So where do I go from here? I guess I'd like to share a little about what I learned in that book, among others. The things that really drew me to the Craft. First of all lets talk about 'God'. I put it in quotations because I'm not talking about the Christian God or any other specific deity. In witchcraft and Wicca, deity is considered male AND female. Most pagans pray to or worship God and Goddess. Many have a certain pantheon (group of gods and goddesses related to a particular faith or geographical area) that they work with. Some have only one God and Goddess that they work with. There are some witches or Wiccans who only work with Goddess, mostly Dianic practitioners. This is unbalanced to me but considering the proliferation of male-centered patriarchal religions out there, I don't think this is a bad thing. There is no set definition and I think that there are as many ideas of deity in paganism as there are practitioners. I personally understand it like layers. On the top is Source. This is a genderless, formless consciousness from whence we all came that permeates everything. This is truly God, but it's bigger, vaster, more complex than we can understand. So, as a human I need to have something I can relate to when I pray. I choose God and Goddess. These 'beings' represent every aspect of humanity. Every color, gender, background, every good and bad trait, every, every thing that humans can be. I know it's a construct of my mind but I feel most comfortable with this image and so it's real to me. This was the most important, if a bit difficult, concept for me as a woman. God isn't a man. So all of my feminine traits are reflected in God, too. I feel more comfortable praying to divinity I can see as feminine. All the Gods and Goddesses that have ever been named or conceived of are present in God and Goddess.
The next 'layer' would be all the named Gods and Goddesses. Shiva, destroyer and lord of the dance from the Hindu pantheon. Freya, goddess of war and love from the Norse pantheon. The list is unending. All of these are aspects that people created and needed to call on for different reasons. So if a witch (of eclectic tradition) wants to get in touch with her (or his) own compassion, they might pray to or do a ritual with Kwan Yin. If we need strength to destroy something in our lives that is harming us or no longer serves, we might work with Durga or Kali.
It's like the viewfinder toys. Remember, the ones you could put a disc of slides into and push the lever to look through and see all the pictures? To me, that toy is a perfect metaphor for God. No matter what deity you're looking at, or what pantheon they come from, the image will always be the correct image of God. The truth is that God is the light shining through allowing you to see the picture. So God, or Source, is present in everything and necessary for us to see the sacredness in everything.
That idea of all things being sacred was another thing that really rang true for me. All life is sacred and so is the earth. I believe that little by little, I'm becoming a more responsible and compassionate person as a witch. I am not saying that you have to be a witch to be a good person. Only that for me, the sense of personal responsibility that I feel as a witch has taught me to question myself and to strive to be a more loving, less judgmental person.That's what we all, I think, come to religion for. We want to learn how to be good people. This is my way and I hope the telling of it will at very least help other people to understand. It's really no different or stranger than any other path.