Gods are not pills you take for different ailments. Jupiter is not Excedrin and Flora is not Allegra.
This has been my facebook status for most of the day. Why? Someone posted to an email group asking which deity they should petition for help on a test. The above was my response. Stomach ache? Take ginger. Need to look good for your date? Take Venus. Bad breath? Peppermint. Traveling? Mercury.
Seriously, how did this perception arise where you go to a specific deity for a specific thing, even if you have no prior relationship? I think Jason Miller said it best when he used the following analogy which I will paraphrase badly:
If you need to borrow $50 and ask a virtual stranger, they'll probably tell you to go take a hike. If you ask someone you know, you're more likely to get it, there's a chance. If you ask your best friend, they'll give it to you no questions asked. The difference in each case here is the relationship you've built. Your best friend knows you're good for it or doesn't care because you have a history and affection for each other. The stranger? Not so much. They'll probably want some proof they'll get it back...
Anyway, the point is that when you build relationships, you have a better chance of getting something you ask for. To add to the original analogy... Your friends have contacts they can leverage on your behalf. If your patron is Athena and you need some help with travel, would it not be easier to ask her to petition Mercury for you? Even the Catholics do this: It's called Intercession. It's how they can get away with praying to a full pantheon of major and minor and local deities: It's because they're asking, for example, Saint Michael to intercede on their behalf with God.
Take the time to develop a relationship with deities and ancestors and the Lare and the Lasa. Develop these relationships as you would any other: Time, attention, dedication, following through, keeping your word, etc. Offerings of energy and prayer and material things like lighting a candle or incense. All of this goes a long way towards reaching out. You can't be entirely goal oriented here, it's not necessarily a tit-for-tat situation, and no one likes to be used. Show your appreciation and gratitude and they will do the same in tangible ways.
Wow. I was just going to post about the solstice today! Looks like there was something else in store. I hope everyone had a wonderful solstice!