Methods of Devotion to the Gods

Well, you guys may have noticed that I dropped down my posting frequency recently… One of the main reasons is that I had originally meant for this blog to be a way to keep track of my witchcraft studies, and I found that posting three times a week didn’t give me an opportunity to spend any real time on studying one subject at a time. I have also been getting back into my religious devotions over the last couple of weeks, which has been taking up much more of my time.

While witchcraft is a practice that can be completely secular, my practice is tied to my religious practice, but for the last few years I have been neglecting the spirits and deities I used to regularly work with. Now that I have significantly more time on my hands, I’ve decided that it’s a good time to build my relationships with my gods again.

There are so many different ways to offer devotions to deities in order to develop working relationships with them, and it’s very important to do a little research and commune with your gods to find out what is the best approach with them. That being said, I have been working on a few different approaches with my main gods which can be adapted to other deities as needed.

Prayer & Meditation

This one is mostly universal for deities across cultures. Prayer and meditation is one of the simplest ways to develop your relationships with deities, but it does require a certain level of emotional and spiritual devotion. If you’re working with spirits or gods in a strictly magical sense with no religious devotion, then prayer might not be the best approach but meditation could still work. What prayer and meditation really does is help us to open our minds to our deities and communicate with them on a deeper level.

This is one of the ways that I am working on renewing my relationships with my two main deities. I am trying to build up a habit of meditating on them at least a few times a week to increase their presence in my life, and I am hoping it will help me to keep my mind open to them and their influences daily.

Offerings

Giving offerings is another widely practiced form of devotion, especially in polytheistic and pagan religions. This can be anything from food and drink to small objects that are associated with the god or goddess. Some choose to have an altar or shrine dedicated to their gods where they place regular offerings, while others will leave them in a sacred place that they’ve created outside.

When giving physical offerings, it is important to do a little research to find out what types of offerings are accepted or most appropriate for your deities. For example, there are many deities who accept beef as a food offering, particularly when there is feasting to mark a holiday, but there are others which would regard an offering of beef (or other meat) as an insult. Do a little research before you start giving offerings.

Another important thing to note, if you are leaving offerings somewhere in nature, please please please make sure you are mindful of the wildlife in the area. Leave it in a biodegradable container (or no container at all) and make sure anything you leave will not harm any wildlife that might eat it.

Cultural Learning

For many modern pagans (especially in the United States) there is a strong disconnect from the culture our deities are from. While there are many who have practices passed down through their families, some of us discovered our practices on our own and found deities that may be from different cultures around the world.

The pantheon that I felt most connected to is the Gaelic deities of Ireland and the British Isles, and, while genetically I am mostly Irish, I grew up with very little familiarity of that culture. Because of this, I have been taking some time to learn more about Ireland, especially the relationship between the Fae and Irish culture.

I have also just begun learning the Irish language in hopes that I can commune with my gods in the language of their land. I feel that this is a way that I can show my devotion and respect to them, even though I know I can still communicate with them in my native language if I choose.

Volunteering & Activism

I am a strong believer in getting involved with your community through volunteering and activism. These are ways that we can offer a service to others, as well as a devotional action for our deities. There are countless different causes that we can give ourselves to that would also be associated with different gods and goddesses.

For example, there are many deities that are associated with different types of animals, and devotees can make actionable offerings by volunteering at animal shelters or wildlife rehab centers that are focused on the animals sacred to their god/dess. Additionally, for those who are devoted to gods of war and battle, joining the armed forces is an option, but so is volunteering for veteran organizations. Again, doing a little research on your deities and on the organization in your area can offer a wide range of opportunities to devote your time and energy.

This is by no means an exhaustible list of devotions you can offer to your gods, but it’s a way to start small and initiate a relationship with them. If you have any other methods of offering or devotion to deities, please let me know!