One of the more recent classes I have been teaching at Treadwells-London is a series we've called Meeting the Gods. Each session I focus on a different deity, or a different group of deities, and look at the ways in which we can work with them, honour them, and do good work together.
Of course, if you come from a monotheistic background, the pagan view of working with deities may come as a shock to you. Are we worshipping many gods? Possibly, some pagans will tell you that they are polytheistic, but others like me will tell you that they are polytheistic monotheists - the gods are archetypes of a greater whole. And if you come from an atheist back ground, you may wonder if its really essential to bring in all of that god-stuff. Its not for everyone. However, as a Wiccan priestess, work with deities is an essential part of that path (to me).
This post is really by way of an exploration - what do I see deities as, and how do I work with them?
Before we go any further, the thing about beliefs is...
The thing with beliefs is that they are not true. Of course, truth is relative. What I mean by that is that they are not scientific truths - we are not in that realm where truth can be measured or quantified. All you can go on is your feeling. Does the feeling resonate for you in the deepest part of your soul, or in the pit of your stomach, or in your heart? So through your journey of working with the gods, all you have to go on is your kinesthetic sense of 'does it feel right?' For those of you who work in scientific fields with more logical frameworks, that might feel like a stretch at first. That means this is going to be one of those annoying posts which is at time vague, and sometimes discursive. We are dealing with the ineffable here, and that can sometimes be hard to articulate.
The use of the 'w' word. We've all been in those online arguments about what wicca is or isn't, and if you can be wiccan without being initiated into a coven. This isn't the article for that discussion as we would be here all day, but if I am using Wiccan with a capital 'w', I am referring to the trained and initiated priesthood which can only be entered into with a coven that is established by an also trained and initiated priesthood. Yes, you might be able to establish working groups without those initiatory lines, but they are not covens that are connected to a magical current or tradition. I will write more on that later.