The Other Side of Divine

Posted: December 4, 2013 in Inner Journey, Pagan Perspectives, Thoughts on Life
Tags: , , , , ,

Day of the deadPagans, as a general rule, can be a pretty creative bunch. To us the Divine is immanent, present, within all of nature around us. This can lead us to being pretty romantic about the way we view our Divine, in the beauty of a sunset, in the glistening dew shimmering upon a spiders web, in the blossoming flower, in the flight of fragile birds above us. Not many find beauty in the bloated corpse of those same birds at the end of their life, in the teeming maggots that feed upon it, in the stench of death and decay. We do, theoretically, understand the balance and duality of the Divine and respect what many view as the dark side of the God/dess. Almost as if these aspects of Divinity are two sides of one coin, we understand the whole coin but we most often view just one face. We expect the coin to land heads up every time, and when we see tails many turn and run.

I have always struggled to understand why we divide the qualities of Divinity into the beautiful and pleasing, and the ugly and frightening. I too wrinkle my nose at the scent of death, but I don’t view it as the other side of life or the other face of my God/dess. It is all one. Beautiful and terrible all at once. It seems to be a human trait that we even extend upon those we love, adoring their appealing qualities and referring to any unappealing behaviours or habits as ‘the other side’ of their personality. What is this quality of ‘otherness’? What boundary do we cross when we enter the other side?

Entering any relationship with an overly rose tinted view of someones qualities and a denial or dismissive attitude towards their perceived flaws or ugliness is a very unstable foundation for long term growth. Viewing a person as only half of their whole being can lead to traumatic upheaval when we come face-to-face with their ‘other face’. Entering into a relationship with Divinity is no different. Perceiving our God/desses as good, pure, and beautiful, and only acknowledging the scary or unappealing as a separate aspect, can actually make it challenging to have a respectful, healthy relationship. Qualities do not neatly fall into the contradictory and distinct realms of good or bad, black or white, life or death, beautiful or ugly. Many of the qualities we perceive as duality, or as opposing ends of the same spectrum, are actually overlapping, interconnected and inseparable from each other. If we cannot perceive the Divine as a whole, even when nature around us offers such clear examples of this complex interconnectedness, how can we hope to understand our own ugly traits? How can we face our shadow selves not as separate, undesirable and rarely surfacing aspects of ourselves but as immanent, present and interconnected parts of our whole being?

We must learn to accept that much of what we perceive as the other side of the Divine, or the other side of ourselves, is not a different face. It is all one. When we look deep into the eyes we will see the entirety of Divine looking back at us. Beautiful and terrible in its honest gaze.

sugar skull

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