The Goddess has many manifestations, and some of them are arboreal.
Thus, at any rate, the eco-feminist take. I lean more toward animism, myself. So let me rephrase that:
The Oak has many manifestations, and some of them are theomorphic. And clearly very sexy, at least to a relationship-challenged hermit.
The difference is not merely semantic. I’d personally feel much more comfortable making demands of a generalized, invisible deity with potentially unlimited powers. Petitionary prayer becomes more than a bit awkward when one is face-to-face with a living being who clearly has very different priorities from one’s own.
Of course, there are plenty of regular religious folks — the kind who didn’t make it into Bill Maher’s recent film — who limit their prayers to giving thanks and asking for greater closeness with the deity, and/or greater conformity with the deity’s ways. And that’s always kind of been my style too. So I beseeched the oak goddess for acorns.
“Well, Dave,” you’re probably thinking, “that was pretty droll of you.” But it was in fact a sincere and urgent request. As sometimes happens, a late, cold spring played hob with oak pollination here, and the acorn crop seems to have failed. The deer are almost all down in the valleys gleaning corn, but many other, less mobile wildlife species are probably going hungry. I don’t actually believe in miracles, because I don’t think we should encourage lawlessness in our deities — once they get a taste for making the sun stand still or water spring from the rock, pretty soon they’re running amok and smiting people like there’s no tomorrow.
So no miracles, please. Let the natural order prevail. But if some sort of alternate nutrient were to materialize, manna-like, who’s to say my intervention with the oak goddess didn’t have something to do with it?
I’m accepting submissions for the Nov. 1 edition of the Festival of the Trees blog carnival through Friday. Details here.