Nightcat is a practicing witch who loves to write about Wicca and many of the Gods and Goddesses she’s had the pleasure to encounter.
Love, And Gods, And Marriage, Oh My!
I never wanted to write this article. Long time readers are aware I have complex, long-running relationships with my Gods. And I'd never even heard the term Godspousing until recently. And when I did I thought: "Oh, that's what I've been doing in private for years. It's a public thing now?" And then I read all the backlash and watched some downright hateful videos and questioned my sanity.
Yes, I'm married to several Gods, you all know that. And to me, it isn't that big a deal. It's a marriage, just like between two mortals. We fit in time together when we can. I am not off in some delusional cloud as some detractors put it. I have a job, have to pay bills and maintain my home. I have as yet to see Baron or Loki cook or go out and find employment.
They help, but in Their own ways. And how to know if a marriage is real? (I honestly dislike the term godspouse, but that is just me.) Because the relationship continues after the excitement, it continues until you settle into the hum of a normal married life, or for many of us, it was there before the Interwebs and now we have a nice fancy term for it.
If you don't believe in marrying Gods, if it isn't for you, I respect that, but you have plenty of hateful articles and videos to chime in on. No disrespect of such a sacred union will be tolerated here. If you are married, and I don't care if it is to a Divinity or other being, welcome!
We'll go over Godspousing, but first as someone who practices Vodoun I want to get some things out of the way.
Love Comes In Many Forms
Marriage To The Lwa
I've seen well-meaning people on both sides of the debate pounce on maraj lwa to either support or detract from godspousing, but it is actually it's own unique experience as anyone who practices Vodoun or studied it will tell you. Firstly, not all houses believe in it, just like not all pagans believe in marrying Gods. Some view the lwa as our ancestors. Others will marry you, but only to opposite sex lwa or certain groups are forbidden as marriage partners.
And it goes something like this, though this is simplified. The lwa appears either in dreams, visions or in possession and proposes. And if you are in the religion you know this spirit and maybe have a relationship with them. The proposed to can either agree or disagree, and stories vary as to what the lwa will do if spurned. You don't have to marry them, but a full court press to make you marry them isn't unheard of. There is really no free will in Vodoun, sorry kids.
But first you must find a hougan or mambo who if they are any good, one, will make sure so and so wants to marry you, and two, will carefully guide you through the process if you agree. You will need everything you need for a normal wedding and then some. Rings, wedding clothes, a place to host the wedding, food and all sorts of ritual items. Gifts will be brought and it will be a happy event. It is also a very expensive event and leads to a serious lifetime commitment so it is not to be approached lightly. As a wise writer once wrote, there is no lwa divorce.
Many also say a contract between the betrothed is a good idea. Think of it as a spiritual prenup. If you are going to marry this spirit, you agree to certain things such as keeping their holy day sacred by abstaining from sex with other partners (you are married, duh) and they agree to provide and care for you. And yes some marriages are sexual, some are not.
The point is, this is a real, binding wedding. You were married in the eyes of all gathered and even if you marry a lwa outside the house, by saying that yes, you will love and live with them, there's still the same structure more or less. But these marriages are viewed as real. The lwa aren't pretend beings and if you belong to a good house you will be reminded of your marriage vows.
In the best marriages you will be cared for and there will be genuine love between you and your spouse(s). Yes, multiple spouses are not unheard of and are thought to balance one another's energies. Your beloved will likely visit in dreams, possessions or signs in daily life and if you truly love one another it is a beautiful thing.
More About Maraj Lwa
- Maraj Lwa
Sosyete du Marche's library of articles, essays and photos relating to the study of Haitian Vodou.
Becoming A Nun
Becoming a nun is also different than Godspousing, in that you leave all worldly possessions behind in most orders, join a convent and live a life dedicated to your spouse, usually Christ though some nuns bond closer with the Holy Spirit or God the Father. There is no sex involved, though nuns are assured by marrying the God they so love they will be comforted.
Keep in mind these women have been called, either in a dream or vision and any good convent will make novices go through a time where they are not full members. Some even have weekend retreats for women as the call is life-changing. Now, there is no test here. It is based on faith and the general attitude of the novice and relationship with God is what helps an order tell if she was truly called.
In the best of times it is a lifelong commitment and those truly called are mostly happy. Many nuns will talk about their marriage to God as having begun with a whirlwind courtship in which He, normally as Jesus, appeared and called them to Him. He so won their hearts they followed Him and thus entered the convent. Keep in mind He is competing with a life of marriage and children here. Which is why many are called and few will answer.
And it is not a simple choice as many within the faith will tell women they are "throwing themselves away" or "running away to the convent". The choice between God and having a family can seem unfair to outsiders, but for those truly called there is no choice.
A more modern adaptation, and I've no blessed idea what nuns think of it, is lay spouses. (Seriously, Loki, shut up.) There is still the aspect of being caught up in Divine love, but the mortal spouse chooses to remain in the world and perhaps still marry. But it is understood the Earthly marriage doesn't negate the spiritual one so it takes a special partner to accommodate them.
Godspousing is as varied as the Gods and Goddesses and those they marry, which leads to many debating whether they are real or just something the human spouse made up in their head. Like becoming a nun there's no way to 'prove' they are real but there is no way to disprove them either.
The term seems nebulous at best, but I'd say it is a strong bond between the human spouse and the God spouse that is seen as a lifetime commitment, but it is actually the closest to regular Earthly marriage in a lot of ways.
As there are no easily accessible houses or temples to go to, the giddy couple can either get married on the fly or have a small ritual, there really are no rules. There's no piece of paper or one governing body that can approve or deny marriages and as of yet pagan Gods aren't mounting horses (shut up, Loki) on a regular basis. Loki, of course, does, and apparently feels free to crash Vodoun gatherings but I've never seen it myself.
Which brings us to most people's problems. Other than them feelings that personally, they would never marry a God and wanting to apply those feelings to others, they point out the plethora of brides, lovers, and others Loki gained after the Marvel films. That, they feel, proves that godspousing is little more than a mental disorder.
Have they ever worked with Loki? I love Him, He is my patron, but you set that fox in a henhouse and the feathers will fly. Him going around bedding and marrying all He desires, the God Bless Him, sounds exactly like Him. Because He's very fertile and virile and that is His thing. So are rocks, trees, horses, and anything else that strikes His fancy.
Whether or not all the marriages were real I can't tell you. I do know Loki likes to be around for the long haul, and if He used the films to enter people's hearts, that is up to Him. If you feel married to Him and you are getting signs that yes, He is there, I'd say yes, it is a real marriage.
The same applies for any other Divinity or other. I'm a witch. I've met people married or lovers to all sorts of beings and they were truly, madly, deeply in love, and to me that's a beautiful thing and I think that's proof of the marriage right there. They are better than they were before. Their beloved helps out in many ways and they, in turn support and adore their beloved.
And they have a global mythos to draw from, though that is naughty theology. Gods marry people in many different religions and many different ways. More than likely our pagan Gods and Goddesses have always taken lovers and spouses. And the lovers and spouses have likely always been scorned.
I can just see a heathen from centuries ago, dreaming of Loki after a round of tales were spun at the hearthside. S/he awakens and tells the others of a whirlwind romance and proposal of marriage. Some scoff, some laugh and say Loki made a fool of the dreamer. But someone believes. Perhaps an old crone, having had experiences herself with the Gods helps.
That we have tales in almost every religion should tell us something. For many people (myself included) the Divinities are capable of falling in love. Of becoming lovers and providers to those they choose. And it is a relationship as real and demanding as any other.
Fair Article on Godspousery
- Godspousery: Mysticism and the Hieros Gamos
One of the more interesting phenomena I've encountered in Paganism is something known as godspousery. For those unfamiliar, these are people who have intimate, often sexual, relationships with deities. It's a matter that presents a certain amount of
Love Is Love
What Is It Like?
It is different for everyone, you'd have to ask every godspouse. But it is, in general, like any other marriage. You get up in the morning and either your beloved is by your side in a way you can sense, or off doing something. You get up, perhaps take some time at Their altar, and get on with the day.
During the day you touch base. You can't call or text, obviously, but you can talk or pray to them. Maybe you wear a ring or another item to symbolize your bond, maybe you don't. And like any other married person you face the same challenges. There are bills to pay, a home to keep up and such. And you fit time in together during your evening then off to bed.
Like any earthly marriage it is what you make of it. And no, people who marry a God aren't wrong in the head or crazy. They aren't avoiding mortal spouses, fat and hideously ugly as one detractor called us, or terribly lonely. We may simply not want one and agreed to marry the God/des for reasons of our own. Much to my surprise, I fell in love, and long before Godspousing or Marvel films were a thing.
Why do it? The best reason is because you fell in love. And I mean fell in love. Hopefully with the God as they truly are, not a carefully crafted figure in a movie or book, but only because sooner or later you will see their true face and you want lasting love, right?
The thing to remember, Godspousing is just a word. Marriage is just a word. You can have an intensely close bond to a God without saying words like godspouse. Here's one view, and it is the beloved Odin discussed:
Odin and Marriage To Him
What It Isn't
I've noticed during research that a lot of the same people who view marriage to a God as filthy and the people involved deluded, will then stick out their greedy little hands and demand the godspoused serve the community, meaning them, personally. Through sacred union, which they find repulsive, but they deserve a piece of the action. (Shut up, Loki.)
No, you don't. Would you go up to two mortal spouses and demand the same thing? Seriously? Would you knock on your neighbors' door and demand this sort of thing for the good of the community, meaning mostly yourself to be honest? Godspouses are not the slaves or servants of any place they dwell any more than the Gods are.
And to demand they preform on demand for you or anyone else is selfish in the extreme. A marriage is a bond between two beings, that's it. Now, if a couple decides to help the community, that's entirely different. Many godspoused mortals end up doing in the physical what the God cannot, helping with charity work, feeding the poor, doing good works, often in the name of their Divinity if among pagans.
It also isn't a sign you are crazy. Even if you married a Divinity not known for marriage, it isn't. Nor is it a sign that others may now get jealous and taunt you about it. These people are childish in the extreme and just because they haven't been courted doesn't mean you haven't. And you know what, yeah, you are special so far as your marriage bonds go but that is between you and your spouse.
We wouldn't just randomly attack mortal couples or accuses mortal spouses of feeling special or entitled, yet those married or lovers or even just friend of the Gods are fair game and that's not fair and it isn't right.
Look, godspousing isn't for everyone. Sometimes the God/dess in question wants nothing to do with the person chasing them. Sometimes the person being chased wants nothing to do with the Divinity. It is exactly like any other courtship followed by companionship. They don't all work out, but many do.
In the end if you are against godspousing, don't marry a God. It's that simple. Just don't think you have the right to force your views on those who are happily married.
Marriage Is Marriage
It's Been A While
I think what it comes down to is some pagans feel that if we aren't exactly like the Big Religions (Christianity, Judaism, etc.) they will never accept us. Well, we aren't like them. We are pagans. Instead of whitewashing our religion and neutering our formerly virile Gods and turning Goddesses of fertility into nuns we ought to be presenting Divine fertility as the good and pure thing that it is. Not as something we are ashamed of.
We should be truthful and say that while all pagans don't hold these views, many do and our views are just as valid. We should talk about the life enriching positives of our views, and yes, that includes godspousing and the possible problems those involved might encounter.
I, personally, don't feel deprived, I feel blessed. My lifestyle would leave a mortal partner lonely and unloved. I have to be married to my writing which can stretch through the day and long into the night what with research, photography and writing to do.
Having Divine spouses who accept the nature of my work, that it isn't a nine to five job and it can come in on and off again periods as the spirits move me helps. They don't nag if I'm not constantly writing, but They do a good job of making sure I take time off. And if I go off to be alone as I often do, They understand. They might not always be happy with it, They might even try to take that time for Themselves, but that's a good thing.
They didn't see me, decide being married to a writer is terribly romantic and chase me that I'm aware of. I didn't see Them and decide being married to a God is terribly romantic. I fought Baron for over two years and with Loki it was even more complicated. But I love them. I love Them as much as I'd love any mortal spouse. And They are quite real to me.
I still serve Them, They are still my Gods, I don't get a free ride, if anything marriage makes Them feel entitled to more from me, not less. As a wise man once said, you fall in dog dirt, not in love. Love is work, you have to work at any marriage, Divine or mortal, but the rewards are worth the trails and tears.
Those who oppose such marriages always will. There will also be people who oppose any type of marriage, people who oppose same sex marriage and so on. My advice would be for those individuals to live the life that makes them happy, but please don't try and enforce it on others.
My marriage is no threat to you. It isn't my way of forcing my views on you as frankly it is none of your business so far as I'm concerned but I've been getting nudges to be open. My marriage is not a personal rejection of you or any other mortal. I wouldn't have a mortal spouse if I was married to Gods or not. I'm not built that way.
Sure it would be nice if my spouses were of flesh and blood, but they aren't and in the end what anyone else believes can't be allowed to affect my brief time on this planet with them.
More on Godspousing
- Adventures in God Spousing
- Spousery and the Lore | Loki's Bruid
A fellow Lokispouse recently pointed out a precedent for spousery in the Lore - it's interesting to me, because even though I am not overly concerned about whether or not the phenomena is a new one or an old one, I know that some in our faith do care
- Your path is your own. Walk It. | Strip Me Back To The Bone
One thing that I see come up again and again, especially with those who are more inclined toward the 'woo' side of things, is this idea that everyone ought to be doing everything the same way. That, if one is going to claim the title spirit worker an
- B is for Bride: Pagan Blog Project | Wytch of the North
And no, I'm not referring to an alternate name for the goddess Brigid, here, but to something entirely different. For those who may be finding this blog for the first time (perhaps by way of the Pagan Blog Project website), or who have been reading m
- Spirit Spouses: Something Old is New Again | The Twisted Rope
I've noticed over the past year or so that god-spousing is becoming a more prominent thing in our community. For those who have never heard of this concept, the idea behind it is that a human person gets married (or some other similar ceremony) to a
- Loki's Hound, That, WhichWe (chose to) Give Away Continuation...
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