Is the Green Man/Horned God a loving God?

“Hello, I’m just starting to learn about paganism. I’ve only ever been to one winter solstice event and it was lovely. One question that’s been nagging me for a while: (and I honestly mean no offense, i’m only curious) Is the greenman/horned god a loving god? When i say loving….how do i put it? It’s just that our society has turned that image into the devil for so long, not that i believe it, but….i’m a particularly shy individual who is tentative to worship “masculine” energy because i’ve had a lot of emotional trama with men from a young age. I’m still thinking about what exactly i wish to worship. I had an experience with him once, though, i think. Sorry if it’s really personal- I was “thinking” about sexual things one day alone, and worries were coming up about being treated well. But somehow i got to thinking about the image of pan and stopped fussing. i ended up thinking or feeling about everything but nothing at the same time and well, it went well. Are there people you know of who see him as fatherly and a healthy thing, not just a negative stereotype of aggressive males? It’s hard for me to not worry about things like that. But i’d like to believe people want to believe in deities of god things and love. Thank you, Allie”

Your question resonates with me. I grew up in a family full of women, a matriarchy de facto as men failed to stick around for family making; my own father was Army, so he was never around to be a father figure. I also experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted boyfriend as a teenager. That said, I have *always* had an issue with masculinity and God.

However, I can tell you this: God, be he horned or green, is awe-inspiring. The Horned God is actually the Wiccan view of masculine divinity; he is all gods in one representation, like a diamond with many different facets. He is a god of the Sun, the hunt, harvest, wildness, and fertility. As the Horned God, he is seen with antlers as many prey animals would have; meanwhile, as the Greenman he has a face and body made of or covered in leaves, showing his interconnection with nature and growth. In both cases, the God is seen as dying in the form of plants and animals as a sacrifice to feed us and keep us alive.

In a less Wiccan-focused view, God is what he is. Not all men are aggressive or hyper-sexual beings; neither are all gods the same. I worship within the Greek pantheon, and I see all gods and goddess as individuals (as opposed to the facets of a diamond). That means that I recognize Zeus’ tendency to take what he wanted from women, while understanding his constant attempts to keep mankind safe. Apollo was a woman chaser, but he was usually spurned or accepted gladly (i.e. he didn’t rape as Zeus often did); Apollo also remained strongly protective of his twin Artemis and his mother Leto, as well as watching over the sick as both giver and remover of diseases. The mythology is complex, just as humankind is; no god is always loving or always violent, not even Ares as the god of war.

Essentially, you need to research and reflect for yourself on God. Who do you connect to him? Who is he to you? When you find those answers, you’ll know where your worship will focus.

 

Larissa Lee
Guest Writer

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Blessings all,

Ask a Pagan is looking for two or three writers to answer questions for the next few months while I take a leave-of-absence to work on research! I wish I had the time I did in the past, but I don’t and I’ve been slacking with replies to questions, and I apologize sincerely!

So instead of shutting Ask a Pagan down, I just need some talented, experienced practitioners to fill my spot until my return! I need two or three great people with a minimum of three years of practice (when I say practice, I mean the period after your initial learning and 101-training). Because I get a lot of questions for a myriad of topics like beginning the craft, spells, dreams, divination, empathy, spirits, and any other topic that has to do with the craft, I need more than one person who “specializes” in one or more of these areas.

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I have been trying meditation and reading everything I can get my hands on, but I have never felt a connection to any of the pantheons. Besides reading and meditation do you have any recommendations on how to figure out where I should look? Or what I should try next?”

“For the past couple of years I have been feeling a pull to pagan religions. I have been trying meditation and reading everything I can get my hands on, but I have never felt a connection to any of the pantheons. Besides reading and meditation do you have any recommendations on how to figure out where I should look? Or what I should try next?”

Blessings,

The pace you move at and what you want to do next is always up to you. Being, or trying to connect to a pantheon is not vital to Paganism. Think of deities as tools (in a non-offensive way). They’re simply channels to help grow and expand the energy you put into a spell or ritual like a crystal or an object would do. What is everything on a Witch’s altar? The candles, herbs, incense, crystals, stones, wand, etc.? They’re tools. Why? To help you enhance, focus, and direct your energy and concentration. Deities serve the same purpose. They don’t give you the power, they simple help you with yours.

It’s easier to find a connection with a pantheon or deity if you call out for them instead of you trying to go out and find them. Through meditation you can do this, simply by releasing energy for a callback. Sometimes something will come up shortly after, sometimes it’ll take a couple of tries. But as I mentioned, it’s not always necessary to feel the need to have to have a connection to a pantheon or deity. Pagan practices are personal and for personal and spiritual growth, with or without the help of tools.

For the longest time I was extremely drawn to the Egyptian pantheon, Anubis specifically. I was obsessed with ancient Egyptian culture, religion, and practices – the Gods and Goddesses fascinated me. Anubis was my God. But then I got older and heavier, more logical knowledge came to me, and Anubis and I drifted apart. I can say I have a connection with at least one God/dess from every pantheon, but the worship of deities is a very Witchcraft/Wicca thing. The Universe is my God now. The Sun and Moon are the gatekeepers that keep the World, our Mother, alive.

It’ll come to you. One day it’ll hit you and you’ll answer your own question when you realize what you’re really seeking.

 

Blessed Be
Sage

I understand that Paganism is an “umbrella” term as they say. But I’d like to know, if I believe that all things are part of the same whole or “God” classify as one or can be one?

“Hey! I understand that Paganism is an “umbrella” term as they say. But I’d like to know, if I believe that all things are part of the same whole or “God” classify as one or can be one? I don’t think that belief contradicts polytheism, just that any God/dess or being would be parts of this whole. And also, what are all the pagan symbols? I have Thor’s Hammer but I have no personal experience with him. Anything that’s just generally pagan?”

Blessings,

First I’d like to remind you that Paganism is not a form of religion or a set of beliefs. Instead, it is a set of “my own beliefs.” Modern Paganism is more of a philosophy of your own beliefs and practices – you make what you want of it. Its general practice is the belief in natural magick, nature, and energies of the Earth and Universe. Anything outside of that including the worship of a God or severals Gods, or the implementation of other religions or beliefs into that practice is all up to you.

In my own belief, the Universe is my “one” God. The Moon (Goddess) and the Sun (God) are aspects of the Universe and I see them “survival” energies for Earth and its inhabitants. All other gods act as “messengers” of the Universe and sometimes given certain abilities or gifts to control or give blessings over things; weather, harvest, health, birth, war, etc. So it’s really up to you on how you want to believe in deities, or even believe in them at all.

As far as symbols go; Thor’s Hammar isn’t necessarily Pagan, it’s Norse. But many Celtic Pagans/Wiccans use the symbol as part of their beliefs and practices. The general symbols of Paganism is obviously the Pentagram/Pentacle, among others like the Triquetra and the Triple Moon. A symbol Google search can be more elaborate.

 

Blessed Be
Sage

Is it possible to be pagan and not believe in deities, but rather energy? Also is there a specific name for this sort of belief so that I could read into it?

“is it possible to be pagan and not believe in deities, but rather energy? also is there a specific name for this sort of belief so that I could read into it? thanks!”

So you’re a pagan atheist? That’s kind of a contradiction in terms, but the meaning of Pagan is definitely broad and different for every person. The term “deity” can be however you want to believe it to be; an ancient Greek God or Goddess, a dwelling spirit, an animal, a human, or even energy. Though modern Paganism is usually very polytheist, Paganism’s root belief is the unity of the body and spirit with the energies and powers of nature and Earth.

As a Pagan, I do pray to the Goddess Moon and God Sun as deities that sustain life and existence. However, the Universe and Cosmos are what I consider to be the “highest power,” or “ultimate God.” Paganism is a very personal practice, so you can take what you want to believe in with the root beliefs of Paganism.

I don’t know of any specific names for the belief in just energy, but as I mentioned, Paganism is a broad practice – a personal philosophy. With the basic roots of  Paganism, you can add whatever other beliefs and practices you believe in.

 

Blessed Be,
Sage

I’ve been interested in Wicca for many years, but I don’t necessarily believe or practice everything in Wicca, does that still make me Wiccan? And can I use Norse Gods for my deities?

“I have been extremely interested in Wicca for eight years now; I love the spirituality, the love for nature, the use of runes and stones… I don’t believe in ALL of it, but I don’t think that should keep me from wanting to call myself a Wiccan, should it? I’m also wondering about the deities used in Wicca; I don’t feel that strongly drawn towards Celtic deities my friends have told me about. Is it possible to use other figures (like Norse Gods) as deities (I’m strongly drawn to them) in Wicca?”

The thing about Wicca is that a lot of people don’t really have a full understanding of it, even those who’ve been practicing it for years. If you Google “what is wicca” you’re going to come upon websites made by everyday people explaining what Wicca is to THEM, so you’re going to get multiple different answers. Wicca itself is a very new religion. With its own set of guidelines and rules and how-to’s for specific things. Wicca’s official deities are the God (Sun/Sky) and Goddess (Moon/Earth) (Also known as Duotheistic Wicca). But you then also have Monotheistic Wiccans who believe that the God and Goddess are dual aspect of one “creator.” And then you have Polytheistic Wiccans who believe in multiple Gods and Goddesses and pantheons.

Whatever you want to call these different things or beliefs, the basis of Wicca is that there is dual belief in a masculine and feminine deity.

Many Wiccans may also work with different Gods and different pantheons at the same time. If your friend is telling you Wicca only follows Celtic deities, then they need to go educate themselves.

Wicca has a basic “this is what Wicca is and these are the basic rules” thing going on, the rest is up to you and what you want to take in or out – for the most part. Other than the masculine/feminine deity, Wiccans follow the Wiccan Rede “If it harms none, do what ye will.” And the practice of Magick in attempt to alter the natural world and alter mental and material conditions.

You have to remember that Wicca is a religion, so it has it’s basic layout set pretty much. Paganism, on the other hand, is more of a personal, self-path making. Many will say Paganism and Wicca is the same thing or have the same beliefs, practices, etc. From an angle, it may seem like it. I have my own definition of what Paganism is, just like everyone else – but it’s not a Wiccan religion.

So to simplify everything and answer your question simply… Yes. You can use the Norse Gods in your practice.

Blessed Be
Sage

Wicca appeals strongly to me and it’s comfortable, but I don’t believe in the Gods and Goddesses as actual Gods. Is it right to practice Wicca while essentially being atheist?

“Hi! I’ve returned to the path several times over in my life, and it appeals strongly to me and it’s comfortable, but I can’t get myself to believe in the Gods and Goddesses as actual Gods and Goddesses- more like spirits like any others. Does it make sense for me to practice while being essentially atheist? I want to make a serious commitment this time since I’m older, but my view on Gods/Goddesses makes me feel out of place. Thank you in advance! – August”

Dear August,

The Ancient Pagans, and many other ancient “heathen” religions, never actually worshiped a physical God or Goddess. Paganism in its essence, is an earth-based, nature religion. Worshiping nature, life, death, the solstices, and magick. Gods and Goddesses, at the time – some were physical persons whom people believed to be powerful, mysterious people with supernatural powers that could control nature, the weather, crops and harvest, etc. And some were merely fictional. Gods and Goddesses are simply called upon and invoked to help, guide, protect, etc.

Believing in Gods and Goddesses, by any means a necessity in Paganism. Even today, all Gods and Goddesses, even the Wiccan Lord (Sun) and Lady (Moon) are spiritual creatures – they just happen to have physical representations; the sun and moon. So to agree with your opinion of them being spirits, they are. When you invoke them, there’s not going to be a physical God or Goddess knocking on your door asking you what you want, but their spirit and essence.

As mentioned, Gods and Goddesses are historical figures, both based off of real persons and fictional characters. They are apart of religion because of the spiritual aspect and faith. What makes the Christian God real? Faith. What makes magick in Witchcraft and Wicca real? Faith. So it’s really not essential that you have to make yourself believe in them. If you do, that’s cool. If you don’t, that’s cooler. Paganism and Wicca are eclectic – it is what you make of it. If you need to call upon or invoke a “God” or “Goddess” during ritual, then don’t refer them to that. Instead, just replace the word “God” or “Goddess” for “Spirit.”

You don’t have to follow Wicca by-the-book. And Paganism, according to research, were worshipers of life, death, and nature, with no records (from other cultures and religions) of worshiping an ancient deity (God or Goddess). You don’t even have to call yourself Wiccan if you don’t feel comfortable with it because of the disbelief in Gods and Goddesses. Simply go with Witch, Spiritualist, Magician, Heathen, or whatever you feel comfortable with. Or nothing at all.

Don’t be afraid to create and symbolize your own personal religion.

Blessed Be,
Sage