“Worship” is a really charged word for a lot of Pagans, and rightfully so. A lot of us are converts who came from religions where worship was a requirement, and was more about debasing yourself instead of celebrating the Divine. I worship Aphrodite because I adore Her, because I want to feel and be all of the beautiful things She represents in my life, because She is worthy of honor and respect, and because the act of worship brings me that much closer to Her.
What we decide to call ourselves has immense power. In a spiritual sense, it’s the conscious act of putting yourself out there. Saying “I’m Pagan” has power to it. Saying “ I am a witch” has power to it. The Divine is listening and the Earth can hear - you may be surprised what comes your way when you make a spiritual declaration of this sort.
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.
While my closest relationship with a divinity is with Aphrodite, I also have a close working relationship with Cerridwyn. Cerridwyn is the Welsh goddess of transformation and change. She is the keeper of the cauldron of knowledge, and she is frequently viewed as a “dark” goddess.
Spiritual experiences are, by nature, very difficult to put into words. You’ve just experienced something transcendent - It’s no surprise that it also transcends language. Given that, I’m going to do my best to describe to you how I experience the Goddess Aphrodite.
What does it mean to be a priestess? I thought about this question for a long, long time before I took my official oath as a priestess of Aphrodite. I knew that being a priestess in a public Pagan community was not a responsibility to take on lightly, and I wanted to make sure I knew what I was committing to before I took that plunge. It is a holy office, and the mantle of priestesshood, while joyous and ecstatic, can be heavy at times and comes with a sacred duty to both your deity and your community.
I’ve found that spiritual growth is rarely a linear progression. There are times when it is slow and steady, and times of plateau where not much happens at all. Then, there are times when it’s a trial by fire. Right now is one of those times for me.
When I underwent my initiation for Aphrodite, I knew that some things in my life would change (perhaps quite drastically), while others would remain more-or-less the same. One change I was not expecting, though, was to start having empathic experiences. Read about my journey, and some tips on cleansing and shielding that I picked up during my struggles as a new empath!
So you’ve decided that you want to begin a relationship with Aphrodite (or another Divinity that feels right to you). A deep, personal relationship. Maybe you want to become a devotee, dedicant, or priestess (or priest; we are open to all genders here). What do you do next? There are some important considerations to take into account, and then I’ll talk about first steps to connect with your deity in another post.
This is Part Three in a series of posts on how I came to Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. Here I chronicle my journey to the modern Pagan worship of Aphrodite and how I became Her priestess.