William James, Carl Jung and others have convincingly argued that human beings have a basic instinct to seek "numinous" experiences. Human beings inherently need to know, experience and understand the Divine Presence in the Universe.

While most likely we have all experienced God (Goddess, the Divine Presence), the knowing and understanding are a bit more problematic. Though we may routinely explore the Other World(s) through mystic or shamanic journeys, when we return to this world we must relate those experiences to ourselves and others through the veil of human consciousness. We have no other frame of reference so long as we are present in this incarnation. So how then do we account for and understand the vast and rich diversity of mystical experiences of ourselves and others? Can they all be real? Can they all be true?

Those are questions that have tormented philosophers and theologians, and yes, the rest of us ordinary human beings, through the ages. We all seek to experience, to know and to understand God. Most of us were raised in the dominant culture of Western theologies. The clergy defined God for us, then they expected us to fit our personal experiences within the parameters of the "Divine Nature" or the "Will of God." When the personal experiences did not always fit well into the "Holy Order" of things, when our beliefs were inconsistent with our feelings, we found ourselves in a very uncomfortable, but hardly uncommon, situation. Psychologists call it cognitive dissonance. Saint John of the Cross called it the "Dark Night of the Soul." When we are actively experiencing it, we generally call it "Hell." Something has to change. Either the belief has to change to fit our perception of the experience, or our perception of the experience has to change to fit our belief. When the dust settled, many of us found ourselves standing in Pagan circles seeking the Gods of our ancestors. But that still did not solve the problem. At least not entirely.

What about Zeus? What about Wotan? What about Kokopelli? They can't all be God, can they? From the perspective of conventional theology, the answer is no. But perhaps it is the theologies, and not the Gods, that are flawed. Conventional theology looks at God and tries to understand man. Perhaps we should look at man and try to understand God. Rev. Rene Deleare and I have written a rather exhaustive paper in which we advocate that the Divine Presence should be approached as a multi-dimensional paradigm through the filter of human consciousness. To shed some of the theory and psychobabble, perhaps we should bring the question into more of a personal context.

Each of us, as individual human beings living in a very complex world, all have many functions in life, both public and private. Consequently, we have to be many things to many people, depending on their need, relationship and circumstance. For example, I am a psychologist, teacher, peace officer, Wiccan priest, and retired Army officer. How I engage and interact with people depends on which function I am serving at the given time. My response to similar situations may be entirely different depending upon that function. If someone approaches me in my role as a Wiccan Priest, and for whatever reason, he becomes hostile and belligerent, then I will simply disengage. I don't have time for that nonsense. If someone approaches me in my role as a therapist, and for whatever reason he becomes hostile and belligerent, then I do have time for it. Obviously, there are some things going on in the therapeutic relationship that we need to work through. If someone approaches me in my role as a peace officer on the street, and for whatever reason, he becomes hostile and belligerent, then he and I, and my PR-24 will probably have a rather intense personal interaction.

So if I have many functions and stations in the material world, is it unreasonable to assume that my God should have many functions and stations in the spiritual world? Just as people need me to serve different functions at different times, I need my God to serve different functions at different times. Sometimes I need my God to be a Warrior King; sometimes I need Him to be Lord of the Greenwood. By not limiting my God to a single name or function, He is free to be exactly what I need, precisely when I need Him. I know my God by many names and many faces; I trust that He knows me by all of mine.