there is nothing we have not been

Ancient peoples, our ancestors knew this:

“I have flown as an eagle,

Been a coracle on the sea,

I have been a drop in a shower.

A sword in hand,

A shield in battle,

A string in a harp,

Nine years in enchantment,

In water, in foam,

I have absorbed fire,

I have been a tree in a covert,

There is nothing of which I have not been a part.”

(Celtic poem 6th Century)

Grandmother Aditi

This may be expressed also with this image of Aditi (1800 C.E. India), the Hindu Goddess of the Void. “Her name means ‘abundance’ and ‘creative power’ in Sanskrit. The image of any of Her manifestations can be hung from the two hooks in the central empty space. … Aditi is the primordial space, the womb from which all creation arises. She is also infinite time, a guardian of the cosmic order. She has no mother; indeed She was never born, for She herself is the Origin of all.” (Reference for image and quote: Hallie Iglehart Austen, The Heart of the Goddess, p. 66-67)

I like to name Her “Grandmother Aditi”, and I address Her in this way, as I imagine the great expansive Space in which we are, as I do every morning; knowing also that I am filled with this space – there is no seam separating my small bodymind from the Space in whom I am.

And so, as the ancient ones knew, and Western scientific story of the unfolding Universe (“Cosmogenesis“/”evolution”) has re-iterated, we have always been from the very beginning: that is, every atom of our bodyminds has been recycled over and over. The hydrogen, which constitutes ten percent of each bodymind was formed in the original Flaring Forth (“Big Bang” as it is commonly and inappropriately named), and the rest made in stars and supernovas. Every atom of us has been part of everything throughout the eons.

At Samhain in particular when we may remember “old selves” we have been, as we do in PaGaian Samhain ceremony, we may choose not just biological historical selves, but any of the beings, flora and fauna from the ages, clouds, water, and more, as the Celtic poem above makes a start on.

Glenys Livingstone Ph.D. 2022.


Iglehart Austen, Hallie.  The Heart of the Goddess. Berkeley: Wingbow Press, 1990.

Livingstone, Glenys. PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. NE: iUniverse, 2005.

Swimme, Brian and Berry, Thomas. The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

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