A sweet metaphor…and one not so sweet

Two simple metaphors to enrich the meta-conversation about faith and practice across the boundaries of religious language.

In the first, Hystery on Plainly Pagan writes about why she “resists theism”:

For me, what some might call “God” is that which is both intimately real and even commonplace and wholly Other and Ineffable. If I use the word “God”, people think I mean what I do not mean.

The butterfly is pinned and people think I mean wings and legs and antennae when what I meant was flutter and delight and tenderness.

The essence of the butterfly cannot be pinned. The Essence of the Divine also cannot be described. To me, this is the real meaning of idolatry, to settle one’s faith in any given word or concept.

In the second, Siegfried Goodfellow crafts a tale called “Trickster and the Tree” on Heathen Ranter. Here is a piece of that tale:

So Trickster was out and about walking through the world of people as he often did, and he came upon a group of people in a meadow, and he went up to one person and he said, “Would you like to know what kind of tree the world hangs in?” And the man naturally curious wanted to know, and Trickster told him, “It is an ash tree in which the world hangs”. The man was interested, and Trickster then went on to the next man and asked, “Do you know what kind of tree the world hangs in?”. The man asked, “What kind of tree is that?” And Trickster said, “It is the yew tree,” and then went on his way and found a third man, and said, “Do you know what kind of tree the world hangs in?”, and the man asked, “What?”, and Trickster said, “It is a giant ficus tree.”

Then Trickster just laid down on his side in the sun beneath the lazy shady tree and watched the events unfold…

Be sure to read both blog posts in their entirety. They have much to say.

And so it is.

Blessèd be,

2 comments On A sweet metaphor…and one not so sweet

  • “Crafted” is a kind word ; “creatively adapted” might be a better word, a spontaneous telling no doubt influenced by my past knowledge of the story of the Nigerian trickster Edshu who wore the red and blue hat and caused quarrels amongst farmers who stood on either side. My telling, I suppose, does fit in more with the concept of religious creativity across boundaries, as it concerns a primary mystery within Norse religion, the idea of the World-Tree. Certainly its presence in traditions throughout the world suggests we ought not take local traits as essential, but rather the biocosmic viewpoint expressed therein.

  • Thanks, Siegfried.

    The human brain’s pattern-finding mechanism can only work with what it has access to, so local versus biocosmic is a crucial expansion of viewpoint.

    …and let’s not forget the matter of the “holy gourd” versus the “sacred sandal” in the Life of Brian.


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