I've had some recent requests to go over deity worship, how to get started, and what to do for different pantheons.
This is actually a fantastic topic; just because you're a witch and don't have a set religion yet doesn't mean you aren't looking for one. The best part of witchcraft is being able to incorporate it into a religious or spiritual practice of your chosing. And this is a blog for finding your spiritual path, after all. Sooo...
We're going to have a mini-series! Every week I'm going to talk about deity worship, different pantheons and the gods in them, the religious systems they're based off of, and how to get started with worship.
Note: I'm doing this from a researched-based standpoint. So any information I find that conflicts with you feel free to comment, shoot me an email, or research for yourself and let me know you findings on the Facebook group. Let's learn and grow together through this series!
To get started, I wanted to address something:
Unlike different kinds of salts or crystals or other magical elements, deities aren't correspondences. Yes, they have their strengths and if you choose to worship any god-like being you should research and learn about them.
However, do not flit from one god to another just because you were interested in cooking magic at first and changed to astral planes. Your preferences for magic can change but working with a being should be like working in any other relationship. Treat them with the same consideration you'd like from them.
Step One: Assess your beliefs
First you need to sit with yourself and go over your beliefs.
What if I don't know where to start?
Try this: take a notebook or piece of paper and write down what someone would have to believe in order to be you. Start small and work yourself larger or deeper.
For example, for someone to be me they'd have to believe in magic coming from manipulating the energy around us.
Or that autumn is the best season; the world is changing, energies are shifting, and the cycles of our lives are about to come full circle.
Or that the little things in relationships matter, whether it be remembering a favorite candy or having a day where you do nothing but relax together.
Sit and think for some time about the things you love, value, and believe. It's a great starting point.
Step two: research
First thing you always need to do, no matter what, is research the different pantheons, their histories, and their religious beliefs. This way you can see if they mesh with your own.
The next few weeks may help with this since I'm going to introduce different pantheons, but research on your own in the meantime.
After you've picked a pantheon, look through it's gods and goddesses and see which one speaks the most to you. You're picking the deity you'd like to start working with, worshiping, or serving so think about it!
Don't count out reading about mythological stories about the different gods and goddesses, by the way. The only reason I know as much as I do (which is still pretty limited compared to other people) about the Greek pantheon is because of years of play analysis, personal curiosity, and playing games like God of War and SMITE.
Yes, there's some issues with original stories, but it's definitely a start.
Step Three: Understand the information
It's one thing to go over information but it's another to understand it.
Take all your research and compile it about your deity. Know them backwards and forwards! If you enjoy reading stories this isn't too difficult of a task.
Step four: introduce yourself
Now that you've chosen a pantheon and a deity, introduce yourself!
Every being will have their particular preferences for offerings so look through their mythology and history to find them. There's also some everyday methods you can start implementing:
**NOTE: I have no clue what to do with the food after you've offered it. Every person I've asked says to leave it outside and let animals take it, but that idea doesn't make sense for some traditions. For example, Day of the Dead has a tradition where you leave your departed relative's favorite meal at the time for them while you eat. You'd be eating inside so it wouldn't make sense to take the food out for animals. I'm going to say it's up to you and your discretion for getting rid of leftovers. Just try to do it respectfully and still with your deity's meanings and representation in mind.**
Step Five: build a relationship
Once your deity has decided to make contact with you, you can start building a relationship with them!
They can contact you through a number of ways. Some like to appear in dreams, some like sending their forms or familiars your way, or some even may appear as a vision during meditation. It just depends on the deity you've chosen.
Also, I should point out that sometimes the deity chooses you. You make be building certain abilities they want to help you with or they find you a worthy being to work with. I've seen some people be contacted by Hecate, The Morrigan, and Loki this way but it all depends.
To build a relationship, pay attention to when you should honor them. Do they have a set time of year they like to be recognized? Any specific rites you have to go through to show proper respect and acknowledgement?
I really love the goddess Chang-E, who is the Moon Goddess for Chinese mythology. However, she only likes acknowledgement during the Chinese Autumnal Festival with mooncakes for offerings. I haven't tried speaking to her yet but at least I know what to do.
Other goddesses I would be interested working with, like Modron, don't have any information about offerings or when to pay respects. Also, when she has appeared to me before, Modron made it clear that she's passive and will be here if I need guidance. So I honor her in everyday ways, like taking care of my daughter as she's a motherly Welsh goddess.
Through working with your deities in meditation you can figure out how they want you to honor them. When you need their assistance, always ask for them to lend their strength to you respectfully. This can be easily done during a ritual based around their practices.
Can you worship more than one deity?
Yes, but be careful.
Some deities get upset if you go to another for guidance or strength; they're your patron god, not someone else. This mostly happens when you have two deities who house the same areas.
You can always have a discussion with your deity about bringing in another for guidance and see their reaction. But the choice is ultimately up to you.