On the perfection of Love
On the Perfection of Love
The Hawthorn Spinner, Brigid 1994, Vol. III, No. 1, pp. 1 and 4

"Bide the Wiccan law ye must,
In perfect Love and perfect Trust..."

According to ancient tradition, as the Goddess [1] descended into Hades to confront the Lord of Death, she passed through seven portals and left one of her jewels (or in some traditions, ornaments or veils) [2] with the guardian of each, finally removing the very crown of her divinity. Thus, naked, she at last stood before the God of Wisdom.[3] Symbolic nudity demonstrates trust, a willingness to be vulnerable, and human equality.
In attaining the aspect of divinity called Love, mortals do not become bigger, grander, or more powerful, but lighter and simpler by divesting themselves of all that the uninitiated deem precious with less to prove, less of an axe to grind. In everyday reality, such a transformation can come slowly with age, or more quickly as the result of an emotional experience or spiritual awakening.
One reaches wisdom, and perfect love, by relaxing into and trusting the ground of being which is

...the true and only Deity, that Ancient and Holy One that sleeps in the stones, dreams in the plants, wakes up in animals, and becomes self-conscious in humanity.
Book of Shadows [4]

Kahlil Gibran was perhaps familiar with the myths to which we refer when he wrote:

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun?... Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. [5]
Learning to trust another human being is preparatory to trusting in that Ground of Being which unifies all that is. Trust counteracts fear and is the essence of perfect. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear," wrote Saint John. [6]
Love can only be perfected, or consummated, when trust is a component in the relationship. "To die you must be born, and without love you may not be born," the Mighty One explainded during Aradia's visit to Hades after she had submitted herself wilfully to be scourged. [7] As many have found in mortal life, the Goddess came to trust in Wisdom, and thereby to love herself and another in perfection, only after becoming vulnerable by disposing of her ego and other jewels.


Footnotes
1. Similar elements exist in sacred legends of Aradia, Ishtar, Isis, and other goddesses. In the story of Demeter and Persephone, the Lord of Death is personified as Pluto or Neptune.

2. Another interpretation is that the veils allude to the seven planetary spheres believed by the ancients to coneal the true face of celestial divinity.

3. An example of this myth which is particularly well known in moder Wiccan circles is found in Appendix I of Gerald B. Gardner's Meaning of Witchcraft, 1959, London, Acquarian Press (see note 7.)

4. Cited by Michael Straw, "Further along the path," in Harvest: A Neo-Pagan Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3, p. 21.

5. Kahlil Gibran, 1965, The Prophet, NY: Knopf, p. 91.

6. The Bible, I John 4:18.

7. Gardner (1959), p. 265.