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Choosing a Patron Deity
When many Pagans begin their spiritual path they look for a system that best suits their needs and aspirations. Having settled on a Pantheon they feel comfortable with, they then may look for one particular God or Goddess with whom they can form a friendship and ask for help with learning and practicing magick and progress in spiritual understanding. Both picking the Pantheon, and settling on a patron/tulitry Deity require a certain amount of careful thought and understanding of the energies and entities involved.
Each Pantheon has a particular feeling or ‘vibe’ about it that sometimes doesn’t come across at first inspection. One of the best examples of this is the Goddesses and Gods of Egypt which, although a very popular system, is also a very formal one. These deities like their incantations word perfect, worship areas laid out in a crisp clear pattern, and offerings, although appreciated, serve mainly to attract their attention. For results you have to do actions rather than try to ‘pay’ them with an item. Remember, this was a culture where you paid your taxes –or a portion of them at least- in public works projects. Doing anything from working on the roads to unskilled labour at the pyramids depending on the need or where you lived. When I first started working with them in the 1980’s I made rapid progress on the visualisation and communication level, much to the surprise of some of my fellow Pagans in the local area. It took several years before I realised the reason for this was that I had done my best to stop people being cruel to animals in Mexico City which also explained why I had been drawn to Bastet as my guide/mentor for that system.
The Celtic Pantheon has almost the diametric opposite feel to the Egyptian one, despite the many contacts through trade. This is what I think of as a ‘surfer’ culture with a fondness for nature, arts and crafts, and an appreciation of fine food and drink. They are also much less formal and insular which may come from Celtic culture being a conglomeration of tribes and practices rather than a single culture and pantheon. These Deities you can make offerings to in return for services rendered, although not modern money for reasons mentioned in the “Money and Magick” article. The most acceptable offerings are hand-crafted artistic items that are then sacrificed to springs or bodies of water such as lakes and oceans. Time devoted to conservation and aiding the natural world is also appreciated as is learning an art in their honour.
The Norse Pantheon has much more of a "Biker" feel to them. Feats of derring-do and 'just doing it' are part of their worldview. Hence their popularity with warriors, and many soldiers today. What is less well-known is their fondness for personal grooming, works of art, shipbuilding, and architecture. They also like travel and trade and work well with people who are either involved in these fields or who are travelling and trading as part of their personal or physical journey.
These are some of the most popular Pantheons followed by Pagans today. By understanding the feel behind them you can start to gain some insight into the other systems that are around as well. The best way 'in' is to look at the culture that gave rise to the Pantheon you are looking at and the influences within it. For example the culture that gave rise to the Hindu Pantheon stretches back over thousands of years with many complex cultural changes and influences. Working with these Gods and Goddesses would require that you do your research thoroughly and understand all the aspects of whichever Deity you are working with and possibly how to bind or exclude the unwanted ones.
This is true of all the Deities I know. Just like people, all of them have many aspects to their personality and if you are not careful you can end up either upsetting them or being drawn into aspects of your own personality you might not be ready to face. Hence the importance of creating a connection with an aspect of your chosen God or Goddess from a Pantheon you feel comfortable with. This is usually done by ritual, visualisation, and behaving in a manner akin to the positive attributes of the Deity who you want to become your patron. It works best if your lifestyle already has an aspect or facet that you can work with to enhance this relationship.
Depending on the Goddess or God and the nature of the Pantheon they belong to, you may want to go the way of ritual and devotional magick, or work mainly with visualisation and pathworking. Each has its merits and in the end it is down to you to see which works best for you. You should start getting results within one lunar cycle, particularly if you begin operations at the new moon. The most common example of a good contact is when images, and the name of the Deity, turn up wherever you go, especially in unexpected places in your day-to-day life.
Having made contact with your chosen Deity you can begin to work with them on what you want to accomplish from the relationship. Hopefully this will be something positive and beneficial to you both. The saying "The Gods need us as much as we need them" is very true, but also is accurate in that some Deities have their own agenda which you have to be aware of. Usually you will know what it is, having done your research, and it may even be in accord with your own. However, it is vital to keep a journal of your experiences and lifestyle changes and review it regularly to keep your development progressing in a balanced manner. If you start to notice changes in your personality, behaviour, or circumstances that you do not want or need then it may be a good idea to check why this is happening. In some cases it may be that this is actually beneficial change, but in others this can be a sign that the relationship is becoming unbalanced in favour of the God or Goddess.
If this happens then, as with human friendships, you have the choice of discussing things with them or leaving and finding another Deity more suited to your personality and spiritual aspirations. This is why personal development should always be part of your personal practice because then any changes in lifestyle are likely to be for the best and you are less likely to interact with a negative aspect of your chosen God or Goddess.
Content copyright © 2014 by Ian Edwards. All rights reserved.
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