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Author Topic: Going Back and Forth  (Read 2380 times)

Nyktelios

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Going Back and Forth
« on: October 04, 2011, 10:42:48 pm »
I have this habit of following different traditions at different times, and I don't really see it as a big problem, but sometimes I feel a bit flaky. There are times when I feel very Hellenic and don't want to expand my practice outside of the reconstructionist method. However, on a very regular basis, I am drawn back to Witchcraft, specifically Feri tradition (though I'm not an initiate, I just like what I've read from what's been made public). There's a lot in Feri, and in Witchcraft in general, that I find more satisfying than reconstructing an ancient religion so rooted in its own time and culture, yet I do feel a strong affinity with ancient Greek culture and want to keep that in my practice. To make matters even more complicated, I have a lot of Egyptian influence, as well, though I wouldn't say I attempt full on Kemeticism.

I know none of these are necessarily mutually exclusive, but I am struggling to balance different traditions and establish an identity. I rarely refer to myself as a Recon anymore, as I try to adapt my Greek polytheism to my modern life and so I don't bother celebrating most of the ancient Greek festivals unless they mark a natural/seasonal event (like honouring Selene or Hera at the full moon, Dionysos at the Winter solstice and spring equinox, Demeter and Persephone at the autumn equinox, the death of Adonis at the summer solstice), which seems a lot like Witchcraft and its solar festivals. There ends up being a lot of overlap and blending, which I suppose is fine, as Witchcraft and Feri tend to be universalist in nature, so different gods and practices can fit in easily.

I stay active on Hellenic groups, although if they knew of my other interests they'd probably chase me out with torches and pitchforks for being an "eclectic neopagan!" (lol). I mostly just like to correct people who claim to be Recon and get up on their high horses, yet continuously show their ignorance of ancient culture. It drives me nuts, and I'm not some advanced scholar or anything, but I feel uncomfortable leaving Hellenic polytheism in the hand of people like that, as well-informed people rarely speak up to that kind of thing anymore. Case in point: Sannion was shunned from both Hellenic and Kemetic communities for being a Greco-Egyptian syncretist, and now he doesn't participate in online discussions anymore despite being much more knowledgeable than many current participants and self-proclaimed experts. Still, lately I haven't felt much of a connection to Greek gods when I worship them and feel a much stronger connection to Feri gods and practices, yet I expect that may change with my moods.

Maybe I need to stop trying to be one or the other and just accept that I need to follow both paths, but though they don't exactly contradict, I sometimes struggle with trying to fit one into the other. It can be like being pulled in two directions and not knowing which way to go. I'm just wondering if anyone has had similar experiences and can offer some advice, or just commiserate.

Livia Indica

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Re: Going Back and Forth
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2011, 02:12:42 am »
Quote from: Carnelian;23980
I have this habit of following different traditions at different times, and I don't really see it as a big problem, but sometimes I feel a bit flaky.

If you're struggling and feeling flaky may I make a suggestion? Perhaps you should make an official, formal dedication to one path for a specific period of time and see how that works. Like maybe walk the Feri path for 6 months and see how it goes? If you make a firm decision it would bring you more focus?
« Last Edit: October 05, 2011, 08:00:34 am by RandallS »

RandallS

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Re: Going Back and Forth
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2011, 08:07:49 am »
Quote from: Carnelian;23980
Maybe I need to stop trying to be one or the other and just accept that I need to follow both paths, but though they don't exactly contradict, I sometimes struggle with trying to fit one into the other. It can be like being pulled in two directions and not knowing which way to go.

There is nothing to stop you from following both at once provided the paths don't contradict each other in some major way. There are basically major three ways to handle something like this. Eclectic: Mix and match as you think fits. Syncretic: Follow one as your main path but add in selected bits of other related practices that fit and add something the base lacks. Keep Separate: Follow both separately -- don't mix them at all. For example, when you are worshiping the Greek Gods use Hellenic practices and forget Feri but when you are worshiping the gods of Feri use Feri practices alone.
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Juniperberry

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Re: Going Back and Forth
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2011, 05:05:43 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;24033
There is nothing to stop you from following both at once provided the paths don't contradict each other in some major way. There are basically major three ways to handle something like this. Eclectic: Mix and match as you think fits. Syncretic: Follow one as your main path but add in selected bits of other related practices that fit and add something the base lacks. Keep Separate: Follow both separately -- don't mix them at all. For example, when you are worshiping the Greek Gods use Hellenic practices and forget Feri but when you are worshiping the gods of Feri use Feri practices alone.


I'm with Randall.

As a heathen recon, I find I'm also quite partial to scientific explanations. I don't try to reconcile the two because they're different and separate things. Recon is cultural, there isn't meshing to be had with science. Likewise, if I were interested in occult magic, I wouldn't work to reconcile that with heathenry. I wouldn't get hung up and how that affects my 'label'. I also wouldn't go into a recon group and try to impose non-cultural ideas. In the same way that I don't go into recon groups and claim the NFL can be integrated into  heathenry *recon*.  

The point is, recon doesn't have to make room for all that you are or do. I can be a recon that watches NFL, obeys modern laws, celebrates the local Cinco de Mayo festival, etc., all while still being heathen. Now, I have no idea how the Hellenic ideas play into this- but what about it says you can't retain the Hellenic worldview while also exploring extra-cultural interests?
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Nyktelios

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Re: Going Back and Forth
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2011, 06:21:37 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;24033
There is nothing to stop you from following both at once provided the paths don't contradict each other in some major way. There are basically major three ways to handle something like this. Eclectic: Mix and match as you think fits. Syncretic: Follow one as your main path but add in selected bits of other related practices that fit and add something the base lacks. Keep Separate: Follow both separately -- don't mix them at all. For example, when you are worshiping the Greek Gods use Hellenic practices and forget Feri but when you are worshiping the gods of Feri use Feri practices alone.

 
Thanks, that's good advice. So far I've always kept them separate, although I'm thinking that using a more syncretic method might be better thank functioning in two different paradigms. Many witches and neopagans follow specific ancient pantheons and honour their gods in traditional ways as well as in the context of Witchcraft. I think I'm just affected by the anti-neopagan, anti-magic rhetoric that happens in the Hellenic Recon community, which I know intellectually is nonsense, but is still affecting me subconsciously.

Quote from: Juniperberry;24124
The point is, recon doesn't have to make room for all that you are or do. I can be a recon that watches NFL, obeys modern laws, celebrates the local Cinco de Mayo festival, etc., all while still being heathen. Now, I have no idea how the Hellenic ideas play into this- but what about it says you can't retain the Hellenic worldview while also exploring extra-cultural interests?

 
Good point, thanks!

Garnet

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Re: Going Back and Forth
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2011, 06:59:21 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;23980
I'm just wondering if anyone has had similar experiences and can offer some advice, or just commiserate.


I describe myself sometimes as an eclectic striving for syncretism. Feri (not an initiate here either) and Thelema are important parts of my path, as well as some sort of religious witchcraft of a somewhat changing nature. Not to mention work derived from my own direct experience. I'm devoted to a personal thematic pantheon (and some of the pantheons represented were historically syncretized or had historical connections.) I value accurate history as well as personal experience and UPG.

I'm a member of Neos Alexandria and have always been welcomed over there, including with my Feri and Thelema-flavored wackiness. (Both by Sannion and the current members of the group.) So that could be a direction to look into. And there's no reason why you can't do different kind of ritual for different Beings.

Nyktelios

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Re: Going Back and Forth
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2011, 07:38:52 pm »
Quote from: Garnet;24167
I describe myself sometimes as an eclectic striving for syncretism. Feri (not an initiate here either) and Thelema are important parts of my path, as well as some sort of religious witchcraft of a somewhat changing nature. Not to mention work derived from my own direct experience. I'm devoted to a personal thematic pantheon (and some of the pantheons represented were historically syncretized or had historical connections.) I value accurate history as well as personal experience and UPG.

I'm a member of Neos Alexandria and have always been welcomed over there, including with my Feri and Thelema-flavored wackiness. (Both by Sannion and the current members of the group.) So that could be a direction to look into. And there's no reason why you can't do different kind of ritual for different Beings.

 
Maybe it's a Feri thing, following multiple religions without contradiction.

I'm a member of Neos Alexandria as well, but I don't post much. I can't keep up with the whole listserv thing.

Garnet

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Re: Going Back and Forth
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2011, 08:38:27 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;24172
Maybe it's a Feri thing, following multiple religions without contradiction.


I wonder if it's that whole "all gods are Feri gods" bit. :)

Quote
I'm a member of Neos Alexandria as well, but I don't post much. I can't keep up with the whole listserv thing.


I haven't been posting much lately, but I have been reading more than I used to. I hear you about not being able to keep up.

aware

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Re: Going Back and Forth
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2011, 02:56:23 am »
Quote from: Carnelian;23980
I have this habit of following different traditions at different times, and I don't really see it as a big problem, but sometimes I feel a bit flaky.

 
There should never be a ground when it comes to believing. That claim stems from the basic idea that religion is subjective and what you believe on might not sound good for me. In that sense, it would be no issue should one decide to believe on something now and change tomorrow, including all the days after.  Change is constant so whether you find something believable now, might not really work always for you.

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