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Author Topic: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?  (Read 5097 times)

Malia

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How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« on: June 03, 2012, 12:38:23 pm »
I just thought I'd start a thread where people can share how they perceive their honored deities, including both spiritual and physical representation. Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?

For me, the goddess Rhiannon is humanoid, except in the third branch of the Mabinogion when she has to carry visitors on her back. Since I don't have the money on hand to buy a statuette for my altar, I actually just got done drawing a picture for my altar. :D

Celtag

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Re: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2012, 01:11:29 pm »
Quote from: Malia;58203
I just thought I'd start a thread where people can share how they perceive their honored deities, including both spiritual and physical representation. Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?

For me, the goddess Rhiannon is humanoid, except in the third branch of the Mabinogion when she has to carry visitors on her back. Since I don't have the money on hand to buy a statuette for my altar, I actually just got done drawing a picture for my altar. :D
There pretty much no pictures or statues to reprersent Amaethon. So I use objects such as the plough and sickle to denote the Agriculture aspects of Amaethin.
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Maps

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Re: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2012, 09:36:15 am »
Quote from: Malia;58203


For Mayan gods, shit be complicated, yo. There's a difference between "what they are" and "what they look like", though, in that the latter shapes the former in a way. When it comes to images, though, I like to honor their multiplicity and effervescence (which is what makes them very different from fixed gods) by using images of the aspects of the world they rule over rather than explicitly anthropomorphic imagery. Sometimes I'll use animals they're associated with or that serve as their way, which is a kind of animal alter-ego.

The only deity I currently feel comfortable with using specific anthropomorphic art for is Chaak, since the ways in which he typically appears is relatively fixed. (I'm also under the impression that he much prefers to be honored with explicit images of himself rather than with imagery of his associations, which definitely isn't without historical precedent.)

I'm currently going through an amazing book that is about just this subject, and will probably be doing blog posts about it later tho.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 09:37:25 am by Maps »

Nachtigall

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Re: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2012, 09:58:58 am »
Quote from: Malia;58203
I just thought I'd start a thread where people can share how they perceive their honored deities, including both spiritual and physical representation. Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?

For me, the goddess Rhiannon is humanoid, except in the third branch of the Mabinogion when she has to carry visitors on her back. Since I don't have the money on hand to buy a statuette for my altar, I actually just got done drawing a picture for my altar. :D

 
I believe that the true form of my deities isn't anthropomorphic, and most likely isn't even imaginable to the human mind (see the myth of Semele and Zeus). They can take whatever form they wish though; therefore, humanoid, animal and other symbolic forms are used for the purpose of worship.

Whichever symbol I choose for my practice, depends mostly on the purpose of the rite, and on the aspect of the deity I wish to focus on. Such as, I've "experienced" Apollo as a handsome man, as a wolf, as sound, as light, as cold wind, as fire, and much more... each of these has also been used as a symbol in representing him.

monsnoleedra

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Re: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2012, 12:17:57 pm »
Quote from: Malia;58203
I just thought I'd start a thread where people can share how they perceive their honored deities, including both spiritual and physical representation. Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?  ..


In retrospect this is actually a difficult quesiton to answer.  Let me use Hecate / Hekate as an example.

As one might expect I see her in the persona as a young woman who is encased by a silhouette of radiant light.  Her clothing archaic in apperance and Greek in style yet holding hints of a more eastern influence.  That being the form she has appeared to me in a number of times in dream time and vision.

Yet I also see her in the howls of the dogs that echo down the valley in the darkness.  I see her form in the fog and haze that lays heavy upon the valley floor and appears to litterly embrace the crossroads and liminal places.  I see her in the foam and spray of the ocean & sea's as they crash upon the shore line.  Heck I even see her in the embodiement of a single black Coy that survives in the pond on the property where I live.  I see her in the shape and form of the serpent.  I see her in the shape of the wild hunt as I hear the thunder roll down the valley and listen to the howls and screams as the hounds chase something in the distance or start the barking chain.  I see her in the smells upon the winds that carry my mind back to the straights that the ship passed thorugh on our way into the Black Sea.  I feel and see her when I hold or see an antiquated key or skelton key in my hands.  Even in the presence and pressure of a pair of dice in my hands as the three ways of that which was that which will be and that which might have been the results of my toss.

Those just pertaining to Hecate / Hekate while many other things remind me of Artemis, Bast and Pahket as my goddesses and Sekor and The Huntsman as my gods.  Some so similiar that it may make me think of multiple reflections, for instance the baying of hounds Hecate / Hekate or Artemis as she runs with her hounds on the hunt.  Though it usually falls upon the dark of the moon or the full of the moon as to which it is.

None of that truly touching upon the anamorphic facet of merging human and animal.  Especially such as Bast and Pahket who may appear as desert cats, lionesses or half-human half-feline with human bodies and feline heads or competely feline with human like faces.  Artemis who I see as the Deer or Bear though simply to see one does not automatically make me think of Artemis.

garlicandmint

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Re: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2012, 02:32:36 pm »
Quote from: Malia;58203
I just thought I'd start a thread where people can share how they perceive their honored deities, including both spiritual and physical representation. Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?


I don't know if it's a holdover from being raised Christian, but I can't really set a specific physical presence on my deities. I think, being divine, they can appear how they want, and the way I picture them has much more to do with me than them. So, while I might have certain associations and like to picture them one way, I don't think that's how they "actually" look.

But I really like the style of Thalia Took's artistic interpretations of different goddesses and mythical women in her Goddess Oracle, particularly Sedna, the Sibyl, Ariadne, Artemis, Cerridwen, Inanna (NSFW), Kirke, and the Magdalene.

Aster Breo

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How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 02:46:42 pm »
Quote from: Maps;58414
The only deity I currently feel comfortable with using specific anthropomorphic art for is Chaak, since the ways in which he typically appears is relatively fixed. (I'm also under the impression that he much prefers to be honored with explicit images of himself rather than with imagery of his associations, which definitely isn't without historical precedent.)


Thanks for those links!  The pics are stunning!
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Aster Breo

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How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2012, 03:08:20 pm »
Quote from: Malia;58203
Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?


My goddess is Brighid.  Like the ancient Celts, I generally don't anthropomorphize my understanding of Her -- although there have been exceptions to that.

I see Her most easily in the sun and in fire -- the kind of fire that warms, comforts, and heals; not the kind of fire that rages and destroys.  She is the hearthfire, the flame of the oil lamp or candle, the camp fire, the cooking fire.

Less readily, I see Her in certain kinds of water:  springs, wells, small creeks, lakes.  But not the ocean.

There are certain symbols that bring various aspects of Her to mind for me: Her cross, of course, triskeles, trinity knots, sun symbols, oak leaves, acorns, anvils, flames, torcs, spirals, yonis, stars, compass roses, galaxies.  

Certain stones also make me think of Her, including sunstone, blue moonstone, opal, amethyst, emerald, smokey quartz, aqua aura quartz, jade, fluorite, and clear quartz.

I do have some more or less abstract art work that calls Her to mind.  But that is more because of how *other people* see Her.

In my experiences, Brighid is a force of energy, rather than a larger-than-life woman or something like that.  I feel Her presence all around me, but but not in the same way I feel the presence of my family.

I've had a couple of pathworking/meditation experiences in which She did appear in a human form.  In those cases, though, I think She did it just for fun.  She appeared as a young woman, pale, with black hair, wearing the most ridiculous, bright pink "princess" dress with one of those conical hats with a sheer, pink scarf flowing from the point.  Very "little girl/fairy tale".  I thought it was amusing, but I have no idea why she chose to appear like that.

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Marilyn/Absentminded

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Re: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2012, 03:41:42 pm »
Quote from: Malia;58203
I just thought I'd start a thread where people can share how they perceive their honored deities,

(:) bolding mine)
 
Physically I perceive him as a scruffy-looking male of the sort that hangs out in the bar parking lot selling, buying, cadging a lift to the next party while trying to convince you his is the one you want to go to.

Also, a scruffy half-breed coy dog of the kind that takes over urban areas when the rural gets paved.  Scavenger, opportunist, escape artist, too clever, and often mistaken for not being dangerous.

Metaphysically, he is a force.  He is the shortest line between two points.  It may not be pretty, but he'll get you there.

He is impulsive, sly, deceitful, successful (usually), and smarter than he wants people to suspect.  He has brains, but his judgment is no better than mine.  Make that 'worse than mine' which is why I don't turn to him for counseling or ethical advice.  Wants-gets is his longest road.   (with the occasional detour into gives-to-whoever-he-damn-well-pleases-whether-they-want-or-deserve- it when he feels like a longer jaunt)

Even when he is being a  clown he has ulterior motives, and he can be made to pay for what he wants, as long as you keep your end of the bargain.  He's not much for reverence, except the laughing kind, and it's rare to get comfort from him (it has happened to me exactly once, and the comforting image he sent was a sleeping puppy-pile with me firmly in it)  It's common to get challenges, bites, bargains, and puns.

YMMV - I know one of his daughters who actually does find him comforting, but they have a completely different relationship than he and I do.

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« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 03:46:40 pm by Marilyn/Absentminded »
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Sharysa

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Re: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 04:24:50 pm »
Quote from: Malia;58203
I just thought I'd start a thread where people can share how they perceive their honored deities, including both spiritual and physical representation. Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?

For the past seven/eight years, I only perceived the Morrigan as a presence or a voice in my head. Spiritually, she "feels" like that person who can walk into a room and have everyone look at her--but less in the "drop-dead gorgeous" way as opposed to the "puts everyone just a little bit on-guard" way. An animal I strongly associate the Morrigan with is the crow, which someone suggested may not be the goddess Morrigan, but the aspect of the Morrigan that's known specifically as Badb.

Which leads me to a big concept I associate her with: Drive. My theater professor frequently states that the most important thing an actor needs is the drive for it: To be an actor, you can't put theater above anything but your family's welfare and the need for shelter/food. When I first started out, he constantly told me that I have more than enough drive to be an actor--I just wouldn't accept it until recently.

And then this February, I found out just how MUCH drive I had: The minute I found out that my dream production (Spring Awakening) was going up in my home town, I asked her for help and said that "I will be Ilse Fucking Neumann if I have to cut a bitch."

Three months and a whole lot of epiphanies later, I realized that this is why she helped me, and maybe why she called me to follow her in the first place. I didn't just ask for help: I told her with utmost sincerity, to her face, that "I will do any-goddamn-thing I have to for this."

On May 31 when I was just about done with things, I finally saw her face. Well, it feels more like she finally showed it to me. And even her "appearance" is more like the "essence" of an appearance as opposed to "This is what I look like." Copied from my LiveJournal: "When I blinked, I saw a pale, stark woman with sunken dark eyes and a mass of black hair. She was gaunt and her skin was stretched tight over her bones. She smiled at me with her teeth, and it felt like the reflection from a knife."

-
Another god I've been working with is Aengus Og, the Irish god of love. He has always felt like the "essence" of love for me; more recently I asked him what he'd look like as a human and he told me in no uncertain terms, "THIS."

John Barrowman is as famous for being obscenely attractive and charismatic as he is for playing Captain Jack Harkness--who, incidentally enough, is known for being pan/omnisexual. It's not just that he loves everything HUMAN; he loves everything, human, animal, or alien, and everything loves him back. That's definitely someone a god of love would identify with.

In addition to seeing the Morrigan's face, I get the feeling that the gods are big--both in physical size and power/strength. Again, copied from my LJ: I realized how huge they were. I'm five feet tall and I barely reached their chests, so they'd be at least six feet. [...] [T]hey kind of... shone, but in different ways. The Morrigan's was really contained and harsh like a fluorescent light, and Aengus' was... magnetic? Like, he'd be the "flame" in "like moths to a flame."

One shared concept that the Morrigan and Aengus Og keep telling me is that of letting go. For the Morrigan, it's "Let go of everything that doesn't work for you (anymore)," "Let go of people's opinions of you," and "Let go of hiding your doubts/pain/insecurities." For Aengus Og, it's "Let go of shielding yourself/others from pain," "Let go of your inhibitions," and "Let go of trying to know everything."
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 04:28:50 pm by Sharysa »
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Shine

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Re: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2012, 04:33:05 pm »
Quote from: Malia;58203
I just thought I'd start a thread where people can share how they perceive their honored deities, including both spiritual and physical representation. Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?

 
Historically (and I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong), my gods have been understood as being . . . well, impossible to visualize. In other words, any images or descriptions of the Netjer are inadequate, and yet--

In her capacity as Eye of Ra, I see Bast as the sunbeams coming down. Otherwise, I usually see her as a black cat with a golden collar, though sometimes I've gotten the "sense" of a cat-headed woman. In general, when I see a cat, I think, "Bast!"

Sometimes, I kind of get a sense of Bast in joy.

Anpu has mostly been a jackal-headed man to me, but whenever I pay attention, I kind of see him woven through my thought processes whenever I'm solving a once difficult problem. He's the "Opener of the Way", to me, for the brain. :) An intellectual force, if you will.

I also see Anpu in canines of all kinds, maybe more in coyotes, and larger, graceful breeds.

I also have a necklace that Bast shares with me, and a garnet (I think it's garnet) bracelet that Anpu shares with me. They're never far away when I wear those things. ^^
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HekaPan

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Re: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2012, 09:11:53 am »
Quote from: Malia;58203
I just thought I'd start a thread where people can share how they perceive their honored deities, including both spiritual and physical representation. Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?

Hekate has been the one calling me to service for several years now and Pan has come into the picture just recently after meditating with Hekate as to which God would be my Patron. I definitely do not view them in the "Lady and Her Consort" aspect but as Deities that I serve and feel comfortable calling them "my Lord and Lady" as individual deities.
 
I also work with Hestia, but She is the one in charge with hearth and home. The way this relationship works with Hestia, Hekate, and Pan . . . Hestia presides in the kitchen, hearth, and shares the garden with Hekate and Pan. Pan presides in the outdoor workings (forests and woods), shares the shamanic aspect with Hekate, and of course the garden with both, Hekate (whom I work with most) presides over all things Witchcraft and Conjure. Of all three, Hekate is the one who takes on the Mother figure for me, but I laugh at those who think She is all "Light and Love". She is both Light and Dark, and does not hesitate to show tough love to those whom She's called to serve Her.
 
I also believe that my Deities chose me and I just vowed to be in their service. Another interesting tidbit, if any other Deity wants to come into the picture, if Hekate, Pan, and Hestia do not approve, it's a no go.
Yours in the Craft,

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Sobekemiti

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Re: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2012, 03:15:18 am »
Quote from: Malia;58203
I just thought I'd start a thread where people can share how they perceive their honored deities, including both spiritual and physical representation. Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?


I tend to see Sobek as a saltwater crocodile, or as a reptilian humanoid anthro croc-headed thing. His crocodilian nature is always emphasised, though, no matter the form. There's also a less- strong association with some carnivorous dinosaurs and sharks too, though that's not an historical association.

I don't particularly have anything for Heru-sa-Aset, though, apart from a brown hawk/falcon/bird of prey, sitting behind my head. I see His sharp eyes more than anything else, and that screeching cry. Once, He was a warm breeze circling around me. As Harpocrates/Heru-pa-khered, I tend to see Him more as a Creatrix, sitting on a lotus flower in the centre of all Creation on the first mound of land, usually as a child or baby, being watched over by Sobek. Sometimes Sobek and Heru are twin stars.

Aset's harder, though. I mostly see Her as a shape-shifter, so She takes many guises and appearances with me. Either She is winged, or She is a regal Queen, or She is nursing Heru, amongst other things. Blue and gold are the primary colours I associate with Her. As Aset-Nut, She is much more Cosmic and incomprehensible, more of a Creator God. As Aset-Nebthet, She is mourning for Wesir. I can also find Her in the quiet silence, or as the Green Earth. She is the birds, the wind, and blazing summer sun, as well as the bowels of the Earth with Wesir. She is all these things to me.

The only difference I perceive between Yinepu and Wepwawet is colour. Yinepu is a black jackal/canid, whereas Wepwawet is more of a golden-grey sort of jackal/canid.

Djehuty is either ibis-headed, or an ibis. Or Rafiki, from the Lion King. Because Rafiki is totally Djehuty, and Mufasa is Wesir, and Simba is Heru. Obviously.

There are a whole different set of dream!appearances that are different to these though. Symbols/appearances I only see Them use in dreams that's particular to my own practice and won't make sense to anyone else, so I won't bother listing them.
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MoonCrone

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Re: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2012, 11:49:36 am »
Quote from: Malia;58203
I just thought I'd start a thread where people can share how they perceive their honored deities, including both spiritual and physical representation. Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?


Lovely topic for a thread!
I believe no two people involved with the same Deity will experience them in exactly the same way if what I have already heard from others reported back to me is anything to go by... so baring that in mind, I can only say how it's been for me.  It really all depends on the situation I'm facing and the Deity involved... for instance, when I call upon MamaCoca to assist with my efforts to heal, I feel her change from a reddy brown 2-D image to a glowing in green and gold lights 3-D one... while if I call upon Lord Ganesh to help with an enterprize, I feel him become from static and serious to quite animated and jolly...  while Anubis, who usually "comes through" when I have somebody I love pass over to Summerlands props me up and helps me to cope with my grief by a sort of lifting feeling... while Pan is the one who lead me into temptation all too often which is precisely why I wear his image around my neck.  ;)
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Varian

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Re: How Do You View the Deities You Honor?
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2013, 03:13:34 pm »
Quote from: Malia;58203
Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?


I see the Morrigan (my main deity) as a pale woman in black with black hair.  Recently She appeared to me wearing red, with red hair, ready to do battle if it came to that.  I associate Her with a feeling of courage, victory and protection.  I also associate Her with the crow I heard caw every morning as I went to class--I think She was looking out for me even then.

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