What Gods do you hang out with?

Arthur Rackham [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As a life coach that works with many Pagans, I often have to ask hard questions. This article is no exception. My question is this:

Does your deity of choice reflect the life you want to live?

I recently attended a Pagan Pride event, and, during a large group prayer ritual, I heard one young man ask the blessings of The Morrigan for a better job and higher pay. That got me thinking. Are we, as Pagans, interacting with energies that support the lives we want to live?

Looking back thru previous experiences with other Pagans, and with my younger self, I have encountered many, many people who feel very powerless. And when you feel powerless, you gravitate towards a god or goddess of power, often one associated with battle or sovereignty, such as the Morrigan, Kali or Thor. But are these the energies that help us to deal with economic situations?

Now if I wanted to fix a leaky faucet, would I call out for pizza? Okay, now you may be thinking I am playing a few cards short of a full deck. “Of course, I’d call a plumber”, you say. But what if you’d been calling out for pizza regularly for the last ten years, and never had need of a plumber before? See where I am going? Maybe the Morrigan was this guy’s pizza delivery?

Arthur Rackham [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Siegfried’s death – Rackham, Arthur (illus) (August 1924
Maybe he’d been working with her for every problem he’d had since he’d realized he was a Pagan. Maybe she was the one that helped him find the strength to declare himself a Pagan in the first place? Maybe she was the right goddess when he needed empowerment!

But now he needs money. Now he needs a better job. So he calls on her. Does she help? Yes, she probably is a very good help if he needs the strength to tell his boss to shove it and thus free himself of this inadequate job, freeing him up for something better. But is that really what he needs? Is her energy really the one to help him find a better job?

In my experience, we Pagans often get caught up in the worship of one particular deity. Most often it seems to be one of those gods of strength, battle and sovereignty that are so great at helping us stand up for ourselves. But why are we limiting ourselves?

Just as I would not call a pizza delivery when I have a leaky faucet, I would not petition a thunder deity to help me start my own business (unless, of course, we are talking a god of storms and commerce…it could happen).

In my own life, I went from needing empowerment to needing wealth. So, I began focusing on drawing one the energies of productive, practical gods, such as The Dagdha for prosperity, Gofannon for industry and Amaethon to help my gardening along (you’ve probably guessed I am of the Celtic persuasion). So I receive a wealth of opportunity, work and food.

So, why is it we continue to take our problems to empowering strength deities all the time? Maybe because so many of us are used to the monotheistic style of worship? Maybe because we still feel powerless? Or maybe we figure that if we just keep asking they have got to give us what we want sooner or later.

Direct your focus to the proper energies, folks! Don’t ask a battle deity to help you make money. It’s not their thing (in most cases).

By Harry George Theaker, illustrator [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Here are some better choices:

For industry and craftsmanship

Frigga, Gofannon, Amenhotep, Haephestus, Vulcan

 

For wealth and financial gain-

Lakshmi, Plutus, The Dagdha, Fortuna, Amaethon, Avallach, Pomona, Ganesh

 

Housework and domestic arts-

Brighid, Hestia, Vesta, Athena, Frigga, Neith

 

This list is nowhere near long enough, but it’s a taste for you.

 

 

 

Jerod is a Celtic mystic, practical Druid, permaculture gardener, and depression & anxiety coach in Fennville, Michigan. He can be found at www.jerodrinkus.weebly.com, and facilitating workshops and classes at Pagan events in western Michigan.

Depression In the Pagan Experience

 

Depression affects all of us at different times, and in different ways. When a loved one passes into the next world, we are often emotionally tied up for weeks or even months. A breakup with a romantic partner may lead to years of avoiding other potential mates. A traumatic event may take a toll so large, that we stop participating in life all together.

Everyone deals with some form of depression sometimes, but how can we, as Pagans, deal with these challenges more effectively? As a life coach specializing in depression & anxiety, I want to offer some insights and experience. What are some of the first things we need to know?

Depression is normal! Most of us judge ourselves extremely harshly when it comes to the reasons why we are depressed. “I should be over this by now”, “I am not strong enough”, and “I am so weak”, are all common judgements we make about ourselves.

Some that I hear from Pagans most often are, “The Gods are punishing me”, “I am not good enough”, and “This would not happen if I were more powerful”.

These are judgements upon ourselves that are self-fulfilling. The more we tell ourselves these things, the more we believe them, and the worse we feel about ourselves, and the more depressed we become.

Our psyches are extremely resilient. Going into depression gives us time for our subconscious selves to retool, recharge and heal. The problem comes about when we don’t consciously take steps to aid our subconscious recuperation.

By Baker131313 - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6539950
By Baker131313

One major problem I have encountered with depressed Pagans is that we choose to be around the wrong set of people when we are depressed. Our peers have a huge effect in how we deal with depression. If our family or friends are supportive and inspirational, we can come out of depression much, much sooner than if we are surrounded by those who tell us to “get over it, already”, “stop whining”, or “smile, it’s not that bad”.

Our spiritual group is especially important during depressed times. I  talked to many Pagans whose coven, circle, grove or temple has been there for them through both good times and bad, and truly supported them in their healing, and so they moved through the depression very quickly indeed. I  also encountered those whose group has sought to control them, isolate them, or tried to force them to get past their depression too quickly.

One woman I encountered was dealing with deep depression related to dissociative identity disorder caused by trauma in a former relationship. Her coven leader insisted that she be separated from the group until she was past it, that she allow some coven members to be present during her therapy sessions, and told the group that mentally ill people are not allowed to take part in group ritual. This is not a supportive mindset, and I was glad when she left the coven and cut off ties with those people (some of which were close friends). Unfortunately, this leader is still active and running said coven.

For those Pagans that have little or no spiritual community, depression can be especially hard, as they truly feel alone. They often feel their Gods have abandoned them, as they are not receiving the immediate relief they pray for. They often feel as if they cannot talk to anyone about their feelings, as others would not understand their Pagan perspective. Those who are not public with their faith can find themselves surrounded by friends or family who want them to seek spiritual help from an uncomfortable source, such as a priest, minister or therapist  from a religious tradition hostile to Pagans.

By Liz Locke (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Cooking
For The Healing Ritual – Lola, Photo By Liz Locke
In addition to keeping one’s environment positive, spiritual self empowerment is also very important. Taking part in rituals that remind us how much control we have over our lives, and communing with empowering deities is critical to moving through trauma and other sources of depression. We are fortunate, as Pagans, that we have many powerful and assertive figures in our mythologies and pantheons. In my experience, most Pagans are drawn toward at least one very empowering figure, such as Thor, Athena, Isis or the Morrigan. This is very good thing, but can become unbalanced if one isn’t able to ride the empowering energy productively.

Overall, we Pagans suffer just as much from depression as other groups, maybe even more in some cases, but we also have some great tools for helping us get through: our faith communities, our empowering rituals and deities, and our treatment of ourselves.

So the next time you find yourself feeling depressed, do not believe that you are alone. Many of your fellow Pagans have been exactly where you are, and are more than happy to be supportive. There is nothing abnormal about be depressed, and you are not cursed. You are just like the rest of us: Pagan!

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Jerod is a Celtic mystic, practical Druid, permaculture gardener, and depression & anxiety coach in Fennville, Michigan. He can be found at www.jerodrinkus.weebly.com, and facilitating workshops and classes at Pagan events in western Michigan.