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This project started towards the end of my Wiccan days. I was deeply involved with questions of men’s spirituality, and it occurred to me that a whole lot was being written on the Goddess, but very little on the God. I set about to fix that. Over a year or so I obsessed with the question set forth in the first sentence of these entries: who is the Wiccan God? As time went on, the question began to consume me, and towards the end of it the answers were coming very fast, in an almost continuous fever. In short, this is me speaking out a divine madness. I mean that in the best sense.

Eventually I had my answers, and the writings stopped. Maybe they’ll raise some questions for you.




The Neglected God


4/25/89

I am thinking of Cernunnos
and wondering who He is.
We all know what a Mother Goddess is.
If we say "Father God," though,
memories of Christianity come welling up.
We thought that seeing divinity as female would free us
but we will not really be free
until we can also see it again as male.
Not emasculated.
Not even necessarily gentle:
Fierceness too is divine.
Not a woman's image of Man, but a man's.
Can we say "Lord" and think of Him?
Of our Lord and not theirs?
And not "Lord and Lady", giving Him no existence
of His own,
But "Lord"--in His own right.
And even "Our Lord"--
How can He be our Lord if we don't know who He is?
We don't really know yet what it is to be a man:
How can we know what it is to be Him?

           *

Who is this man?
Fierceness is what I have been denying:
He sits fiercely.
In perfect stillness He waits
but only to move better.
What are these antlers?
How can I be what I have worked for
if I must be that?

           *

Him in my sitting
Him in my moving
Him in my dreaming
Him in my doing
Him in my not-doing
Always Him
I who wear the rod
always wear the antlers too.

           *

To know the animal within is to know Him.

           *

I am thinking of Cernunnos
as a pillar of light
turning in place
And every now and then
a searing beam flashes out.

           *

We have been so busy celebrating the rediscovery of the Goddess
that we have lost the God.
Our wounds will not be completely healed
until we are made whole.
But we will not be made whole
until we know Him
and in that way know ourselves.

           *

Who is this God?
I stare at Him and He stares back.
Are His eyes empty because they hold nothing?
Or because they open on endlessness?
Why does He stare at me so?

           *

Now I shall call                   the Lord Cernunnos
Herne the Hunter               Ruler of Heaven
Warrior Youth                    Wyrd Enforcer
Him I call                             and Him invoke
Laughing fire singing       and leaping within us
You I call                              and You invoke.

           *

My feet, His hooves,
strike sparks on the rocks,
that shine like stars,
make bright the dark.
My phallus, His,
the Wonder of All
That casts its seed
That dies to life
My muscles His,
the source of strength.
The Doer, the Wielder,
acts through me now.
And on my head
His antlers grow
Full seven tines
Proud and erect.
The tossing limbs
of oak and ash
reflect their might
but do not surpass it.
See, Behold,
The Lord of All,
I act, and He,
the Primal Actor,
acts with me:
My deeds are His.
And thus the Mystery
shows itself:
Lord Herne is found
not in being
but in becoming.
So thus by acting
as Herne our Lord
I am He.


4/26/89

His face is a mask
What else can those vacant eyes and fixed mouth mean?
Just as Men themselves are nothing themselves
Just as they put on roles and take them off again
Just as they play games without the games ever being serious
Such power is Men's!
Power to change
without being transformed.
And so to sit:
Centered
Unmovable
In the center of All.
Around Him everything turns
He is the Axis Mundi
He is the World Tree
He is the Center
and thus can have nothing inside Him.
And so His eyes open upon nothing within
They can only reflect the viewer's gaze back out.
"This is you," they say.
"Here you are."
Is there any wonder He inspires terror?

           *

What about the others?
What of Pan, of Amoun, of Dionysos?
What of all the other bearers of horn and antler?
Pan seems to be Him unfettered.
Dionysos seems to be Him more human.
Amoun I do not know.
Baphomet, Hu,
the nameless other God of northern Britain
(the imp with the weapons):
I do not know for them either.
Have I taken on too much?
The question of Cernunnos is tangled up with many other questions:
Men's mysteries, social roles,
other Gods in other cultures,
the development of Wicca,
and more.
It is a lot
but it is all necessary.
There is no one place to start.
Start from everywhere at once.
The goal is the center;
the closer you get
the closer together your paths will be.
They will meet in the center
where He is.

           *


4/28/89

If the Goddess is the Giver of Birth
then the God is the Born One.
           *

I am not working with the Cernunnos of Reims or
of Notre Dame (ironically the one instance of the name.)
These gentlemen I believe I know; drinking buddies,
Father Christmases, Old King Coles (perhaps this
sounds as if I am being too hard on them.) Above all,
anything I write must not be taken to mean that
I think the Celts thought Cernunnos was like this.
I am trying to find Cernunnos of the Wiccans, Cernunnos for Today.
But I think I see Him on the Gundestrup cauldron,
on the Clonmacnoise cross shaft,
in Val Camonica, in the God with enameled eyes that stares at us from Bouray.
And that is how I intend to find Him:
I will sit and stare and invoke and contemplate until He stares back.

           *


4/30/89

Presence
To sit in the pure presence of Cernunnos
After all my practice of Nothingness
After all my cultivation of the Void
It's overpowering.

           *

Fire--
When I think on Him I find fire.
Fire in a candle flame that doesn't flicker,
that is moving and changing
but still.
It sits there challenging me as I meditate
confounding me.
Fire that rages through a forest
outracing the swiftest:
trees explode in its path;
it makes great leaps from tree to tree.
From the death in its wake
life springs up again.
Fire in me when I am filled with lust
that burns in erect hardness:
still and raging, stiff and burning.
When I think on Him I find fire.

           *

Images of Him:
King (but not sovereignty)
Wand
Sword
Arrow
Lightning
Fire
Snake (but also of Her; a magical beast indeed)
Drumbeat
Time
Event
Crystal
Phallus
Oak
Tribe
Wealth
Stag
Bull
Wilderness
Eye
Sun
Hawk
Eagle
Musk
Point
Line
Word
Out of these
come two principles above all:
Stillness.
Going forth.
Not contradicting
but both defining location.
Not location itself,
not space (She is space)
but the defining of it,
the events within it;
the action, not the field.

           *

He is by no means simple, is He?


5/2/89

He is hard and unyielding because there is nowhere for
Him to yield to. He is all outside, no inside.

           *

Cernunnos is Hadit manifest and manifesting.


5/5/89

Cernunnos doesn't let you off the hook

You rant and rave
and like a roshi in dokusan
there He sits
saying: No, that's not it.
He is a koan that will not break.

           *

"Today is a good day to die."
Here I stand,
my lance through my sash,
pinning me in place.
The world turns about me
as I stand here in the center.

           *

What is it like to bear antlers?
We are not built to wear them,
not like stags.
They are long and sure-footed on their four legs.
We totter uncertainly on two.
Our walking is loss of balance and recovery
Unstable every moment.
To bear antlers
We would have to be balanced
and centered
and grounded
like Him.

           *

At once attached to and rising from the earth
He is a tree that stands tall
Roots are one source of His strength
The Sun the other:
From Earth
And from Himself.

           *

Sit in meditation
and imagine:
Imagine the antlers
(you may feel an entire deer's head
and then you will find yourself looking through stag’s eyes
and the world will be transformed)
the weight that threatens to pull you off-balance
Imagine the torc about your neck
the cool metal encircling your throat
Imagine the torc in your right hand
and the serpent in your left:
You sit between the opposites:
The door, the barrier, the gate,
The middle pillar.

           *

The antlers that will weigh you down
reach up to the sun.
Seven tines:
the power of the planets
comes down through them.

           *

Mithras is like Him
standing almost frozen,
a moment in Time,
performing the Great Act of Death and Life
(the enigmatic smile)
between the torch bearers.
Zervan Akarana is like Him
straight and still
the solar line
entwined with the lunar serpent.
There they are again:
the serpent and the circle
that are in His hands.


5/15/89

Mystery of Mysteries
His nature is unknown.
Yet if I could be there with Him
Sit like Him
Be where He is
in the way He is there
I could see through His eyes
and then I would understand.

           *

The rod of the spine
The rods of office, sword and wand
The rod of the phallus:
Internal, External, and the Mediator.

           *

Such a split between the calmness
(one might even say poise)
in His sitting
in His gaze
in His mask-face
And the wildness promised in His rack of antlers.
As if to say:
You are this also.
Scholars, you are bodies too.
Athletes, you are minds too.
These are one in me.
One, 1, the line that is itself a phallus,
the straight line that is the axle
without which there is no turning
but which does not itself turn:
the still point
where we can reconcile ourselves with ourselves
and finally be at rest.

           *

It is OK to be a man, He says:
You have nothing to fear
and nothing to hide.
Strength is not wrong.
Hardness is not wrong.
Wearing the masks is not wrong.
It is fine.
It is better than fine.
It is glorious.

           *

Glory--
an ill-spoken of word
that describes Him perfectly.

           *

He is not only Lord
but Father.
A stumbling block to many
A way in for others.

           *

The blazing sun demands an answer
You cannot hide from Him; there are no shadows deep enough.
He burns you.
When He is done,
what will be left?
Only Him.


5/30/89

Cernunnos calls to us
He challenges us
sitting there like that.
A rock pillar
A quartz crystal
An unmoving, unyielding lingam.
He challenges us in His stillness.

           *

Take off your masks, He says,
take them off if you like,
exchange them for others.
They are not stuck on
You can wear others
You can change
His stillness tells us this.

           *

When I am afraid, His antlers bring me forward
When I am tired, His spine holds me up
When I am weak, His phallus empowers me
With His arms I act
With His legs I move
I go forth on His feet
Seeing with eyes that miss nothing.

           *

He is not the kind of God who is easily loved.


6/6/89

I sit in meditation,
banging my drum.
With each beat I call Him:
Herne
Herne
Herne
Herne
He comes with no warning
the antlers pull my head back
and I feel the ragged hair from my head touch my back.
My throat reaches up to the sky
and the trumpeting continues:
Herne
Herne
He comes without warning.
It is ever thus.


6/8/89

The Guardian of the Threshold is He,
saying, "You cannot pass."
With His dogs, perhaps:
Anubis, Cerberus, the Moon of the Tarot,
or the pack of the Lord of Annwfn,
the white, red-eared hounds of the King of Death,
they are there to stop you.
"You cannot pass," He says,
"Unless--"
Unless what?
He does not answer
except with His sitting in silence.
That damned silence that challenges me so hard.

           *

Between one thing and another
Between Man and Beast
Between Law and Chaos
Between Life and Death
At the crossroads
He sits
and waits.
No, not waiting,
for if I never come to Him
that will still be as it should.
And He is who He is
without my coming.

           *

He is ready to die as He sits there.
To go either way if need be.
On the edge of death He sits
with calm extraordinaire.

           *

The eyes suck me in
And will not let me out.
Challenge:
Can you bear me?

           *

He is my koan
And this is my dokusan
And He again is the roshi I must confront.
(Who else would know?)
Never have I hit a wall so hard to get through
They have crumbled before my mind.
This one won't.


6/9/89

Who is He?
And if my hardness melts
will His?
Is the hardness I see in Him
really just mine reflected?

           *

The big question is:
Who picks the masks you wear?


6/11/89

The statues from the source of the Seine show it:
The Celts could make representational art.
The mask faces of their Gods
(and especially of Him)
were not due to lack of skill
nor were they by accident.


6/12/89

Do you ever get tired, Cernunnos?
Does that great head ever grow too heavy from that rack of antlers?
Your glory, your pride, that great weight:
Is it ever too heavy?
Is that why you must be so still?

           *

No, I don't think you do.
You are at peace with yourself.
Even the tiring things give you energy.
They reinforce who you are.
You are proud of the very things
that weigh you down.

           *

So are you an impossible dream
(the stillness, the ease)?
Do I fail you when I carry my burdens less easily?
I think not.
The difficulty is not failure.
But the lack of ease--
the loss of center--
that is to fail you.
Or do I fail you because I carry them less heroically,
less tragically?
But you do not do that.
You ask for no accolades:
You do what you do.
When I do that I am true to you:
Man's glory.


6/29/89

Cernunnos in the moment
even in the dance, in each moment
Himself not moving--each point is stationary--
but making up the dance.

           *

Not motion but potential:
the moment in between one thing and the next--
Janus, looking both ways.
By Himself, no motion.
With Her (for She is Space), motion.
But He, just as He is
(and He is in a way I have never encountered before),
is still.


7/18/89

Silence--
and Him, waiting.
And then not silence,
the heart's drumbeat driving me on
(but it only makes the silence deeper)
on a shamanic journey to Him.

           *

Herne (beat)
Herne (beat)
Herne (beat)
Herne (beat)
Disturbing
Unsettling
It threatens to shake me apart
I threaten to lose my poise.
If it can be lost, it is not His
If I can be shaken, I am not Him
He threatens to prevent me
from finding Him
and most of all
from being Him.
He does not make it easy
but He sits so easily Himself.
When I reach there,
then will it be easy?


8/10/89

Peace
Infinite Peace
The Peace of the Buddha
The Sitter-in-one-spot
He is at Peace
He is Peace
Calm
Being
Waiting
Waiting to break out at any moment
(He is the moment.)

           *

He is the moment,
Janus, looking both ways
His the doors
His the beginnings and endings
His the moment of change
But never His the change
Never the transformation:
Masks--
He wears masks
switching from one to another
in seeming change
but always the same underneath.
There is Nothing underneath.

           *

Nothing
Presence
My koan.
           *

All the contradictions dissolve when He fills me
I feel the antlers rise
the fire within
the roar
and nothing else matters
except Him.

           *

When I feel Him
it is mostly the power I feel
When I see Him
it is mostly the peace I see
An enigma
but one appropriate
to the bearer of the mask face.

           *

Poise
Poised
Poise, Poised
Ready for action
Not tensed in one direction
that would hamper motion in any other direction.
But poised
and ready for anything
Waiting
for what will happen
for what won't happen
He is ready for either.

           *

The antlers pull me up
How can something so heavy
lift me up?


8/24/89

When nothing is straight
(as nothing is in this universe)
When everything is curved
(as everything is here)
The only way to be straight is to be a point
The only way to move straight is to be still
The only way to be pure Being is to be That.

           *

Whence this terrible calm at my center
while storms play across my surface?
It is He who is my center:
Who is the storm?
"He is in the garden
He is in the wood."
Untamed
And at home.
Calm
and Storm.
Break through the storm
to the calm.
Terrible
and fierce.

           *

Terrible and fierce
Not usual words for calm
Perfect words for His calm.
It is a challenge:
I cannot get in
(There is nowhere in to go)
I cannot get by
(There is nowhere He is not)
The mask-face mocks my efforts.
"You will never figure me out," it says.
All my efforts dash to pieces on its diamond hardness.

           *

Frustration of frustrations
A problem that will not allow solution
Not by my usual way:
No footnotes allowed
No schema
No explanations
Even these words are not the solution.
But they help me deal with the frustration.
Is that good?
The frustration drives me
and may be my saving force in the end
If it does not break me first
Or if it does not break me in the end.
I am not ready.
I do not think I will be broken:
He is not broken
And the challenge is to be Him.

           *

Untamed
Untamed
Untamed
And who am I to try?

           *

If I passed through those eyes
I know what I would see:
I would see those eyes.
You cannot go through.
The ultimate mask
The last one
has nothing on the other side.
Not nothing as in emptiness.
Nothing as in no way to get there
Like the other side of a Mobius strip.

           *

The Mobius strip of His eyes.


9/7/89

He is male without anima
a pureness beyond me
and not one to be attained
and not one to be desired.
I am fragmented
and such wholeness as I can have
is the wholeness of structure
of design
of complexity.
Not for me the wholeness of simplicity
of one-pointedness
of single-mindedness.
To strive for
To develop
To use
To worship
But never to be.

           *

I will never be Him.
I will never stop trying.

           *

Who is He?
The question continues.
Whence this striving towards His perfection?
How can He expect the impossible?

           *

Him completely male
Me never completely Him.
For a moment?
I don't know.


9/12/89

He does expect the impossible
And I will not disappoint Him.
Damn Him.


9/21/89

Balance:
about the spine,
the axis mundi,
the world tree,
the tent pillar.
Balance:
the great antlers balanced
If not, He would fall
(He never falls.)
Balance:
The still-point of the turning world
axis of the Great Wheel.

           *

And the slightest move off center
And the slightest inclination from perfect balance
And the slightest motion from the still point
releases immense power.


           *

The pear shaped head--
not that of a human,
but that of a deer.


10/17/89

Don't look to Him for comfort
Look to Him for camaraderie.
Look to Him for brotherhood.
He will share your wounds.
He will fight at your side.
This is His comfort.
He will not gather you in His arms
He will give the strength of His arms for you.

           *

Is this not painful?
Is this not glorious?

           *

Untamed
Untamed
Untamed
Untamed
Untamed
He will never be tamed.
Fierce
Terrifying
Awe-inspiring
A good friend to have at your back
when the enemy closes in.


10/18/89

Hard words indeed:
Him, sitting there.
A handgrip, not a hug.
There are more ways than one to comfort.

           *

Where do you get the courage?
--From the present moment
--I do what is right for this moment
--Fear is thought of past or future.


10/8,19/89

We were chanting and dancing
perhaps sixty of us in a circle,
holding hands.
Ee-ah, Ee-ah, the chant went;
the dance a simple deosil shuffle.
Ee-ah, Ee-ah
Step, Step
And so on
for two hours.
And in the center
In the exact center
In the axis point
He sat facing me.
I turned.
He didn't.
Always full face to me
but not because He turned
but because He didn't.
I may take any path I choose
but it will be an orbit about Him
who is the Center of All.

           *

No matter which way I look
I see His face.
No matter how I turn
I turn about Him.
Can I approach Him?
The limit is identity.
In calculus the limit is never really reached.
Is it here?
He the asymptote of my hyperbola?
The straight line that He is
The curve that I am
I approach His straightness
veering away at last.

           *

Always I must veer away at last
or deny Her.
As much as I am Him
I am also Her.
And so I veer away at last
growing ever closer
but not reaching.


10/31/89 (Samhain)

Samhain rite
and I try to open the gate between worlds
But although I can see it
I see also Him.
He is sitting in front of it
and He will not let me pass.


           *

You sit in the portal
guarding the gate
and will not let me pass.
If I try to go around
it is as if you hadn't moved.
I know I have
but you are there still
as if imprinted on my eyes:
I see you everywhere.

           *

If I cannot get past You
I cannot go through at will.
You are the great challenge to me:
If I pass you,
I can go anywhere;
If I don't pass you,
I go only on your sufferance.

           *

Fire in my belly
Sun in my center
If I can light it
it will turn into a pillar of fire
and consume me.
Will it leave Him?
It will be Him.

           *

Antlers reaching up like flame
from His still head.

           *

A flame caught in time
frozen in the moment.
When you see Him it is the moment.
What happens when you're not looking?
Does He unfreeze?
Does He even exist outside the moment?
I think this:
in between one moment
and the next
(the infinitesimal gap)
He is not.
The dying and resurrected God
seen here, not in the year,
but in the moment.

           *

He flickers
Now you see Him
now you don't.


11/6/89

Forest God
He lies in wait.
I didn't really think I was the hunter,
I the hunter and Him the prey?
He is the Great Hunter
He is the Great Prey
"I could just love you to death."
The Hunter who loves the prey so much
He dies with it.

           *

How can He not love life,
He who dies?
How can He not disregard death,
He who will die too?


11/20/89

The drumbeat is a hammer's fall
pounding
saying:
Here
Here
Here you are.
Like a tent peg
or a support pole:
on this basis,
create your world.


11/22/89

I can play for a while that I have no anima
(If I get stuck in playing there is great danger)
I can play that I am Him
And since He is the Great Role Player
Since He is the Mask Wearer
When I play Him
I am Him.
I cannot be Him
but I can play Him.
And it is in playing Him
that I am Him.


12/4/89

The Trickster:
Master of Illusion,
Wearer of Masks.
Mask after mask
And none of them Him.
Not one of them Him.
Never a mask that is Him.

           *

He is the wearing of masks.

           *

Masks:
not to deceive.
They are His truth.


12/11/89

Not to deceive
but to reveal.
Not to reveal something behind them:
they are their own revelation.


1/8/90

Through those eyes is nothing
Go through those eyes and find nothing.
Not nothing as in a void within
No empty space
Nothing inside because no inside.
Mobius eyes:
Go in
and find yourself out again.
Go through those eyes
and find them facing you still
an infinite series
mask after mask.
You can never get through:
the mask is the reality.

           *

How could there be anything on the other side?
He is the omnipresent point
So His mask must confront you no matter where you look.
Forever and ever
No matter where you look
His face.

           *

You will never get through
Never solve the mystery
That is His promise.
Is it any wonder He has been neglected?
Who would willingly face that?
Not me.
It is not my choice that has brought me here.
It is His.

           *

In a book of Inuit art I find a face with antlers.
I ask my daughter: Who is this?
"Cernunnos," she answers, without hesitation.
Of course it is Him.
Where I least expect Him
He is lurking.
I should expect Him everywhere.
After all, He is everywhere.
And this one has a slight smile
as if to remind me of that fact.

           *

I cannot escape Him.
Where could I run that He is not?
Even my running is Him.

           *

He sits on the ground
whence comes His strength:
Both from touching Her
and from being Here.

           *

The vertical rising from the horizontal.
The descending bar of the cross.
The pillars of the dolmen.
The standing stone.

           *

Megalith
Monolith
Big rock
One rock

           *

Like the Sun at New Grange
He will pierce your heart.
His spear through your sash
He will say to you:
"Ho--
It is a good day to die."

           *

You have to face Him.
Who else is there to face?

           *

Forget Him for a while, if you wish.
He is the One Who Waits
And when the time comes
He will seize you.

           *

He has me
tight in His grasp.
He has given me great freedom
The Teaching of the Masks has freed me.
It freed me from fear:
I wear a mask of courage
It freed me from affectation:
I can switch masks.
I can still be who I thought I was
and be other things as well.

           *

He cannot be harmed
because He is all outside.
What is there to harm?
How would you do it?

           *

Great Lord
Thank you for all your gifts.
And all this time He has sat there
with His blank mask face.
He is sitting there still
but now I see that He is smiling.


1/11/90

Lord
He is my Lord
and I can call Him that
without confusing Him
with the Christian Lord.
Lord.
Great Lord.
My Lord.
They roll off my tongue.


1/19/90

Everything I thought I was
Everything I thought I had to be
Masks.
I can be what I thought I couldn't
I don't have to be what I thought I was.
Masks.
I know the immediate question:
Who decides?
But if you can ask the question
you will not understand the answer I give you:
Look, there they are!

           *

Lord
I can call you Lord
and tears come to my eyes.

           *

"Why is that man smiling, father?"
"Maybe one day you'll find out."
Janwillem van de Wetering to his father
in front of the Buddha
Me to Cernunnos
in front of a statue of Him,
the altarpiece at Notre Dame, perhaps,
or Reims
One of the masks He wears,
the laughing one,
perhaps the one most Him.
Not because there is a Him to be most like
but because in the eyes of this one
is the truth of falsehood.


1/29/90

Have I mentioned His hooves?
On rocks they clatter, they strike sparks,
they sound and flash
and say: Here I am.
On soft ground they leave their mark:
Cloven hooves.
Cloven.
They cleave, cut apart, split in two,
and He slips in between.

           *

Lord
I hold my sword out to Him
offering its hilt
offering myself in His service
And He smiles and hands it back.

           *

Not a Byzantine Lord,
one you grovel to
one at whose feet you lay,
wallowing in insufficiency.
A Lord like Arthur
who wants you with Him
to sit at His table
and be one of His knights
and be His representative,
one of Him,
going forth on the earth.
A Lord to serve, to be sure,
but not with breast-beating
not in awe
but in brotherhood.

           *

Comrade:
A word polluted by automatic misuse,
it is what He is to me.
I hold out my hand and He takes it.
I can hold it out now
because I know whom I hold it out to.

           *

We are playing the same game,
He and I.

           *

He sits cross-legged.
Some scholars say:
That is how people sit
who are used to sitting on the ground.
And they are right, of course.
But then why don't the other Gods sit like that?
Some scholars say:
This may show Eastern influence.
And they may be right.
But I look at Him sitting
and I see Him differently.
I see Him sitting in balance:
the same on each side.
I see Him joining opposites
left foot on right side,
right on left.
I see a skull and crossbones:
He is the death-bringer.
I see Him rising from the flat:
He is the pillar of the earth,
axis mundi,
But mostly I see Him sitting there.
And Oh, how He sits!

           *

You can pick Him apart, as I have,
and ask each piece its meaning:
antlers, mask face, torc, torc and serpent,
phallus, crossed legs, hooves.
Each piece will give you understanding.
Then put them together and ask what they say to each other.
This will give you understanding.
And then take your understanding
and bring it to Him
and you will see that He still sits there
Mystery of Mysteries.
If He could be understood completely
He would not be worth understanding.


2/12/90

I started innocently enough:
Who is He, this Cernunnos?
I know Her, who is He?
Subtle and hard to find.
Innocent questions to start with
And these innocent questions caught me
caught me and held me
And stripped me bare
removing all my inside
going all the way down to the inside kernel
to the point of all outside
that was Him.
And now I sit
stripped bare.
Who'd have thought it?

           *

Standing alone on the plain
where the wind blows.
The empty plain
where nothing moves.
All over me the wind blows.
There is nowhere to hide:
Nothing on the plain
and no inside to hide in.
No inside to hide in!
All outside, covered with nerves,
and all the while the wind blowing.
No escape
as long as I can feel.
Is there any wonder men try not to feel?
The other choice is pain.
Standing on the plain
and all the while the wind, blowing.

           *

I had never noticed before
on the Cernunnos of Reims,
the one who pours out coins
on the stag and bull below Him
as He sits cross-legged on a platform
between Apollo and Hermes,
I had never noticed, I say,
just how strong He is.
Massive arms, great shoulders.
He can do anything
and He gives out of His store,
the river of wealth ever-flowing.

           *

The Sun sees everything,
shines everywhere,
the Eye in the Sky.
You cannot hide from Him.
He will find you
because He is in your hiding place
before you get there.
He is at every point.
You cannot hide from Him
nor He from Himself.

           *

I feel His hand on my forearm
He takes me
says:
Come
Sit with me.
You have earned it.
And now I know His hardness
know His strength
know His power
and I am that much closer
to understanding its source
and I am that much closer
to understanding Him
and I am that much closer
to claiming that power as my own.


3/15/90

Pop psychology has taught us the masks are bad.
Get rid of the masks, it says.
Cernunnos teaches us the masks are all there is.
Wear them well, He says.

           *

Here I am, He says.
See, this is the way it is.
I hide no secrets.

           *

Dare I believe it?
I have no choice.
There He is.
There He is.


3/18/90

He is laughing at me from the altar from Notre Dame.
"You fool--
You didn't have the strength to face me.
You needed the serious face from the Gundestrup cauldron
The hard one, enigmatic.
He looked transcendent.
What was it you called me?
Drinking buddy, Father Christmas, Old King Cole.”
He is laughing at me
and I laugh too
We laugh together
It feels great.


3/16/90

On the Reims relief
He sits serenely
between Apollo and Hermes
(Sun-God and Psychopomp)
pouring out coins from His lap.
They fall between a bull and a stag
as if to say:
He is in the Garden
He is in the Wood.
These words of Susan Harrison tell us
what the relief shows us.
The domestic bull
The wild stag
Between them the flow of His bounty
Through them the flow of His bounty
Out of His lap the precious gift flowing
The continuous flow of life.


4/2/90

He was there all along
and I knew Him all along.
Was there ever any doubt?
Yes, there was doubt
and there was pain
and there was confusion
and a hard way to go.
But there He is.
The hard times are forgotten
with the touch of His hand.
Did it have to be so hard?
He answers:
"Yes, it had to be.
You would not have understood otherwise.
Remember who I am--
the dying and resurrected One
dismembered and re-membered
again and again.
You have been killed with me
and now you have risen with me
How else would you have known?"

           *

"The pain was mine.
Did you feel it too?
Good--
Now you understand.
Bear the pain.
Bear it well.
No, not macho bullshit.
My essence.
Now you understand."
And still He smiles.
It is a good day to die.

           *

"If it were not so hard
you would not believe it.
You would think yourself too clever by half.
You would not think you had earned it.
`I am not worthy', you would say.
But here you are
And here I am.
And now you understand.
Surprised?"
I would never have suspected it.

           *

Every day torn apart.
Every day reborn.
Even every moment--
death and rebirth.
Every moment out there
knowing death is your fate
but out there anyway.
Death and rebirth--
He sits in their midst
and is taken by them,
each in turn.

           *

Perhaps I understand
but can I bear it?
Can anyone?
How does He do it?

           *

He speaks:
Remember me.
Re-member me.
You have denied me.
You have split me up.
Remember me.
Re-member me.
Patriarchalists corrupt me.
Matriarchalists reject me.
Remember me
and when you remember me,
live me.
I live when you live me.
Do not neglect me.