Ana of Avalon

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Why are there male and female sun gods and water deities in the pagan understanding of nature?

Why are there male and female sun gods and water deities in the pagan understanding of nature?

When I began to study the different gods of pagan religions, I found it extremely confusing that there were sun goddesses and sun gods, as well as female and male water gods. The sun felt distinctly masculine to me, while the gentle, soft water radiated feminine qualities. Why were there female sun gods and male water gods as well? I tried to make sense of this concept using my logical-analytical skills, but all the “insights” that came to me in this way felt abstract and inconsistent. Then I had one of those famous light-bulb moments as I watched a rainstorm pass over the land. Sometimes the rain felt “masculine” when it was pelting the earth particularly wildly, harshly and hard, while only minutes later, when the winds died down and the clouds lightened, it took on gentle feminine qualities. I could literally feel and see the expression of the rain change. And at that moment I understood why the indigenous Europeans knew male AND female gods and goddesses for the sun or for water. The hot penetrating midday sun has an entirely different quality than the gentle tender morning sun that gently strokes the land with its long fingers. The rough and whipped up sea feels different from the calm, gentle sea. Our indigenous European ancestors, who were so intimately connected to nature, sensed these differences and addressed them accordingly, associating different gods and qualities with each natural phenomenon. So if we really want to connect with the worldview of the Celts or Germanic peoples, we must try to immerse ourselves in nature on a sensual level because these insights are not in any history book, they come to us through our authentic connection and our feeling into the land. A few weeks after this experience, I saw a video on YouTube of an elder of the Navajo Native American tribe describing this very phenomenon. In it, he says that it is part of the traditional belief of his tribe that everything, including natural phenomena, is either male or female. But I found it particularly fascinating that he confirmed my impression of the different qualities of rain by saying that in his language there are two expressions for rain. The thunderous and torrential rain is called male rain, while the gentle rain is called female rain.

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