The Gods

CALL TO THE GOD

CALL TO THE GOD

Ancient God of the forest deeps,
Master of beast and Sun;
Here where the world is hushed and sleeps
Now that the day is done.
I call You in the ancient way
Here in my circle round,
Asking that You will hear me pray
And send Your Sun force down.

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Offerings to the Gods: What’s an Acceptable Gift?

Offerings to the Gods

What’s an Acceptable Gift?

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In many Pagan and Wiccan traditions, it’s not uncommon to make some sort of offering or sacrifice to the gods. Bear in mind that despite the reciprocal nature of our relationship with the divine, it’s not a matter of “I’m offering you this stuff so you’ll grant my wish.” It’s more along the lines of “I honor you and respect you, so I’m giving you this stuff to show you how much I appreciate your intervention on my behalf.”

So the question arises, then, of what to offer them? Different types of deities seem to respond best to different kinds of offerings. For example, you wouldn’t offer flowers to a war god, would you? When making an offering, it’s important to think about what the god represents. The Roman Cato described an offering for agricultural prosperity: Make offerings to keep your oxen in good health. Make the following sacrifices to Mars… three pounds of wheat, four-and-a-half of lard, four-and-a-half of meat and three pints of wine. While it’s probably not necessary to go that far and offer up enough food to feed a small army to your god, the passage does illustrate the fact that our ancestors thought enough of their gods to take their offerings very seriously.

In general, bread, milk and wine are nearly always appropriate for any deity. Here are some ideas for specific offerings you can make to deities, based upon the types of gods they are:

Hearth and Home Gods:

  • Food: Bread and grains, cooking oil, salt
  • Drink: Milk, wine, cider
  • Herbs: Rosemary, thyme

Gods of Love and Passion:

  • Food: Eggs, honey, apples
  • Drink: Wine, fruit juice
  • Herbs: Lavender, sandalwood

Garden/Nature Deities:

  • Food: Bread, cornmeal, fruit
  • Drink: Milk, water
  • Herbs: Bay

Gods of Prosperity and Abundance:

  • Food: Grains, dairy products like cheese or eggs
  • Drink: Milk, beer
  • Herbs: Mint, pennyroyal, catnip

Ancestor Spirits:

  • Food: Any meal from your family’s table
  • Drink: Drinks from the family table
  • Herbs: Sage, sweetgrass

Childbirth or Fertility Godesss:

  • Food: Eggs, baked sweets like cookies
  • Drink: Milk (including breast milk)
  • Herbs: Rose, sandalwood, apple blossoms

 

Source:
About.com

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Appropriate Worship – Honoring the Gods the Right Way

Appropriate Worship – Honoring the Gods the Right Way

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One issue that comes up often for people learning about modern Pagan spirituality is the concept of appropriate worship. There tends to be some question about what, exactly, is the right offering to make to the gods or goddesses of one’s tradition — and how we should honor them when making those offerings.

Let’s imagine that you have two friends. First, we have Jill. She likes French cuisine, Meg Ryan movies, soft music and expensive wine. She’s someone who lets you cry on her shoulder when you’re feeling blue, and she offers some wise and thoughtful insight when you can’t solve a problem on your own. One of her best qualities is her ability to listen.

You also have a friend named Steve. He’s a lot of fun, and sometimes shows up at your house at midnight toting a six-pack. Steve likes watching movies with lots of explosions, took you to your first Metallica concert, and can rebuild a Harley with his eyes closed. He eats mostly bratwurst and Funyuns, enjoys picking up strippers at bars, and is the guy you call when you want to have a good time.

When Jill comes over, are you going to have a nice quiet dinner with a glass of wine and Josh Groban playing in the background, or are you going to hand her a cheeseburger and a beer, pull out the Wii for a round of God of War, and stay up until 3 am seeing who can burp and fart the loudest?

Likewise, if Steve shows up, are you going to do things that he enjoys, or are you going to say, “Hey, Steve, let’s watch Steel Magnolias and talk about our feelings?

Much like our friends Jill and Steve, the gods have certain things they like and value, and certain things they don’t. To offer one of them something better suited to another is not only disrespectful, it shows that you really don’t know them at all and worse yet, haven’t even taken the time to learn about them. What do you think Steve is going to say when you offer him a vegetarian soup and turn on some chick flick? He’s going to bail, that’s what he’s going to do. Because not only did you present him with something he dislikes, but you’re showing a fundamental lack of knowledge of someone you claim is your friend.

Sure, you love Jill and Steve equally, but they’re not the same person, and they don’t have the same likes and dislikes. The gods are the same way — you may honor both Aphrodite and Mars, but that doesn’t mean Mars wants to you to leave him a bouquet of flowers and a glass of milk while you sing him Kumbaya. You can also be sure that Aphrodite probably isn’t interested in offerings of blood and raw meat, or warrior chants.

The idea of right or appropriate worship is not about someone telling you what’s “right or wrong.” It is simply the concept that one should take the time to do things – including worship and offerings – in a way that is conducive to the demands and needs of the god or goddess in question.

When you honor the gods, take the time to put some thought into it. Ask yourself what it is you hope to obtain by making the offering — are you trying to gain something, or merely show your appreciation and gratitude to the Divine? Learn about the types of deities you’re about to honor, and study the specific gods and goddesses of your tradition, so that when you do make an offering or present a ritual in their name, you can do so in a way that truly does them honor.

 

Source:

About.com

 

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Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

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Question: Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

I’m interested in Wicca, but my mom says Wiccans and Pagans don’t believe in God. I feel weird not believing in a universal force of some sort. What’s the deal here?

Answer: The deal is that most Wiccans and Pagans see “god” as more of a job title than a proper name. They don’t worship the Christian god, but that doesn’t mean they don’t accept the existence of deity. Various Wiccan and Pagan traditions honor different gods. Some see all deities as one, and may refer to The God or The Goddess. Others may worship specific gods or goddesses – Cernunnos, Brighid, Isis, Apollo, etc. – from their own tradition. Because there are so many different forms of Pagan belief, there are nearly as many gods and goddesses to believe in.

Many Pagans, including but not limited to Wiccans, are willing to accept the presence of the Divine in all things. Because Wicca and Paganism place a good deal of emphasis on the idea that experiencing the divine is something for everyone, not just select members of the clergy, it’s possible for a Wiccan or Pagan to find something sacred within the mundane. For example, the whisper of wind through the trees or the roar of the ocean can both be considered divine. Not only that, many Pagans feel that the divine lives within each of us. It’s rare to find a Pagan or Wiccan who sees the gods as judgmental or punishing. Instead, most view the gods as beings that are meant to be walked beside, hand in hand, and honored.

Another aspect of this that’s important to keep in mind is that not everyone who is a Pagan happens to be Wiccan. There are many other paths of Paganism, many of which are polytheistic. Some Pagan paths are based on a concept that all gods are one. There are also some Pagans who follow an earth- or nature-based belief system outside of the concept of deity completely.

 

Source:

About.com

 

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WOTC’s Extra – Goddesses/Gods You Can Call On for Specific Spellworking

Goddesses You Can Call Upon for Specific Spellwork:

Aphrodite: Greek; Goddess of passionate, sexual love.
Aphrodite will assist you in pulling loving energy toward yourself.
Aradia: Italian; Queen of the Witches, daughter of Diana.
Aradia is an extremely powerful entity and a protectress of Witches in general.
Artemis: Greek; Goddess of the Moon.
Astarte: Greek; Fertility Goddess.
Whether you wish to bear children or have a magnificent garden, Astarte will assist in your desire.
Demeter: Greek; Earth Mother archetype.
Excellent Goddess where birthing or small children are involved.
Diana: Roman; Moon Goddess and Goddess of the Hunt. Diana is many faceted.
She is seductress (as she enchanted her brother Lucifer to beget Aradia in the form of a cat) as well as a mother figure for Witches.
Isis: Egyptia; represents the Complete Goddess or the Triple Goddess connotation in one being.
Persephone: Greek; Goddess of the Underworld as well as Harvest. Daughter of Demeter.
Selene: Greek; Goddess of the Moon and Solutions.
Appeal to Selene to bring a logical answer to any problem.
Venus: Roman; Goddess of Love and Romance

 

Gods You Can Call Upon for Specific Spellwork:

Adonis: Greek; consort of Aphrodite. Also another name for “lord”.
In Phoenician his counterpart is Astarte.
A vegetarian God. Roman counterpart is Venus.
Apollo: Greek and Roman; twin brother of Artemis. God of the Sun, Light and the Arts.
Cernunnos: Celtic; Horned God and consort of the Lady. Also Kernunnos.
Eros: Greek; God of Romance and Passionate Love.
Hymen: Greek; God of Marriage and Commitment. His counterpart is Dionysus.
Luce: Italian; Soul mate and Brother of Diana. Father of Arcadia. God of the Sun and Light.
Osiris: wiccan; counterpart of Isis. Over-all God form including vegetation and after-life.
Pan: Greek; God of Nature and the Woods, Laughter and Passion.
Also music and personal abandon. Of course, you can refer to either the God and/or Goddess as merely Lord and Lady if it makes you feel more comfortable.

 

 

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The Myth of Cupid and Psyche (The Divine Love Story)

The Myth of Cupid and Psyche

The Divine Love Story or Myth of Cupid and Psyche

By , About.com

The great Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, was born from the foam near the island of Cyprus, for which reason she is referred to as “the Cyprian.” Aphrodite was a jealous goddess, but she was also passionate. Not only did she love the men and gods in her life, but her sons and grandchildren, as well. Sometimes her possessive instincts led her too far. When her son Cupid found a human to love — one whose beauty rivaled hers — Aphrodite did all in her power to thwart the marriage.

How Cupid and Psyche Met

Psyche was worshiped for her beauty in her homeland. This drove Aphrodite mad, so she sent a plague and let it be known the only way the land could get back to normal was to sacrifice Psyche. The king, who was Psyche’s father, tied Psyche up and left her to her death at the hands of some presumed fearsome monster. You may note that this isn’t the first time in Greek mythology that this happened. The great Greek hero Perseus found his bride, Andromeda, tied up as prey for a sea monster. Andromeda was sacrificed to appease Poseidon who had ravaged the country of Ethiopia, which was ruled by her father, after Queen Cassiopeia had boasted about her own beauty. In the case of Psyche, it was Aphrodite’s son Cupid who released and married the princess.

The Mystery About Cupid

Unfortunately for the young couple, Cupid and Psyche, Aphrodite was not the only one trying to foul things up. Psyche had two sisters who were as jealous as Aphrodite.

Cupid was a wonderful lover and husband to Psyche, but there was one odd thing about their relationship: He made sure Psyche never saw what he looked like. Psyche didn’t mind. She had a fulfilling night life in the dark with her husband, and during the day, she had all the luxuries she could ever want.

When the sisters learned about the luscious, extravagant lifestyle of their lucky, beautiful sister, they urged Psyche to pry into the area of his life that Psyche’s husband kept hidden from her.

Cupid was a god, and gorgeous as he had to have been with Aphrodite for a mother, but for reasons known best to him, he didn’t want his mortal wife to see his form. Psyche’s sister didn’t know he was a god, although they may have suspected it. However, they did know that Psyche’s life was much happier than theirs. Knowing their sister well, they preyed on her insecurities and persuaded Psyche that her husband was a hideous monster.

Psyche assured her sisters they were wrong, but since she’d never seen him, even she started having doubts. Psyche decided to satisfy the girls’ curiosity, so that night she took a candle to her sleeping husband in order to look at him.

Cupid Deserts Psyche

Cupid’s angelic form was exquisite, so Psyche stood there gawking at her husband with her candle melting. While Psyche dawdled, ogling, a bit of wax dripped on her husband. Her rudely awakened, irate, disobeyed, injured husband-angel-god flew away.

“See, I told you she was a no good human,” said mother Aphrodite to her convalescing son Cupid. “Now you’ll have to be content among the gods.”

Cupid might have gone along with the de facto divorce, but Psyche couldn’t. Impelled by love of her gorgeous husband, she implored her mother-in-law to give her another chance. Aphrodite agreed, but ungraciously, saying, “I cannot conceive that any serving-wench as hideous as yourself could find any means to attract lovers save by making herself their drudge; wherefore now I myself will make trial of your worth.”

The Epic Trials of Psyche

But Aphrodite had no intention of playing fair. She devised 4 tasks (not 3 as is conventional in mythic hero quests; this is a feminine story), each task more exacting than the last. Psyche passed the first 3 challenges with flying colors:

  1. sort a huge mount of barley, millet, poppy seeds, lentils, and beans.   Ants (pismires) help her sort the grains within the time allotted.
  2. gather a hank of the wool of the shining golden sheep.   A reed tells her how to accomplish this task without being killed by the vicious animals.
  3. fill a crystal vessel with the water of the spring that feeds the Styx and Cocytus.   An eagle helps her out.

But the last task was too much for Psyche:

4. Aphrodite asked Psyche to bring her back a box of Persephone’s beauty cream.

Going to the Underworld was a challenge for the bravest of the Greek mythical heroes. Demigod Hercules could go to the Underworld without much bother, but even Theseus had trouble and had to be rescued by Hercules. Psyche barely batted an eye when Aphrodite told her she would have to go to the most dangerous region known to mortals. That part was easy, especially after the tower told her how to find the entryway to the Underworld, how get around Charon and Cerberus, and how to behave before the Underworld queen.

The part of the fourth task that was too much for Psyche was the temptation to make herself more beautiful. If the perfect beauty of the perfect goddess Aphrodite needed this Underworld beauty cream, Psyche reasoned, how much more would it help an imperfect mortal woman? Thus, Psyche retrieved the box successfully, but then she opened it and fell into a deathlike sleep, as Aphrodite had secretly predicted.

  “And by and by shee opened the boxe where she could perceive no beauty nor any thing else, save onely an infernall and deadly sleepe, which immediatly invaded all her members as soone as the boxe was uncovered, in such sort that she fell downe upon the ground, and lay there as a sleeping corps.”   William Adlington Translation (1566)

Reunion and Happy Ending to the Myth of Cupid and Psyche

At this point, divine intervention was called for if the story were to have an ending that made anyone really happy. With Zeus’ connivance, Cupid brought his wife to Olympus where, at Zeus’s command, she was given nectar and ambrosia so she would become immortal.

  “Incontinently after Jupiter commanded Mercury to bring up Psyches, the spouse of Cupid, into the Pallace of heaven. And then he tooke a pot of immortality, and said, Hold Psyches, and drinke, to the end thou maist be immortall, and that Cupid may be thine everlasting husband.

On Olympus, in the presence of the other gods, Aphrodite reluctantly reconciled with her pregnant daughter-in-law, who was about to give birth to a grandchild Aphrodite would (obviously) dote on, Pleasure.

Another Story of Cupid and Psyche

C.S. Lewis took Apuleius’ version of this myth and turned it on its ear in Till We Have Faces. The tender love story is gone. Instead of having the story seen through the eyes of Psyche, it’s seen through her sister Orval’s perspective. Instead of the refined Aphrodite of the Roman story, the mother goddess in C.S. Lewis’ version is a far more weighty, chthonic Earth-Mother-Goddess power.

More on C.S. Lewis and the re-telling of the Cupid and Psyche myth: A Great Gulf Fixed: The Problem of Obsessive Love in C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces

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CALL OF THE GOD

Witchy Comments & Graphics

CALL OF THE GODI am the radiant King of the Heavens, flooding the Earth with warmth and
encouraging the hidden seed of creation to burst forth into manifestation. I
lift my shining spear to light the lives of all beings and daily pour forth my
gold upon the Earth, putting to flight the powers of darkness.

I am the master of the beasts wild and free. I run with the swift stag and soar
as a sacred falcon against the shimmering sky. The ancient woods and wild places emanate my powers, and the birds of the air sing of my sanctity.

I am also the last harvest, offering up grain and fruits beneath the sickle of
time so that all may be nourished. For without planting there can be no harvest;
without winter, no spring.

Worship me as the thousand-named Sun of creation, the spirit of the horned stag
in the wild, the endless harvest. See in the yearly cycle of festivals my birth,
death and rebirth – and know that such is the destiny of all creation.

I am the spark of life, the radiant Sun, the giver of peace and rest, and I send
my rays of blessings to warm the hearts and strengthen the minds of all.

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Deity of the Day – BAAL

Deity of the Day – BAAL

He is the Canaanite Ruler God (like Marduk). Baal and Yam-Nahar origonally competed for kingship of the gods. The matter was brought before El, who decided in favour of Yam. Yam then proceeded with a reign of tyranny over the gods, and none of them felt they had the power to defeat Yam. So, they sent Asherah to entreat him to lossen his grip. Asherah even offered herself to Yam. Upon hearing this, Baal was enraged, and decided to defeat Yam. Yam got wind of Baal’s plan and sent messengers to El with the demand that Baal be delivered to him. El, afraid, agreed. Baal then taunted the gods for their cowardice and went to face Yam. He had two weapons made, Yagrush (chaser) and Aymur (driver). He struck Yam on the chest with Yagrush to no avail. Then he struck him on the forehead with Aymur and fell Yam to the earth. After Yam’s defeat, Baal had a palace built for himself; closely resembeling the story of Marduk. It also resembles Marduk’s story in that the Primeval Waters threatened the gods, and the High God and others were afraid to face them, with the exception of the soon-to-be Ruler God. The Baal epic then continues to describe his fight against Mavet. Baal is also a Storm God like Marduk, and a fertility god like Tammuz. Dagon is his father. Baal is the Canaanite God-force (the goddess force seems to be split between Anath and Asherah). Baal’s proper name is Hadad, relating to his storm-god aspect. Baal is really a title, meaning “Lord”.

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