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Author Topic: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons  (Read 1859 times)

Thaenatos

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Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« on: June 27, 2013, 11:20:15 pm »
If someone has asked this before, I apologize. I did not come up with something during my search, but I am tired and my brain has gone all fuzzy. Feel free to redirect me.

I have a question for everyone out there. I have heard of interfaith marriages between pagans and non-pagans, Catholic and Protestant, etc., but not once have I heard of a marriage between two hard polytheists of two different paths. So my question is this: what are some suggestions on helping an interfaith marriage work well between two different pantheons?

Yes, I do realize that seems naive and a little ridiculous to ask. Some principles and solutions between other interfaith marriages should and do apply. However, I am quickly finding that being a pagan of one path marrying a pagan of a different path presents some unique situations.

I am a Hellenist. My partner is Heathen. We are both reconstructionists. We are both hard polytheists. We are actively learning about the faith of one another, but we are bumping into some serious questions. How and where to put alters and to who is becoming the easy one. However, even that has led to deep discussion and stress. How to participate in a blot he leads without compromising my own beliefs or offending the Gods is trickier. For his part, he is baffled on how to participate in my morning ritual; nevermind festivals.

I have been hoping to find something in the literature for some sort of historical precedent. He hasn't found anything yet either. Hence, the need to reach out here. I am aware of the Greek tradition of syncretism and understand how it may be applied in some instances, but for others I am confounded. I am not aware of how marriage was seen between a Hellene and someone of a different faith in antiquity. I can make a short hop and guess it was not looked upon favorably. So far making certain the alters to Zeus and Odin are of equal height isn't so bad. Tacking on an epithet to identify Aphrodite with Freya seems strange. Just watching as the other offers prayers to foreign Gods with nothing to add to the experience and a deep desire to do so has resulted in awkwardness.

Surely someone out there has had experience in this? How have other couples handled this? How do you prevent impiety? Can or should you blend the two pantheons? (That seems a bit of stretch to me, but I am not so snobby as to exempt it from consideration.) Worshiping separately from one another does not fall in line with our personal belief of sharing as a married couple and has the potential pitfall of hurt feelings when the other does not participate/attend a ritual/event. (Even that is still a possibility though.) Thoughts? Suggestions? Source material?

Therapy has begun in the form of pie eating contests.
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Nyktelios

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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 11:52:17 pm »
Quote from: Thaenatos;113997
So my question is this: what are some suggestions on helping an interfaith marriage work well between two different pantheons?

Yes, I do realize that seems naive and a little ridiculous to ask.

 
Not a ridiculous question at all. It's actually a pretty interesting one, as though both of your paths may fall under the "pagan" umbrella, they are actually two distinct religious traditions.

I don't really have any wisdom to offer, except that maybe you could just keep your practices as separate as possible. Even if you identify Zeus/ Jupiter, Freya/Aphrodite, etc. in theory, it can be difficult to do in practice. I don't know of any historical precedents for Norse and Greek syncretism, so that makes things difficult. I would say that each of you could just do your own thing, and not worry about having to participate in each other's religion.

I'll be interested to see what others have to say.

ALiteraryLady

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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2013, 09:10:30 am »
Quote from: Thaenatos;113997

Surely someone out there has had experience in this? How have other couples handled this? How do you prevent impiety? Can or should you blend the two pantheons? (That seems a bit of stretch to me, but I am not so snobby as to exempt it from consideration.) Worshiping separately from one another does not fall in line with our personal belief of sharing as a married couple and has the potential pitfall of hurt feelings when the other does not participate/attend a ritual/event. (Even that is still a possibility though.) Thoughts? Suggestions? Source material?

Therapy has begun in the form of pie eating contests.


While I'm in a relationship with someone who is more agnostic and not a practicing Pagan per-say, I cannot give you my own experience on the matter, but rather I can tell you what I'm seeing from you guys in this situation.

1. I don't think it's possible for two hard polytheists to blend their paths together, nor do I think you have to in order to be a solid married couple. I guess for me that idea sort of reminds me of a couple I knew that did every single thing together, and they eventually drove each other nuts. I do find it healthy that you are learning from each others path, and I can see that being a strong enough "blend" if you will.

2. You guys seem healthy enough to honor your gods separately and not have it blow up in your faces as long as you talk through your rituals after the fact. Or you could go the route of being witness to each others rituals as long as the non practicing person doesn't interfere with the other person's ritual. Another option would be to have your separate rituals and then share a meal where you can discuss them and be open about what you experienced and what it meant to you.
 
3. As far as the altar situation, I'd keep them separate and view them as your own personal place, but perhaps building an altar to honor your marriage and your families (without deities on it) would be a way for you guys to have a place to reflect on your past and perhaps build a ritual to that later one.

I'm sorry I can't give you more personal advice, but I'd look at this situation as a learning experience rather than some big horrible omen that's been cast on you guys. Good luck.

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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2013, 10:58:15 am »
Quote from: Thaenatos;113997
So my question is this: what are some suggestions on helping an interfaith marriage work well between two different pantheons?


I know that this is just an awkward phrasing, but it's my core point, actually:  your gods/pantheons are not getting married.  You are.  Don't try to force them into having some kind of relationship just because you have a relationship.

Quote
How to participate in a blot he leads without compromising my own beliefs or offending the Gods is trickier.


Either a) take the role of a guest at such a ritual (like a non-Christian attending church might do) or b) do not attend rituals that you feel are in conflict with your practice.

Quote
For his part, he is baffled on how to participate in my morning ritual; nevermind festivals.


He doesn't have to, any more than the non-Christian spouse of a Christian has to attend church.  (I do consider this a matter of basic respect for the fact that people of different religions actually have different practices.  That those different religions are both polytheistic and may both be categorised as pagan does not change the fact that they are completely different religions.)

Quote
So far making certain the alters to Zeus and Odin are of equal height isn't so bad. Tacking on an epithet to identify Aphrodite with Freya seems strange.


The one is a level of attention that the gods might appreciate if they're so inclined; the other is attempting to force a relationship that may not actually be welcomed by the gods in question.

Quote
Surely someone out there has had experience in this? How have other couples handled this? How do you prevent impiety? Can or should you blend the two pantheons? (That seems a bit of stretch to me, but I am not so snobby as to exempt it from consideration.) Worshiping separately from one another does not fall in line with our personal belief of sharing as a married couple and has the potential pitfall of hurt feelings when the other does not participate/attend a ritual/event. (Even that is still a possibility though.) Thoughts? Suggestions? Source material?

 
How it works for me and my Celt, and more broadly for our household:  each person is responsible for their own religious practice and beliefs.  We each maintain our own shrines and perform our own rituals.  I tend towards 'bunch of little shrines, mostly to gods' in my practice; he tends towards 'a couple of function-oriented shrines for which he has developed specific regular rituals'.

I have (in theory; in practice it's still packed up from our move a year and a half ago) a household shrine, which has been carefully developed to be respectful of all of the religious threads we are managing here.  This means that there was a lot of thought put into which Powers would be willing to be called upon as protectors of home and family and whether or not they would be happy to be in the same space.  This is our only point of interfaith connection in shrine structure, and includes not only several Egyptian powers and his patron (Brighid) but a piece of Jewish poetry so that our non-pagan family member is also included.

My Celt and I also have personal shared spiritual practice.  Also, since we are two fifths of our ritual circle, we have shared community practice.  Addressing the latter first: building shared ecumenical community practice is entirely possible, but I think doing it well requires a certain amount of flexibility and work.  You have to make decisions about whether you build a consistent shared protocol, take turns running things, or create something entirely new among yourselves.  You have to decide what things can be done as a group and what things are personal practice.  You have to decide how much the group focuses on devotional work with gods and how much on all the other things that come with a religious practice.  In our ritual circle, devotion to particular gods is not relevant to membership, but devotion to a particular community is; for people in our community, we will support their path (and even help them find their gods; one of our members is, I think, a proto-heathen but very uncertain about how to Do Religion, and for his sake Thor showed to our last party for sure).

When doing personal stuff, you have more flexibility in some ways (it is easier to do sex/religion combination stuff with a long-term partner than in a broader community, for example) and less flexibility in some ways (fewer people to do things).  You can take threads of things within your individual religious traditions that are compatible with each other and build something from that within your relationship (my Celt and I have an ecstatic mystical practice building on the concept of sacred kingship, a concept that exists in both Celtic and Egyptian theologies, though in rather different forms) or build something more by the seat of the pants if that suits better.  At this level, it is also worth thinking through things about how you want to ceremonialise your life; for example, I really really wish I had had more ritual structure to help me through my pregnancy.  (And this is not something most mainline reconstructionist systems bother to give a shit about in my experience; too focused on correct devotional practice and not enough actual life.)

This is getting long.  As you see I have many thoughts, most of which disagree with your premises. ;)
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Leanan Sidhe

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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2013, 03:06:04 pm »
Quote from: Thaenatos;113997
If someone has asked this before, I apologize. I did not come up with something during my search, but I am tired and my brain has gone all fuzzy. Feel free to redirect me.

I have a question for everyone out there. I have heard of interfaith marriages between pagans and non-pagans, Catholic and Protestant, etc., but not once have I heard of a marriage between two hard polytheists of two different paths. So my question is this: what are some suggestions on helping an interfaith marriage work well between two different pantheons?

Yes, I do realize that seems naive and a little ridiculous to ask. Some principles and solutions between other interfaith marriages should and do apply. However, I am quickly finding that being a pagan of one path marrying a pagan of a different path presents some unique situations.

I am a Hellenist. My partner is Heathen. We are both reconstructionists. We are both hard polytheists. We are actively learning about the faith of one another, but we are bumping into some serious questions. How and where to put alters and to who is becoming the easy one. However, even that has led to deep discussion and stress. How to participate in a blot he leads without compromising my own beliefs or offending the Gods is trickier. For his part, he is baffled on how to participate in my morning ritual; nevermind festivals.

I have been hoping to find something in the literature for some sort of historical precedent. He hasn't found anything yet either. Hence, the need to reach out here. I am aware of the Greek tradition of syncretism and understand how it may be applied in some instances, but for others I am confounded. I am not aware of how marriage was seen between a Hellene and someone of a different faith in antiquity. I can make a short hop and guess it was not looked upon favorably. So far making certain the alters to Zeus and Odin are of equal height isn't so bad. Tacking on an epithet to identify Aphrodite with Freya seems strange. Just watching as the other offers prayers to foreign Gods with nothing to add to the experience and a deep desire to do so has resulted in awkwardness.

Surely someone out there has had experience in this? How have other couples handled this? How do you prevent impiety? Can or should you blend the two pantheons? (That seems a bit of stretch to me, but I am not so snobby as to exempt it from consideration.) Worshiping separately from one another does not fall in line with our personal belief of sharing as a married couple and has the potential pitfall of hurt feelings when the other does not participate/attend a ritual/event. (Even that is still a possibility though.) Thoughts? Suggestions? Source material?

Therapy has begun in the form of pie eating contests.

 
I actually bookmarked this as soon as I saw it, but I was beat at the time, so I didn't get back to it till now. I wanted to comment specifically because I've done this twice.

Let me state right away that YMMV, especially because a) I'm the only one in our relationship who does any recon, b) I don't only do recon, and c) one of my partners is a soft polytheist.

Speaking of said partner, when he heard me sighing heavily and asked why, I told him. His two cents for the ceremony itself are: Do half Heathen and Half Hellenic. Or, 2. Do two separate ceremonies. I don't know how the first one would work because I don't know much about Heathenry and while I know a decent amount about Hellenic deities, I don't know much about Hellenic recon. The second one may not work due to expenses or time constraints, but if it did, that sounds like a good option to me.

Both times, we prayed and asked our Gods for their opinions, consent for us to be joined, and approval. Then for the actual ceremony, We asked them to witness the proceedings. We each asked our own Gods, so they didn't have some complete stranger asking them stuff.

It's also helped by the fact that in our UPG, and with only one exception, our Gods mostly get along -- even the ones that don't necessarily work great together don't have issues with each each other. And the exception isn't God on God. My one partner has...differences of opinions with one of my (and my other partner's) deities.

Our handfastings were definitely pagan, but not in a specific Trad. With my first partner, we also had a separate small ceremony specifically so that the very fundamentalist Christians in his family could attend a ceremony where they felt as comfortable as possible.

As far as combining our pantheons, we really don't. I'm a mostly, usually, sort of hard polytheist...ish. There need to be better terms for the gray areas in between. Sometimes, I have soft polytheism bits. So, in my my and my one patner's UPG one of our deities is the same, though we use different names.

We also have a few deities in common. One of my other partner's main Goddesses is a Goddess who I now work with very rarely, but who used to be a major presence in my life.

We usually practice separately, too. There are exceptions to this: Group workings and sacred sex rituals come to mind, and we sometimes meditate at the same time.

However, our practices aren't hidden or sectioned off from each other. Unless we really, really require absolute privacy (which happens sometimes), we often watch each other practice -- with the understanding that no one is going to interfere, interject, throw water balloons, or ask any questions they may have until later -- unless it's something like, "Um, I'm sorry to interrupt, but is part of this ceremony you setting the carpet on fire?" (Please don't ask! :eek:).

Each of the guys has their own shrine. We also have a house shrine. We plan to have more shrines and altars after we move. I have two portable altars for two very different things and I tend to practice outside as much as possible.

I don't personally recommend blending the two pantheons. I do recommend extensive study of each others paths and asking lots of questions (at appropriate times).

I'm sorry to hear you've been experiencing awkwardness. I don't really know what to tell you about that. as a rule, I don't have a personality type that feels awkward very often. I know that the few times I've felt awkward in specific situations/with specific people it eventually got better with greater understanding of/exposure to the situation/person (unless it was something I was completely opposed to).

I'm not recommending this really, because it doesn't work for everyone, but it sounds like you guys might already have a bare bones version of this in place and also like you guys are close-- though like I said not for everyone. But my one partner and I have a long-standing rule that we tell each other everything and I mean everything. The only exception is if my grandmother tells me something in confidence, I don't have to tell him. And we're both very good at keeping things told to us privately private. So it doesn't go beyond the other one of us if it's not supposed to. But everyone from our families to our friends to our Gods and Guides knows that if they tell one of us something, sooner or later, the other one will know too. Which pretty much eliminates any possibility of us feeling awkward with each other.

Could you possibly worship in that same room and at the same time, but each worship your own Gods?

I do recommend trying to come up with spiritual and/or religious things that you could do together that don't necessarily involve deities.

Another option is to find other ways to support each other. For example, I have a piece of ritual clothing that I asked those close to me to... imbue, I guess, in whatever way was in accordance with their beliefs.

A Catholic, a Jewish man, a secular Christian, and few pagans prayed over it. Two people slept with it, a Buddhist meditated on it, a witch, a Wiccan, and two pagans blessed it and did rituals for it, and two spiritual people invested it with energy and healing.

That's probably not going to work as well for two people who do recon, but it's an idea.

How it was viewed in antiquity, if it even occurred in antiquity, may not be applicable to the present day. For instance, in the past, a Christian marrying an atheist, or two people of different races was frowned upon (unfortunately stuff like that still happens sometimes), but in most 1st world countries today, most people just shrug over that kind of thing.

I strongly agrre with Darkhawk's suggestion of taking the place of a guest at each other's rituals.

I know of another couple who has a similar thing, sort of. It's my mom's best friend and her husband. She's Christian, he's Hindu. They have separate rooms for meditation and prayer, and I know they discuss their paths with each other, and that they're deeply in love. Beyond that, I don't know how the nuts and bolts work for them, because I'm not close to them.

I wish I had source material for you, but I don't. I imagine that as paganism becomes more widespread, this type of situation will crop up more often. Hopefully, someday, several people will write books about it.
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Queen of Wands

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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2013, 03:41:11 pm »
Quote from: Thaenatos;113997
However, I am quickly finding that being a pagan of one path marrying a pagan of a different path presents some unique situations.



I don't have any experience to add but I simply wanted to mention that this is a GREAT discussion question and I look forward to eagerly reading more responses :)

Chabas

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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2013, 04:00:13 pm »
Quote from: Thaenatos;113997


 
So are YOU getting married or are your Gods getting married? There's a distinct difference between the two, you know!

I've been known to describe my relationships with gods in much the same way I do those with humans - it shocks some people, but it's realistic in some ways. One of those ways being that just because my fiance and I get married in a few months,  that doesn't mean that our friends get married. They might run into each other, sure, and be civil towards each other at parties, but even that - if my friends and his friends didn't get along, we'd just not have parties for the both of them at once.

Don't force what isn't there, just like you wouldn't with people. You have your thing with your friends/gods, and he has his thing with his. While you might want to each ask your gods for a blessing, your wedding ceremony needn't be a religious one. A secular one with separate offerings to relevant deities will have you just as married, without the added complication of "how do I make deities who don't want to work together do so".

--Chabas

Thaenatos

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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2013, 04:22:34 am »
Quote from: Chabas;114179
While you might want to each ask your gods for a blessing, your wedding ceremony needn't be a religious one. A secular one with separate offerings to relevant deities will have you just as married, without the added complication of "how do I make deities who don't want to work together do so".

--Chabas


Our wedding is a whole different kettle of onions. Our backgrounds and families do not allow for a civil ceremony and the suggestion of a non-Christian type of activity (offerings) would cause unnecessary upheaval.

To my mind, my identity as an individual does not give me the right to disrupt so many lives. While I respect that such a declaration will upset many here, it is a non-issue for the purposes of this thread. I am far more concerned with our lives as a pair, not the act that will have us legally joined.
 
With that in mind, I think my first post may not have been worded as clearly as it needed to be. And I'm not certain how to clear it up. So this may ramble and repeat, but I hope it clears things up a bit on what I am specifically asking.

My partner and I are getting married. Our deities are not. I'm not certain how that would even be possible...

We are seeking some kind of historical context because that is part of being a recon. While neither of us expects to find much, if any, evidence such an occurrence ever actually took place, thoughts from the past about the interaction between cultures, which did happen, might help us in creating some kind of framework for our modern actions.

The way our relationship works is that we do share just about everything. We each have a space we can go in our home which belongs to just us. We do things separately from one another, but we try to constantly and consistently touch base. Every day we fill each other in on pretty much everything we did that day. Sharing everything currently does not drive us nuts. In fact, it's quite the opposite. When we need space, physical or other, we give and receive it. If that changes in the future, we are willing to be open to the possibility and will adjust accordingly.

We currently do the watch-not-participate sort of thing, as mentioned. The awkwardness comes partly from someone watching us. We've been alone for some time, so it is uncomfortable to be seen. We both know that will ease away with time.

What we worry about are more specific things. Festivals are meant to be shared times. He has his, I have mine (lots and lots of mine). Community is a strong part of both our faiths. Yet we do not know how to go about participating without offending our different Gods. Neither of us has gotten an answer from them. Neither of us wants to risk a, pardon the pun, God smack. And neither of us is comfortable with the idea of celebrating without the other present. It would be similar, I think, if one partner went out with friends every weekend while the other stayed home. Just watching, while it works, defeats the purpose.

We have discussed and created a sort of incomplete compromise. The offerings are a central part of what makes a festival for both of us and we recognize that for me to offer to his, and vice versa, would be a great act of impiety. To that end, we make separate offerings and come together for only shared elements of each event. We do the offerings at the same time, so no one pantheon is placed above the other. But what do you do when there is no overlap in timeframe?

It's not about forcing a relationship that isn't there. It is about blending your lives. Blending the pantheons probably won't work. It can't work within the normal confines of reconstructionist faiths. But you can't exclude your partner either. You can't celebrate life, which is the essence of many festivals and ceremonies, without inclusion. To do so completely undermines the reasons for having those events.

What we are looking for is some kind of guidance or suggestion to help us to that end. A way to fully experience life and gatherings with one another without violating the laws of piety. We aren't looking for a way to make offerings together. We are looking for a way to participate in the events of faith in such a way that honors our our beliefs, but also allows us to include one another in joyous celebration.

Leanan Sidhe, that book will be a bestseller in a few years. :)
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Dark Midnight

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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2013, 05:20:19 am »
Quote from: Thaenatos;116006
Our wedding is a whole different kettle of onions. Our backgrounds and families do not allow for a civil ceremony and the suggestion of a non-Christian type of activity (offerings) would cause unnecessary upheaval.

To my mind, my identity as an individual does not give me the right to disrupt so many lives. While I respect that such a declaration will upset many here, it is a non-issue for the purposes of this thread. I am far more concerned with our lives as a pair, not the act that will have us legally joined.
 

 
Ok, I'm probably not a great person to answer, but I feel that I have to at least try.

My husband and I got married in a civil ceremony 15 years ago, much to the anger and disgust of both our families. I'm a Witch and Noel is an Agnostic, so neither of us wanted to get married in a Christian ceremony. My family is Catholic and his is Methodist, so you can imagine the uproar. We finally stated that it was OUR wedding and, if they didn't like it, well they didn't have to turn up. Funnily enough, they all did in the end. I think that's all you can do- decide what it is that you and your partner want. It's YOUR wedding, no one else's.

As far as your individuality is concerned, I think that it is one of the main reasons that your partner loves you. Your wedding has nothing to do with disrupting lives. It's affirming your love with your partner. In all honesty, the only people who's opinions matter at this point are the two of you.
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Fionnbharr

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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 05:35:48 am »
Quote from: Thaenatos;116006
What we worry about are more specific things. Festivals are meant to be shared times. He has his, I have mine (lots and lots of mine). Community is a strong part of both our faiths. Yet we do not know how to go about participating without offending our different Gods. Neither of us has gotten an answer from them. Neither of us wants to risk a, pardon the pun, God smack. And neither of us is comfortable with the idea of celebrating without the other present. It would be similar, I think, if one partner went out with friends every weekend while the other stayed home. Just watching, while it works, defeats the purpose.

 
I basically come from the path of Hermes which is quite fluid and I frequently visit other pantheons. From my POV there might not be that much separation between the Gods as there was between the groups and societies that worshiped them.

Hermóðr the Brave (anglicized as Hermod) is a figure in Norse mythology, the son of the god Odin. After the death of Baldr he is the one who travels to Hel to bargain for the release of Baldr. One could speculate if Hermod is Hermes who in Greek Mythology frequently visits the Realm of Haides.

May I ask what particular Gods (of the two Pantheons) we are speaking of? then I can see if I might have something valuable stored somewhere in my head ;)
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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2013, 07:58:17 am »
Quote from: Thaenatos;116006

What we worry about are more specific things. Festivals are meant to be shared times. He has his, I have mine (lots and lots of mine). Community is a strong part of both our faiths.


Here's the thing, though: historically, people would have been part of a larger community. It would not just be one of you doing the rituals for the other: you would be living among a larger community celebrating those festivals.

In a situation where someone was an immigrant into a different community, then there's a couple of known historical options: one is that you do some things privately at home (recognising that you are giving up the larger community pieces), and do the public larger community things because being part of the larger community is also important. Or if that's forbidden to you by the God or Gods in question, then you do the stuff you're committed to and deal with the quite possibly less than pleasant parts of that choice.

(In other words, if you're going to be rigid about commitments - and there are sometimes some excellent reasons to be so - then you may not get to have Everything You Want. Look at pockets of Jewish communities in places where the majority religion was anything else, for example: Jews had full and rich ritual lives, but it sometimes was a point of problem with other parts of the community that they didn't participate in other things.)

For an example of the former, you might look at what non-local communities celebrated like in large, multicultural centers (for example, what it was like to be Egyptian or Phoenician in Rome, what it was like to be Greek in Alexandria at its height, and so on.) It's not an area I've dug into extensively, but you'll find that some people cheerfully kept up their own worship (often in communities of immigrants from the same place) but also went to larger community festivals that honoured the local predominant gods.

(See also people living in, say, New England, who attend a Russian or Greek Orthodox church: it is not the predominant form of Christianity here, the ritual schedule is off from the other forms of Christianity people are most familiar with, and many of the ritual forms are sufficiently different to be noticeable and potentially uncomfortable. Some families celebrate secular Christmas at the same time as everyone else, some hold out and follow their own liturgical year precisely.)

But here's the thing: those people in New England might decide to follow some of the *cultural* festivals - the fourth of July, Thanksgiving, etc. And those are places where you can get more of the larger shared community experience, without hitting anything that might upset one or more sets of your Gods.

In other words, one way you might build a shared ritual life together is to look at rituals of place (and you could expand the above for seasonal changes, things like blessing of a garden, harvest celebrations, etc. even if they're not a primary part of either of your paths, because that would give you more shared points of ritual contact.) I know of people who have built in days to honour particular scientists or historical figures relevant to their lives or work, for example, as building this kind of shared practice.

This would lead to three streams of ritual practice: your individual ones (which you might do entirely on your own, or with the other person observing, depending on your choices), and then a shared stream which celebrated ideas or events that are relevant to your shared life.  

You may also find that your Gods are relatively relaxed about other rituals - this depends on the Gods, but in general many polytheists I know have the experience where they may not make *commitments* to other Gods, or promises to/for them, but simply being in a ritual that focuses on them (or something sacred to them) is not a problem. (Again, if you were more specific about your situation, it might be easier for people to give you more direct advice about how to sort this out.)

Basically, I handle a lot of that the way I handle going to Christian services (no longer my god!). I am a pleasant guest, I listen attentively, I behave well, and I do not say the things that I either do not believe or that are in conflict with my existing religious promises. (For example, I can say about half the Nicene Creed without problems, and the other half I don't say, and it's sometimes a word by word or sentence by sentence thing. When in doubt, I don't say anything and am respectfully quiet.)

But that doesn't mean I don't recognise the importance of Christianity in the life of various people I care about, or that it's a problem for my Gods for me to be in church occasionally: my being there is part of being a larger community of people. (Because I only go when a friend or family thing makes it relevant: going every Sunday would be a different issue.)

There are situations in which a religious event might be sufficiently problematic (I am, for example, unlikely to go to a homophobic church comfortably) but I also live a life where I'm unlikely to be asked to do so even for family reasons.
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Thaenatos

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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2013, 09:30:03 am »
Quote from: Jenett;116027
Here's the thing, though: historically, people would have been part of a larger community. It would not just be one of you doing the rituals for the other: you would be living among a larger community celebrating those festivals.


(In other words, if you're going to be rigid about commitments - and there are sometimes some excellent reasons to be so - then you may not get to have Everything You Want. Look at pockets of Jewish communities in places where the majority religion was anything else, for example: Jews had full and rich ritual lives, but it sometimes was a point of problem with other parts of the community that they didn't participate in other things.)


Thank you for the great ideas. I've been so worried I had not fully considered the Diaspora populations.
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Thaenatos

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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2013, 09:46:38 am »
Quote from: Fionnbharr;116011
May I ask what particular Gods (of the two Pantheons) we are speaking of? then I can see if I might have something valuable stored somewhere in my head ;)


Of course you may ask. :)

I worship all of the Olympians and many of the more minor Gods/Goddesses of the Greek Pantheon. I do not have any patrons per se, though Hermes and I get along particularly well. I have dedicated alters to Hestia, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Aphrodite, Hermes, Ares, Apollon, Artemis, Dionysus, and The Unnamed/Unknown Gods. I usually add one alter per year. I don't know why. It just seems to fall that way. I follow the Athenian calendar for the most part, with some special days I have added based on my personal worship. Example: Poseidon has his own day on August the 8th.

My significant other worships, more or less, the major deities of the Norse pantheon. He is particularly devoted to Odin, Frigg, Thor, Sif, and Freya. He marks our joint calendar with days of his own and they seem to follow solar and lunar patterns (solstice, equinox, etc.). Which works out well for lining up with mine. He also performs specific rituals throughout the year which fall randomly on the calendar. He has recently done a blot (not certain how familiar you are with them - I am still learning myself) for Thor. I observed, but was wary of toasting.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2013, 10:11:42 am »
Quote from: Thaenatos;116006
What we worry about are more specific things. Festivals are meant to be shared times. He has his, I have mine (lots and lots of mine). Community is a strong part of both our faiths. Yet we do not know how to go about participating without offending our different Gods.


Have either of your sets of gods laid upon you a stricture that you may not attend religious rituals governed by other gods?  That is, in my experience, a really uncommon taboo.

My experience of polytheisms is that the gods in them are well aware that there are other gods out there, and that this is not a problem.  Some may have specific requirements of specific worshippers, or limits on what additional commitments that specific worshippers may make, but the sort of jealousy and exclusivity commonly associated with monotheisms is not actually relevant to most pantheons in the cases of their worshippers.

The ancients as a general rule snitched gods from their neighbors all the time if they thought those gods were cool enough, anyway.

Quote
It's not about forcing a relationship that isn't there. It is about blending your lives. Blending the pantheons probably won't work. It can't work within the normal confines of reconstructionist faiths. But you can't exclude your partner either. You can't celebrate life, which is the essence of many festivals and ceremonies, without inclusion. To do so completely undermines the reasons for having those events.


You may be unable to feel that you have a life shared with a partner without participating in the same festivals, but that is not universal; I certainly would not agree with what you say I can and cannot do.

All that I need from my spouses for my personal rituals is respect and space.  Participation, if they want to join in on a particular ritual, is excellent, and we do participate in each other's festal actions on occasion, but certainly not required.  My pagan husband does not ask me to get up in the hours before dawn for his winter solstice ritual to Manannan; I have no particular relationship with the Mac Lir to uphold, and thus doing a personal devotion to him would be insincere on my part, and besides, I am not by any stretch of judgement a morning person and it would be an unkindness to take me to the beach, which I dislike.

When we build a shared ritual, a shared festival, it is out of what is relevant within our practices, and honestly, very little of our shared stuff has anything to do with the gods at all.  (We do, however, invite many of them to our parties.)
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Fionnbharr

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Re: Interfaith Marriage Between Two Pantheons
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2013, 12:33:05 pm »
Quote from: Thaenatos;116038
Of course you may ask. :)

I worship all of the Olympians and many of the more minor Gods/Goddesses of the Greek Pantheon. I do not have any patrons per se, though Hermes and I get along particularly well. I have dedicated alters to Hestia, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Aphrodite, Hermes, Ares, Apollon, Artemis, Dionysus, and The Unnamed/Unknown Gods. I usually add one alter per year. I don't know why. It just seems to fall that way. I follow the Athenian calendar for the most part, with some special days I have added based on my personal worship. Example: Poseidon has his own day on August the 8th.

My significant other worships, more or less, the major deities of the Norse pantheon. He is particularly devoted to Odin, Frigg, Thor, Sif, and Freya. He marks our joint calendar with days of his own and they seem to follow solar and lunar patterns (solstice, equinox, etc.). Which works out well for lining up with mine. He also performs specific rituals throughout the year which fall randomly on the calendar. He has recently done a blot (not certain how familiar you are with them - I am still learning myself) for Thor. I observed, but was wary of toasting.

Hope that helps.


It helps ;) and I have to add if you ever follow any of my advise and the gods disapprove of it, you are welcome to blame me, because if I did not mean my words I would not share them.

I have some ideas, it is just figuring out where they hide. As strange and mystic Hermes is, if that does not scare one away, then am I wrong to say that he is both kind and low maintenance?

I think a point to mention to your gods is to tell them that you do not participate in your partners festival/worships to honor his or her gods but to honor your partner (in such an action there can never be disrespect). Any god that has a problem with that I would think is not worth worshiping. It might sound harsh but both of your pantheons is filled with deities that would have no problem with it (if any of your current has).

And may I suggest that next time you add gods or goddesses to your alter to consider the Olympian muses. I know Athena want me to add her in my words but on this I think the muses would be a great addition, especially Euterpe I think you will not find so different from Hermes (in many ways) ;) she has this innocent childlike awe about her and is all out fun (if one ask me). Who said I love her? :P
Grief and sorrow grows on the far banks of the river Styx, go there and visit them and you might not find your own way back home. - Achilles

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