a touch of gods

Ah August, the blessed season of  my birth. There isn’t an “official” Satanic festival (like anything needs to be official) for August, but I always liked Lammas time in Paganism, as it is warm and mellow, and there is that mix of heat with just enough darkness to make  the time fertile and mature. I was born on the waning side of the Moon, and the more mature and ripened end of things is definitely my preference. Plus if you were actually going to have a Sabbat, August is the time to be naked. Beltane is way too cold in most parts of Northern Europe.

My friend Aleph (who is a Luciferian) has been updating his deity pages, and it got me thinking about presenting my own, which is to say the deities I most frequently acknowledge and honour on a regular basis. I haven’t added demons yet, as I am still working on forming those relationships (and they do interest me a great deal). As I have said before, I am a polytheist but not a reconstructionist, and take the gods to be neither simply symbols and archetypes, nor the bearers of immutable, unchanging stories from “their” cultures.  They are independent beings to me, with whom we can form relationships (if they are agreeable). However, finding the right way to approach this is not entirely simple, as it is so easy to misrepresent. So my gods do not form an esoteric scheme with any grand symbolic purpose. Their being is enough purpose for me, and our relationships enough meaning. But there are processes of course, as self-realization is the central spiritual process for me, just as looking after your life is the more “mundane” one, both harmonized around the “true self”. I think it was some time in 1990, after going through some transformative experiences, that I was awoken to the central place of communication with non-physical entities in magic, by reading an incidental sentence in one of Michael Bertiaux’s books. It has truly proved to be so for me.

There are five deities which I honour on an (almost) daily basis, and have varying degrees of relationship with. Forming these relationships and knowing when you are actually communing with them (rather than other forms of imagination or sensing) is something I think can only come with personal experience. One quite often used to hear people ask questions about how to form relationships with deities, and other people criticizing devotees as basically “wishful thinkers”, fabulists, and the delusionally self-served. With sincerity, honesty, attention, and experience you will come to know when something is real in this sense though. It takes time, and a lot of self-doubt at first, but by listening, observing yourself and your states, and the results of your communication, you will come to understand your inner senses better. Simple doesn’t look cool or impressive, but it works.

Thor, or Thunor (to use his more English name) is a deity that I have had a relationship with for more than a decade. He is a very protective deity, and was often considered the god of “the common man” in societies that honoured him. He is a god of storm and thunder, and of the fertility of the land, and a great warder against danger, and incursion by forces antagonistic and destructive to human life and integrity. One shouldn’t confuse a deity with their supposed “resumé” of course, that is reductive and I think somewhat insulting, but there is a profound honesty and soundness to Thor. I have always had great affection and appreciation for him.

Kernunnos is a deity about which there is really not a great deal known, though he is a very popular deity in neopagan witchcraft, where he has probably become the most popular version of a stand in for “the horned god”. He is normally depicted as a man with the antlers of a stag. He has emerged as a deity that I am lucky enough to have a relationship with, partly I think due to my husband, though I understand he was present in my original experiences with witchcraft in the mid 70s as a teenager. He is a luminous deity to me, and has been immensely helpful.

Freya is a brilliant deity, associated with magic, battle and sexuality, and you can easily look up her myth concerning the forging of the necklace of Brisingamen. She is a deity of immense skill and courage, that came strongly into my life just a little before I met my husband, and accompanied me closely as my patroness for a good number of years. I feel a very deep link with her, and though she has withdrawn in recent years, I know she is not far away.

When I was young (teens and 20s) the god who had the greatest hold on me was without doubt Pan. The place of Pan within British art and literature is actually very striking, and he in a sense became the avatar of the romantic sense of what Paganism had been, with all its mystery and promise (and danger) to a world seeking to recover from Christian repression, the sterility of rationalism, and industrial materialism. I was mesmerised by his form, which was of course also borrowed by later visualizations of The Devil. That figure stayed with me, and when I became a Pagan polytheist in my 40s I sought him again by instinct; but as if one could not return quite so easily to some things from one’s past, I sought him in the Romanized form of Faunus. So there is Faunus, or maybe it is Pan in another form, though the feeling is different, and he holds an instinctive vision for me.

Set is a mighty god from the Egyptian pantheon who I of course heard of as a teenager, due to his being given the closest thing to the role of “Satan” in early-mid 20th century esotericism. He is presented as a primeval Cain, but he is an old deity that was honored and revered in a period before his “blackening”. I came to be fascinated by him in studying Thelema, and he does have a significant role in Crowely’s work (the clues to which I found elucidated in Kenneth Grant’s poetic and idiosyncratic writing). My love for Set incubated for decades, before re-emerging in only the last few years in a more personal and fully fledged form. He is a great and singular deity, and has become central to my path to self-realization, and my own development. In all the time I was looking through Paganism since my 40s, I felt there was something missing, and I found that something through this father of desert and storm, and what he brought me to. My own self. Thus my love for him is also singular.

So these are the gods I relate with most often, and in one form or another, whether dormant or active, they have been with me for between 10 and 40 odd years. Since becoming a Satanist, the relationships are still there, but the onus on self-realization is much stronger and clearer. Things are different since I ceased to be a Pagan, clearer and with a greater joy in self, but relationship and love are the central substance of life for me. It is me that is different, in that I am more fully and freely present, and truly at peace with my own nature.

altar

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3 Comments

  1. I feel flattered by your assessment. It seems I can be quite the schemer, I’m sure Varuna and Beelzebub would approve. 🙂

    If you’re right about August, then this month sounds like quite the wingding, and it feels like I should be making use of the opportunity, but I’m reluctant to do so until I get the altar ready with all the necessary tools. But with any hope, that shouldn’t take particularly long. If I can do this before the opportunity to have some fun dries up that won’t be so bad.

    I have to say, I kinda like Thor because he is supposed be strong, brave, and true, but he’s a brash and simple thunder deity, at least simple compared to Odin (who I’ve personally recommended to one of my brothers). And I don’t really like what brash thunder deities tend to mean for me. Not to mention, with the popularity of the film version of Marvel’s Thor, it seems people like the brash naive thunder deity, and it worries me just a little.

    • if you’ve been taught, or otherwise conditioned as to how a deity is, it can be helpful to a point, so long as it doesn’t get in the way of finding out for yourself what the deity is like. A lot of lore and mythology is useful, but always be prepared to be surprised by them. People who lay down the law about a god are unusually in love with their own knowledge, so don’t be too put off by third hand impressions 😉

    • on the scheming thing, I think I can be quite a schemer, just in my own way 😉 I am very determined that the interests of me and my loved ones are served, preserved and maintained, and I always say you have to remember what *you* want with relation to your deities – they want your love (or attention, or energy) not your *will*. That’s the big balls up with monotheistic mysticism for me, the abdication of will. It is the harmonization of the worlds (not as a given, but as an intelligent relationship achieved for *yourself*), right up to self-realization, that is the thing (and it can’t always be harmonious in a universal sense, in fact maybe it can never be), and the will and desire are really essential to that. But there are many ways of approaching or working with deities, and they most probably all have their virtues. I work with Roman and Greek-linked planetary principles in astrology as a symbolic language, and it is really very fruitful.

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