Gender Politics in Worship?

As part of my efforts to shake up my home practice, my husband is creating a random deity “generator” for me, a program that will email to me a specific deity or entity to honor during my nightly ritual. The list of deities comes from me, of course, and tonight I sat down to make it.

I listed all the deities I’ve worked with and felt connected to, as well as all those I’d like to get to know better. I put a lot of thought and care into those Beings I’d like to draw closer to my hearth. But as I began to glance back over my list, I realized that it’s pretty lady-heavy.

Am I, as a woman, inclined to worship goddesses rather than goddesses? Have I connected with them because of our shared femininity? Do I feel more comfortable praying to a Being who has, on some oddly-perceived level, more in common with me? Am I (I say this in a whisper) sexist?

What an interesting and alarming thought. I’ll be exploring this a bit more in the coming weeks.

How about you? Are you more inclined to worship a deity that shares your gender identity?


Wow. At the suggestion of the lovely Grey Catsidhe in a comment on my last post, I did some specific meditation, offering, and divination directed at the Morrigan in my nightly ritual. Let me preface this by saying that I’ve never had such a clear reading from Ogham.

I asked…

What is it you want with or from me, with all these signs? I received Eadha, aspen. In my notes (from a variety of sources, including Skip Ellison’s book), I have written, among other things, the single keyword, ‘communication.’ In other words, “Duh. Listen up, moron.” (Not that I think the Morrigan necessarily talks like that.) I also have courage, mastering our fears.

What relationship do you seek with me? I received Nuin, ash. My notes suggest ancient knowledge, transformation, and relationship to a larger context. Events may be more important than they appear.

Um… if you don’t mind me asking… are you wanting to be my patron? I received Fearn, alder. Guidance. Protection. Good counsel. The presence of the gods.

Yipes. I’m pretty sure that’s a yes.

Believe me, I said okay and made some more offerings. This could be interesting.

The Morrigan

I hope this story doesn’t come off as too superstitious and, for lack of a better term, woo-woo.

Awhile back, I had a dream that so moved me, I told my fiance about it as soon as I woke. In the dream, I was in an attic with a very old, alarming, disturbing-looking woman. She was, in retrospect, horrible and cadaverous and hideous. In the dream, though, I approached her, brushed back her dry white hair, touched her grey face, and told her she was beautiful. I was not afraid. And she was beautiful.

I told my non-pagan fiance about it, and he said, unprompted, “Maybe it was a goddess.”

My first instinct was to say it was the Morrigan. I’m not sure why–but this woman was clearly associated with death, and was clearly a Cailleach or Badb type figure. She was dying, and she was horrible–but she was beautiful.

On Saturday at ritual (which I will discuss in detail in another post), while an attendant called the Morrigan and led us through a meditation on Her, a crow circled our ritual area, calling loudly as the guest spoke. At one point I caught another grove member’s eyes and we both grinned, thinking the same thing: the Morrigan was with us, quite literally and quite physically. During the meditation, I cheated and opened my eyes, and at that moment, the crow landed in the tree we had designated our World Tree. I watched her call, sitting high in the bare branches, turning her head to the moon against a blue sky gilded with sun-blooded clouds.

Since my dream, I’ve felt called to the Morrigan, and before that I considered her Macha, horse-goddess aspect as a possible patron. I decided today to make a representation of her, and I started my research earlier this evening. I cracked open my trusty (and disgustingly used by its previous owner) copy of Celtic Heritage, flipped to the index, and started at the beginning of the references to the Morrigan.

The page was already dog-eared.

I’m not sure what any of this means — I’ve been working with Brigid as my patroness, and–to be frank–the thought of having the Morrigan as a patroness frightens me a little. But even in my distant Catholic days, I believed very strongly in signs. All this–especially the dream–has not happened for nothing.

Any thoughts, fellow ADF-ers? Have any you had very strange, specific experiences with a deity?

Spring is Almost Here

A few ramblings… Spring is just around the corner. I can feel it in the sunshine and the rushing river near my home. There aren’t any buds on the trees yet, and some of the ground under the large tree I park the car under is still frozen, but I can feel the thaw starting far below my feet.

Spring is particularly significant for me because I suffer from seasonal affective disorder, which, mock all you will, is a real condition. This winter wasn’t quite as bad as some (thank you, New Mexico sunshine), but I’ve been unhappy all the same. Now the sun is shining more and I spend as much of my writing time outdoors as I can.

With the change of seasons, I’ve been thinking a lot about Persephone. I’m not sure how having patrons in two different hearth cultures would work, but I feel drawn to her as a goddess with whom I want to develop a personal relationship. How do you start developing a new relationship with a deity? I’ve been making offerings to her and thinking of her often, and I think that’s a good start.

It’s odd to me that both Manannán, my definite patron, and Persephone, a potential patron, are associated with the Underworld. Manannán is a gatekeeper, certainly, while Persephone is Queen of the Underworld but travels back and forth. I would never have guessed myself to be attracted to deities associated with the dead and the Underworld. I wonder what that says…?