If approaching deity through a pantheon appeals to you, there’s a few things you should probably know before getting started. While you might have some ideas about which pantheon you want to work with, do you know how to address those specific deities? What about choosing your patron deity or deities? How will a pantheon preference affect your overall practice if you hope to join a coven later? Don’t worry, we can talk about all that and more!
Common Pantheon Questions Witches Have Starting Out
How do I pick a pantheon?
Picking out a pantheon is very individual. Odds are, if you’re choosing to work with deity through a pantheon, a specific one appeals to you already. If not, that’s perfectly okay. You can still work with a pantheon, especially if you want to! To pick out a pantheon, read a little bit of basic information regarding various options. Once you have an idea of what gods and goddesses appeal to you, I recommend researching the overall culture or history connected to that pantheon. Eventually, you should find a good combination that works for you, or simply ‘feels’ right.
Will my pantheon choice affect my ability to join a coven?
Each coven will have its own set of rules. When it comes to deities though, covens seem very accepting of various pantheon choices (or none at all). The one caution I have however, is to consider if your deities ‘fit’ the overall mood and atmosphere of your chosen or prospective coven. For example, if you’re looking to join a British Traditionalist coven, you may not find the Hindu pantheon a conducive choice. However, that is just my particular outlook… and I’m solitary… so there’s that!
I picked out a pantheon, now what?
After choosing what pantheon suits you best, you’ll probably want to research more about it. By this, I mean that you should probably see how your pantheon was worshiped prior. Are there any prayers you can find preserved by history? What kinds of offerings were made (if any)? Do your deities have particular correspondences? These questions will help you map out ideas for how to worship your particular pantheon, while still allowing you a personal touch in doing so. Again, you’ll probably want to keep notes in a separate journal or notebook.
What are patron deities and should I have one, maybe even two?
Patron deities are, in my view, a god and/or goddess that you connect with in particular. Another way of expressing it might be that patron deities are your specific guardians. Only you can decide if you should or shouldn’t have a patron deity. That said, don’t rush to have one! If a deity wants to be your patron, you’ll know. How will you know? Well, that’s where it’s a more intuitive and personal experience. Also, don’t be surprised if you discover more information about your patron deities than initially expected!
Wait, you can have more than one patron deity?
To me, the answer to this question is actually yes. Now, this is my personal opinion, so take it for what it is: my experience. For me, the concept of a patron deity refers to, more specifically, to a patron god and a patron goddess. This has an added dynamic of balance, as I’m a bit focused on that concept in my practice. The energies of a patron god can be wonderfully balanced by the patron goddess. Combining a god and goddess though can be difficult and challenging, but that’s okay. Be prepared to be surprised, and to perhaps work through a few personal lessons in the process. Ultimately, I think that’s how you know your patron god and goddess, they challenge you continually.
Alright, I think I have a patron deity. What do I do for offerings?
Again, this question is very personalized (based on which deity or deities you choose). It should be noted that offerings come in many shapes and forms. However, some witches commonly choose to offer their patron deities food, incense, flowers, milk, and much more. To choose an offering, consider first your deity. Many historical accounts describe offerings made. Can you adapt these to your current practice today? If so, consider how you’ll likewise dispose of the offering. Don’t hesitate to trust your personal intuition on this one either.
What about altars or shrines?
Odds are if you’re going to incorporate your patron deity (or deities) on your altar it won’t be as complicated as you imagine. Try adding symbols specific to your pantheon or cultural elements to the altar. For example, if working with the Norse Pantheon, you might consider adding Nordic Runes. When it comes to a shrine, try creating a special place you go to reflect on your deity. Altar cloths in specific deity colors, statues, offering bowls, candles, and more are quite common. Please keep in mind the atmosphere and specific needs of your household!
Is it possible to have an affordable shrine?
Deity statues are expensive, and I can understand the frustration on this. Supplies of any sort aren’t always easy to obtain either. However, there really is a subtle and discrete way to still have a shrine! The method I like (which I found suggested online) is simple and quite effective. All you need is a picture frame, a small table or stable surface, and the miscellaneous decorations for your deity (I prefer candles). To utilize this simple altar, print a picture of your deity (one you like), set it on the table framed, decorate with your other items until satisfied, and then consecrate the space. In all, the costs are minimal and it looks wonderful (plus it can be put up almost anywhere and it’s discrete).
Do you know of any free resources to help research pantheons and deities?
Yes! The first resource I can recommend is your local library (as it is completely free and books are usually available upon request). After that, I’ve found ThoughtCo’s website quite helpful. It’s free, and they have a ton of resource on various pantheons, offerings for deity, and other areas of witchcraft as well. The information does tend to be a bit basic, but it will help for initial research. Since I work with the Greek Pantheon myself, I can also recommend Theoi.com for those interested. Lastly, if you have time, you might want to try digging through sacred-texts.com. The site is a bit older, it’s difficult to search through (by some standards), but the information is free and yet, top quality.
There’s only one item left to address. For many witches, the idea of working with deities, especially entire pantheons, can be a bit overwhelming. I remember being afraid of ‘doing something wrong’ and angering a deity. Don’t worry too much about this. Pantheons are complex. Deities are complex. Your patron deities can and might change with time. The import thing, above all else, is simply being able to take the plunge and try. When it comes to deity, I don’t think one can fail. So, don’t be nervous! Go ahead and get started, you’ll be glad you did.