On Holy Passion

Late last night, I ran across a copy of a typed transcript of a letter I sent to some college friends back in 2003. A month or two before that, we had talked briefly with each other during a get-together of old friends. During that conversation, both Tim and Kathryn had asked me about my spiritual path. Circumstances really didn’t lend themselves to the lengthy, private conversation their questions deserved, so I wrote them the letter instead.

As I read the letter, I thought about how I might write it differently today, after five more years of coming to understand my spiritual path more fully. In that spirit, I thought it might be nice to post a few excerpts from it and offer a bit of commentary.

For this post, I would like to focus on what I said in the letter about my patron goddess:

If I were going to try to describe my sacred lady in a single word, that word would have to be ?passion.? Or perhaps ?passionate? would be better. To her, life is one great passion which should be embraced and nurtured. To her, there is nothing worth doing that should not be done with great, unreserved intensity.

Naturally, she is a goddess who finds the passions of love and love-making sacred. Indeed, it is my experience that her love is a sensual love, even when it is the sensuality of a tight embrace between friends. (Indeed, communing with her often has the residual effect of heightening my awareness of my own senses.)

But her passion is not limited to romance and eroticism. It spreads to any and every undertaking in every aspect of life. This often makes her quite determined and single-minded when she sets her mind to any course of action. And she is inclined to nurture this quality in her devotees.

To this day, the initial description of Freyja still follows this same pattern. To me, understanding my lady’s passionate embrace of all life and her desire to share that passion with those who come to her is central to understanding her very nature. Those who wish to find her are likely to do so where life is not only revered, but celebrated and lived to the fullest. Some of the moments that I have most strongly felt her presence include times when I was dancing at a nightclub, having dinner with friends, or in the middle of a lively discussion at one of the local coffee shops.

I have come to understand that this is because to her, life itself is one of the sacred mysteries to be explored, enjoyed, and cherished. Her way is not one of self-denial (at least not self-denial for its own sake or as an end in itself), but one of responsible self-indulgence. It is one which honors life’s joys and sorrows (the latter being an inherent shadow side to the former) and recognizes them as sacred.

One of the other things that I have noticed as I’ve felt her presence and even conversed with her in these celebratory settings is that these joys and sorrows are meant to be shared. Her passion for and celebration of life are not meant to be a solo pursuit to be cherished alone. But instead, these are things that are meant to be celebrated with others, so that others may experience them and catch them. To put it another way, these are things that are meant to be contagious and be encouraged to spread like wildfire.

Of course, not all celebrations of life must be chaotic and wild. One of the other things that I have learned lately is that there is such a thing as a “cool passion,” much like the glowing embers of a carefully tended fire rather than the raging inferno. This approach to life has its place as well. Indeed, one of the challenges of following my goddess is coming to understand when each type of “fire” is most appropriate.

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