In a prior post, I mentioned that Apollo is my “Shadow Patron.” (Note 1). In Polytheism, a Patron (Matron) is a God who forms a favorable relationship with a person. Not every Polytheist has a Patron, since each God chooses the level of connection with humans. Therefore, a Shadow Patron would be a God who chooses to have an adversarial relationship with a human.
Why would a God have an antagonistic affiliation with someone? For me, it is because I do two things that Apollo is particular about – divination and prayers. Since in Roman Polytheism, both sacred activities are associated with Apollo, He wants them done correctly. Moreover, He wants me to prove myself worthy to do each.
Since this God is well-known to force Himself on unwilling females, I actively disliked Him. When I was a teenager, I was the victim of unwanted male attention. Hence, I avoided Apollo as much as possible. When I began writing rituals and prayers, Apollo came and refused to leave. Then I started practicing Roman-style divination. At that point, Apollo instructed me on how He wanted these acts conducted. A hard taskmaster, he drove me to hone my craft for both.
As I worked through this difficult relationship, I came to realize that Apollo is my Shadow Patron. Because He wants what I do to be true, Apollo takes me places that I refuse to go. He does not allow me to “spiritually bypass.” (Note 2). That means I have to do deep sacrifices for Him, which usually involve things that my injured brain balks at.
It is ironic that the God of the Sun and of Logic would have me focus on the unconscious realm. Apollo rules the Day, which is consciousness. By doing so, He defines the Night, which is unconsciousness. By standing in the blinding Light, one can see the deepest Night. Why is this important? In divination and in prayer, the force of the hurt, the grief, and resentment is released. This turns Day into Night.
In Polytheism, divination and prayers are sacred acts. To perform each, the human communicates directly with the Holy Powers. The Pax Deorum (The Peace of the Gods) has to be maintained between the people and the Gods. The Dark and the Light must be in balance for the Dark holds the Light as the Light holds the Dark. This seeming binary of Dark/Light is not Bad/Good, but a nonduality (Note 3) with shades of Grey between the Two.
In my perspective, a Shadow Patron forces you to handle the psychic energy of the hurt or grief. You are forced to cope with your wounds in order to do what They require of you. Since this energy is a form of impurity, it needs to be cleansed. You need to be spiritually ready to do various sacred acts for this God.
Note 1. Shadow Gods are traditionally the archetypes of the darker aspects of life such as the Underworld.
Note 2. “Spiritual bypassing is a mistaken belief that if we pray enough…eat right, and only think positive thoughts, our life will ascend finally reaching enlightenment.” Linda Star Wolf, “Soul Whispering,” Page 154.
Note 3. “Nonduality” means “non-separation and fundamental wholeness.” It comes from Eastern Religious thought.
Raven Kaldera, “Dealing with Deities.”
Galina Krasskova, “With Clean Minds and Clean Hands.”
Linda Star Wolf, “Soul Whispering.”