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Author Topic: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice  (Read 1792 times)

Geroth

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Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« on: May 28, 2013, 08:16:07 am »
I'm attracted to the Germanic, Kemetic and Hindu cultures and I have several deities from all three pantheons whom I feel a connection. However I'm having trouble trying to mix three very different spiritual traditions together to form a practice.

Does anybody have any suggestions for me?

IceAngie

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Re: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2013, 11:00:11 am »
Quote from: Geroth;110124
I'm attracted to the Germanic, Kemetic and Hindu cultures and I have several deities from all three pantheons whom I feel a connection. However I'm having trouble trying to mix three very different spiritual traditions together to form a practice.

Does anybody have any suggestions for me?

 
Don't mix them? You can worship each deity in a way that's appropriate to their culture. That's what I try to do, having Celtic, Hellenic, Norse and Incan gods. Or, choose the way that works for you. You can always ask the deities if they disagree with what you're doing and see what answer you get.

Nightwind

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Re: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2013, 11:17:58 am »
Quote from: IceAngie;110135
Don't mix them? You can worship each deity in a way that's appropriate to their culture. That's what I try to do, having Celtic, Hellenic, Norse and Incan gods. Or, choose the way that works for you. You can always ask the deities if they disagree with what you're doing and see what answer you get.

 This sounds about right to me. All of my deities are Celtic but I know folks and groups who mix pantheons. Kind of like, one full moon they will do a Celtic ritual, then on the new moon do something Norse. Spend one holiday Hellenic, and the next holiday Incan...

veggiewolf

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Re: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2013, 11:28:27 am »
Quote from: Geroth;110124
I'm attracted to the Germanic, Kemetic and Hindu cultures and I have several deities from all three pantheons whom I feel a connection. However I'm having trouble trying to mix three very different spiritual traditions together to form a practice.

Does anybody have any suggestions for me?

 
Is there a reason you want to combine all of the traditions into one practice?  What are you looking for in terms of what you want to do, given what you're currently doing?
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Materialist

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Re: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2013, 11:36:08 am »
Quote from: Geroth;110124
I'm attracted to the Germanic, Kemetic and Hindu cultures and I have several deities from all three pantheons whom I feel a connection. However I'm having trouble trying to mix three very different spiritual traditions together to form a practice.

Does anybody have any suggestions for me?


Sounds like me, just replace 'Kemetic' with 'Amazigh' and add Celtic to the end. I still haven't sorted every detail out, but I can tell you what I've learned.

All these cultures had agricultural and pastoral elements, but the environments they lived in were quite different. We got tropical, temperate, and desert. Fling aside all these differences and construct festivals around the transitions of your local ecosystem. For example, the Egyptians had a feast called "eating cucumbers for Bast," or something like that. So, if you grow cucumbers, whenever the first fruit ripens would be the day to have this celebration.

New Year's Day is a bit tricky; all these cultures started the year at different times: spring, summer, winter. That they all used luni-solar calendars doesn't help. Either go with the first of January, or whatever season feels like a new beginning to you.

For ancestral rites, if your ancestors belonged to any of these cultures, whatever the traditional date for such rituals is, is fine. Kemetic day of the dead for your Egyptian ancestors, Hindu for Indian forebears, etc.
 
If the deities you worship have traditional holy days assigned to them, go with those. If they're gods of a similar thing, like craftsmanship, you might try going for some assimilation. Same thing with house and hearth entitites-you got one house, one fireplace. Pick which one has a stronger pull for you, or combine the two to make something new, that fits your needs.

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Re: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2013, 04:57:41 pm »
Quote from: Geroth;110124
I'm attracted to the Germanic, Kemetic and Hindu cultures and I have several deities from all three pantheons whom I feel a connection. However I'm having trouble trying to mix three very different spiritual traditions together to form a practice.

Does anybody have any suggestions for me?

 
Perhaps you can review and reflect on the aspects of these cultures that appeals to you. Take each on individually. You may be surprised to find one underlying theme that spurs your connection. Or, you may find lots of different things, equally touching.

Personally, I feel each religion has something to offer and in my own practice I have intertwined a myriad of faiths into a theosophy that speaks directly to me. Wasn't something that happened overnight. My spiritual journey has had peaks and valleys and changes as I age (as do most things, I suppose).

Keep an open mind and you'll discover something that flows between the three cultures and you.

Nyktelios

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Re: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2013, 05:25:29 pm »
Quote from: Geroth;110124
I'm attracted to the Germanic, Kemetic and Hindu cultures and I have several deities from all three pantheons whom I feel a connection. However I'm having trouble trying to mix three very different spiritual traditions together to form a practice.

Does anybody have any suggestions for me?

You could keep them separately and worship them according to their own culture if that's what works for you, but personally I find it difficult to go back and forth between different cultural perspectives depending on the deity. I started out Hellenic, but now I follow Egyptian deities like Isis, Hathor, and Osiris/Serapis, who I tend to honour in a very Hellenized way, with some Kemetic influence blended in. Even on the rare occasion I honour a Norse deity, I tend to do so with incense and libations in Hellenic style. I've never been smited from the heavens or anything (so far!).

I don't think there is anything wrong with blending them together, as all religious traditions are influenced by others they have come in contact with. No new religions would ever arise, and old ones would stagnate, if traditions were unable to mix ever. I have heard of some people having bad experiences with mixing incompatible deities or practices, though I have never really had any such experiences. Start slow and feel things out before you do anything too significant. Mixing your particular deities and traditions is probably something you have to work out for yourself with experience.

I think I've posted this video somewhere before, but it gives an intelligent and eloquent rationale on the subject: [video]http://youtu.be/rHeH3qI8kFQ[/video]
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 05:27:38 pm by Nyktelios »

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Re: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2013, 06:56:58 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;110182

I don't think there is anything wrong with blending them together, as all religious traditions are influenced by others they have come in contact with. No new religions would ever arise, and old ones would stagnate, if traditions were unable to mix ever. I have heard of some people having bad experiences with mixing incompatible deities or practices, though I have never really had any such experiences. Start slow and feel things out before you do anything too significant.


This seems a handy place to hang a particular thought...

I think the reason that blending practices gets problematic is that a lot of people take a practice without necessarily understanding (or taking with them!) the safety and other practical precautions that go with that practice in the existing system.

Which is, yes, a way to get into trouble, just like someone who's learned to drive, say, a tractor on a farm, is going to be missing some really important information when they get behind the wheel of a car on a road with other cars.

Does it happen for every practice? Nope. But it's probably a really sensible habit to get into to not just look at the practice you're specifically interested in, but also in the surrounding precautions and setup.

A lot of stuff is universally applicable ('Fire burns stuff, be sensible about how you use it!' goes back a really long way in pretty much every practice ever) but there's stuff that's more specific and still really worth knowing about.

(as I sometimes say: I prefer learning from other people's mistakes rather than own, when possible and safety and other precautions are a big part of that.)
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Geroth

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Re: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2013, 01:07:03 am »
Quote from: veggiewolf;110137
Is there a reason you want to combine all of the traditions into one practice?  What are you looking for in terms of what you want to do, given what you're currently doing?


Well, in terms of a practice, I thought it might be difficult to follow 3 spiritual traditions each with very different beliefs and ethics. I think to be honest it would overwhelm me.

Also, the thing is I initially intended on having separate altars for each of the pantheons, however I do not have the room for 3 separate altars and not to mention living with my parents and younger sibling, privacy is hard to come by which is something I like to have with my spiritual practices.

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Re: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2013, 09:44:40 am »
Quote from: Geroth;110216
Well, in terms of a practice, I thought it might be difficult to follow 3 spiritual traditions each with very different beliefs and ethics. I think to be honest it would overwhelm me.

 
Well, that's an argument for keeping practices relatively separate.

If you intend to combine things, they have to have a reasonable amount of overlap, because otherwise there's not enough stuff to make a practice with.  (I mean, you can pare things down to "We light things on fire in a religiously significant manner" for pretty much any combination but that doesn't give you a whole lot to work with, and once you've set it on fire you have a bit less. ;) )

Any religion has a bunch of stuff that's core and essential, a bunch of stuff that's common, a bunch of stuff that's peripheral to irrelevant, and a bunch of stuff that's absolutely not done.  The most easily constructed (and likely to be successful) intentional syncretisms have a huge amount of overlap in the "core and essential" and "common" realms (and have none of that overlap with "absolutely not done" of course).  When you start getting into 'the core of this practice doesn't have anything in common with the core of that practice', it gets to be a lot more work, and when you have core practices of one thing that overlap with the forbidden realms of another, syncretic combination cannot be done.
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Materialist

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Re: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2013, 07:39:32 pm »
Quote from: Geroth;110216


Also, the thing is I initially intended on having separate altars for each of the pantheons, however I do not have the room for 3 separate altars and not to mention living with my parents and younger sibling, privacy is hard to come by which is something I like to have with my spiritual practices.


This gets back to my one hearth thing I mentioned. From what I have studied so far, homes only had one shrine, where anyone in the family could worship their sacred beings in general. The head of the household was the family priest, who made offerings at this shrine to whatever gods his or her family worshiped on their behalf.

I don't know where this "one god to one altar" idea came from. If you only worship one god then okay.  During the Roman Empire it didn't seem to be much of a problem.

Rainfall

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Re: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2013, 07:50:37 pm »
Quote from: Geroth;110216
Also, the thing is I initially intended on having separate altars for each of the pantheons, however I do not have the room for 3 separate altars and not to mention living with my parents and younger sibling, privacy is hard to come by which is something I like to have with my spiritual practices.

 
You could always try looking for some sort of bowl, dish or box with multiple sections or compartments - that way you can keep different spaces for different offerings, without needing a large altar space.

On my altar I have a wooden dish with three separate indents in the surface (I'm not really sure how to describe it). I use each section for an offering to a specific deity within my pantheon. Something similar might work in the worship of multiple pantheons, maybe?

Materialist

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Re: Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2013, 09:02:33 pm »
Quote from: Rainfall;110299
You could always try looking for some sort of bowl, dish or box with multiple sections or compartments - that way you can keep different spaces for different offerings, without needing a large altar space.


Originally (based on my research, anyway) the hearth was the household altar, since offerings had to be burned in order to ascend to the gods. Maybe Geroth could simply light a candle on any safe surface after blessing the area and make the offerings there?

Not that the offerings should be burned, in such a scenario (candle flames aren't strong enough), but they could be passed over the fire, then left outside for the gods' pleasure. In my traditions only fire and water are inherently sacred, so I bless all other ritual tools as needed. So if I need an altar I mark a square out on the floor and that becomes the cosmic center for me.

Rainfall

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Mixing diffrent traditions to form a practice
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2013, 08:34:24 am »
Quote from: Materialist;110306
Originally (based on my research, anyway) the hearth was the household altar, since offerings had to be burned in order to ascend to the gods. Maybe Geroth could simply light a candle on any safe surface after blessing the area and make the offerings there?

Not that the offerings should be burned, in such a scenario (candle flames aren't strong enough), but they could be passed over the fire, then left outside for the gods' pleasure. In my traditions only fire and water are inherently sacred, so I bless all other ritual tools as needed. So if I need an altar I mark a square out on the floor and that becomes the cosmic center for me.

I think burning offerings is one of the biggest obstacles if privacy is required (people are probably going to notice if you start setting all the fire alarms off!). So I concur that a candle, or incense, is the best solution - it's easy and fairly discreet.

I tend to relegate my offerings dish to non-perishables (seashells, precious stones, coins etc) and 'burn' what I can by passing it through freshly-lit incense. I let the incense burn with a visible flame while I do this, before I blow it down to a few embers so it can burn normally.

And I love your method of designating your altar as needed, Materialist. It sounds like it'd be a great way to have a 'portable' altar - I'll remember that idea when I'm traveling ;)

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