Let’s Talk About Patron Deities

An ever-common topic in the Paganism for Beginners subforum (and others) is ‘Help me find my patron deity’. Just right now, there are at least four of them out there on the front page. And they all seem to follow the same script: Newer pagan doesn’t have a patron deity, needs one badly. Is looking everywhere, can’t find one. Wants suggestions. More experienced pagan comes in and tells them that not everyone has a patron and they don’t need to keep looking. Newer pagan rejects this idea and keeps looking, to varying degrees of success. But why?

There have been numerous articles about Facebook having a negative effect on your mood; the theory is that since people only post the highlights of their life on their page, you start to see that as normal. It looks like everyone else is having more fun than you, doing more things, and often just being a better and more interesting person in general.

I’m seeing this same effect in internet paganism. We only talk about our most noteworthy experiences because everything else is, well, kinda mundane. And it’s created an atmosphere where it seems like every experience has to be mind-blowing and if not, it’s a failure. This causes newbie pagans to develop false expectations of what their spiritual experience should be like.

When the experienced pagan tells them that they don’t need a patron, it goes against everything they’ve read before. Everyone who has a patron is talking about their patron, and anyone who doesn’t have one is either lamenting their lack of one or just not talking. Even the person telling them they don’t need a patron has one! To the newbie, paganism without a patron is like many people’s idea of a vegetarian meal: a plate with an unfilled space where the meat should be.

Any thoughts?