Devotions to Aphrodite: Ecstatic Dance

Dance is a huge part of my life. I’ve been dancing for almost as long as I have been a Pagan. I started dancing when I was fourteen years old. When I was signing up for electives for freshman year of high school, I put Dance as my third option (behind Art and I don’t remember what else). I am so thankful the universe knew more about what it was doing than I did!

I struggled so much with dance in the beginning. Unlike some of my classmates, I had not been dancing since I was five years old. I did not know all the lingo, I did not automatically point my toes, and though I had acquired a sense of rhythm and the beat from playing the flute in middle school, my body did not know what that meant. Ironically, dance was the first time I ever experienced a big disconnect between my mind knowing what to do and my body not being able to do it.

I kept at it. Even though dance sometimes made me feel like my body was dumb and uncooperative, I loved the artistic expression. I loved pushing myself. I loved finally being able to land a move after hours of practice. Dance challenged me, every day. Since I spent most of my day breezing through academics, I reveled in the test of my physical abilities.

One day, about a year and half into my dance training, everything just clicked.

Suddenly, my body knew what to do. My brain was no longer arguing with my feet to GO THAT WAY. It just happened. I went from being one of the last people in my class to master something, to being among the first. (I was never going to pick up things faster than my classmates who had been dancing since they could walk, and I was okay with that.) Most importantly, I finally felt the beat. I knew where I was in relation to the rhythm. I knew how my body should move next, and my body instinctively did it. No more arguing with my legs to jump on 3 instead of 4. It was my first experience with embodied knowing.

I did have an upper hand on my classmates with years of dance experience in one area. They had learned how to perform from a young age. They had beautiful technique, and all of their appendages were always in the right place at the right time. But, while they were out there performing with a dance competition-trained smile, I could feel the choreography. I took the emotion of the song and the movements and wove it into my dance. My technique wasn’t as good, and probably never will be, but I danced with more emotionality than any of my classmates. My feet weren’t always in the right place, but my dancing was raw, and real, and captivating.

I continued dancing throughout college and in graduate school. Dancing became a part of me, and I missed it greatly during school breaks and when I was abroad. Dance helped me manage my stress, it was great exercise, it was a beautiful form of artistic expression, and it gave me this profound sense of connection to myself and the world. I didn’t start thinking of this connection in a spiritual context until well into grad school.

I can’t remember when exactly I first danced in the context of ritual, but I do remember that it felt amazingly good. Every part of my body felt connected to every other part – and beyond. My mind, body, and spirit were thrumming in unison as I spun, jumped, tumbled, and twisted. I didn’t care how I looked. I cared how I felt. And I felt transcendent.

Perhaps it’s a simple trick of aerobic exercise. Perhaps it’s something more. Dancing freed my mind of extraneous thoughts, allowing me to focus on my connection to the Divine. Every movement of my body felt like a prayer in motion. As I danced around the space, I felt the Divine move through me. I felt untold power swirling around my feet and my fingertips, orbiting my hips, and racing down my arms and legs. My heart felt open, joyous, and free.

Dance is a regular part of my spiritual practice. I mostly dance to commune with Aphrodite, connecting to the joy and love of movement. I will dance to raise energy. I will even dance to ground myself, which I know sounds counter-intuitive. If I feel angry or off-balance, dancing will help bring me back to center.

My dances for Aphrodite are sensuous. There’s a lot of hip action, body rolls, and touching my own body. Sometimes my dances are more whimsical and carefree, with leaps, twirls, and occasionally crashing into my couch with laughter. All of my dances for Her are a product of love. Taking pleasure in the movement of my body, all in reverence to Her, seems a very fitting devotion for Aphrodite.

Most of the time, I dance by myself, but I relish any opportunity to dance in a group, particularly a magickal group. Whether it’s a spiral dance, a choreographed piece for ritual, a spontaneous gallop around a bonfire, or frolicking in a field of buttercups, I love sharing in the energy of a group dance. Sometimes it seems wild and out of control – barely contained chaos in the best possible way. Other times it feels like a symphony made up of individuals’ energy movements harmonizing to create a much larger force. Sometimes there is a shared purpose, sometimes there’s not, but it’s all beautiful.

If dance isn’t already a part of your spiritual practice, I encourage you to try it out – even (and especially!) if you don’t think you’re “good” at dancing. There is so much that can be expressed through movement that even the most poetic of ritual scripts pale in comparison. It is also, by nature, a very embodied practice, and helps to merge all parts of the self. It is also a practice in self-love and self-compassion, particularly if you don’t feel so great about your body image. It is one of the most powerful ways of raising energy. Feeling all of that power pulse within you is incredible. Sharing that feeling with the Divine… is transcendent.

Why I Quit Caring About Formal Ritual and How That Made Me Better At It

I’ve always loved the idea of formal ritual. There’s something so entrancing about saying sacred words and processing deosil in a circle, about setting up a beautiful altar, about inviting in the elements with their representations, and about blessing the sacred space. These things are wonderful for getting into a magickal headspace, and doing them repeatedly over weeks and months and years are what make ritual, well, a ritual!

The formal elements of ritual were essential to me when I was starting out as a solitary new Pagan. Having a tradition that others followed (in my case, Wicca, when I was starting out) with shared sacred words was an extremely powerful experience. It gave me a script to follow and served as a template to learn what was important in ritual. However, I got so caught up in the trappings of ritual that I almost never actually did one.

I felt like I needed to cast a perfect circle every time. I needed at least two hours that I could devote to communing with the Divine, after cleansing and consecrating the space and assembling my altar with my elemental tokens. I needed to say these particular words and do these particular things. With all of these requirements, ritual became a daunting task, instead of a happy celebration. So, years passed where I didn’t do a formal ritual because of various excuses: I didn’t have the tools, or the space, or the time.

When first I joined my Pagan community, my rituals had been few and far between for many years. Finally, I got to see how others did ritual – and everyone’s rituals were so different! There wasn’t a set script to follow, like I had been holding myself to all of those years. There were some common elements, yes, but no one did them in the exact same way. If the members of my community were presenting rituals with such variation, why couldn’t I mix things up in my own personal practice?

So, I tried to make my solitary rituals more regular, experimenting with the different components, trying out new things, and keeping what I liked. This worked well, for a time. I had a consistent personal practice, even if my rituals were just on Sabbats and Full Moons. I love the active participation (ritual is, after all, one of the things that drew me to Paganism in the first place), but something was missing. I almost never did spontaneous ritual, and when I did, it required a bunch of preparation, and didn’t end up being quite so spontaneous after all. I was still stuck in thinking that I had to do things a certain way or they wouldn’t be “complete.” That left very little room for Divine inspiration. My rituals sounded and looked pretty, but I didn’t feel very much of anything.

When I started to more seriously pursue a relationship with Aphrodite, I knew that something had to change. I needed to commune with Her, but I couldn’t take two (or more) hours out of my day multiple times a week to do so. It just wasn’t feasible. I was still in grad school. I was teaching. I had classes to go to, research to do, papers to grade, laundry to wash, dishes to clean, and I still had to eat and sleep. Formal ritual, as I knew it, just wasn’t going to happen.

Fortunately, Aphrodite helped me out with this one. She started interacting with me spontaneously – no ritual needed! I was ecstatic, if somewhat baffled. After all, wasn’t the whole point of ritual to facilitate the experiences that I was now spontaneously having?

This sparked some serious soul-searching about the purpose of ritual and how I was using it in my life and spiritual practice. For me, the purpose of ritual is to get closer to the Divine. I realized that all the fancy words and formulas I had been using were actually getting in the way of my connection with Divinity. I was having much more visceral experiences without those things than I had ever had with them. It was time for a change.

Perhaps the biggest realization I had about ritual involved time. For me to have a strong connection with the Divine, I needed to commune almost daily, if not more often. I simply couldn’t do that with the structured ritual I had been using, so I started to make new ones. Most of them arose capriciously. If I found a moment in my day where I was thinking about or communicating with Aphrodite, I thought about little things I could do to make the moment more sacred. Sometimes what I was already doing was enough (like happily dancing around my living room), and sometimes I discovered things that could be added (like lighting a candle in Aphrodite’s honor before sharing a meal with a friend at my table).

These spontaneous mini-rituals began to permeate my days, and soon started taking up more total time that what I would have previously spent in formal ritual. However, unlike the formal ritual, these moments were so much more meaningful. I felt connected to the Divine in a way I never had before. A few minutes here and there throughout my day meant so much more than a two hour chunk of obligatory fancy-words.

And I wanted to do it. Those mini-rituals brought me such joy – in a way that casting a circle from rote memory never had. It was a positive feedback loop. I connected with the Divine in seemingly small ways, had a profound ecstatic experience, and I wanted to do it again. My daily practice grew – not from reciting passages from books I had read, but from listening and leading with my heart.

When I quit caring about formal ritual, it allowed me to see more clearly the purpose of ritual: to connect deeply with the Divine. This completely transformed my personal practice. I rarely go through a full “ritual” with formal invocations for the elements and the Divine when I practice alone. My private devotions are much more conversational – and thus more strongly integrated into my day-to-day life. I believe this helps me to maintain a more powerful connection with Deity.

In a community, ritual holds an additional purpose. Not only do we want to connect deeply with the Divine – we also want to bond as a group. Having a somewhat-standardized ritual format does help bring a community together. Everyone knows what to expect and how to participate. Even with a general guideline, there are more and less effective ways to do this.

Going through a ritual revolution in my private practice made me rethink how to lead a group ritual. I cut through all the flowery words and expectations to get the the core – connection with the Divine and with other people. Approaching a group ritual with those things in mind was a totally different experience than following a ritual script. Sure, I have a general outline I follow based on the common practices in my group, but I approach these elements differently. If I can think of a way for a guideline to uniquely enhance the experience of the group, it stays. If not, anything is fair game.

While I would argue that the past few group rituals I’ve led haven’t been entirely written by me (Thanks, Aphrodite!), for the conscious parts of the creation process, I focus on the feeling I want to evoke with the ritual. For the Beltane Sabbat I led this year, it was joy and anticipation. For my post-Valentine’s Day circle, it was self-compassion. For the June Full Moon last year, it was courage and bravery through love.

Focusing on the feeling allows me to examine each aspect of the ritual and tailor it to the experience I want to facilitate. There are no words spoken just for ritual’s sake. Every sentence and every action in ritual drives toward the feeling and experience we create as a group. This approach to ritual has profoundly changed the way I lead and participate in group rituals. Throwing away the ritual formulas and expectations allowed me to get to the heart of the experience of ritual and to cultivate that deeper connection, both in my personal practice and with my community.

Connecting with Aphrodite – First Steps

There are so many joyful and wonderful ways to connect with the Radiant Goddess of Love! I’m going to share a few that helped me to connect with Her in the beginnings of my journey. Many of these are material in nature – physical things that helped me to get into the right headspace to work with Her. Others are more reading and research based. These are not in a particular order – try out different ones and see which works best for you!

1. Knowing Her Stories (Mythology, History, and the Lore)

When I first knew I wanted to work with Aphrodite, I read up on Her stories. There weren’t many modern stories about working with her at all (which is part of my inspiration to create this blog). I read some of the old mythology. Some of it resonated – and some of it didn’t.

As I started to develop a deeper connection with Aphrodite, I discovered more and more dissonance with some of the older tales I read, particularly with her portrayal as being jealous or petty. One thing I love about being Pagan is that we have no official “scripture,” no one holy text. Most of my concerns about people who take the Christian Bible too literally are based in the fact that it was written by people. Imperfect, fallible humans. I had to keep that in mind as I was reading the myths, which had been thousands of years in misinterpretation and mistranslation. Maybe even the original accounts weren’t accurate!

It was at this point in my journey that I realized I had to let go of my scientific research background, and trust in my personal experiences. I couldn’t research my way closer to the Goddess (though being familiar with Her lore is essential and occasionally helpful). I started to trust in my Unverified Personal Gnosis (or UPG), which is a bit of a buzzword in pagan spheres these days. It’s just a fancy term for personal experience that isn’t recorded in the lore, or present in modern texts. Some of my UPG was confirmed by some of the people who sought me out for help connecting with Aphrodite, but it’s still a long way away from being Verified Personal Gnosis.

In short, knowing the Lore helped me to have informed conversations with others, and gave me a reference point for my personal experiences.

2. Rosewater

Ah, rosewater! This is now one of my favorite all-purpose tools. Roses are said to have the highest vibrational frequency of any living thing (or at least that’s what I hear in the paganosphere), which means that they vibrate at the frequency of love! Thus, roses are useful for a wide variety of magickal applications. Roses are also sacred to Aphrodite.

I started using rosewater as a space and energy cleanser. I didn’t really like the smell of burning sage, and using palo santo made my cat sneeze. So I started spraying rosewater in my apartment. It smelled lovely, and the feeling it gave the space was wonderful. I would say a prayer to the plants or to Aphrodite as I misted my home. I would sometimes use it to cast a circle. I would mist the bedroom before my boyfriend came to visit. The smell became synonymous with good vibes and love, and before long, with Aphrodite.

Rosewater is one of the first things I recommend to anyone wishing to develop a deeper relationship with the Goddess of Love. Scent is a powerful sense, and is a great tool to use to get into a higher state of consciousness.

3. Rose Essential Oil

All of the things about the properties of roses and the magick of scent is true for rose essential oil as well. Rose essential oil is rarely sold in pure form, and is generally mixed with a carrier oil (I like jojoba oil, personally). This means that you don’t have to worry about diluting it if you want to use it on your skin. Watch out for fragrance oils! These are not essential oils, and often don’t contain any of the plant they supposedly smell like.

There are two main types of rose essential oil: Rose Absolute and Rose Otto. I prefer Rose Otto (though it is the more expensive of the two), because the distillation process is gentler and uses fewer chemicals than the distillation of Rose Absolute. I like for anything I put in or on my body to be as natural as possible, which made Rose Otto the natural choice.

Every night before I go to bed, I anoint my heart chakra with rose essential oil and I say a prayer to Aphrodite. The scent wafts up from my chest and puts me in a loving state of mind before I drift off to sleep. I use it in my daily dedications. You can also anoint candles with rose essential oil.

4. Rose Quartz

There is so much rose quartz around my apartment! It’s good for all sorts of things, including romance, self-love, emotional healing, and heart chakra work. It has a lovely energy to it, and is beautiful and calming to look at. It comes in all shapes and sizes, and colors range from a deep pink to almost clear.

My “gateway” into the world of rose quartz was a common Feng Shui practice of putting two rose quartz hearts together in the Romance bagua of my apartment (which is said to aid in healthy romantic relationships). I later learned that each room has its own Romance bagua, and I began collecting pairs of rose quartz hearts. You can also use them in spells and other magickal workings.

From there, I branched out to tumbled polished stones. I have a couple of somewhat flat palmstones that I really like. I’ll put one on my heart chakra if I’m laying down for a meditation, or hold it in my hand. Now I’m collecting all varieties of rose quartz, including a candleholder and some larger pieces.

5. Jasmine Incense

Roses had already thoroughly permeated my life when I reached the stage of wanting a particular incense for Aphrodite. Adding rose incense on top of the rosewater and rose essential oil seemed a bit much, so I sought out another fragrance. I intended to use the incense as an offering for Aphrodite, which meant it needed to be something I could easily procure (and of course, it needed to be all natural!) I found a jasmine incense at my local Whole Foods, and instantly fell in love. It didn’t quite smell like the flowers (is there anything that really can?), but the scent was lovely nonetheless.

I used it for several months, and then another fragrance by the same brand (Triloka) popped up – Aphrodisia! How perfect! It was jasmine with a hint of vanilla, and it smelled delicious! This quickly became my go-to for incense for the Radiant Goddess. Orange blossom and, yes, rose incenses also work well.

6. Researching all about Romance

My research into all things romance-related began more as a consequence of wanting to fix my relationship with my boyfriend after he moved out than from a devotion to Aphrodite (see my earlier post about My Journey to Aphrodite – Part One), but it ended up being a labor of love and devotion anyway. My research into relationships not only helped me to repair my own relationship, but it also enabled me to help others. Before long, my friends were coming to me for advice about romance and sex, and because of my research, I had lots of resources to draw on and books to reference. This reputation soon widened beyond my close friend circle into our larger spiritual community.

Please see the Resources section of my website for some good starting points for your Romance research journey. Coming from a science background, I prefer research and evidence-based practices, like the work of John Gottman and Sue Johnson. Sue Johnson’s “Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love” was the first relationship book I ever read, several years before my journey with Aphrodite began. “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman was the first book I read after my boyfriend moved out.

7. Learning Her Language

Unlike my romance research, my academic pursuit of learning Greek directly flowed from a desire to more deeply connect with Aphrodite. I’m still definitely a beginner, though the letters look more like letters and less like symbols now, which is an improvement from several months ago. I can’t afford to take a dedicated in-person class, so I have mostly been using free apps and the occasional book. As a consequence, I’m not picking it up as quickly as I did Italian (Surprise! I’m fluent in Italian!), but I’m making progress. I’m studying modern Greek, because ultimately I think it will be more useful in my travels and studies, but eventually I would love to learn ancient Greek as well.

For apps, my favorite so far has been Mango Languages. It isn’t free, but my local library pays for a subscription, so I can access it for free using my library card info. I’ve also used Duolingo, but Duolingo’s grammar instruction (or any instruction, period) leaves a lot to be desired. I also occasionally use Memrise. At this time, the Memrise Greek course is unofficial (I think someone other than the main developers made the lessons), but it is still pretty good.

8. Tantra

Sacred sexuality has fascinated me since I learned what sex was (which wasn’t until I was eleven years old, by the way – It appears that I was the last of my friends to figure it out.) Growing up in the Bible belt American South, sex wasn’t talked about very much, if at all. Even from a young age, I intuitively knew the type of power sex could have (why else would everyone be so secretive about it?), and luckily I was not indoctrinated with the seemingly requisite shame about sex that most of my peers had (Thanks, mom!). Even so, I knew that sex was not something to be taken lightly, and I waited until college to have my first sexual experiences.

My interest in sacred sexuality didn’t really take off until grad school, and it was very slowly at first. After grad school, I was on a mission to learn all I could about sex, and that led me to Tantra. The first Tantra book I ever read was “Urban Tantra” by Barbara Carrellas, and it is still the #1 book I recommend to anyone wanting to start a practice of sacred sexuality. It is just the right balance of serious and lighthearted, which is an excellent starting place for beginners. I learned later (through reading “Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition” by Christopher D. Wallis) that originally Tantra was not all about sexuality, and that this idea largely arose from the Western import of this Eastern tradition.

Tantra taught me more about moving and manipulating energy than countless other witchy or Pagan books. I could actually feel it in my body and direct my sexual energy. This had an amazing effect on my Pagan practice outside of sex. And the sexual experiences were pretty phenomenal, too! It became a natural way to connect with Aphrodite, both through partnered sex and masturbation. Tantra really helps me to tune into all of the pleasure my body is experiencing, and that brings me closer to Aphrodite.

Brightest blessings to you as you embark on your relationship with the Resplendent Aphrodite!

Going Deeper – Connecting with Divinity

This is Part Two in a series on Going Deeper with your Pagan Practice. Read Part One here.

You’ve done some great personal introspection, feel pretty confident about your spiritual skills, and you’ve taken a look at the personal considerations in the previous blog post (Going Deeper – Are You Ready to Dive In?). You’ve done your research, and are pretty sure of the deity (or deities) you want to work with. You know about their lore, their traditions, and their holidays. Maybe you’ve even already started to reach out to them. These are all wonderful things! Here are some next steps on how to pursue a deeper relationship with a deity.

1. Pray

I have found that an easy access point to begin a Divine relationship is through prayer. Those of us who were raised in other faiths may be more or less familiar with the idea, and it’s something that most people have at least some experience with. If there is a typical prayer structure in your tradition, try that! If there’s not, invent your own, or find some inspiration on the internet. I’ve always found that spontaneous prayers spoken from the heart are the most connective, but don’t feel like that is your only option.

Written prayers are good for daily devotionals and rituals, and having specific prayers for specific occasions (like before a meal) also have special meaning. You may want to include some of your deity’s epithets in your prayers. This can help further connect you to their various aspects, and can give you a touchstone for when you don’t feel you have much to say.

2. Do a daily devotion

A daily devotional practice to your deity is essential to building a deep relationship. Start small! There are many different ways to do a daily devotion and many practices that you can incorporate into yours. I suggest that you start small, with one action a day, and keep doing that until it becomes a regular habit. Then you can build on that solid foundation with more elaborate practices.

A great way to start a daily devotional practice is with prayer. This can be scripted or spontaneous – something you say right when you wake up, before you go to bed, before a meal, or another time that feels right for your deity. You are more likely to be successful if you connect it to something you already do on a daily basis (which is why I’m a fan of the waking up/going to bed option). This could be something as simple as being mindful while you drink your morning tea and dedicating that time to your deity. Make sure gratitude, joy, and celebration are a part of whatever devotion you do.

3. Make offerings

Making offerings can be a part of your daily devotional practice, but it doesn’t have to be, especially not in the beginning. I do suggest you start making offerings of some variety to your deity, even if it is just once a week, or at the very least, once a moon cycle.

I think of offerings in two categories: physical offerings, and offerings of action. Your deity may have a particular preference (and even preferences within those categories), and it is important that you honor that. The gods and goddesses also know and respect your financial status and ability level. They won’t ask for offerings of gold if you can’t afford it. That being said, sometimes requests that seem like a stretch will be made. This may be a sign of something you need to work towards, and it’s good to open up communication with your deity about these requests to clarify what is really being asked of you.

Physical offerings are just that, physical objects that are given to the deity. This can be food or a libation, incense burned in their honor, flowers or other decorations, or something you have made. This is offered with love and respect for the deity, usually placed on an altar or in another special location, and accompanied by a prayer or expression of gratitude. If your offering is something that will spoil (like food or drink), the offering will generally be placed outside and returned to the Earth after the ritual is finished or after a day or so, if left on an altar. I live in a third-story apartment, so I don’t have access to an outdoor offering space. I also have a cat that will eat pretty much anything (including aluminum foil and staples), so I can’t leave anything out in my apartment. I also risk running into my neighbors and getting looks from dog-walkers if I go downstairs and out to the edge of the woods. There’s a modification for every living situation. My balcony is pretty private and faces the woods, so my solution for perishable offerings is to ceremoniously (though, some might argue unceremoniously, depending on my throwing skills that day) toss them off my balcony into the woods. Luckily, I work with a laughter-loving goddess who doesn’t mind me being a little silly when I make my offerings. You’ll have to come up with a method that works for you and your deity.

Offerings of action are things that you do in your daily life to honor your deity. They could be things you do that are within your deity’s purview, like attending a pole dancing class in honor of Aphrodite, or performing an activity that you enjoy and mindfully doing it for them. For example, I frequently dedicate my yoga practice to Aphrodite. For offerings of action, I refer to the line in the Charge of the Goddess (version by Doreen Valiente) “Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.

“All acts of love and pleasure” – that phrase just makes my heart sing. Because the gods want us to be happy. Yes, sometimes we will need to go through hard times in order to further our personal growth, but all with the purpose of developing our joyful, beautiful souls. Almost anything can be an offering, if it is done mindfully and with intention. Some of my favorite offerings of action are: spending time with friends, going for a hike, exercise of pretty much any form, making art, writing, cooking, cleaning (with intention!), singing in the shower, learning another language, studying a new subject, and reading magickal books.

4. Listen deeply

If you want to form a meaningful relationship with a deity, you want it to be two ways, which means you need to listen deeply to what they have to say. When I say listening, I don’t mean in the literal auditory sense (though that can also apply). Communications from the Divine can take many forms, including visions and “just knowing” things. Be mindful to listen as you are praying, making offerings, or doing devotions. Meditation can be a wonderful opportunity to listen, as your mind is quieter than normal, and you are open to different experiences. More on that in the next section.

Communications can also happen anytime the Divinity chooses. I remember having one particularly memorable Divine transmission from Aphrodite while sitting at a stoplight in my car. I’ve also had a quieter goddess go through one of my friends to get me to pay attention when I wasn’t listening to her. While setting up a spiritual context for listening greatly increases the likelihood of meaningful communication, it doesn’t always have to be “spiritual.”

5. Meditate

I’m sure there is no shortage of books or internet articles telling you how important meditation is for spiritual practice (or even just life in general), so I’m not going to bore you with another proselytizing speech here. You can find good research about the other benefits of meditation pretty easily as well. My reasons for including meditation here are mostly rooted in deep listening, but it’s also a pretty essential magickal skill for spellwork and raising energy.

Setting aside at least 10 minutes a day (or every other day – again, start small and work your way up!) to meditate in whatever way feels best to you will open you up to receiving Divine messages. I mentioned a few of my favorite types of meditation in Part One of this post, but choose something that works for you, and do it consistently. You may not hear anything right away. That’s okay. Keep up the practice. You may not hear anything at all. That’s okay, too. Your deity may communicate with you in other ways. If you consistently don’t hear/see/feel anything from a deity you have been trying to work with, you might consider exploring other options and seeing if another deity “clicks” with you better. Your relationship should be a two-way street. You can choose the deity, but the deity also has to choose you.

6. Perform acts of service

Acts of service are similar to offerings of action, but are more themed around doing the deity’s work in the world. This can be a lot of different things, but it is generally related to the deity’s sphere of influence. For me, an act of service for Aphrodite would be helping my friends out when they come to me for advice about romance or sex. For one of my friends who is devoted to Frigg, it can take the form of being an amazing mother.

Acts of service are extremely personal between the deity and their devotee, and it depends on your abilities and resources. Once you begin a relationship with a deity, they may ask you do certain things for them, give you tasks or a mission. Sometimes they do not. Sometimes you will need to seek those things out on your own. Sometimes the opportunities will just appear in front of you. You always have the option of saying no, but if you are trying to build a relationship with this deity and what they are asking for doesn’t conflict with your morals or go beyond your capabilities, I recommend you give it a try. Be honest and upfront about it with your deity, too. That’s what I did with Aphrodite. I told her I would “try out this being-a-priestess” thing, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

What is asked of you may not be easy. It’s okay to struggle, but you need to be honest with yourself and with your deity about why you are struggling (refer back to the “Have you dealt with your personal shit?” section of Part One of this post). Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance. If a deity wants you to do their work in the world, they will help you do it, but you also need to put in the effort.

7. Make the Divine a part of your daily life

This is my favorite part of all about “Going Deeper” into a relationship with a deity. My life, from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep (and sometimes even in my dreams), is filled with magick, love, and spiritual experiences. No joke. I’ve tried my best to merge my magickal and mundane lives as much as possible, and it has resulted in some pretty great synergy.

I do devotions when I awake and before I go to sleep. I’ve recently started a regular practice of blessing my food, particularly the rose tea I drink for Aphrodite. My purse at any point in time contains a myriad of crystals, charms, quarter calls, a candle, notes for rituals, and an emergency rosewater vial (yes, you read that correctly). My phone has pagan blogs bookmarked, inspirational goddess art, and an app to track the moon phases and astrological signs. My bookshelf is filled with books on witchcraft, paganism, personal development, relationship help, tantra, sex, and love. I have several spaces in my apartment dedicated to different spiritual purposes. Even at work, I have some covert spiritual things. I pray I don’t know how many times a day. I do a cleansing ritual every time I shower. The Divine has permeated my life, and I am so much better for it.

I hope these two posts have served as a good jumping off point for your own spiritual deep dives. I wish you the best of luck in your spiritual endeavors. May the Gods and Goddesses go with you.