Getting to Know New Gods

holle

This post is in response to the prompt on The Pagan Experience for this week, which reads: “Deity and the Divine- This will be the third week’s topic every month and an opportunity for you to share with everyone those who guide, inspire and inform you.”

Urglaawe involves the worship of many Heathen deities who are familiar to me, even if sometimes their names are said a little differently. They may show different sides of themselves in Urglaawe than they do in the rest of Heathenry, and Urglaawe sometimes treats them with different emphasis. There’s Odin, Who is known as Wodan or Wudan, and Thor, under the name Dunner.

There are also deities I’m not personally familiar with, either because they’re not emphasized in the rest of Heathenry, or because they are unique to the Deitsch culture. There’s Zisa, the wife of Tyr–Tyr being known as Ziu in Urglaawe. There’s Ewicher Yeeger, “The Eternal Hunter”, who saved the Deitsch people from starvation by driving game towards them. There’s die Weisskeppich Fraa or Weisskeppichi Fraa, the “White Haired Woman”, an enigmatic figure who is renowned for Her incredible healing powers and may even have incarnated in human form, or at least strongly blessed certain human women with Her remarkable abilities. There’s Berchta, goddess of cycles and endings, of introspection and setting goals, who I just met for Her holy day of Berchtaslaaf.

Perhaps the most prominent deity in Urglaawe practice is someone I’ve been spending some time getting to know already: Frau Holle, the Mother of the Deitsch nation and special protector of its people. It was really my growing relationship with Holle that beckoned me to investigate my Deitsch heritage, and the accompanying spirituality, more deeply. I feel She was calling me back to a spiritual “home”.

In getting to know these “new to me” deities, I usually like to start out with a formal introduction. I try to learn what I can about the deity from scholarly sources and other people who already honor that deity. Then I find a pre-written ritual or invocation, and perform a simple rite with an offering. This is just a friendship offering, much like offering tea and cookies to someone who visits your home. If I think it’s appropriate, I may ask another deity I already have a good relationship with for an introduction.

I have a number of deities to get to know this year, and I’m looking forward to the journey through the holiday calendar. What do you like to do when getting to know a new deity?

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