What are Gods?

 
Many a hotly debated discussions have taken place over the years about what Gods are and whether it is important to believe in them as actual beings or if it is only necessary to understand that they represent psychopomps in our psyche that describe a part of ourselves or the world around us. There may never be a definitive answer found to this question, since each and every witch approaches the idea of the divine from a different point. To make one grand decision for everyone would be the height of hubris. Be that as it may, the Gods do hold power over and around us through both of these paths.
 
They can unlock the power that we hold within ourselves so that we can use it readily and easily by letting that aspect of ourselves be free. Additionally, they can exist in nature and the world around us to add more power to our own. What matters is that we ally ourselves wisely with those deities or archetypes that work best for us. If you are uncomfortable with a particular deity, trying to work with that one will most likely thwart what you are trying to accomplish.
 
Sometimes it is necessary to work through that discomfort, however. For example, many pagans and witches have difficulty working with the Christian God. There is great power, though, in being able to do so. When you learn how to deal with this discomfort, you have learned to stop letting it control you.
 
In the Craft, the state of mind that you do something in can have a large impact on the results of what you are attempting to do. A spell can be given a completely opposite direction to take if you do not focus on exactly what it is that you want and let yourself become distracted by other random thoughts. This is why clarity of mind and purpose is so necessary to witchcraft.

In a nutshell, Gods are whatever you believe them to be. Before you scream in frustration, take a deep breath and read on. Looking across the world’s religions, there are a whole host of beliefs about what Gods are. Christianity believes that there is one God, and only one God, all others being false idols, and that God is removed from the world, existing on high and watching us all.

Buddhism does not believe in Gods. Instead, they believe that a person can achieve enlightenment and cease their earthly existence and move on to something better. Many tribal religions revere more than one God, choosing instead to put the divine into the natural world and unexplained things and naming them Gods.

In my studies, I have found that there are five main beliefs that religions, or most of them, fall into; Atheism, Monotheism, Duothesim, Polythiesm, and Pantheism. Starting with the easiest, atheism is the belief that there is no God or that man himself is God. Some branches of Satanism fall into this category, as well as many pagans of varied “religious” beliefs, including some types of Wicca, that see the human as the pinnacle of existence, and most people who believe that there is no God, including man.

Monotheism, then, is the belief that there is one God, or the worship of one God despite recognizing the existence of others. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all fall into this category, as do people who follow one particular God such as Gaia or Set. Closely related to Monotheism is the belief of Duotheism. A person who practices duothesim is a follower of two deities, most often a male-female pairing. Most Wiccans fall into this category or blend this with polytheism or pantheism.

Polytheism, as one might expect, is the worship of many Gods, each individual and separate. Tribal religions from around the world fall into this category as well as many pagans that are followers of the Norse paths. Finally, pantheism is the belief that all Gods are one God who has many faces so that man might understand the divine. Pantheism can also be expressed duotheistically by the belief that all Gods are one God and all Goddesses are one Goddess, both of whom wear many faces.

We still do not know, however, what Gods are. Within all of these categories, there are further subdivisions, most with no clear cut name, that allow a closer look at what gods are. The first group to look at is the people that believe that gods are literal entities. With this belief, worship is much more likely to be of an offertory nature, invoking the gods and asking them to intercede and help on the petitioner’s behalf. Most of the world’s dominant religions follow this belief, though they are scattered throughout the five types of theistic belief.

The second group believes that Gods may be literal entities, but they really aren’t sure and so they are not really going to worry about it, besides, who wants to offend a God if they’re wrong? For these people, worship is a little less offertory, though there are still offerings made. They tend to be more geared towards nature and the earth than any of the others, with the belief that the divine is in everything around them.

The second group believes that Gods may be literal entities, but they really aren’t sure and so they are not really going to worry about it, besides, who wants to offend a God if they’re wrong? For these people, worship is a little less offertory, though there are still offerings made. They tend to be more geared towards nature and the earth than any of the others, with the belief that the divine is in everything around them.

There are many other types of beliefs that are not covered here, as to what the Gods are or are not, but this give you, as a student, a place to start and discover for yourself what they mean to you and how you will interact with them. You may find, as you study and learn more, that your ideas of what the Gods are changes from time to time. This happens to almost everyone at one time or another, and is nothing to become distraught about. It is all a part of the riddle of the Gods, and they expect it.