Here are the resources for dealing with Gods/Goddesses and Patron spirits that I have discussed on episodes one and two of my internet radio show at www.thecauldron.net on Wednesday nights at 9 pm EST. Note that these suggestions are by no means exhaustive but suggestions to begin only for you to start diggin in and looking for a solid patron deity or pair of gods (in case you're Wiccan) to work with on a regular basis so that you can start to develop an ongoing, formal relationship with Them rather than simply jump from one god to another.
Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology by Pierre Grimal
This is an excellent resource for myths of gods and goddesses from around the glob. Academic and considered a standard in the industry. As of this writing you can own a copy of this text from Amazon for under a dollar. A wealth of information for such an inexpensive price.
Encyclopedia of Gods: Over 2,500 Deities of the World by Michael Jordan
Excellent overview of many deities from cultures around the globe. Worthwhile. Current copies on Amazon are half a dozen under $2.50.
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses by Judika Illes
A large compendium of spirits from around the globe. Not as academic as the two preceding books mentioned but brought up due to the sheer volume of spirits mentioned. Be forewarned though I myself have found some things that are not correct with respect to the African Traditions. When this was mentioned to the author in a private emaile she became iritated with me for bringing this matter up. Thus double check all information in this Pagan publication before you go using it.
Funk & Wagonalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend by Maria Leach
A terrific resource for myth, legend, magic, muse, gods, omens, and so much more. Well researched and something every apsiring sorcerer or occultist should have on their reference shelf. Worth the investment at any cost. Unfortunately not much in the way of Persian or Indian mythology but very Euro-centric. Highly recommended.
Larousse Dicitonary of World Folklore by Alison Jones
Considered to be a valuable academic resource, this text is usable not only for any serious occult student but also for any fantasy writer, game designer, movie or story teller. It is just that good. I've given out this book as gifts to people and it is ridiculously inexpensive with multiple copies for sale at Amazon for under $1 each. Treat yourself to something well worthwhile.
The Enchanted World Series, Volume 21 Gods & Goddesses
The entire line of the Enchanted World Series is edited by edited by Ellen Phillips and their primary consultant was Tristram Potter Coffin, a Guggenheim Fellowship Award winning University of Pennsylvania Professor Emeritus of English. Thus you know the information is outstanding and solid. The images are lavish and lush while the stories are rich and detailed with decent bibliographies at the end of each volume.
The other books in the Time-Life Enchanted World Series are also well worth your time and efforts to obtain as well. They can be a great addition to your research materials where you find plenty of fodder for everything from spirits, monsters, demons, folklore and so forth. My ex-wfie gave me my set and she found them all at a summer garage sale for $1 each. Sometimes if you watch Amazon an dother used booksellers, you can compiled your collection for as little as $1 each plus S&H. Or haunt yard/garage sales in the summer months. Here's a listing of the rest:
Time-Life The Enchanted World Series Vols 1-21
1.1 Wizards and Witches
1.3 Fairies and Elves
1.5 Legends of Valor
1.6 Night Creatures
1.7 Water Spirits
1.8 Magical Beasts
1.10 Spells and Bindings
1.11 Giants and Ogres
1.12 Seekers and Saviors
1.13 Fabled Lands
1.14 Book of Christmas
1.15 Fall of Camelot
1.16 Magical Justice
1.17 Lore of Love
1.18 Tales of Terror
1.19 Book of Beginnings
1.20 The Secret Arts
1.21 Gods and Goddesses
If you are able to, obtain any edition as each is well worth your time and effort to gain. You won't be disappointed. In case you're wondering, there is someone on eBay who is offeirng the entire 21 volume set for $50.00 US + S&H AND there seems to be someone in the UK selling the 21 volume set for $50 USD + S&H as well so if you're interested, jump on it before they're gone. These are very good resource materials because Time and Life are extremely tight companies who focus a lot on quality and accuracy.