Goddess Column: Creating a Devotional Practice with The Divine Feminine
Welcome back cosmic seers, mystics, witches, sacred sluts and powerful bitches. What an intense time we are surviving and living in right now- to anyone struggling I see you. You’re not alone. For the past year I have been writing this column about the divine feminine, about how to work with different goddesses, about their rituals and magick and history. We’ve talked about the Roman goddess Venus, about the Buddhist Bodhisattva Kuan Yin, we’ve talked about the Hindu goddess Kali and the mother of Egypt, Isis. We’ve explored rituals and meditation, we’ve created altars. And now, we create our own devotional practice.
As the patriarchy continues rearing its ugly head, many of us are called back into our fullest expression of power. We’re asking how we can connect to something that’s going to live us feeling confident, empowered, and able to claim sovereignty over ourselves. We can work with Goddesses as a reflection of our divinity and god-like nature. When we create a devotional practice or ritual practice devoted to the divine feminine, we are ultimately worshipping ourselves. Taking the time to dedicate to something special, creating a sacred space for a container, especially when in relationship to something we find holy or hold with esteem, is transformative. It’s potent. It’s a dedication and something that we revere by returning to again and again. When we invest in a relationship with goddess, we invest in a relationship with ourselves.
We don’t even have to worship anything outside of ourselves for this practice; instead we can simply embody the messages and energy the goddess we’re working with reminds us of. We can embody Venus’s love, or Kuan Yin’s compassion. We can pray to those parts of ourselves, or see the Goddesses as guides to those areas, to where that healing journey will lead us. We don’t have to see this as worshipping an external anything; we can become living temples for the divine feminine. We can align ourselves with this divine will and become the goddess instead of just witnessing her as something outside of ourselves.
But how do I begin?
Any spiritual path, or really any that are worth practicing, will ask you to know thyself. What is it that you’re looking to gain from this practice? What is it that you want to feel? Take tiMe to get clear on this, to know what’s coming from a place of fear or ego (I want to work with a goddess of abundance so I can be rich and so everyone will like me) or intuition and truth (I want to work with a goddess of abundance because I deserve to feel safe and supported while exploring what I care about). Take time to journal around what you feel like this relationship could bring to you, what’s inspiring you to take this journey. Allow this to be something that makes you excited; if you’re scared or fearful or worried, this could be a chance to release old fear or patterns around the feminine, around power, sexuality or religion. I am an avid supporter of therapy and truly believe having someone help you process is spiritual practice in itself, and if you feel like you need to and have the chance to go to therapy, I will always suggest processing with someone else.
Some reasons you may wish to start this journey:
- To reclaim and re-center your own power
- To reclaim your sexuality
- To get in touch with what makes you feel sexual and sensual
- To claim abundance and to bring in stability and wealth
- To know and experience the Divine Feminine
- To get to know yourself more intimately
- To recognize your self-worth and to build self-love
- To connect more deeply to yourself and the Earth
- To help heal
- To feel like the Goddess you are
Set the Intention
So you’ve taken time to think about why establishing a connection to the divine feminine is important to you, or you simply realize it’s important to you (though you may not know why) and you know it something you want to start. That’s good enough! Creating an intention with this relationship, however, may still be helpful. Taking time to get clear about what you’re looking for with connecting to the Goddess can help you create a container that is serving your evolution together. For example, say you know your intention is to connect with love, then it’s easier creating a ritual practice that honors this. You can look up corresponding herbs, crystals, colors, numbers, planets…etc easier this way too if you’re sure about what you’re looking to honor.
Also, once you know what your intention is, it may be easier to find a Goddess you resonate with. But let me just say this- the Goddess will find you if you regardless. It’s just easier when you’ve invited her in and already left an offering. But the Goddess, spirit, the divine feminine, the yin, she is always there, always talking. Sometimes listening and paying attention to the signs is all we need to see the path is just beneath our feet.
Choose a Goddess
Let us remember that yes, the Goddess chooses us as much as we choose her AND that we do not have to bind ourselves to one Goddess. So you don’t have to be worried that you may work with one face of the divine feminine and be “stuck” with that for the rest of your life. Don’t make promises or oaths or commitments to a Goddess right away and you’ll be Gucci. It’s a relationship, a connection, something that you foster. But how the hell do you decide which Goddess to work with? Go back to your intention. Make space for this divinity to express itself to you. Spend time in meditation, or in nature. Spend time in prayer or contemplation, asking for the Goddess to reveal herself to you. This is especially potent medicine for dream work. Before you fall asleep or as you’re lying in bed with your eyes closed, ask the Goddess to reveal herself to you, ask which goddess you should be working with. Record any dreams or intentions in a notebook or on your phone in the morning as soon as you wake up. You can also research different Goddesses related to your intention to see who you’re drawn to or look into your own ancestral lineage to see what Goddesses or versions of the divine feminine were venerated and honored in your family.
Also a note: You may start working with one Goddess only to find a connection with another, or to realize you’re meant to work with another Pantheon entirely. You can work with many Goddesses at once, but some deities require more allegiance than others. Allow your intuition (and research) to guide you and allow your body and the goddess to tell you what’s right.
Some Goddesses to Work With
For Inviting Love Into Your Life
Venus: Roman Goddess of Love, Sex, Glamour, Beauty, and Victory
Work with her for : Healing, self-love, inviting love in, connecting with your sexuality and sensuality, to embrace pleasure
Correspondences: Roses, pink, red, gold, swans, doves, the sacred heart, 7, rose quartz, jade, pearls, opal
Chakrubs: The Heart Original, The Heart Slim, The Heart Curve
For Inviting More Compassion Into Your Life
Kuan Yin: East Asian Bodhisattva of Compassion, Prayer, Women and Children
Work with her for: Healing, finding and fostering compassion, working with the loving and Divine Mother
Correspondences: Green jade, the lotus flower, prayer, black tea, rice, sweet cakes, willow branches, mala beads, the dove
Chakrub: Indian Jade
For Releasing and Banishing, and Connecting with the Dark Mother
Kali: Hindu Goddess of Death, Rebirth, Time and the Abyss
Work with her to: release the ego, release and banish what’s no longer serving you, cross he abyss, to understand and integrate the shadow
Correspondences: The sword, the color black and blue, blood, gold coins
Chakrub: The Xaga
For Grounding and Abundance
Gaia: Primordial Goddess of the Earth
Work with her to: Connect to the earth, to find grounding, to heal the root chakra, to attract wealth and abundance
Correspondences: The cornucopia, flowers, trees, nature, animals; anything and everything of the earth
Chakrub: The Gaia
Make space for an altar to the Goddess.
Goddess as Connection to Source
One of my teachers once described as source, the cosmos, the All, spirit, the universe; whatever IT is, as the palm of the hand. Individual Gods and Goddesses are the fingers, part of the palm but not the whole thing. I love this and always keep this in mind when working with deities. These beings are facets of the divine, and with that comes the imperfections that stem from us leaving Source energy. Goddesses are masks of the divine, archetypes in their highest and most evolved state. If you’re new to this sort of polytheistic belief, it can feel different or weird. Remember that whatever constitutes the divine is way too big and too much for us to know. So we personify it, sculpt it into a likeness we understand and boom, we’ve got Gods and Goddesses. You are the bridge to the divine, to source, to the gods and goddesses and all. Working with the individual faces of the divine simply helps us understand its language a bit easier.
Creating an Altar
Okay so now you know what Goddess you’re going to connect with and you have an idea of why. The next step is creating an altar. The good news is you probably already have an altar anyway- somewhere you place crystals, candles, a devotional candle, offerings and talismans in this case dedicated specifically to the goddess you’re working with or your intention. This acts as an energetic focal point of your space, where you can return to connect and leave offerings, a portal to the divine that will hopefully bring you joy to look and be around.
Some suggestions for what to include on your altar are: Flowers, photos or icons of your Goddess, crystals, candles, talismans like jewelry, Chakrubs, incense, honey, herbs, a chalice, a bowl of salt to represent the earth and to cleanse crystals in, a cauldron, plants, anything that helps you connect to your intention while also bringing you peace.
Arrange your items in a way that brings you joy and peace, enjoying the process, playing music, burning incense. When the altar is all set up, you may wish to cleanse the space with sacred smoke from ethically sourced Palo Santo, sweetgrass, lavender or Mugwort. You may visualize white light moving from the heavens, through the crown of your head, down your spine, enveloping you, and out your palms. Hold your hands over your altar, feeling the white light from the universe cleansing it. You may wish to dedicate this altar to connecting with the divine feminine, or whatever Goddess you’re working with. You may state this out loud, or in your mind, or write it out and have it on your altar as a devotional prayer. When you’re finished with this visualization, exhale and imagine the white light moving back up to the heavens above you.
Creating a Regular Devotional Practice
We can take the time to think of Goddess like a friend we want to keep a healthy relationship. What do we do to nurture bonds? We spend time together, we reaffirm, we listen, we hold reverence for. There comes a commitment to one another when a certain level of depth is reached; we decide to see someone fully, where they are, no judgment. We can hold this same intention with our work with Goddesses and ourselves. How can we commit to meeting ourselves fully in dedicating energy into honoring the divine outside, and inside, of ourselves?
My suggestion for any devotional or ritual practice is to start small when building the habit. Pick one thing you can absolutely commit to everyday (or more days than not) and commit to this! This can be something simple like lighting a candle, saying a prayer, practicing a visualization. You can also create rituals in honor of your Goddess; all of the columns I’ve written for Chakrubs include a ritual, so use that and the internet to help you find more specific forms of magick.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about what works for you in terms of cultivating a relationship with your chosen Goddess or Goddesses
- Light a devotional candle on your altar every day, carve and anoint the candle with oils, herbs and symbols associated with your Goddess
- Create a piece of art as dedication, like a poem or a drawing or a song
- Light sacred herbs associated with the Goddess and what she rules over, cleansing yourself and your space
- Write a prayer or invocation that you say everyday
- Talk to the goddess, either in real life or through meditation
- Meditate to connect with the energy of the goddess
- Work with the Goddess through rituals of self-love and beauty like baths, massage, yoga, energy work, divination and more
- Perform with rituals around the phases of the Moon, specifically the New and Full Moon to connect to the Goddess
- Dress in the colors and gemstones and scents associated with the Goddess you’re working with
- Learn the astrological and tarot associations of that Goddess
- Meditate and work with crystals associated with what the Goddess rules over
- Use glamour and fashion and beauty to embody the traits of the Goddess you want to call in
- Work with affirmations
- Spend time in nature, especially around the element associated with the Goddess
- Freewriting and journaling around the mythology, message or relationship of you and your Goddess
- Whatever else connects you to your heart and to the feeling of the divine feminine
And a little cosmic “thank you note”
And of course, a very lovely way to relate to and work with a deity is by leaving offerings! Some safe ways to share appreciation for your deity are through: flowers, honey, milk, liquor, fruit, wine, herbs, plants, blood, cum, tears, crystals and whatever else you love to give and share. I’ve left cannabis as an offering, I’ve left Menstrual blood, I’ve left condoms. Get creative, and allow your intention to guide you as always. You can leave this on an altar or outside, before you dispose of the offering let the universe know the energy is finished and the ritual is completed and say thank you.
There’s an infinite number of ways to relate to, embody and work with the goddess. These are just suggestions to get you thinking. Allow your intuition to guide you, allow the universe and spirit to guide you. There is no wrong way to connect, to worship, to honor. And so it is.
Feature Image by Swoon