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Gods And Goddesses- Do You Have To Worship Them?


Guest KayBeth13
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Hi all,

 

Since joining this site I have learned so much and have decided that for me the path I wish to follow is more along the wiccan line. I do however have an issue and that is I find it hard to believe in gods and goddesses, but my friend insists that in order to do any ritual you must also include the god and goddess and it helps if you are doing spellwork to call upon whichever god/goddess relates to the topic of the spell.

 

I just want to know other people's opinions on this. I struggle to worship any form of god/goddess, preferring to work only with the elements and the things I can see and feel (I guess that's the scientist in me- I struggle to believe if there's no proof sometimes) and I struggle with the idea of 'worshipping' as I grew up being forced to worship a god I never really believed in. So, do people think that the gods and goddesses are essential or should I not feel guilty if I choose to not worship or include them in my blessings and rituals?

 

Thank you in advance!

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do what you feel is best...there are no fixed rules...

 

im shamanic so i work with spirits and not gods....(I don't do the - i'm not worthy...please give me..get me out of trouble...whole worshiping scene either)

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Rather a lot there so let's unpack it bit by bit :)

 

I'm not a Wiccan though there are others here who are and can advise better. Whether you can be atheist within that framework is something they'll be able to expand on better.

 

Whether you can be an atheist and pagan though is something that I can answer as it has been addressed many times here on this site. Yes. There is absolutely no requirement to believe in gods to be a pagan. There are in fact a fair few atheist pagans here on the site :)

 

Rituals. The point of rituals is to create a space, a time, a framework for connecting - to gods, to the wights, to anything supernatural you feel you need to connect to. It's simply about following a process that enables you to slip into the state of mind where such connection is possible. And that process is whatever you want to make it - there are no set rules about how to do them, there really isn't a prescribed "pagan" way of doing anything. And your friend is wrong to try and impose his/her values and approach upon you.

 

She/He is also wrong about calling on whatever god you need to help with a spell - have a look around the site and you'll see that that attitude is met with horror and derision. Anybody who has any kind of interaction with gods knows that they're not dogs to be called to heel. And the idea of a shopping list to "pick a god", as though they're slaves to be summoned to do your bidding - yeah - I'd like to see that tried with Hecate. Or the Morrigan... :lol:

 

Let's do the worship thing next. There are differences of opinion here (on the site). Some of the mods were away for a weekend and being interrogated by a devout Christian woman clearly terrified to be in the presence of actual Pagans. "Do you worship gods?" she asked. A crossover chorus of yes! no! was the reply. I do worship my gods, not in the Christian fear and awe sense, but in the meaning of the word sense: that these beings are worthy of honour. But lots of people don't, and consider it laughable to do so. It's entirely up to you.

 

So - to sum up - do what you want to. Believe what you want to. Better looking at your beliefs now rather than being forced down someone else's path. Test your beliefs - that's important. Don't just take someone's word for it - including mine. Question everything, let nobody tell you your beliefs are wrong. ;)

 

 

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Two choices really - accept your chosen dieties and havve them help you or don't and risk them sabotaging you until you do!

 

Science is fine as far as it goes but does have limitations. Einstien (yeah, him with the hair!) said particles where waves, this fails to fit in with the accepted form (especially in hte 1930's when he said it) as it means all of sciences discoveries may be giving false truths (a particle being a wave means it can be in two places at once!!!). Scientists are now revisiting this theory, so if Einstien is right, there are millions of parralel universes, some of which may be occupied by the dieties we follow...

 

Either way, the choice is yours...

 

do what you feel is best...there are no fixed rules...

 

im shamanic so i work with spirits and not gods....(I don't do the - i'm not worthy...please give me..get me out of trouble...whole worshiping scene either)

 

Ditto on the 'worship' side!

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Hiya..... an atheistic pagan here. You said a couple of times that you struggle with the idea of Gods and that you struggle with the idea of worshipping. So why feel the need to do either? Thing is, Paganism is very broad and there are any number of ways of expressing that Pagan impulse and not all include Gods and worship. Even many Pagans with a strong belief in Deity don't worship..... at least not in the Christian sense. From what I see, many Pagans have a sort of deal with their Gods and are not simply at their mercy on pain of Hell.

 

What really matters is integrity. It is surely better to express your brand of Paganism in a way which feels natural and comfortable to you than to put on a show of "worship and ritual" which doesn't do it for you. And as for ritual, I have taken part in rituals held by Theists with strong relationships with their Gods and nothing terrible happened. We all knew the score and I guess that if the Gods are there, but just not making themselves known to me yet then they knew that I was taking part in the ritual with a profound sense of respect in my heart.

 

Many people end up simply calling themselves Pagan by the way. There is no need to be more specific than that.

 

I'm glad that you have been on such an interesting journey so far and that this site has been a part of that for you, but just take your time...... and don't be too quick to label yourself (and if you are don't be too slow to re-label yourself).

 

All the best,

 

Mike

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Few pagans "worship" anything, let alone gods. ;) Many of us have relationships with gods, but others don't. Wiccans come in all sorts of shape of belief. Regretfully, your friend is demonstrating his/her lack of knowoedge and trying to impose that on you. :(

 

You do what seems right to you. You most certainly will end up accomplishing nothing if you try to ignore what you feel is right and work the way someone else thinks is right.

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the two post above iilustrate what is perhaps truly unique about this place, there is no strait jacket of conformity placed upon anyone, there is no Dogma insisting that only A is right whilst B to Z are wrong, there is instead the experiences of many long term practitioners of Paganry in all its wonderful forms

 

as MH states above

You most certainly will end up accomplishing nothing if you try to ignore what you feel is right and work the way someone else thinks is right.

 

I will also add that in all probability, if you follow a path that feels wrong you will give up....listen to your heart and your head as only you can know the path that is right for you

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What they all said.

From the scientist perspective - I was very much an atheist when I came to this site, and it was AWESOME to have somewhere where I didn't have to acknowledge a god and goddess or whatever, to wrap my head around those words as a metaphor for whatever...

So there's only one thing that could change that, and it was personal experience that altered it. Don't let anyone else tell you what you "should" do because they're probably talking through their arse.

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Hello, another atheist Pagan here :) . I agree with all that has been said above, trying to include something in your practise that you don't believe in is never going to work anyway.

If different parts of different paths appeal to you it is absolutley fine to just make your own path using those, that's one of the beautiful things about Paganism we can follow a pre defined path in our own way or just completely make it up as we go along if we wish to, that's pretty much what I've always done anyway lol. Becca :o_rainbow:

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I wouldn't say anyone is compelled to worship the gods, in fact when I think about it you can't be forced to worship anything, not on the interior level anyway. I personally do worship the gods, meaning I acknowledge that they are divine, immortal intelligences who possess power and authority infinity surpassing anything any mortal human is capable of having. Along with the fact that I believe the gods created the human race, which to me,makes them the rightful recipients of our gratitude and praise. I distinguish my form of worship from the monotheist concept of worship however. In the Abhramic traditions the God of Israel demands his followers worship him as the sole Good in relation to complete human debasement which only he can pardon. The gods don't work on the same principle, I view my interactions with the gods as inherently unequal, the mortal being the lesser and the immortal being the greater, I am not the equal of any divine power, but it works on a "give and take" basis. I want something, I worship the gods and petition them for the thing I want (which is beyond my power to accomplish as a mortal man, hence why I'm seeking Divine assistance at all) and the gods, if they choose, may answer my prayers if it pleases them, or not. So I do worship the gods, pray to them, give them offerings, reverence and adore their images/statues etc, but I don't think it's a requirement. That said, just as some Catholics I know have a particular saint or number of saints they have an especial relationship with, so it is with the gods for me, I feel I "have the ear" of certain gods, and that they think more kindly of me/take more of a personal interest in my welfare, than some others do.

Edited by DrMoran
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Another atheist pagan. I choose to see the gods as existing within my own mind. As archetypes, if you like to get your Jung on.

 

I don't see any problem or limitation from that, I think instead that there is no harm in seeing them that way as it lets me learn from them without being too bound up in the question of whether they exist or not.

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To address your "Wiccan" comment ... you will find threads in the forums which have discussed Wicca (with a capital "W") and wicca .... There is a blurring of meaning as time goes on but, essentially, Wiccans are initiated into a mystery tradition and wiccans are not initiated into a mystery tradition but may be self-initiated or initiated into a group outside of the recognised mystery tradition groups (such as Gardnerian and Alexandrian) or simply follow a wiccan-like practice using material which has come into the public domain.

 

I would say that, if you want to be an initiated Wiccan, then you do need to believe in the Goddess and the God (or make that plural if you'd rather :) ) However, you are free to do as you want with such wiccan-like material that resonates with you, believing in some or all of it!

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Perhaps echoing all that has been said, for me a little respect, is that worship them? If paying them a little respect at times is worship then mmm would you call it worship? Dont know, I just like to say thank you for being there, and thats not often! I have found that my world is changing, my inner world that is. My beliefs are shifting more towards the native american view, maybe that has always been the way. Pan bless him is also there and now I realise that has been the case, for very many years. So its a bit mix n match.

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The bottom line here is that you can't force yourself to believe something as big as that. So if your chosen path involves belief in Gods as a 'must-have' then you should probably look at other paths that make better sense to you. I don't know how it is with Wicca.

 

If, through your experience over time, you come to genuinely believe then ok, but until then you must continue in an honest way. Otherwise your practice may feel hollow.

 

Instead of focusing on gods maybe you can focus on the beauty of nature itself, or something else that has spiritual meaning to you but doesn't require that leap of faith that you're clearly finding difficult.

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You absolutely do not have to worship gods if you don't want to! I'm not Wiccan but my perspective as an outsider is that if you are talking about initiatory Wicca then the only people who can tell you what is expected of you there are High Priests and High Priestesses who have gone through their third degree initiation. If you are talking about non-initiatory eclectic wicca then as far as I can see it is even looser and you can believe and practice pretty much whatever you want, within a basic framework of e.g. the wheel of the year.

 

The reason lots of people come to Paganism is because it doesn't tell you what you have to do and what you have to believe. It's based upon personal understanding, belief and discovery. It sounds to me like your friend is just trying to impress you with their "greater knowledge" and over-stepping the mark. Just be faithful to what you believe and what you want. This is your journey, not theirs. I'm sure they mean well; but you'll be far happier if you do your own research and pull up your own conclusions and what to believe.

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I'm not sure if the above was pointed at my earlier response but I certainly did not intend to suggest that "you have to worship gods ...." I said and I stand by what I say, that if you want to follow a Wiccan path (with a capital "W") which is a mystery tradition, then you need to be able to believe in deity! If you go for wiccan-like practice without formal initiation into a mystery tradition, then you can do what you like - believe or not ...............

 

I am one of the strongest advocates I know of the belief that no pagan (of whatever path) can tell another what to do, believe, think, eat, wear ..... or whatever :) However, if someone approached me for initiation into my brand of mystery tradition, I would not initiate someone who could not resonate with or believe in deity ... that is all !

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Oh shoot, no it wasn't addressed to you at all Naomi! In fact, I misread your post and thought you said that you did not need to be believe in the god or goddess. Sorry! Your opinion is the one I value the highest here on the topic of Wicca :)

Edited by Pearlbrook
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do what you feel is best...there are no fixed rules...

 

im shamanic so i work with spirits and not gods....(I don't do the - i'm not worthy...please give me..get me out of trouble...whole worshiping scene either)

This is more or less what I was going to say :) Great minds and all that. Good to meet a fellow traveller.

 

In shamanic work it is all about spirits, spirit helpers, power animals, guides, whatever you want to call them and none of it is about worshiping anyone or anything. I see the spirit in all things and it is this with which I work.

 

do what you feel is best...there are no fixed rules...

 

im shamanic so i work with spirits and not gods....(I don't do the - i'm not worthy...please give me..get me out of trouble...whole worshiping scene either)

This is about what I was going to say. Great minds and all that. Good to meet a fellow traveller :)

 

In shamanism it is all about spirits, spirit helpers, power animals, guides, whatever you want to call them and none of it is about worshiping anything of anyone. I see the spirit in everything and it is this with which I work.

Edited by Fire Oak
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  • 2 weeks later...

I was amazed to discover people actually believed Gods/Goddesses were actual living entities; I'd always interpreted them as symbolism for nature - the forces that exist all around and within us. You could rename these as simply 'nature' or 'the universe'. We are, after all, all made of stars. But, whatever works for you :)

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I was amazed to discover people actually believed Gods/Goddesses were actual living entities :)

 

I remember being staggered there were people who didn't :D

 

Ah well, be a gey poor world if we all believed the same things :)

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I find the concept of named gods difficult for me. I am happy with the female and male aspect and in my small and infrequent rituals thats how I go about it. Potentially this could be because I have not been drawn to anything yet. Time will tell. This far I am content with female and male energy

 

Sent from my GT-I8190N using Tapatalk

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

hey

 

echoing what others have said really... NO you dont have to worship anyone or anything. this is about your beliefs and your journey- people can walk by your side as you trudge it but no one choose which way you turn OR tell you which way is right ( or left :o_youpi: ....sorry bad joke) .

 

if there WAS a path that told you that you HAD to believe a certain thing would you be able to make yourself? and would you be willing to?

 

just follow your own instincts- your beliefs may change or not but they are never invalid or wrong.

 

Pixie :)

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  • 2 months later...

Hi, I just wanted to say this thread has been really interesting and reassuring to read.

 

I don't know if I'm just put off the idea of gods because of the Christian ideas of what a god is that got forced onto me growing up.

I just can't and don't believe that version and it's hard to get past that block. Maybe I just don't believe in gods at all but I believe in something. And that something is in nature not separate from it. That's all I really know for sure.

 

 

Also mike said...

 

 

 

Many people end up simply calling themselves Pagan by the way. There is no need to be more specific than that.

 

 

That is good to know! I have felt I 'should' define my path more specifically. But I think for the moment I'm sticking with just 'Pagan' I still don't know much about all the different branches and the more I find out the more I realise there is still to know. But that's ok :-)

 

Sarah

 

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As many have said before me believe what ever you choose. It is not easy to believe in something you have never seen or experienced. The only reason many people have faiths is because their parents tell them this is the way and so as a child they believe it. It's no different then being told as a toddler "the colour of this crayon is red" and you accept this because many others say so also.

 

But just because many people say you must believe this to be this does not make it true. Go out and learn for yourself and who knows, maybe a god/goddess will reveal itself to you. I did not believe in the gods till they spoke to me, which was good enough for my mind to accept them as real.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone,

 

I have finally gotten round to reading all these posts and can only say a huge thank you for all your great advice!

 

Since I posted this, I have learned a lot about what I want to do as a pagan. At first, I simply focused on the elemental side of things, then gradually,I started adding a candle to represent the god and goddess as my friend suggested talking to them as if they were my friends. I tried this and over the past year I feel that I have a bit more belief and acceptance to the idea of deities- I even dedicated my Lammas ritual to Lugh this year, which I never would have considered before. I still don't really believe 100%, and I don't use the god and goddess for all my rituals, but I am beginning to open up and ask them fr guidance, especially if I feel that a particular deity can bring something to my life that I need at that particular time.

 

I will say though that I understand now that I am allowed to believe whatever I like, and though I primarily focus on the elements, I have read a lot of celtic lore and have begun to find myself drawn to the celtic deities above any other.

 

Thank you again for all your advice and information!

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I just read through this whole thread (since it was bumped :D) and I just wanted to comment on how fantastic it is that so many people with so many contrasting beliefs can communicate and share with each other in such a friendly manner. This really is a great forum. :D

 

As for my two pence, Kaybeth, I'm an atheist witch - although I started out as a wiccan many years ago and held quite a deep devotion to particular gods, Isis and the horned god archetype being the ones I felt closest to. I lost my faith and actually left paganism entirely, but years later found myself able to connect to it again without needing to believe in gods or supernatural beings. I can assure you quite heartily that it is incorrect to say that gods/goddesses are required in any magic system before it will work - I practise folk magic that requires no supplication/petitions to gods or even circle casting, and all work very well. The thing to be aware of when faced with a question such as this, is that the inclusion of deities is very much subject to your personal belief. If as you say you're not comfortable with worshipping deities, then don't. Don't be pushed into thinking that it's required of you in order to practise paganism. Then again, others that have a deep faith in deities may find that they feel unable to do magic without including them. We all cut our own path. :)

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I lost my faith and actually left paganism entirely

 

and that is an accurate description of where I am at the moment, wandering on a path that while not easy seems the right one, but unquestioning belief in gods / goddesses is not a part of it...strange to say I am veering very much towards Mike's Atheism with an added spirit element rather than any theist content

 

but its a path and who knows what is round the corner, I am as always at the mercy of the universe - and the Cosmic Joker of course

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Well, I am a theist but do not *worship* my gods - indeed they would probably laugh if I tried! We use each other ... they when they need a listening human and I when, for the particular magic at the time, need them, or one of them .......... friendly dealing, that is all!

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I wonder if there are any Gods who either don't believe in humans or who are perfectly happy never to interact with them. Stupid question?

 

Mike

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