Shadow Patrons (Gods)


In a prior post, I mentioned that Apollo is my “Shadow Patron.” (Note 1). In Polytheism, a Patron (Matron) is a God who forms a favorable relationship with a person. Not every Polytheist has a Patron, since each God chooses the level of connection with humans. Therefore, a Shadow Patron would be a God who chooses to have an adversarial relationship with a human.

Why would a God have an antagonistic affiliation with someone? For me, it is because I do two things that Apollo is particular about – divination and prayers. Since in Roman Polytheism, both sacred activities are associated with Apollo, He wants them done correctly. Moreover, He wants me to prove myself worthy to do each.

Since this God is well-known to force Himself on unwilling females, I actively disliked Him. When I was a teenager, I was the victim of unwanted male attention. Hence, I avoided Apollo as much as possible. When I began writing rituals and prayers, Apollo came and refused to leave. Then I started practicing Roman-style divination. At that point, Apollo instructed me on how He wanted these acts conducted. A hard taskmaster, he drove me to hone my craft for both.

As I worked through this difficult relationship, I came to realize that Apollo is my Shadow Patron. Because He wants what I do to be true, Apollo takes me places that I refuse to go. He does not allow me to “spiritually bypass.” (Note 2). That means I have to do deep sacrifices for Him, which usually involve things that my injured brain balks at.

It is ironic that the God of the Sun and of Logic would have me focus on the unconscious realm. Apollo rules the Day, which is consciousness. By doing so, He defines the Night, which is unconsciousness. By standing in the blinding Light, one can see the deepest Night. Why is this important? In divination and in prayer, the force of the hurt, the grief, and resentment is released. This turns Day into Night.

In Polytheism, divination and prayers are sacred acts. To perform each, the human communicates directly with the Holy Powers. The Pax Deorum (The Peace of the Gods) has to be maintained between the people and the Gods. The Dark and the Light must be in balance for the Dark holds the Light as the Light holds the Dark. This seeming binary of Dark/Light is not Bad/Good, but a nonduality (Note 3) with shades of Grey between the Two.

In my perspective, a Shadow Patron forces you to handle the psychic energy of the hurt or grief. You are forced to cope with your wounds in order to do what They require of you. Since this energy is a form of impurity, it needs to be cleansed. You need to be spiritually ready to do various sacred acts for this God.


Note 1. Shadow Gods are traditionally the archetypes of the darker aspects of life such as the Underworld.

Note 2. “Spiritual bypassing is a mistaken belief that if we pray enough…eat right, and only think positive thoughts, our life will ascend finally reaching enlightenment.” Linda Star Wolf, “Soul Whispering,” Page 154.

Note 3. “Nonduality” means “non-separation and fundamental wholeness.” It comes from Eastern Religious thought.

Works Used:
Raven Kaldera, “Dealing with Deities.”
Galina Krasskova, “With Clean Minds and Clean Hands.”
Linda Star Wolf, “Soul Whispering.”


God of the Month: Apollo


Apollo, a well-known Greek God, is also a member of the Di Consentes (the Twelve Great Gods) of the Romans. For the Romans, Apollo is first a God of Healing. When Augustus became Emperor in 27 BCE, he promoted the worship of Apollo further. Augustus claimed that he was conceived by this God. After that, Apollo’s Roman attributes expanded to include his Greek ones, including God of the Sun. (Sol Indiges is the traditional God of the Sun for the Romans.)

When a devastating plague hit Rome in the Fifth Century BCE, the Duumvirs (Governors) consulted the Sibylline Books. Acting on the advice of the Books, they built a temple to Apollo Medicus (Apollo the Physician). Since He is Greek, the Romans built this temple outside the city. Then the priests invoked Him to come to the temple when He visited Rome. Later, families would go to the temple to seek medical attention.

To the Romans, Apollo is also the God of Divination and of Poetry. To invoke Him, poets would “drink from the waters of Castalia.” In Greek mythology, Castalia was a nymph who was pursued by Apollo. To elude Him, she threw herself into a spring. Afterwards, Apollo consecrated her and the spring to the Muses.

Personally for me, Apollo is a difficult God. I regard Him to be my “Shadow Patron.” He forces me to go places I don’t want to. Since I do write prayers and do divination, Apollo is always there. His hardness makes me into a better poet and diviner.

When A God Says No

In monotheism, when God says no, it has particular meanings. Usually, God’s refusal is explained that it is a part of His Divine Plan. The believer is to trust in God’s Love and Judgment since God knows what is best for all. Therefore instead of focusing on God’s contravening the request, a believer should pray to know God’s Will for them.

In polytheism, no God has a divine plan either for any human or for the universe. Greek and Norse polytheists believe that The Fates who live outside of time decide people’s destinies. A person’s fate could be determined by their family’s luck, the deeds of their Ancestors, their own deeds, and those of whom they associate with. For Babylonian polytheists, Enlil, the Great Mountain, holds the Tablet of Destines which links the heavens with the underworld. However, this Tablet is not a divine plan for the universe. Slavic polytheists see Mokosh responsible for weaving people’s fate. As the Mother of Good Fortune, Mokosh is also the Spinner of Fate. Meanwhile, the Romans could appeal to Fortuna, who turns the wheel, for better luck.

In polytheism, a God may attach Themselves to a family to guide its future. A God may sire individuals within the family such as Venus with Caesar’s family. Therefore, these Gods may have input in that family’s affairs.

In my case, Woden (Anglo-Saxon Odin), Frigga, and Freya are my Family’s Gods, with Woden directly involved with my son. He has many characteristics of a Woden-blessed person – a thirst for knowledge, beserker rages, and shamanic abilities. So I usually consult Them for guidance in parenting my son. Since he is struggling to find regular work, I asked these three Gods for help. They all said, “No. They were not an employment agency.”

Following their refusal, I decided to make offerings to the “Unknown Gods of Work” and Fortuna for help. The beauty of polytheism is that when one God refuses, another may accept. So asking another God is fine, but as in all relations with the Gods, offerings must be made and Gods have their own agency.

Hercules, the Roman God/Hero answered me. He was the last God that I wanted to have any relations with. Hercules is too male and too anti-woman for my comfort. However, I decided to accept his offer, after finding out more about Him. I realized that Hercules understood my son, since this God/Hero is given to bouts of depression and insanity. To become whole again, He labored at difficult tasks to restore his sanity.

Roman mythology about Hercules differs from the Greek Heracules. For Romans, He is the Protector of Rome and One of the Original Founders, Patron of Quarrymen, and Friend of the Muses. What I learned from Hercules is how to be a mother to a man. (I now have a home cultus for the God/Hero.)

In polytheism, when one God says no, it can have many meanings. The God could be warning the person of spiritual impurity. The God desires not to be involved with a human. The God simply does not want to answer that particular request. Therefore, it is appropriate to ask another God. Bear in mind that no God is a cosmic bellhop. Each human enters into a contract with each God to do rituals correctly, make sacrifices, and heed divinations. Mine with Hercules is to make particular offerings in series of twelve on twelve consecutive days on his various holidays.

Periodic Cicada: The Nexus of Time

cicada1Right now, my area is experiencing a cicada emergence. I have found these insects to be magical in their own way. Even their singing has an otherworldliness to it.

In the eastern half of North America, Periodical Cicadas from Brood X invade the countryside every 13 and 17 years. Crawling up from the ground, They emerge at once, in May and June, leaving behind their exoskeletons. For a brief month, Male Periodical Cicadas fill the air with a deafening sound, advertising for a mate. These large Insects spend their brief adult lives with only one thing on their minds – mating. When a Female Periodical Cicada is ready, She will “click” to the Males, “Here I Am!” After mating, She lays her eggs in trees. When They hatch, the Offspring will move underground for another 13 to 17 years.

Living longer than any other Insects, Periodical Cicadas emerge as a single Brood. Each Brood is spaced 13 or 17 years between emergences. This long period prevents Predators from timing their activities to eat the Cicadas. The prime numbers of 13 and 17 insure that nothing can adapt to the Brood Cycle.

Called Periodical Cicadas (Magicicada)), these Insects differ from their cousins Locusts. Unlike Locusts, Periodical Cicadas do not jump. They seem like Locusts because of their larger broods that overwhelm predators by their sheer numbers. After spending many years developing underground, They come up for only two months. Then, the Adults mate and die. Then years go by before another mass emergence.

Besides Periodical Cicadas’ size and numbers, what also makes Them outstanding is their song. Male Periodical Cicadas makes the loudest sound in the Insect World. By vibrating the ribbed plate in a pair of amplifying cavities at the base of his abdomen, Male Periodical Cicada can make his sound heard for long distances. A whole chorus of these whirring sounds resembles a deafening roar of hundreds of kazoos played at once.

Many people have heard Periodical Cicadas, and have not realized it. The sound tracks of many science fiction movies that feature UFOs use the Cicadas’ droning to signal the sound of the alien space ships. Think space aliens, and you associate Periodical Cicadas with them.

The lesson of Periodical Cicadas is living at the nexus of time. For Periodical Cicadas, time merges into one Brood. When They emerge in the present, Periodical Cicadas encourage people to remember the past. Also, They prompt people to think about what the future will bring. In the present, their numbers simply overwhelm people. Periodical Cicadas bend time into a prism of past, present, and future in one moment.

The Dead: Heidi, the Cross-eyed Opossum


Heidi: Photo from the AP

For me, the Dead include animals, trees, and other Nature Spirits as well as people. One of the Dead who I honor in the Fall is Heidi, the Cross-eyed Opossum. Because of her crossed-eyes, Heidi became the rage in Germany and later on the Internet in 2011. She was the star attraction at Gondwanaland, the tropical exhibit at the Leipzig Zoo in Germany.

People feel in love with cute Heidi, and wrote songs about Her. Stefan Langner composed “Opossum Heidi Schielt,” (Opossum Heidi Peers) in which one of the lines is “Heidi is so sweet. How nice she exists.” A verse from Bryant Oden’s song is “She’s just herself and that’s more than enough. She’s an awesome opossum everybody can love.”

At the same time that the world was entranced by Heidi, James Nesbit of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) received a vision to “set loose the blood-covered love of Christ” for to lay siege on Washington D.C. This would erase the Goddess Columbia of the Capitol and rename D.C., the District of Christ. Marshalling the prayer warriors of NAR, Nesbit decided to have the siege begin on Rosh Hashanah and end on November 11, 2011 (11.11.11).

When Pagans heard what NAR was doing, they began a counter offensive in the summer. Then Nesbit issued malefic magic to erase the divine feminine in any form with the “arrow of the blood covered truth of Jesus.” He included Pagans and as well as all Goddesses in his intent. On November 11, 2011, the Pagans and Nesbit both held their rallies in Washington D.C. At the end of the day, Columbia remained the Goddess of the Capitol.

Meanwhile in September 2011, Heidi became so sick that the zoo had to put her down. During the summer, her arthritis had become too painful for her to continue living. After her death, Heidi came to me to tell me that She used her power to stop the malefic magic of NAR. Holding it in her body killed Her, but it set Her free to stop it completely.

Two things made this more than a personal quirk of mine. First, “Heidi” was a common name for Norse seidrwomen. Then the Piety Posse (people who focus on piety in their Polytheism) adopted the Virginia Opossum as their mascot in 2013. This cemented for me, that Heidi had become one of the Mighty Dead.

Heidi, the Cross-eyed Opossum, is a special being. Alive, She brought joy and love to people of the world. Heidi taught them that just as they were, they were awesome. As one of the Mighty Dead, she counters the malefic magic of NAR and other Dominionist groups. Her devotion to the Goddesses prompted Her to hold these groups in check. Heidi encourages people to embrace piety in their polytheistic practices. She is an Awesome Opossum.


Drawing of Heidi T-shirt from Nuwaka (copyrighted)

 Sweet Heidi

Awesome Opossum

With Your Crossed-eyes

You bring love

You bring joy.


Sweet Heidi

Awesome Opossum

With Your Crossed-eyes

You protect us

You love us.


Hail Sweet Heidi

One of the Mighty Dead

May we never forget your love

May we never forget your piety

Nuwaka: Heidi T-shirts, and other wearable art : Purchase at the site.



Hekate, Anubis, My Brain Injury, and Time


Kris Waldherr

My perception of the Gods is that They exist in the Eternal Now. It is the nexus of all time – past, present, and future. It is also the state of “everything is everywhere and always” and “every point of space touches every point of time.” (1) We as humans create in our consciousness, the past, present and future. When the Gods reach out to people, it is not necessarily according to our perception of time. My experience of Anubis and Hekate, two Gods of the Dead, happened that way.

I met Hekate and Anubis together, three months before my life-changing accident. I regard being crushed nearly to death by a faultily constructed wall to be a random event. I do not subscribe to the belief that everything happens for a reason. I see the Universe to be random. I believe that the Gods, Spirits, and everyone else works out each occurrence for Themselves. In my case, Hekate and Anubis decided to use my accident for Their purposes.

At a Pagan gathering many years ago, I attended a Norse seidr to ask about my deceased father. As with all religious activities, I prepared by washing and dressing in my formal Roman stola and palla. Arriving at the seidr, I took the remaining chair between two groups of people. After the seidr began, I felt myself going away. The last thing that I heard was someone faintly asking about Anubis.

Coming to four hours later, I felt as if I had been run over by a fleet of dump trucks and dragged for miles. Disoriented, I asked the seidrwoman for help. She told me what had happened. First, she had a prior vision of Hekate attending the seidr. When I came in, I was Hekate come to life. During the seidr, Hekate used my body to talk to the people attending about their Dead.

Later together with the seidrwoman and the woman who had asked about Anubis, we had a private seidr. While answering the other woman’s question, the seidrwoman suddenly transformed into Anubis. After taking command of her body, He commandeered a golf cart. After ordering us in, Anubis took us on a wild ride through the camp. Riding in a golf with a God driving it will unsettle anyone. That is how I met Anubis, the Egyptian God of the Dead.

My experiences that weekend were too weird, even for me. They were things to file away under “interesting stories.” Then my freak accident happened, and almost killed me. At that time, Hekate and Anubis reintroduced Themselves to me.

During my coma and later my brain “fugues,” Hekate and Anubis roamed with me throughout the Lands of the Dead. Not alive, but not dead either, I floated between the worlds like a specter. Wandering about, I met Stellar’s Sea Cow, an extinct mammal, who guided me back to life. Along with Her, was Dire Wolf, a prehistorical mammal, who showed me his worlds of wonder, and Diplocaulus, the boomerang-headed amphibian of the early Permian, who taught me play again. With their help, I came back to the Land of the Living. Still hovering at the threshold, I was hesitant to return. Anubis whispered to me that He was the Key, The Opener of the Way (2). Before I could react to that, I was propelled through the threshold.

My work for these two Gods is now to help the newly Dead to find the map to their Land of the Dead. (Maps are needed for the Dead to follow or They get lost, wandering hopelessly about.) When I go into a fugue state, I meet the Dead then.  Also, I formed a cultus to honor extinct and prehistoric animals. (3)

As I have said, I do not believe that either Hekate or Anubis caused my accident. I do believe that They used my brain injury for Their Purposes. They had reached out of the Eternal Now introduce Themselves before I could understand what They wanted.


1. This theory was first described by J.M.E. McTaggart in The Unreality of Time. 1908.

2. This came from The Anubis Oracle by Nicki Scully and Linda Star Wolf.

3. I wrote about that in Witches & Pagans #32: Polytheism, July 2016: “That Which is Remembered, Lives: Establishing a Cultus for Extinct Animals.”

The picture of Anubis is from The Anubis Oracle, which can be purchased at Inner Traditions.

The Mundus and Me

umbilicusurbiOn the day that I had a wall fall on me was the same day as the Opening of the Mundus. On that day, I entered the World of the Dead. In my coma, I wandered as a shadow, not dead, but not alive. Unsure where to go, I hovered at the Opening.

Hekate and Anubis, Both of Whom I met in a dramatic way, guided me back to the Land of the Living. However, I came back with a traumatic brain injury that forced me to become a semi-hermit. During my period of re-entry to humanity, both Gods aided me. I never regained my sense of time and live in the Now. This suited Them, since I could now help guide the Wandering Dead to the Underworld. (These Dead live in the timeless Now.)

Since that time, I have felt the Dead around me, especially during the Days of the Opening of the Mundus. On these days, I retreat to my room, light candles and burn incense. I pray at my altar to the Dead that the Lost Ones be lead Home.


Anubis introduced Himself to me through a seidr worker, and Hekate possessed me during the same seidr session. (A blog entry for another time.)

Picture of the Mundus by Lylum at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.)

The Mundus, Well to the Underworld