collapse

Important Announcement

Changing the Guard at The Cauldron

Sunflower is the new Host of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum
Please read this thread for more information.

* "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" Problem Logging In?

If you get an "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" error when you try to log in, you need to be sure you are accessing the board with a url that starts with "https://ecauldron.com".  If it starts with https://www.ecauldron.com" (or "http://www.ecauldron.com") you will get this error because "www.ecauldron.com" is not technically the same website as "ecauldron.com". Moving to the more secure "https" means it is more picky about such things.

Author Topic: Finding my path and deities  (Read 402 times)

Geroth

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 95
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Finding my path and deities
« on: October 05, 2019, 10:54:54 pm »
Hi all, I'm in a bit of a pickle and need some guidance. For several years now I have been struggling to find my path. I've been looking into Paganism for several years now but I feel as if I need spiritual direction to find a tradition where I best fit within the Pagan world. I've looked into various strands of Wicca but simply don't feel a connection and feel as if my tradition is more based on an ancient culture but not necessarily reconstructionist. The truth is I am attracted to several different deities from a variety of different pantheons and cultures. Here is a list of the deities I am drawn to and their pantheon:


Anglo-Saxon
Thunor
Tiw
Frige
Ing

Brythonic/Gaulish
Belenus
Taranis
Cernunnos
Sulis
Camulos

Greco-Roman
Apollo
Athena/Minerva
Ares/Mars
Demeter/Ceres

Egyptian
Anpu
Djehuty
Bastet

Hindu
Ganesh
Krishna
Durga

As you can see, it's quite an extensive list. I simply do not know where to start or how to narrow it down to find ones that are the best fit for me. Whilst I have not really "approached" the gods directly through prayer or ritual as such, I don't really know how to go about it. I've read mythologies on all the different pantheons listed here and have even started doing meditations on finding my deities and pantheon, to no avail. The more I research, the more I end up simply more confused and frustrated than before I started. Does anybody have any ideas on how I can find my path and find the deities that fit with me?

EclecticWheel

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jul 2013
  • Location: Texas
  • Posts: 654
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 151
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Re-evaluating/ Star & Marian Rites, Agnostic with faith
  • Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2019, 01:53:16 pm »
As you can see, it's quite an extensive list. I simply do not know where to start or how to narrow it down to find ones that are the best fit for me. Whilst I have not really "approached" the gods directly through prayer or ritual as such, I don't really know how to go about it. I've read mythologies on all the different pantheons listed here and have even started doing meditations on finding my deities and pantheon, to no avail. The more I research, the more I end up simply more confused and frustrated than before I started. Does anybody have any ideas on how I can find my path and find the deities that fit with me?

I am working on a similar problem, and I seem to be treading in a certain direction, but I am not sure my approach would help you right now.  But there are other things I've experimented with previously that may be helpful.

While I currently am not actively doing ritual in this regard, I used intuition to adapt reconstructionist offering rites to honor Hellenic deities.  I have yet to decide whether I will adopt this practice long term.

I am currently focused on working out an overall structure and framework for a more comprehensive spirituality, but more deities may eventually be a part of that.

The block I've had is fearing that I may not be doing ritual properly or respectfully.  With an unbroken,  continuous set of traditions as found in Hinduism(s), I'd turn to Hindus and Hindu resources for guidance if you're veering in that direction.

Otherwise I would say just try it -- prayer, ritual, offerings.  Be respectful as you would to a guest.  See how your guests respond to you, and go from there.

Since you have familiarized yourself with the myths, I would advise putting a degree of trust in your intuition and then by trial and error discern what form of prayers, offerings, and rituals are working for you and which relationships are beneficial to all involved.

You can learn how the deities were traditionally honored insofar as knowledge of those matters remains intact, and use intuition to guide you on what will best facilitate the relationship for everyone.

As you do these experiments, pray.  Ask the gods for guidance.  If you practice divination, you may also turn to this for guidance.

Now, I am not all that experienced in regard to working with pagan gods at this time as I've been, like you, discerning what is best for me.  So take what I say with a grain of salt.

But I do have a history of involvement with experimental and experience-oriented religious practice and some amount of work with Hellenic deities, and this is what I can offer in terms of advice.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3099
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 650
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2019, 02:10:49 pm »
As you can see, it's quite an extensive list. I simply do not know where to start or how to narrow it down to find ones that are the best fit for me. Whilst I have not really "approached" the gods directly through prayer or ritual as such, I don't really know how to go about it. I've read mythologies on all the different pantheons listed here and have even started doing meditations on finding my deities and pantheon, to no avail. The more I research, the more I end up simply more confused and frustrated than before I started. Does anybody have any ideas on how I can find my path and find the deities that fit with me?

So, here's the thing: if you're approaching this from a historical cultural perspective, the way to start is probably to start with the cultural foundation, and work from there. If you're approaching this from a "build relationships in a polytheistic model in a modern global setting", then you're going to be looking at a different model.

(Either way, that's an awful lot of deities to be starting with. I tend to suggest looking at how you build close personal relationships with humans, and that the number of close ongoing commitments to deities should probably be within the same range - if you have three close friends, a dozen ongoing specific deity relationships is probably a bit much, and certainly not where to start. If you're the kind of person who has a dozen close friends, maybe it's more reasonable. But two dozen might well not be. But there's also different levels of interaction: just like I have some close friends, some friends I do specific stuff with, and people I see for specific reasons like my doctor, I have connections with deities I honour regularly, some I do stuff with every few months or at specific times of year, and some that are just if I need a specialist.)

It might also help to think about the cultural aspect: historically, in polytheistic cultures, people usually mostly honoured a deity associated with their family, where they lived, their profession, and often their stage in life (i.e. parenthood, etc.) more often, and would go to other festivals and activities at other times, but with less ongoing focus. They'd go to some deities for particular needs (healing, a happy healthy family, etc.) but then when that need was over, they'd do something else.

I'm coming from a polytheistic religious witchcraft place (historically informed, because I'm like that, but my practice has a lot of modern pieces to it), and I've got articles about getting to know deities better on my website here that might give you some ideas.

My witchy students have assignments to research deities (they have three required ones, and then a choice of three others) over the course of a year, and that involves both learning and writing up a brief summary (2-3 pages, not dozens of pages) of the deity, a major story or two, how they fit into the cultural pantheon, etc. But they also have to do an artistic project related to the deity, and that's often where the big ah-ha moments come in for a lot of people - getting out of your analytical head, and into something else, that isn't formal ritual (and certainly isn't any kind of ongoing commitment), just "I'd like to learn a bit more about you."

From there, after they do a few, it's easier to figure out which deities they're being particularly drawn to, and often some of why, and *then* the 'meet a deity of interest' meditations work a lot better. (Note that the deity connections from that may not be the deities they've researched! But there's something about the research and art that primes the pump for better connections and recognising the meaningful data for a lot of people.)

Looking at your list, I notice a couple of deities who have reputations for being doorways into their particular pantheons (Bast and Ganesha in particular), and there's a couple who have some close connections across cultures (Minerva and Sulis, Taranis and Thunor, etc.) It might be that exploring those connections might be fruitful for you as a way to narrow down what's going on.

The other option is, frankly, to pick somewhere to start (is one of these cultures one that you're closer to for bloodline ancestry reasons, ongoing connections other places in your life, where you live, or is there a deity particularly associated with your profession or major interests?) and make some simple offerings and spend some time (a month or two, minimum) seeing what happens without making any major commitments.

(It's okay to say "I'd like to learn more about you, I'll be making offerings for a month, hi." basically, but don't commit yourself to long-term things until you have a much more solid relationship.)

Most cultural practices have some simple offerings that are manageable daily or weekly (fresh water, incense, a lit candle, common foods like bread, olive oil, honey, or cream, etc.) and offering that and just sitting and listening for a few minutes (5-10) can go a long way. And again, if you don't get anything out of it after a month or two, then you can try a different deity.

Finally, there are people out there who can do divinatory and other related work for this kind of question. I had a reading this summer from someone who does them, because while the deity relationship part was pretty good for me, I was trying to figure out what other kinds of relationships with specific powers I might want to develop. The reading had some stuff that was absolutely spot on (deities I have a less frequent relationship with, but a long-term one, wanting a bit more interaction, some stuff that fits well with other things I've gotten over time) and some stuff I'm still exploring and figuring out what I want to do with it and how, but which gave me a lot more useful direction to go in rather than "Let me just try all the possible things systematically over a very long period of time."
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Geroth

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 95
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2019, 05:53:46 am »
It might also help to think about the cultural aspect: historically, in polytheistic cultures, people usually mostly honoured a deity associated with their family, where they lived, their profession, and often their stage in life (i.e. parenthood, etc.) more often, and would go to other festivals and activities at other times, but with less ongoing focus. They'd go to some deities for particular needs (healing, a happy healthy family, etc.) but then when that need was over, they'd do something else.

This is something I thought about as well. In terms of my job, I work in a hospital as an orderly so I have been looking at deities associated with healing and the medical profession but few have jumped out at me specifically. The only ones that I have listed that I can think of are Sulis and Athena/Minerva. I actually visited Bath, England several years ago and visited the Roman baths where her temple was. I enjoyed it there.

Looking at your list, I notice a couple of deities who have reputations for being doorways into their particular pantheons (Bast and Ganesha in particular), and there's a couple who have some close connections across cultures (Minerva and Sulis, Taranis and Thunor, etc.) It might be that exploring those connections might be fruitful for you as a way to narrow down what's going on.

The other option is, frankly, to pick somewhere to start (is one of these cultures one that you're closer to for bloodline ancestry reasons, ongoing connections other places in your life, where you live, or is there a deity particularly associated with your profession or major interests?) and make some simple offerings and spend some time (a month or two, minimum) seeing what happens without making any major commitments.

(It's okay to say "I'd like to learn more about you, I'll be making offerings for a month, hi." basically, but don't commit yourself to long-term things until you have a much more solid relationship.)

I have noticed that some of the deities I am interested in have cross-cultural associations and it's something I've used to try and figure out where it should take me not no avail.

The only ancestral connections I have to any of the pantheons is the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic. I have no Greek or Italian ancestry, nor Egyptian (or North African) and nobody I know is a Hindu. I was initially drawn to Asatru when I first started looking into Paganism but found that the longer I studied about the religion, the more I was turned off by it due to some of the religion's members and their attitude and I decided to look elsewhere.

However, a few years later I decided to look into Asatru again. The whole time whilst I researched, I felt close to the Nordic gods, but something felt...off. There was a sense of something not feeling right, a sense that they were almost the deities I sought, but not quite. I began to look into ethnic Germanic pagan variants like continental German paganism. Of all those I looked into, only Anglo-Saxon paganism stood out to me but as time went on, my interest in it waxed and waned.

I have also researched various elements of Celtic Paganism. I have Irish ancestry and I am a Hibernophile at heart. I am very fond of Irish culture and Ireland in general but when I read myths on the Tuatha De Danann, I got a firm "no". I researched Gaulish and Brythonic paganism instead and found some deities whom I felt attracted to, or at least some interest in and others that didn't interest me at all, so I was a bit on the fence about pursuing it.

I did look into Hinduism quite seriously as a teenager and there are elements of the religion I am drawn to and fit with my worldview but there is also a lot I don't vibe with but some of the deities associated with the tradition I did like, namely the ones I mentioned.

Finally, there are people out there who can do divinatory and other related work for this kind of question. I had a reading this summer from someone who does them, because while the deity relationship part was pretty good for me, I was trying to figure out what other kinds of relationships with specific powers I might want to develop. The reading had some stuff that was absolutely spot on (deities I have a less frequent relationship with, but a long-term one, wanting a bit more interaction, some stuff that fits well with other things I've gotten over time) and some stuff I'm still exploring and figuring out what I want to do with it and how, but which gave me a lot more useful direction to go in rather than "Let me just try all the possible things systematically over a very long period of time."

I have tried this actually. On the recommendation of a friend, I went to a psychic just over a year ago who is a practicing Druid and quite well known for giving accurate readings. I found her reading to be insightful and eerily accurate. During the end of my reading, I asked a question about what kind of deities were best for me to form a relationship with. The woman pulled a few tarot cards and through her intuition told me several deities she believed were "around me". All of the deities she mentioned were from the Greek pantheon and quite obscure, some I had never heard of. I went back and did some digging to find out more about them but I found that I had no interest in them at all and could not relate to any that she mentioned.

Despite this, one day I decided I would try and reach out to see if there was any response. I went outside, I said a few prayers to one of the deities in particular she mentioned was "influential" in my life, but the whole time I felt strange, as if I was talking to a brick wall, like the deity was not around or interested and I subsequently stopped. I was a bit disillusioned after that. Mind you all this was simply my gut feeling but that was the feeling I got.

[Adding white space - SP]
« Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 06:57:57 pm by SunflowerP »

Jainarayan

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Oct 2014
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Posts: 588
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 156
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Hinduism
  • Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2019, 10:47:05 am »
This is something I thought about as well. In terms of my job, I work in a hospital as an orderly so I have been looking at deities associated with healing and the medical profession but few have jumped out at me specifically.

Hindu God Dhanvantari - Wikipedia. The transliterations and translations of his mantras on the internet are absolutely abominable. But they can be reworded as simple prayers.

śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Ashmire

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: May 2017
  • Posts: 324
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 106
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Eclectic, featuring mainly East Asian and Egyptian plus pop-cultural influences
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2019, 11:10:49 am »
However, a few years later I decided to look into Asatru again. The whole time whilst I researched, I felt close to the Nordic gods, but something felt...off. There was a sense of something not feeling right, a sense that they were almost the deities I sought, but not quite. I began to look into ethnic Germanic pagan variants like continental German paganism. Of all those I looked into, only Anglo-Saxon paganism stood out to me but as time went on, my interest in it waxed and waned. I have also researched various elements of Celtic Paganism. I have Irish ancestry and I am a Hibernophile at heart. I am very fond of Irish culture and Ireland in general but when I read myths on the Tuatha De Danann, I got a firm "no". I researched Gaulish and Brythonic paganism instead and found some deities whom I felt attracted to, or at least some interest in and others that didn't interest me at all, so I was a bit on the fence about pursuing it.
 On the recommendation of a friend, I went to a psychic just over a year ago who is a practicing Druid and quite well known for giving accurate readings. I found her reading to be insightful and eerily accurate. During the end of my reading, I asked a question about what kind of deities were best for me to form a relationship with. The woman pulled a few tarot cards and through her intuition told me several deities she believed were "around me". All of the deities she mentioned were from the Greek pantheon and quite obscure, some I had never heard of. I went back and did some digging to find out more about them but I found that I had no interest in them at all and could not relate to any that she mentioned. Despite this, one day I decided I would try and reach out to see if there was any response. I went outside, I said a few prayers to one of the deities in particular she mentioned was "influential" in my life, but the whole time I felt strange, as if I was talking to a brick wall, like the deity was not around or interested and I subsequently stopped. I was a bit disillusioned after that. Mind you all this was simply my gut feeling but that was the feeling I got.

Is it possible the psychic you went to was simply applying names she knew to similar-feeling deities she didn't know?  I ask this, because a lot of what you say, about being given a firm "No!" from your ancestral pantheons and feeling a bit pulled in many directions but not quite right in any of them, sounds very familiar to me from my own experiences, and I once did a divination that had me thinking I should follow Thor for quite awhile, which might seem a long way off from where I ended up, but I just happened to get the specific bits of information that actually *did* fit both.

  I ended up with an apotheothized dead celebrity( which I actually suspect from my historical reading is a practice the ancients would have respected more than most people do now), but that doesn't mean yours has to be anything as strange and unexpected as that---Jenett who responded above has written a great deal about her primary deity being an older goddess whose name has been lost to history, for instance.  So you might give some thought to unconventional powers as well.

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3099
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 650
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2019, 03:15:27 pm »
First, can I ask you to put in a blank line (hit return/enter twice) every 3-4 lines of text? It makes chunks of text much easier to read.

I'm going to ask a bunch of questions here, and lay out some logical approaches. Don't feel you need to explain what you've done with these if you'd rather not (though it's fine to if you'd like to!) Mostly, I just want to offer some ideas in case you haven't already considered them, because I can't tell from your replies so far about some of them.

I have noticed that some of the deities I am interested in have cross-cultural associations and it's something I've used to try and figure out where it should take me not no avail.

So, when you say "Tried to figure it out", what did that involve for you? When I've seen that kind of pattern in my own practice (or with people I've worked with), I've usually found it worthwhile to poke at what those beings have in common, and what they don't, and then looking for other things in common with the common thing. Often that takes time, and it's not a thing that's purely about research (I'm a librarian, I love research puzzles. This is not a place they're helpful.)

An approach that involves reading different kinds of sources, but usually at a secondary source level, then synthesising some of that information, and then doing something with it in meditation, ritual, or creative work usually produces much more long-term progress than research alone for me.

Quote
The only ancestral connections I have to any of the pantheons is the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic.

So, the first thing is - are you sure that's true? (Because if you've got background in Great Britain, that includes a lot of other things, possibly, including Romans, continental Europe, Scandinavia, etc. There are also more groups at play than Angles and Saxons.) That may be back quite some distance, beyond any historical records you know about but I wouldn't necessarily rule it out.

(That said, knowing that means that you could reasonably maybe put, say, India, into the 'further away' pile, without other data, and start somewhere that felt closer.)

Quote
Of all those I looked into, only Anglo-Saxon paganism stood out to me but as time went on, my interest in it waxed and waned.

So, here, let's talk about expectations. Several places in your response, you talk about having some interest, and then having mixed reactions, or having it fade out. Frankly, that's pretty normal.

When you meet new people, some of those connections are going to be situational (person you see at activity, person you go to for help with thing), and many are going to be things where it depends on repeated actions over time (both you and that person spending time together, figuring out how that relationship works for you two in specific.)

Some people do get hit over the head - both in relationships with people and with deities - but it's much less common than the longer slower path of doing some stuff, slowly, repeatedly, and seeing what happens. (Or, alternately, having the relationship be pretty transactional in the good way: both parties know what they're getting out of it up front and it's running on established rails that help make the limitations and options clear.)

And as I mentioned, this second option is pretty clearly historically the more common one: you make your offerings and so on, and hopefully the gods smile on you, and you can tell that they maybe are because your life is not falling to pieces around you.

It's not angels with trumpets announcing "Fear Ye Not" or lightning bolts of inspiration and heart-stopping awe. Most of the time. Certainly for most people.

So, first, when you say you've tried things, I'm curious about how long you've tried them for, and what range of things you've tried.

Prayer qua prayer does absolutely nothing for me when it comes to connecting to deity. I do them sometimes because it's the ritually appropriate act, but I do much better with offerings (made regularly but not necessarily daily), service to something they care about, ritual that prepares a space in which their essence can more easily be present, meditation, or divination.

Some deities, it's one of those things that works. Some deities I've worked with at various points, it's needed three or four in combination. Sometimes it's been different things at different points. Depends on the deity, where I am in my life, and what I'm asking for help with or what kind of relationship I'm aiming at.

Likewise, trying something once isn't great data. It's a single point. That point could have failed for all sorts of reasons. Some deities are strongly seasonal, and if you ping them in the off-season, you get a very sleepy hibernating deity rolling over and going back to bed, especially if you don't already have an ongoing relationship. Some deities, there's a thing you need to sort out in your life before they're going to take you seriously. Some deities are Just Not For You. (More on that in a sec.)

By trying stuff over a period of time (periodically over several months, say, in different modes), you get a lot more data, and that can inform your ongoing decisions.

Likewise, you don't generally mesh with every member of a human group (whether that's an activity group or a family) the same way (and honestly, it'd be pretty weird if you did.) The same thing is true with pantheons. If you're treating them as individuals, some are going to be interesting and relevant and easier to connect to, and some aren't. That is also very normal and expected.

Aim at the places you're either getting some connection or are getting something else you value - a way to shape your life, stories that help you celebrate the good stuff and get through the hard stuff. And be open to the idea that changes as you go along, or that you'll have different relationships with different deities and beings over time.

Quote
I am very fond of Irish culture and Ireland in general but when I read myths on the Tuatha De Danann, I got a firm "no".

This is also a thing that happens! I've talked on here before on how the most coherent thing I've gotten out of a ritual with Brigid is "My, you're short." (and I have been in multiple rituals that included Drawing Down that focused on her, done by ritually competent people.) I am Totally Not Hers, we are Very Polite, it's fine for me to be in a ritual focusing on her, but I am not getting anything out of that interaction that's much use at all.

(As Aisling said in the response above this, I have a particular deity relationship, and I have gotten a strong sense of "English, not Celtic" from her, in all the complexities of what that might mean, and that it means that the Celtic deities are ones I can be polite to, and around, but they are not where I'm going to get meaningful responses. Which is annoying, because a lot of the contemporary English stuff to the Celtic stuff we know about doesn't have much surviving evidence to work with.

Which is how I am at 17 years working with my Lady, and I still don't have more than a use name for her. I do, however, have a good relationship where my service is appreciated and she listens and stuff is good. The latter is way way way more important than the former.)

Quote
During the end of my reading, I asked a question about what kind of deities were best for me to form a relationship with. The woman pulled a few tarot cards and through her intuition told me several deities she believed were "around me". All of the deities she mentioned were from the Greek pantheon and quite obscure, some I had never heard of. I went back and did some digging to find out more about them but I found that I had no interest in them at all and could not relate to any that she mentioned.

So, a few thoughts on this.

First, any single reading is a single point. I also agree with Aisling that often in this kind of situation the names people get are a reflection of their own understanding, and you sometimes have to figure out what other things might attach to the names.

But let me break down some options here, logically, and see if that shakes any ideas loose.

Option 1: The reading was 100% wrong and she had crossed wires.

If this was the case, you have done some exploring (again, you're unclear on what that involved, but for purposes of this discussion I'm assuming it was sufficient for the purpose of figuring out if a connection was possible.) You can now cross those deities off your (very long) list of potential options, and depending on the other data you've gotten, possibly a number of others.

(i.e. if you got a very strong negative reaction to a deity associated with navy polka-dotted rabbits of abundant fertility, you could potentially cross off deities strongly associated with other coloured rabbits, or at least move them way down your list, possibly also deities related to abundant fertility or shades of blue. You might well need more data points to confirm those last two.)

Not the most useful options, but not useless.

Option 2: The reading had accurate points, but the transmission was in language that doesn't sync for you.

This is the "These are relevant deities, but the names/culture aren't right." Sometimes that makes a huge difference, sometimes it doesn't. Looking at cognates (to the degree you can find them) can be informative, especially the more quirky things. (i.e. there are bunches of healing deities. There are fewer who are about healing via a fever burning out disease or whatever.) Again, long slow process.

Option 3: The identifications were right, and there is something blocking you from making that connection.
(That could be internal to you, because the information you've found is inaccurate information in ways that makes things complicated, etc.)

You get to decide what to do about this. Are these beings or things you have any interest in at all? Is it possible that some of your reaction is based on superficial similarities to things you have a bad experience with? How do these things play out in other parts of your life? When you trust your gut about people or social activities or anything else, is it usually accurate for you? Is it just as blocked for you?

I.e. if you are a person with love and beauty in many parts of your life - not necessarily sex and romance - and you bounce off a deity of love and beauty, that's probably about that specific deity or their context. But if that's a thing you're struggling with in your life, then a deity of those things might be interested in helping, but not connect with you until and unless you figure out how to be open to that possibility in some form.

You get to decide if and how you want to do that work, but if you keep blocking that work, you may continue to find yourself stuck if that is the place you need to figure out a different answer for in order to be able to make meaningful connections if you want them.

In other words, looking at the things we have a strong negative reaction to, including a strong "Totally not for me" reaction is often worth doing, especially if you don't have other leads that are drawing you.

And as I said above, it might be that the method you chose wasn't the right one in that case (i.e. what prayers did you use, were there offerings, is it a deity where time of year or type of offering might make more of a difference.)

Option 4: Pantheon is right, deities might be right, context is complicated.
For many places, including the Greeks, the information we have is fragmentary.

(For example, most of the Greek information we have is heavily based on what Athens was doing. We know other city-states were doing other things, and we know there was extensive variation over different eras, but we often only have fragmentary stuff about what that is.)

In some cases, translations get significantly in the way - the vast majority of translators of Greek material into English were white (if coming from places where that made sense as a designation), cis, privileged and educated men in the Christian tradition up until very recently. Looking at more diverse translations (like Emily Wilson's Odyssey) and discussions about translation issues can be very revealing.

(I'm picking on Greece here because I read enough to have done my own translations, and my father did them professionally)

All of this means that what you can find with research may or may not be the whole picture (and it's usually safe to bet it wasn't.) So again, diversifying what you're trying, if you have a pointer like that, may be worth doing.

Option 5: You pick some stuff and do it for a while, without paying too much attention to whether you feel specifically drawn to it.

As noted above, historically, a lot of people did fairly routine rituals for deities of where they lived, their profession, their stage in life, and they may or may not ever have had Deep Emotional Moments about it. (A lot of the time, we just can't tell. But since plenty of people go through, say modern Christianity like that - maybe a general feeling of connection and well-being but nothing huge or specific - it's probably a safe bet that was true historically, too.)

Religion and religious practice is a bunch of stuff going on at the same time, and most people will want (and do stuff related to) some parts much more than others.

You might find that picking some stuff that you are amiable about (without a major strong feeling for or against) that makes sense for other things you want in your life and practice might be a way to go. In this case, looking at whether there are groups or community events or whatever that might be of interest would be a good place to start, if there are any of those vaguely accessible to you. You might decide to go to stuff you can get to and see how it feels in practice, within the bounds of your comfort zone.

This is the point where I often say "If you've got public rituals near you, go to half a dozen so long as you aren't directly creeped out or feel unsafe - see how stuff feels, what types of activities seem to spark more connection or interest for you, and use that data to refine other stuff further.)

If you can't go to stuff near you regularly, but can do a weekend conference or festival visit (even something like Pagan Pride Day), you can get a lot of data very fast from some of that.

But in general, the idea here is 'figure out some regular offerings and some times to make them', make them regularly, give yourself space for listening (meditation, long walks without distracting things to listen to, ecstatic dance, clearing your mind while you're washing dishes or folding laundry, whatever) for an extended period (three to six months) and see what happens. If you're not sure about specific deities, you can try by epithets "Lord of healing" or "Lady of springtime" or whatever and see if that gets you more data.

Option 6: Go at it from the group side, not the personal side.
Some people find it easier to work from an existing group context that models varying kind of interactions. (And these days, there are online distance options). Whether this makes sense for you, and which one is a larger question, but sometimes that will help people figure out the direction they want to take their personal practice.

Also a good option for trying out stuff that may or may not be your thing, but will help you learn more about your reactions and responses, and identify your thing. (And it may well build relationships with deities that are solid working relationships you and they get things out of, without being an overwhelming thwap on the head.

I'm sure there are some options I'm not thinking of at the moment, but I think that hits the major ones.
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3099
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 650
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2019, 07:16:53 pm »

And oops, Ashmire, for misattributing your excellent comments, above. Apologies!
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Geroth

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 95
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2019, 03:10:32 am »
So, when you say "Tried to figure it out", what did that involve for you? When I've seen that kind of pattern in my own practice (or with people I've worked with), I've usually found it worthwhile to poke at what those beings have in common, and what they don't, and then looking for other things in common with the common thing. Often that takes time, and it's not a thing that's purely about research (I'm a librarian, I love research puzzles. This is not a place they're helpful.)

An approach that involves reading different kinds of sources, but usually at a secondary source level, then synthesising some of that information, and then doing something with it in meditation, ritual, or creative work usually produces much more long-term progress than research alone for me.

For the most part, studying mythology and reading about the deities from various sources and connecting dots, so to speak. In the past I have said prayers to a few of the deities asking for signs to show that they are around or wish to work with me and to my knowledge, I got no response (at least it wasn't blatantly obvious anyway).


So, the first thing is - are you sure that's true? (Because if you've got background in Great Britain, that includes a lot of other things, possibly, including Romans, continental Europe, Scandinavia, etc. There are also more groups at play than Angles and Saxons.

Yes, I agree. I did a DNA test recently and found that 54% of my DNA is connected to England, Wales and North-Western Europe so that could, theoretically include Romans, Gauls, Belgic tribes, Jutes, Frisians, the Celtic tribes of Western Germany as well as the Anglo-Saxons and the Ancient Britons (according to the test, I do not have any Scandinavian ancestry but it could just mean it's very far back in my bloodline).

34% of my DNA comes from Ireland and Scotland, 9% from Germanic Europe, 2% from Eastern Europe and 1% from the Baltic States. The Eastern Europe and Baltic DNA was a surprise. I have studied and read a lot of different information about the various Baltic neopagan movements and Rodnovery but I don't feel a pull towards it at all and a lot of the concepts, particularly in Rodnovery did not gel with me.


So, here, let's talk about expectations. Several places in your response, you talk about having some interest, and then having mixed reactions, or having it fade out. Frankly, that's pretty normal.

When you meet new people, some of those connections are going to be situational (person you see at activity, person you go to for help with thing), and many are going to be things where it depends on repeated actions over time (both you and that person spending time together, figuring out how that relationship works for you two in specific.)

Some people do get hit over the head - both in relationships with people and with deities - but it's much less common than the longer slower path of doing some stuff, slowly, repeatedly, and seeing what happens. It's not angels with trumpets announcing "Fear Ye Not" or lightning bolts of inspiration and heart-stopping awe. Most of the time. Certainly for most people.

It's possible I'm expecting too much too quickly. I'll admit that there is a part of me that did want that "hit over the head" or "lightning bolt" moment where everything just fell into place, but I'm also aware that such things are very rare. I'm also a chronic over-thinker so sometimes I think that clouds my judgement on things.

So, first, when you say you've tried things, I'm curious about how long you've tried them for, and what range of things you've tried. Prayer qua prayer does absolutely nothing for me when it comes to connecting to deity. I do them sometimes because it's the ritually appropriate act, but I do much better with offerings (made regularly but not necessarily daily), service to something they care about, ritual that prepares a space in which their essence can more easily be present, meditation, or divination.

Some deities, it's one of those things that works. Some deities I've worked with at various points, it's needed three or four in combination. Sometimes it's been different things at different points. Depends on the deity, where I am in my life, and what I'm asking for help with or what kind of relationship I'm aiming at.

Mostly just research and prayer and to be honest. In terms of prayer, not that often. There was maybe seven or eight times where I felt inclined to do it.

I've only done very bumbling performed offering/ritual to the god Thunor. I said a few prayers, offered him incense and some beer. I did it to try and reach out and solidify a connection, to see how it felt and to try and gauge as to whether it was a connection worth pursuing. I sat in front of a crude altar I built in meditation after I gave the offerings and prayers for around 30 minutes but got nothing.

As I said, maybe I was expecting too much. In a weird way I was expecting some sort of sign, be it a feeling, sensation, or even a voice even to say "hello". I know it sounds silly and naive, but that's kind of what I was expecting.

Maybe it's something I have to try more of, prayer and research obviously isn't cutting it.


So, a few thoughts on this.

First, any single reading is a single point. I also agree with Aisling that often in this kind of situation the names people get are a reflection of their own understanding, and you sometimes have to figure out what other things might attach to the names.

But let me break down some options here, logically, and see if that shakes any ideas loose.

Option 1: The reading was 100% wrong and she had crossed wires.

Option 2: The reading had accurate points, but the transmission was in language that doesn't sync for you.

Option 3: The identifications were right, and there is something blocking you from making that connection.

Option 4: Pantheon is right, deities might be right, context is complicated.

Option 5: You pick some stuff and do it for a while, without paying too much attention to whether you feel specifically drawn to it.

Option 6: Go at it from the group side, not the personal side.


I think it might fall somewhere in between Option 2 and Option 5. The psychic was definitely spot on about stuff going on in my personal life at the time, so I don't believe she was a fake or a kook at all. It is possible that the deities she picked up on had similarities in terms of association to the real deities I am connected to. The deities she mentioned were Selene (Moon goddess), Nike (goddess of victory), Demeter (goddess of agriculture and fertility) and Pallas (Titan of war and campaigns).

The deities she mentioned to me didn't make any impression on me at all when I initially looked into their mythology and read about them and the subsequent prayers I said to them felt "off" so I didn't pursue it further. Maybe I had the closed off feeling as I wasn't specifically drawn to them in the first place, I'm not sure. Thinking about it now, maybe I should look into deities with those attributes and use it as a starting point.

Kylara

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2012
  • Posts: 923
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 84
    • View Profile
    • https://www.patreon.com/kyndryana
  • Religion: Norse Fusion Witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2019, 01:03:51 pm »

It's possible I'm expecting too much too quickly. I'll admit that there is a part of me that did want that "hit over the head" or "lightning bolt" moment where everything just fell into place, but I'm also aware that such things are very rare. I'm also a chronic over-thinker so sometimes I think that clouds my judgement on things.

Mostly just research and prayer and to be honest. In terms of prayer, not that often. There was maybe seven or eight times where I felt inclined to do it.

I've only done very bumbling performed offering/ritual to the god Thunor. I said a few prayers, offered him incense and some beer. I did it to try and reach out and solidify a connection, to see how it felt and to try and gauge as to whether it was a connection worth pursuing. I sat in front of a crude altar I built in meditation after I gave the offerings and prayers for around 30 minutes but got nothing.

As I said, maybe I was expecting too much. In a weird way I was expecting some sort of sign, be it a feeling, sensation, or even a voice even to say "hello". I know it sounds silly and naive, but that's kind of what I was expecting.

(a few snips in the quote, but these bits are what I am mostly responding to!)

I think expecting that 'connection moment' where you see a vision or hear a voice or feel a thing is absolutely natural.  It's pretty much mentioned in every book and story where people talk about finding their Gods, and it's almost always talked about at if it were normal and necessary.

I've been working with Odin (among others) for about 25 years now, and I have never had a big moment.  I have had little moments, mostly feelings...there is a weight that settles on me when I say his name sometimes.  It's subtle, it's easily missed, and it doesn't always happen.

I have other deities that I have never had any kind of feeling.  But after reading about them, I liked them, and I wanted to work with them...so I did.  They are a part of my practice because I sought them out.  I like to think that they approve, but I do the work anyways, without any kind of feedback because it is something that appeals to me and something I want to do.

When it comes to actual prayers and praying, this took me a long time to find my way.  I wasn't really raised Christian, but I was raise around it enough to have this idea of what prayers were, and they didn't fit my practice and preferences.  Eventually, I started just talking.  My prayers are me talking to my deities, normally in a conversational voice.  I tell them about what I am doing, what I am worried about, what I am excited about.  It makes me feel connected.

I also like scripted prayers, so I find ones that I think are pretty or say things I like, and I memorize them.  This works for me, it might not work for you.  I think it's all about finding what suits you and going with it.

One final thought:  I think sometimes doing small things, many times, over a period of time, works better for some people than doing a big long thing once or twice.  I know that I find it more helpful, and it just fits my life better.  I am more likely to continue doing small things frequently, whereas doing big, long things I might do it once or twice and then just stop.  And when it comes to building a relationship with deities and building a practice, I think that there is big value in maintaining a practice.  I find that if I haven't done something for about a month, I don't actually know if it's working for me or not.
Check out my Patreon for more writing and other goodies!

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3099
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 650
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2019, 01:34:11 pm »
Mostly just research and prayer and to be honest. In terms of prayer, not that often. There was maybe seven or eight times where I felt inclined to do it.

So, yeah, I think you might be expecting too much too fast. Research is great, but it's not actually an interaction - and we build relationships with interaction. So if you want a relationship of any kind, there's got to be some other kinds of things in play.

There's also the question of whether you're naturally open-headed or close-headed (as one way to describe this often goes.) There are benefits and issues with both, so it's not that one is better than the other, but which way you tend to go will often affect which approaches work better for you, or which skills you might decide to focus on improving that could ease some of the stuff you're stuck on.

Diana Paxson has a good description of both (along with specific suggestions for skills/management/etc.) in her book Trance-Portation.

(I'll also note that it's possible to be generally leaning more one way - for example, being energetically open to people, emotions, etc. - and to tend to lean the other way when it comes to deities or other powers. We're talking about things on a spectrum. Likewise, it's possible that the modes of information you get data from deities with are not your usual modes - for example, I am very not a visual person when it comes to meditation/etc. or other magical but when it comes to deities, most of my data comes as visuals and smells. This is sometimes very annoying.)

Quote
I've only done very bumbling performed offering/ritual to the god Thunor. I said a few prayers, offered him incense and some beer. I did it to try and reach out and solidify a connection, to see how it felt and to try and gauge as to whether it was a connection worth pursuing. I sat in front of a crude altar I built in meditation after I gave the offerings and prayers for around 30 minutes but got nothing.

As I said, maybe I was expecting too much. In a weird way I was expecting some sort of sign, be it a feeling, sensation, or even a voice even to say "hello". I know it sounds silly and naive, but that's kind of what I was expecting.

So, this is helpful.

First, this is one of those things where for some people, the way in is through group work (which obviously has its own challenges). But one of the things group work can give you is introductions to beings, and then you can use those introductions to make your own connections, and go from there. (I think it's sometimes also very helpful to some people to have deity interactions in various ways that are made possible by other people, so you can figure out how you're reacting to it without having to do all the stuff to make it happen.)

So if you wanted a jumpstart, and any kind of group thing is maybe an option (including public one-off rituals), trying a few of those might be worth your time. (I say a few, because in any given situation that might or might not work for you for all sorts of reasons that are no one's fault.)

But beyond that - again, single action doesn't create a relationship. So I wonder what would happen if you picked a deity and 3-5 things off the list below, and committed to trying them for an ongoing period of time (a month at least, but three months would not be a horrible idea) and kept careful notes about what happens. If one turns out really not to work for you, swap it out for something else on the list.

(Note: don't try all of them! Overwhelming yourself is no good, and it will make it harder to figure out what stuff is working for you and what isn't. I think aiming for a steady 20ish minutes of focus most days, and maybe an hour of more focused time once or twice a week, across all of the things you're doing is a good starting place. And then if you want to up the time, go ahead, but it's more useful to do things regularly than for long stretches for most people.)

If it were me, I'd pick a thing or two I was particularly drawn to or felt really comfortable to me as a mode, and one thing that felt like much more of a stretch, and then one or two things in the middle space.

Whatever you pick from this list should be paired with consistent time more days than not when you make space for listening and responses - that could be meditation, that could be taking a walk outside without external distractions, that could be journalling, that could be making art or music without an explicit goal (i.e. sketching, trying stuff out). Basically just making space in your head for stuff to resonate if it's going to.

10 minutes or so is a good regular aim, maybe a bit more. (I have learned through practice that it takes me 8-10 minutes to sink into a deeper level of meditation most of the time, so if I stop at 10, there's a set of data I may not get.)

Along with that, ideas for possible connections in no particular order:

1) A daily small offering suitable to the deity of things they like (I tend to do a very simple daily that is energy or something very easy like water, and then a larger weekly one that is incense/alcohol/honey/cream/etc.) Along with the offering, make a small statement of offering (this does not need to be big formal prayers, but something like "Name, I offer you this thing, I would like to learn more about you, please guide me in doing so." goes a long way when done regularly.)

2) Make a small shrine you can leave up throughout, with simple symbols of that deity (and space to add more). Put it somewhere you'll see it a lot.

3) Identify books (not just web research) that deal with the deity, the culture they come from, or things they're very much interested in, and read a bit of that most days. (This can include fictional stuff, though I find fictional stuff about a deity is really hit or miss for me, in terms of usefulness here. But, say, fictional stuff with a heavy emphasis on music or art, or a specific place, or whatever, sometimes works really well for me.)

4) Create a playlist of music that evokes things related to that deity for you, and listen to it a bunch. (When I do these, they are the background listening for my day when I don't have something else specific to listen to.)

5) Change the wallpaper on your phone and computer (and anywhere else like this) to something related to the deity or their interests. Whenever you look at it, pause and take a breath and do a little reaching out to them, with a "Hi, just thinking about you."

6) I also use passwords I have to change regularly (my work one, mostly) for this kind of regular trigger to check in and see how things are going with a long term goal. So for this, you might try a variant of a deity name, or something like "connection" as a base.

7) Historical prayers from relevant sources (with an appropriate small offering.)

8) Prayers you write yourself, maybe with some research on kinds of prayer and how to structure them.

9) Making regular meals (one a week, maybe?) that are relevant to the deity's interests or associations in some way (this can just be cultural associations, not deity specific, but there are times it is, for example, a lot easier to be open to Greek deities if your meal involves koftas, olives, feta cheese, and pita bread, than if it's a mass-produced microwave dinner...)

10) Work on a craft related to the deity or that will create a ritual object you could use. I use polymer clay for this (modern material, but manageable in a kitchen without complex resources, and pretty inexpensive to get started with.) Drawing, painting, sketching, deliberate photography, etc. all work here, as do fabric crafts or wood crafts or whatever.

11) Doing an activity that honours stuff the deity cares about. I mentioned elsewhere here recently about starting to do a food pantry donation for Hecate. You might take a short class in a particular skill, or find a volunteer project that's relevant, or whatever.

12) Finding and/or creating guided meditations or pathworkings (again, the Paxson book has stuff on this) to help you learn more about the deity. Don't expect long conversation - your goal is 'learn more about ways to connect'. Meditations and work on other related topics might get you further (for example, for a deity focused on harvest cycles like Demeter, learning to connect more with your local land and cycles might get you a surprisingly long way.)

13) Do divination work to help explore other avenues (this is probably not a daily thing, more like a weekly one) with a "What should I pay attention to in order to learn more about X" sort of question.

14) If you're a person who can do dream work (I'm not), do that! Ask for guidance in your dreams. If it's confusing guidance, ask for less confusing guidance.

15) Pay attention to patterns in your life - are names, animals, colours, topics, etc. showing up in your life more frequently than statistical chance suggests? Make note of them, see what the patterns are. Carrying a small notebook with you, or having an app on your phone you use just for this can both help.

I feel like I'm missing stuff from this list, and I hope other people will suggest stuff, but you can see that it's quite wide ranging. (Add your own stuff, if you think of any!)

Quote
The psychic was definitely spot on about stuff going on in my personal life at the time, so I don't believe she was a fake or a kook at all.]/quote]

Oh, definitely not thinking she was a fake or kook necessarily, but sometimes people can be really on with one part of a reading, and when switching to something else, things get a little crossed wire, and the data gets weird.

Quote
Thinking about it now, maybe I should look into deities with those attributes and use it as a starting point.

I think that's definitely a good start.
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Geroth

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 95
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2019, 08:40:44 am »
So, yeah, I think you might be expecting too much too fast. Research is great, but it's not actually an interaction - and we build relationships with interaction. So if you want a relationship of any kind, there's got to be some other kinds of things in play.

I've come to realize that now for sure. Makes me feel silly having wasted so much time trying to "reach out" through prayer and research alone.

There's also the question of whether you're naturally open-headed or close-headed (as one way to describe this often goes.) There are benefits and issues with both, so it's not that one is better than the other, but which way you tend to go will often affect which approaches work better for you, or which skills you might decide to focus on improving that could ease some of the stuff you're stuck on. Diana Paxson has a good description of both (along with specific suggestions for skills/management/etc.) in her book Trance-Portation.

This is an interesting topic and one that I have actually thought of myself, going through this made me question how open I am to receiving things spiritually. I think I fit much more in the closed-headed side of the spectrum than the open-headed. I'll definitely be looking more into this.

So if you wanted a jumpstart, and any kind of group thing is maybe an option (including public one-off rituals), trying a few of those might be worth your time. (I say a few, because in any given situation that might or might not work for you for all sorts of reasons that are no one's fault.)

But beyond that - again, single action doesn't create a relationship. So I wonder what would happen if you picked a deity and 3-5 things off the list below, and committed to trying them for an ongoing period of time (a month at least, but three months would not be a horrible idea) and kept careful notes about what happens. If one turns out really not to work for you, swap it out for something else on the list.

Unfortunately I live in a small with no other Pagans and the nearest city where Pagans could potentially live is well over a days drive away. A few years back, I was involved in a small online Pagan FB group that had people of various Pagan traditions that lived in relative proximity but that has since faded into obscurity as most of them moved away or simply moved on to other things. Despite that, I'd certainly be open to the idea of being involved in a group and/or public rituals.

Your suggestion makes a lot of sense and I am going to give it a try.


Along with that, ideas for possible connections in no particular order:

1) A daily small offering suitable to the deity of things they like (I tend to do a very simple daily that is energy or something very easy like water, and then a larger weekly one that is incense/alcohol/honey/cream/etc.) Along with the offering, make a small statement of offering (this does not need to be big formal prayers, but something like "Name, I offer you this thing, I would like to learn more about you, please guide me in doing so." goes a long way when done regularly.)

2) Make a small shrine you can leave up throughout, with simple symbols of that deity (and space to add more). Put it somewhere you'll see it a lot.

3) Identify books (not just web research) that deal with the deity, the culture they come from, or things they're very much interested in, and read a bit of that most days. (This can include fictional stuff, though I find fictional stuff about a deity is really hit or miss for me, in terms of usefulness here. But, say, fictional stuff with a heavy emphasis on music or art, or a specific place, or whatever, sometimes works really well for me.)

4) Create a playlist of music that evokes things related to that deity for you, and listen to it a bunch. (When I do these, they are the background listening for my day when I don't have something else specific to listen to.)

5) Change the wallpaper on your phone and computer (and anywhere else like this) to something related to the deity or their interests. Whenever you look at it, pause and take a breath and do a little reaching out to them, with a "Hi, just thinking about you."

6) I also use passwords I have to change regularly (my work one, mostly) for this kind of regular trigger to check in and see how things are going with a long term goal. So for this, you might try a variant of a deity name, or something like "connection" as a base.

7) Historical prayers from relevant sources (with an appropriate small offering.)

8) Prayers you write yourself, maybe with some research on kinds of prayer and how to structure them.

9) Making regular meals (one a week, maybe?) that are relevant to the deity's interests or associations in some way (this can just be cultural associations, not deity specific, but there are times it is, for example, a lot easier to be open to Greek deities if your meal involves koftas, olives, feta cheese, and pita bread, than if it's a mass-produced microwave dinner...)

10) Work on a craft related to the deity or that will create a ritual object you could use. I use polymer clay for this (modern material, but manageable in a kitchen without complex resources, and pretty inexpensive to get started with.) Drawing, painting, sketching, deliberate photography, etc. all work here, as do fabric crafts or wood crafts or whatever.

11) Doing an activity that honours stuff the deity cares about. I mentioned elsewhere here recently about starting to do a food pantry donation for Hecate. You might take a short class in a particular skill, or find a volunteer project that's relevant, or whatever.

12) Finding and/or creating guided meditations or pathworkings (again, the Paxson book has stuff on this) to help you learn more about the deity. Don't expect long conversation - your goal is 'learn more about ways to connect'. Meditations and work on other related topics might get you further (for example, for a deity focused on harvest cycles like Demeter, learning to connect more with your local land and cycles might get you a surprisingly long way.)

13) Do divination work to help explore other avenues (this is probably not a daily thing, more like a weekly one) with a "What should I pay attention to in order to learn more about X" sort of question.

14) If you're a person who can do dream work (I'm not), do that! Ask for guidance in your dreams. If it's confusing guidance, ask for less confusing guidance.

15) Pay attention to patterns in your life - are names, animals, colours, topics, etc. showing up in your life more frequently than statistical chance suggests? Make note of them, see what the patterns are. Carrying a small notebook with you, or having an app on your phone you use just for this can both help.

I feel like I'm missing stuff from this list, and I hope other people will suggest stuff, but you can see that it's quite wide ranging. (Add your own stuff, if you think of any!)

I think that's definitely a good start.

Every single one of these ideas sound fantastic! I like that a lot of them are simple, yet, powerful. I'm all new to this so it's going to take time but I have no doubt that what you have mentioned will get me back on track to finding where I need to be in a spiritual sense. Thank you so much  :)

Geroth

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 95
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2019, 08:50:44 am »
I think expecting that 'connection moment' where you see a vision or hear a voice or feel a thing is absolutely natural.  It's pretty much mentioned in every book and story where people talk about finding their Gods, and it's almost always talked about at if it were normal and necessary.
I've been working with Odin (among others) for about 25 years now, and I have never had a big moment.  I have had little moments, mostly feelings...there is a weight that settles on me when I say his name sometimes.  It's subtle, it's easily missed, and it doesn't always happen. I have other deities that I have never had any kind of feeling.  But after reading about them, I liked them, and I wanted to work with them...so I did.  They are a part of my practice because I sought them out.  I like to think that they approve, but I do the work anyways, without any kind of feedback because it is something that appeals to me and something I want to do.

Very true. Things like this were mentioned in a lot of the books I read on deities and certain Pagan traditions so I guess that's where I thought "If I'm not getting x,y,z happening to me then x deity isn't interested in me" thoughts from and it skewed my expectations. I've now come to realise that stuff like that is often not the case and they are rare.

when it comes to building a relationship with deities and building a practice, I think that there is big value in maintaining a practice.  I find that if I haven't done something for about a month, I don't actually know if it's working for me or not.

I'm very much the same. I have often had a hard time trying to remain consistent in anything I do, so it's going to be a massive challenge for me but it's something I am very keen on pursuing. Maybe it's a lesson I have to learn.

Geroth

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 95
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2019, 08:53:50 am »
Hindu God Dhanvantari - Wikipedia. The transliterations and translations of his mantras on the internet are absolutely abominable. But they can be reworded as simple prayers.



I have heard of Dhanvantari before in my research but I shall look at him a bit more. Thank you very much for the recommendation.

Jainarayan

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Oct 2014
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Posts: 588
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 156
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Hinduism
  • Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his
Re: Finding my path and deities
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2019, 09:59:18 am »
I have heard of Dhanvantari before in my research but I shall look at him a bit more. Thank you very much for the recommendation.

You're very welcome. I hope you find what you're looking for... I think you will.  :)
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
16 Replies
3749 Views
Last post September 25, 2011, 09:41:51 am
by Shadow
3 Replies
1733 Views
Last post September 18, 2011, 07:25:50 pm
by Nyktipolos
8 Replies
1140 Views
Last post June 26, 2012, 11:57:36 am
by MoonCrone
2 Replies
1025 Views
Last post July 02, 2012, 08:19:07 am
by Sibylle
9 Replies
715 Views
Last post April 06, 2013, 08:34:45 am
by SunflowerP

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 31
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 1
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Host:
Sunflower

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Darkhawk

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall