Working with Deities

There is a general belief amongst many Wiccans that there is one Source and from it come the Lord and Lady, that is, the male and female forces of the universe. The sky is seen as male and the Earth as female, and together they make a whole.

Some Wiccans believe that all goddess are one goddess and all gods are one god. They believe that each separate goddess or god is an aspect of the One goddess and One god. This is a not an idea that any ancient culture shared, but if we are honest with ourselves, we know that Wicca is not about reconstructionism.

Some Wiccans believe that gods and goddesses are archetypes of nature or human experience. They are projections of human need and emotions which have taken on life. Our deities are convenient symbols but also independent beings.

My personal beliefs are mostly like the first group, but a little bit like the other two groups. I believe there is a One from which everything filters down. First, the One splits into male and female, and from these two energies come the rest of the universe. Humans, baffled by the universe, need ways to explain how it functions. So, through our own thoughts and actions we have created the divine from the One. Each god is part of the male half of the One, and each goddess is part of the female half. I do not believe that all gods are one, but rather each is a facet of the whole.

No matter which theory resonates with you, it is much easier to work with a small number of deities within a pantheon than it is to try to understand and work with the whole. Choosing a pantheon to work with will require study and dedication. It is important to research the deities, their myths, and the culture in which they originally developed. If this is not something you are willing to do, than it is perhaps best and safest to work with a generic Lord and Lady until such a time as you are ready to do the work required.

Personal Deities

It is possible, and common, to focus on one god and one goddess. This is usually called have patron and matron deities, and they become your main focus of worship and magic working.

You can choose your personal deities yourself. In this case, you should be careful to find a balance between their aspects. It is wise to work with traditional pairs, like Isis and Osiris, or Zeus and Hera. Pairings that would be unbalanced include two warrior deities like Athena and Thor, for example.

Your personal deities may also choose you. If you feel yourself drawn strongly to a god—seeing pictures of them everywhere, dreaming of them, etc.—then that is likely them calling to you. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to research their myths and pantheon. That is still some of the most important work you can do.

When you have discovered or chosen your personal deities, your rituals can be tailored to them. Create quarter calls, Circle castings, invocations, etc. that reflect the culture and pantheon they originate from.

Coven Deities

When working within a coven, most likely you will find yourself working with the non-specific Lord and Lady or with a set of god and goddess different from your personal deities. Using a group deity pair or non-specific deities helps the group of focus on their task without having to juggle possible conflicts between person deities. It also avoids the unwise mixing of some cultural energy. And, really, it is nice to know the person next to you is visualizing the same deity, rather than trying to guess who it is they are seeing.

The best advice I can give for working with deities is this:

  • Chose deities that make sense to you
  • Research their whole pantheon, myths, and culture
  • Don’t be afraid of worshiping the non-specific Lord and Lady
  • Be very, very careful when mixing pantheons

If you would like to read more about the general male and female divine, please see my essay Deity Concepts.