By Nancy Ogilvie
Mastered the basics of Wicca and wondering what’s next? Looking for something to support you as we move deeper into winter and the dark time of the year? You may want to begin working in depth with a particular god or goddess. This relationship can provide powerful guidance and support in your spiritual development, thereby helping you live a richer, more fulfilling life.
In this article, I provide some tips for this form of ritual work and share my story of working with two Egyptian goddesses, Isis and Sekhmet. I hope my experiences will provide you with some ideas and suggestions for your own journey.
Opening to Your God/dess
I first had this section titled, “Choosing a God/dess to Work With,” and immediately realized that my experience was closer to one of being claimed by Sekhmet. She is a fire goddess, and her name means “Sacred Power and Might.” She is generally depicted as a woman with the head of a lion, and she carries that big, “roaring” energy. Always crystal clear about what she wants and never abashed about claiming it, Sekhmet came blasting into my life.
Almost before I knew it, she had taken me as her priestess, simply assuming I would follow her. When I was preparing to lead a ritual, she provided direction and instruction. When I was meditating, she often summoned me to her temple in the Egyptian desert, and provided direction and guidance for my daily life. Once when I was beginning a session with my craniosacral therapist, she showed up and began giving direction to the healer. She was an ongoing presence, mentor, and teacher in these ways for about eight years.
Isis came into my life in a very different way, but still with no sense that I chose her. About eight years after I first started working with Sekhmet, I was priestessing a ritual that included a trance journey; in my own trance, Sekhmet was leading a procession I was a part of as her priestess. At a crossroads, we met another procession led by Isis, and both processions stopped. Sekhmet and Isis stepped forward, and called me toward them. Sekhmet said to me, “Our work is complete; you continue with Isis now,” and they led a beautiful ritual of transition. I joined Isis’ procession, and both went on their respective ways.
Isis is also extremely powerful in her own right, but she is a water goddess, so her energy is much softer, more flowing than Sekhmet’s. Isis’ energy is largely heart-based, where Sekhmet’s is more solar plexus-based. In the transition ritual, I recognized that I had reintegrated enough of Sekhmet’s fierceness, and that it was time to soften its edges in me. Through my work with Isis, I’ve opened my heart and allowed more compassion and tenderness into my sense of power.
So clearly, identifying a god/dess to work with is not about consciously choosing one in a rational, logical way. Reason and intellect have a role — and the decision is far more an intuitive, receptive process. Here are some things you can do in ritual space (sacred space usually created by invoking the directions and/or a god/dess so you can be in an altered state safely) to open yourself to whoever wants to come in:
- When you’re outside, notice which of the elements you feel more drawn to
- Create a ritual to ask the god/dess who is calling you to show him/herself (and know that it may not happen right away)
- Attend or create rituals honoring different god/desses to see who calls you
- Read the stories of different god/desses, and then check in with your inner wisdom. Who do you feel drawn to?
- Use your own spiritual practices — journaling, art, movement, and so on — to ask for guidance about who is calling you
- Prepare to be surprised!
Working with Your God/dess
Once a god/dess has claimed you, your work (and play!) together can take a variety of magikal forms and focus on essentially any subject. The substance of my work with Sekhmet over the years has been claiming my innate power to stand up for myself and what I believe. Generally, the form has been trance journeys to her temple in the Egyptian desert. Sometimes we just talked; others, she led ritual. She often did what I can only describe as zapping me with a jolt of energy to my solar plexus; these were energizing and powerful healing “treatments.”
With Isis, the substance of our work was about claiming the power of opening my heart and allowing myself to be vulnerable. I didn’t travel to connect with her; she was simply always present and available when I needed her, like a perfect mother. She would often just hold me tenderly, and sometimes sing to me. I grieved many losses and healed a lot of hurt in her presence; there were times when I cried my eyes out in her arms. She loved me until I claimed my love for myself again.
Currently, I work and play with both Isis and Sekhmet in my personal practice. Sometimes it’s both of them together; sometimes they decide which one will take the lead; sometimes they let me choose. Integrating their respective gifts and aspects has given me a comprehensive sense of Divine feminine power and what it means to be powerful as a woman. I have equal access to the power of my solar plexus and my heart, and integrate them or choose which to emphasize depending on what’s called for in the situation.
Your relationship with your god/dess is a co-creative partnership that is unique to the two of you — and your playing field is nearly infinite. If Sekhmet claims you, for example, your relationship with her will likely be entirely different from what I’ve described as mine with her. Let yourself follow your god/dess’ lead; after all, s/he is a reflection of unclaimed parts of yourself. Trusting his/her guidance will bring you to see her in yourself, and yourself in him. In other words, you are your god/dess, and s/he is you. Yes — you are divine.
Let the transformation begin!
Nancy L. Ogilvie is an initiated priestess who primarily practices Dianic Wicca (honoring all forms of the Divine Feminine). She is available to lead ritual/ceremony (including weddings, baby blessings, and any ritual of transition), to train or mentor budding priestesses, and to teach classes on Wiccan practice. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 825-3125.
The beautiful card images featured in this article are from The Goddess Oracle Deck & Book Set by Amy Sophia Marashinsky (Author), Hrana Janto (Illustrator), and are available for purchase at Crazy Wisdom.