I think I’ve written a bit about this before…but I am also lazy (and also currently very, very sick, for the record), so I’m not going to take the time to go back and try and link to any past posts, if they exist. I know they link by tags, so that’s a way to find them. Sorry lovely readers, but thank you for humoring my sick self.
See, a lot of pagans online write and talk about how they are devoted to or have a patron and (usually) “matron” they work with. — oh right. I have written about that before. I have a peeve about the term matron paired with patron, because that’s not the word they’re actually looking for, and their usage is false, and most get really titchy when you point it out to them. — Well. And I know quite a few people have a patron and patroness pair they work with. A lot of neo-Wiccans call them the Lord and Lady, or people pair up really common pairs, or odd pairs that they work with. I’ve seen Thor and Hecate together, or Cernunnos and Diana; Zeus and Hera, etc and so on.
I see a lot of online pagan advice people, whether on Facebook, Tumblr, or other platforms, that all espouse that it’s just a matter of time, and then you’ll find the perfect patron/patroness duo to work with; and that’s what makes a real pagan and defines deep pagan religious belief. Which I know for a lot of pagans, especially of neo-Wiccan persuasion that’s true, but not everyone needs this persuasion. And quite frankly, it grates that there is this baseline assumption that everyone has to conform and that at the end of our spiritual, religious journey, all pagans are going to end up with the dualistic male/female dichotomy that ends us up with 1 male patron and 1 female patroness. Oh, and all the articles, advice and utter claptrap about how if you just keep going on and on, and keep on pressing contact you’ll get contact and be able to talk to your patron and/or patroness.
Which needs to stop.
Because again, points against this:
- Not everyone needs patron, patroness, both, or even wants one at all.
- Not everyone can/wants to/will/seeks to have a godphone/means to speak/connect with/interact with deities.
Starting with 1 first:
Not everyone needs patron, patroness, both, or even wants one at all.
Now, I am admittedly not too terribly drawn to the feminine in spirituality or in religion. I don’t know exactly why, and admittedly I’m not too terribly drawn into the research of why right now. That’s a research topic for the future; when I actually feel like researching deeper into the probably familial and mental aspects on why I’m less drawn to female aspects on religious and spiritual fronts…but for now, I don’t care. For now, it just is. There are people on the gender spectrum at all ranges who are uncomfortable with the harsh heterosexual dichotomy that most neo-paganism sets up by forcing this “Lord and Lady”–you must have 1 male and 1 female that you always turn to for ritual and work paradigm. Some people just don’t relate to both extremes, or to masculine or feminine at all.
The point is–it’s a whole spectrum. And really; the whole duality of mass-produced, marketed and pushed neo-Wicca that insists that everyone needs 1 male and 1 female deity to worship and honor is just utter bullshit. It invalidates so many people.
So for example, I myself personally have no interest in a patroness at this point. I have never really had interest in one. Have I had interest in working with female deities and spirits? Yes. Certainly–and I will work with them. I am respectful, and believe in working with and honoring the deity or spirit best serving for the task at hand. If that is a female–great. I will work easily. However, I have no desire whatsoever to set myself up on a long-term, dedicated, worshiping relationship that is required of having a patroness. That is too much dedication and investment for what I am capable of, or want to invest. And I know that. I am not going to commit to something that I cannot fully honor. A patronage relationship is dedication; and I will not waste either my time, or a spirit/deity’s in something I cannot honor.
Now a patron; that I have considered. At this point in time–I have the same reservation. I have too little energy and time to dedicate myself to such an involved and long-term relationship. However, I would be willing to commit myself at a later date to a patronage with the correct patron god: on condition that I have more stabilization and more time and energy to dedicate to such a relationship. I just connect better to male gods than I ever have to female goddesses. It has always been this way with me.
And then there are those who just don’t want anything to do with gods at all. They are no less pagan than anyone else. It’s not fair to call them outside the pagan club just because they don’t have patron or patroness relationships. So lack of relationship or differing relationships are nothing to consider. Some accept the gods exist, but don’t deal with them. I know a few out there who only deal with their ancestors or local spirits. What place does a male/female duality have for them? Really–none. And it just serves to alienate those who don’t deal with traditional gods, too. Because there are those who deal with cthonic deities, or nameless ones. Some who create their own, or deal in archetypes. There are so many variations that it’s impossible to box everyone into a duality.
Not everyone can/wants to/will/seeks to have a godphone/means to speak/connect with/interact with deities.
My favorite long-topic, I think. Otherwise short titled as being head blind. Which I am completely such. I can’t even tell if a god or spirit is literally hitting me in the face with attention. So the advice that if you just keep trying you’ll eventually make contact and figure out who/what god and goddess are meant for you is really actually quite harmful. Not every person is meant to be able to speak with/hear or connect with gods and spirits. And that is fine.
We need to get that beaten into everyone’s heads in the pagan/occult/polytheist community. There is nothing wrong with not being able to contact. Even if you go through your whole spiritual or religious path or journey and never once personally see/hear/sense anything–there’s nothing wrong with that.
Hell, why does anyone think there were shamans, priests, oracles, priestesses, contacts, etc in ancient times? In ancient times most people would go to the specialist, who had contact with the gods/spirits. Your average Joe did not do anything themselves, the specialist did. You wanted contact with Perun or Veles, or Zeus? You went to the oracle or the priest. They did the ritual, contact, divination, whatever. You paid them with your service, money, or animals for sacrifice for the service they provided in contacting/working/ritual on your behalf to contact the gods or the spirits; you did not do the actual contact yourself. They did the work, told you what you did afterward, or what the result was. Basically, you did after care, after they did the big work for you. Sure, your average Joe might have a small ancestor or spirit shrine or altar in their home (example being a small appeasement to the house spirit domovoi in Slavic history)–but that was common sense; not a shrine in your house to Perun or Veles; that was done by your town/village specialists.
That’s the same way we work in the modern world. You need heart surgery–you go to the cardiac surgeon and he does it for you. No idiot Joe goes out and cuts his own chest open to do open-heart surgery if he thinks he’s having a heart attack or anything like that. It’s just now how things work in the real world (and by real world I mean the non-magical/religious/spiritual aspects for purposes of this discussion).
Specialists exist for a fucking reason, so there’s nothing wrong with people who can’t connect–or with those who actively choose not to connect. So this whole hullaballoo in modern paganism that every single person has to connect, or they’re doing it wrong is actually ridiculously laughable. And somewhat insulting. I’m all for modernizing ourselves and opening up and letting individuals make contact themselves. It’s great that those who in ancient times would have had to pay for services can do it themselves now, it really is.
But then again, now I get to see the same issue crop up every few months. It’s the same thing over and over: if you can’t contact the gods/spirits/whatever–then you’re doing something wrong, and you’re not a real pagan. Which is utter bullshit. Because not everyone is set up the same way. Just like not everyone can draw like Da Vinci or be as brilliant a composer as Tchaikovsky, not everyone is going to be able to connect spiritually. Some people cannot draw, some people will be head blind. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Each person has their own talents, and those are to be respected and honored.
Being head blind is a part of being a part of the community. And it is absolutely pathetic that I still see people online sweeping it around like it’s a phase that everyone will just grow out of.
So basically–if you want a patron and patroness: awesome. I know that for a lot of pagans they derive deep fulfillment from their connection with their patron, patroness or pluralities therein. That’s wonderful, and I hope that maybe someday down the line I can experience something of that fulfillment; should I ever advance any of my relationships with my deities past the current working relationships. Anything that deepens relationships in a way that is fulfilling and helpful, respectful and honest with the practitioner is to be respected.
However, the choice has to be made by someone informed and of their own volition. Not with the two-pronged nearly attack-like conditions that seem to prevail among the online pagan community. It cannot be the way it is now; wherein it is pressured that everyone must have 1 male and 1 female deity that they worship at all times, a set pair that is always together; and furthermore that this pair will easily come to them if they just “work hard enough” and the connection will come down to them.
Not everyone wants these relationships.
Some people prefer more work-business relationships with their deities; a quid-pro-quo style. Others make deep devotional ties with a single deity, or perhaps a whole pantheon, not just a duo. It is a personal expression that needs to be left open to the individual. We cannot press our individual ideations on “relationship” upon others–and that includes that neo-paganism will not be able to push that only the duality is the only right way.
Furthermore, reminders that being head blind is fine. We cannot forget that not everyone will have contact. Not everyone is meant to. This is also fine. It is something that needs to be given as reminder, because too often it is never said; more often is the advice just given that people divine further, or just wait for signs, or continue reading the notes to look for who they should be contacting. But sometimes, there is no sign. Sometimes, you really do hear absolutely nothing in return.
And in terms of picking whether you have a patron and patroness–either is fine. The choice is wholly individual. Which is what makes for interesting discussions within the community.∗