When I was a solitary practitioner, I rarely thought of the gods beyond “which one would be right to invoke for this spell?” In hindsight, this was pretty selfish and a ridiculous way for me to treat deity. We don’t make demands of our gods… and when we do, we usually reap a quick and brutal lesson to not do THAT again. Fortunately, the gods that I invoked, summoned, and stirred were kind to me when I was new to the Craft and I didn’t have to learn a harsh lesson.

 

Fast-forward to a few years ago, when I had newly joined my current coven and realized we were highly deity-focused. Prior to me asking to join, I attended Litha and witnessed a trained Seer take the chair and allowed Branwen to inhabit her body. It was beautiful and scary to see, because I have never seen or experienced anything like that before. I didn’t even know the concept of trance prophesy or ritual possession truly existed until then.

A little later in my journey a few people in the coven began pledging themselves to specific deities, and I lamented that there may not be a god or goddess that wanted me… and how would I know if they did? I could very well be someone that NEVER dedicated themselves to a particular god or goddess, and that would be fine… but at the same time I wondered if I was lesser to be a more generic witch in this way.

In short, I once thought that none of the deities would want me as their child (pretty self-deprecating, I know). Now I have an embarrassment of riches of not knowing which one wants me “the most” out of the ones knocking at my psychic door. Hecate? Brigid? A personal journey I am still asking questions about, but at the very least I have learned to recognize the presence of both within my tarot deck. I see Hecate as the Hermit (hey, they are both Torchbearers!) and the Hierophant reversed (I am particularly struck by the presence of keys, especially when this card is reversed and the keys are prominent). For Brigid, I have learned to look out for the Empress (especially if the depiction of the Empress is green-cloaked).

If you were ever wondering how and which gods and goddesses figured into your life and when, I urge you to try working with the tarot to ascertain them. I am doing this based partially upon what I learned in Rachel Pollack’s evening class at RS14, “Tarot of the Gods” and using Tierney Sadler’s Deck of 1,000 Spreads and Sasha Graham’s 365 Tarot Spreads. Sidenote: Sasha Graham’s book has an entire section of spreads based on Gods/Goddesses which is well worth examining for yourself. I would highly recommend the "Olympian Advice Spread" on page 92 for this topic specifically.

Suggested questions to prompt brainstorming, pathworking, and discussion (thanks to Rachel Pollack for these questions and for sparking others!). These questions can easily be translated into positional meanings in a tarot spread as well.

Which God/Goddess is speaking to me?

What are the obstacles to hearing them speak to me?

How do they help me?

How do they challenge me?

What was your experience?

What was your role?

What was the [God/Goddess's] role?

 

Bonus information!

This blog post was months in the making, and I knew I wasn't the only person that struggled with the question I posed. So I asked some of the folks in my pagan community the following question. I hope you find both the question and the answers illuminating!

Tarot readers of the group: when working with deity, do you use your tarot cards to receive messages from them besides "hearing" them? If so, how have the Gods appeared in your cards? I have seen Hecate in the Hierophant and Demeter in the Empress, and Pan in the Devil card. What are your examples? Is there a particular reason why you feel that tarot card represented that deity?

Dominick Guerriero The Empress—Oshun. Queen of Wands—Freya. It depends on your perspective and your relationship with the deities.

Courtney Weber Queen of Swords—Morrighan

Gary Suto (or find him at Catland) I have a client that occasionally want to work with different deities. I use the Major Arcana 1 - 21 for Letters A - U and the Fool for letters VWXYZ. If I get the Fool I generally go to my yes/no spread. i.e. Does their name start with a U, etc. Other than that, I go with the feeling of the cards. As I see Hecate as Goddess of the Earth, Sky, and Sea, many times she comes thru as the Star Card (foot on Earth, foot in Stream, Sky/Heavens in background). Zeus comes to me as the Emperor, Apollo as the Sun, Artemis as the Moon.

 

Blessings,

Hilary

www.tarotbyhilary.com

 

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net