Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meeting the Goddess of Purposefulness

I have a story to tell about meeting the Goddess of Purposefulness.  A former student wrote to me asking how she could release in respectful ceremony some art work we had done together but had not finished, and so I asked in a dream, "Which God or Goddess has power in this situation?"  This question has been a revelation from reading James Hillman's book Kinds of Power.  In the past I have asked "What should I do now?" which makes the focus about me and not about the Gods and Goddesses who are the root and fullness of all things. According to Hillman, as long as I don't believe the myths are real, they cannot have any power.  When I think everything is about me and has to be fixed by me, I have no awareness that "something has [me] always in mind."

 I received a dream during which I said, "the answer is the Goddess of Purposefulness."  Since I had never heard of this Goddess I went on an Internet search and discovered the Obscure Goddess Online Directory. Um Phl (possibly pronounced Um Pachal), is a Canaanite Goddess whose name translates to mean "the purposeful one."  What an excellent fit.  And even more so when I read she is associated with Healing, Serpent, and Horses, and is the wife of Choron, a God of the Underworld.  These are immediate connections for me.  The Serpent is the power of the Journey Oracle cards, my most recent shamanic painting in progress is titled, "How do you like the Underworld?" I felt that as soon as I asked for the Gods and Goddesses, and not for me, I could see in a different way.

The next day I went into meditation with the intention of meeting the Goddess of Purposefulness.  I only wanted to be present to what might happen, and not try and ask for or influence whatever was coming.
The sensations in my hands were intense and my mind stayed focused, and then a dark form shimmered through darkness in my mind--and a snake head appeared.

Although the sensations continued for some time, no other message or image appeared.   Trying not to feel disappointed or self-critical, I went outside to leave a gift for 'Um Phl.  Because I understand that the Gods' help must be paid in the "coin" of their realm of influence, I left food that might attract food for a snake.  

As I stepped outside, I stumbled on a stone, dislodging it from its location on the path to the garden.  At that moment a strong thought entered my awareness: dig a shallow hole in the earth and bury the art work...just deep enough, just wide enough.  Fill back in and lay stones over the top so they fit.  My shamanic practice over the years has taught me that this is the way the Gods, the Spirits, speak back--in bumps and jolts and little sparks of sudden knowing. 

This is how one builds a snake house!  A platform of stones over which are piled flatish stones in a loose dome arrangement with lots of openings and crevices. The snakes go inside for heat retention at night and sun on the warm stones outside during the day. I have built these on the edges of my garden because snakes are a natural check against slugs and other sprout chewing creatures. 

The art work had a purpose, a teaching, built into every knot, number and material when it was originally made. I learned from this story that it must be let go within a purpose: that of becoming the magically charged foundation for a Serpent house dedicated to Um Phl, the purposeful one.