What I love about writing my blog: people ask me amazing questions that make me think. I need more of this! Lovely Cupcake Witch asked me the other day about discovering Patron Deities, and in answering her, I figured out that I had a lot more to say than the lengthy reply I was in the midst of creating.
It’s obviously no secret that I am completely dedicated to my Hestia, my Patron Goddess. Innately, I am a person of hospitality, home, service, and family. These things are very important to me. I am also “Complete in and of myself.” I like having my husband around…and I really do love him a lot; but we were a military family for an inordinate amount of time and he was gone more often than he was around. I choose to have him in my life…but I honestly don’t *need* him (in an overly independent, “I can do it myself” kind of way). Given my choice in life, I would rather make a wonderful home, cook meals, tend a garden that would feed my family for a year, and do all other sorts of domestic stuff. By choice I carry water and snacks in my car for the homeless in the brutal Central Texas summers; in the winter I carry hats and scarves that I’ve been making all year;…and I’ve been known to assist humanity in every way possible.
Okay, so what does that have to do with my Hestia? A lot, actually. She and I “fit”. Our world views are the same (hearth, home, family, hospitality). She has things to teach me, such as patience and tolerance (which I need at times…especially living where I currently am), and has made me a gentler person (yes…I’m extremely prone to being blunt).
But how did I find Her and devote myself to Her? While the women in my family followed her and honored Her, it wasn’t a necessary requirement (my daughter is a Buddhist and doesn’t follow our ways). At any point I could have walked away, could have changed direction, could have found another deity to work with…and I did explore or a while…but nothing felt as right as Hestia did. You can read more about how She came to me in this blog post.
So how can you discover your patron deity? It’s definitely not easy if you’re an Instant Gratification Person. It takes time, a lot of soul searching, and self-examination. Plus, there is growth as a human being, so your original God or Goddess may not be the one who attends to your Path your entire life…and that’s okay. Deities may pop up while you are going through certain stages in life…and that’s okay, too (if you recall, I had Ganesha come knocking at my home because we are currently in a state of uncertainty, challenges and obstacles).
If I were first starting on my Path and seeking Deities with whom to work or dedicate my life (I don’t recommend that until you are firmly entrenched and settled in), I would do the following:
- Lots of honest soul searching. Who are you? What are your strengths, flaws, goals? Write it down! Journals are awesome. Make lists (I’m a list-loving woman).
- Who do you want to be in life? How do you want others to view you?
For these sections, here are some ideas: compassionate, giving, caretaking, honest, grounded, short-tempered, impatient. Think adjectives! Grab a thesaurus and go to town. Be honest.
- Begin to live and make the changes you want in yourself. No Patron Deity required. Live what you desire (and, no, you’re not going to be perfect every day; you’re a work in progress).
- Learn to meditate. Do it. Every. Day. Yes, I am well-aware that seems to be the answer to everything from many pagans. People recommend it, but no one tells you how to actually do it! This is one reason why I really want to pay the premium price to keep my blog going. I can teach you to do this! I must find a way to make this happen. In the meantime, I highly recommend an app for your phone called Insight Timer (and it’s free! Woot!). There are thousands of guided and unguided meditations. There is also a series on there called 20/20 Meditation for Peace by Michelle Zarrin. This is the perfect 20 day series to help you learn the science and art of basic meditation. The entire goal is to be present in that state of calm and peace when your crazy brain isn’t thinking 50,000 thoughts at once. Also, look to see if your local Buddhist temple teaches basic meditation classes. This never occurred to me until last week. My Buddhist daughter really would like to learn meditation — but she has a crazy monkey brain that doesn’t focus…and she sure won’t listen to her Mom! Then I discovered a Buddhist Temple an hour and a half south of me is holding a class this Friday. We’re going! My daughter is super excited.
- Once you’re on your way and know the basics of meditation, practice it. And while you’re practicing, do some reading on the side. Examine what deities are out there. Don’t feel you have to be constrained and use the common ones out there. Don’t pick someone really “out there” just because you think it’s cool. The Pagan Path isn’t made to look cool; it’s made to bring you to the fullest potential of who you can be.
- When you feel you’re ready (this could be 6 months to a year…no lie! I told you this was a lengthy process and not meant for Instant Gratification People!), begin to ask for guidance at the start of your meditations. Don’t focus on any one individual deity. Someone will come to you (or in a dream!).
The key, I have found, is being rooted in a meditation practice that is grounded and centered…not to mention being patient. Although I had been practicing with Hestia for decades, it has only been in the past 10-15 years that my complete purpose has been intensely and seriously revealed (and I’m going to take this straight from my Return of the Prodigal post): “to not only spread the ideals for which She stood, but for the work I would be doing in the near future which would require those Hestian skills of home, nurturing and hospitality that I had not made time for (I was surprised She didn’t say I had abandoned them). She assured me that patience would come (as I can honestly say that patience was never my first virtue….more like my 100th); that I was an asset; that the generation after me needed my guidance and show Her worth.” In the past 3 years it has become my life’s work. Who knew? I guess I can thank Texas for that!
I wish you the best in finding your Path…and, above all, be kind, be gentle, practice true hospitality
Blessings from the Hearth.