“Do I have to have a patron deity?” “How do I find my patron deity?” “Can I have more then one?” “Do they have to be from the same pantheon?” Many new Wiccans ask themselves these questions almost immediately on coming to Wicca. They hear of people having patron deities and worry they are doing something wrong if they don’t have one. Or maybe they feel a call towards one or more deities and worry they will respond in a way that will offend that deity or that they just think they’re being called when they aren’t because no lightening bolts have come from the sky or something. This article is going to attempt to answer some of those questions.
First of all, you don’t have to have a patron deity. Depending on your view of who the God and the Goddess are, it may not make sense, and you never have to have one if you don’t want to. Many Wiccans go along quite happily working with the God and the Goddess as just that, or working various different deities as the need arises, and they don’t feel the need to specifically commit themselves to a particular deity or deities. It certainly isn’t something that has to be done immediately on starting your path in Wicca. It’s not something that should be rushed into anyways. Sometimes a particular deity makes their presence known strongly enough to where there is no doubt, even early on, that this is who your patron is, and that’s fine. But if that doesn’t happen, there is no hurry. Simply adjusting to a path that isn’t monotheistic may be plenty for new Wiccans, and that’s ok.
Let’s clear up what a patron deity is. A patron deity is one or more deities (I’m already sick of typing the word deity) that you have a special relationship with. It doesn’t mean that you don’t work with any other deities, but that you have a special relationship with this one. Maybe you pray to them more often, or leave them offerings, or reach out to them in meditations- there are lots of different ways you can work with a deity. But it is a relationship, and it’s something you engage in regularly. You don’t have a patron and then only engage with them at the Sabbats. That’s not how it works. If you are deciding if you want a patron or not, that might be something to think about. You are asking a god or goddess to be in a personal relationship with you. Are you willing to take the time to be in one with them? If you don’t have any sort of regular spiritual practice right now, maybe you should work on that before you worry about having a patron.
So how do you find your patron deity? Many will tell you that you don’t find your patron, they find you. I think this is true to some extent, but it’s also been my experience that they do expect you to do some of the work yourself. If you feel a deity might be calling to you- maybe their name evokes a emotional response, or their image, or a brief overview you hear of their mythology, or you’re seeing their symbols everywhere, then it’s up to you to dig deeper. Run an image search on them and see how they’re represented in art. Read some of the mythology about them (this is going to be MUCH easier for some deities then others. Reading about Persephone or Horus verses Cernunnos, for example; there is just far more extant material on the former). Learn as much as you can about how they were worshipped then and how they are worshipped now. Read modern material on them, if there is any. See if you can find others’ experiences. It is my experience that this will evoke a gut-level reaction in you. You will either be drawn or repelled, and (again, in my experience) it will be unmistakable. Guided meditations are an excellent way to get in touch with your patron deity. Some books have a guided meditation you can do, and there are some on YouTube that I will put at the end of this post.
You can have more then one patron deity. Some Wiccans have a patron God and a patron Goddess. And gods are, well, gods. They do make their presence and desires known. I have had it happen, and others have too, where a particular god or goddess just shows up in your life unannounced and unplanned for, but they are exactly who you need at the time. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to give up your patrons, or that you value them any less. It just means that the help or lessons you need will come more clearly through this deity. Of course, sometimes the unplanned guest is here to stay, and that is fine, if you feel comfortable with that. Remember this, with all of this, it is always your choice. You have full say in what you do or do not do, whatever the gods may or may not desire or suggest. This isn’t a religion where you have to set aside all your wants and desires and feelings to serve the gods. If you don’t want to do something, tell the gods, and tell them why! You may also have different deities at different times in your life. A young woman who has been devoted to Artemis may find that this relationship changes after she gets married. Sometimes a relationship changes for no clear reason and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. Sometimes a deity was not meant to be in our lives for the long term. They were there for a very specific lesson.
Can you have deities from different pantheons? This is a matter of debate. I think it’s more important that you don’t do workings with deities that clash with each other in other ways then that they necessarily come from the same pantheon. For example, I don’t think you should work with Aphrodite and Hades at the same time in the same ritual any more then Aphrodite and Anubis. It’s the type of energy more then the pantheon that matters in my opinion. If you have more then one deity you work with, and you work with them both at the same time (i.e., they share altar space), ask them if the arrangement is ok, and use some common sense. If there were in a myth together and they were fighting, it’s probably not a good idea to share altar space (don’t put Osiris and Set on the same altar, for example, or Hera and one of Zeus’ many mistresses!). This is just my opinion though. Wicca is an eclectic religion, even for those who wouldn’t call themselves eclectic Wiccans- it draws from many sources, not just one. It is not a reconstructionist religion. If Wicca itself draws from Celtic, Greek and Egyptian sources (and it does, to varying degrees) there is no reason why the deities from those differing sources couldn’t call to a Wiccan.
(There are many more, and if you already know who your patron is, there might even be a meditation to connect with them specifically).
Who is Your Patron Deity and what should you do about it (one of the better articles I’ve read on the subject)