Lately, there has been a wave of frustrated young Wiccans on the brink, and people who have left Wicca or other witchcraft friendly Pagan groups claiming that they do not connect to deity or deities. Some say that it is because they don’t relate to specific deities in their group or former group’s main pantheon. Some say that it is because they believe that their power should only come from within, and they don’t believe in or believe they should rely on any external source.
As I said in my video commenting on this wave of independent individualists, the main problem with these frustrated youths is the illusion of division. Sad as this is to see, I can’t actually be angry about this. It comes from a lack of guidance in the basics. When I say the basics, I mean the basic-basics like understanding Nature from the witches’ perspective, and principles of energy.
Those of us who had the luxury of a basis in a spiritual or religious background that was very active don’t get these people. Even if that background was in one of the big three monotheistic systems, if we were raised by folks who were more than weekend adherents, our first solid food of spirituality was omnipresence of the Creator. “God” is everywhere and in everything. Even atheists whose beliefs are strictly scientific, understand that matter is made of energy. So it’s a tomato-tomato situation that a witch applies to their practice similarly to a scientist. When a process or working brings reasonably repeatable results, it becomes a standard part of that witch’s practice.
For young witches today, this is not something that can be taken for granted though. Since most have no guidance or their guides don’t have a strong grounding in the basics of spirituality, metaphysics, or conventional physical sciences, they see no real need to think on or experience the One-ness before they start getting into deities and spells. Many feel that they can’t connect to deity because they don’t understand that they can’t disconnect from deity.
The Problem With Paganism As a Gateway
Well, to be clear, the problem isn’t so much Paganism as it is the way Paganism is approached in the west. Western readers with more strict monotheistic or western style atheistic upbringings learn about deities from a safe distance. They read, “Eshu is the Yoruba deity of fortune,” and think, “If I want to win the lottery, I should invoke Eshu.” They don’t consider, after reading Eshu’s many features that they woke up this morning because the force of Nature that we pathetic humans articulate with our insufficient primate lips and throats with the sound, “Eshu,” deemed that we have sufficient health, youth, strength, blood sugar, and nerve function, to wake up.
Like their distant, “God” is a judge or benefactor in the sky, and their distant “Satan” is a boogie-man tempting one to sin, they relegate Eshu to a distant other who may live in the crossroads or if they are an expert by western standards, their doorway, but not in themselves. So let’s take another gate-keeper: Hecate,do you think it would be easy to walk away from Hecate if one understood that she is embodied in your eyelids? The folds of your brain? Between each of your fingers? In the walls of every cell in your body?
Can one really leave a reality once they truly experience it?
Your People, Your Pantheon
Another issue where I see most western Pagan teachers dropping the ball is in dealing with the Ancestors. Many if not most of the young people who come to various Pagan communities are there because they did not find the connection with deity (or the pulse of Nature for the atheist/agnostic) within the belief system they were brought up in. They are looking for a sort of spiritual home or a way of thinking about the Universe that makes sense.
Though the many deities from many traditions and cultures, as well as the found deities of the great writers and teachers are wonderful, they can be hard for many to feel their connection to. The older, more experienced Pagans and witches often take this for granted because they may have already been through dealing with their Ancestors, and figure this is what everyone has already done when they get to the Pagan community. Some even worse, did not go through this at all, but managed to fortunately find their connection despite skipping steps.
More than one young lady I’ve watched and heard on video have said that they don’t connect to fertility deities because they are not trying to have children at the moment, or because there are medical fertility treatments now. Do you think they would feel the same if they understood that they owe their existence to fertility, and perhaps prayers to whatever deity for their safe passage into this world? Do you think they would feel that way if their first fertility deity was or was worshiped through an image or artifact of their dear departed great grandmother or oldest or most fertile known female Ancestor?
It is easy to connect to deity or if you’re atheist, gain witchcraft level hypergratitude, if you understand that you are already connected to deity or the Universe. Every atom in and around you is in a cycle. On this Earth and in this Air, it is surging in and out of you at all times. On a wider, cosmic scale, you are in a Universe in motion, and well, made of startdust.
Today, I hope that I have sent you in the right direction of experiencing your pantheon. Now let’s take it up a notch to practical witchcraft.
Divination Is a MUST
I’ll be brief on this matter. You must have some way of communicating with your gate keeper(s) and Ancestors directly. So it is important that you learn some form of divination. Whichever you choose is your business, but I recommend consulting with your deities once a month. It is not a good idea to do too much self-reading because you may end up self-talking.
Once you are in communication with your deities, connection will be much more difficult to ignore.
Find a Live Guide If You Can
Another brief but important thing I’d like to say is that finding a live teacher or guide is something you should strongly consider. Some guides are elders, and others may be people with more experience or a different field of knowledge that you need. Either way, it’s good to have someone close to talk to and learn from. You won’t get everything you need from books or the internet.
Applying Your Connection to Witchcraft
In order to make a spell or working work or create one that works, you must have two things:
- knowledge of Nature
- divine grace
If you are atheist or agnostic or of a belief system that does not allow you to view an aspect of Nature as a distinct be-ing, you can call “divine grace” something like hybrid will. In order to change or influence something that is not limited to your body with its current physical resources, you need to trigger and/or maintain a flow of circumstantial energy that is not limited to your body.
You need to have some knowledge of the subject you’re working with. If you’re doing a fertility working, you need to know where babies come from. If you are doing a love spell, you need to know a bit about relationships. You need to know what the herbs and materials you are using do or can do. This is not so that you can micromanage the deities or archetypes, but so that your mind is open enough about the possibilities so as not to create any blockages or unfortunate mishaps. As things manifest, you need to know what you’re looking at. If they fail to manifest, you need to be able to see why.
To garner divine grace or hone hybrid will into power, you need to be respectful and observant of the deities or archtypes you are working with. You can’t just call forces of Nature to do your bidding and expect things to happen just because you want them to. You need to align with them. Give them attention, offerings, and be their hands on this Earth,as much as possible without getting yourself neutralized anyway.
This is easy when you see that your connection to deity is not just at your altar. It’s in your breathing, eating, sleeping, working, walking,everything you do is expressing deity. The trick is understanding this and doing it mindfully. There is as much sacred in feeding a homeless person as there is in lighting a candle at your altar to a deity of generosity, and maybe more. There is as much sacred in comforting a crying baby as their is in burning incense for a deity of children. There is as much sacred in protecting or guarding a place as there is in giving meat to a deity of protection.
Yes, you are “God” and need to connect with the deity in you, but everyone else around you is “God” too. The plants and/or animals you had for breakfast today are also “God”. So you are connected. You’re, in fact, surrounded and submerged in, “God”. Now all you need to do is accept it. Ase!