The first step in getting to know the gods is doing some research. Decide on a culture which interests you and read what you can on the gods and goddesses of that culture and era. You will need to look for books of mythology for this information. Find a god and a goddess who know and like each other according to the myths that you have read. When you have found a god and goddess pair which works well together and that you feel drawn to it is time to meet them. See our links for websites on Mythology. Occasionally we see people who are drawn to a goddess from one culture and a god from another. This is fine, but do resist inviting them both into your circle at the same time. Mixing pantheons is not recommended. The gods are our teachers. We need to show them respect. We begin by respecting that they are unique and perfectly suited for teaching us about their country and their ways. If you want to explore the gods of many different countries that is great! But do so one god/goddess pair at a time.
Some people find getting to know the Earth and Moon goddesses and the Sun as a god the easiest way to begin. It is not unusual to find the prospect of meeting pagan gods and goddesses a little intimidating. While instincts lead people to study Wicca, most come to it after a lifetime of contact or study with other some other religion or religions, or perhaps no specific knowledge of religions at all. Moving from an acknowledge of only one god or no gods to an acknowledgement of many gods and goddesses can be quite a big step.
Pagans generally see their gods and goddesses as teachers and friends. We do not believe that the gods control our lives, but they are their to guide us if we decide to invite their influence into our lives. As long as we pay close attention they will provide us with a life time (or many life times) of learning and wisdom. There is no one god or goddess who is more important than the rest or who is higher or supreme. Pagan gods and goddesses tend to be specialists rather than general practitioners - so it makes sense that there can be room in a Wiccan's life for many gods and goddesses of different types.
Since Wiccans tend to be logical and at least somewhat scientifically minded the following explanations are frequently helpful:
Wiccans recognize the Earth as their Mother. She is seen as the Mother of all living things. This can be seen as both symbolic and literal. We know through science that life first began in the seas. The Sea (all of the seas collectively) is seen as the womb of the Earth Goddess or Earth Mother (known by different names in each culture). It is, quite literally, in Her womb that life first began. We can see Her as the perfect mother: one who will listen, give suggestions, and let us make our own mistakes. We can say the Earth Mother is comforting and healing (once we understand how to center and ground), and She is reliable (we can be fairly sure She will be here day after day for as long as we will be), and She has an infinite variety of things to teach us. We do not believe that She controls us. We are always free to take Her advice or leave it.
We know that once we get beyond the reproduction of single-celled creatures (with the exception of a few odd amphibians and fish) it takes two to tango. For the Earth Mother to continue to produce life beyond the single-celled creatures She needed a mate (frequently referred to as a consort). The consort of the Earth Mother is the Sun (known generically as the Sky Father, but having many different names throughout the world).
Getting back to the scientific angle, we know that the Sun warmth and energy creates the correct atmosphere for life to exist on Earth. It is the Sun's rays penetrating the seas and soil, warming the Earth that makes life possible. For those who are trying to get away from the image of a god who is judgmental, controlling and hypocritical the Sun god is a refreshing change. He does not judge or punish (unless you forget your sunscreen). He illuminates the world so that we may see clearly, and as with the Earth Mother, He is a good listener and teacher.
Getting to know the Earth and Sun as Goddess and God is fairly easy. All you need is a little bit of time and a patch of Earth large enough to lie down on. It is not unusual to find people (even adults) lying in the Sun in a public park during their lunch hour. While this exercise is best done with your entire body in contact with the Earth, but if you are finding it difficult to find a place where you feel comfortable doing this try to at least take your shoes off and get your feet in direct contact with the Earth or grass. Once you have made contact practice centering and grounding. Make yourself very aware of your contact with the Earth. Feel Her aliveness and consciousness and make a connection with it. Once you have connected with Her, then bring the warmth of the Sun into your awareness. Feel yourself sandwiched in between the Goddess and the God. Feel how they, together, support and warm you. You can just enjoy the feeling or proceed to introduce yourself and begin to get to know them.
For many Wiccans the Moon is the first goddess who catches their attention. (The Earth and the Sun are so much a part of our every day lives that we may overlook Them). We know (again scientifically) that the Moon has a great influence on the Earth. We see this in the Moon's pull on the Seas which create the tides. If you have never paid attention to how the Moon affects the high and low tides you might find it interesting to follow this through a couple of months. A tidal chart can usually be found in your daily newspaper and/or at shops which supply fishing supplies. We believe that the Moon affects people as well as the Seas in much the same way since our bodies contain such a high percentage of water. The words lunatic and lunacy come from the word Luna (Moon) and are a testimony to the sometimes bizarre effects the Moon's pull can have on people who feel the change, but do not recognize where it comes from nor do they understand how to use it. As Wiccans we have no excuse for bizzare behavior during a Full Moon. When we recognize its pull we take advantage of this time for more serious meditation, healing or other positive work.
In addition to the change we feel during a Full Moon there is the obvious change we can see. If you imagine a time before gas and electric lights you realize that the nights when the Moon is Full would be the only practical time for people to get together for night time celebrations and visiting. With this in mind Wiccans use the time of the Full Moon to focus on their interactions with other people and the world in general, whereas the during the Dark Moon (when no Moon is visible) is a time for reflecting inward, meditating and working on self-improvement.
Getting to know the Moon Goddess is a simple matter of sitting outside during the Full Moon. One or two days on either side of the calendar date of the Full Moon is acceptable, and you may want to meet with the Moon Goddess a couple of days in a row while She is Full to take advantage of the energy and use it as a time for recharging yourself. You will find various names for the Earth, the Sun and the Moon as you study the mythologies of the countries which interest you.
Whether you are getting to know the Earth, Sun and Moon better, or want to introduce yourself to other gods and goddesses whom you have been researching, the following procedure is helpful:
Create a safe space either by casting a circle or just finding a quiet place to be by yourself as you do when you meditate. Close your eyes. Center and ground and put yourself in your astral temple. The creation of an astral temple is explained in our page on Astral Projection. You may also find it helpful to read our page on Meditation.
When you are settled into your astral temple, you can either close your eyes, or leave them open if you choose. Talk to the god or goddess you wish to meet. This is no different from meeting a human whom you respect and are looking forward to meeting. Introduce yourself and tell the god and goddess a bit about yourself, for example: what you like about Wicca, what kind of research you did to find them; and why you are interested in getting to know them. Do not expect to see them clearly, or to hear them speak clearly to you. This may happen right away, at a later date, or never. Not everyone who communicates with the gods does so in a clearly audible or visual way. Many people will say they feel or just know the gods are with them. This is fairly normal.
Do not ask for any favors the first time you meet them. Keep reminding yourself this is just like developing a relationship with a person. Be respectful. Be a good listener, and be sure to thank them for the privilege of getting to talk to them. The more often you take time out to meet with the gods, the faster your progress in the craft will be.