Choosing a Domestic Deity

teraph By Mrs. B.

Every domestic witch will eventually look into the subject of a household deity. Traditionally, there are two types of domestic deities: a major god or goddess or the minor or local entities called animistic deities. You’ve probably heard of at least a few of the goddesses used as deities in the household: Hestia, Frigg or Brigid are some of the most popular used today. But have you heard of the tomte, domovoi or cofgodas? These are but a few of the animistic deities that have been worshipped in the past.

Domestic deities are thought to look out for the members of the household, the home itself and/or the land around the home and any animals or livestock that live on it. In ancient days, a household would represent it’s deity with a small idol: a statue, a painting or even an amulet. Wealthy households held shrines for their deity. The deity was held in the highest esteem and they were treated as part of the family. Often they were invited to eat with the family, with plates of food left out for them in offering.

The worship of household deities was something that an early Christian church fought against (and continued to fight for centuries). Eventually the ancient household deities were, for the most part, relegated to mythology, folk tales and fairy tales. In the last few decades, some have made comebacks in role-playing games, modern literature, movies and video games.

Along with (or instead of) a general household deity, a domestic witch may choose to select a deity for different deity for each room and/or activity in the house: the master bedroom might be watched over by the Greek god Eros, the playful god of sex and amorous desire; the children’s rooms looked after by Kwan Yin, who mother’s invoke for the well-being of their children; the laundry room might be governed by Saule (sew-lay), the Baltic goddess who oversees all spheres of domestic work, including laundering.

Choosing a household deity can be tricky. Before choosing and inviting a deity into your home, a bit of research in need. While a brownie might seem like a nice animistic deity to have in your home, anger one and it will go “boggart”, a being that you certainly don’t want hanging around your home! Different deities require different invitations, different care, and different offerings to keep them happy.

Stay tuned to The Modern Pagan for upcoming articles about various domestic deities and their correspondences.

11 comments for “Choosing a Domestic Deity

  1. September 9, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Great post Mrs. B!
    .-= Tori´s last blog ..What I Miss Most =-.

  2. September 10, 2009 at 12:25 am

    When it comes to the God/dess in the home, most people think only of Hestia and stop there.

    But we found that Bastet has always watched over our cats. I would certainly consider Bastet one of our “Domestic Deities” (and am thankful for Her protection).

    I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts/articles on domestic deities!
    .-= Wendy Hawksley´s last blog ..The Rhythm is Gonna Get Ya! =-.

  3. September 10, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Very neat little article, Mrs. B! If I may be allowed a shameless plug, I’ve got a booklet downloadable on my own blog on Household Rites. It gives some information on the tomte/nisse, including a sample ritual of invitation and another for making offerings.

    And you’re entirely right about making sure not to slight the household god. It can be hard to get back on their good side, once that happens!
    .-= Joseph´s last blog ..The Irony, It Burns! =-.

  4. September 10, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Fantastic idea for a post, Mrs. B! I must admit to having a small altar to Hestia in my kitchen (yes, cliche, but I really do identify with her), but the Goddess of my desk is Benzai-Ten, Japanese Goddess of everything that flows. Whenever I get writer’s block, I concentrate on her picture and opening my mind to the flow of words that are in there, somewhere!
    .-= Sabrina´s last blog ..Domnu =-.

  5. September 10, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    A great article, and right up my alley :)
    .-= ZedralZ´s last blog ..A warming autumn meal =-.

  6. September 11, 2009 at 6:36 am

    After all is said and done, Hestia is my kitchen deity. I just feel a connection with her. But I do have others for different things around the house.

    Joseph, I looked at the booklet! What a great source of information! I don’t know how I missed it before!

    And thanks to you all for the kind words on the article <I :O)
    .-= Mrs. B.´s last blog ..While I’m laid up…. =-.

  7. Eva
    October 26, 2009 at 9:49 am

    <3 your post! :)

  8. Birgit
    October 26, 2009 at 11:35 am

    That’s very interesting. Now I am pondering which deity to choose for my household. :)

  9. October 26, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I am just now getting comfortable in my home after a big move a couple of years ago. It is interesting how things work — my thoughts have been turning to household deities of late. I am still looking for the right fit for my new home, but I think I am going to start getting some signs that will point me in the right direction!
    .-= moonwulf´s last blog ..So, What IS Cura’s Recipe?? =-.

  10. October 26, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    I loved this article. I’ve never taken this into consideration, but now I will eagerly research it!
    .-= autumnforest´s last blog ..I WON! YAHOO! =-.

  11. JoAnn
    November 4, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Mrs. B.,
    I love your web site and this article. I have been thinking about inviting a goddess to be my kitchen deity, but haven’t decided on which one. Never considered having a god or goddess for each room or even the whole property, but it does make sense.
    Thanks for giving me food for thought and a place to come to for suggestions.

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