Miss Kat sees way too many new people and sometimes more experienced ones in the Craft frantic to obtain a relationship with a personal deity. (She was going to call them patron deities but a respected elder said personal is a better term.) People obsess over this like they are afraid they will be the last chosen kid on the playground. Chill out! You will be fine. You can go many years in the Craft and never ever have an experience with deity and indeed some never have one and it is okay.
It’s rather like looking for the perfect soul partner and it is something that should not be forced or you could find yourself in some interesting consequences. This includes taking a God or Goddess for a magickal or Circle name. This leads to the year of living dangerously if you ask me. Miss Kat can think of several examples of this practice where it has gone way wrong. For instance, women who take the name Kali without thinking awhile about it and wonder why their life goes to hell in a handbasket, Well Duh! What were you thinking???
Another instance was one of my students who took the name Hestia, Goddess of hearth and home, and ended up housebound for a year. And last but not least, my first co-teacher in my first Wicca 101 classes. She took Lakshmi and gained weight like crazy. Not surprisingly, Lakshmi is a Goddess of plenty.
Be careful what or whom you wish
for, you may get it.
Miss Kat never had an experience with a deity until she was at least 10 years into the Craft. She felt sooo left out. She’s glad she waited because the experiences she’s had since have been so meaningful that she would not trade them for anything. But she also had to deal with the images of a Judeo-Christian god she was raised with first or the idea of the great Oneness that may indeed exist but is sometimes hard for a person in need to deal with. If human beings invented deity we did it for a reason, sometimes it is nice to call on someone bigger than us like a celestial parent of teacher. It’s nice to have someone else to talk to after you’ve driven your friends crazy.
Calling a goddess or god to talk to is different than having a personal deity. A personal deity will usually come to you and makes themself known to you in a dream or a stressful situation.
Calling a Goddess to a Circle is something we do to honor Her. We are asking to work with Her for a specified time period and when the Circle is over She leaves. Having a personal deity is a lifetime or long-term relationship. They hang around for awhile.
My first time was surprising and wonderous and I still have trouble talking about because these experiences are intensely private. And I’m not going to describe the exact encounter because it was so private. It was not someone I expected. Indeed if a deity had ever shown up I was sure it would be a Goddess. Up to that point I had been Dianic and while not a stomping, obnoxious, separatist like some I knew. A God was the last thing I thought I needed. I was wrong and I should have known better. Images of this deity had been appearing to me for years. I love gardening. I have ever since I was a child and even when things were frightening or painful knew I could talk to a tree and it would listen.
One night this Being showed up and He spent the night and I have never felt so loved or cared for or protected before or since. I know we talked and I know there were some initiatory aspects involving water but there are great chunks I don’t remember and I kept waking up and going back into the dream with wonder. Who showed up? The Green Man. And it’s a night I will treasure for the rest of my life even if He never shows up again but I hope He will. He showed up when I was dealing with some male issues from childhood when I didn’t feel safe. He made known to me the aspects of a loving protective male parent that I had missed as a child and healed a very hurt child. It’s something I will carry and cherish but it does make you stick out in a feminist group. And I still am the only priestess in our Temple of Isis group that is ordained to a God as well as Goddesses.
But I don’t think I would have had this experience if I had not been open to it. I have had dreams of another God since who is not my patron. I asked Him why I always had Gods in my dreams and His reply was that I was the Goddess and they didn’t need to come. That took me by surprise and woke me up in shock before I went back to sleep and back into the dream. These kinds of dreams are also the only dreams I’ve ever had that were fully interactive. I couldn’t direct the action but I could walk and talk and be fully me.
When I have had contact with Goddesses the interaction has been intensely practical, little things like saving my life. For years I had had a statue on my dashboard of Kwan Yin. I mostly bought as a protective car amulet. A bunch of us were in a tourist trap in Ports of Call and were goofing around. I had brand new car and there was this little plastic fake jade figure next to the Jesuses and Marys for the dash and I bought it and put it on my car. Many years later a woman ran a red light and hit me broadside and I rolled the car three times coming down upside down and taking two large divots out of the asphalt. But I knew I was going to be okay because as I started to roll I heard a female voice. The voice said, “Stay still and you will be fine”. Not having anything better to do I hung on to the steering wheel and somehow relaxed. When the car stopped rolling and time started again I got myself out of the car very slowly. I didn’t even hear the man screaming at me to get out because the car was smoking. The car was crushed and the sidewalk curb crushed the top of the car where my head was. Every window broke but my driver side window and every seat came unbolted except mine. I had a big “who’s on first?” type of argument with a policeman at the hospital later about who had gotten me out of my car. He wouldn’t believe I got myself out of the car with no help.
I had people yelling at me when I got out that I must had my neck broken. I even had an argument with the paramedics about it that I lost. I still ended up on a backboard, heart monitor, neck collar and oxygen. They never told me the top of my head was bleeding, sheesh. I was very bruised and concussed but other than that no broken bones which the ER doctors could not believe. The tow truck drivers the next day couldn’t believe it when I showed up to clean up my car. They kept saying, “you were in that and you aren’t in the hospital?
My coven sisters showed up at my car by chance (?) about 10 minutes after it happened on their way to work and the fire dept kindly told them I was alive and where I had been taken. They assumed I was dead because every firefighter was standing around the car staring at it, which tends to be what they do when they are waiting for the coroner. When they showed up in the ER I burst into tears because I hadn’t had a chance to call anyone and I looked up and there my beloved sisters were.
But when we cleaned out the multitudinous crystals and other protective spells in the car we found my statue of Kwan Yin but she was missing something, her head.
I do like the practicality of Goddesses. I have had other experiences with aspects of the Goddess. Not as violent but just as practical.
So, my suggestion on patron deities is too wait and see who shows up. If you don’t like them you can always ask them to leave. It is a two-way relationship, you know. You do get a say in it.
From – Miss Kat’s School of Genteel Witchcraft
Stone of Destiny commented on my post about the Cailleach that we didn’t know whether she was a goddess but I think we do know an awful lot from Scots folk sources and tales which tend to have kept a lot alive.
I went back through all my pre-80’s sources of folk writings and tales and I didn’t find a single reference to Cailleach as a goddess but several as a spirit of place which in the case of Scotland is a being that is a member of the Fae tribe. The Cailleach is peculiar to Scotland and surely some source in a folk tale or folk memory would have named her a deity if she indeed existed as such. The Scots treat deity entirely different that they treat the Fae. There is not worship or reverence for the Fae as there is for deity or saint like Bride and there is mention of spirits that are feared but not worshipped and that is the chief distinction between fear and worship. God is worshipped, The Fae are feared and propitiated and detoured away from if possible.
And I did finally find mention in the Silver Bough – Scottish Folklore and Folk-Belief; Volume one by F. Marian McNeil published in 1957 and I find this one of the most creditable ones. In a chapter called Fairies, page 199 under Traces of Animism.
“Besides the fairies, the trolls, the banshees, and the sluagh, there are many supernatural beings in Scottish folklore. Traces of the old animism linger in the tales of the Fomorians (Gael:Fomhairean) the giants whose seats are certain mountain peaks, and who flings boulders at one another, and the Cailleachan or stormhags, who together represent the elemental forces of nature, particularly the destructive aspect; in the names of “Nimble Men’ and “Merry Dancers’ given to the darting streams of the Aurora Borealis; in the legends of river spirits; and in the tradition of the Blue Men of the Minch.
Many a mountain has its Cailleach. The Cailleach nan Cruachan for example dwelt on the summit of Ben Cruachan. ‘When anything ruffles her temper, she gathers a handful of whirlwinds and descends in a tempest, steps across Loch Etive at a stride, lashing it into fury, and prevents all passage at Connel Ferry.’
Many a river, too has its spirit. ‘Glen Cuaich, in Invernessshire, writes Professor Watson, ‘is-or was till lately-haunted by a being known as Cuachag, the river sprite. The tutelary sprite of Etive is Eiteag; a man of my acquaintance declared he knew a man who had met her in Glen Salach –after a funeral… In Ross, “Cailleach na h-abhann,” the river hag was dreaded at the fords of the river Orrin.” And it goes on to talk about the Blue Men of the Minch.
Notice the language is always about the Fae and is a lot like the Irish speech of the banshee at fords and waters. Never is she treated as deity.
I refer to sources before the 1980’s because after that we have the incestuous new age publications that love to refer to each other and not to actual folk writing and collections like McNeil or Alexander Carmichael since I can’t raise my grandmother from the dead to ask her. Celtic deities usually start as more human in guises like heroes and do heroic acts more akin to human. The Fae have no desire to do human acts and are not treated as human ever that I can see.
I maintain the Cailleach is not a goddess but a spirit of place and a member of the Fae.