Discovering the Goddess was such a liberating experience for me that I rarely gave much attention to the Lord of the Hunt, the Horned God, Cernunnos, Pan, or whatever name you prefer for Him. I placed him squarely in the role of lover and consort, and I spent most of my 20s being angry over the mistreatment of women, the inequality I faced daily in the workplace, and the misogyny that seemed to permeate the entire fabric of society. So, the male principle of Wicca was rather frustrating for me after more than two millennia of patriarchal rule. I didn’t know how to reconcile this horned and hoofed deity (who was supposed to honor and adore the Goddess) with the men I encountered who only wanted to subdue and control Her.
My earliest experiences with the Wild God were with boys who didn’t always have the best intentions. I went straight for the guy with the fast car, the leather jacket, and the worst attitude. It was like going on a bunch of dates with Pan’s dark side—he was fun at times, but not the most reliable character to have around. Looking back, I realize that my inner Aphrodite was just looking for her counterpart, but he always seemed to show up as this reckless, freewheeling spirit who had no intentions of settling down or supporting me in any way whatsoever. Since we attract what we project, it’s fair to say that I had trouble settling as well. I excelled at burning bridges and rising from the ashes of my own destruction. At one point, I considered having a phoenix tattooed somewhere on my body, but I didn’t want to repeat that cycle of reinvention forever. One has to be careful with symbols!
Thankfully, my 30s have brought greater balance to my magickal practice and my relationships, as I have had more time to explore the mysteries of duality in the cosmos, in others, and in myself. This past week, I’ve made a concerted effort to clean a couple of ritual objects that have been collecting dust. Both have sentimental value, but they are also fine representations of masculinity. I felt it was time they had a rightful place in my altar room.
The first is small knife passed down to me from my maternal grandfather. It is one of the things he carried as a soldier in WWII. I wish I knew the full history of this tiny weapon with a bone handle, but all I know is that he found it somewhere in Germany and thought enough of it to keep it among his personal effects. After his passing, my mother found it and gave it to me. It is the perfect size for carving runes into candles and other such tasks that a witch might do. I have no doubt that my grandfather would be delighted that I have found a practical use for his knife, so I am removing some tarnish off the blade and restoring it as best I can.
The second object to have a place near my altar is a set of deer antlers given to me by my dad. He is quite the outdoorsman and always enjoyed a good hunt in his younger days. Unlike most of the men I knew who took to the woods with rifles, dad preferred to hunt with a bow and arrow. It was more challenging for him, and it gave the stag a fighting chance as well. He consumed the venison or gave away any of the meat he didn’t want for himself. He even dyed fur from the tail of the deer to make trout fishing lures. Nothing was wasted, and I still respect him for living in such a harmonious way with nature.
When I see the stag horns and the knife, I am reminded of the men who left a positive impact on my life, and it becomes easier to integrate the nobler aspects of the divine masculine.
Now, getting back to my inner Aphrodite and her dance with the Wild God…
Last year, I made a complete mental and emotional shift in my approach with the opposite sex, after years of running around in circles and never finding the right connection. I stopped focusing on what the guy should be like, and I concentrated more on how I wanted to feel in the relationship, how I wanted to be treated (like a goddess!), and what I was willing to offer in return. I stopped settling for casual encounters and vowed that I would have something deep and meaningful or nothing at all. I wanted the Shiva to my Shakti, the Osiris to my Isis, and the Yang to my Yin. I didn’t expect him to come riding up to my door on a white horse, but I knew within the core of my being that if I held true to my convictions, he’d show up somehow.
The weavers of fate really have a sense of humor, because he showed up several months later in the dashing navy blue uniform of the United States Air Cavalry. To add a further twist of irony, all the pilots in the Air Cav refer to their helicopters as “horses”, a carry-over from the days of riding on horseback and brandishing a saber when duty called. I nearly swooned when I saw him, and believe me, I am not the kind of woman who swoons. In fact, I was very much against the whole southern belle image of fainting over a man in uniform, but he wasn’t just any man. I wasn’t just any woman, and this was not just any ordinary day. The air around us sizzled with magick and synchronicity. The only way I can describe the feeling is to say that it was like coming home after the longest journey you can imagine to find your favorite chair, a fire in the hearth, and a hot meal at the table. My dance with the Wild God became a lovely waltz with my soul mate. May we keep on waltzing. Blessed Be.