, the psychopomp (the souls are a dead give-away here), the Ancient One. The Goddess from whose name words like warm and womb come, because to her warm womb we return upon our death, and thence we are being reborn into this cold world. The Goddess after whom the German City of Worms (in ancient times Borbet-o-Magnus) is named, where a Three-Virgin relief STILL depicts her and her Sister-Goddesses Wilbet and Ambet. The Goddess who was replaced with St. Barbara in Christianity, STILL holding a tower, the castle keep, in her arms in sacral paintings. Because she is the Goddess with whom people seek refuge. She is, in essence, one aspect of our Great Mother! Mom!
Here’s a little story about Mom, and why I feel it’s ok to call her that, sometimes. A couple of years ago I attended the Samhain ceremony of my Druid Grove somewhere in the woods of Massachusetts. Fukujima has happened not too long before, so we dedicated a portion of the rite to Mother Earth. In the process, I kneeled down, touched the ground with the palm of my hand, and said with a choking voice, “I’m so sorry, mom.” A little four year old who was there with his mother (human) observed me, squatted down next to me like little ones do with so much ease, and asked me with big eyes, “Is this really your mom?” With water in my eyes (must have had dust in them or something) I replied “Yes, this is the mom of all of us.” He looked at his mother (human) for assurance, she nodded, and there was not a shred of doubt in that kid that the Earth is our Mother. And that I meant it.
Sorry to say, but there is no way for me to have her, Mom, take a back seat to anyone! And because of that, I look forward to dishing out bread and milk on fresh linen when she visits tonight, and blesses our house and hearth. In the two thousand and sixteenth year of the Common Era.
More about the Percht in the next, regular, “Weekly Druid” blog issue.