c_korone (c_korone) wrote in pagan_skeptics,

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patron gods

Per special request in the last post, I thought I'd bring this topic up for discussion: Patron Gods. As in, 'My patron is Aphrodite. What's yours?'

Perhaps this is something that comes up more often in Recon communities, but perhaps not - I find that a great number of people, especially the new folks, seem to think that they're not 'proper' until they've established a 'patron relationship' with a particular deity.

Personally, I don't deny at all that this can and does happen. But the notion that it can and should happen for everyone, in this 'choose your own adventure' sort of way, I don't buy at all. The historical precedent for having a patron deity probably varies a bit from culture to culture. In ancient Greece, there were patron Gods for the various city-states (e.g. Athena for Athens), and different trades/professions also each had their official divine patrons. In addition, some families may carry on an inherited patronage (I believe this was also true in Rome). And sometimes, individuals may profess a particular fondness or closeness to one of the Gods - usually related to something they do in life, which was thought to be the gift of this God. As you see, a lot of this was based on local traditions, and involved a shared patronage within a group. Even the individuals who expressed a fondness for a certain god often did so in relation to what activities/symbols were already established as this god's province - so this was something they supposedly shared with others who pursued the same activities (e.g. a hunter who especially honored Artemis probably shared this with other hunters). In other words, it was an external connection - related to what you do, where you live, what family you were born into.

So how is this different today? Well, today I see some people thinking they need to choose a patron, almost as if they're choosing what color they look best in ('what deity goes best with this purse?'). Often there is a sort of mystical bent to the procedure (using meditations, divination or looking for omens, dreams, etc.), but it's colored by the idea that you must find your divine patron, and that when you do it will be a close, personal friendship. There is often more emphasis on the perceived personality of said deity, moreso than their gifts. It's as if people are really searching for the perfect companion.. or dare I say it, an invisible friend? This is not the same as honoring the divine parent of your craft, or the protector of your city, for obvious reasons.

What do you all think of the idea, and what is your experience if any?

EDITED to add emphasis on my point, which a couple may have missed. I am not making a sweeping statement that patron gods = bad/wrong/etc. This is not a black & white issue IMO.
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