A thing that puzzles many people when they first come into Wicca is the fact that we use gods and goddesses to delineate things such as emotions. Of course many people are used to this practice because they regularly look up their horoscopes in the newspaper.
Let’s imagine for a moment that you want to do a ritual to defend your home. You’d like to have the procedure center around some protective elements. So could you say “Great wonderful protective elemental, defend my home”? Or would it be much easier to say, “Mars, defend me”?
The god name is just a way of summarizing the attributes you want to use.
What we do when we use god/ess names is to personify ceertain aspects. You want lustful love, so you use Scorpio. You want admiring love you might use Venus to personify such love. All we’re doing when we use god/ess names is using their attributes. We use the name. Instead of using some vague phrase such as “I’d like a good business-like relationship,” we say, “Capricorn, help me.”
We are so accustomed to thinking in terms of old Roman deities that it sometimes surprises people when we switch over to deities that are appropriate for our cultural background. We might use Epona if we wanted horse-like attributes; but if we’re Celtic, it might be more appropriate to use Rhiannon. Whatever name contains the image you wish to portray is the name you should use. Using an unusual name, for instance Ameratsu, as the Great Goddess is meaningless if you are not a Japanese who grew up in Japanese culture. Hindu worshippers make their god/ess images unusual: give them multiple heads or arms so that you will not confuse them with human beings and will recognize that they have more power than mere humans do.
The problem with using all protective names of great gods such as Odin or Jesus is that they do not represent a specific attribute but instead are purported to contain all attributes. If you believe that even though they contain all attributes they have more power in each attribute than the appropriate single deity, then by all means go ahead and use them. Personally, if I want to do a lustful sex spell, I’ll use Scorpio rather than an aspect of Jesus. Different strokes for different folks, as the sculling crew says.
In order to help people who are beginning their study of astrology, instead of using the Roman names we use family members. Everyone can understand sexy young Gwendolyn or funny Uncle Albert. So if you have trouble, use names or descriptions that are meaningful to you and don’t worry about it.
We think the Wiccan way makes sense and is easy to understand.
Blessed be Gavin and Yvonne