Principles of Divinity

Some of the core beliefs of Gardnerian thought as regards the divine.

Deity is Immanent
Most of Pagan thought, and most of Gardnerian thought sees the entire world; physical reality, as a manifestation of divinity. Hence everything is divine. The clearest contrast to this can be found in the Christian religion, which clearly demarks between the non-physical divine (the creator) and the non-divine physical (the creation). Some years ago in an argument with a Christian acquaintance of mine, we came up with contrasting metaphors to express this.

He used the idea of a clockmaker. There is the workman, and there is his physical creation. Other than origin, there is no connection between the two of them. The clock partakes of no attributes of its maker. He was very put out with the way I viewed the universe, and said that my mistake was to worship the clock, instead of it’s maker.

I used the idea of a song. The singer is a part of the song; the song is an expression, a manifestation of the singer. Though they can be described separately, in practical application, they are one. Participation in the song affects the singer.

More to the point, if you cannot be comfortable with the idea of yourself, and everything else as divinity, then Gardnerian Craft may not be a good fit for you. I think there is a Lakota saying about attempting to walk in a sacred way; as if each step was upon the body of one’s mother (and if I have got that wrong, please correct me). Recognition of the sacred that is the world can be a wonderful thing.

When it works for you.

Divinity as Male and Female
As an easy example, the Roman Catholic faith uses ‘God the father’ and has an entirely male priesthood. They associate divinity with gender; but only one gender. Generally speaking (and there are exceptions to this one) Dianic Craft uses strong female imagery, and usually has an all-female priestesshood. Sometimes Dianics use only female imagery. As a third way of looking at things, if I understand it correctly, Zen Buddhism doesn’t use gender symbolism.

Gardnerian Craft uses male and female as symbols of different aspects of divinity. In practical applications, this means that while there are some roles that anyone may fill, there are also some roles limited to a particular gender. The body is a symbol, just like anything else. In the Roman Catholic masses that I attended while growing up, at times the priest would light candles, and at times he would hold up a chalice. In terms of the meaning and ritual of the mass, those symbols were not interchangeable. In the same way, in Gardnerian ritual, one must be able to see all the physical participants (animate or inanimate – and this goes back to the immanence of divinity) as symbols. The shape is important. Not better, not worse, but important.

And sometimes, not interchangeable.