Monday, April 2, 2012

Well hello, you're not who I was expecting...

My relationship with goddesses is kind of strange. On the one hand, for a long while in the past I rejected the worship of any deity that was 'male' due to my issues with men in general, so I exclusively focused my attention on the Goddess. I'm using Goddess here as an archetype, not any particular goddess from any pantheon, but a primal Female force that was experienced/expressed through the different cultures and times as the various goddesses. In a similar vein, the God would be the primal Male of the universe with each god being an aspect of the singular God-force. However, even while I was excluding the male deities from my worship, I never felt particularly called or close to any goddess or even Goddess. Which, upon reflection, I think is a sign of just how tied up in knots I was inside, as well as the need for balance. How can you connect to something when you utterly refuse to accept fully half of it? You can't.

I've long been interested in certain goddesses, but that was entirely from a historic point of view. For instance, I was absolutely besotted by Athena in middle school. I did reports on her until my teachers were more than likely sick of hearing the name. I dressed up as her for Halloween (my costume was a bed sheet and pieces of my She-Ra toy armour. I had a *sword* and it was awesome, though it *was* pink). And Bastet, from the Egyptian pantheon. She's a cat goddess. How can there be anything more wonderful than that? Oh, but then there's Sekhmet. A lion war-goddess. Isis, who ruled with her brother-husband Osiris and put him back together after Set murdered him and scattered his parts across the world. Hera. Kali.

Are any of you seeing a theme?

I've long been attracted to goddesses who represented wisdom, cleverness and strength. But I was only ever attracted to them on an intellectual level, not on a worship level. I'm certain that there were varying reasons for that. When I was younger, I didn't believe that they were real. After all, I was a Christian and there was only one God and He was a man. Granted, that's an incorrect understanding of the Christian God but that was the impression that I got growing up. After all, they're hardly going to try and explain complex theological issues and the existence of a non-gendered deity or a deity that is both male and female at the same time to kids in Sunday School. Still. My Christian education, such as it was, left me with the belief that the Christian God was male and that there were no female divine forces.

Anyway. Before I digress into a *really* rambling post. The point is, I've never felt a kinship or a relationship with any goddesses. I found many of them interesting, but the same is true for gods. The difference is, I've felt...called? I guess is the best word, by gods. Historically, I mean. I ignored it because a) I Wasn't Speaking To Them Because They Were 'Men' and b) I was of the mind that the gods were all just iterations of the God (a divine Male force, not the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God, to be clear). So there was really no point in talking to them.

Some of them have apparently stuck with me and they've shown off enough personality that I'm willing to admit the thought that they're discrete beings and not one single being wearing different hats for different cultures. Honestly, even if they are just iterations of the same being, what difference does it make? If I feel more connected to one over another then that's fine. But I'm beginning to think that they've got too much personality to all be the same being.

Loki, for instance, is a definite presence I feel. I have mixed feelings on the matter, I admit. He brings a lot of chaos with him, certainly, and I'm very much not a chaotic person so it's been a little...entertaining, to say the least. But I'm enjoying it, which probably speaks to the need for a little more chaos in my life. *eyes the room* Not a lot, mind. Let's just keep on easing me into things, okay? *doubts he's going to listen to that*

So, really, given my history with these sorts of things I haven't been looking to connect to a goddess in particular or general. I don't know much about the, I guess it's called reconstructionist, form of paganism, really, so I don't know if people usually go looking for a connection to a god or if the god usually just sort of says, 'Hi there. You're mine.' And takes the person home like a new puppy. I don't know. So I wasn't expecting anything.

However, I've noticed a pattern, a goddess who keeps popping up in relation to my runes and just... seemingly random things in my life. Which, yes, I know if we're going from a strictly logical point of view then it could be entirely coincidental and my brain is registering it as a pattern because that's what our brains do. All I can say is that it doesn't feel like an accident. It's like with the Attack of the Tree from Halloween. Is it possible that it was just a thing that happened? Yes. Do I feel like it was just a thing? No. And so I don't think that it was just a random thing.

And I don't think this is a random thing either.

Freyja keeps popping up in my life, somehow.

The thing that amuses me the most is that if I were going to seek out a relationship with a goddess, she would not have been the one I chose. Mostly because I had a misunderstanding of her nature, to be honest. I was thinking of her as the Norse version of Aphrodite, whom I feel nothing for. So I was thinking of her as something like a cheerleader. Pretty and vacant. *is judgy, she knows* I would have gone for maybe Frigga, because I'm ambitious like that.

So, annoyed that of all people the *cheerleader* is the one that keeps butting in, I threw up my hands and decided to read a little bit about her. Hey, turns out, not the cheerleader. Actually, totally awesome and my kind of gal. Which I admit weighs on me in the 'not a coincidence' category. I could see it being subconscious pattern reading leading me there if I had known that Freyja fit in with the other goddesses that interested me, but I didn't. I thought she was a pretty ornament kind of goddess and nothing that I identified with.

My plan is to, when I get my altar set up, include Freyja and Loki on it and we'll see where we go from there.


  1. So exciting! I'm really interested to see how this turns out and what else you'll discover.

    I like Loki. When I do my little toe-dips into the Norse pantheon, I'm always more interested in him and his kids than I am in most of the traditional reason I absolutely could not practice Asatru or fit in with Norse recons. I have a lot more sympathy for him and Fenrir than I do their supposed victims.

    I was also surprised to see you mention Freyja. I guess I shouldn't have been, and looking back over your post, it does seem the other goddesses you looked at should have been a clue. Cats, warriors, wisdom...yep. And even your interest in the runes, since she's associated with a kind of divination. Interesting!

    I've never really connected with her. I wanted to, when I first started looking at the Norse gods. I was drawn to her and Freyr specifically because I saw a connection with Aphrodite (who is also not just a cheerleader and has a warrior aspect most people don't discuss much) and was very interested in that. But they're not the same, and I think I understand Aphrodite better somehow. Freyja's interesting and I like her, but she wound up being more of a gateway to Frigga and Odin than someone I stuck with for long. I find it interesting that several people I read have mentioned her lately, I wonder if I'll understand her better by seeing other people talk about her personally instead of just reading academic descriptions.

    (Also, I love the She-Ra Athena costume. Clever! And here I always just put on black clothes and a mask and called myself a cat!)

    I don't know if people usually go looking for a connection to a god or if the god usually just sort of says, 'Hi there. You're mine.' And takes the person home like a new puppy.

    A bit of both, based on what I've heard from others. And then there are some purists who will say most ancients didn't have a particular patron and just worshiped the whole pantheon (and then others will jump in and they can argue for pages about whether that's true) so we should do the same. But I think in personal religion it's natural to be drawn to a particular god or group of gods, the same way we're drawn to certain people. And at the same time, I expect gods to be drawn to certain people for the same reason.

    Good luck, thanks for sharing what's been happening with this!

    1. The attitude about Loki is a huge problem for me in what I've seen of Asatru, to be honest. Because the attitudes I've seen seem to equate him with destructiveness and that's just not my experience at all. So even if I ever encountered a community of Asatru I'm not sure I could be a part of it. I'm wondering if maybe the attitude toward him is a left over from the Christianization of the original Germanic and Norse religions. He sort of plays the 'devil' role, in a way, though it's not an exact fit of course. And I recall reading somewhere that he and Odin used to be hailed at the same time - as in, if you raised a cup to Odin you had to raise one to Loki as well, since they were blood brothers. But I could be wrong about that. I'm just learning.

      Aphrodite = cheerleader! :) Admittedly, I keep picturing the Aphrodite from Hercules and Xena, so I may be prejudiced.

      Why couldn't the people have a patron god(dess) and worship the entire pantheon? Each god(dess) has their festivals, etc. to be observed, but if you're a fisherman you're going to pay extra attention to Poseidon, aren't you? Yeah. It just makes sense to me.

    2. I've seen the same thing, I think you're right about raising a cup to both, and probably your suggested reasons for the Loki-hate too. I know of a few Odin-worshipers who do still honor Loki, but I have seen a disturbing amount of hate towards people who actively worship Loki and even more if they also worship the giants and/or Loki and his family, that winds up looking a lot like accusations of devil-worship. I can sort of see the argument that Loki wasn't a "god" in the same sense as the Aesir...but then, neither was Freyja.

      One thing I love about the Norse pantheon is that there are so many different types of beings, and potentially several groups of gods (at least two we know of). We're doing a lot of guesswork with how the gods were worshiped originally, and people finding new ways and filling in the gaps through our modern experience isn't a bad thing. That's probably how it got started in ancient times anyway, I doubt they were just handed divine revelation telling them everything about all the gods.

      Haha, ok. I guess she can be kind of cheerleader-y, especially in entertainment.

      Patrons - Exactly! Makes a lot of sense to me, too. :)

  2. I enjoyed this post! You're so funny how you eyeball the room and stuff. Hehe. Thanks for sharing! I'll be reading to learn more from you.

  3. I really enjoyed this post, I used to have a big thing for Athena as well.

    My cousin is actually involved with Asatru, but I don't know many details.

    1. Athena is just basically the most awesome goddess ever, let's all just admit to it. :D

      To be honest, I don't know much about Asatru myself. I'm using the label because it seems to be the closest, but I already know that I'd have issues with the community at large (see: Loki). And I have to admit that there are plenty of days where I begin to think that the whole thing is ridiculous.


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