ADOPT A GODDESS: How To Find & Invoke Your Patron Goddess
A Patron Goddess mentors your mystical practice: whether that's your magic craft, spiritual evolution, your self-transformation, or all of it, she's the primordial image you invoke when you need a vibrational kick in the tailbone. She fires up your rituals, floods your dreams with symbols, & models the psychic transformation you aspire to.
Some people hear a calling & are led directly to their Patron Goddess. For me, my Goddess awakening was a 2-year process, starting with a bootleg copy of the 6-hour NatGeo documentary The Pyramid Code & ending when I shelled out $60 for an out-of-print edition of Angels & Archetypes: An Evolutionary Map of Feminine Consciousness. In the book, Dr. Carmen Boulter uses a system based on Numerology & the Tarot that helps calculate your Goddess archetype.
True confession: I was totally disappointed by my Goddess archetype. I’d never heard of Inanna (or Ishtar or Astarte). Her mythology sounded… pedestrian. How can this be?! I ooooze femme mystique; I am a loving-genius of warm shakti honey creative POWAH! This Goddess is the protagonist for a Lifetime Original Movie.
But the longer I meditated on Inanna—surfing Google Images, sampling essays & novels inspired by her mythology—the more I started seeing the bigger story… & homing in on some covert self-loathing. Discovering Inanna was like running into an old classmate who remembers you as the girl who wore a Yo Quiero Taco Bell! tee-shirt to the homecoming dance. Inanna forced me to reflect on my origin story, my journey out of white trash hell, & the bigger projects I’m devoted to. Never before have I realized how these things braided together, that where I am now is in no way separable from where I’d started.
Inanna, my Patron Goddess, was a doorway to Goddess Magic. She was a tool for evaluating the whole scope of my life, for spotting & breaking patterns, strengthening my virtues, & triggering the quixotic mood I have to be in if I want to make some magic.
In that way, the Inanna archetype transformed for me from disenchanting blast-from-the-past to an adored soul-sister who knows me better than anyone else—the only kind of person I would have an adult slumber party with, unload all my true confessions, & admit my secret wishes to.
LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY PATRON GODDESS, INANNA! I’ll tell you how I relate with her, & then I’ll tell you how to find & invoke your own Patron Goddess!
Note: this is a HUGE post, because I really unpack who Inanna is & what she means for me. If you’re new to Goddess Magic (a.k.a. Divine Magic), this post will bring you face-to-face to major tools & concepts in my practice.
My true-heart intention: even if you don’t vibe with the Inanna archetype, I hope that seeing how I’ve crafted a relationship with my Patron Goddess guides you in creating your own relationship with the Divine Feminine.
MY INNER GODDESS: Inanna, Queen Of Heaven
My patron Goddess is Inanna, a.k.a. Ishtar, a.k.a. Astarte. Cuneiform tablets date her back to prehistoric Sumer, some 500,000 years ago. She is the Goddess of Love & War, a Goddess of extraterrestrial lineage, & the Goddess of Psychological Growth & Spiritual Expansion. She symbolizes sacred marriage rites, learning to adore your personal darkness, & baptism by fire into Self Awakening.
Inanna’s mythology involves a surrender through 7 layers of Hell, each representing another phase of ego-death. In the last layer, Inanna is miserably subdued by her shadow sister, Ereshkigal. Once Inanna gives Ereshkigal her due props (because your shadow is pretty much always #HBIC), Inanna transforms, quickly ascends, & reclaims her throne… now twice the woman she was before her descent.
The totally pedestrian, Lifetime Original Movie part of Inanna’s mythology: Inanna ended up in Hell because of a lover’s betrayal. When everything was romantic promises & soulful eye-gazing, she was fine looking outside of herself for love & harmony. Her lover was her grounding force, her honey-man, the receptacle into which she poured all her delectable shakti power.
Once betrayed, Inanna immediately realizes her mistake: her power was so large, she didn’t understand how to claim it. Her boo, Dumuzi, wanted to tap her mystical femme powers without actually drawing on its wisdom. (Total Patriarchy.) He requested the power & she gave it all up.
But, as much as we’d like to scorn D, it wasn’t actually his faux pas.
It was Inanna’s.
That’s why Inanna voluntarily voyages through Hell: to alchemize herself into the Holy Queen her power entitles her to be. Inanna chose descent in order to strip herself clean & bare, to learn to understand her pure core femme power. The key to loving herself was to amend her own shadow-drama & actually claim her secret superpowers, so that she would never feel so obliged to give them up to someone else.
Because of this experience, Inanna becomes the champion for feminine spirituality in a darkening Patriarchal world. It’s not gendered-males or Patriarchy that oppresses women: it’s the power women yield to the objects of their affection. It’s an evasion of their own shadow sisters--to slink away from the unpretty tasks of life that Patriarchy conveniently promises to shield the feminine from, if only she offers up her mystical gifts & holy creativity.
But baby, you’re gonna need this wisdom.
According to the Boulter system, the Inanna archetype corresponds with 5, the numerological life-path of change, spiritual endurability, & truth-telling. As a 5, she dovetails with The Hierophant of the Major Arcana. She is the spiritual teacher who materializes the spiritual & spiritualizes the material.
While reflecting on the Goddess calculation I got from Angels & Archetypes, I realized that ALL the themes & characters I was examining through the lens of the Divine Feminine aligned PERFECTLY with Inanna. I’ve always been attracted to stories with strong, self-redeeming female leads. Mercenaries, mean girls, witchy babes who use sex magic to devour the souls of men as revenge for crimes against the Feminine. So many of these stories originate with betrayals: a father or mother’s betrayal (your job was to protect & guide her!), a lover’s (your job was to nourish her!), society’s (your job was NOT to devalue her!).
I’d wanted a “pop friendly” Goddess, a symbol for beauty, love, & nurturing, because those are the femme virtues our culture gives an immediate thumbs-up.
But my strengths? They're not "pop friendly."
And when looking for a Patron Goddess, you have to find the kind of transcendent, mega-babe you can actually stay on track with.
THE INANNA WOMAN
Inanna is the Goddess for survivors who become THRIVERS.
Women who vibe with the Inanna symbol are survivors of hella shadow drama: violence, abuse, victimization, & betrayals. Inanna-women were dragged into Hell very early on in their lives—so early, it’s usually betrayal by a first love or by toxic family members.
But no matter how dark, deep, & bloody they fall, the Inanna woman stays attracted to an idealistic light. She obeys an intuitive yank around the neck always dragging her back up to her feet. She whoops ass, crawls through fields of shit, & finally abandons everything she’s ever believed in order to escape & re-ascend. Everything had to die in order for Inanna to find her freedom—including who she thought she was. I need this person… I’m not brave enough… Smart enough… Resourceful enough…
Inanna is the Patron Goddess of women who are glad to tell you: You are not who you think you are. Inanna-women demonstrate ideological resourcefulness, shadow love, & on-the-spot changeability. She’s a visionary & artful leader of women. Her gift is translating the spiritual, abstract, & woo-woo into the concrete & relatable. These alchemical women never stopped believing in their sacred dignity. They believed in Truth, Love, & Beauty even nothing in their waking experience showed them what Truth, Love, & Beauty feel like. Inanna-women believe in Truth, Love, & Beauty even while dying in Hell.
Once Awakened to her sacred power, the Inanna woman is unstoppable. Inanna symbolizes psychic balance: the integration of Heaven (the Numinous, Idealism, & Cosmic Consciousness), Earth (Self-hood, psyche), & Hell (the primal collective Mind, shadow consciousness). When we look outside of ourselves for worthiness, love, & purpose, we ignore a crucial piece of ourselves capable of creating inner harmony. Shame, guilt, & fear tend to teach us to smother it. When someone comes along who makes us feel good, who ingratiates themselves to us with sweetness or familiarity, we offer that special power up to them with both hands.
You can’t blame someone for taking all your power & leaving behind the most valuable part of who you are. That’s what’s Inanna’s story teaches us. Power must be claimed & to claim it, we must be willing to reconfigure who we think we are. We must be willing to graduate from starry-eyed little girls into Holy Queens of the Universe.
Inanna is love & fury. She is a higher consciousness that harmonizes polar forces.
And guess what—it all turns out very well for Inanna. She earned her place in the world, & rules with wisdom, beauty, & power. When upon her throne, you’d have no clue she once crawled naked on hands & knees through feces with demons whipping her. She uses her influence to empower others with arcane wisdom… because wisdom is the sacred key to all Freedom & Sovereignty.
You can’t break this. Only I can break it.
For me, Inanna reflects the type of babe I don’t often see in movies, books, & TV: her story spans too many transformations. She is the naive baby-girl who enters an Antihero phase, then rises to a position of influence. She’s the babe that many other women--victims of internalized misogyny--loathe & resent. Inanna did the things they were unwilling to do, simply because it would jeopardize their beliefs & feelings about the world. The very idea of Inanna chaffs their sensibility about what a woman should be.
Well, to me & ALL Inanna-women, we KNOW: true femme power lies beyond the door you can’t walk back through. The Inanna woman does not coast. She is addicted to the emotional catharsis of women who’ve locked up their grief, shame, & fear.
If I didn’t find Inanna, I don’t know how I would’ve recognized the heart of wisdom at the center of my own life experiences. Least of all, how I would’ve reclaimed my relationship with the Divine Feminine--which has revolutionized my life.
HOW I INTERACT WITH MY PATRON GODDESS
I invoke Inanna during rituals & meditations. I asked for her patronage during an invocation ceremony, which I’ll share with you at the end of the post.
When I interact with Inanna, I call up a phantasm. A phantasm is a multi-sensory imaginary image of a figure, which we use a lot in Divine Magic. When crafting a phantasm (whether of a deity, like your Patron Goddess, or of a specific outcome), you start off daydreaming about the figure.
Phantasms are crafted by intuition. I clotted my phantasmic image of Inanna together from a combination of research & daydreaming. The phantasm itself is always evolving, depending on my changing experiences. (I’ll give you a peek in a sec.)
Conjuring a phantasm shifts reality--not just during rituals, but in banal daily situations. When I’m at a total loss, on the verge of an ideological crisis or struggling to realize an intention, Inanna triggers me to draw from my inner-resources, make choices that empower the position I’m in, & to take responsibility for my beliefs, feelings, & actions.
The more vivid the phantasm, the greater the shift & effect. A Patron Goddess is like a totem: the more you imaginally play with the phantasm of your PG, the more immediate & significant her effect on your reality. This is why phantasms can be so intimate & can also become a mainline straight to the Numinous.
HEY! FYI. I’M GOING TO DIG DEEPER INTO GODDESS PHANTASMS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST. BUT IF YOU REALLY NEED TO FIGURE OUT THIS PHANTASMS THING, VISIT THIS POST.
These are some of the sensations I associate with my Patron Goddesss:
The noise of a shotgun cocking is the noise I associate with her. Silk shredding to pieces. Wildfires roaring through frosty cold moonlit meadows. I visualize the Morning Star, winking against the backdrop of a West coast sunrise. I vision-board female assassins (Aeon Fluxe, the Black Mamba), my fingers squeezing ropes of springy muscle pulling beneath sugar-love layers of skin. I see Wisdom Warriors in royal robes, flanked by lions & tigers. I think of a woman that other men can’t help but stare at, while her eyes are locking on every other woman in the room: What’s her dream? What can I show her? What does she need?
I don’t only & always call on Inanna; not for all my rituals. I have a pretty tight bond going with my Moon Goddesses & I have a very special interest in Pele right now. (Click here to learn about my Aries new moon ritual with Pele!)
But Inanna symbolizes my spiritual urge. All the magic & mystic swooning & crushing inner barriers is for one purpose: to evolve closer to my intuitions about my Patron Goddess.
WHICH GODDESS IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
I love the book Angels & Archetypes, because Boulter shows you how to calculate the archetype corresponding with your soul-path, then advises you about opening the channel for Goddess.
But honestly, I'm glad I didn't find Angels & Archetypes until deep into my exploration of the Divine Feminine. I binged on esoteric lit & low-budget documentaries, following intuitive bread crumbs to hard-to-get sources, letting moments of clarity urge me towards the next clue.
When searching for your Goddess archetype, jam with symbols. Symbols vibrate in our lower consciousness: where personal psyche starts dissolving into the collective unconscious. Culture interprets the patterned vibrations into what we call archetypes, giving them themes, motifs, & characteristics. We build stories aligning with how those vibrations evoke responses in our mood, body, & meta-psychology.
The eureka! moment of finding your Patron Goddess happens when you resonate with a piece of primal information. It will happen like music: a song that lifts your solar plexus, like your heart wants to fly away with it. It might feel like a white-hot starburst in your chest that moves upwards & settles all the questions you’d be asking along the journey. The discovery might smack you upside your crown chakra or get under your skin & aggravate you like a psychic rash. (As it had for me.)
Look far & deep for your Patron Goddess. Get Goddess literate. Go on an intuitive quest.
You can find quizzes & other systems that will spit out a Goddess symbol for you, or you can start the way I had, exploring the Divine Feminine by blending scholars with films, movie, & other media. Most of it will come from a male perspective—enquiring or projecting onto the Feminine. Your task with building a relationship with the Divine Feminine is learning to look beyond the masculine gaze, so bear that in mind.
Here are a few places to start looking for Goddesses:
Hunt for Goddess myths through scholars, movies, books, epic poems, & music. Binge on your fav stories, starting with the female characters you loved as a child. Read for shared threads.
Re-watch films of the same. What themes & symbols are common to these stories? What major transformation do the characters undergo?
Buy a new journal & collect myths. Make & check off lists. Sample a little of everything, even if you only read a chapter or so of one of the boring academic tomes you find on Goddesses.
Look for a Patron Goddess in your ancestry. If your family immigrated from China, you'd start with the ancient Asiatic Goddesses. If you're family's got Scandinavian roots, start there.
Check out GodChecker.com, which lets you explore Gods / Goddesses by pantheon.
What symbols & motifs find their way into your world? How do you surround yourself with your favorite shapes? Like, do you sign off your emails with heart emojis? Doodle stars on scratch paper? Save close-up photos of eyeballs or pyramids on secret Pinterest boards?
Research the significance of those symbols. Hedge your research on your ancestry—stars, hearts, & eyeballs mean very different things in different cultures. What cultural stories vibe with your feeling about the symbol?
Play with the Tarot. What cards attract you on sight alone? Use definitions / card meanings to orient the direct of your research. The Starchild Tarot, for example, actually lists Ashtar (a.k.a. Inanna) as one of the guides for The Hierophant.
🌙 ENTER THE HOLOGRAM (a.k.a. Go Online)
Of course, there are infinite Internet quizzes & databases available to go through.
Visit online databases, like the Goddess Index page at MotherHouse of the Goddess
Search Twitter & Instagram for conversations between Goddess-seekers & ask about their own Patron Goddesses.
Do light Internet research with keywords:
- “Goddess archetypes” (produces lots of quizzes in the search results)
- “ancient Goddesses"
- type in a specific region/culture + “Goddess”
- type in “Divine Feminine” to read a few articles, + follow where they lead you
Write the Q down on paper: Who is my Patron Goddess? Leave it on your altar, then take a power nap. See what your inner-genius sends. (Need tips for building a Goddess altar?)
HOW TO INVOKE YOUR PATRON GODDESS
To invoke Goddess, you'll need synthemata & phantasms.
Don’t panic. These are just terms & I’m going to break them down for you.
🌙 GODDESS SYNTHEMATA
Synthemata are objects that carry your Goddess's signatures, which you’ll basically use to “grid” your ritual. You’ll place it on your altar or bring it into your ritual.
Don’t be intimidated by gathering synthemata—you’re not being tested on how carefully you read the footnotes or how accurately you source your Goddess swag.
As long as you've got a fair sampling of Goddess-evocative material, you can make magic.
You’ll need 3 types of Goddess synthemata:
- Material (stones, metals, flowers, herbs, etc.)
- Symbolic (statuettes, talismans, altar cards)
- Conceptual (a name, geometry, numbers, the Zodiac, etc.)
Research will point you towards Goddess synthemata. You’ll learn which herbs & flowers traditionally adorned Goddess temples or were used in Goddess spells. You’ll find hundreds of images of your Goddess in Google or in metaphysical shops. And with a little digging, you’ll find all the airy-fairy ideas associated with your Goddess, like the celestial season she was associated with or the name she was invoked by.
Sometimes research will tell you that a certain herb, flower, etc. associates with your Goddess, which simply won’t vibe with you—maybe you hate the smell, the texture, or you’re drawn to another type of flower or crystal.
If so, go with your instinct. Goddess magic depends on making the Goddess real for you.
Let’s say the virgin moon babe, Artemis, is your Patron Goddess. And let’s say you visualize her as Katniss from The Hunger Games. (I visualize Inanna as Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil, so, why not?)
A Mocking Jay pendant you bought from Barnes & Noble is more appropriate as symbolic synthemata than a $150 pewter statuette of Artemis you buy at a flea market.
Why? Because the Mocking Jay symbol vibes with your vision of Artemis. You see her as the bow-&-arrow wielding hero who—without hesitation—throws herself into game of mortal peril to spare a child’s life.
That’s hella Artemis.
Don’t worry about finding the cleverest kind of conceptual synthemata you can. As your relationship with Goddess deepens, you’ll change out much of what you’re using. Start with her name or a plain circle just to get the ball rolling.
Okay, once you have your altar & your synthemata, you can build your Goddess phantasm.
🌙 GODDESS PHANTASMS
Don’t believe that your Goddess has to dress or look the way Google Images shows you. Your Patron Goddess is an archetype, a symbol, an idea.
And you get to choose how she appears to you. How your Patron Goddess looks to you is crucial to being able to work with her in rituals, so ingenuity is paramount.
The way you’ll craft your Patron Goddess’ appearance is with a phantasm.
A phantasm is a vivid, multidimensional, sensory image. When you “visualize” a Goddess phantasm, you sense her smell, appearance, texture(s), how she sounds, even how she tastes, on top of your concept of her. It should be vivid, intimate, & personal to how you WANT to perceive your Goddess. (Scroll upwards to reread the section “How I Interact With My Patron Goddess” if you need to.)
Your research & hunt for signatures will vivify your Goddess to some degree, but you have to fill in the gaps. Does her voice sound like rainfall or the clanging of sounds? Does she smell like melting ice cream or butterscotch or mountain spring air? Does she feel like silk or a thick carpet of green grass to the touch?
Be imaginative. Small, creative projects are a good way to “build out” your Goddess phantasm. Write a 500-word scene about your Goddess, as if she were a character or you were writing about a memory. Build a vision-board of your Goddess or a secret Pinterest board.
Make this a project in clarifying your Goddess perception & remember that she embodies the completed version of who you’d become with her strengths & attributes manifested in your own life.
If you want to learn more about building phantasms (& other magical ways you can use them!), visit this post.
🌙 THE INVOCATION!
FIRST, create a safe, distraction-free space. Lock the door & power down your phone. Rearrange furniture. Light candles, burn incense, get sky clad or slip into something that makes you feel ethereal.
While preparing, wind down the mental chatter. Meditate for 5-10 minutes if you can. Sometimes playing ambient sounds like chanting or tinkling New Age music helps, if you’re not very strong at meditation yet.
I show you how to build your Goddess altar in this post, but an altar is not required. You do need a ritual space though, gridded with your Goddess synthemata. There is no universal standard for where / how you arrange your synthemata; some people attach everything they can to a Goddess icon in the center of their ritual space or they encircle themselves with the items.
I personally arrange everything on the altar, though I’ll meditate holding Lapis lazuli & wearing copper bracelets. (Lapis lazuli & copper bear Inanna signatures. Obvs.) The goal is really to create as much of a charmed & Goddess-infused space as you can, as if you were decorating for a party, so don’t stress about the precise geometric ratios of where you should align your synthemata. Work with what you have & believe what you have is everything you need.
Once you've shifted your attire & the room's ambiance, come before your altar or the center of your ritual digs & slow down.
NOW, conjure your phantasm. Bring her into the room with you. Say her name. Request her patronage of your magical development or ask her to oversee this initial ceremony.
Tell her your intention & why the intention matters.
Admit something about yourself that you intuitively know will sabotage you from realizing an intention.
Offer her small gifts or food or even your devotion, written simply on pretty stationary. (More on this below.)
Here’s an example for how to craft your invocation:
Goddess Astarte (or Inanna or Ishtar),
I ask for your patronage / for your presence in this ceremony / for you to lend guardianship.
I want to [ your magical intention ]. I want [ the object or state of being guaranteed by your intention ]. I struggle with... / am challenged by... I know the sacrifice I have to make, but I ask for your strength (or wisdom, or compassion, or whatever quality you admire about your PG) in helping me realize my intention.
I offer [ your offering ].
Please give me a sign in the coming day that assures me you've accepted by request.
When exiting your communion, eat / drink the offering, or later on, bury it in the ground.
Each morning & night, set before your altar & project your Goddess phantasm. Practice makes perfect. The more you project the phantasm, the more alive it becomes.
OKAY, LET’S SET SOMETHING STRAIGHT.
I'm aware that seeing this in type makes the entire ritual seem suspect & trivial.
Like, that's all it takes to beckon the Gods?
Bear in mind that the original Goddess rituals (performed by the OGs in the ancient Mystery Schools) were never ever ever written down. If you wanted facetime with the Gods, you had to sit in on an actual ritual. You learned by experience.
You'll only get better at communing with the Divine once you start practicing. Basically, right from the get-go, you're committing to this as a practice.
Most importantly: Be willing to just go with it. Melt into the words & actions, moment-by-moment. If you’re not practiced at performing ceremonies, you’re going to struggle feeling self-conscious. This is actually crucial to getting really good at creating rituals in the future, because it’s only while colliding through your first invocation ceremonies that you become aware of how unwieldy your self-consciousness is.
This whole article is meant to intuitively christen your Goddess journey. When you've found your archetypal mentor, visit my Goddess altars post, & start building a place for Goddess in your life--that's the only way to truly unlock the Goddess trifecta for divine confidence!
In that post, I also dig deeper into how you can use synthemata & phantasms, so have a peek. If you still need clarity on Goddess invocation, visit me on Twitter & we'll talk it through until it clicks!
All the sumptuously colorful paintings featured in this post were created by Charmaine Olivia. Visit her portfolio here!