Advice for New Pagans (by Beth & Jolene Dawe)

After delivering a Deity Communication or Deity Identification reading to a customer, I often receive a quick “thank you so much!!!” response. In many cases this is followed by–a few hours to a day later–by a message asking, “So, how do I connect with these deities?”

My best advice would be to start slowly, and build from there. If you are able to, start by setting aside a space for Them in your room or in your home. (It doesn’t have to be a large area; a corner of a bookshelf or dresser will do for now as long as it is set apart as belonging to Them.) If you are unable, due to your living conditions, to set aside a permanent space, I suggest keeping your shrine items (see below) in a box that is dedicated to Them, and setting up your sacred space each time you are able to spend time with your deities. This box could be a decorated or painted shoebox, a toolbox if stealth is required, a storage bin or tote, a reused mailing box, a pretty box or tin from the craft store, etc. Whatever you already have on hand, can afford to acquire, or feel drawn to use will be perfect.

As for your shrine items: Put a candle in your sacred space (whether that space is permanent or temporary).  If you are in a situation (such as a dorm room) where you cannot have real candles, feel free to use a battery-operated one. I don’t feel it lends quite the same ambience, but my wife actually prefers them for safety reasons, and it’s certainly better than nothing. Also, print an image of your deity from online and get a frame for it. (The dollar store is a good place to find frames). The picture will give you something to contemplate, and the candle will lend light and energy to your sacred space. The image you choose need not be something traditionally associated with your deity, or something other people would associate with Them, as long as it calls to you.  It need not be a visual image, either, because some people are not visually-oriented, and maybe that includes you. It could be something tactile; maybe there’s a stone that makes you think of your deity, or a piece of fabric, or maybe there’s a smell, a certain essential oil or fragrance.

You can then begin to give Them offerings and talk to Them in this special area you’ve reserved for Them. Start by offering something very basic, such as a glass of water that you refresh daily; all spirits love water, and because water conducts energy it makes it easier for us to connect with Them. As time goes on, you can offer up part of whatever you are having for dinner, or if you want to make a really special offering you can research what foods are sacred to your deity in particular, and/or what foods were common to Their geographical region and culture, and prepare a special treat for Them. (Feel free to enjoy this meal along with Them, as in most ancient cultures the food offered to the gods was shared with their worshipers.)

You may also find it helpful to hold your devotional rituals at night. The night is a psychic quiet time when people are either asleep or resting, rather than rushing around on daytime errands. This makes it easier for us to expand our senses beyond the physical at night, and begin to be able to sense and communicate with spirits and deities.

I recommend establishing a daily practice, but this can consist of anything you choose, no matter how simple. In fact, it is better if you start simply, because consistency is much more important than elaborate ritual or fancy words. (That being said, don’t beat yourself up if life interferes and you miss a day–or a week–here or there. Simply begin again.) And all worship is best when it comes from the heart. You can serve Them a cup of tea if you like as long as you are truly present for it, not simply doing it by rote. (But having said that, rote happens, and don’t give yourself a hard time when it does. When you catch yourself doing things by rote, take a moment to hold that, to be aware of it, and then refocus.)

You can also light a candle, gaze into its flame, and offer up a prayer to Them. Do not overanalyze working with the gods; working with the gods is simple. It is as simple as sitting down and having a chat with a new friend, and along the way you may quickly find that They are in fact a very old friend. 

I definitely support learning what you can about Their culture of origin, how They were worshiped in antiquity, and how They are worshiped by modern people today, but I would also suggest maybe putting this off until a habit of regular devotion/touching in has been established. Ultimately, it’s about knowing yourself, right? If you’re the sort of person who tends toward perfectionism, knowing too much about your deity’s background or how other people work with Them could derail you at the outset, or make you feel overwhelmed. Allowing yourself to get to know the Spirit in question, just between the two of you, can be beneficial before adding in the cultural trappings. 

Whether you decide to dive into research right away or delay it for a bit, don’t allow any of this information to intimidate you or make you compare yourself with another worshiper unfavorably. There is no contest; you are simply getting to know Someone, just as you would in any other relationship. This is an ongoing process, not a race to the finish line. As time goes on and you learn more, you may want to incorporate some of what you learn into your own practice–or you may not. Either is fine. Your relationship with this deity is yours–not anyone else’s to make judgments about. Allow Them to guide you.

How will you know if it’s working? Ultimately, it is really just going to take time and experience to know what it feels like when They are present in your space, and what it feels like when They are communicating with you. In the meantime, just go ahead and talk and trust that They hear you. 🙂 You can also watch for signs–bits of overheard conversation as you go about your daily routine, animals or birds you see, feelings you may get that don’t seem to come from you, etc. Some deities communicate with us by talking inside our heads, but not all of Them do. Some communicate by means of emotion, visions, or just an instant sense of knowing something. Many of Them will tailor Their preferred communication method to better connect with the person trying to work with Them. Again, it will just take time to see how things will play out in your particular relationship.

If you’d like to go more deeply into the ins and outs of deity communication, I recommend a book called Trance-portation by Diana Paxson that discusses how she learned to communicate with deities, having started out being what she called “headblind.” It’s widely available via Amazon and basically wherever books are sold. Diana was my mentor in the Troth’s clergy program (which I successfully completed but then chose not to take the organizational oaths–and thus did not become official Troth clergy), and her own past struggles with deity communication make her insights into the topic so much more valuable than what I can offer in a brief blog post here.


LAST DAY for my Black Friday Weekend Sale

The sale ends at midnight tonight! (EST, I believe, since Etsy headquarters are on the East Coast.)

Readings are NOT on sale. However, everything else in my shop is! From now through midnight on Tuesday, you’ll get 25% off all ready-to-ship physical items in the store–no coupon code needed!

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Shop Pagan Rosaries
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Shop Tealight Candles
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Shop Tarot Wraps and Altar Cloths
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Shop Handspun Yarn

Black Friday Weekend Sale

Well, it’s been quite the year, hasn’t it? After being laid off from my retail job back in March, I really thought I’d get a ton of work done at home (lots and lots of making!) to get my Etsy shop off life support, but it didn’t happen. Instead, I struggled with depression and anxiety for much of the year, and things only began looking up again for my shop when I added the Tarot readings back in again.

So, for now, the readings are my primary focus, and I’m making other things as I can. But still, as 2020 limps painfully towards its (hopefully not too shocking) series finale, I thought, why not have a sale? It’s the first one I’ve had all year, and it will be the last for at least another six months.

Readings are NOT on sale. However, everything else in my shop is! From now through midnight on Tuesday, you’ll get 25% off all ready-to-ship physical items in the store–no coupon code needed!

Shop Pagan Rosaries
Shop Tealight Candles
Shop Tarot Wraps and Altar Cloths
Shop Handspun Yarn

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

videos · YouTube

Write it Down! (Keep a Journal) | Quick Witchy Tip #1

I’m starting a new series on my YouTube channel called “Quick Witchy Tips.” These will be a collection of quick, easily digestible videos targeted towards people new to paganism or witchcraft, new to working with the pagan gods, and/or those who have been around a while but could use some help energizing their practice again. I hope you enjoy these and find them useful!

Norse pagan · Norse paganism · northern tradition · polytheist community

Do Pagan Women NEED Goddesses?

(A brief disclaimer: I’ve tried to make this clear within the post itself, but in case I’ve failed in that: when I refer to “women,” “men,”, “females,” or “males” within this post, I am in no way excluding trans or non-binary persons. As you were.)

One quibble I’ve always had with Heathenry is the notion of adhering to traditional gender roles–which I see from some of the newer Norse pagan channels on YouTube is very much still a thing. And part of this whole notion is the idea that men SHOULD naturally gravitate towards male gods, while women SHOULD gravitate towards goddesses.

It was partly for this reason–because I found this idea to be inherently sexist–that I fought for years against what I felt to be the expectation, within both my local community and my extended online community, that I needed to “find my goddess.” Especially since at the time I was so laser-focused on my relationship with Odin–something that I think made my co-religionists uncomfortable at best.

For the record, I still find this whole idea to be sexist. People should follow whatever deities they have the strongest connection with on a personal level, regardless of the gender of either the deity or the worshiper. (This also begs the question of what, exactly, we mean by gender when applied to deity in the first place–let alone the complexity of the gender issue when it comes to humans–but I digress.)

Now, I am aware that in elder pagan/heathen times there very much WERE traditional gender roles, consisting of the males leading war bands and raiding parties, while the females stayed behind to run the farms, bring in the crops, raise the children, preserve food, and produce textiles to be used in making clothing, ship sails, and shelter (via those “traditionally feminine” arts of spinning, sewing, and weaving).

Most of the above roles are no longer needed in our 21st century society, and others have altered dramatically. With women just as capable of working for a living as men, men just as capable of raising children and maintaining a home, and people of all genders shopping at Walmart rather than making their own clothes, most of the traditional chores are no longer practiced, or if they are, they’re done as hobbies rather than necessities. 

But I do find that the older I get, the more the traditional arts of the home and hearth appeal to me. This is not at all a gendered issue, but I have come to accept that I am a hearth witch at heart, and that the old world arts of spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, and cooking are all very dear to me. Again, I am certain that there are people of all genders out there who feel the same! (And as a reminder, I say all of this as one half of a same-sex marriage, and with the awareness that just being allowed the time and tools to practice these arts is a privilege.)

Which brings me to Frige (aka Frija, aka Frigga–but I’ve always leaned towards the Anglo-Saxon side of heathenry, so I think I’ll call Her Frige, which is pronounced Free-ya). Years ago, as a baby heathen/Norse pagan, when older and wiser priestesses urged me to befriend one of Odin’s wives among the goddesses as a way to counterbalance the intensity of His influence in my life, I fought them. I dragged my heels. I protested that although they might need this, I most certainly did not. My ego was on high alert, ad in full feather. (And yet, with the benefit of hindsight years after the fact, which of us burned out and suffered a multi-year spiritual crisis? I know I did. I’m betting they didn’t.)

And because I recognized in Frige an introverted kindred soul not unlike myself–Someone who was very capable of running the kingdom of Asgard (Osgeard? aka the home turf of Her Husband’s war band) while Woden was away, but who preferred to sit and spin in Her marshy hall by the sea–I fought especially hard. Because who was I to identify myself with Her, even privately? And on the other hand, how dare anyone suggest that I needed an intermediary in my relationship with Woden? (Again, for the record, this was NOT what anyone suggested, nor was it what Frige Herself offered. It was what I, in my ego-fueled indignation, assumed.)

But the people who advised me to befriend one of Odin’s divine wives or girlfriends were not wrong. And I think it’s having taken up hand spinning again that’s led me to this conclusion.

Spinning is a slow art. It requires patience, a cool head, and steady but nimble fingers, as you scour the dirt and grease out of the wool, wait for it to dry (a lot of fiber processing consists of “hurry up and wait”), comb and card the fibers to recombine and reorganize them, twist and smooth them to give them form, all the while keeping the strands in order, untangled, so that they can, finally, be wrapped into a skein or a ball to be used in the creation of fabric (whatever may be your preferred method of doing that). Spinning is no longer a necessary art or craft; it is a privileged one–but doing it successfully still takes a certain temperament, a certain kind of person. It is tedious, requiring long hours spent alone or with like-minded and similarly-occupied people. It is repetitive, downright boring at times; it requires a love of the feeling of the fiber moving between your fingers, of the way the wool smells, of the way it looks when, having been soaked to set the twist after spinning, the original crimp of the sheep’s fleece reveals itself once again. And when you have mastered the process to the point that your fingers and hands move through it on their own without input from your conscious mind–well, that’s when the magic comes in. That’s when, as pagan writers have fantasized and as some of us who have practiced the art can attest to, Woden Himself looks on in wonder as Frige spins the threads that keep the universe turning.

Again, spinning is not a gendered art; let me be clear, none of the traditional household arts are. But they do require a certain temperament, and it is NOT that of the person who needs to claim the spotlight, who needs to be the center of attention. By and large, these are not arts for the extroverted, the charismatic folks whose mere presence draws the rapt attention of crowds. This is, in brief, why Woden does not spin, but Frige does. They are not gendered arts, but I believe that in past ages society assigned what we now call extroversion to men, and what we now refer to as introversion to women. To be fair, people didn’t know any better, and were laboring under thousands of years of misguided tradition. 

So, do women NEED to worship a goddess? No, absolutely not. But, depending on the other influences in your spiritual life, and depending on your own temperament, you may find, as I am finding now, that it’s helpful to have a counterbalancing influence, Someone who can act as a tether for you, an anchor, a mooring. Much as Frige Herself does for Her wandering Husband, Woden.

divination · Etsy · Tarot

Introducing the Two Paths Reading

This new reading is designed to compare and contrast two competing paths that lie before you, with the goal of helping you decide which path is best for you. These two paths might be spiritual traditions, relationships, or even two job offers–any situation in which you have two alternatives before you and need to make a decision.

In this reading, I draw four cards for each of the two competing paths (eight cards in all). These cards address the following questions for each potential path:

1. What does this path offer me?

2. What does this path NOT offer me?

3. Where will this path ultimately lead me?

4. A message from Spirit concerning this path.

This reading is conducted in a trance state and may involve my drawing additional cards if I feel they’re needed for clarification. I may also draw runes or use my pendulum during the reading if I feel this is needed.

You will receive an email with a downloadable pdf of your reading including a clear color photo of your spread. I will email your reading to you within 3-5 business days of your purchase.

You can book your reading in my Etsy shop!


It’s back! My new and improved Deity Communication Reading!

This is a brand new version of the Deity Communication Reading I used to offer a couple of years back. This original spread, designed by me in the summer of 2020, consists of six cards and addresses the following questions:

1. What does this deity want from me?

2. What can They offer me?

3. How can we best work together?

4. What should I NOT expect from Them?

5. What can be negotiated with Them?

6. What is the most likely prognosis/probably future of the relationship?

This reading is conducted in a trance state and may involve my drawing additional cards if I feel they’re needed for clarification. I may also draw runes or use my pendulum during the reading if I feel this is needed. Prior to the reading, I make an offering to your deity and request Their assistance in supplying you with the above answers.

You will receive an email with a downloadable pdf of your reading including a clear color photo of your spread. I will email your reading to you within 3-5 business days of your purchase.

When purchasing your reading, please include the following in your “note to seller”:

– Your name and email address
– The name of the deity you would like the reading to focus on. (ONE deity per reading please.)
– Any background information you think is needed or that that you would like me to keep in mind while reading.

You can book a reading with me in my Etsy shop here.