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Jun. 19th, 2008 @ 02:05 am Patrons
The concept of patrons deities (or other divinities such as Daemons, spirits, ect…) is an interest of mine for some inexplicable reason. As such I was wondering if some of you wouldn’t mind answering these questions I have and perhaps spark a dialog on these topics as well.

1. How do you define the patron deity relationship within the confines of your individual path?
2. How do you feel the average pagan defines the patron deity relationship if it differs from 1?
3. What is your opinion on the place of the patron relationship within the greater context of both your path and paganism in general
4. Why do you feel patron relationships are popular within paganism?
5. Do you feel that this type of relationship is over emphasized, neutral, or under emphasized?
6. Do you personally have a patron deity, what type of relationship do you have with this “entity”, and how important is this relationship to you in your daily life.

I thank you for your time and thought ahead of time. Also if you feel you can only answer one or two of these feel free just to answer those or if you have ideas not relating to these questions as well. I want to gather as much information possible!

x-posted in various places, I apologies if you see it more than once.
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ieros:
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From:mdehners
Date:June 19th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
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1. How do you define the patron deity relationship within the confines of your individual path?
:I personally don’t have one. There’s points in the Lore that support having one as well as those that imply that focusing exclusively on a single member of the Regin is frowned upon.

2. How do you feel the average pagan defines the patron deity relationship if it differs from 1?
:Depends. Many, IMO haven’t done their “Kubler-Ross” on Monotheism and have simply gone from Following YHVH to Following _____, no matter how many God/desses there may be in their particular Way’s pantheon….

3. What is your opinion on the place of the patron relationship within the greater context of both your path and paganism in general?
:Depends on the Way. There are always going to be those Closer to you in ANY relationship but does your Way support or decry “monogamy”:>?

4. Why do you feel patron relationships are popular within paganism?
:See #2

5. Do you feel that this type of relationship is over emphasized, neutral, or under emphasized?
:I Feel it’s often Disrespectful of the other members of a particular pantheon. I Know with the 1st Heathen kindred I joined their was an Obsession toward Patronage to the point that both Regin and Folk relationships were stereotyped(Homemakers with Frigga, Gays with Freyr, folks with Occult leanings Odin, single sexually-active women with Freya, Cops with Tyr, etc). I was “told” who my Patrons probably were, even though I had little connection Emotionally and Spiritually to them. While I am close to a few, ALL are Respected and Honored. And NONE of those I was “supposed” to Follow are them. In fact, I was told Gays couldn’t Follow Redbeard…

6. Do you personally have a patron deity, what type of relationship do you have with this “entity”, and how important is this relationship to you in your daily life.
:Not really. I have Two that I talk most with, another Two that “pop” in occasionally…

Truth,
Pat
From:eretik
Date:June 19th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
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1. How do you define the patron deity relationship within the confines of your individual path?
Most heathens I know view the relationship as that of the deity as an elder, a teacher, a guide. Of course, the relationship differs from individual to individual, but this seems to be the most common, and the easiest way to describe it in general terms. When a heathen says 'patron deity', it is also usually implied that they are dedicated to or have sworn an oath of some kind to this deity.

2. How do you feel the average pagan defines the patron deity relationship if it differs from 1?
'Average pagan' is so very broad. :) I think perhaps the biggest difference is that heathens, when they dedicate themselves to a deity, it tends to be for life, while I have met many Average Pagans whose patrons will change, but of course this is not always the case.

3. What is your opinion on the place of the patron relationship within the greater context of both? In my opinion, the place of the patron relationship in heathenry is quite acceptable, as it is in paganism in general.

4. Why do you feel patron relationships are popular within paganism?
I think it's natural and common for people to be closer to certain deities than others. Some people assume it's the 'thing to do'...others genuinely feel moved to. It can be a comfort, or even an identity. It can give purpose, or maybe the gods just need more people to focus on them right now. :)

5. Do you feel that this type of relationship is over emphasized, neutral, or under emphasized?
I guess it depends on what tradition you're in. I think heathenism has made a lot of strides over the past decade, in that there are men other than Thor's men and Odin's men around, and women aren't only dedicated to Freyja or Frigga anymore. Just because you're dedicated to Odin doesn't mean you have to be a warrior-wannabe, or that you have to drink yourself under the table every night and be an obnoxious prat for Thor. I think, in the beginning, people were clamoring for patrons and it was expected, but now it seems there are more people that don't feel the need to dedicate themselves. Myself, I'm neutral on this subject. To each their own, really. If you feel the need, that's wonderful. If you don't, that's cool, too.

6. Do you personally have a patron deity, what type of relationship do you have with this “entity”, and how important is this relationship to you in your daily life.
Yes, I do. The relationship has been extremely important to my development as a person and is something that not a day goes by that I don't think about, even just a little. It is a huge part of who I am and I know I would not be the same person if I hadn't taken an oath to my god those years ago. However, I don't believe this has stopped me from developing relationships with other deities in the Norse pantheon.
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From:raistlynn
Date:June 19th, 2008 07:02 pm (UTC)
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1.) How do you define the patron deity relationship within the confines of your individual path?

I really can't cover anything that hasn't already been stated for this.

2.) How do you feel the average pagan defines the patron deity relationship if it differs from 1?

I don't want to speak for everyone, but the people that I know, I think see a Patron as stated by eretik states, as in a guide, teacher, and have sworn an oath to said deity. (If this differs, I don't know about it:)

3.) What is your opinion on the place of the patron relationship within the greater context of both?

My opinion on this is that if one calls you, or shows an interest in you great. If not, that's fine too. I've read where people don't feel called or even want such a relationship. I don't think having a Patron is a bad thing or disrespectful to any other deity.

4.) Why do you feel patron relationships are popular within paganism?

I think having a patron is popular, because it gives someone a connection, a sense of belonging or 'coming home'. It's like having a friend or friends.

5.) Do you feel that this type of relationship is over emphasized, neutral, or under emphasized?

I haven't seen this relationship in any of the 3 contexts given. A lot of people seem to have a patron, there are those that don't, and I certainly haven't seen anyone say anything bad about if a person doesn't have one.

6.) Do you personally have a patron deity, what type of relationship do you have with this “entity”, and how important is this relationship to you in your daily life.

I do have a person patron deity. He is not one I would've ever chosen personally, but looking back on my life and things that have happened, it makes so much sense. I gave him my oath 2 years ago and have never regretted it. Like eretik mentions, 'It is a huge part of who I am and I know I would not be the same person if I hadn't taken an oath to my god those years ago.' My relationship with my patron is very important to me in my daily life. There are certain things that I do and use in honour of this relationship. I also have a small 'team' from the Norse that I work with a lot, but I do honour others that catch my interest.
From:boars_heart
Date:June 19th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
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1. How do you define the patron deity relationship within the confines of your individual path?

Nonexistent. There is no such relationship/function in early, pre-xian heathenry as my ancestors practiced it, or as I reconstruct it. The closest parallel is the fulltrui, or "fully trusted one" relationship the Cult godsmadhr maintained with the locally favored deity on behalf of the community . . . a relationship maintained through gifting and sacrifice.

2. How do you feel the average pagan defines the patron deity relationship if it differs from 1?

I would imagine the "average pagan" defines it pretty much exactly as Wicca does, just as the average heathen defines it re: Harry Harrison's Hammer & Cross trilogy, from which mainstream Asatru ganked it back in the 1990s.

3. What is your opinion on the place of the patron relationship within the greater context of both your path and paganism in general

See #1 and #2.

4. Why do you feel patron relationships are popular within paganism?

Honestly? Because a certain type of individual likes to feel they're "special" and has been conditioned by 1000+ years of draugrtru influence to believe in the efficacy and desirability of a "personal relationship" with deity.

5. Do you feel that this type of relationship is over emphasized, neutral, or under emphasized?

Overemphasized pretty much everywhere outside reconstructionism, but thankfully beginning to be outgrown within heathenry.

6. Do you personally have a patron deity, what type of relationship do you have with this “entity”, and how important is this relationship to you in your daily life.

See #1. I do, however, have a fulltrui oath with Freyr, and take it quite seriously. My feeling as a Norse Folktru Recon is that the next logical step in the reawakening of heathenry is the revival of the local Cults, and I'm taking one for the team. *G*

~Boar

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From:madrun
Date:June 20th, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC)
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I've been pondering my answer to this since yesterday, but I was afraid I would pissoff too many people with my unpopular views.

And now I come back and check comments, and just about everything I wanted to say has been said by others. Especially "Honestly? Because a certain type of individual likes to feel they're "special" and has been conditioned by 1000+ years of draugrtru influence to believe in the efficacy and desirability of a "personal relationship" with deity." from boars-heart and ":Depends. Many, IMO haven’t done their “Kubler-Ross” on Monotheism and have simply gone from Following YHVH to Following _____, no matter how many God/desses there may be in their particular Way’s pantheon…." from mdehners.

Maybe my views on this aren't as unpopular as I thought, at least within the recons.

I don't have a "patron" deity. I regularly pray to five deities and have home altars to four. Those could change if my needs change, or my situation changes and I become involved in radically different things, and need help in different areas.
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From:alderwounds
Date:July 2nd, 2008 07:16 am (UTC)
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Just to comment, patron gods are described in Norse paganism: Þorgerðr Hölgebrúðr and Irpa as patron goddesses of the rulers of Hålogaland are an obvious example, Freyja helping Óttar in Hyndluljóð due to his dedication to her is another example. Of course, modern "I didn't choose Loki - he chose me - and he is so hot" internet posts are a different, sad story.
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From:_the_coyote_
Date:August 4th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)
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Sorry, I know it's late, but I just gotta say something about this.

1. Okay, so, in most Mesoamerican cultures, Aztecs included, the idea of divine patronage is very well established. "Priests" (to use that term in it's English understanding is a little misleading, hence the quotes) tended to be dedicated to one deity in particular and had specific functions. Those who weren't still had specific functions, often overlooked by a specific divinity. Clergy in general (and boy, was there a lot of it) was under the patronage of Quetzalcoatl, however not every priest served the Feathered Serpent directly. Not only were God Keepers usually dedicated to one specific deity, but other individuals could be, as well, based on their place in society. Tezcatlipoca was the patron of rulers so, naturally, you find a lot of Tezcatlipoca related prayers and imagery in relation to the upper class. And then there are several primary sources that discuss your typical household altar, which would always include an image of Tezcatlipoca along with representations of the family's personal patrons, Whoever they may be. There are a lot of stories about one deity in particular hand picking a normal person for some important task, and, in the general belief system, it was possible for this to happen to anybody. So, for Aztec stuff, patronage comes in two forms: 1. You're called into that deity's service, or 2. You have said patron because of your role in society. Either way, it's not that it makes you special (the pantheon has no power structure in particular), rather, it just defines how you fit into the universe. And to Mesoamericans, everything and everybody has a place. It also doesn't mean you go on ignoring the other deities in the pantheon, or that your patron will give you special treatment.

2. I think your average pagan doesn't understand what the idea of "patron" means. Often, I see people say that they have several patrons, and it always sounds like they played pick and choose with whoever sounded coolest at the time. Very rarely have I seen such individuals attempt to develop a true patron/follower relationship with a deity.

3. For my religion, having a patron dictates how you approach that deity as well as others relating to that deity. For example, if you're dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, most likely this will influence how you conduct worship of Tezcatlipoca if you're even allowed to at all. Also, some sort of patron relationship is eventually going to develop for an Aztec Recon just because of something a simple as what you happen to do for a living. I'd like to say this would carry over into general paganism, but I haven't seen such to be the case. Often, people declare a patron and then do nothing about it. What's the point?

4. Patron relationships are popular for the reasons everybody else already said; It makes people feel special. How cute?

5. I think it's over emphasized in the general pagan population, especially since not all cultures have a concept of "patron". Your average practitioner, in most cultures where such exists, might go through different patrons at different parts of their lives depending. I also don't see why patron monogamy, so to speak, isn't more prevalent if these deities are so important to you.

6. Yes, I have a patron, though that word, in itself, isn't very complete. It's more like I'm owned property and it means that I have religious obligations to Him every day, including copal burning and autosacrifice, and even more involved obligations during ritual months dedicated to Him. Does this mean I go ignoring the rest of the pantheon? Nope, not at all. While my patron has His own altar because of the capacity in which I serve Him, I have a more general, household altar that I use for other Teteo, like what your average Aztec would have had. I have close relationships to several other deities in my pantheon, and I even worship some deities I don't particularly get along with because it's my place as a human. What it means is that I have more to do for one of Them in particular than I do for the others, because it's my place.
From:ursus_of_unrv
Date:December 21st, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
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If "patron" is understood as elevating a deity above the rest in terms of cultic devotion, Greek and Roman religion certainly had this understanding. Individuals, families, clans, professional organizations, city-states had patrons.

Now if someone claims that they have a very special relationship with a deity that gives them very special powers and insights, and a special destiny to play in the affairs of humanity or a special role to play in a religious community, we can rightfully be skeptical. But aside from this posturing, the patron concept is NOT a hangover of Christianity, at least in Greco-Roman religions.