Invoking Goddess

How is your Goddess altar? Have you been finding time to tend it? Have you noticed what pulls you toward or away from it?

Having made some space for the Goddess in your life, its time to think about how to call her in – we call this invocation. Of course the Goddess is ever present, but through the practice of invocation, we can consciously invoke particular aspects or qualities of the Divine. Sufis use wazifa practices. Contemporary Goddess worshippers use any of the countless names by which her people have called her, names coming from a wide variety of cultures spanning thousands of years of history from all corners of the globe. When we call upon the Goddess by a particular name, we awaken a specific set of resonances, often with a quite distinctive energy (or perfume or flavour).

If you haven’t gathered by now, I am a monotheist by upbringing and personal inclination. I ascribe to the understanding that all the Goddesses are One, that the many different names we may choose to use are all pathways to Her.[1] Another way of saying this might be to say that ultimately, the Goddess is that unknowable mystery ‘behind’ or ‘at the core of’ the reality we experience.

Yet contemporary Goddess religion is essentially an experiential path, and part of its special appeal to many is the sense of a growing personal relationship between ‘I’ (whoever she is?!) and the Goddess. Calling on the Goddess by a name with which one resonates – whether it is “Ishtar” or “Isis”, or simply “Mother” or “Beloved” – is a way of accepting Her open-ended invitation into greater relationship. The flavour of the relationship will be coloured by the names which one uses.

My purpose here is to share something of my subjective/intuitive understanding, the current fruit of my experience so far. I’m not about trying to construct a tightly argued theology, and can tolerate a certain amount of paradox within my beliefs. And so, having said that I am a monotheist, I am going to go on to state that for me personally, it is important to acknowledge that the gods are real, not merely abstract psychological concepts. In calling on the Great Goddess, (or Ishtar, or Inanna, or indeed upon the wild god of the forests), I am acknowledging that I am human, and therefore limited, and I am placing myself in dynamic relation with a reality greater than my limited self. For this reason I have difficulty with that form of ‘new age’ language which conflates the word ‘woman’ with the word ‘goddess’.

In my theology, to be human is to be the subject of an open-ended invitation to co-creative relationship with the divine. When I use the word “Goddess”, when I invoke the divine by that name, I am naming, or calling upon, my sense of intimate personal relationship. I use the noun ‘relationship’, but in no sense is this a static thing, so perhaps I should rather talk of ‘intimate relating’, because my strongest sense is of a dynamic process of evolving interconnection.

When invoking the Goddess in ritual, our job as priestesses is:

  • First, to consciously make a personal and energetic connection with the specific energies or qualities of the Goddess that we wish to invoke.
  • Secondly, to make ourselves available as a channel, or as some would say, a ‘step-down transformer’, for that energy or presence of the Goddess to move through and into the circle or space we are working in.

This process is aided by –

  • The strength of our personal relationship with, openness or availability to, the specific qualities or energies we are invoking.
  • The use of resonant language and evocative mental imagery or symbols which helps us to make that emotional or energetic connection.
  • The strength of our desire to feel and experience Her presence – our own yearning and that of others in the circle.
  • The practice of consciously expanding our own aura or energetic field to encompass the entire circle or audience, so that the energy that comes through us will touch everyone present.

When the Goddess is invoked strongly, others in the circle or sacred space will experience a shift in the energy and/or a sense of presence not previously felt.

Similarly, when a presence is effectively banished or farewelled from our sacred space, its departure will be collectively sensed.

To invoke or call the presence of the Goddess into a particular space, a physical icon or symbol (such as an altar or goddess figurine), or a person, the usual formula is this:-

Having cleansed and dedicated the space, symbol or person, first ground and centre yourself.

Then consciously expand your aura to encompass the circle/group/space you are working in

Then make the connection to the energy that you wish to invoke (in this instance the presence of the Goddess) – often done by holding a name or image in your mind, then going into and through that name or image to contact the distinctive, yet nameless and formless energy which informs it, and then drawing this energy into your own energy body.

The process described above can equally be used to invoke elemental energies (earth, air, fire and water), particular emotional energies, spirits or presences, such as the spirits of a particular place, one’s ancestors, spirit guides, ascended masters, etc. depending upon one’s personal belief system.

[1] This is a very common understanding among contemporary Goddess worshippers, but I acknowledge that some contemporary pagans have a more polytheistic understanding of the gods. They relate to a pantheon of gods and goddesses, each having a separate existence.