One aspect of Wicca that appealed to me right from the start is the concept that divinity is both external and internal. We are not separate from the forces that created the universe through “sin” or a “fall from grace” or any of the lies that churches have told for centuries to keep the populace ignorant and subservient.
When I see the beauty in the world around me, I see the Goddess. She is alive and very present in every living thing, from the tiniest microbe to the largest whale in the ocean. I see Her in the faces of everyone I meet and even in nature’s wildness and unpredictability. I see Her within myself as well, moving through the phases of my life from the carefree maiden to the creative mother and eventually to the wizened crone. (I intend to wear my hair long and white, to speak my truth, and to dress as eccentrically as possible!)
The goddesses we learn about through mythology are just different manifestations of the Divine Feminine. They are worth getting to know, however, because they convey Her many traits both in light and shadow forms. Some goddesses are benevolent (Lakshmi, Fortuna, Venus), and others break down and destroy (Kali, Sekhmet, Lilith). All of them represent some aspect of our own psyche, which is why we can relate to them so easily. In the field of Jungian psychology, a goddess would be considered an archetype, a collectively inherited unconscious idea.
For example, I can honor a goddess (like Athena), and I can also invoke Athena’s characteristics within myself. Whenever I’m facing a particularly challenging issue at work, I’ve found her wisdom and guidance to be indispensable. She has helped me navigate the treacherous waters of the boardroom and office politics more times than I can count. When I’m dealing with matters of the heart, however, Athena wouldn’t be my first choice. I’d probably invoke Isis or Frigga to help keep my domestic life in balance.
I tend to have favorites in different pantheons, which is the nice thing about being an eclectic witch—you can pick and choose whatever appeals to you. I am especially fond of Inanna, the Babylonian goddess, because of her journey to the underworld and her triumph over adversity. She guided me through one of the most unpleasant times in my life, and I feel that her story is very important for modern women. The Roman goddess Diana, or Artemis as the Greeks named her, taught me to stand up for myself and to fight for the rights of all women. Hecate, the Greek goddess of the crossroads, taught me about the mysteries of alchemy and sorcery, although I do not recommend working with her unless you are prepared for some major revelations and hard lessons! Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of abundance, taught me about giving and receiving unconditional love and support. Morgaine, the lively Priestess of Avalon, is by far the one that I identify with most often. Her connection to the faery realm, her devotion to her practice, her Celtic ties, and her healing arts are all traits that I want to cultivate.
I feel blessed to be a “seeker” on this journey, with so many guides and teachers along the way, and to have found the Goddess without and within. If there is anything I could convey to those who wish to understand the pagan path, it’s that we strive to live in harmony and balance with this world as our creator intended.
The beautiful words of Doreen Valiente really capture it best in Charge of the Goddess:
“Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you.”