A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.
Finding Your God and Goddess in Wicca
Your Wiccan God and Goddess are really what it’s all about. That’s what the rituals are for. That’s why we celebrate the Wheel of the Year. That’s why we pray and meditate.
Anyone of any religion can love nature. Anyone of any religion can cast spells. Anyone of any religion can work with tarot cards or crystals and such. None of these things particularly make anyone Wiccan. In fact, plenty of people who do these things are not Wiccan at all. People have been doing these things since long before Wicca existed.
However, fostering a relationship with the Gods, connecting through ritual, and honoring them through the cycles of the seasons and by the way you live your life—this is what truly makes one Wiccan.
What Are Patron Gods in Wicca?
Wicca is traditionally polytheistic, and many Wiccans will speak of their ‘patrons’—that is, a patron God and a matron Goddess. Patrons and matrons (or just ‘patrons’ when referring to both) are the specific God(s) or Goddess(es) a Wiccan honors and works with.
There’s no rule about patrons. I’ve known people to have as few as one, and as many as four or five. They are usually of the same pantheon (not always, though mixing pantheons is always tricky and should never be taken lightly).
Why Is It Important to Have a Patron God?
The benefit of being in a relationship with patrons is that it gets fully developed. In your ongoing worship and serving your patron Gods, you get to know them intimately. In taking you under their wing like that, a God or Goddess will teach you a great deal over time, and you can learn many lessons from them.
Sometimes you can be with the same patrons for life. Sometimes you’ll only be with them for a short time (usually a few years) before you reach the ‘end of the road’ with them. It is not a terrible thing when a God or Goddess ‘cuts you loose’; it’s not because you did anything wrong, but because you’re ready to move on. This is when you've benefited from the relationship all you can, and they realize that you are ready for a new patron—a new teacher who can bring you to the next level of lessons that need to be learned.
You Can Have a Patron and Still Include Other Gods
Having a patron does not mean you need to exclude all other Gods. In Wicca, we don’t believe the Gods are jealous or have the ‘no other Gods before me’ policies found in other religions you may be more familiar with. It’s okay to go to a ritual that worships another God or to hold a ritual to a different Goddess if you wish for a specific purpose. The relationship that we have with our patrons will be a special, ongoing one.
How to Find Your Patron God or Goddess
A lot of Wiccans will tell you they did not choose their Gods, but that their Gods chose them.
Being Called by the Gods
Many religions describe it as ‘a calling’, and as such it’s hard to explain. Many Wiccans feel they get signs of some sort. This may be an image or animal associated with a certain God or Goddess popping up a lot unexpectedly in dreams or visions. Often these are accompanied by gut feelings or an inner voice.
Be on the Lookout for Signs
In my own personal experience, I had a vision. I’d already been meditating for years for health and stress-reduction purposes. I had also spent the last year as a religious seeker, learning about different religions, and wasn’t sure which path to take. When I was doing my normal meditation one night, I went particularly deep, and my Goddess came to me. She told me who she was and introduced me to my God, and together they welcomed me on the Wiccan path.
Where does this calling come from? Is it truly a divine being who has chosen you and is communicating with you? Is it internal? A simple ‘knowing’ in your own brain of what you need? I have my own ideas, but the truth is—no one knows.
Read More From Exemplore
Once you become Wiccan, though, these signs are something you should look out for.
Not Getting a Calling?
If you don’t feel the calling, you certainly should not feel bad. For one thing, maybe you’re just too new to Wicca and not ready to work with a personal deity yet. Or perhaps you are just missing the signs. Don’t get discouraged—the deities aren't rejecting you.
You may simply need to employ a little initiative. Start seeking deities, and approach them to see which ones will have you (or have been waiting for you to come to them in your own time).
In other words, you don’t have to sit around and wait until you feel your deities have come to you—you can meet them halfway.
Guided Meditation to Attune With the Goddess:
How to Connect With Your Wiccan Deity
Whether you feel the calling or not, there are things you should do to find patrons and foster your newly growing relationship.
Do Your Research
Read, read, and read some more to learn all you can about the Gods and/or Goddesses you think might be calling you. If you think you're getting a sign, look it up to see who it might be coming from. If you don’t feel a calling, this could be a good way to start figuring out the best road for you to take.
Starting with whichever pantheons catch your attention most is probably a good place to begin; then see which Gods and Goddesses jump out at you.
Avoid Oversimplified Neo-Pagan Books
You want to really acquaint yourself with Gods and Goddesses initially. Be careful of Neo-Pagan books that try to fit all Gods into one mold and all Goddesses into one mold. You’re better off reading ancient mythology books that deliberately remain vague so as not to pigeonhole any deities.
Avoid "Feel-Good" Versions of Myths
Also, beware of modern books that re-write myths to ‘whitewash’ them to make people feel more comfortable (this often happens with ‘rape myths’ or other myths that are particularly violent and sad). Some Pagan authors prefer feel-good versions of the old myths, but they’re missing the point. Sometimes the Gods have tough lessons for us that they convey harshly through myths—to change the myths is to change (and often lose) the lesson.
Gods are not meant to be human ideals for us to live up to; they are meant to help us learn something. Remember that the myths are symbolism and allegory; your Gods are not actually raping and killing. If a myth makes you uncomfortable, don’t try to avoid it—it only means there is a lesson there that you probably need to explore further.
Study Various Pantheons and Cultures
This requires more reading and studying, of course, but it’s necessary. Wicca is a modern religion, and despite what some shoddy scholarship will tell you, all Pagan religions are not based on that particular modern model.
Your Gods and Goddesses are used to being treated a certain way by the ancient cultures that revered them. You’ll want to uphold that expectation; if you were inviting a king or queen into your home, you wouldn’t want to offend them. You’d want to be the perfect host. Likewise, you want to be the perfect host if you are seeking a God or Goddess to come into your life.
Learn How to Revere Your Deity
You don’t want to make an offering of the harvest dinner that includes meat to a vegetarian Goddess. You don’t want to place something your God might find offensive on the altar. If your God is a warrior God, then embracing a life of pacifism and speaking out against war and violence is probably not a good idea.
To a warrior God, every time you call war ‘evil’ it’s like a slap in the face. Not that you have to become violent in your own life or that you have to be eager for wars—but if you can’t appreciate that war might sometimes be a necessary action, perhaps a warrior God isn’t for you. If you truly believe in pacifism, you should probably find a God that advocates pacifism instead of trying to twist a warrior God to fit your mold.
Talk (and Listen) to the Deities
If you feel called, begin praying to that deity. If you feel you wish to be called by a particular deity, pray to him or her. Pray for signs or more specific signs. Pray for answers to come to you. Invite them into your life and into your heart.
Meditate—they say if praying is talking to a God, meditation is listening. Try to hear through that ‘inner voice’ what it is they are saying to you.
Poll for Wiccans (Old and New)
How to Begin Honoring Your Deities
A relationship takes time to build; this is no different with Gods than it is with people. If you feel you’ve found the right Gods and/or patrons, you should begin honoring them.
Set Up a Shrine
The best way to start this is by building a small shrine and going to it daily. It doesn’t have to be elaborate: something to represent your God and/or Goddess (a statue, a candle, a stone, image, etc.), some candles and/or incense to burn during worship, and a cup or bowl for libations and offerings.
Go to your altar often—daily is best, even if only for 5 minutes. Say a short prayer, hold a moment of silence, make a simple offering (some milk, honey, a flower, dried herbs, a portion of your breakfast or dinner, etc.).
Celebrate Your Deity
You might want to find out if your God or Goddess is associated with any sabbat or has a special annual festival from the culture in which he or she originates. Celebrate it—do something special.
Again, it doesn’t have to be elaborate, but perhaps you could hold a ritual, go on a nature walk, have a feast, or make a special offering (such as donating food in the name of a harvest Goddess).
Be Patient and Practice Consistently
Keep it up! Books will tell you a lot about your Gods and Goddesses, but the only way to really get to know them is by making them a part of your life.