From both Catholicism and the Neopagan scene, I've been surrounded by the idea of personal gods, and even entertained the notion for a while out of curiosity. Yet for most of that time, that idea never made sense to me, nor was it really experienced (I don't consider Grandmother Spider to be a deity like how Athena or Yahweh would typically be portrayed as, she's more like a land spirit). Delving into reconstructionist materials, I'm confronted once more with the idea of gods and worship.
Interestingly enough though, it was Hellenistic influence that allowed Snorri Sturluson to create the Nordic pantheon, with Odin at the top of the hierarchy, rather than what the people actually believed, pre-conversion. The gods were much closer to home than that, literally being in the mountains, forests, and storms rather than some far-off world. Which makes more sense, especially with regards to different "pantheons" appearing in different tribes of various locations, despite all of them being considered Germanic (Loki and Skadi aren't found on the continent, for example, being restricted mainly to Scandinavia, and Wodan vs Odin seem to have different characteristics from being found in different locations, despite often being considered the same guy).
Then, for my own situation, there's also the lists of Hungarian and Slavic deities to look into, plus spirits unique to the Alpine region. So not only are there no neatly traced and categorized pantheons, there's many different tribal recognitions to look into as well. All with the influence of Catholicism too.
So here are all these deities that my pre-Christian ancestors supposedly worshiped, with plenty of overlapping characteristics and attributed roles. Both Donar and Perkunos are said to be thunder gods from different regions, and Perkunos's wife, Dodola, has similarities with Thor's mother of Icelandic lore. So what's going on here....are they the same? Two different workers of the same role in different areas? Is Perkunos, the thunder god, the father of the one who hammers out lightening? ( And the Great One's answer is....*drumroll*Collapse )
So, long post short, the idea of deities is something I'm more comfortable with now, and willing to let into my life, but still won't be a huge aspect. They're going to be a part of the ancestor worship, and some seasonal celebrations, rather than their own "thing". The local spirits are the most important ones to me, and both Grandmother Spider/spiders and Grim have the greatest priority.