Are the pagan gods and goddesses important in your wise woman’s practice?
One of the questions I get asked a lot is: are pagan gods and goddesses important in your wise woman’s practice? Or, alternatively, people just assume that I worship pagan gods and goddesses because I practice witchcraft. Some people wonder whether they, in order to make use of my services, have to be heathen or pagan. Or whether they’ll be seen as heathens when making use of my help. For me, the answer to these questions would be ‘no’ and the assumption would be a false one. I don’t worship pagan gods and goddesses. To me witchcraft is just that, a craft, and not a religion. And everyone, of every denomination, is welcome in my practice. I do use gods and goddesses as a means to find common ground though. Let me explain that a bit more…
Everything on our planet is alive
To me, all of our planet is filled with life force, even a stone. All have a cycle, although sometimes these cycles take up so much time that we are not aware of them. And all of us, humans included, find ourselves influenced by the forces that govern our sphere. In that respect I could consider myself an animist, like our early ancestors. It’s oversimplifying things a bit, but for argument’s sake it will do. These forces that govern us can sometimes be daunting, especially cos we cannot usually oversee all that is going on. Anything that we can’t grasp will cause fear.
Pagan gods and goddesses are useful to explain the forces that govern us
Enter gods and goddesses. Ever since humans have been able to communicate they have been creating lore to understand their surroundings. Anyone who explained things so well that it made sense, offered hold-fasts in this scary life. And what would appeal to us more than having things explained in a way that we could relate to, resembling ourselves, humans? Nothing really. It was therefore logical that gods and goddesses came into existence.
Pagan gods and goddesses are like life itself
They owe their existence to being vehicles for attempts to explain the unexplainable. That’s exactly the way I use them as well. I like the pagan gods and goddesses better than the monotheistic ones, exactly because they behave more like the governing forces would. They are fickle and unpredictable, have a light and a dark side and so, so much depth of character. They are more realistic because of it. Hardly ever directed by apparent logic, not omnipotent and always colourful, they are very much like life itself.
Many followers of monotheistic religions will come to a stage in their lives where they get serious doubts, cos life seems unfair and their religion preaches the existence of an almighty god. So they wonder why their god allows things to happen to them, even though they’ve been living according to his instructions. But life isn’t fair, just like the pagan gods and goddesses, which makes them all the more appropriate in attempts to understand life.
I do not use pagan gods and goddesses in witchcraft
Still, I don’t worship them. How can I worship something I, or rather my ancestors, created? I do treat with reverence the forces they represent. I can also use them when trying to explain how to work with these forces. But that’s the only way they’ll pop up in my form of witchcraft. I don’t actually call on them when crafting or casting.
I am so familiar with what they represent that they do feel like old friends though, especially the Germanic gods and goddesses. Maybe it’s just that, familiarity – I grew up with them – or maybe it’s that they speak to the heritage that I carry within me genetically. At any rate, I know them best. So, if you ever hear me speak about gods or goddesses, it will most likely be about them.