Advice gleaned from a dear friend, a ways back, was to be mindful about, well, my mind-set when approaching Krishna. “He tends to reflect back at you how you approach Him,” if you’ll forgive the paraphrase. This is not an uncommon idea; certainly I see this to be true with Pops. I’ve written before about how contemplating Krishna (and more, the terminology that followers, and specifically ISKCON folks, use when talking about Him, and most specifically the tendency toward monotheist language) makes me cranky. For a while, I was saying that Krishna makes me cranky, which is neither accurate nor fair. I’ve striven since then to correct how I think of Him, how my thoughts are actually constructed, because precision matters to me, even inside my head where no one else can see.
I thought for awhile that I would just forgo getting to know Krishna. I mean, He’s popular, He certainly doesn’t need my attention. He’s one of the human-seeming avatars, and that alone makes me less interested in an intellectual sense, because, humans, meh. Except I can’t deny the fascination Poseidon has with animals, and such a big part of my walking with Him has been coming to a deeper understanding of how animal we are. (To my mind, so many of our problems stem from denying our animalness, from erroneous thinking that we are all that different from other mammals. I do think we’re different; I don’t think we’re different in ways that society wants us to think we are. I think we can be great, but I also think that we are guided by our instincts more than we realize or acknowledge; I think we can move beyond them, but not without knowing them first.) The biggest tool He used to get me to engage with compassion and empathy for humanity was placing us firmly back into the animal kingdom. (That, and then getting me to see that everyone’s life is their story, and stories are fascinating . . .)
Considering approaching new-to-me Powers is daunting. On one hand, I want to be respectful, and I don’t want to come in all, “I have X experience, and I walk with These types, and I don’t need to learn YOUR ways,” because hospitality is a thing, and when you are inviting people to your home, you want to be sure you have things on hand that will let them be comfortable. You tidy up, maybe. You buy food and drinks they like. Maybe you get new linens for the guest bed. You don’t break your bank, you don’t put your family out, but you do offer what you can within your means, and a good guest will appreciate that and not expect you to go beyond what you can. On the other hand, I’m not inexperienced when it comes to interacting with Powers, and I don’t need to be at a shrine in order to have meaningful conversations with Them, if They are inclined to respond. I was allowing a tradition that is not my own catch me up and make me stop. I had to have a shrine, and images, and the right things to offer, and know the particular techniques of particular offerings before I could even say hello.
A friend, who is something of a mentor when it comes to these things, especially, especially with regards to Krishna, related some stories about Him, and made Him all very friendly-seeming and approachable, and so, you know, I did. Not with a shrine, not with any sort of offerings, just on a walk one day, a quick, hey, how’s it going, do you mind if I study with You for a bit?
Naturally, w/We would up talking about Luna, and cats in general, and then, animals.
In practice, in approach, until I’m told otherwise, I will treat Them as individuals. It’s less clear with Poseidon and Vishnu, but more clear with Poseidon and Krishna, and yes, that hurts my head.
Today I read: “To speak of sensory knowledge of the world is to describe only one’s own experience, and since the world is experienced differently according to the capacity of each experiencer, there is no single empirical world that is the same for all living beings.”
I’m picking my way s-l-o-w-l-y through In Praise of the Goddess, and every time I open the book, I’m floored. Earlier, I hit upon: “The Sakta tradition reveres the Divine Mother as the universal creative power, the all-pervading source of change within, and identical to the changeless reality. Here, Sakti is not the consort of Visnu or Siva, as the Vaisnavas or Saivas envision her, but their source, to whom they and all other gods are subordinate. The formless and immeasurable power that is Sakti can be conceptualized only in relation to her activity as creator, sustainer, and destroyer of the universe.”
Things I already knew, I’ve already been exposed to, nothing new here, and yet it just floors me. I don’t want to define what the Mysteries are that my Beloved reveal to me in a way that suggests they are the only Mysteries He can possibly reveal, and this is the only way He can possibly reveal them — but my path with Poseidon has been tinted with goddess-worship for a while, in the sense of Him revering certain Powers Himself, and I’m held in this place of awe. And I wanted to record that for myself, so now I have.