The Gods and Goddesses thread got me thinking. So if you don't mind, I'm going to use this space as a sounding board to flush out my thoughts.
My original concept of deity was determined by my Christian background. It took a long time to realize that I had, to some extent, carried that concept with me into my current path. That concept basically comprised of an omniscient God who had everything under control and knew more about my needs and destiny than I did. There was also a self-image that went with that concept: that I was pretty much a perpetual fuckup and couldn't do anything good without God's help. That concept created in me a sense of helplessness and reliance upon God that I carried with me out of Christianity. Not only was I carrying the boat with me, but the rusty anchor as well.
Once I left Christianity behind, and began looking into witchcraft and paganism, I viewed the gods and goddesses I worked with basically as a "foreign" version of the Judeo-Christian god I had left - namely, omniscient and ever-present, and a constant companion to smooth the way for me.
And my serious experiences with the goddess I worked with was exactly that - a constant companion upon whom I leaned for every step of the way, scared to death of moving on my own. This past February and March, I started working on moving away from that goddess toward a different one. It was a lesson to me of my own strength.
This most recent goddess, I felt, has been decidedly less "available." And I was taken aback by that - annoyed, etc. I thought the purpose was the get accustomed to change, but I think it's also something more. It wasn't a matter of walking on my own to another goddess only to collapse and have her be my crutch again. It's "training wheels off, time to balance yourself." And for someone who has been relying on someone else for so long (despite my insistence that I'm an independent and self-sufficient woman) that's scary as hell. Like looking back and realizing that Mom has let go of the back of the bike, and I'm on my own. Wobble and fall or keep pedaling, it's up to me.
So the progression continues. I recognized while I was working with goddesses that I was for the most part using their mythology as guides. And, for the most part, the mythology is where the power comes from. Identification. The energy of the guide, the energy of the warrior, the energy of the sage. So instead of looking at a goddess as an entity in herself, I can look at what characteristics she embodies, what energy she represents, and build those things within myself rather than waiting for someone else to teach these things to me.
I was also hoping that they would "take" me somewhere. Again, a passive expectation. I wanted to sit there and have someone else to everything for me. It's embarrassing, to say the least. But again, it's part of the progression, part of the process of burning my ill-formed bridges.
I think I've arrived at the point where I can leave the boat and the anchor behind.
There's more that I have to sort through, too. And I'm not sure that I've reached my final conclusion. But it's a start, at least.