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The God and the Goddess in Wicca
Newcomers to Wicca sometimes balk at the concept of a God and a Goddess. This is very understandable. The duality of God and Goddess can feel strange because Western civilization is founded upon the tradition of a monotheistic god. Even if we were raised as atheists, it is hard to see beyond the influence of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) that permeates our culture. This article explains about the Wiccan God and Goddess, which is a version of Deity, and the different ways in which Wiccans view them.
You might ask what I mean by a "version" of Deity. Think of the unveiled face of Deity as the full glory of the noonday sun. The sun is so bright that we cannot look upon it directly. Instead, we must perceive it in fragments: its shadow, its photograph, its warmth, its reflected light shining from the moon. We have no choice but to turn away from the sun itself to experience it through its fragments. In the same way, we perceive Deity in fragments or versions or aspects easier to comprehend. We do not yet have the ability to commune with the full face of Deity. Because of this, the cultures of the world create different aspects of Deity like a mask that shields against its full radiance. Humanity invites Deity to put on various masks so we may recognize and interact with the Divine. The Abrahamic religions say that God created humanity in his image, but I see it more as humanity creating aspects of Deity in our image. Wiccans see Deity in the aspect of a God and a Goddess, which reflects the dualism and balance of the Wiccan universe. Light and darkness. Winter and summer. Planting and harvest. Life and death. Male and female. God and Goddess.
Wiccans worship a Lord and a Lady who are immortal, equal, and in balance. Sometimes the Lord and Lady relate to each other as lovers and other times they inhabit the roles of mother and son. Their eternal dance through the Wheel of the Year illustrates the ebb and flow of the seasons, the agricultural cycle, the moon phases, and the progress of the sun through the sky of each day. The Lord and Lady complement and contrast each other. They complete each other.
Some Wiccans see the Lord and Lady as abstractions. Archetypes of the male and female principle in the universe. These Wiccans probably are a little closer to atheist side of the spectrum than others. They are not comfortable with the Parent-Child model of relating to Deity. Instead, they might be more cerebral and less emotional. They find the deepest significance in the natural world and the great pattern that underlies the planetary ecosystem. Other Wiccans see the Lord and Lady as specific personalities that correspond to gods such as Odin and Frigga or Cernnunos and Aradia. I like to think that both approaches are equally valid. This is because Deity wants us to fulfill our primary purpose – to grow closer to Deity through whichever means by which we can best comprehend Deity.
If you are new to Wicca, you may find yourself wanting only to worship the Goddess. You are probably seeking to balance out your entire pre-Wiccan existence, which fell under the monotheistic influence of the Abrahamic God. Deity will not hold this instinct against you. You are relating to the only aspect of Deity that you can handle right now, the Goddess. Continue to relate to the Goddess informally in your prayers and thanksgiving while offering your formal Wiccan rituals during the sabbats and esbats to both the Lord and Lady – even though your relationship with the Lord may feel perfunctory for now. Sometimes the way in which you address him may help you to form a connection with him. You can hold him safely at arm's length with formal terms such as "my king" and "my liege," or you could draw him much closer with words such as "father" or "friend." In time, you may find a way back to him, or you might choose a Goddess-centric faith like Dianic Wicca, which is fine. Every aspect of Deity leads back to the true face of Deity.
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