O Muse, grant me the eloquence to explain what I feel, think, and decide in my journey. And grant others the ability to make sense of the rambling.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Patron Deities, uh oh.

Disclaimer - Personal opinion below, not fact.

Something I've seen discussed a lot lately and not just in relation to Hellenic deities. There seems to be a lot of interest in Loki as far as Tumblr is concerned and I'm not going to go into his influence in this post.

Patron Deities: Are they a form of objectional devotion? is a small post written by Timothy Alexander that I found interesting, but not exclusively correct. Having started out with Wicca and Neo-paganism myself, I know where this focus on having a relationship with the gods comes from. In most of the books on the subject, you're told to pick a god and a goddess and venerate them. Which works if you're a soft polytheist in some regards, but if you approach this from a harder polytheistic attitude then you start to run into problems. Do you pick and choose one god and one goddess from the same, or differing pantheons? What if you don't identify with either or both gender aspects? As much as I once belonged to the eclectic ball park, this sort of blasé cherry picking annoys me a little. Sure, if a certain deity calls to you, then I can't argue with that but that's personal UPG.

But that is not the core of the issue, that would be the nature of this relationship with a 'patron' deity. Personally, I don't believe that I will be picked by some higher force in the universe and treated like a special snowflake, I just won't, because I'm mortal and there are a lot of us on this planet. Nor do I think it's especially polite to try and force that sort of relationship on a deity by trying to jump on the bandwagon.

From a Hellenic stand point, the gods historically gave their patronage to skills and trades, cities and heroes, and seeing as the Heroic Age is long over, then that last one I think would be extremely rare. As a writer/administrator technically my patrons could be either Apollo, Hermes or the Muses but they're not singular in their honours, so it would be hard to pin down one in particular. Plus, I don't feel particularly drawn to any. There's no muse of fiction, so it could be any, including Kalliope (epic poetry), Thaleia (comedy), Melpomene (tragedy) or Erato (erotic poetry).

Also not to say that there weren't select groups of people who focused on one deity in particular, there were hundreds of cults all over the period and Hellenic area. But cult worship takes a hell of a lot of time and dedication and a singular person cannot make up a cult.

I think that those of us who get the choice of what pantheon to worship have one picky decision to make and that's it. Who are we to narrow the field and only choose one or a few deities to offer worship to? Like I've mentioned before I don't think the rest of the pantheon would be particularly pleased with that and if one day you suddenly need help with your marriage, why would Hera choose to help you just out of the blue?

Many other people have said it before me but the gods are not your friends, they're not buddies to call up and chat with or to ask idle favours of. They deserve respect and I think it is disrespectful to pick and choose one deity you like the look of, but shun the rest of the family.

But to reiterate again, this is personal opinion and in no way do I blow off anyone who does have a so called patron/personal relationship with a deity. I'm not shoving my opinion down anyone's throat and how they can and cannot worship.

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