Strange Bedfellows or Speed Dating With the Deities

details of deity paintings by the author
details of deity paintings by the author

It’s a question I see asked on a regular basis.  How do I pick which gods to follow?

A close second would be “I’ve found a god/goddess, now I need to find a goddess/god to go with them.”

I understand, I really do.  It’s a hard thing to figure out if you’re coming from a background that lays it all out there: “Worship this dude, none of these other ones, except well sometimes you can talk to these special beings.”  Or maybe you come from no religious background whatsoever.  So either you’re coming from a set of extremely detailed rule book, or the idea that there is no rule book whatsoever, because WTF are gods?

You’re acclimating to a new concept: that there are indeed multiple gods out there.  Or perhaps the oddity that the gods are real and do exist.  And to make matters worse, there’s no definitive book to go by either to tell you who, how, and why. Awesome right??

Oh wait, not awesome. It’s confusing and you’re probably terrified that you’re going to make a mistake.  You may have picked up a book that has a long list of deities from all over the planet – or maybe a book that only suggests a couple  – that don’t really connect with you.  What’s a Witch to do?

(Warning! Warning! Heresy/blasphemy ahead!)

Detail of Odin painting by Laura Tempest Zakroff
Detail of Odin painting by Laura Tempest Zakroff

You don’t need or have to DO anything where the gods are concerned to get going.  Just like with dating, where you don’t HAVE to be in a relationship to be whole or happy – you don’t need gods to be a Witch.  Yes, I’m applying dating advice to deities – and it works.

Businesses make a lot of money off of us, marketing to us that we can’t be alone.  That we MUST be in a relationship – that any relationship (good or bad) is better than none.  And so an awful lot of people go from relationship to relationship, without ever stopping to consider what their needs and wants really are.  Most critically, they don’t get the time to figure out who they are, on their own.  In order to have a truly healthy relationship, most people need that time and focus to be a good partner – and maintain a healthy state for themselves.

Similarly, if you’re bouncing out of a bad relationship with a jerk god, you’re going to need some time to figure out what other possibilities are out there.  You can explore different myths and concepts, discover there’s an amazing variety of deities out there, find out what does and doesn’t work for you – without making some sort of serious commitment right away (if ever.)

But how do I know which gods are the right gods for me? 
It may sound flippant and unhelpful – but you’ll know when you’re finding the right match.  You’ll notice patterns, repetition of symbols and signs again and again.  They may just even sidle up behind you, and make the whole room smell like goat, then be a loud backseat driver in your car until you figure it out. (I’ll explain that one day.)  If you find yourself drawn to certain myths or images, then explore them more deeply.  Don’t worry if you’re afraid you may miss signs.  Gods and spirits know we can pretty dense at times, that’s why they repeat things until we catch on.

Won’t I be offending someone?
Who are you worried about offending? Other Witches? You’ll do that without even trying or knowing with some people, and well, why are you worried about their opinions on your practice?  Unless it’s a mentor, teacher, or someone you respect, then it’s none of their concern what your path is. Worried about offending the gods? That you didn’t even know existed or were a thing until recently?  Not every god is a petty, jealous, insecure, control freak.  Most actually aren’t. Again, they know we can be a bit slow on the uptake, and they generally let us know when we’re messing up.  Less worry, more witching.

Detail of Demeter painting by Laura Tempest Zakroff
Detail of Demeter painting by Laura Tempest Zakroff

But what if I don’t have a perfect binary example of divinity??? What if I just have a god or a goddess?
Screw the gender binary.  You don’t have to have a matron and patron deity.  You can work with just one. You can work with twenty of varying genders. Nor is it your job to pair up random deities from very different pantheons to work together like a divine game of Barbie and Ken. You can certainly work with deities from diverse pantheons, but you don’t have to pair them up together to do workings based on some sort of gender balancing act.  Especially if it’s a deity known to work pretty much by themselves.  Hekate doesn’t need Thor to help her with anything.

So if I don’t know who my gods are, what do I do??
You can pay respects to the energies and spirits around you without needing to know specific names. You can honor the divine within yourself and the world around you.  Connecting with yourself and your surroundings is very important – and it can help guide you to where you need to go quicker than anything else.  Take the time to contemplate what you know and believe to be true.  Try to allow yourself to experience without overthinking everything.  Let go of a strict rulebook, and see who comes to dinner. Just be sure to split the check.

 

 

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