A patron deity is a divine being that a person chooses to worship and seek guidance from. Alternatively, some believe they are chosen by the god or goddess they worship as their patron deity. Those on a goddess path sometimes refer to their chosen deity as their matron deity.
In today’s post, we will look at the following topics to help you choose your patron deity:
A patron usually has a special connection or affinity towards specific aspects of life, such as love, war, wisdom, beauty, abundance, chaos or fertility. Although some patron deities, like Odin and Brigid, cover a multitude of aspects.
People dedicate their prayers, devotion, rituals, and offerings (including acts of service) to their patron deity, seeking protection, blessings, and assistance in various endeavours. This spiritual bond with a patron deity is deeply personal. For this reason, some choose to not divulge who their patron deity is other than to other initiates or devotees.
With some deities, the relationship is very transactional. It depends on how demanding the deity in question is. Even so, in most instances, deity worship provides devotees with a sense of connection, guidance, and support in their spiritual journey.
Why Not Go Straight to Source?
One objection to deity work that I am familiar with because I used to feel this way myself is, ‘Why turn to a deity when you can go straight to Source?’
Working with a deity can offer several advantages over going straight to the One, depending on one’s spiritual beliefs and practices. Here are three advantages to consider:
1. Personal Connection and Guidance
One advantage of working with a deity is the opportunity to establish a personal connection and receive guidance tailored to your specific needs and experiences. Deities are often associated with specific aspects of life, such as love, wisdom, creativity, or healing. By developing a relationship with a deity that resonates with your personality type and particular interests or challenges, you can tap into their wisdom and receive guidance and support in navigating those areas.
People within a monotheistic context may choose to turn to certain saints or angels for those same reasons. Essentially, the saints and angels simply replaced the old gods when people were forced to convert.
2. Cultural and Historical Context
Deities often have rich cultural and historical contexts associated with them. Working with a deity can provide a deeper understanding and connection to the traditions, mythologies, rituals, and teachings that have evolved around that particular deity. Engaging with these cultural and historical aspects can enhance your spiritual practice and foster a sense of continuity with the past.
This is true whether you are a hard or soft polytheist. (More on this below)
3. Intermediary and Mediation
Some spiritual traditions see deities as intermediaries or mediators between humans and the One. By working with a deity, you may believe that they can bridge the gap between the human and divine realms, acting as a conduit for communication and connection. (Again, akin to the function saints and angels now fill in monotheistic religions.) This can provide a sense of comfort and assurance, knowing that there is a benevolent and accessible entity that can advocate on your behalf and convey your prayers, intentions, or offerings to the vast incomprehensibility of the Source.
It’s important to note that these advantages may vary depending on individual beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and spiritual practices. Ultimately, whether to work with a deity or go straight to the One is a personal choice that should align with one’s spiritual path and resonate with one’s understanding of reality and the divine.
Hard vs Soft Polytheism
This is a belief system in which individuals worship and acknowledge the existence of multiple distinct and independent deities. People who adhere to hard polytheism view these deities as separate and individual entities, each with their unique characteristics, powers, and personalities. They believe in the literal existence of these deities and often engage in specific rituals and practices dedicated to each one, seeking their guidance, blessings, and protection. Hard polytheism places a strong emphasis on the individual deities as separate beings and recognises their autonomy and distinct influence in the world.
A hard polytheist may be more inclined to view the choice of patronage as lying more with the patron than with the supplicant. Hence, they would expect a calling from a certain deity that wishes to be served and worshipped by them.
While some hard polytheists work with more than one pantheon, many tend to stick to just one pantheon and one cultural context, closely following source texts on how to relate to individual deities within that context.
While soft polytheists also acknowledge the existence of multiple deities, they view them as different aspects or facets of a singular divine essence or of the Divine Feminine/Masculine. Rather than considering each deity as a distinct and independent entity, soft polytheists see them as manifestations or aspects of broader, cross-cultural divine energy.
Often there are Jungian and/or animistic overtones to this view of the gods and goddesses. A psychological perspective allows for a more fluid and interconnected view of the deities. It emphasises the Oneness aspect of religious worship while still honouring the different personalities of individual deities.
Soft polytheists may be more open to interpreting or invoking different deities based on their specific needs or intentions. These deities can be from more than one pantheon.
While some may argue that soft polytheism isn’t polytheism at all since the individual deities are seen as aspects of overarching archetypes, I’m inclined to disagree. On some level, whether we like it or not, we are all one big family and come from the same Source. It’s a mystery and our limited understanding of that mystery means that we are better off honouring the mystery than judging the way another person approaches it by trying to make them wrong.
5 Steps to Choosing a Patron Deity
Choosing a patron deity is a deeply personal journey and will look different for each individual. If you feel called to establish a special connection with a specific divine being, here are five steps that can help guide you in choosing your patron deity:
1. Self-reflection and Research
Take the time to reflect on your spiritual beliefs, values, and areas of interest. Consider the aspects of life that hold significance for you, such as love, wisdom, healing, or creativity. Research different pantheons and mythologies to learn about the deities associated with these aspects. Explore their stories, symbolism, and domains to see which resonate with you on a deep level.
Remember, devotion to a deity has to make sense emotionally as well as intellectually. It doesn’t matter if a god or goddess ticks all the boxes mentally if you don’t feel a deep love for them.
2. Meditation and Prayer
Engage in meditation and prayer to connect with the spiritual realm and seek guidance. During these practices, set the intention to invite the presence of a patron deity into your life. Be open to receiving messages, signs, or feelings that may indicate a particular deity is reaching out to you. Trust your intuition and pay attention to any synchronicities or strong emotional responses that arise.
Don’t hesitate to ask for a specific sign. Earlier this year, I asked for a specific sign that I was called to walk the path of a Rose Priestess. The very next day, I found a silk rose that had been carried into my garden by the wind from the graveyard next door. To be honest, I am still gobsmacked by how clear the sign was. This has never happened before or since and I have lived here since 2014.
3. Rituals and Offerings
Once you have a sense of which deity you resonate with, you can start building a relationship through rituals and offerings. Create an altar to your patron deity where you can perform rituals and offer prayers. This can include lighting candles, burning incense, or offering food, flowers, or symbolic items associated with the deity. These acts of devotion demonstrate your commitment and willingness to connect with your chosen deity.
Observe any energy shift that occurs as you continue this practice. If there is none, the deity you are interested in is not answering your call. It is up to you to decide how long to persevere before you give up and move on to another deity.
3. Seek Divine Inspiration
Engage in activities that bring you closer to your chosen deity. This can include reading sacred texts or mythology associated with the deity, studying their teachings, or participating in rituals and gatherings dedicated to their worship. Allow yourself to be inspired by the wisdom, guidance, and experiences shared by others who worship with the same deity.
I love stories based on personal gnosis whenever I research a deity. This is because I believe that the way the gods connect with us today is probably different to how they connected with us a thousand years ago or more.
5. Trust Your Intuition
Ultimately, the choice of a patron deity is a personal one. Trust your intuition and follow your heart. Do not be swayed solely by what others may say or recommend. Your connection, love for and relationship with the deity are what matters most. Be patient and allow the bond to develop over time. Remember, the relationship with your patron deity is a two-way street. Nurture it with love, respect, and genuine devotion.
I hope you find these five steps helpful on your journey! If you enjoyed this post, you may also find Deity Work for Beginners useful.