Hello, and welcome. Today is my baby sister’s birthday. She is 37 today and happy birthday, Dewey. I hope you are all well, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, I hope it brings you peace. Today we are going to talk about working with deities, gods and goddesses. But before I get into that, I want to just talk for a minute about something I notice a lot when folks message me or email me.
I want to talk about impostor syndrome. Impostor syndrome is just defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. And we all experience it sometimes, but in the spiritual community, I think it can be a really big issue for a lot of us, because for the most part, there aren’t a lot of ways to mark and measure our progress and our knowledge. So I get a lot of messages from witches who are worried they aren’t doing something correctly, or they’re worried that what they are doing won’t really work because they aren’t even sure if they’re really a witch or that they should even call themselves a witch.
And while I do understand it wholeheartedly, I want to be clear. None of us knows everything there is to know. And none of us ever will, not in this lifetime. So just because you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in witchcraft doesn’t mean your work isn’t real or that you’re a fraud. And having doubts isn’t always a bad thing; it makes us keep learning. When I decided to start this podcast, I was wracked with doubt. I couldn’t think of a reason anyone would want to hear what I have to say. But what I did know was that, when I was a newer witch, I really would have appreciated having someone with more experience than I had that could reassure me and share their knowledge.
So that’s where I try to speak from, and it helps me, when I feel that creeping doubt. So if you ever feel like you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re a fake and a fraud and you’re not a real witch, please remember the witch that you were when you first started out, and think about how that version of yourself would have looked to you for advice and reassurance. Impostor syndrome is no joke, but it doesn’t have to paralyze us. Anyway, that’s just something that’s been weighing on my mind, and I wanted to address it.
Now, on to the purpose of today’s episode. Working with deities. Now I have said before that I don’t do a ton of work with deities, and this is true. So my perspective is definitely going to be different to a witch who does a lot of deity work. I want to make that distinction very clear at the outset. My perspectives and opinions on this topic are coming only from my point of view. But I do work with deities to an extent, and I have had very good results, so I will share the knowledge that I do have.
Now, if you’re interested in deity work, there are some things to consider. A lot of witches won’t necessarily work with a certain god or goddess by name, but they may call upon the god or goddess archetype. We see this a lot with Wiccans, of course, but many times the work that we may be doing doesn’t necessarily merit or require the intervention of a specific deity, but will be amplified by the invocation of THE god, or THE goddess, as an archetype.
So for example if you’re doing some shadow work for yourself and trying to embrace the divine feminine more, or conversely, maybe you’re trying to lean into your more masculine traits, you may call upon the goddess or the god just as an embodiment of those qualities. And for the record, when we work with the maiden, mother, or crone archetypes, we are doing the same thing. We are working with the representative prototype of an ideal.
And of course, when we say god, goddess, divine feminine, etc, it bears mentioning that no matter who we are or what bodies we are in, we all embody feminine and masculine qualities to differing degrees. So I’m not trying to paint everyone with a broad brush when we talk about god, goddess, masculine, feminine, and none of those descriptors carries more weight or value than another. It is just a way of cataloging and simplifying aspects to make them easier to understand and connect with.
Now before you just start invoking any deity, it is a good idea to learn as much as you can about this entity. Try to understand their basic history, the more prominent myths and traditions associated with them, learn what correspondences they may have, so that when you do approach them, you will be able to present a suitable offering for them. And once you’ve done whatever working you had in mind with this deity, don’t forget to thank them afterward. Once you’ve got a deity’s attention, you want to be sure you remain on good terms.
Working with deities takes time and planning, especially the first time you work with them. This isn’t something to try the day before you start your spell. This could take weeks of planning. Save this kind of work for your larger spells. Once you’ve done your homework and learned all you can, then create a space for this entity on your altar for the duration of the spell, and even for some time afterwards. Keep flowers, herbs, crystals, candles, runes, or incense that are significant to this deity. Even pictures or a small statuette of them can go a long way toward gaining their favor. Meditate with them for some time. Develop a relationship before you go asking for favors.
I suggest that if you are curious about working with a particular entity, that you take your time. And I do not recommend that you jump from one deity to another. You may find it beneficial to work with one particular deity for months at a time. I personally have found that I tend to have seasons where I will feel called to work with one deity. Not necessarily for spells or anything, but just to learn about them, and learn from them, sort of an apprenticeship, I suppose. And it seems as though certain deities will come to me at different times or phases in my life, and beyond any magic that we may or may not do together, it’s the knowledge and the wisdom that comes from those relationships that I take with me.
So. Once that relationship is established and you’ve done a bit of work with them and you feel that connection, it will be easier going forward to work with them again. It won’t require quite so much effort on the front end, but you will still want to approach them with respect and they will still want those tributes. Gods and goddesses love to be remembered, they love to be honored, and they don’t tolerate disrespect. So just keep all that in mind.
There are a lot of deities that I don’t work with at all and likely never will, because they aren’t a part of my heritage or traditions, and it would feel disingenuous to ask them for assistance. But, there are some that I do work with, like Aphrodite for example. I am not Greek, but Greek and Roman theology have become so universal precisely because they are so accessible, that I don’t feel like some kind of an interloper when I call upon her.
So I will go through a few deities that I feel are pretty approachable and who I work with and just talk briefly about their correspondences and some of the intentions and issues they may be most helpful with. Starting with Aphrodite. She is the Greek goddess of love, sex, sensuality, and passion, but also fidelity, marriage, fertility, and childbirth. She is associated with apples and walnuts, so those make excellent offerings, and you would do well to place roses, daisies, or violets on her altar. Salt, pearls, and copper are associated with Aphrodite, and cinnamon or myrrh incense would be my suggestions. When you’ve done the work of reaching out to her and establishing a relationship, look for signs in the form of the repeating number 1, also doves, deer, goats, and seagulls.
Athena, goddess of war, is another Greek deity I find approachable. She isn’t only the goddess of war, though, she can also be called upon when you’re trying to establish peace in a troubled relationship. She is a guardian, she confers strength, also harmony, healing, and justice. She will appreciate apples again, and olives on her altar. Yellow candles will please her, as will fir or maple incense. Look for repeating sixes or sevens as a sign from Her, as well as owls, ravens, snakes, or horses.
Brigid is a Celtic triple goddess, and we have spoken of her before in the Imbolc episode, but just to recap, her issues include communication, healing, marriage, pregnancy, money, poetry, and knowledge. Place dandelions and blackberries on her altar, along with blue candles, azurite or peridot crystals, and cedar incense. Look for signs in the form of bears, swans, or oak trees.
If you’re a gardener, I have another Greek goddess for you. Demeter, goddess of grain and the fruitfulness of the earth. She is a wonderful goddess to build and maintain an altar for in your garden itself. She is also a good deity to approach in matters of abundance, manifestation, grounding, changes and cycles, and grief. On her altar, or even directly in your garden, keeping poppies, roses or sunflowers in her honor are appreciated, placing barley, corn or wheat on her altar is smart, burning myrrh incense, and then the signs she may send could include cats, doves, and honeybees. I love Demeter, she is such a vibe.
The first god we are going to talk about today is Dionysus, the god of wine, pleasure, and civilization. This is my mom’s favorite deity. She has the most beautiful little statuette of him. You may approach Dionysus in matters of business, happiness, sex magic, creativity, and travel. When building his altar, think about wine (of course) apples, laurels, grapes, and ivy. Amethyst and/or silver, on that altar as well, and you will want to look for signs such as the repeating number 5, or maybe tigers, lambs, griffins, or the horse.
Another male entity, this one isn’t a god per se, but the Green Man is a pagan spirit of abundance, agriculture, and male fertility and sexuality, so there may be a time when you will want to approach him. His primary symbol is the oak, so acorns on that altar, baby.
Back to the goddesses, Hekate is like, one of the main goddesses that witches will call upon. She is a crossroads goddess, and this will be the best place to go to place your petitions, although it’s still a good idea to keep a place for her on your altar. I have worked very successfully with Hekate in the past. Her origins are also Greek, and she will be a powerful ally in matters of business, destruction, empowerment and influence, karma, magic, particularly, defensive magic, moon magic, and baneful magic, she is also influential in shamanic or healing work.
To win her favor, place pearls, moonstone, quartz or sapphire on her altar, feverfew and lavender flowers, and burn myrrh incense. Look for signs such as the numbers 3 or 9, and animal totems like rabbits, owls, and especially dogs.
There are so many others to consider, but in the interest of time I’ve had to limit myself. I considered talking about the Morrigan, another Celtic goddess, but she just isn’t someone you can give a concise explanation for. She is so complex and her lore is so rich. She is a triple goddess, a goddess of war, battle, death, destruction, vengeance, and hexes, but she is also a goddess of courage, defense, empowerment, messages and omens, prophecy, protection, and shamanic work. She IS the goddess of witches. So absolutely by all means, if you feel called to work with her, please do. But, and this goes for every deity I have listed already, please learn as much as you can before you approach her. Once you have her attention, you’d better be ready for the ride.
But I’m not trying to make anyone nervous. Now there are so many others I didn’t get to, of course Selene the moon goddess is very special, Vesta is a powerful goddess in family and domestic magic, Lugh the sun god, is another Celtic deity and in fact he’s who we celebrate at Lughnasa. There are gods for every issue. And it can be so enriching to work with them and see how much extra sauce they can bring to your magic. And that’s really the point of this episode. Yes, you can do all kinds of amazing magic on your own, and 95% percent of the time, I do magic solo. But that 5% is so spicy.
If you work with any deities, I would love to hear about the work you do, and how you approach them, and what your altars look like. I am nosy like that. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can DM me on instagram or facebook at @middleagedwitch. If you have any questions, comments, criticisms, concerns, recipes you’d like to share, anything. I love to hear from you.
Until next time, my name is Eli, and this has been the Middle-Aged Witch podcast.