The world of witchcraft can be one of mystery and confusion, especially when it comes to worshiping a patron deity. Some believe that the Gods of old and new exist, others believe that there are only two Gods: the God and Goddess. This guide/FAQ is to help modern witches and new followers of Wicca to understand how to worship the God and Goddess as well as choosing the patron deity that best represents the Gods to each witch.
What is a Patron Deity?
A patron deity is a God or Goddess that one pays tribute to by praying to them, worshiping them, and giving offerings to them. The concept of a patron deity goes as far back as when people discovered that there were higher beings above them. Each patron deity is either interpreted as male or female and is associated with different traits. For example: Kali is the Hindu God of Death and is interpreted as a woman who has black or blue skin and the traits associated with her are darkness, destruction, acceptance, and fearlessness. When it comes to worshiping Gods, each deity will have their own traits unique to them. This is where the idea of a patron deity fits in. By choosing a deity, you are choosing to worship the God or Goddess that embodies the traits that you most connect with.
How do I Choose Which Patron Deity to Follow?
As I mentioned before, choosing a patron deity is choosing the aspect of the God or Goddess that you will be worshiping. One way to find a deity is by asking yourself this questionnaire:
What are your three favorite animals?
Very generic but good way to start, pick three animals that are your favorite.
Example: wolf, hawk, fox
Why do you like those animals specifically?
Here, describe why you like each of the three animals. Your answer may vary from how they look to animal facts to behaviors in these animals.
Example: The wolf is a team player, and I like how they work together to survive. The hawk for its speed and power when hunting. The fox for its cunning and its sleath.
What about those animals make them your favorite?
Here, you talk about specific traits that attract you to those animals, just name two or three traits for each animal chosen.
Example: The traits I see and like in a:
Wolf: leader, powerful, loyal
Hawk: fast, all-seeing, air-born
Fox: cunning, sneaky, beautiful
Now based on what you answered, the traits that you like in those animals are actually the traits that you value most within yourself as well as others. What that means is the traits you selected are the ones you want to look up to and even aspire to be. With this new perspective on the traits you value, it’s time to look for Patron Deities that embody the traits that you selected.
While this is a more simple way to search for the Deity you want to worship, another vital way to find and choose your God/Goddess is to analyze the symbols in your life. Symbols can mean different things in this case, not just a physical sigil. Take a moment to think about the hobbies, passions, and interests that you are into: What do you like to do? Look at hobbies or activities that you thoroughly enjoy doing and see what traits are connected with it.
If you are someone who loves to play chess, then traits such as logic and wisdom would be associated with that. If you are someone who feels drawn to poetry, then look into Gods that are associated with literature such as Thoth, the Egyptian God of Writing and Wisdom. If you have an inherent love for gardening, plants, or specific flowers, then look into Gods that are associated with plants and flowers such as Antheia, the God of Flowers.
What are some things that keep appearing in your life? This may sound rather vague but think about different events that have happened throughout your life multiple times. The best example to illustrate this would be from season three of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. There is a moment where Zelda Spellman looks back on her memories and realizes that there has always been moon and triple Goddess imagery (Maiden, Mother and Crone) at different stages of her life. This then leads her to come to the conclusion that her patron deity is Hecate, the Goddess of Magic and Witchcraft.
With that example, you should reflect on your life and think about the things and events that kept repeating through your life. After you compile a list of traits that you are looking for in a God or Goddess, you will search online for the Gods and Goddesses that are associated with the traits and imagery that are connected to you.
Choosing a Culture
What cultures enrapture you? What is your ancestral background and history? Perhaps you have interest in reconnecting with your ancestors and your line of descent. However, if you don’t feel a calling towards Gods and practices from your cultural background, you can always look towards other cultures. What other languages do you speak? What languages do you want to learn? Are you drawn in by the folklore and mythology of a specific culture? Its writing system? Maybe you have always admired Arabic calligraphy and feel a calling to that culture. In that case, it might do you good to look into Arabic paganism. Getting to know a culture is also a gateway to finding your Patron Deity.
What Do I Do After I Choose my Patron Deity?
After choosing your patron deity, the next step is to do extensive research on them. By this point, you probably have a rough idea of the traits you associate with and have chosen a pantheon of Gods. The important part of this step is to now look deeply into the origins of your patron deity (origins meaning culture that the deity comes from.) Remember that this is an aspect of the God or Goddess and you want to make sure that you are paying tribute the correct way via the cultural traditions. You do not want to just take Kali for instance and worship her the same way you would worship Hecate. You must follow the proper procedures in order to correctly worship your patron deity otherwise you will risk disrespecting not only the God/Goddess, but also the culture that this aspect derives from. You want to learn about the practices, rituals, and offerings that a follower of your Patron Saint would perform.
In some cases, you might have picked a selection of different Gods and Goddesses that represent one or most of your valued traits. This is where you must begin narrowing down your options by communicating with your selected patron deities. Have elements pertaining to your selected patron deities and place them upon your altar then cast a circle. Once you seal the circle with salt, water or earth, then you must chant and pray to all of them. In this step, you are asking all of your possible patron deities that you wish to follow one of them and that you wish to be given a sign from them that they wish to work with you. A good way to invoke their presence is to follow this chant:
I call upon you, Gods resting on my altar,
To show your presence without falter.
Drawn to all of you, I am inclined,
And here I am now, no longer blind.
Oh Gods that are here with me,
I open my heart and mind to thee.
Show me a sign that I can see,
And a worshiper, I shall be.
Tributes, offerings, and prayers I will bring,
And it will be you to whom I cling.
Keep in mind that this chant provided is but one way of invoking the Gods. The best way to invoke is to create your own chant similar to the one here. A chant that was created by your mind and spirit will have more power that will be used to summon these Gods.
After your chant, now all you must do is wait for the answers to be sent to you. This can be tricky because anything could be interpreted as a sign such as getting a sudden rush of wanting to travel to a culture of the Gods you have selected. Be patient and observe random instances of a sign appearing such as noticing symbols that constantly appear, events that seem bizarre. Dreams are also another way that the Gods may communicate through so it would be best to keep a dream journal for the next couple of days to log every dream you have.
As for events, you want to analyze anything that seems either out of place or something that is new. For example, say you are walking down the same street that you always do when suddenly, you notice a murder of crows. You have never seen so many crows on this street before, which you can analyze and then make the connection that this is a sign from a patron God. If you do your research of Gods associated with crows (from within your selected pantheon), you may find that the murder of crows were a message from Morrigan, the God of Life and Death.
How To Worship the Gods Without Being Offensive?
This can be rather tricky because you would not want to appropriate a God or Goddess and be disrespectful to said God/Goddess. As mentioned before, this is why it is crucial to research the God/Goddess and learn everything you can about them. Listen to the Gods and what they tell you. Maybe you bring them an offering they don’t like, or they wish to guide you in some way, they will communicate with you. They will communicate to you via dreams, signs, events, or repetitive symbols in order to give you an answer. The biggest part here is faith – believe and it will be. If you fill your heart with cynicism then it will be hard for you to see signs that are all around you. Even if you believe it is coincidence, it is important to consider that perhaps that particular coincidence happened to YOU for a reason.
Finding a patron deity is challenging and confusing; but, using the tools that are provided in this guide will help you get closer to connecting to your patron God. Blessed be.