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A pagan without a God(dess)

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  • A pagan without a God(dess)

    Isn't there some point at which the gods speak to you if you're sincerely pagan at heart?

    I've considered myself pagan for almost 15 years now, having come to it myself through study after being raised christian in my youth. I should say I'm pagan in thought and belief, if not in ritual practice. I've always had a love of mythology, animals and nature. But I've had a problem defining my beliefs in such a way that would help me form regular ritualistic practices.

    It seems everyone ends up with a very personal experience of the divine - that someone or something speaks to them. The closest I've been is discerning omens from animals - but that is wildly open to interpretation.

    People often say that they were chosen my their god... Well what if there isn't a god or goddess that wants me? It seems like I might never have that type of connection, it was never there for the christian god from my youth... And if I don't ever forge a relationship with a deity, am I really worthy of considering myself a pagan, or just some sort of wanna be?

    - Tip-toeing the raggedy edge of something magnificently dark but truly amazing...

  • #2
    I hope this helps

    What determines deity-ship? Some people say "thou art god/dess" and that is their path where deity is within all and everywhere. Other people say their deities are giant beings in the sky who never talk to anyone anymore. There are plenty of cultures who have worshipped animals as deities incarnate. So if animals are giving you omens, who is to say that that's not how your deities speak to you? If the message comes from your sister, yet it affects your entire life, who is to say that that's not a message from your deities? And what do you name your deities? There are thousands of names out there to choose from, and more that have never been used before.
    And what of the millions of people who believe they have never heard from a deity and yet believe? Their belief in who they are is just that - who they are. It doesn't matter what other people think when defining your own religion, in my opinion...and that actually holds true for quite a number of things in life.

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    • #3
      Not everyone, just those who speak about it.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SpiritMan View Post
        Isn't there some point at which the gods speak to you if you're sincerely pagan at heart?
        I can't see why there would be

        Originally posted by SpiritMan View Post
        I
        It seems everyone ends up with a very personal experience of the divine - that someone or something speaks to them.
        That's far too literal, an oversimplification of a complex function. You could say with equal justification they are just hearing things in their head. There is a flashpoint of sorts where the personal consciousness meets the collective consciousness but this channel works through the personal unconsciousness in a way that is comparable to dreams. It comes from within but there is this feeling of it being an other which is not under the control of your own mind. In my experience it took the random meeting of a piece of ancient text and memories of childhood impressions to kick the door open. I emphasize random, it seems to have been a chance thing that could have happened years earlier or later.

        Originally posted by SpiritMan View Post
        People often say that they were chosen my their god... Well what if there isn't a god or goddess that wants me? It seems like I might never have that type of connection, it was never there for the christian god from my youth...
        This choosing is often part of a package deal that includes a lot of unpleasant baggage. It's not always the wonderful arrangement it's cracked up to be. More than otherwise, when I get the deities in my dreams they become nightmares. Sometimes I feel the experience is over rated.

        Originally posted by SpiritMan View Post
        And if I don't ever forge a relationship with a deity, am I really worthy of considering myself a pagan, or just some sort of wanna be?
        You are too hung up on labels and this need for self definition. I have to wonder if that isn't part of your problem. Are you using these labels like boundaries? If your ego is walled in by to many demarcation points, and that is a risk that comes with to overuse of self definition, it can become a boundary to "spirit"

        This idea of "worthy" is a non issue and the tags don't mean much

        I don't know if you have checked out the Eastern stuff or not. If you haven't then it is a logical next step. Learning to clear your mind to open your field of perception is about the only practical suggestion I can think of at this point.
        "One between two worlds chants, "fire walk with me""

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        • #5
          I think that whatever one's God/ess might be is a very personal thing for you; and if you don't have a particular one, then maybe that's what was intended for you, by whatever force of destiny makes these decisions. So if you don't have one, it's just as valid to you as anyone else's personal deity, if you see what I mean. Your personal deity is not to have a personal deity; feeling a connection with nature, perhaps, is what's right for you.
          ~ Light up, light up, ~
          ~ As if you have a choice ~
          ~ Even if you cannot hear my voice, ~
          ~ I'll be right beside you dear. ~

          ^ Thanks to GEBS for my little friend here ^


          :

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          • #6
            Well, is this a connection that you really want, or that you just feel like you should have?

            I don't think it reflects badly on you as a person or a pagan, for what that's worth. But I'm probably biased because I find myself in a similar situation to you, although I have had "experiences" with deities, I haven't actually connected to one on a level that might establish them as my patron...

            Also, I think your view of how the divine "works" (for lack of a better term) would also play into this. I'm one of those all gods are one god people (which isn't to say that I don't think they don't have their own unique personas, I just view them as manifestations of a creator/source that all things come from), and so I haven't troubled myself too much about not having a connection with any particular form of deity because I feel connected to the Source.

            If you just feel like you're supposed to have this connection, then don't worry, I really don't think you do. Plenty of pagans get by without it. For myself, I just used a generic "Lord and Lady" type of a deal...although recently, I've been looking into "creating" gods (really, I feel like I'd just be creating personas and symbolism, not actual new deities), and if your personal belief system would lend itself to that, then you could certainly look into either one of those options.

            But if you really and truly want to find a specific deity, and you're not willing to wait any longer, then I'm not exactly sure what to suggest. I've tried to forge a connection where there wasn't one to be made and it only left me feeling miserable. However, I did manage to find some gods and goddesses that I've been friendly with through the following ways:

            • meditation.
            • gods who represent things I feel strongly about. For me, this involves love and the rain. So I have a lot of workings with love and rain deities. :D I'm closer to these gods than any others.
            • searching through cultures I admire and looking at their mythology.


            If you're fine with where you are now though, then you don't have to change it just because you think you should be doing something else because you feel like everyone else is. We're not, don't worry. ;D

            And fifteen years is a long time. I myself have been pagan for eleven. Hopefully though, it's not going to seem like that much time when I've spent thirty, fifty, sixty years. And for gods who have been around much longer than that, well who knows how they're perceiving time. So it's entirely possible you do have some special deity waiting for you who thinks that fifteen years is a perfectly reasonable amount of time to wait before they get around to bothering you. Reading some other people's experiences with their patrons, I'm kind of glad this is something I haven't gone through yet, though....

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            • #7
              Thank you everyone for your responses. I am listening and considering all that each of you say. To specify just a bit - a do yearn for a connection with deity. And Garm - I do have many of the issues with self definition you point out, I can admit that. For so long I have wandered aimlessly at the beginning of this path that I am not even sure that I have started off down it yet. I know only what interests me, which ideas seem to "click" as being right for me.

              Perhaps I'm looking at a patron-type deity too much as a door that might open to show me the way. With so many possibilities out there for gods and goddesses to honor, I had hoped even just one may step forward to help me narrow the field... Then it may be more authentic then me picking and choosing favorites. Admittedly, I'm grasping at straws here, as I have been for a long time.

              - Tip-toeing the raggedy edge of something magnificently dark but truly amazing...

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              • #8
                I remember my desperate search for a patron.

                I had some gods I felt comfortable with, that had places in my life where I honoured them. Not because I felt like they'd asked me to, but because they held some meaning for me personally and I wanted to pay tribute to them. I don't know if you do this or not, but I would suggest it if you want to start down any path of having a relationship with specific deities.

                For me, I had a problem at the beginning over the feelings that, because I had chosen them, without getting any strong call from them, that maybe I shouldn't do it. Maybe, I felt, I should just wait, and see who comes calling. If I had done that, I'm pretty sure no one would have. I had to go to them. I took the pressure off of myself by saying, "I'm not trying to find a patron, I'm just honouring the divine. If a connection happens, then great! If not, oh well." I didn't find a patron that way, but I found wonderful relationships with deities that I still value to this day.

                Once I started getting patron fever though, things went bad for me. I didn't understand why they didn't "want me". Now I view it as a case of, "I like hanging out, I love it when you bring dinner over, but sorry you can't move in." At the time, I just felt rejected, though.

                So I feel really strongly for you right now because I remember all of that confusion and heartache. I'm a "clicker" as well, and at this point, I've just accepted that my own path doesn't really have a beginning or an end. It's a circle that I'm going around constantly. So on that note, have a hug.


                I don't know if you already work with any specific deities or if you've been waiting for one to find you. If you don't work with one, I'd suggest just going ahead and finding one that YOU like and making a place for them in your life. Even if you don't get a patron relationship with them, you'll probably find that sort of relationship fulfilling, and if you DO end up with a new patron, there's nothing wrong with you having to seek them out.

                I think that when people say the gods call you, not the other way around, that doesn't mean you don't have to sometimes find them first. People who find a patron because a deity appeared to them in their dreams don't have more valuable or genuine relationships than people who find them in other ways. :D Or at least, I wouldn't think so.

                For some gods, it seems to be an issue of, "Okay, you're here, finally. Let's get to work." So if you've been avoiding seeking them out, in hopes that one would come to you, that may be why you haven't found the one for you yet.

                But don't think that you can't have meaningful relationships just because you weren't "chosen". Sometimes you just have to value things for what they are and not what you wish they could be. So if you DO already work with a deity (or deities), then keep that in mind.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SpiritMan View Post
                  Thank you everyone for your responses. I am listening and considering all that each of you say. To specify just a bit - a do yearn for a connection with deity. And Garm - I do have many of the issues with self definition you point out, I can admit that. For so long I have wandered aimlessly at the beginning of this path that I am not even sure that I have started off down it yet. I know only what interests me, which ideas seem to "click" as being right for me.

                  Perhaps I'm looking at a patron-type deity too much as a door that might open to show me the way. With so many possibilities out there for gods and goddesses to honor, I had hoped even just one may step forward to help me narrow the field... Then it may be more authentic then me picking and choosing favorites. Admittedly, I'm grasping at straws here, as I have been for a long time.
                  You might want to take this up with the Kemetics. You would be assigned parent deities. Having the focus narrowed for you like that might help you forge a more intimate relationship with a particular deity.

                  That being said, I am a nontheistic pagan, a pantheist. I'm good with that, and it is a valid path. So, if the deal is that you think you need a deity to be a pagan, that isn't so, feel free to check out the pantheist forums here under path specific forums. If you want a deity, then...like I said, check with the Kemetics. I was studying Kemetic Orthodoxy a while back, very interesting.

                  I've also known people who have imagined a higher power...like they might not have had one, but needed one for AA, or whatever, and then forged a meaningful relationship with it. so there are several ways to go about it.

                  Maybe you could set up a "spirit weekend" for yourself. To fast, pray, meditate...and do a ritual asking your patron to contact you.

                  Another option is to go with your ancestors, and use their spirits as your guides, or the totem spirit of a type of animal that speaks to you.
                  In a love affair with sunshine

                  Live this day like an altar to what you believe

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cheddarsox View Post
                    Maybe you could set up a "spirit weekend" for yourself. To fast, pray, meditate...and do a ritual asking your patron to contact you.
                    I have considered this - like doing my own version of a vision quest out in nature. It seems everytime I try and plan such a weekend, things come up to ruin the timing. But I think I will try to make the retreat happen. More and more it seems I need it.

                    Thanks for all of your suggestions, cheddersox and Prende!

                    - Tip-toeing the raggedy edge of something magnificently dark but truly amazing...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SpiritMan View Post
                      Thank you everyone for your responses. I am listening and considering all that each of you say. To specify just a bit - a do yearn for a connection with deity.
                      There are lots of things I could say in this thread.
                      However, you remind me of myself 9 months ago.
                      I too wanted a connection with deity, and I didn't just want to close my eyes and pick one at random. I hoped that establishing a connection would provide a stepping stone to start bringing about more structure and definition to my path (especially since subconsciously I think I new my current path wasn't right for me).

                      When I was ready, I simply asked aloud if there was any deity out there that wanted lil' old me as a worshipper.
                      Nothing happened for a while, or so I thought. But when I started thinking back, over a course of about 2 weeks, a particular deities name and symbols had been popping up everywhere.

                      He's my ''patron'' now and I got the path change I wanted/needed.

                      You might just be looking in the wrong place for signs.
                      Last edited by patch; July 20th, 2008, 02:41 PM.
                      Avatar is by Alphonse Mucha. :uhhuhuh:

                      Religious blog

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                      • #12
                        I'm one of those people who sort of picked randomly and then found that it worked out. Basically, I spent some time reading about the major deities of several pantheons to see which ones I liked the best, who resonate the most with me. And I ended up picking Odin and Freya. It's been a year and a half since I did that, and at times I wondered if I was doing the wrong thing. But they appreciate the attention and we have a pretty tight bond now.

                        Some other deities have come to say hi to me since then, without my actively seeking them (Thor being the most prevalent). But for my first major connection, I just picked these two because it seemed that they and I had things in common. And after giving them unwarranted attention for a while, they began to respond.
                        Flame in Bloom-my blog on dancing and heathenry

                        The fires in me can never be drowned. They cannot be snuffed, for even when they are denied air, they breathe, gasping in the endless firedance.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SpiritMan View Post
                          To specify just a bit - I do yearn for a connection with deity.
                          dude!! you have my cell phone # and youve been here! what more connection do ye need!?

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                          • #14
                            I am not too sure how "on the ball" this is with your subject but a friend of mine was asking me about my path tonight. She asked how I felt about deity. Ever since I started to learn about 7 years ago I had always found it hard to connect to deity. I can connect with nature, with elements and what not. But deity is too hard for me. "Worship" or what have you makes me turn away because I feel like,"What is the difference between this and for say, a christian god?"

                            I've been very riddled with this very question.
                            I am dancing with the stars and I'm not coming down. I'm not coming down.

                            I am riding on a wave, and it's straight through your heart. I'm not coming down.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by cheddarsox View Post
                              I am a nontheistic pagan, a pantheist. I'm good with that, and it is a valid path. So, if the deal is that you think you need a deity to be a pagan, that isn't so, feel free to check out the pantheist forums here under path specific forums.
                              Hear hear. Not all of us Pagans have patron gods or even believe they exist. For instance, I happen to believe that the deity who created our universe sacrificed their own existence to spawn life, and I deem the worship of local deities unnecessary. When I call out, I hear myself responding. That is quite reassuring to me.
                              Xentor, your friendly-neighbourhood Checkerist
                              Contact me | The Dialogues on Checkerism

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