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Types of relationships you can have with the Deities

Those of us who come from an Abrahamic background were taught to only see the Divine in the form of a Lord or a Heavenly Father. So, when getting into Polytheism it can be quite interesting – and sometimes confusing – to discover the myriad of ways Polytheists relate to the Divinities. Today, I wanted to write a bit about some of the types of relationships you can have with the Deities and what each might entail.

Odin and Frigga, the AllFather and Great Mother of the Norse-Germanic Pantheon. Artwork by Emil Doepler.

One can see a God/ Goddess as…

A parental figure. The notion of a Divine Father will be familiar to us with a Christian background and if this child-Father relationship is something you want and seek then you can find it even as a Polytheist. Many male Gods make great Father figures and you can also get to know a Heavenly Mother or a bigendered/non-gendered/ non-binary Heavenly Parent.

A Lord/Lady/Ruler. You can also choose to worship a Deity in a manner of a servant towards their Lord, Lady or Ruler.

A master/owner. Some go further than this and see themselves as the slave or property of a Deity. They might refer to themselves as godslaves or godowned.

A friend. A Deity can also be like a friend. Or…

An older brother/sister/sibling or…

A teacher/mentor. One who helps and guides on the spiritual path.

A lover or a spouse. Mystics of many traditions have referred to the Divine as their ”Beloved” and spoken of Them in a way that seems almost romantic. Some devotees see their God/Goddess as their primary love interest and for this reason might refer to Them as their life partner. Some even marry Them and
become what is called a godspouse.
This sort of ‘romantic’ relationship with a Deity rarely entails anything sexual, although you’ll sometimes come across people who say they’ve had sexual encounters with Them.
A godspouse is also not necessarily celibate but might have human lovers or spouses.

An enemy/antagonist. Sometimes being questioned, troubled or even tempted is exactly what you need to grow. Interestingly, while Satan is not considered a Deity in his own right, he is believed to fill such a role in certain forms of Jewish and Christian thought.

A child. Some Deities have child forms and Their image are sometimes taken care of by devotees with a love and affection resembling that of parent towards their child. This is of course out of devotion, not because a Deity needs to be babied and cared for by humans.
This particular form of relationship can also be expressed through helping or raising children, through seeing in them the Divine Essence that perviates all living beings.

Thor is often described as a friend and a protector to humans. Artwork by Henry Fuseli.

Different people can have different types of relationship with the same Deities. One might for example see Týr as a Father figure while another feels Him to be a Friend. There are also many other ways humans describe their relation to the Deities which aren’t on this very short list.

The relation between the Divine and the human is of course something unique in itself and however we describe it can never truly capture its sublime nature.


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