How to Start Working With a Goddess or God
So you’ve found your god and goddess, but now you’re left wondering what’s next? How do I start a relationship with my god and goddess? Everyone’s relationship with their gods will be different and special. Don’t feel like you have to follow a strict set of rules to work with your god or goddess. Do what you feel is right and true to you. But if you’re still unsure, here’s how to start working with a goddess or god.
How to Start Working With a Pagan Goddess or God (truth: you don’t have to “worship” them!)
You’re new to paganism and recently discovered your god or goddess. Maybe both. While there are many forms of paganism and having a god or goddess in your religious practice isn’t required, for many it comforts and helps them through troubling times. It also gives them a sense of peace knowing their god and goddess are in their corner. Protecting them. Healing them. Working favors for them.
Having a god or goddess in your life is the same as a Christian having Jesus in their lives; however, you don’t have to “worship” pagan deities. More often than not, pagans say they “work with” their gods and goddesses. Your relationship with your god or goddess will feel like a friend or partner, but can also feel like a father or mother too. The old gods and goddesses don’t need us to worship them. They have everything they need and don’t require groveling. Let’s learn how to start working with them instead.
Foreword on Discernment
Don’t be naive and think that every god or goddess has your best benefit in their minds. Like human beings and nature, the gods are complex. They have both light and dark in them. And some a little more dark than others. So be careful who you’re invoking into your space and life. If it feels wrong, if the deity gets “pushy” with offerings or asks to come inside of YOU…you should banish this spirit immediately. Sometimes malevolent spirits will try to trick us into believing they are a deity or even an ancestor. Regular magical protective maintenance also helps to keep these malevolent spirits out of our lives. Truly, it’s about discernment. If it feels wrong, it is wrong. Go with your gut above all else when working with any kind of spirit.
1. Study Your God and Goddess
The first thing to do when you discover your pagan god or goddess is to get to know them through study. Your deities came from somewhere, right? Research what their name means, who venerated them in ancient times, and where their sacred temples were. Keep a special part of your journal and dedicate it to your god or goddess. Write down all you learn about working with your god or goddess in your journal. After you’ve learned the basics, then dive into the deep stuff. This includes the mythology of your god or goddess—don’t forget that they might have been passed down through folklore as heroes, fairies, etc.
All of this seems like basic knowledge, but many people will pick a god or goddess and forget to put in the time to get to know them before calling on them. Would you make a friend with someone but never ask them about themselves? Never get to know their history? Never ask them where they came from or what they do for a living? If you choose to ignore the background of your god or goddess, you aren’t getting to know them on a personal level. And they will be less likely to put the time and effort into getting to know you.
2. Communication: Prayer, Signs and More
When starting to work with a goddess or god, communication is key. You can call it prayer or simply talking. Talk to your god or goddess in your mind or out loud. Either way, they’ll hear you. You don’t have to kneel down or bow your head to pray to your god or goddess. You can literally drive down the road and talk to them—you can talk to them at any time and literally anywhere, and you don’t need a fancy prayer to do it. This is how you can communicate with your god or goddess, but how do they communicate with you?
The Gods Communicate via Signs
In my experience, when you start working with a goddess or pagan god, they will answer your prayers through nature and recurring signs. Maybe you see a large crow following you to work one day. Then you see the same bird the next day. This is a sign that Odin, Bran, Maeve or The Morrigan is answering you. The gods send signs and symbols through nature, random conversations, and mainstream media (TV, radio, online, books, etc), and these signs will keep coming at you until you realize. Recurring signs and symbols are one of the most common ways a god or goddess will talk to you. If you’re not sure you received the sign, ask your goddess or god to send you 2 more clear signs as confirmation.
Another way to get to know and start working with a goddess or god is through divination. I have dedicated an oracle card deck to my patron god and him only. Every time I use the deck, I’m speaking to him and asking him to teach me his lessons through the cards. Feel free to use any form of divination to communicate with your deity: scrying, pendulum, tarot, or runes. Cleanse your divination tool before use and ask your deity’s energy to charge the tool. Then let your goddess or god know you’re dedicating this tool to communication with them. Learn how to use tarot to honor the gods here.
I don’t know about you, but many of my spiritual experiences happen in my dreams. The gods like to visit and talk to us during dream time. It’s often when we are most open to receiving their messages. Begin by keeping a dream journal. Ask your god or goddess to visit you or send you messages in your dreams. Be sure to thank them and record the dreams in your journal.
3. Offerings Are Gifts for the Gods
You are starting to establish a relationship with your god or goddess and you want to show your gratitude. You can do this by giving offerings, similar to tithing in Church (except your god or goddess doesn’t require money from you).
Set up an altar or a small space on a tabletop and leave offerings you feel your god or goddess appreciates. These offerings can be any of the following: food, candlelight, incense, water, beverages, crystals, artwork, crafts, poems, and more! A good practice to develop is to give an offering at least once a week and then build up to once a day. What you’re doing is saying you appreciate your god or goddess as a friend. You are essentially giving them a gift. And guess what? In return, they will give you gifts that could include: protection, love, abundance, healing, guidance, and more. It’s an energy exchange.
Another wonderful thing you’ll notice—the more you give offerings the more you will receive. Eventually, you’ll truly enjoy giving gifts to your god or goddess and they in turn will enjoy showering you with blessings. Keep in mind your offerings don’t have to be expensive—you can burn incense once daily, for example. Or you can provide a bowl of herbs once every other week. You can even give a glass of wine or water as an offering. If you want to give an expensive offering, that is okay too, but not required. The gods also enjoy artwork to honor them, as well as writing poems or songs or dancing for them. It is about your time and effort and intention.
4. Dedication Rituals
Sometimes when learning how to start working with a goddess or god, we might realize this deity isn’t the right one for us. That’s okay! But once you find the right deity, you’ll know it. The relationship will blossom and become something unique and beautiful. Sometimes we want to devote or dedicate our entire lives to one deity. And in this case, we want to show this dedication to our god or goddess. I recommend taking a ritual bath dedicated to your deity with herbs/materials linked to your deity. This becomes a sort of pagan “baptism”. Talk to your deity and tell him/her your intentions with the ritual bath. OR take a trip to a local body of water and baptize yourself in your deity’s name there. Some people may choose to spend the night in a forest, on a mountain, or somewhere that brings them closer to their deity. The choice is yours.
It’s a Beautiful Thing…
As time goes by and you get to know your god or goddess, your relationship will grow and blossom into something truly unique and beautiful. Think of it this way— many of these gods and goddesses have had their names dragged through the dirt for centuries. Many of them have almost been completely forgotten. To hear their name on your lips or see their name in your writing would be flattering, don’t you think? And if someone was to give them an offering of patchouli incense or light a candle in their honor, don’t you think they would appreciate the effort to get to know them and want to get to know you in return?