From my journal, in February 2009:
Beauty in the odd places: the brutal wind-gust blowing ghost clouds of snow over the country road. The gibbous moon over my aching shoulder in the pre-dawn, the stars glittering in the overhead cold. Lying in bed as we watch the slender forest buck and rear, their surfaces lathered in white.
I end my nights with a prayer, praising the Gods and Kindreds and those I love. I begin with prayers to Boann, the moon and the river, and Aine, the shining sun, depending on which I see. to the spirits of the mountain as I wind my way down it. To Brighid as I make dinner or do dishes, at her supplementary altar in the kitchen.
I’ve been reading Ursula Le Guin’s Lavinia, and loving it. Not so much for the story, but for the depiction of the ancient Italian way of life: to honoring the fire and the spirits of the storehouse, the boundary-gods of the field.
One of my favorite parts, so far, is the disconnect between Lavinia and Virgil; she cannot understand his “Juno,” the shrew-goddess of women. To the Italians, Juno wasn’t a personality but the in-dwelling spirit in women, as genius is the in-dwelling spirit in men. Venus, similarly, isn’t a goddess on a half-shell, but “the power we invoke in spring, in the garden, when thing begin growing. And we call the evening star Venus.”
A favorite passage:
The world is sacred, of course, it is full of gods, numina, great powers and presences. We give some of them names — Mars of the fields and the war, Vesta the fire, Ceres the grain, Mother Tellus the earth, the Penates of the storehouse. The rivers, the springs. And in the storm cloud and the light is the great power called the father god. But they aren’t people. They don’t love and hate, they aren’t for or against. They accept the worship due them, which augments their power, through which we live.
And i say: Exactly. Exactly.
I do have visions, dreams and experiences of the Gods as personal presences, but that’s not really what they are. They adopt those forms to aid the understanding of a small being, who is overshadowed by the tall forest, the clouds overhead, the babbling waters beneath.
Another excellent, Pagan-friendly book by Le Guin is “Always Coming Home,” which expresses the same type of sentiment.