I have hiked a certain mountain consistently for an entire year now. During this time I have been longing to see a physical manifestation of a particular deity of mine. In the wider culture he is known more popularly as Cernunnos, or perhaps Pan. Almost a year to the day since I started traversing this particular landscape, I saw him. A rustling of leaves was the first clue. Oh, I thought, surely a squirrel. And then, at the side of the trail, I came nearly face to face with the huge dark eyes and majestic antlers of a buck. We were close enough that I could see he had what looked like spider web filaments hanging from his horns, and that they were festooned with leaves. We regarded each other motionless and in silence for several minutes. Eventually I bowed to him and carefully continued on my way.
I felt lucky to have been granted this meeting. Because the gods don’t have to grant you anything. At all. Ever. It took an entire year for me to see him. It takes patience and alertness, a thing we lack in the modern world, where devices, instant gratification and empty surface culture constantly howl for our attention. For gods’ sakes, put down the smartphone, get off of Facebook and resist the temptation to take a selfie everywhere you go! Not having a picture of it does not make it any less real, any less valid. Listen to the rustle of leaves, the wind in the treetops. See the shining kaleidoscope of a spider’s web in the sun. Track the curve of the moon across the sky. Cultivate the inner listening you have, the instinct, the intuition. And come face to face with that which moves you.