And by the Air that is Her breath.
By the Fire of Her bright spirit,
And by the living waters of Her womb.."
- A Feri Tradition circle casting
My theology and values are grounded in embodiment, which is the recognition that we are holy spirits clothed in an equally sacred temple of living flesh that feels and breathes and sweats and shits and tastes and hurts and orgasms. This body is no less important than our minds or souls, for indeed there is only unity where we falsely perceive separation. It is through the awesome ability of our bodies to interact with the environment that we have any perception or experience of external "reality".
Ok...so our minds are obviously important. (Although, the concept of "Mind" is far beyond the scope of this blogpost!) They allow us to make rational decisions, to communicate on an abstract level, and plan for the future. Nevertheless, our primary functions as human beings are physical. We NEED to breath and we NEED to consume water. Without these, we would die.
We like to think that our Talker (the part of our soul that deals with mental processes) is the one running the show. To add insult to injury, our Talker allows us to make decisions that our just not good for our body. A core practice in Feri is to bring all of our parts into sacred alignment so that we have access to all of our faculties, which includes our capacity as physical human beings. If our Talker, Fetch and Godsoul are all on the same page, we have greater access to our true physical wants and needs.
Part of my current practice is changing my diet to bring myself into greater physical health. I am currently on a diet of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and nuts, which attempts to mimic the diets of our distant ancestors. I also cycle to work while doing resistance training several times a week. This is my route to physical health. It is up to the individual (neatly tying in my value from last year - personal sovereignty!) to ascertain what they can do to bring themselves into their own optimum health.
Physical health then, is also a core Pagan value, and this includes the physical health of the community and the Earth, as well as our own bodies. (Ecology as a Pagan value has been discussed elsewhere I am sure!). It goes without saying that my health is not the same as your health, for we are all autonomous creatures with vastly different life experiences. That said, I believe that we can all do a little bit more to improve our physical health, as an act of devotion if nothing else.
The opening invocation above (which is used in many Feri circles) allows me to recognise that God Her/Self is a sum of four physical elements and that She is embodied, just like I am. Not for us a God removed from the Universe. The Goddess actually IS the Universe, and we are all in physical process with Her.
What all this means for the individual Pagan is bound to be different from my views, but I think most Pagans would have no problem sitting atop a hill, feeling the wind in their hair, the sun gently warming their face, intoning:
"By the Earth that is Her body..."