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Author Topic: Two Questions re: Tutelary and/or Obscure deities  (Read 4036 times)
NibbleKat
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« Topic Start: April 21, 2010, 08:36:13 pm »

Howdy! I'm fairly new here, so I am hoping that these questions are in the correct place.

Here's how I stand.  I have a fixed male deity that has been my patron for close to fifteen years now, give or take a few.  I am happy with Hermes, adore him, love the relationship I have with him, and am grateful for his presence.  However, recently I've wanted to have a more female side to things too (though to be fair, Hermes does encompass the balance of male and female in his being), so I have been searching for a goddess to also devote myself to.  I tried Hathor for quite some time, but as of late, she and I have parted ways amicably due to many reasons I acknowledge, and reasons I'm not sure of at this time.  We are just not compatible, though I still love all she stands for and what she can give.

I have been poking around names of deities in the Roman/Britain/Gallic areas, and have settled (for now, at any rate) on Belisama (also known as Belisma).  The problem is, there is very, very little information about her.  My friend Kim, a follower of Epona, says that with a lot of Gallic deities, you have to go to the source; ie: reading articles from the area, which in Belisama's case could definitely mean the Liverpool area of England, though she was known all over Gaul. I don't know how to properly go about searching for truly academic things like my friend does.  I don't know that I have the mental stamina to do so, or the resources. All I know is that she seems to be calling me to her... or perhaps to her to guide me toward another goddess.

Question Cluster 1 is:
How does one really know an obscure deity who has the most basic of things known about her? For example, she's known to be a goddess of light, fire, crafts, the forge, etc. Kim tells me to meditate and listen to see if Belisama speaks to me, but will that really be enough? How do I know it's her talking to me, and not someone else? How do I know that it's not me just making junk up about her? Hermes is easy-- there's a lot of information and hymns out there about him, from Ovid to basic myths. He's got a very prominent personality. He's -there- for me, in my head, in my heart. He's not obscure. So. What do I do?

Question 2 is:

There's another goddess that I was interested in a while back and still am. Her name is Sequana, and she's a tutelary goddess... of the river Seine. I'm in North Carolina, in the States.  Would devoting oneself to a goddess that is a goddess of one specific area, of one specific body of water, be a good idea? Would she be a relevant goddess? I believe that if a goddess or god of one country or another calls to you, even if you're not of that country, you should go for them. I'm not Greek, but Hermes works for me.  But a deity that holds sway over one river, or one mountain, or one desert... It seems too specific to me, like I am barking up the wrong tree.

Thoughts on that?

Thanks to you all for reading!

kat.
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« Reply #1: April 21, 2010, 08:52:16 pm »

Question Cluster 1 is:
How does one really know an obscure deity who has the most basic of things known about her? For example, she's known to be a goddess of light, fire, crafts, the forge, etc. Kim tells me to meditate and listen to see if Belisama speaks to me, but will that really be enough? How do I know it's her talking to me, and not someone else? How do I know that it's not me just making junk up about her? Hermes is easy-- there's a lot of information and hymns out there about him, from Ovid to basic myths. He's got a very prominent personality. He's -there- for me, in my head, in my heart. He's not obscure. So. What do I do?

I can't really speak to most of your questions.  Reading your question about Belisama, though, I felt I should point out that She is often thought of as cognate with Brighid.  Personally, I'm not sure if They're the same entity.  I do believe that some deities are known by different names to different groups of people (NOT the same as "all god/desses are one"), so it is possible.

If you feel that might be the case, you might want to do some reading about Brighid.  That might help you figure it out.

There's a resource thread on Brighid here.

Just a thought.  Wink
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« Reply #2: April 21, 2010, 09:32:19 pm »

Question Cluster 1 is:
How does one really know an obscure deity who has the most basic of things known about her?

One copes, mostly, if one wishes to pursue the relationship.

Hi. My primary personal deity relationship (as opposed to coven and tradition-derived relationships, which I take seriously, and honor, but which have a very different feel in some ways) is with a goddess who - after about five years of working to figure out more, we've got:

- Water deity of .. well, maybe a lake or pond, maybe a stream or small river. Not a major waterway, and really certainly not an ocean.

- English, thank you, not Celtic - in other words, coming out of the Angle/Saxon/Norse strain of people making England their home rather than the other possibilities. (She is *so* amusedly clear about that one. It's not that the Celts are bad or anything. She's just So Not One.)

- A really clear image of a flower, but not quite clear enough to be absolutely certain of its identification (it's also got a particular smell, and it turns out that most of the species that look mostly right don't grow easily locally.)

- A bunch of other visual data, most of which doesn't actually help in research - no obvious symbols, for example, other than that flower.

What I've done is:
- A lot of personal meditation and ritual work, in which I've gotten small bits and pieces over time. (And sometimes with a fairly sizeable gap between them - six months, a year. I think it's actually been longer than that since the last one, but there've been some other reasons for that - my health, specifically.)

- Some aspecting work with trusted elders in my community - both in asking her to come forward through me, and in a highly experienced priestess familiar with doing this for a wide range of deities drawing on my connection to M'Lady as a way to get me to learn more. (This one was the single most useful burst of things I've learned in a short span of time, but setting it up was not trivial.)

The thing is, though? I'm Hers. Turns out that for all my usual love of research, that this is one place where that doesn't matter to me. I continue to do the research work, but I know the bits, by now, that I really care about: I've built a relationship with her in other ways, and have ways to honor her and keep her present in my life that seem to suit us both.

My running theory at the moment is that she's actually linked with a physical area where I've got family roots (I'm first generation US: my father was born in Ipswich in the UK.) and I continue to, over time, poke at possible directions from that end. (I suspect that going to England would be a smart move, and I'm working on that bit slowly: hopefully in summer 2011 or maybe 2012.)

In answer to your second question: 'worthwhile' is a question only you can answer. What I've found is that My Lady is really not very good with many practical requests (I get the strong impression she hasn't been widely present in the world for centuries, and a lot of what I do clearly puzzles her.) And there's a lot of stuff that just isn't her realm to affect. On the other hand, she is not particular jealous of my attention, as long as I do the things I've promised her, and I (as you might guess from above) have relationships with several other deities who have different kinds of scope through both coven work and tradition work.

And it's also clear that it isn't just 'this one body of water' - but rather a particular way of interacting with the world: my clearest dictate from her has been 'reach out to those who thirst', with a pretty clear implication that we're not only talking about physical water here, but knowledge and in particular, knowledge that helps people make certain kinds of choices about pathways in their life. Being a priestess - even not specifically of her - serves that. So does being a librarian. Stuff that serves that has tended to flow particularly easily for me, even at times when I would have thought it very unlikely for totally pragmatic reasons.  (We will now pause while I smack my head for forgetting about this while dealing with other stuff, and remind myself to do some serious meditation and ritual work this weekend around this.)

I, of course, have no idea if the same would be true for you - but it's something you probably can't figure out without some more exploration. There's nothing that says you need to do that in the form of a permanent commitment: you might look at a negotiation of sincere commitment for six months or a year, and re-evaluate at the end of that time.
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« Reply #3: April 22, 2010, 02:01:31 pm »

I can't really speak to most of your questions.  Reading your question about Belisama, though, I felt I should point out that She is often thought of as cognate with Brighid.  Personally, I'm not sure if They're the same entity.  I do believe that some deities are known by different names to different groups of people (NOT the same as "all god/desses are one"), so it is possible.

If you feel that might be the case, you might want to do some reading about Brighid.  That might help you figure it out.

There's a resource thread on Brighid here.

Just a thought.  Wink

Hey, thanks for replying.

Yeah, I saw the other thread on Belisama here, and read the same thing about looking up Brigit... but in a way, for me, it's like assuming one twin is the same being as another... without knowing for a fact that the goddesses do stem from one another (Like Hermes/Mercury, for example).  I get a weird twinge when looking up Brigit, which I can't explain as anything except for uncomfortable.

I think I need to get over myself, perhaps... but I don't think the two are the same.

It is a good suggestion, though, and I think I should at least look up some personal gnosis stuff about what Brigit does in her aspects for folks...
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« Reply #4: April 22, 2010, 04:09:38 pm »

One copes, mostly, if one wishes to pursue the relationship.
What I've done is:
- A lot of personal meditation and ritual work, in which I've gotten small bits and pieces over time. (And sometimes with a fairly sizeable gap between them - six months, a year. I think it's actually been longer than that since the last one, but there've been some other reasons for that - my health, specifically.)

- Some aspecting work with trusted elders in my community - both in asking her to come forward through me, and in a highly experienced priestess familiar with doing this for a wide range of deities drawing on my connection to M'Lady as a way to get me to learn more. (This one was the single most useful burst of things I've learned in a short span of time, but setting it up was not trivial.)


Heyo!

Thank you for such a detailed response!

I am curious... would you mind telling me who your deity is?
And I do think I need to do more meditation. Truth is, I am really just not good at it. 

The idea re: reaching out for those who thirst really makes things a little clearer for me. As I mentioned, I'm trying to poke around through all her aspects.... being a goddess of fire and light, of the forge, and of healing and crafts... what those mean to me. I need to think a little harder, I guess, on it, or maybe get some other folks' opinions!

I really like your idea of the commitment of a short period of time. Kind of like a hand-fasting, in a way! That's such a good idea. I think I'll try and offer that up as an option, actually.

I would highly recommend going to England. I did it last year, and it puts a seed in you that you'll never forget.... My boyfriend is English, and a climber and runner, so he took me to some of the spots he used to go to out in the "wilderness"... and we climbed a mountain.  I find that those memories help me to focus on Belisama on the whole, because I know where she comes from.

I also need to learn not to second guess myself... THAT I need help with.
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« Reply #5: April 22, 2010, 06:04:36 pm »

I don't think the two are the same.

I don't either.  But I didn't want to assume anything for you.  I know there are many people who do think Brighid and Belisama (and Brigantia and Brigindo etc. etc.) are all one being.

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« Reply #6: April 22, 2010, 06:17:30 pm »

I am curious... would you mind telling me who your deity is?

I still don't have a name that maps to anything else I've seen, so you've got most of what I'd be able to give you. (And in general, this is about as far as I go in a totally public space, both because it's personal and because I sometimes get people who are sure they know who I'm talking about when I get very specific, and I'm not up for dealing with that right now. It's been a long winter, and I'd rather have other conversations.)

On meditation: You might want to check out Diana Paxson's _Trance-Portation_, which is an excellent intro guide to meditation for a number of purposes, including getting to know a deity better. (She's working in a Norse-influenced model that draws from a number of sources, so you will likely need to adapt in places from her examples, but that book is mostly about the basic techniques that work in a number of settings.)

Quote
I would highly recommend going to England. I did it last year, and it puts a seed in you that you'll never forget.... My boyfriend is English, and a climber and runner, so he took me to some of the spots he used to go to out in the "wilderness"... and we climbed a mountain.  I find that those memories help me to focus on Belisama on the whole, because I know where she comes from.

Oh, the seed was planted *way* back - I've been to the UK three times - at 5, 7, and in my late teens - though not yet as an adult. I mentioned my father was English: my mother was born in Austria, but grew up in Derry and Cardiff, and her mother retired to near Southend (she was the only one of my grandparents alive by the time I was born). So we did several visits to see my grandmother as well as university friends of both my parents. And I grew up much more British in culture than I did American, though I was born and raised in the Boston area. (Complete with accent, until sometime after college!)

My adult life, finances have been a limiting factor. I'm at the tail end of fixing that - paying of debt from the ex-marriage, finishing library grad school and getting a job to go with it (but library jobs don't exactly leave you rolling in extra cash, for all they're better than library paraprofessional jobs). The current medical issues also mean that I need to either get my stamina back up reliably (which I'm hoping will happen, but will take time), or else need to budget a good bit extra for things like taxis and more convenient hotels to what I want to see, rather than public transit and more interesting places to sleep that might take a little more energy to get to. (The latter being my preference, but so not in the cards for me right now if I also want to go see anything other than the hotel room.)

All of which is to say: I've been wanting to go back, oh, since the last trip, but I also recognise that being a financially stable and responsible adult is a pretty important thing that had to come before fun trips. (My last Europe trip was with my mother, and was a Christmas present from her: we got to go see Vienna and Budapest, both places her side of the family come from. Which did firm up M'Lady almost certainly not being one of the deities carried across from the Danube and offshoots, for me, mind you.)
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« Reply #7: April 22, 2010, 06:42:49 pm »

I don't either.  But I didn't want to assume anything for you.  I know there are many people who do think Brighid and Belisama (and Brigantia and Brigindo etc. etc.) are all one being.



Yep! And I could totally understand those who do, in fact! ^_^
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« Reply #8: April 22, 2010, 06:46:33 pm »

I still don't have a name that maps to anything else I've seen, so you've got most of what I'd be able to give you. (And in general, this is about as far as I go in a totally public space, both because it's personal and because I sometimes get people who are sure they know who I'm talking about when I get very specific, and I'm not up for dealing with that right now. It's been a long winter, and I'd rather have other conversations.)

On meditation: You might want to check out Diana Paxson's _Trance-Portation_, which is an


I won't pry then! I totally understand. Smiley

Also, thank you for the nod toward the Trance-Portation.

Funny, having gone to Ireland (b/c of the ex-fiance, who is from Kilkenny and still is there), I never thought I'd love England quite as much, JUST because of how beautiful Ireland is, and how ancient it feels, with all of its leftover architecture from long ago, but... wow. England has just captured me, and not just because of the current boyfriend! Hee.
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