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    Choosing a Pantheon

    I'm relatively new to paganism as a whole and for me, finding a pantheon for me to honor is turning out to be pretty difficult. First of all, I must say I am not interested in reconstructionism and never have been, I would definatley fit much more within the "Neo-pagan" or just on the general polytheist spectrum than anything else. Despite that, I've always held that my spirituality should have some sort of mono-cultural theme to it (all Germanic, all Greek etc.)

    My heritage is Celtic (Irish and Welsh), Germanic (Dutch) and Slavic (Polish). I decided to look into all of my ancestral pantheons, spending months reading the myths, the ancient culture and history of the people and looking at individual gods and goddesses. However I never felt drawn to any of the gods of either the Welsh, Irish, German or Slavic pantheons. Whenever I read about any of them, I never felt a strong connection. So I tried reaching out to them have to see if they want a relationship with me. I got no answer. I felt somehow I had shamed my ancestors at not having a relationships with any of those gods and that I had done something wrong. So I took a break for a while and left my research alone for about 4 months or so.

    After a while, I decided to take it up again and kept researching. This time, looking into the gods of Kemet. I had always had a fascination with Ancient Egypt, particularly the artwork however I struggled to get a pull from any of the deities or the pantheon in general, although I loved the culture. I had similar experiences with the Greek and Roman pantheons. From the very outset I had this feeling that the Greek gods definatley did not want anything to do with me (just call it a feeling), I think it had a lot to do with the mythology, it just didn't resonate with me at all. I love Italy and Italian culture but I had no connection to any of the Roman deities either, despite how much I researched. I looked into Hinduism and was met with similar results. I didn't feel like the gods wanted a bar of me. Recently, out of desperation, I even tried praying to my ancestors to show me the path and the gods that are right for me, however I'm not seeing signs.

    I would really like some advice on how to proceed at this point. I understand that it's hard to give advice to somebody who is on their own path. I'm really feeling quite disillusioned with it all and I have no idea what to do or what to try next.

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    Re: Choosing a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Cali View Post
    I would really like some advice on how to proceed at this point. I understand that it's hard to give advice to somebody who is on their own path. I'm really feeling quite disillusioned with it all and I have no idea what to do or what to try next.
    Wow, that's a tough situation.

    Are you pretty much determined to have a theistic practice? You can have a wonderful spirituality without being theistic. You could do things like path-working, divination, or you could work with herbs. Also, you didn't necessarily shame your ancestors or do something wrong. The gods call to who they will.

    Sometimes it seems like it takes a while for some deities to mesh with some devotees. From what I understand, there are also people who never really feel that "pull", but their prayers are answered and they don't get an impression they're unwelcome.

    Also, are you fixated on certain deities? Sometimes those you're meant to honor aren't those you're immediately interested in. Often, connection comes just a liiittle bit later. I had this experience with the Kemetic pantheon.

    Or did you honor each pantheon only broadly? You might have better luck if you approach a deity separately. Spend a couple months in devotion. See where it leads.

    Also be aware that you might not have a choice to be monocultural. Sometimes deities pop in from different cultures and make it clear they're not going away. Had that experience with Ganesha. But I sympathize with the desire to be monocultural.
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    Re: Choosing a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Cali View Post
    I would really like some advice on how to proceed at this point. I understand that it's hard to give advice to somebody who is on their own path. I'm really feeling quite disillusioned with it all and I have no idea what to do or what to try next.
    I wouldn't worry about it so much. Just relax, and let the right gods find you, so to speak. You may find one deity that you really feel a connection with, and that may draw you into that deity's culture as a whole. That's what happened to me in the beginning, as I became more interested in the Greek pantheon because the goddess I was interested in came from there, although now I also incorporate Egyptian deities into my practice. My advice is to just be patient and let it happen naturally. Read as much as you can, but don't go into it determined to find your pantheon. It's kind of like making friends and meeting romantic partners, you just kind of have to expose yourself and wait for something to click.

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    Re: Choosing a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Shine View Post
    Wow, that's a tough situation.

    Are you pretty much determined to have a theistic practice? You can have a wonderful spirituality without being theistic. You could do things like path-working, divination, or you could work with herbs. Also, you didn't necessarily shame your ancestors or do something wrong. The gods call to who they will.

    Sometimes it seems like it takes a while for some deities to mesh with some devotees. From what I understand, there are also people who never really feel that "pull", but their prayers are answered and they don't get an impression they're unwelcome.

    Also, are you fixated on certain deities? Sometimes those you're meant to honor aren't those you're immediately interested in. Often, connection comes just a liiittle bit later. I had this experience with the Kemetic pantheon.

    Or did you honor each pantheon only broadly? You might have better luck if you approach a deity separately. Spend a couple months in devotion. See where it leads.

    Also be aware that you might not have a choice to be monocultural. Sometimes deities pop in from different cultures and make it clear they're not going away. Had that experience with Ganesha. But I sympathize with the desire to be monocultural.
    I'm pretty determined to have some sort of theistic practice. I wouldn't feel like I'm doing it properly without at least trying it.

    Would you say that most people find the religion they like first before the gods and goddesses? Say for example you like Kemeticism, it's practices and values and decide to become a Kemetic and then the gods come to you?

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    Re: Choosing a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Cali View Post
    Would you say that most people find the religion they like first before the gods and goddesses? Say for example you like Kemeticism, it's practices and values and decide to become a Kemetic and then the gods come to you?
    There is absolutely nothing that will guarantee that "the gods come to you", so, yes, it is best to find a religion that actually suits you and practice that.
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    Re: Choosing a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Cali View Post
    Would you say that most people find the religion they like first before the gods and goddesses? Say for example you like Kemeticism, it's practices and values and decide to become a Kemetic and then the gods come to you?
    I second Darkhawk. There's no guarantee the gods will come to you, so you need to find a religion whose values and practices you enjoy. That said, if you're actively practicing the religion they're part of, the gods may take notice.

    Again, not everyone is going to feel a pull or a thwap from the gods. From what I understand, that's fairly rare (but looks common because those kinds of people tend to congregate, lol). So, even if you don't feel a pull toward this deity or that, as long as you don't get the sense that you're actively unwanted, it doesn't hurt to choose the gods you want to worship and go from there.
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    Re: Choosing a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Cali View Post
    I would really like some advice on how to proceed at this point. I understand that it's hard to give advice to somebody who is on their own path. I'm really feeling quite disillusioned with it all and I have no idea what to do or what to try next.
    I agree with those who've pointed out that not every spiritual path involves deities. I'm a bit of an oddity among my Pagan friends, most of whom don't bother much with gods - they might honour one at a seasonal ritual occasionally, but that's about it. Animism, pantheism and non-theistic, humanistic approaches to various Pagan paths can work very well. (I'm an animist as well as a polytheist, and spend more time hanging out with spirits of the land and my ancestors than I do with my gods.)

    But I do wish you all the best with finding or creating your path. I'm working mine out as I go. It seems to make most sense that way.
    Last edited by Naomi J; 11 Mar 2013 at 09:56 AM. Reason: Clarification of a term
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    Re: Choosing a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Sophia Catherine View Post
    I agree with those who've pointed out that not every spiritual path involves deities. I'm a bit of an oddity among my Pagan friends, most of whom don't bother much with gods - they might honour one at a seasonal ritual occasionally, but that's about it. Animism, pantheism and non-theistic, humanistic approaches to various Pagan paths can work very well. (I'm an animist as well as a polytheist, and spend more time hanging out with spirits of the land and my ancestors than I do with my gods.)

    But I do wish you all the best with finding or creating your path. I'm working mine out as I go. It seems to make most sense that way.
    I must admit that sounds very much like the type of practice I'd like to have eventually. I've always felt very connected to my ancestors, though I've never tried engaging with land spirits. I just feel I should have some sort of direction in my spiritual beliefs, either a religion or a strong spiritual tradition as a foundation.

    It sounds to me like I was going at things backwards, trying to find my pantheon when I don't even really know what direction I want to take my spirituality. I definatley do not want to be what they call a "god slave", I'd just like to have a pantheon or a few deities that I can feel connected to and honor ever now and again.

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    Re: Choosing a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Cali View Post
    I must admit that sounds very much like the type of practice I'd like to have eventually. I've always felt very connected to my ancestors, though I've never tried engaging with land spirits. I just feel I should have some sort of direction in my spiritual beliefs, either a religion or a strong spiritual tradition as a foundation.

    It sounds to me like I was going at things backwards, trying to find my pantheon when I don't even really know what direction I want to take my spirituality. I definatley do not want to be what they call a "god slave", I'd just like to have a pantheon or a few deities that I can feel connected to and honor ever now and again.
    You may find that there are other ways to have direction in your spiritual beliefs, rather than focusing on deities. Are there other things that you're interested in, like magic, or divination, or work with nature and its spirits? Are you interested in any tradition that doesn't focus too strongly on deities (like revival druidry)? I would suggest reading very widely and seeing if other aspects of Pagan practice start to call to you. There doesn't always need to be a specific pantheon involved.

    Also, focusing on other things may eventually lead you to a pantheon of deities (or to a specific 'hearth culture', as ADF puts it - like Celtic or Norse). That's how it worked for me - I was working with land spirits for a while before I found deities.

    Some good Pagan books that aren't explicitly focused on deities:

    - Kindling our Stars: Nurturing Bright And Dark Flames, a great book about the practical ethics of living a Pagan life.
    - The Art of Conversation with the Genius Loci, which is about working with land spirits. (Lots of helpful practical exercises.)
    - Trance-Portation: Learning to Navigate the Inner World, which is about inner journeying - very good book.
    - Faery Tale: One Woman's Search for Enchantment in the Modern World - not a specifically Pagan book, but a wonderful tale of following your own journey to find out what you believe. The writer goes on a quest to find the faeries. Literally. Also, it's beautifully written.
    - Also, if you like that kind of 'personal journey' book, you might enjoy Wild: An Elemental Journey, the story of a man who takes seven years to explore the world and its elements as deeply as he can.
    - Druidry and the Ancestors: Finding our Place in our own History - great book if you're interested in researching and working with not just ancestors, but also concepts from the past in general, whether religious or cultural. And its not just for people in the modern druidry tradition (though it does talk about that).

    I'm sure more experienced people than me will have more book recommendations to offer, especially if you have specific interests.
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    Re: Choosing a Pantheon

    Quote Originally Posted by Sophia Catherine View Post
    You may find that there are other ways to have direction in your spiritual beliefs, rather than focusing on deities. Are there other things that you're interested in, like magic, or divination, or work with nature and its spirits? Are you interested in any tradition that doesn't focus too strongly on deities (like revival druidry)? I would suggest reading very widely and seeing if other aspects of Pagan practice start to call to you. There doesn't always need to be a specific pantheon involved.

    Also, focusing on other things may eventually lead you to a pantheon of deities (or to a specific 'hearth culture', as ADF puts it - like Celtic or Norse). That's how it worked for me - I was working with land spirits for a while before I found deities.

    Some good Pagan books that aren't explicitly focused on deities:

    - Kindling our Stars: Nurturing Bright And Dark Flames, a great book about the practical ethics of living a Pagan life.
    - The Art of Conversation with the Genius Loci, which is about working with land spirits. (Lots of helpful practical exercises.)
    - Trance-Portation: Learning to Navigate the Inner World, which is about inner journeying - very good book.
    - Faery Tale: One Woman's Search for Enchantment in the Modern World - not a specifically Pagan book, but a wonderful tale of following your own journey to find out what you believe. The writer goes on a quest to find the faeries. Literally. Also, it's beautifully written.
    - Also, if you like that kind of 'personal journey' book, you might enjoy Wild: An Elemental Journey, the story of a man who takes seven years to explore the world and its elements as deeply as he can.
    - Druidry and the Ancestors: Finding our Place in our own History - great book if you're interested in researching and working with not just ancestors, but also concepts from the past in general, whether religious or cultural. And its not just for people in the modern druidry tradition (though it does talk about that).

    I'm sure more experienced people than me will have more book recommendations to offer, especially if you have specific interests.
    Thank you for the book titles, much appreciated . I am interested in Divination, mostly Runes and Ogham (Tarot has never appealed to me). I'm also a Reiki practitioner. I was wondering if you don't mind me asking, how do you honor your ancestors and land spirits? Do you do rituals or meditations to them?

    Interestingly, I did look at the ADF as a possible organization to join at one point, however due to the fact that their rituals are so long and drawn out, it turned me off. I'm not interested in elaborate ritual, I prefer more personalized, simple rituals. Nor am I interested in reconstructionism.

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