I had quite a remarkable experience last night, which led me to finding the first of my patrons. I considered not sharing the story, because the search for a patron is in many ways very personal, but I decided that if it will help others in their search, it’s worth the sacrifice.
A lot of this is very difficult to articulate, so bear with me.
Awhile ago, I ‘discovered’ Brighid and decided she might be a patron of mine. I certainly feel drawn to her. But I held off on committing — as I still do — because I have yet to feel that ‘click’ that says, “Yes, I belong to you.” When I considered Brighid as a patroness, I felt a sort of lack, and a certainty that one of my patrons was male, and a strong male at that. I had — unbidden — and image of a man in a chariot, surrounded by clouds or mist. He wore a helm and breastplate. I suspected, though I’m not sure what gave me this feeling, that he was a Gatekeeper.
Last night, after a first attempt at the ‘Parting the Mists’ meditation in the DP guide (which deserves a blog post of its own), I lay trying to sleep with the mists of the meditation and the image of that unnamed god swirling in my head. I couldn’t shake them away. Finally, I remembered the story “The Stolen Wheel,” told by Rev. Michael J. Dangler in the August 2009 Tribeways podcast; there was a male god in that podcast! And a chariot! Could it be…?
So at about 12:30 a.m., I turned on my Ipod, scanned through the podcast and found the story: Taranis and Sulis. Taranis, a storm god, had his own chariot, and I do love the story. So with that, I grabbed at my phone (gotta love 3G), opened Wikipedia, and pulled up the entry on Taranis. And… it wasn’t him. No click. With the Thor/Jupiter associations, he just didn’t have the right ‘energy.’ (Not to sound too New Agey or anything.)
Disappointed, I looked at some of the external links. None of the associations here jumped out at me, but here, the word “charioteer” stood out like it was marked in flames. A quick search for “Barinthus” led me to… Manannán mac Lir, sea god, Gatekeeper, charioteer, wearer of magical helm and breastplate, owner of a magical horse, and keeper of the mists. Trickster, harpist, father, warrior.
I’d never even heard of him, but as I read about him, I felt completely sure. I fell into a sound sleep, confident in the love and protection of my patron. Strange, isn’t it, how we have these connections with a force in our life we’ve never even identified? And yet as soon as we touch the connection, it flares to life inside of us and fills a hole we never knew we had.