Witchery: Patrons and Deities




So a common trend amongst most forms of pop culture regarding witches involves satanism or devil worship of some variety, which gives witches and the practice of witchcraft a particularly negative connotation. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina for one built a whole series on satanic witches with very little basis in actual witchcraft and focusing more on sensationalized devilish adventures. So much so that the Church of Satan actually filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement over the goat headed statue in the show resembling their own statue of Baphomet.


The truth is, witches have always been seen as scapegoats for devil worship by religious institutions and blamed for all of the world's evils. In the Bible, passage Exodus 22:18 states, "Suffer not a witch to live", which is being used as justification for the death of several practitioners and innocent people. Even in the year 2020, people still treat witches as if they are either delusional or evil curse slingers, and in some regions are actively persecuted and their deaths prayed for. While this may be true for some, the number of "wicked witches" is extremely small. More importantly, not all witches are satan worshippers.


Realistically, most witches do not worship any one deity or another. Many practices do venerate a Lord and a Lady as symbolic figures for the holy masculine and feminine forces of the universe, and in some cases those figures are represented by specific deities. In other practices, there aren't even Lord and Lady figures but rather a divine other that symbolizes the chaos and power of the universe itself.


In modern witchcraft, some witches work with patron deities to perform their magic. A patron is a guardian deity, usually from an ancient pantheon, who serves as your go to for prayers or rituals and whom you would ask for favors in return for worship. Choosing one can be daunting: do you go for a tried and true classic like Hecate or Diana? How about one that fits my own historical background, like someone from the Celtic pantheon, if I'm Irish? One who aligns with what I want to accomplish with witchcraft like Hestia for homecraft, or Freyja for love?


Well...it's not really as simple as that. While entreating other deities for service or paying homage to them is a normal part of many neo-pagan traditions, it's not the same as having a patron deity.


Finding your patron can be a long and drawn out process, or it can be very simple. It varies from witch to witch and no two experiences are ever the same. Whatever path you might take, there are always precautions you should take in order to ensure your own spiritual and mental safety.


Cast your circle

As with most forms of bigger magic, always remember to cast your protection circle. Be very careful with your wording, as there are many beings and entities that are rule lawyers and will find loopholes in your phrasing to cause chaos (I'm looking at you, Fey...). Open yourself up to the wisdom of the higher planes. From this point, there are a couple tricks you can employ to open yourself up to receiving guidance from a patron.


Ask

One of the simplest things you can do is just ask if there is a being that wants to work with you. It may take some time and a lot of introspection, but keep your mind aware of signs that something might be wanting to contact you.


Tarot Spread

One method that I've seen used is to shuffle a tarot deck over and over, focusing your question out to the higher planes until a card falls out and very thoroughly examine the imagery for clues and repeat as necessary until you can put together a more cohesive story.


Watch for Signs and Omens

Are there suddenly more crows or other animals than you remember there being? More rainbows or weather phenomena that seem to follow you around? Maybe a specific number that you keep noticing? A recurring character or object in your dreams? Sometimes a large number of crows is an omen of a deity, or it could be that someone dropped a pizza. Keep an open mind and keep notes.


With luck, either through one or a combination the above methods, you'll make contact with your patron. Sometimes they might not work. Other times the patron will come to you, no further meditations or rituals necessary. However, a patron is not necessary to work your magic. Not every witch needs a patron on that same note. A patron may help some witches identify and connect with some aspect of the Universe, or connect with a side of themselves that may need bolstering or fine tuning.


From my personal experience, I kind of stumbled into my patron. When I first began to acknowledge my spiritual path, I began to notice way more crows than usual in my day to day life. Specifically, the same handful of crows that hung around my house, or loomed in the parking lot at work. I dreamed about a dark figure that flitted through the backgrounds, lurking, but never fully in focus. I spoke to my friends, specifically one who is acting high priest of his coven, and he mentioned that I may be trying to be contacted by a divine being to guide me on my journey.


So I did the above exercises. I cast my circle, - admittedly a shaky circle, given the fledgling witch energies - cleared my mind, and asked this shadowy figure to present themselves, while shuffling my tarot deck. I was using the Shadowscapes Tarot deck while I did so, and the 10 of Swords fell out.


Things became clear in that moment. Between the crows, the dark woman, and the imagery of the card, The Morrigan was trying to contact me. The night I accepted this fact and drifted off to sleep, there she was in my dreams, waiting for me atop a massive throne of steel and bone. She descended from the throne, placed her hands upon my shoulders, and smiled warmly. It was then I knew I had found my patron goddess.


Regarding your patron and yourself, the most important thing to remember is that you both serve each other mutually and beneficially. If the scales begin to tip towards one side or the other, then, like any other business arrangement, it may be time to part ways.

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