While meditating yesterday, I was drawn to focus on the image of a woman – the Goddess. She was smiling; I sensed that she was extending her hands to me she might teach me. As I took her hand, I saw the image of a man – the God – standing in the shadows. He too had a warm smile on his face, but he did not make any movement toward me. He nodded at me and seemed to tell me that he was content to wait until I was ready to seek him out. And then the vision was gone.
My background is dominated by patriarchal religious fundamentalism of the Baptist flavor. Men are venerated over women in the Bible, which is a reflection of the people who wrote it. This way of life – patriarchy – was taught to me at church, at the school I attended from K-4 through 12th grade, and at the Baptist college I attended. The god of the Bible is male, and boy does he have a temper! He was to be feared and obeyed, lest he choose to strike you down. His son, Jesus, was a much nicer fellow, whom I always viewed as the kind-hearted ambassador who kept his father from smashing us like bugs. In short, my previous experiences with male divinity and masculinity have not been positive. As a result, I struggle with approaching the male side of the divine right now. It will take time for me to learn how to reclaim the divine masculine.
Conversely, the female side of divinity is completely new to me. The notion that women may have divine status as well is incredibly empowering and has already had a huge impact on me. Instead of being stuck as the gender which led Adam astray (and, as a result, cast the whole world into sin), we may see ourselves as the beautiful, good beings that we are. The Goddess has always appears as a mother-figure to me. She offers warmth, love, nourishment, and protection like a good mother does for her children. This aspect of the divine is what I need to heal my hurts and help me as I change and grow into who I am meant to be. I find great joy in discovering the divine feminine.
I am a huge fan of balance. I find it is very important in my own life; I’ve seen the damage caused by imbalance in my life and the lives of others. At some point in the future, I will embrace a more balanced approach to the divine – embracing both the female and male aspects equally – but I’m not ready for that yet. And the divines know that and understand, as my vision so kindly reminded me. The God is waiting for me, patiently, knowing that I will one day find and reclaim him in my life.
Lately I’ve been looking for a patron goddess (and perhaps a god). There are lists and lists of deities out there, but I am looking for the goddess whose name and area of influence speaks to me personally.
Here are the ones who have jumped out at me (there are a lot):
Airmid: Celtic goddess of healing, medicine, and Spring; brings the dead back to life
Arianrhod: Welsh Celtic goddess of air, reincarnation, full moons, the stars, karma, the Wheel of the Year, the web of fate, and retribution
Brigit: Irish Celtic goddess, midwife, protector of women and children; ruled over agriculture, healing, divination, occult knowledge, poetry, prophecy, and metal work
Cerridwen: Welsh Celtic goddess of the moon, magic, poetry, music, luck, earth, agriculture, art, science, astrology, death, and fertility; keeper of the cauldron
Modron: Welsh Celtic goddess of Autumn, the harvest, magic, ritual, and fertility
Rhiannon: Welsh Celtic goddess of sunlight; her name means “the golden wheel” Read more…
I’ve been interested in paganism for about a year now, and have been doing a lot of reading and searching. I would like to start chronicling my research and spiritual journeying here on this blog.
I picked up this book – Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce and River Higginbotham – and have been greatly enjoying it. After most chapters there is a section of thought-provoking questions that (for once) I actually want to answer. I’m going to start listing the important questions and my answer to them here.
Chapter 1 – What Is Paganism?
1. In what ways is Paganism influencing movies, music, commercials, consumer products, businesses, and other religions?
I’ve picked up a few things, but, if they are positive they are often subtle. Most cultural references to Paganism are portrayed in a negative way: crazy hippie people who act like they’re always on dope, creepy witch lady, serial killers in crime shows surrounded by pentagrams and talking about rituals, evil and ugly witches in fairy tales. I think 90% of cultural portrayal is inaccurate to what Paganism is.
What was the first Pagan reference or idea you encountered in the general culture?
Fairy tales like Snow White
2. What was your impression of Paganism before you began studying it?
Weird. Possibly creepy. Seems irrational. What about devil worship?
What do your friends and family think of your new interest?
Not many people know. My mom freaked out, as IFB parents are wont to do, and decided it was the Devil’s work. My ex told me it was cool and then told me it was creepy and asked me to stop looking into it. My current partner is in support of it and somewhat curious as well.
3. Why are you studying Paganism at this time, and what do you most want to gain from this book?
I want to live a peaceful, joyful life – balance and harmony are big. Paganism seems to promote those things that are important to me. I think Paganism has it “right” by not claiming to be right in the same way other religions do. I hope to find out more about Paganism through this book, as well to find out more about myself during the learning journey.
4. Who was the first Pagan you ever met?
Possibly a former massage therapist, not sure.
5. What experience have you had with Paganism so far that has been the most fun, the most rewarding, or made the deepest impression on you?
The deep, intellectual-yet-simple nature of Paganism has made a big impression on me. It’s not complicated, but there’s so much to think about and experience, so much to learn!