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Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

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Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby Xiao Rong » Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:25 am

Sometimes I wonder if we have too narrow an idea of what a "patron deity" is. I think it's a shame that so many newcomers feel pressure that they should all have a patron deity right off the bat. Tell me if one or more of these sound familiar:

- You have One True Patron Deity, and they are with you for life.
- You don't choose your One True Patron Deity; they choose you.
- Your One True Patron Deity should have made their presence known to you, ideally since childhood. Things like your birthday and your astrological signs should all be clues to who they are. Your One True Patron Deity should reflect your very soul.
- Your One True Patron Deity should share all your likes and dislikes (favorite animals, colors, etc.)*. So, if you like cats, you must be connected to Bast!
- As soon as you know who your One True Patron Deity is, you should dedicate yourself to them. (some people take this a step further and say you're not allowed to work with anyone else).

These assumptions about your One True Patron Deity have led to confused questions that I have heard like:

- Am I doing something wrong or am I not special enough to be called? (I can definitely relate to this one!)
- Can I be a real witch if I haven't found my One True Patron Deity? **
- What do I do if my One True Patron Deity and I are not perfectly alike? I feel really drawn to Athena, but I don't like owls! Does that mean she's not my One True Patron Deity?
- Can I work with other deities who aren't my One True Patron Deity? (in most cases: yes!)

All of these misconceptions, I think, are easily avoided if we can just let go of our notions of your One True Patron Deity, which are really about as sensible or probable as having One True Love romantically. Some people do have soulmates whom they meet and know right away that they're supposed to live with them Happily Ever After, sure. But many of us (I'd venture to say most of us) have many loves across our lifetimes -- romantic and platonic. And even in my monogamous relationship, though I love Mr. Xiao very much, I don't expect him to fulfill all my emotional needs; I have many other friends and companions for that too.

Similarly, with deities, even if we have one main deity we work with, it is natural and normal for many Pagans to work with many patron deities over our lives. It is also natural and normal for many of those relationships to come and go over time. We can even have many patrons over our lives. For what it's worth, historically, most people did not dedicate themselves to a single god either; that was usually reserved for the rare clergy.

Here are some examples of many different kinds of patron deities that you can have and can connect with:

Your Personal Patron
Many cultures have the idea that each individual person has a personal patron, sometimes known as a daimon, that is indeed with you for life. In Ancient Rome, this was your genius (if you were a man) or your juno/iuno (if you were a woman). One could also argue that this is your God/dess self, your divine spark, your Higher Self. You can always connect with your personal patron.

Patrons of Place
Many places have their own patron deities. You may have heard of Athena, who is the patron goddess of Athens (duh!). Cities, villages, towns, trees, lakes, mountains, rivers -- these all have deities and spirits that you can connect with.

Patrons of Profession
I learned early on that Catholics have saints for many professions (did you know that St. Basilides is the patron saint of Italian prison officers? Thanks, Wikipedia!), and Pagan deities are no different. Brighid, for instance, was historically the patron deity of poets, smiths, and healers. There are many new jobs that might not have a perfect analog to Pagan deities, but one can always reach out to a deity whom you think would probably take an interest in your work. I could imagine that Hermes might patronize someone who works in social media marketing, for instance. In my own life and career as a social worker, I consider Guanyin to be the patron saint for my profession.

Patrons for Life Stages
We have different patrons for different stages of our life, too. Hera was the goddess of matrimony, and many brides (and wives, and widows) called out to her for aid. Artemis was, among many other things, patronized both maidens and women in childbirth.


***

As you can see, "patronage" can mean many different things, and there are a multitude of different ways you can connect to deities, beyond the One True Patron Deity! I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Sources
On Patron Deities

* I have even known some people to turn to online quizzes to find their One True Patron Deity (which is absurd, since there are of course millions of different deities out there that couldn't possibly be accounted for in a single quiz!).

** I also feel this way about newcomers who come into Paganism/witchcraft believing they should have One True Element too -- when the whole point (in my humble opinion) is to develop relationships with all the elements!
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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby SpiritTalker » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:56 am

This is a thought provoking piece. A good relationship should helps us to be naturally more balanced individuals. If it's not doing that, we just make our selves pathetic.
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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby firebirdflys » Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:24 am

I really appreciate your thought provoking posts Xiao. You are such a great contributor to this board.

It's interesting that folks feel this patron deity is so very important to find. If that's the case I'm in big trouble because I've been doing this a long time and have yet to have any one particular God or Goddess step up and say they will be with me, or by my side henceforth. I think if you jump the gun and say this is whom you're working with exclusively, you close yourself off to to other messages and messengers from the etherworlds.

I work with many deities in the Celtic pantheon and while I resonate with Brighde quite a bit, she has never steped up and made herself known that I belong to her exclusively . Nor do I know if I want to be unable to petition another God or Goddess to help me at the risk of insulting my patron.

Bye for now, Firebird
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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby SnowCat » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:29 pm

I spent a lot of years just going with the sort of generic Goddess idea. Rebellion against the Catholic upbringing? Over the past dozen or so years, I've discovered more about individual deities that are part of my life. I try to stay open to possibilities and change.

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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby Xiao Rong » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:36 am

Thanks all for your comments!
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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby firebirdflys » Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:24 am

To me it smacks of Christianity and patron saints.
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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby SnowCat » Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:33 am

Define "right."

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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby SnowCat » Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:42 pm

My ten year old granddaughter hit menarche today. I made the supply run for her. She finally gets to be the first at something, but I'm not sure this is what she had in mind.

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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby Xiao Rong » Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:19 pm

Frankly, I suspect that the origin of the "One True Patron Deity" / "One True Element" to derive from Internet quizzes, more than anything. They're a fun way to pass the time (I enjoy them a lot myself), but from a spiritual standpoint they tend to narrow our perspectives, rather than expand them.
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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby firebirdflys » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:30 pm

Maybe smacks was the wrong word, but I still feel the patriarchy behind it. Patron/patriarchy
Yes, to have a Goddess as a feminine strong figure to look up to, to respect and revere is very enticing And I really respect those who have found someone.
Maybe another word? I was thinking how the word "Dude" became "Dudette" when it should maybe have been "Dudess" still contains Dude though.
Even Patroness, has that "man" word in it. WTF!? Like Man and woman. Like who the heck decided on these words? We have to be Wo-"man" or even Fe-"male". What the heck?
And if men were suppose to fear and hate that part which procreates on a girl, why are we naming our most sacred place"space", "men"arche, "men"struation, "men"opause
Take Snows grandchild for instance,...she reached "men"arche which is something that is so exclusively feminine why do the "men"have to be involved? This is a time for girls...."mem" will be along soon enough ...can't we have something that is exclusively ours? Holy cow!, looks like a Firebird Dianic moment. By the way Snow...congratulations to the granddaughter!! Will you guys have a party for her?
Nothing personal men, I love you guys.
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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby Xiao Rong » Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:29 pm

Well -- this is getting a little off topic, but the counterpart to "patron" (derived from the Latin pater, meaning "father") is "matron" (derived from the Latin mater, meaning "mother"). Similarly, "menstruation", "menses", "menopause", etc. come from the Latin mensis, which means "month". So those are not analogous, but you're right that words like "woman", "female", and even "goddess" derive from sexist roots -- all of them basically mean "not men". In Chinese, the character for "woman", 女, originated as a pictogram of a person kneeling! (in fairness, the character for "man", 男, is literally a combination of the characters for "field" and "work", haha.) This is known as linguistic sexism, where even language makes assumptions about gender. This is why many feminists in the 1960s sought to create their own words, like "womyn", "herstory", etc.
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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby SnowCat » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:55 am

The "men" part of the female cycle comes from the Latin word for moon.

Wandering back to the topic... I work with several deities. Loki would probably qualify as my patron, and Bast as my matron, but I think of them more as team leaders. I don't worship in the usual sense, but I talk to my deities every day. They're my posse. Or possums. Whatever way you want to look at it.

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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby firebirdflys » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:36 am

Sorry, I got all crazy for a second :evilwitch:
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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby Oakheart » Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:55 am

I gave up a long time ago. I have helpful spirits around me, but none of them have ever bopped me over the head with their identities. I just let them do their thing, as I do mine.
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Re: Beyond your "One True Patron Deity"

Postby seidkonacat » Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:14 pm

This is a really great post. I used to be obsessed with finding like...my One True Patron Deity? Not so much anymore. As you say, I think we have different patrons for different stages in our lives. I certainly have!
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