How To Find Your Patron Deity & If You Should Even Bother
It’s not at all uncommon to hear talk of deities in witchcraft circles, after all, paganism and witchcraft do overlap pretty heavily! You can find worshipers of all stripes among witches, from Dionysus to Freya, Anubis to Brighid, there seem to be about a million different religions each with their own host of divine beings that find their way into witchcraft one way or another. And the best part? Our communities are generally quite tolerant of these wide-ranging beliefs!
It’s not only acceptable but expected that other witches that you meet will probably have different patron gods or goddesses than you. What if you don’t have a patron, though? Maybe you’re new to the craft and haven’t found the deity that feels right to you. Maybe you’ve been here a while, but deity work still kinda freaks you out. Or maybe you’ve even been approached by a deity at some point but were uncertain what accepting that invitation would even mean for you and your craft.
Whatever the reason, it can feel incredibly isolating to be godless in the craft. There’s a ton of pressure to hurry up and find your deities just so that you can fit in and that’s not even taking into consideration the crazy amount of misinformation out there on the subject! If this is you, don’t sweat it. Your craft shouldn’t be a stressful part of your life and that includes your relationship, or lack thereof, with a god or goddess. Today, we’re going to dig into this subject to learn whether you need a patron, why you might want one, and how to go about finding the one that’s right for you.
First things first. Is it even necessary for you to work with a deity? It seems like witches are always talking about which deities they work with and how to find your patron but very rarely do we discuss whether this is actually right for everyone. Some people will tell you that every which needs a god or goddess, period. These people tend to be under the impression that witchcraft is a religious practice and that without a god or goddess to base your practice around, you’re not really a witch and you can’t practice magic. Let’s do away with this nonsense right now!
You do not have to work with a god or goddess to be an effective witch. There’s a reason I hardly ever talk about deities on this blog, they’re just not necessary for you to be a witch! I practice secular witchcraft, which means that I do not base my witchcraft practice around a deity or draw significantly on the power of a higher being in order to make my witchcraft work. For all the naysayers out there who believe that you cannot practice witchcraft without a god or a goddess, my witchcraft works just fine, thank you very much.
Does this mean that I never work with deities? No, actually. I have three deities that I spend time with on a regular or semi-regular basis, however, my religious practice and my witchcraft practice do not overlap significantly. This means that I keep these two parts of my spiritual life pretty much separate. You can be both a secular witch and a religious person, the two are not mutually exclusive!
One vitally important part of getting into deity worship in your craft is understanding where your magic comes from. The truth is, your magic doesn’t come from anywhere. It doesn’t come from some higher power outside of you. It doesn’t come from the Earth. It doesn’t come from some crazy witchcraft bloodline or hereditary magical power. Magic is an innate human energy. It’s not something that we are taking from outside of ourselves and harnessing, it is us. Every single person on this planet was born with the capacity to access and harness their own innate magical energy. This spiritual power is not something that we have been blessed with from on high and it’s not something that can be taken away from us.
If you are looking into gods and goddesses because you feel like you need some higher being to grant you the power to be a witch, stop right there. You already have all the power you could possibly need! If you’re struggling to make your witchcraft work right now, it’s not a lack of power or a lack of some deity that’s causing you to struggle. It’s simply a lack of knowledge. As witches, our power can only be harnessed to the degree that we know how to utilize it.
If you are seeking to become a more powerful witch, don’t look to some external source to grant you that power, crack open a book and start studying! In this practice, knowledge is power. I would much rather see witches studying hard and learning how to become powerful, effective witches in their own right before they start getting into deity relationships than see them getting into deity relationships before they’re ready and then finding themselves stuck in that relationship because they feel like they won’t have the power that they need if they leave. You can think of a deity relationship like any other relationship. If you can’t get your needs met on your own outside of that relationship then it becomes a breeding ground for an out of balance, potentially manipulative dynamic.
Another common misconception is the idea that if you work with a god, then you need to also work with a corresponding goddess or vice versa. This idea of maintaining an equal gender balance between deities is very Wiccan and not particularly relevant to anybody outside of an initiatory Wiccan practice. If you like the idea of working with both a god and a goddess then there’s nothing wrong with that, but it is not mandatory that you choose one of each.
If gender is something that matters significantly to you, that’s perfectly fine. You’re allowed to structure your spiritual relationships in any way that makes you comfortable. If that means working with only goddesses or working with only gods, that’s fine! There are even gods that are very much in between or entirely off of the gender spectrum. Working with a goddess without the presence of a god is not going to spoil your spells because you don’t have a perfect balance of masculine and feminine energy. In fact, unless you work with the concepts of masculine and feminine energy to begin with, there’s no reason for you to take this into consideration in your magic. These are energies that you can work with but that you absolutely do not have to work with. Work with the deities that appeal to you and don’t worry too much about having a matching set.
As with anything in the craft, there are benefits and drawbacks to working with deities. These pros and cons need to be carefully considered before you enter into a relationship with any being. What are you hoping to get out of the relationship, and how much are you willing to put into it? A relationship with a god is very much like any other relationship in that it requires a certain amount of time and attention to build trust and closeness. And, as with any relationship, it should be reciprocal. You should be getting something out of your deity relationship!
This might be assistance with your magical working, emotional support, help in your pursuit of witchcraft learning, advice and direction when you seek it, and much more. Every relationship of this sort will be different because just like people, gods and goddesses are individuals. They each have their own personalities, likes, dislikes, and talents. They will each be able to offer you something different. Beyond that, you are also an individual and your relationship with the deity will be entirely different from the relationship another person has with that same deity.
Essentially, you should go into any deity relationship with the understanding that the relationship you build with them is entirely unique to you. What you give to them and what they give to you in return will be unique to your relationship. This means it’s important for you to know what you’re looking for before you get into a relationship of this sort! In the same way that you would want to have an idea of the qualities you’re looking for in a romantic partner before you start dating, you need to have a good idea of the kind of relationship you want before you start introducing yourself to deities.
This is important for two major reasons. First, by knowing what you’re looking for out of a deity relationship, you can narrow down your potential options when researching deities. For example, if death freaks you out, then working with a death god or goddess is not likely to be in your best interest and you can knock any of them off your list. Conversely, if you’re interested in working with a deity to further your magical growth and prowess, then working with a deity such as Odin or Hekate could help support that goal. If you’re primarily concerned with home and hearth magic, goddesses like Freya or Brighid might be worth looking into, and so on.
Second, if you don’t know the kind of relationship that you’re looking for, you’re very likely to end up with the first thing that you stumble across. I can tell you right now that relationships begun on these terms rarely end well. If you have no idea what you’re looking for or what you’re willing to give to a deity, then you won’t have the necessary discernment to find a deity who works well with you. Deities are just as capable of being manipulative and taking advantage of a person as any other spiritual being, and it’s up to you to set boundaries around what you will and won’t accept in a relationship.
As I’ve made clear by this point, I view working with gods and goddesses as a completely optional part of the craft and not something that should be rushed into. My advice is to focus on your witchcraft first and foremost and start researching the deities that you might be interested in on the side. Again, your source of power is you, focus on your innate power and learning to utilize it and worry about the deity thing second.
If and when you find a deity that interests you, do a deep dive into researching them. Learn about their myths and folklore. Learn about the cultures they come from. Learn about modern practitioners and read what they have to say about their relationships with that deity. This is honestly all that is required for a lot of people to make contact with a deity! Showing this level of interest will often cause the god or goddess in question to take notice and introduce themselves. If this happens, congratulations you’ve just met your first deity. If not, it’s okay. Not every deity is so forthcoming, and not every person is going to recognize how a deity is attempting to communicate with them right away. You may need to sit down and hold a personal ritual to introduce yourself before they start making significant contact with you.
Keep in mind that even after you have started working with a deity, it is completely within your rights to set boundaries, negotiate the terms of your relationship, and if necessary, end the relationship. Just because a god or goddess gives you their attention doesn’t mean that you are shackled to them forever. You can introduce yourself to a deity and then decide three weeks later that the relationship isn’t working for you and respectfully cut off communication with them. You can decide several months into working with a god or goddess that you want to renegotiate the terms of your relationship. As with any relationship, this should be a two-way street. You should both give and receive. You should both listen and be heard. If the deity that you have made contact with is unwilling to listen to you, to work with you in the ways that you need, or to consider your best interests, then that is not a good relationship and you are fully within your rights to move on and find a different deity to work with.
Overall, choosing a deity should be a slow process and one that you take your time with. This is a major, important relationship in your life. You wouldn’t marry the first guy you go out on a date with simply because he was willing to go on a date with you and likewise you don’t have to settle for the first deity that you come across. There are so many options and so many other parts of your craft for you to explore. Don’t get bogged down and feel like you have to find your patron right this very second. You’ve got plenty of time and you already have all the power that you need to work your magic just as you are.
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How to Choose a Deity
This blog post is not about choosing a particular Deity for something that you need. I’m not going to provide you with a chart with correspondences for each Deity, because frankly, calling up a Deity you don’t know purely to ask for a favour when you’re desperate is a touch rude and rarely works. (And also, I don’t know them all). The way magazines tell you to just choose a Deity like you’re deliberating over the chocolate in the sweet aisle is off-base, at best.
I love cheesecake but if you’re sat on my property waving around a cheesecake asking me to loan you £1500 the answer is no. Deities and Spirits are beings too, and most of the time feel the same way.
To get anything out of a relationship with a Deity, you need just that – a relationship. And like any relationship, do not start a relationship with a Deity just because you think you need one, and you’re going to pick one out like a colour of handbag. You do NOT need to worship or even believe in Deities to be a witch. You do NOT need to worship a particular Deity to be a Pagan. Part of your religious practices may demand some form of relationship with a named Deity, but don’t forget that in ancient times where most of these Deities were worshipped, They had actual priests who did most of the work.
You can absolutely do the Pagan equivalent of turning up to church and keeping a picture of Jesus on your wall – you don’t need to be the Vicar.
If you like the sound of priesthood, this is not the post for you. I’d wager a Google on ‘pagan priesthood’ might turn up the results that you’re after. This post is about making the beginning steps into a more personal relationship with a named Deity, and how to know which is right for you.
How to Choose a Matron or Patron Deity
Matron and Patron Deities are terms used in a lot of different witchcraft religions (yes, there’s more than one) to describe your Main Dude(s). Some religions who place a focus on duality, like you to have one of each gender. Some allow space for just one. Most let you build smaller relationships with other Deities, even though you still have a Matron/Patron. Some Deities are super interested in having priests again and will insist that you only worship them. Which is fine, if you’re into that.
Notice I said ‘worship’, though, not believe in. You can believe in one God or many, but your Matron/Patrons are the ones you invest the most time and effort into.
You don’t have to call them your Matron/Patron, or even formally dedicate that kind of relationship. Some Deities actually dislike the idea of being your Matron/Patron – it’s literally like a godly parental role, and some of Them aren’t up for that – but are quite happy to work on a more peer-like level, or more like a boss and worker, or even Supreme God and Crawling Worm. Deities are individualistic, and each of Them will want something different from you.
Basically, most people who worship in a Pagan way have some kind of Main Dude or two, but it isn’t always a matronly/patronly relationship. The exact relationship you two will have depends on Them, but it also depends on you. You will not work with or worship a Deity in the same way that another person will work with or worship Them.
If you’ve got siblings, think back to you and your sibling’s relationship with your parents. Same people, same familial bond, different relationship.
But what if I don’t want to choose a Deity?
You don’t have to formally announce a Main Dude type relationship with a Deity, unless you want to. You will probably have six or seven major Spirit relationships throughout your life – some will be Ancestors, others may be Saints or Deities. However, just through social nature one of the will probably be a stronger relationship than the others.
Think of it like having a family pet. And before you shout out me for being disrespectful, you are the pet in this analogy. The dog might be the family dog, but it will still have a better relationship with one person over the others. My cat, for example, will ask anyone around for food and pets. However, it’s me that she waits for at the bottom of the stairs, and it’s my voice through the phone that’s the only one she’ll respond to. I’m the first person she goes to in any room, unless the other person has chicken. The other cat we own, is my mother’s cat. She is his Main Dude, and he’ll follow her around the house. But, they are both affectionate with everyone else in the house.
Your Spirit family is exactly the same – you don’t need to formally choose a Main Dude, but it’s likely you’ll have one. I mention this, for three reasons:
- To explain that choosing a Matron/Patron is a choice, not a necessity
- To show you that you don’t have to treat everyone in your Spirit family the same – it’s totally okay to have one or two Deities that you value above all, so long as you don’t renege on any deals with other Deities or behave in a disrespectful manner towards them.
- To point out that you will have some kind of higher bond with one particular Deity, and that you should maintain that when you find it. The stronger your relationship, the more likely you are to get what you want out of it. If you have a decade long relationship with Hestia, you’re better off asking Hestia for a nice garden than Demeter, who you’ve never met.
How do I know which one? How do I actually choose a Deity?
If you do want a Matron/Patron relationship with a Deity, know that you shouldn’t just pick one out of a book. You don’t pick your spouse off a dating site and get married! You use the dating site as a jumping off point, and build a relationship by actually meeting each other.
Sure, start with books and Google. When you find Someone you like the look of, give a few offerings over a period of weeks. Ask for a sign that They are listening. You might get an animal sighting associated with Them, a song that reminds you of Them, or, if They really like you, you might find that the area of your life associated with Their work improves. Then, once you’ve established contact, send a prayer or invoke them during a spell for something small. Make sure your initial requests of a Deity are firmly within their wheelhouse. You probably ask your Dad for car advice even though he’s not a mechanaic, and he’ll probably help you – you have a better relationship. However, if you asked the bloke at the wine shop for the same advice he’d probably refuse – he doesn’t know how. However, if you asked this person you don’t have a great relationship with advice or help regarding something he does know about – which wine goes with fish, perhaps, – he’s a lot more likely to help you, because it’s his calling in life.
Note down what results you get, if any. Did you get what you asked for? Did you like their energy? Did you get any dreams, or feel Them warming to you? If yes to any of these, continue giving offerings and asking for a few small things. Broaching the topic of asking them to become your Matron/Patron comes after a few months.
If not, feel free to choose Someone Else and start the process. You don’t have to completelysacrifice a relationship with a Deity you think is cool if it’s not quite working for you right now. As I said before, there are all kinds of different relationship levels when it comes to working with Deities.
If you’re wondering how to give an offering, there’s one to general Spirits and Deities in this Ten Minute Witchcraft post that you can adapt.
How do I know which Deity to choose to start with?
You can target local Spirits, or a Deity you like the sound of, or choose a Deity based upon what you think your life best represents.. If there is someone in particular you’d like to honor, Google is your best friend as there are pages of information and links to books about any one particular Deity from any particular Pantheon.
Drop a Google search for ‘Gods of x’ where x can be anything from crafting, to justice, to homemaking. If you could have a mentor, what would they be into? What parts of your life are most important to you? And don’t say family, because everyone’s family – blood or chosen – are important. If you say family, mean it – if your dream job is stay-at-home parent/spouse, then you need a hearth Deity. A family-focused Deity is no good to someone who’s a good parent and loves their kids, but really comes alive waving a placard outside the Government or tearing up a racetrack.
You can also get various books about all kinds of Deities, but understand that these are only starting points for your own research.
Other kinds of documents:
- Myths and legends
- Historical and archaeological books and evidence
- Hymns and poems
- Reconstructionist texts
Choose a Deity the way you should choose a pet – with careful thought, research, and considering how this new addition to the family will fit into your life.
But this is really hard work and I can’t find anything
Well, duh. Most, if not all, of the cultures that surrounded these Deities are dead. So much of even Greek and Roman worship is lost, never mind the difficulty of researching Deities of various Celtic Tribes who wrote little and left little. There are indeed modern books about certain Deities that you can find on Google, and the good ones should have pages of references that will lead you to first hand sources.
But if you really want to connect beyond a superficial level and you haven’t made enough contact for the Deity Themselves to tell you what They want, this is what you have to do. And sometimes, you don’t choose a Deity – the Deity chooses YOU. Keep asking, and Someone will show up for you.
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Working With the Gods and Goddesses
There are literally thousands of different deities out there in the Universe, and which ones you choose to honor will often depend significantly upon what pantheon your spiritual path follows. However, many modern Pagans and Wiccans describe themselves as eclectic, which means they may honor a god of one tradition beside a goddess of another. In some cases, we may choose to ask a deity for assistance in a magical working or in problem solving. Regardless, at some point, you're going to have to sit and sort them all out. If you don't have a specific, written tradition, then how do you know which gods to call upon?
A good way to look at it is to figure out which deity of your pantheon would be interested in your purpose. In other words, what gods might take the time to look into your situation? This is where the concept of appropriate worship comes in handy -- if you can't take the time to get to know the deities of your path, then you probably shouldn't be asking them for favors. So first, figure out your goal. Are you doing a working regarding home and domesticity? Then don't call upon some masculine power deity. What if you're celebrating the end of the harvest season, and the dying of the earth? Then you shouldn't be offering milk and flowers to a spring goddess.
Consider your purpose carefully, before you make offerings or prayers to a particular god or goddess.
Although this is certainly not a comprehensive list of all the gods and their domains, it may help you a bit to get an idea of who is out there, and what sorts of things they may be able to help you with:
For assistance relating to skills, crafts, or handiwork, call upon the Celtic smith god, Lugh, who wasn't just a talented blacksmith; Lugh is known as a god of many skills. Many other pantheons have forge and smithing gods as well, including the Greek Hephaestus, Roman Vulcan, and Slavic Svarog. Not all craftsmanship involves an anvil though; goddesses like Brighid, Hestia, and Vesta are associated with domestic creativity.
When it comes to matters of discord and upsetting the balance of things, some people choose to to check in with Loki, the Norse prankster god. However, it's generally recommended that you don't do this unless you're a devotee of Loki in the first place - you may end up getting more than you bargained for. Other trickster gods include Anansi from Ashanti mythology, the Afro-Cuban Changó, Native American Coyote tales, and the Greek Eris.
If you're doing a working related to destruction, the Celtic war goddess the Morrighan may assist you, but don't trifle with her lightly. A safer bet might be working with Demeter, the Dark Mother of the harvest season. Shiva is known as a destroyer in Hindu spirituality, as is Kali. The Egyptian Sekhmet, in her role as a warrior goddess, is also associated with destruction.
When you celebrate the fall harvest, you may want to take time to honor Herne, the god of the wild hunt, or Osiris, who is often connected with grain and the harvest. Demeter and her daughter, Persephone, are typically connected with the waning part of the year. Pomona is associated with fruit orchards and the bounty of trees in fall. There are also a number of other harvest gods and gods of the vine who may be interested in what you're doing.
Feminine Energy, Motherhood, and Fertility
For workings related to the moon, lunar energy, or the sacred feminine, consider invoking Artemis or Venus. Isis is a mother goddess on a grand scale, and Juno watches over women in labor.
When it comes to fertility, there are plenty of deities out there to ask for assistance. Consider Cernunnos, the wild stag of the forest, or Freya, a goddess of sexual power and energy. If you follow a Roman-based path, try honoring Bona Dea. There are a number of other fertility gods out there as well, each with their own specific domain.
Marriage, Love, and Lust
Brighid is a protector of hearth and home, and Juno and Vesta are both patronesses of marriage. Frigga was the wife of the all-powerful Odin, and was considered a goddess of fertility and marriage within the Norse pantheon. As the wife of the Sun God, Ra, Hathor is known in Egyptian legend as the patroness of wives. Aphrodite has long been associated with love and beauty, and so has her counterpart, Venus. Likewise, Eros and Cupid are considered representative of masculine lust. Priapus is a god of raw sexuality, including sexual violence.
Isis, the mother goddess of Egypt, is often called upon for magical workings, as is Hecate, a goddess of sorcery.
Cernunnos is a strong symbol of masculine energy and power, as is Herne, the god of the hunt. Odin and Thor, both Norse gods, are known as powerful, masculine gods.
Prophecy and Divination
Brighid is known as a goddess of prophecy, and so is Cerridwen, with her cauldron of knowledge. Janus, the two-faced god, sees both the past and future.
Because of his harvest associations, Osiris is often connected with the underworld. Anubis is the one who decides whether or not one the deceased is worthy of entering the realm of the dead. For the ancient Greeks, Hades didn’t get to spend a lot of time with those who are still living, and focused on increasing the underworld’s population levels whenever he could. Although he is the ruler of the dead, it’s important to distinguish that Hades is not the god of death – that title actually belongs to the god Thanatos. The Norse Hel is often depicted with her bones on the outside of her body rather than the inside. She is typically portrayed in black and white, as well, showing that she represents both sides of all spectrums.
War and Conflict
The Morrighan is not only a goddess of war, but also of sovereignty and loyalty. Athena protects warriors and imparts them with wisdom. Freya and Thor guide fighters in battle.
Thoth was the Egyptian god of wisdom, and Athena and Odin may also be called upon, depending on your purpose.
There are a number of deities associated with the various times of the Wheel of the Year, including the Winter Solstice, Late winter, the Spring Equinox, and the Summer solstice.
Which Wiccan Deity Are You?
By: Zoe Samuel
5 Min Quiz
About This Quiz
The Wiccan gods and goddesses are a lot more numerous than one would think. To the casual observer, there are two main deities in the Wiccan pantheon: the Horned God and the Triple Goddess. While these are both indeed Wiccan deities, they are by no means the end all and be all.
Wicca isn't a rigid pagan religion, and it allows adherents to worship gods from just about every other religion, although these come down to pagan religions, for the most part. While it can be debated just how monotheistic the "monotheistic" religions really are, the Wiccan pantheon is decidedly mixed, with Norse gods rubbing elbows with the gods and goddesses of the Hindu, Greek, Roman, Voodoo, and other, more obscure religions. Picking your patron god or goddess is seen as a deeply personal rite of passage because there are so many to choose from.
But which of these deities are you? Which one of them is the embodiment of the total of your experiences, strengths, attitudes, and foibles? We've consulted the runes, and with a quick quiz designed to pinpoint your personality characteristics, we can name the Wiccan deity that summarizes who you are! Ready to give it a try?
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I worship deity should what
Your boobs flickering on the screen, I wish I. Could stroke them. Wow. the beer has run out. all two liters.Basics of Deity Worship
I want to sleep with you. She smiled. I mean, I want to wake up next to you.
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But in this playful purr one could clearly hear the threat: "Trouble for the one who did not carry out my order!" Get on all fours. contemptuously hissed through her teeth, abruptly changing both tone of voice and facial expression. She sat sideways on his back and ordered himself to be taken throughout the apartment with an audit.