How to Find Your Patron Goddess or God

This is a common question for beginners: How do I find my patron goddess or god?  Those who are beginning their spiritual journey oft look to others in their religious community asking this question because they desire a mentor or deity to connect with.

My advice to you, if you find yourself asking this question, follows:

No one can answer this question for you directly, only give you a compass and tell you what landmarks they saw along the way.  It’s a bit like finding the right job, and right employer – that “right fit” isn’t “right” for everyone but you can approach it in about the same way. It may come to you from a combination of research (to open your mind to different pantheons), ritual (because the gods respond to ritual and it also cultivates your awareness of the divine), and self-reflection coupled with introspection (you must know yourself before you can know others, including the gods). You could design your own ritual, appealing to “Whoever will accept me as a devotee”, give an offering, and see who chooses you. It may not happen the first time, but your chances are better with persistence and the right approach.

Behave like you are applying for a job interview: clean and dress well, make an appropriate offering, approach respectfully, and be open-minded. Know what you can offer in return and include that in your ritual. Some deities accept food or libation, others accept music or art or poetry, some even accept blog posts praising them.  If you have decided to approach a particular god, research what He or She is known to favor and accept (like you would when researching an employer).

Finding your patron or matron god is kind of like an interview with a potential employer.

Finding your patron or matron god is kind of like finding the right employer.

If you are a poet or musician, then Apollon may be an appropriate patron and you can offer song to Him. If you are a medical technician or some sort, then Asklepios may be appropriate and you can offer your services in His name. If you are talented with crafts, then you can offer artwork, weavings, or pottery to Athene (and you don’t have to appeal to Her aspects of crafty warfare).

Like I said, it’s a lot like a job interview to find not only who matches you, but who you match with. Essentially, asking for a patron/matron is also asking to be His/Her priestess. So cultivate the qualities that would honor Them and offer your services or what you can make or earn to Them in return like you would cultivate your skills and experience to put on your resume.  Make yourself a valuable devotee, and your chances of being chosen will improve.

Addendum: It’s also important to consider what kind of person you want to be and who you want to be associated with.  Again, like applying for work in which the reputation of the company and your supervisor are important for your career, your patron or matron deity will be important for the cultivation of your spiritual life.  If you are serious about becoming a devotee, you will be cultivating aspects that the god or goddess is known for and asking for aid in realms they have control over.  So be sure to research before committing yourself to a particular deity.

Honoring Athene Ergane Agoraia, Patron of Craftsfolk

Pallas Athene

Pallas Athene via Wikipedia

I dedicated my artistic labors to Athene today and asked for Her to be my patron and give her blessing.  With barely cleansed with khernips and an olive oil sponde, I fed an ink-and-watercolor painting I created of Her to the hearth fire as an act of dedication.

This is the ritual outline I designed, based on Old Stones, New Temples by Drew Campbell and hymns researched on theoi.com.:

  • Wash hands and face with lustral water (khernips).
  • Process to the altar or shrine in a respectful manner.
  • Light incense.  Frankincense is generally applicable.
  • Read or recite a hymn.
    • [Orpheus] XXXI. TO PALLAS [ATHENE]A Hymn.
      Only-Begotten, noble race of Jove, blessed and fierce, who joy’st in caves to rove:
      O, warlike Pallas, whose illustrious kind, ineffable and effable we find:
      Magnanimous and fam’d, the rocky height, and groves, and shady mountains thee delight:
      In arms rejoicing, who with Furies dire and wild, the souls of mortals dost inspire.
      Gymnastic virgin of terrific mind, dire Gorgons bane, unmarried, blessed, kind:
      Mother of arts, imperious; understood, rage to the wicked., wisdom to the good:
      Female and male, the arts of war are thine, fanatic, much-form’d dragoness [Drakaina], divine:
      O’er the Phlegrean giants rous’d to ire, thy coursers driving, with destruction dire.
      Sprung from the head of Jove [Tritogeneia], of splendid mien, purger of evils, all-victorious queen.
    • [Homer] XI. TO ATHENA  Of Pallas Athene, guardian of the city, I begin to sing. Dread is she, and with Ares she loves deeds of war, the sack of cities and the shouting and the battle. It is she who saves the people as they go out to war and come back. Hail, goddess, and give us good fortune with happiness!
  • Plunge a burning twig (of rue if possible) from the hearth (hestia) into the clean water.  Sprinkle this water (khernips) over the offerings.
  • Place offerings (olives, flax, wool, crafts, & intellectual labors) before the statue or other sacred symbol.
  • Stand erect with palms up and make your own prayers.
  • Call upon the deity to listen to you, evoking as many epithets as are applicable.
    • Pallas (forename, as in “Pallas Athene”)
    • Glaukopis (Grey-Eyed, Owl-Eyed)
    • Ergane (Workerwoman)
    • Agoraia (of the Market)
    • Khruse (Golden)
    • Meter (Mother)
    • Nikephoros (Victory-Bringing)
    • Polumetis (of Manny Counsels)
    • Promakhos (Champion)
    • Soteria (Savior)
    • Sthenias (Mighty)
  • Remind Her of previous assistance.
  • Make your request and state what you will do in return when it is fulfilled.
  • Pour libation (sponde) into a cup or bowl and place on the altar.
    • Wine (best mixed with water)
    • Milk and Honey
    • Olive Oil (especially appropriate)
  • Process away from the altar.
  • Place offerings in the hearth fire or else outside in a sheltered place by the door or fence.

You are welcome to use this ritual, or modify it, as you like.

What rituals have you performed for Athene?

Dedication to Pallas Athene, Patron of Craftsfolk

Pallas Athene Statue

Pallas Athene Statue via Wiki

In this month of April, I’ve returned to my roots.  I’ve delved into art (particularly production design for media like film, TV, illustrated stories, etc.) through immersion in classes, correspondence with others in the business, reading, and tutorials.  The more I learn the more I am energized.  This may be my new career.

I am going to pray to Pallas Athene to be my patron, and at the same time, ask for Her blessing.  I am going to ask if I can integrate Her symbol of the owl, perhaps as part of water-marking my freelance art, as a way to honor Her.  To do this, I will need to perform a ritual. Continue reading