Witchy practices often focus on the goddess, especially during lunar rituals such as full moon and new moon. But let us not forget her consort, the god, the masculine half of the deity. Like the goddess, the god comes in many different forms, with many different names, and he changes shape throughout the course of the year.
We draw on the same mythological pantheons for the names we call the gods as we do for our goddesses. Greek and Roman gods are often well known (Neptune, Saturn, Pluto, Mars, and Mercury… now where have I heard those before?), as are some Celtic, Norse, and Egyptian gods (among others). Even the names of the days of the week come from the names of Norse gods, such as Thor (Thor’s day became Thursday) and Woden (Wednesday).
Zeus was the father of the Greek gods and ruled from high atop Mount Olympus. (And when they say he was the father of the gods, they aren’t kidding-the guy seriously got around.) The modern-day Olympics are based on a Greek festival that was held in his honor.
Jupiter was Zeus’s Roman counterpart, and like Zeus, he was known for throwing thunderbolts bolts at those who pissed him off. This was true of Thor as well, who was a god of justice. I guess you can figure out what happened to those who didn’t play nice … (ouch, sizzle).
Many Witches like to call on gods from the Celtic pantheon, especially Cernunnos and Herne, both of whom were usually depicted as the figure of a man with stag’s antlers. It is likely that these gods were the origin, at least in part, of the Green Man and Horned God that play such an important part in Pagan worship. We also call on the sun god Lugh, especially on Lugh- nasadh, the holiday we celebrate in his honor.
Apollo was the Greek sun god who was also a god of healing. Traditionally, the sun tended to be the domain of the gods, while the moon fell under the influence of the goddess. This may explain why the god dies during the darkest time of the year and then is reborn at Yule, when the light is beginning to return.
As with the goddess, some Witches call the god by one particular name, or many, or simply use “the god.” It is worth taking the time to explore the many myths and stories surrounding the Pagan gods. Not only are the stories interesting in their own right, but you never know when some god will pop out and call your name, informing you that from that time on, you may call him-and he will answer.
–Deborah Blake, Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft
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