hound of the cailleach

hearth fires and death pyres



Patron Deities

“How do I find my patron deity?” is a question that echoes throughout the pagan communities on Tumblr and elsewhere.  What doesn’t seem to get discussed very often is what having a patron deity entails.  It’ll be different with every deity and devotee, of course, depending on the deity’s personality and the nature of the original culture in question.  The dynamics of a patronship with a Kemetic god versus an Irish god versus a Hellenic god are not the same; this previous post demonstrates a bit of that.  And that’s just three people in a community of thousands!

Just to be clear, I’m speaking as an Irish polytheist and someone with a strong sensitivity to power dynamics, so much of what I’ve said is influenced by those things.  I’m coming from a specific tradition with a specific background.  Others will have different opinions and experiences, as evidenced by that first link above.  Don’t take my words as fact, only as one person’s opinion.

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Why We Need Advocacy for Polytheist Survivors, Too

We need more support services for polytheist survivors of domestic violence.  I’m just going to put that out there.

A friend recently asked me to serve as a priestess for a teenage kid who had been through some terrible traumas, including sexual violence from partners, and wanted some kind of cleansing ritual.  It took some time to tease out the reason behind it, but eventually the kid described an experience that would be familiar to many within the polytheist and magical communities involving another entity.  Anyone outside of those communities, however, most likely would have dismissed it as a creative imagination or an indication of mental illness.  While the kid obviously does have some mental illness, likely caused by prolonged and repeated trauma from his not-too-distant past, what ultimately matters isn’t what the rest of us thinks should be real but the fact that this experience was very real  for him and affected him deeply.  Unfortunately, the manifestation of this kid’s trauma response and the way he chose to address it would be seen by many as the actual problem, not a symptom of something deeper.

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Atheism to Polytheism: Because Why Not?

If you go into philosophy or religious studies thinking to find answers to questions of faith, of the divine, of those mysteries that have had so much power over human lives for at least as long as Homo sapiens has been around, you’re doomed to failure from the start.  Fair warning: what you’ll find instead is several crises of faith, 2 AM bouts of drunkenness over existential why me‘s, and a hatred so deep for That Guy In Philosophy 101 that the Mariana Trench looks like a crack in the sidewalk.  It got to the point that, for a long time, if it couldn’t be replicated in a scientific setting or be logically explained, I would roll my eyes at the religious sheeple who could chew on such bullshit.

And then, like Hume’s sun deciding to sleep in late one day, like the Average Kid who suddenly finds out he’s a wizard, everything changed.  It occurred to me that if no one can accurately define what the divine is in any objective way, then how can it be concluded with any certainty that it doesn’t exist?  And, well, why not believe?

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Right Worship

For one of my undergrad philosophy classes, I wrote an essay explaining why God’s alleged omnipotence and omniscience didn’t necessitate human obeisance. I don’t remember what class it was for specifically or what I grade I got on it, only the righteous indignation as I sat muttering into my fifth cup of coffee in one of the campus dining halls. Adoration, unquestioning faith, and blind obedience: this kind of absolute surrender to a deity seems to be the most common understanding of what worship actually entails. I know people who have been drawn towards one Pagan path or another but who find the idea of developing a relationship with a deity utterly repelling because of this misunderstanding of what worship should entail.

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