A tutelary (also tutelar) is a Spirit or Deity in the position of a guardian, patron or protector of a particular place, geographic feature, person, lineage, nation, culture or occupation in polytheistic or animist religion. Both tutelary and tutelar can be used as either a noun or an adjective. An analogous concept in Christianity is the patron saint, or to a lesser degree, a guardian angel.
The term 'Patron' actually refers to the connection one has to a God and the term 'Matron' to a Goddess, however it is considered acceptable to use the term 'Patroness' to refer to a Goddess or simply 'Patron' to refer to any Deity to whom one has pledged oneself.
The concept of patron deities is not unique to any particular tradition or faith, but neither is it universal to Paganism. Essentially, it is a statement of what aspect of divinity an individual relates most closely to, and has far-reaching implications for one's spiritual practice and day to day life. It is not a topic to be approached lightly.The concept of Patron Deities, that each individual should serve primarily one deity, is found in some ancient cultures, but not all of them. Specifically, it has a Graeco-Roman base, and a parallel in Egypt where each nome, or province, had its own primary deity and mythos. It was a less prevalent concept in other cultures, such as Norse or Celtic. There, an individual might have a particularly close relationship to one deity, but this was not always the case.
For most Pagans their Patron Deity is not some far off, unconnectable entity in the sky. Thie Patron (Matron) is a being that they have a strong personal relationship with. This is who they call upon most often when doing rituals and spells, if they practice magic within their beliefs.
Pagans do not choose their Patron Deitiy rather they choose you. From the time we are born the Gods notice us, watch over us, and play a part in our lives. For those who find themselves drawn to practicing a religion with as much involvement as Paganism often find that the more attune they become in their practices the more they find a particular energy infusing the Rituals. Often this is the first sign many Pagans recieve that a Patron has chosen them.
Many Patrons put their Chosen ones through tests, often these tests are difficult, emotional and feel like they are make to break us. However they should not be seen as a way of making sure we are 'worthy' but rather than we are capable of working within the energies that our Patron will bring into our life.
Some Deities are not shy about making their Chosen aware of their exsistance, others are more mysterious, much of this depends upon your Patron. My Patron the Morrigan is not generally known for her subtlety, however it still took me quite a lot of time to realise Who was watching over me.
What can sometimes confuse the issue is that other Deities may make their presence known throughout your practices who are not your Patron, but have chosen to lend you their energy for a time. Often you will find this happening when you are in a particular situation that requires these energies, for example you may find the energy of Diana very strong in your life, if as a woman you are experiencing a need to connect with your own strength and ability to look after yourself. This does not mean Diana is your Patron, just that She has chosen to aid you through this time.
Your Patron's energies are with you always, they are a part of WHO you are, your strengths (and weaknesses) and even i you choose NOT to devote yourself to them as Priest/ess they will continue to watch over you.
There are many ways that a patron relationship can form. This event is intensely personal and is never the same for two people.
However there are many ways one can go about attempting to connect to one's Patron Deity.
Even though you do not know Who your Patron Deity is, you can have faith in two things: one, that your patron exists, and two, that your patron knows who YOU are and will be by your side watching over you and guiding you on your Path.
Generally connecting to your Patron doesn't come from an easy set of steps, but rather from a combination of practices which may include, belief, faith, ritual, meditation, research, self reflection, open mindedness, awareness and the inner qualities that make you - you.
Know Yourself: The first step towards finding out who your Patron is, to know yourself. Generally we are called by a Patron who has gifted us with associations often linked to them. For example it is highly likely that a person who is drawn to medicine, healing or herbalism will have a Parton Deity that is associated with those things. Make a list of the qualities you have, this will give you an idea of the sorts of Deities which may be your Patron/s.
Know Your History and Connections: You may also wish to record what Pantheon you work with - if you have not yet felt called to a particular Pantheon, then you may like to look into this prior to seeking your Patron, as more often than not your Patron will be connected with the Pantheon you are most closely drawn to. To help with this, look at what culture your ancestors come from, what connections do you have to certain countries, regions or histories. Do you find yourself constantly feeling a connection with Egypt? Do the sight of the pyramids fill you with a sense of home? or Do you feel more drawn to tribal teachings and find yourself drawn to the stone circles and burial mounds of Europe? Are your ancestors from Greece and the sight of the ancient ruins of Greece fill you with sadness and longing? Answering these questions for yourself will aid in your search.
Faith and Religion: The next most important thing in connecting to your Patron is to trust in your chosen faith, work within the guidelines you have set for yourself, in regards to ethics and practices. The deeper in tune you become with your own beliefs the easier it will be to connect with the Deities with whom you have been chosen to honour. Remember a Patron is a Deity for whom you are Chosen to be a Priest/ess, a Patron will not reveal themselves to one they deem unworthy.
Daily Devotionals: Doing rituals with faith and trust can deepen your bond with your religion, as well as bring you closer to your unknown Deity, I suggest, as a start, performing Daily Devotionals. You don't need to know who your Patron is in order to honour them. Simply break your morning fast under the light of the Sun, and spend time each evening bathing in the light of the moon. Be open, be receptive to the sights and sounds around you.
Ritual Workings: If you find yourself being drawn to a Particular Deity but are not sure, you can always write yourself a Ritual to assist in connecting with your Patron Deity, asking them to give you signs or point you in the right direction. If your lucky they may even decide that you are ready and present themselves to you during your Ritual. However it is more likely that the weeks following your Ritual will lead you to further clues as to whom your Deity may be.
Signs and Symbols: You may have found yourself, responding to certain symbols, signs, scents etc. Make a record of these events, note when and where they occur and in what manner, often these are the best clues to finding out just Who has chosen you. A particluarscent for example may be a clue to the incense used to worship that deity, a symbol may be connected to their Rituals. You may find books fall open at pages about that Deity or information about them keeps falling in your lap. These are pretty goodindicators that your being goiven information about either the Pantheon your Deitiy is associated with or the Patron themself.
Patience: Having given all this information the most important thing you can do is be patient - put it out there that you wish to connect with them, do rituals, devotionals and study your Path, but most of all be patient! When your Patron decides to make themself known, you will be the first to know!
Note: If you are serious about becoming a devotee of a Particular Deity, you will be cultivating aspects that the God or Goddess is known for and asking for aid in realms they have control over. So be sure to research before committing yourself to a particular deity.You do not have to accept a Patron, be sure you wish to carry the burdens that come with the gifts such a role places upon you - once sworn to a Patron Deity you have made a commitment to honour Them above all others and it can not be taken back!
Many new Pagans become concerned that they may be calling upon the 'wrong' Deity, just let me say that all Deities are simply different faces of the Goddess and God, The Universal Energy, and a Patron is simply an aspect or archtype
Before you commit to a Deity you feel a connection to as a Patron, try to consider what it might mean to have Him or Her as your Patron. How would you best honour this Deity? How would you strive for excellence within His or Her realms? In this sense, a patron may be seen as a role model. Every act that you do, you do in your Patron's name. Your Patron will also reflect your concept of the Divine, of what you hold Sacred, and your spiritual path will begin to reflect this once you have commited yourself.
A child of Diana will walk a very different path from a follower of Seth, and a worshipper of Baal, Odin or The Morrigan will develop a different one still.
This is why the forming of the Patron relationship should NEVER be rushed, or approached impulsively. This relationship will guide your mundane and spiritual development throughout this life.