“I will sing the wondrous story…
Sing it with the saints in glory
Gathered by the crystal sea”
I don’t tell the story like they do.
I don’t sing “of the Christ who died for me”. I can’t relate to that God. Maybe it’s my Asperger’s, or maybe it’s just who I am, but that isn’t my Story.
I sing the story of Liberation. The Liberator God, who frees his people from slavery and from oppression.
I am the oppressor and the oppressed. I am the prisoner and I am the chains that bind her. I am the problem and the solution.
There is no Pagan story I have ever found that matches this one. The gods I honour are powerful and fascinating, and Beara will always be my deity. But her stories, while wonderful and valuable for many other reasons and purposes, don’t give me freedom.
Gnosticism is a mighty story from that perspective. God creates Sophia, the incarnation of his wisdom. Sophia, in her fallen confusion, births the Archons, false rulers who create greed and fear and oppression. Sophia is liberated by the incarnated Creator, and with her, we are liberated from the Archons.
It’s only a story. But it’s one I can work from.
Here’s another version of that story. God’s people are slaves in a foreign land. He liberates them. And then he does it again, and again, and again. But in the end, it’s all one Story, all one Liberation. Sophia is lost and enslaved. Christ finds her and frees her.
There are other, related stories I love. The beautiful Avatars of Sophia, like the Marys – the Mother and the Follower. Loyal saints (a saint: someone freed from liberation), like Catherine of Alexandria, my patron, liberated from a life she did not want. (Ironically, Catherine is partly known for converting from Paganism to Christianity and refusing to convert back. I think my gods and spirits like irony.) St Patrick the Celtic hero, who finds God in all the elements of the earth. St Francis, the friend of the animals, who shows us a gentler way to live in freedom. Mother Julian of Norwich, hermit and lover of Christ. St Anthony of Padua, who freed prisoners and preached to the fishes in the sea. St Catejan, who worked for freedom for the poor. Martin Luther King, a saint to me and to many. Great ancestors. Great liberators.
All of them looking to the Great Story, to Christ the Liberator.
Does this mean I’m a Christian? I don’t know. I don’t know if labels matter. I don’t know if it matters that I am also a polytheist, trying to understand this story from the perspective of a very different worldview from most Christians. Maybe, like the chaos magicians, I can move from one perspective to another, when I need to. A human being is a complex thing who needs many stories.
“My chains fell off and I was free
I rose, went forth and followed thee…”