scar-lip-deactivated20120709 asked: I apologize if this is the wrong person to ask, I'm supremely new to this.
You said that Athena is your patron goddess- how did that happen? I've read some things saying that patron deities choose you, not the other way around, how can you tell if one has or encourage one to?
Thanks for the awesome question!
This is a really complex topic and I don’t pretend to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but here are some of my thoughts on the subject:
I don’t think there is any one right or wrong way to find a patron goddess or god. Some pagans chose a deity that they feel an affinity for, or some would say that they feel the specific goddess or god chose them. Everyone is different, for some it might take a lot of work and searching to find energy they connect with, for others it might be quite easy.
It’s also worth noting that patrons can change over time, you may have a really intense relationship with one deity for awhile and then it peters off. Conversely, it’s also possible to simultaneously have more than one patron.
It also really depends what you believe in. Some pagans see all gods as different manifestations of the same universal energy. Others see each deity as completely separate and its own entity.
In any case it amounts to same thing in the end. By having a patron goddess or god you are making a commitment to pursuing, working at and maintaining a relationship with that deity (or energetic pattern).
In my case, I’ve felt a connection and pull toward Athena since childhood. In one way or another symbolism relating to her kept popping up in my life. So that was the start of this relationship, but it has developed over time as my practice has grown. When I had my formal initiation rite, the name given to me was one of Athena’s epithets. That really solidified the relationship and signalled the beginning of my formal commitment to her.
I get a lot of my spiritual guidance from dreams, so that was also definitely a factor in my decision to dedicate myself to Athena. She appeared in a series of dreams I had and I knew that was her way of inviting me to follow her on this path. I think you always have free will, you can choose to accept the offer being put forth, or to reject it.
If you are at all skilled with lucid dreaming, it’s definitely worth trying to set the intention of meeting with deities you are interested in working with, or who are interested in working with you.
You certainly don’t have to dedicate yourself to any deity the first time you work with them, like any relationship it needs to be cultivated over time. More than anything, you need to commune with the deity you wish to work with in ritual space. Invite them to witness your rite, do an evocation, maybe work up to an invocation if you feel comfortable with that idea. Make offerings to that deity, don’t just ask for petitions or help. Light a candle in the deity’s honour. Meditate on the energy you are trying to reach within circle or in ritual space.
You could also try building an astral temple. (For an invaluable explanation of how to do this read The Art of Psychic Protection by Judy Hall.) This take time, but once it is established, if there are any deities who want your attention they could show up for a chat.
You could also try using forms of divination, e.g. tarot, runes, scrying - whatever you connect with in order to find a patroness.
Whatever you decide to do, keep detailed notes of your experiences. If your dreams, or divination doesn’t make sense at first it might mean doing some more reflection or research into the layers of symbolism you have encountered. If no deity that you currently are aware of is jumping out at you, do more research corresponding to the symbols and signs you are coming across and see who they correspond to.
I hope this helps!