Updated: Oct 29, 2019
A good way to look at the devotion to a deity/deities is to figure out which deity of your pantheon would be interested in your purpose. In other words, what deity might take the time to look into your situation? This is where the concept of appropriate worship comes in handy -- if you can't take the time to get to know the deities of your path, then you probably shouldn't be asking them for favors. So first, figure out your goal.
Are you doing a working regarding home and domesticity? If you are then don't call upon some masculine power deity.
What if you're celebrating the end of the harvest season, and the dying of the earth? Then you shouldn't be offering milk and flowers to a spring goddess.
Consider your purpose carefully, before you make offerings or prayers to a particular god or goddess. When you honor the deities, take the time to put some thought into it. Ask yourself what it is you hope to obtain by making the offering -- are you trying to gain something, or merely show your appreciation and gratitude to the Divine? Learn about the types of deities you're about to honor, and study the specific gods and goddesses and/or masters of your tradition, so that when you do make an offering or present a ritual in their name, you can do so in a way that truly honours and respects them.
Although this is certainly not a comprehensive list of all the deities and their domains, it may help you to get an idea of who is out there, and what sorts of things they may be able to help you with. You will also find a selection of deities who you can call upon while looking at their image by Clicking Here (The photo album link will be added soon)
Artisanship - For assistance relating to skills, crafts, or handiwork, call upon the Celtic smith god, Lugh. Many other pantheons have forge and craftsmanship gods as well.
Chaos - When it comes to matters of discord and upsetting the balance of things, some people choose to to check in with Loki, the Norse prankster god. However, it's generally recommended that you don't do this unless you're a devotee of Loki in the first place - you may end up getting more than you bargained for.
Destruction - If you're doing a working related to destruction, the Celtic war goddess Morrigan may assist you, but don't trifle with her lightly. A safer bet might be working with Demeter, the Dark Mother of the harvest season.
Fall Harvest - When you celebrate the fall harvest, you may want to take time to honor Herne, the god of the wild hunt, or Osiris, who is often connected with grain and the harvest Demeter and her daughter, Persephone, are typically connected with the waning part of the year. Pomona is associated with fruit orchards and the bounty of trees in fall. There are also a number of other harvest gods and gods of the vine who may be interested in what you're doing.
Feminine Energy - For workings related to the moon, lunar energy, or the sacred feminine, consider invoking Artemis or Venus.
Fertility - When it comes to fertility, there are plenty of deities out there to ask for assistance. Consider Cernunnos, the wild stag of the forest, or Freya, a goddess of sexual power and energy. If you follow a Roman-based path, try honoring Bona Dea. There are a number of other fertility deities out there as well, each with their own specific domain.
Home and Marriage - Brighid is a protector of hearth and home, and Juno & Vesta are both patronesses of marriage.
Love and Lust - Aphrodite has long been associated with love and beauty, and so has her counterpart, Venus. Likewise, Eros and Cupid are considered representative of masculine lust.
Magic - Isis, the mother goddess of Egypt, is often called upon for magical workings, as is Hecate, a goddess of sorcery.
Masculine Energy - Cernunnos is a strong symbol of masculine energy and power, as is Herne, the god of the hunt. Odin & Thor, both Norse gods, are known as powerful, masculine gods.
Motherhood - Isis is a mother goddess on a grand scale, and Juno watches over women in labor.
Prophecy and Divination - Brighid is known as a goddess of prophecy, and so is Cerridwen, with her cauldron of knowledge. Janus, the two-faced god, sees both the past and future.
Underworld - Because of his harvest associations, Osiris is often connected with the underworld. There are a number of other deities of death & dying.
War and Conflict - Morrigan is not only a goddess of war, but also of sovereignty and loyalty. Athena protects warriors and imparts them with wisdom. Freya & Thor guide fighters in battle.
Wisdom - Thoth was the Egyptian god of wisdom, and Athena and Odin may also be called upon, depending on your purpose.
* Offerings and Altars *
Our ancestors prayed to their deities, long ago. Their pleas and offerings are documented in the hieroglyphs that adorn the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, in the carvings and inscriptions left for us to read by the philosophers and teachers of ancient Greece and Rome. Later on, as Christianity moved in and replaced many of the old Pagan cultures, Irish monks wrote down stories, illuminating their manuscripts with vivid and colorful artwork. Information about man's need to connect with the Divine comes to us from China, India, and all over the globe. Some prayers survive to the present day because they have lived on not in written documentation but in the oral traditions of the area -- via folktales, songs, legends, etc. Although we don't know how much of the existing wording is really "ancient" and how much was added through the ages, the message remains essentially the same.
A prayer is our way of saying to the deities, "I can't do this alone, and I could sure use some help." In many Pagan traditions, both modern and ancient, it is customary to make an offering to a divine being. An offering is simply a gift, and it is given not as a trade-off ("Yo, here's some pretty sparkly stuff, so now can you please grant my wishes?") but as a way of showing honor and respect, no matter what the answers to your prayers may ultimately be. In some forms of Wicca, the offering of time and dedication is as important as an offering of tangible items. Many times offerings are left on an altar or shrine to the gods, and this is common in many faiths. How many times have you driven past a Catholic church and seen flowers or candles left in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary?
So What's the Point, Really?
Some people may argue that prayer is a waste of time -- after all, if the gods are so divine, don't they already know what we need and want? Why should we have to go to the trouble of asking?
If you're married, there have probably been times where you've gotten frustrated with your spouse, because they didn't know what you wanted. You didn't TELL them what you wanted, because after all, as your spouse who loves you, they should just KNOW, right? Well, not necessarily. Eventually, you probably talked to your significant other, found out he or she had NO idea you were annoyed at him because he didn't want to go with you to that romantic comedy you've been looking forward to for months. Then you forgave him because once the lines of communication were opened up, it turned out that your honey doesn't hate Drew Barrymore after all, he just wanted to go see something with guns and explosions instead.
The gods are the same way (no, they don't hate Drew Barrymore either). They don't always know what we want -- and sometimes, what they think we want and what WE think we want are two completely different things. That's why it's up to you to make it known. If you want divine intervention, you should ask. If you don't, the answer will ALWAYS be "no".
* Prayers vs. Spells *
A prayer is a request. It's where you go directly to the Universe, the Goddess, Allah, Yahweh, Herne, Apollo, or whoever you may be hoping will help out, and you ask them point blank, "Please help me with _________."
A spell, on the other hand, is a command. It's the redirection of energy, causing a change, to conform with your will. While you may ask a god or goddess for a little extra mojo in your spellwork, it's not always necessary. In a spell, the power comes from within the caster. In a prayer, the power comes from the gods.
Who Should I Pray To, Anyway?
You can pray to anyone you like. You can pray to a god, a goddess, or the Grand High Poobah of the Toaster Oven. Pray to whoever -- or whatever -- is most likely to take an interest in your dilemma. If you're working on protection of your home, for example, you may wish to call upon Vesta or Brighid, both guardians of the hearth. If you're about to enter into a nasty conflict, perhaps Mars, the god of war, would be willing to step in for a bit of fun.Some people pray simply to spirits -- spirits of the earth, of the sky, of the sea, etc.
In addition to praying to gods or spirits, some Pagans and Wiccans pray to their ancestors, and that's perfectly acceptable too. You may see your ancestors as a specific individual (dear Uncle Bob who died in Vietnam, or your great great great grandpa who settled the frontier, etc.) or you may see them as archetypes. Either way, go with what works best for your tradition. Ultimately, prayer is a very personal thing. You can do it out loud or silently, in a church or backyard or forest or at a kitchen table. Pray when you need to, and say what you wish to say. Chances are good that someone is listening.
* Offerings to the Deities *
In many traditions, it's not uncommon to make some sort of offering or sacrifice to their deities. Bear in mind that despite the reciprocal nature of our relationship with the divine, it's not a matter of "I'm offering you this stuff so you'll grant my wish." It's more along the lines of "I honor you and respect you, so I'm giving you this stuff to show you how much I appreciate your intervention on my behalf." So the question arises, then, of what to offer them? Different types of deities seem to respond best to different kinds of offerings. For example, you wouldn’t offer flowers to a war god, would you? When making an offering, it's important to think about what the god represents. The Roman Cato described an offering for agricultural prosperity: Make offerings to keep your oxen in good health. Make the following sacrifices to Mars… three pounds of wheat, four-and-a-half of lard, four-and-a-half of meat and three pints of wine. While it's probably not necessary to go that far and offer up enough food to feed a small army to your god, the passage does illustrate the fact that our ancestors thought enough of their gods to take their offerings very seriously. In general, bread, milk and wine are nearly always appropriate for any deity. Here are some ideas for specific offerings you can make to deities, based upon the types of gods they are:
Hearth and Home Gods:
Food: Bread and grains, cooking oil, salt
Drink: Milk, wine, cider
Herbs: Rosemary, thyme
Gods of Love and Passion:
Food: Eggs, honey, apples
Drink: Wine, fruit juice
Herbs: Lavender, sandalwood
Food: Bread, cornmeal, fruit
Drink: Milk, water
Gods of Prosperity and Abundance:
Food: Grains, dairy products like cheese or eggs
Drink: Milk, beer
Herbs: Mint, pennyroyal, catnip
Food: Any meal from your family's table
Drink: Drinks from the family table
Herbs: Sage, sweetgrass
Childbirth or Fertility Goddess’s:
Food: Eggs, baked sweets like cookies
Drink: Milk (including breast milk)
Herbs: Rose, sandalwood, apple blossoms