Just a few thoughts

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Feeling the need to clarify something

So, I think many of us have seen the terms "matron" and "patron" thrown around. Hell, I use them sometimes (there's a post on this from a while back, where I used the terms in the way they're generally used by members of the Pagan community these days).

However, more often than not, the words are not being used "correctly." Now, hear me out. I'm usually one of the people going on about how language evolves, words take on new meanings, etc., and that still applies here. I think that if those are the terms you want to use to talk about the Goddess and/or God you work with, that's fine.

But, "matron" doesn't just mean "female," and "patron" doesn't just mean male. The following are definitions from dictionary.com.

Now, taking these definitions, what can we determine? First, that a "matron" deity would probably be one who is more "mature," possibly with a partner, and potentially involved in domestic affairs. For example, Frigg. I think that Hestia would also qualify, and probably Hera. "Matron" does tend to always refer to a female deity.

"Patron," on the other hand, does not necessarily have to be a male deity. Let's look at definitions 2 & 4. This is what I think many people mean when they talk about a "matron/patron" deity, of either gender. They're referring to a deity that they have a relationship with. A deity that probably supports them, in some way. I'm not going to post a definition of what a "patron saint" is, because I think we all have a general idea. If you don't, it's basically a saint that is considered a protector/supporter/etc. of a particular group or cause, like the "patron saint of children." Some people, I've no doubt, view some deities in this way. I can't substantiate that claim, but I feel confident in our diversity, which always includes beliefs about the divine (whether it's a lack of belief, or the exact way one views the Gods).

While I've fallen into the habit of calling a female deity my "matron," and as far as I know (this is UPG territory, just as a warning) Hekate is fine with that, she is really my "patron goddess." Why? Because she supports me. She guides me when I need it, she's there when I pray, she usually shows up when I invite her to a ritual, and I just feel her presence with me regularly.

 As with any other subject, everyone will have their own opinions, and that's wonderful. This is my belief, and I just wanted to share it in case anyone has ever wondered if they're using the terms "matron/patron" in the "wrong" way. Personally, I don't really care. I picked up the habit years ago, and it stuck. I am trying to change that, though, because my inner linguist (or something) is irked by my misuse of the terms. However, the meaning of words does continue to change, and I think that it's perfectly acceptable to use the terms in the way I generally see them used. Most people will know what you mean, either way, so don't worry about it too much.

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