There is a terrible country and western song called, “Jesus, Take the Wheel.” I admit freely that every time I hear it I think, “Jesus, take a hike.” Too much church when I was a kid, no doubt.
At any rate, the heroine of the song is driving her car down an icy road when she suddenly hits a patch of black ice, the car starts to spin out of control, she takes her hands OFF of the steering wheel and cries out, “Jesus, take the wheel!”
Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
‘Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
And save me from this road I’m on
Jesus, take the wheel
And apparently he does and the next thing she knows she’s sitting on the shoulder of the road in her car, which for some reason I’m thinking is an old Plymouth, and everything’s hunky dory.
Now, aside from making me intensely frightened of fundamentalist christians driving in snowstorms, it also brings up the distinction between spiritual surrender and spiritual co-creation. I wrote in a recent post that I was practicing turning my most difficult problems over to my higher powers and this song is a perfect example of what I didn’t mean.
When we look at The Fool tarot card we see someone whom we might call, “god(dess) intoxicated.” He is channeling that power from the Higher Realms, it’s flowing through every molecule of his being and he is HIGH with its’ energy. He’s going to dance right off the edge of that cliff and just float away instead of plummeting to his death. In a very real sense he has surrendered his being and his body to that Higher Power.
But then we transition to the next card, The Magician, and we see something very different. He’s in touch with that same energy, that same power, but he’s not just channeling it, he’s controlling it and directing it.
And that’s a major distinction, both philosophically and spiritually. It’s the difference between spiritual surrender and spiritual co-creation.
In classic christian theology human beings are seen as essentially flawed, sinful creatures whose only hope for real salvation is to surrender their lives and their wills to Jesus. Essentially, they want their independent, “selves,” to disappear as much as possible so they can be replaced by Jesus. It’s sort of like a cross between being possessed by a cuddly demon and The Stepford Wives. You’re out, Jesus is in, everybody’s happy. Jesus take the wheel.
In Wiccan and Pagan theology, we aren’t flawed sinners, we are embodiments of the divine. Yes, we may not remember that, we may be confused, disoriented, feel spiritually and emotionally lost, but in essence we ARE the divine on a journey to the earth plane.
When we,“turn our problems over,” to our angels, spirit guides, gods and goddesses, we aren’t asking them to take the wheel. We’re asking them for wisdom and guidance to help us on our journeys. We’re asking them enter into our lives and act as co-creators with us.
As an artist I can totally relate to that concept. Instead of hogging the canvas and the paints and the brushes, I can paint for a little bit and then let my spirit guides paint for a little bit. Or I can ask them for some advice about what colors to use and how I should blend the shadows and the light. But, ultimately, it’s my signature that goes on that canvas. Ultimately my life is my creation, it’s not a surrender or a mistake. And I don’t think our Higher Powers would want it any other way.