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Deities and the traditional path: advice for a newbie


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#1 witchynovice

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:16 PM

Hey all,
 
just joined the forum, and really only just starting out on my path. Paganism has always called to me - I blame my Celtic ancestry! - but I'm only now listening. 
 
I do, however, have a little discomfort about "worshipping". I grew up a Catholic so that's probably colouring my view, but I've always felt drawn to nature and the natural world, and felt a general spirituality, but never really considered this to be the result of any deity. And now I'm beginning this path, and faced with deities once more. I guess that's why I'm thinking I'm probably more on a traditional path than a Wiccan one.
 
My questions, though badly introduced, are twofold: are deities necessary for witches? And if so, how do you know who to work with?
 

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#2 Oroboros

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:14 PM

Trad craft and religion are separate things. You can worship any deity you like or none at all and still practice witchcraft. Many trad witches are animist, many are more or less atheist. Quite a few here work with deities. However, I think very few "worship" deity.

As far as the second part of your question, I tend to think that if and when it's time for a witch to work with a deity THEY have a way of finding US. But maybe that's just me.

You will find a great many of us have some issues with Christianity due to any variety of past issues-that said, in the past there were those who went to church and thought of themselves as good Christians who were also practicing what we would consider to be witchcraft.

Religion only plays a role if, when, and how you want it to.

There is much discussion on this topic scattered through the forums here. I believe it is also mentioned in some of the many discussions on what trad craft is and is not. If you search you can find more in depth perspectives on the matter.

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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#3 witchynovice

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:58 PM

Thanks so much, Oroboros. It's good to see it's not quite cut and dry.


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#4 Oroboros

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:11 PM

That is the beauty of trad craft. If it feels like you are trying to pound a square peg into a round hole, your doing it wrong:).
IMO the only "requirements" to practice is - to practice. This is YOUR path. Do what feels right and true. You will only bang your head against the wall if you are trying to meet some requirements you have read or heard about that do not ring true to you. A lot of ideas come from new age theory and practice and are discussed as though that is "the way it's done." I -having first been exposed to Wiccan material- struggled with the concept of finding a patron deity and casting circles and using wands- all of which made me feel like poser and mildly retarded. These things are NOT needed. Read the forums. There is a wealth of information here. And a rather beautiful blending of perspectives on ways to practice. I suggest in any section of the forum that you page back to the earliest threads. Much good stuff there that could easily be overlooked.

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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#5 Cameo

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 09:18 PM

If it feels like you are trying to pound a square peg into a round hole, your doing it wrong:).

I love that. I want that on a plaque on my wall.

 

I tried for a very long time to connect with deity. I tried to force it, and I got no where with it. I would give it up, and then try again a few years later with the same result. It is just not my thing. I can work with the energies of a certain deity, but the moment I start to think in terms of a personified deity, it all goes awry.


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#6 Nabu

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 01:42 PM

Great reply Oroboros !!!! Nail on the head ...

 

Nabu


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Strong of Heart wins the Day , let not yourself be dismayed !

#7 Oroboros

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 05:40 PM

Why thank you Nabu :)
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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#8 CelticGypsy

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 03:54 PM

 

Trad craft and religion are separate things. You can worship any deity you like or none at all and still practice witchcraft. Many trad witches are animist, many are more or less atheist. Quite a few here work with deities. However, I think very few "worship" deity.

As far as the second part of your question, I tend to think that if and when it's time for a witch to work with a deity THEY have a way of finding US. But maybe that's just me.

You will find a great many of us have some issues with Christianity due to any variety of past issues-that said, in the past there were those who went to church and thought of themselves as good Christians who were also practicing what we would consider to be witchcraft.

Religion only plays a role if, when, and how you want it to.

There is much discussion on this topic scattered through the forums here. I believe it is also mentioned in some of the many discussions on what trad craft is and is not. If you search you can find more in depth perspectives on the matter.

 

( Highlights are Mine )

 

Very well said in a generality as it is the choice of the Practitioner. When one is in pursual or deeply interested, in my opinion, that becomes an " act " ascribing to supreme importance. Just my thoughts.

 

 

Regards,

Gypsy


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" The last thing you wanted a Witch to do is get bored and start making her own amusements, because Witches sometimes have erratically famous ideas about what was amusing "

 

Terry Pratchett Legends 1 


#9 Oroboros

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 05:03 PM

"....it is the choice of the Practitioner. When one is in pursual or deeply interested, in my opinion, that becomes an " act " ascribing to supreme importance. Just my thoughts.


Regards,
Gypsy"
-----
Absolutely agreed! And not to be taken lightly.
---------------
I would also say-as is often the case these days, one should NOT take to heart the depiction and description of certain deities and entities as they tend to be described in neopagan literature. Many figures are discussed as being much more simplistic than they are and therefore believed to be either "good" or "evil" when seldom is anything either, but instead are complex. I think there is danger in going in to a relationship based on the typically oversimplified versions as there is no real knowledge of what one is getting into.

Edited by Oroboros, 26 March 2017 - 05:04 PM.

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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#10 Oroboros

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 05:18 PM

I suppose when I say "they have a way of finding us"- I should clarify. I mean that as in opposed to the notion that one should crack open a book of mythology and pick one that appeals to you as your patron deity- which is more or less the recommendation in Wiccan and similar circles. It was an unclear way to draw a contrast between that approach and what I have experienced.
I don't mean to say it is a passive event. I do not presently work with any deities, though in recent time It has become apparent to me what direction I would take with this if I choose to do so. How this happened is both personal and difficult to describe, but was not a matter of researching and picking who I like the best. But more as though certain entities have repeatedly caught my attention as being of particular interest and importance in my path. e.g.- what I mean by "they find us. "

This warrants clarification as I do not want to unintentionally suggest that just because an entity "comes a knockin" that one should take that as a sign to work with them. Certainly not.:)

This of course is just my thoughts based on my admittedly limited experience.

Edited by Oroboros, 26 March 2017 - 05:24 PM.

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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#11 CelticGypsy

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 05:48 PM

Greetings Oroboros ! 

 

For those of us who have been on our own respective Paths, your points are valid. When I looked at your post in a general observance, I am like minded in your thought process regarding entities, deities and the like. Yet we can agree again on the " choice " made by the Practitioner.

 

When witchynovice first initiated this inquiry " just joined the forum, and really only just starting out on my path. Paganism has always called to me ". We need to be observant to this. This is important. Some of us have been on our chosen Path for years and still have not come to the applicable knowledge of working with entities or deities, or Spirit. It's a daily progression of the Path one is on.

 

I would not ever take lightly those who have established this kind of mastering of their Path. Those who can successfully interact with those of another plane. In my limited experience ( I am no Master ) in this nature, but it is real and tangible, it also has some ramifications and consequences when one pushes through that " other worldly veil ".  

 

We all had a starting point at some time, yet it is true to say " it's not about the end destination, it's about the journey ". 

 

My thoughts only, great to see you again.

 

Regards,

Gypsy


Edited by CelticGypsy, 26 March 2017 - 05:49 PM.

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" The last thing you wanted a Witch to do is get bored and start making her own amusements, because Witches sometimes have erratically famous ideas about what was amusing "

 

Terry Pratchett Legends 1 


#12 witchynovice

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 09:10 PM

Thanks, CelticGypsy, and of course Oroboros, for continuing this discussion. Really fascinating to watch as a newbie, and I feel I can certainly learn a lot from all of this. I'll continue my education, and wait to see what happens!


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#13 Oroboros

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 09:34 PM

Thank you Gypsy all good points. And best of luck witchynovice. It is a journey. :)
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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#14 FlyingPeregrine

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 11:02 AM

Definitely agree: you don't have to worship any deities to practice witchcraft.

(I will say it definitely helps the craft a little, though)

 

Do what you are comfortable with. I have a mixture of Asatru (Norse) and Celtic beliefs. It's definitely very interesting, but they also tie in together extremely well.

 

I'd suggest you research deities that you are interested in and see where that leads you. I was uncomfortable at first, but then I researched Freya and found her to be the one that called to me.


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#15 sleepnheat

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:35 PM

I have been on the fence about the whole deity concept. I am new to the Craft, but not new to the concept of god(s). I like the idea, but lack the feeling, or attraction to any that I have researched. I know there are spirits, both human and those of plants/animals. Maybe due to my past, I attribute deities to a being that is all-knowing and omni-present. Maybe I need to think of them differently, but for now, they just do not resonate with me.
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#16 Anubha

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 06:18 AM

Witchynovice,

 

When I was a Christian, I worshipped God. That is to say that I prostrated myself and served Him. I was flawed and knew nothing. God was good and all-knowing, all-powerful. As my spiritual journey has unfolded, I realized that the Hebrew God and Christianity were, to me, indeed flawed. I came to believe in a creative force that is alive in every particle in existence. I am God. You are God. That's how I see things now. The definition of worship is to show reverence. I feel reverence for literally everything. Just my two cents.

 

I do have a relationship with a deity who, as Oroboros would say, found me. I do not feel the need to prostrate myself and fawn over her and I don't think she would respect that kind of attitude, actually.

 

Welcome to the forum and Celtic ancestry-awesome!


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#17 odalibuc

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 03:22 AM

Another thing about Gods finding you, if that is the path you want to take - I firmly believe that not every religion has been made aware of every god that is, and more than one may have seen different facets of one god and called them two different beings. We are only human, and what we know we learn from our interpretations of what we experience. This can be flawed. The deities I work with aren't actually acknowledged by any religion I am aware of. I have a friend who works closely with a goddess from a very old religion that might have been forgotten when Christianity came north. Some religions tried to wipe out others - you may not recognize who or what comes to you. I would advise keeping both your mind and your eyes open. Ask questions. Be polite but don't grovel. Working with anything from another plane is a relationship, and if you end up feeling like a servant you may need to look elsewhere for patronage.

 

That being said, you don't necessarily need divine patronage to be any kind of witch. Since you said you are still kind of new to the craft, I recommend watching, and waiting, and being open and willing to learn. Your craft and practice will shape itself in time, and you have our support and camaraderie while you figure it out. We all were in your shoes once upon a time. Best of luck, witchynovice!


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#18 An_Bruane

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 11:11 AM

I was reading about local witchcraft myths in my country and some Julio Caro Baroja and Carlo Ginzburg books and I realize about a common figure that often appears. Sometimes is portrayed as a female (Holda ,Bensozia, Perchta, Diana, Horiente, Hékate...) or a male (Wotan, Aker, Count Arnau...). It is undeniable that there is a common figure in all these myths. A God/Goddess or a Spirit?. What's a God/Goddes or a spirit?, But are these not just ways of naming the same spiritual beings?


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#19 Loboblanco

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 11:31 AM

In my opinion, i think a god / goddess is just a cultural term for a spirit , a powerfull one,but a spirit, like the master / devil , the queen of elphame, etc.

 

In some cultures some powers / spirits are called Gods, in others a force , personification, indweller etc, but i don't think that makes the entity  more powerfull or special or whatever by just say is a god / goddess.


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#20 Solanaceae

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 11:35 AM

I was reading about local witchcraft myths in my country and some Julio Caro Baroja and Carlo Ginzburg books and I realize about a common figure that often appears. Sometimes is portrayed as a female (Holda ,Bensozia, Perchta, Diana, Horiente, Hékate...) or a male (Wotan, Aker, Count Arnau...). It is undeniable that there is a common figure in all these myths. A God/Goddess or a Spirit?. What's a God/Goddes or a spirit?, But are these not just ways of naming the same spiritual beings?

 

 

 

 

 

 

You would get a different answer for that depending on each individual you ask.

It varies greatly from person to person, belief systems, and religions.

 

Many here believe in spirits, but not at all in gods or goddesses. 

We have some great threads about deity and different types of spirits.

Use the search function from home page for best search results. 

If I come across any in the meantime, I will try to remember to bump them for you.


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Some are born to sweet delight,

Some are born to endless night.

 

(Fragments from "Auguries of Innocence") William Blake