Category Archives: Gods and Goddesses
Non-Christian Spirituality and Loss
A few weeks ago my mother-in-law passed away.
In Western (American) society funerals are conducted a certain way (for the most part.) A portion of that funeral is to have someone who represents your faith speak at your funeral. If you’re Catholic – a priest says some words. If you’re Baptist a preacher says some things. This includes prayer and in some cases song.
I have never been a Christian church-goer. That is, to say, I have never been part of a church. My immediate family has also never been part of a church of any denomination However, when it came time to say the Lord’s Prayer or sing all the verses of Amazing Grace – I knew all the words.
The preacher and other family members would say things like “God bless you.” and I would return the sentiment. My husband was a bit astounded by me shaking the preacher’s hand and saying “God bless you” and giving him an ‘offering’ for speaking at the services.
But honey, you’re Pagan.
Just because I am Pagan doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God. I do believe in God .. and his counterpart Goddess. I can say God bless you to Christians with a clear conscience I am not misleading them. I am not being facetious. I sincerely mean that I hope God – in whatever shape or form they believe in – blesses them.
When I gave an offering to the preacher as a thanks for his time to come and speak at the funeral – I didn’t do it because it is just ‘how it is.’ I did it because he was taking time out of his schedule to come and speak in front of a very wounded and grieving family to bring them peace and comfort. That should not be free. That, my friends, is an energy exchange.
He is using his personal power and energy to bring some comfort to people who are in pain and he should be compensated. Did he do so successfully? He made us all laugh, cry, and reminisce – so yes. He did.
We, as humans, are the ones who put things in boxes. The divine does not. When a Christian speaks about God and a Pagan speaks about God – we are the only ones who think we’re talking about two different beings.
In regards to religion and situations like this – I feel it is important to look from outside the lines we’ve drawn. I can always say “Goddess bless you.” However, I don’t. When speaking with known Christians and when I tell them “I’ll pray for you.” I mean that. I will pray/meditate whatever … it is all the same.
Sometimes when we lose someone we love we forget that life goes on. Sometimes when we lose someone we remember just how petty everything is. And sometimes – when we lose someone very special – we learn to come to terms with things we struggle with because let’s face it … it isn’t a big deal.
Saying you’ll pray for a Christian friend – or saying “God bless you” isn’t a big deal. Lighting a candle and saying a rosary for someone who has passed away – whether you subscribe to it or not – isn’t a big deal. You are just doing what they would have done for you and there is no harm in that.
Whether you believe your loved on will be in the Summerlands, Heaven, or just be a ghost is up to you. I feel anything you believe is true. Anything you subscribe to is YOUR truth. Things you honor are real. Memories are real.
My advice is:
Honor your loved one in whatever way feels right to you. If you are a Baptist and your loved on was Catholic – say a rosary every now and then. If you are Christian and your loved one was Pagan – burn some sage and meditate once in a while.
Nothing you are comfortable with is wrong.
Choosing a Patron God or Goddess
Not everyone feels the need to choose a patron God or Goddess. Some, though, feel called to do this. A lot of what I will say in this post will probably not apply to anyone. That’s okay. I feel its never a bad thing to hear information. You don’t have to agree, disagree, adopt or transmute any of it.
In my opinion all religions have ‘characters’ which are all basically the same thing. They all share similar paths but the names have been changed. I choose, to mix and match depending on who identifies with me.
But Jen if they are all the same person why does it matter which ‘name’ you choose to call them?
Well let’s say you have a favorite book. A few years later that book becomes a film. Its named the exact same thing. The characters have the same names, but something is off. Its because the person the producer/directer has chosen to play those characters aren’t how you had pictured these people in your mind’s eye.
That’s how choosing a patron God/Goddess is to me.
Why choose a patron God or Goddess?
I think it gives you focus. It gives you a reason to focus on different aspects that you’d normally not pay attention to.
I devote myself to a different God or Goddess for a minimum of one year. There have been years I have chosen to rededicate myself to the same God or Goddess because I don’t feel my work is done. Its a way of improving aspects of yourself. I try to adapt their vibrations and energies to my life.
When I was young I pictured my Goddess as a ‘spider hag’. It was an old lady who could take the form of a spider. She was venomous but wouldn’t attack unless provoked (like most wild things.)
Later in life I learned about the Greek Pantheon and happened to put the name Hecate to my goddess. Do I worship the ex-Titan Hecate? Not really. At least I don’t think so – but there are some similarities. I happen to think if the energies of the deity I work with didn’t like me calling her Hecate I would have been corrected by now. Perhaps this Goddess doesn’t have a known name and has just allowed me to call her Hecate because that is simply what is comfortable with me.
Choosing a patron God or Goddess can give you some strength and solace. Its also a good opportunity to expose yourself to different paths that you may not be familiar with. I hope to one day feel comfortable with Oshun and ask her to lend her aspects to my life but the time has not come yet.
Some Goddesses and Gods are more picky than others. You can’t just say in your head “Yep I am now a devotee of Isis” and that be it. That is not it.
You should be able to answer:
- Why are you a devotee of this God/Goddess?
- What characteristics of them do you hope to adapt?
- What kind of daily offerings would they like?
- Am I prepared to pray to and give offerings to this God/Goddess every day?
- Am I willing to accept aspects which I may not think I need?
- How long will I devote myself?
These may seem like stupid questions but there are people who say they are a devotee of a God/Goddess yet have never had a line of communication. Gods and Goddesses will come in your meditations, dreams, while you’re typing a blog. They will present themselves in different ways and its up to you to recognize it.
There are signs. You’ll know them when you see them. Once you have inner confirmation, allow yourself some time to debate. If that God/Goddess is willing to work with you, they want you to be sure its what you want, too!
Who do you work with regularly and why? How did you know they were right for you?