It's a very interesting idea, at least for me. Growing up in a Roman Catholic household, I never really found myself really connected to God. I was raised basically in fear and believed God maybe because I didn't know I couldn't. I've always felt very spiritual, though, especially around nature.
As I find myself reading about casting circles, daily devotionals, and Pagan philosophy and ethics, I wonder how it is for those of you whose patrons have made themselves known to you. Have you always had signs, or did one just out of the blue surprise you? Was it someone you knew all along, or was it the last deity you ever expected? I find it interesting, too that the deities that one finds as patrons are actually deeply connected on a personality and world-view level; if you tell me about your deity, you are simultaneously telling me about you.
So how did you find out? And when?
I grew up in a pagan household with my dad. HE never used the term pagan until I was old enough to study on my own and make my own choices about what I truly believed. He never labeled anything really. I didn't even know why easter was celebrated until I was a freshman in highschool. I was taught that it was about new life and growth. He didn't want to brainwash me. When I was 16 he gave me a few books and told me to read them and if I didn't agree or want anything to do with it he would understand. Once I read them everything in my life made sense.
I have spoken in forums before about Aphrodite showing herself to me in the form of a rabbit once when I really needed answers in my relationship with my husband and when I needed confidence in myself(sexually)(sorry if tmi). I never really thought of calling on the goddess of love and sex before but she showed herself to me and through doing some research I discovered the hare being one of her symbols. And as I continued learning I felt very deeply connected. I do have an altar set just for her. We talk quite often and I shower her delicious offerings to thank her for her time. IS he my matron/patron I would like to say yes. But truthfully I cannot. I continue to work with her and if she truly is my patron she will tell me that in some way.(or shape or form)
Apollo was the first god that I ever truly worked with though. In my novice days. LOL I needed some good fortune for school. I had a few classes that I wasn't doing the greatest in. SO I made this basic wheel of fortune out of a paper plate and golden thread I wrote my(hopes, wishes what have you) around the plate and I spun it around by the thread while praying to Apollo. I didn't have a lot of stuff at this time and I was still living at home so I made to do with some basic candles, water, feather and some potpourri from the store, the wheel I made and a piece of bread. It was a pretty good set up for a first time altar set up by myself. I was proud of it even though it didn;t look the greatest. I got the grades I wanted and passed the class. I had worked so hard but I needed the extra boost. :)
I am a sun sign and that reflects me a lot. I am the powerful lioness. I have loved lions since before I can remember. A lion walks with me always. I also feel very empowered to eat fruits and veggies and leafy greens that are powered by the sun.
Sorry this is a little out of order but I am writing everything I can think about this topic as they come to my head.
Growing up I was always surrounded by greek mythology books, as well as others. when I was nine I made a greek pantheon tree. I wrote the names of the gods and goddesses on paper and put three facts about them with their name and used yarn and connected them all in multiple ways. Husband, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter, friends, lovers, enemies, etc. It was so fun. I kept it on the back of my door for many many years. I spent a whole summer working on it. The funny thing was I did it all on my own. No one had any idea it was even there until weeks later. I did it for fun.
I have a whole shelf devoted to spirit. My lion that is. I have music box, a jewelry box, I even keep a stuffed lion that I took everyehere with me growing up in the back windshield of my car. I named him King. I have a small stuffed lion that my husband bought for me that I keep on the shelf and I have a scratch art that I made of a lioness and cub above our bed.
I could go on forever. thanks for the wonderful post. Look forward to chatting with you more.
Greetings, stagsforest, such an interesting question!
I'm not sure I can answer that for you really, not specifically, but I can share with you how it's been for me in the hopes something I say might help?
I "see" (feel) my main Sacred She as Gaia, the Earth, my Mother, my Goddess, and I "see" (feel) GreenMan, spirit of the forest, as my main Sacred He, my Father, my God. In that respect, they can't really be said to have found me, they are just always here, I came from them, and one day, I shall return to them...
Growing up as a very small child my family held an altar to the Goddess known to my people as Black Sarah, but I can't say I felt She ever really "found me." I have deep respect and affection for Her, I always will, but I sense any level of personal connection with Her to be somehow very remote. Almost as if we walk on completely different planes... difficult to describe...
I felt a strong connection to an Irish God who I understood to be called Lugh when I was about 10 or 12... I suffered awful night terrors at that time, and became really, really afraid of the dark... I believe it was Lugh (who I just seemed to know was somehow called "the shining one") who arrived and helped me to overcome all of that, back in the mid 1960's. I just felt his protection by my side as darkness fell. He made that which was hidden visible, and less of a threat. That is the only way I can describe it!
I further felt supported by Anubis back in the early 1970's when my beloved GrandMother passed to Summerlands... I was in bits by her passing, and felt afraid at first because this interaction, as I experienced it, was somewhat surreal and almost overwhelming... I'm not sure if that was the power of His energies coming into my life, or the level of my grief I was going through at the time, some of both I guess.
He was there for me again when the man I considered to be my Brother passed over, about 2 years ago. I was very grateful for that, His support couldn't have come at a better time. My legs turned to jelly at the funeral, I almost sank to the floor, and He, quite literally, held me up, and "planted" me in the pews, I kid you not!!!
I believe it was Aphrodite who came to my rescue in the late 70's when I was about to make what would have been THE biggest mistake of my entire life... I was about to turn my back on the love of a great man (and wonderful Father to my children) for another who just swept me off my feet... I made a wrong decision... to pack up and leave and start again elsewhere... on another continent... lured by the promise of Eastern exotic treats... However, She turned me around, "back from the brink," and I have had a very happy life as a result of that. I haven't "heard" from Her since, but I shall always remain very grateful for her intervention.
In the 80's I married into a family who held Spiritualists' beliefs, and through the chapel I was taken through a process called "emergence" by their inner circle, and introduced to the practices of scrying, and remote healing... I made connections with CocaMama and Airmid... both considered to be healing Goddesses. I still "work" with both of them today. CocaMama tends to help when the ailment is a one-off life threatening illness, or accident recovery, while Airmid is great with conditions which people tend to suffer all their lives... well, in my experience, that is...
In 2000 something happened that caused me to feel very hurt and very angry... I have no wish to go into detail, but it was pretty devastating and involved me being the victim of somebody with a very warped and twisted mind... who was totally jealous of me to such a degree that she tried to take my everything away from me by cruel deception... She ALMOST succeeded too... but by a stroke of luck, (or as I prefer to feel, the fates saw fit to inform me) I gained insight into what was happening just before it became too late, and I called for revenge, for karma, to take care of things... That's when Kali-Ma came whirling in, like a hurricane!!! And what a hard task mistress She turned out to be... I was 10 years in her service as a result. She kind of "had my back"... but She took me to some very dark places along the way, I can tell you! And so demanding. A high price to pay, indeed... but I would still say it was worth it in the long run! When Kali-Ma and I split company in 2010, it was as suddenly and as profound as when She arrived. I was left feeling quite cut adrift. Almost like a grief in itself, although relieved that I was finally "off the hook". In future, I will sure be careful what I wish for, that's all I can say.
After that I became attracted to Lord Ganesha... I needed personal growth, and He removed the obstacles which allowed that to happen... I also feel his approval when I start new ventures which is always very nice, and gratefully received.
When I hit menopause and came into my Cronehood a couple of years back, I found my lady Yemaya was there for me. A bit of a strange one that, I felt, pretty "random" really, considering She is known best for her support with pregnant women and young children... but we made a connection through the element of water... She is also known as a Sea Goddess, and I do so love the rivers and the ocean... Her laid back approach felt like I was somehow free-falling after the constraints Kali-Ma had forced me to endure for so long... It was like getting out of a sauna, and chilling in a luke warm pool...!
I guess what I'm trying to say here is it all depends on the circumstances one finds oneself in, and how "open" we are to the possibilities presenting themselves to us at the time, if that makes sense!
I hope my ramblings shed some light on that which you seek.
I grew up in a Lutheran church, however home life wasn't very religious - as it wasn't enforced at home, and my parents never attended Church with me. In most of my twenties, I considered myself a Rasta. Presently, I found a home in Hoodoo and Kemeticism, and ironically I intentionally avoided learning about either for a long time.
I have fluttered through many paths in my life time so far. That me writing about it, would quickly turn into a novel. So I will just jump into the question at hand. I am up to answer questions, if asked.
But basically, when the grips of an 'Abrahamic God', got it's hooks out of me, and I opted for paganism/witchcraft. My many years mingling myself in the pagan community and learning. I felt godless. It immobilized me so much that I couldn't put anything that I have learned TO practice, as I wasn't sure who to call on. All I know is, nothing felt right. Nothing made me feel comfortable. No deity screamed out to me. Appeal to me. I was on the verge of throwing in the towel, and leaving all this behind.
But of course that's when She makes Herself known. :P
And guess what?
She's always been with me. Right under my nose the whole time. I've always reverenced Her, in symbolism. With the Lion and the Lioness, pictured throughout my home. I have always spiritually walked some pretty big cats. The panther. The tiger. However the Lion(ess) is the most prevalent.
In Rastafari, the Lion is a big symbol. It represents the Lion of Judah (which is also used in Christianity and Judaism). The Defender. The Conqueror. The One that puts right all inequities. Sekhmet has these very same traits, and so much more.
As far as I see it; and there may be those who disagree, but it's my belief, that Sekhmet may have been absorb into Judaism, Christianity, but more- so Rastafari; who has proud roots linking their spiritual believes to Ethiopia - which at one time was once Egypt.
I'm sparing a detailed account in all that I have researched about linking Rastafari and Sekhmet, as that would turn into a whole other novel; a topic by itself.
But to answer your question. She was the last deity I expected, solely because she isn't a 'fluffy' goddess at all. Often times I was left asking "Why me"? I tred very carefully with Her though.
The next one is Thoth/Djehuty. He appeared in a dream, and told me to read the Emerald Tablets - which I really can't consciously account for where, how and if I have ever stumbled on this book in waking life. So that was pretty bizarre.
Overall, I don't call on these deities too much. As I'm a person who just likes to stay out of the Gods and Goddesses way. I usually work with ancestral and animal spirits, as well as the Saints and Prophets. Which many do come to me, but I'm very particular about getting to "know" the energies that I'm working with before I jump in feet first. So just because one beckons, or catches my interest. Doesn't mean I will automatically work with them.
It's been fun, reading everyone replies, and answering your questions.
I have studied Sekhmet as well but have never done much work with her. Maybe I should.
Thank you all so much for your replies! How fascinating and fulfilling!
I hope that I can one day connect with gods and goddesses... I have a very deep love for the forest. I love horses, dogs, stags, otters, deer... And all forest animals are beloved to me. When I was younger I was absolutely obsessed with whales and dolphins. Knew everything about them. Even know now, actually! Animals in general are all fascinating to me, but the forest creatures and horses lie close to my heart. I am also very close with dogs; they've always been calmed around me and liked me quite a bit, and I've always understood animal psychology as if it were part of my nature.
I've always wanted to call on Cernunnos or Epona, but I haven't felt ready yet. I want to do more research, dive deeper. Besides, I have a very anxious nature, and I don't think Cernunnos would like it. haha
Anyways, thank you to everyone again!!
For me it started with picking a new name to enter into Wicca this lead me on a research path of what my numerology was and then searching list of Wiccan names all of the ones I liked on the list did not match my life number of 5. I was kinda stuck and it was like something it me so hard it could not have been more obvious I read tarot cards a bit and for whatever reason the card that always represents me is the High Priestess this left me thinking I wonder if she had a name and craziness it the representation of Isis this however also did not match my numerology by sirius did the star that represents her. Anyways doing research with this I feel very strongly that she has been kinda with me for a while now. For instance i have been told my aura is purple which is where she falls on the spectrum of Charakas or my zodiac sign is Aquarius and in the deck that sign is the star with isis carrying the water. I will have to keep my third eye open to see if i sense her or another goddess but as of right now I feel very strongly it is her energy around me.
When I was 16 I was kind of starting to learn more about paganism. It started to help things make sense from things I have experienced. One day I walked into a book store to get a book about paganism. As soon as I walked in a kind slender brunette said "I know what you are looking for it's in the back." So I went over and started looking and she suggested a certain book which I no longer have :( but it taught me a lot.
Anyway I went to pay for it, I remember she had a little bird with her. She was talking to me about covens, to be careful who are in a coven with and also to be careful what you send out and things you mess with. She said there were numerous times where kids had messed around and released some bad spirits and she had to fix it.
She gave me a lot of advice and as the conversation was ending she looked at me and said invoke Diana she's really nice and she smiled at me. She told me her name and that she would be in every other Sunday at a specific time.
I went to go talk to her and when I went in she wasn't there. I looked over at the cage that was her bird's cage and instead it was a cage with chinchillas in it. I asked the people at the bookstore if she was in (I can't remember her name now because it has been so long.) But they told me no one works there by that name or had worked there by that name.
To this day I am unsure what I experienced but I think I was being reached out to. Ever since then I have learned more about Diana (also known as Artemis) I never did invoke her but have felt more connected to her. Just even knowing about who she is and what she stands for, she is someone I look up to and through a really hard time I had. It's hard to understand what exactly happened without me explaining what I went through but am too scared to talk about. But I remember crying in the bathtub saying over and over again "please don't let this happen, don't let it make this all worse. Please help me, help me." I sat in that tub for hours crying and repeating.
It didn't happen which was a miracle, I walked away unharmed physically from the whole situation and it made me feel like I had a second chance in life. I feel like I was heard and at a time that I wasn't really believing in anything. Since then I don't feel so alone.