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Author Topic: Walking Many Paths (how to?)  (Read 1685 times)

Koudelka

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Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« on: September 30, 2016, 05:21:40 am »
Hello again! After contemplating my last thread over I started to ask myself something, and indeed it is about "mixing" different paths.

SO hopefully I won't confuse anyone here.

First of all, do any of you walk different paths at once? Like for me I'm having a hard time, because I want to believe in Celtic things, but at the same time have Egyptian deities.

I want to learn to communicate with my goddess while also still receiving guidance from the celtic path. It's a lot of tug and pull, and I'm confused. Lol. Not to mention the whole Angels thing... but that's for another previous thread! I'd go on, but I think I've said enough. I think you guys will get where I'm coming from with just that.
So any advice, knowledge, etc. please! Thank you!
My Jedi senses are tingling...


RecycledBenedict

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2016, 05:58:56 am »
Quote from: Koudelka;196899
First of all, do any of you walk different paths at once?


Yes, if at once means in parallel. My practice from one of the paths takes place another day (or ten minutes later) than my practice from another path. I practice Meso-Druidry, did practice Late Roman syncretism, but is re-evaluating that at the moment, practice some things from Christian Esotericism, and perform some Buddhist practices.

Quote from: Koudelka;196899
Like for me I'm having a hard time, because I want to believe in Celtic things, but at the same time have Egyptian deities.


The Greek and the Romans acknowledged the existence of both Celtic and Egyptian deities. The Egyptians acknowledged the existence of Syro-Lebanese, Greek, Roman, Persian and Thracian deities, but the Celts (if that is a useful word at all) lived too far from Egypt to influence the Egyptians. In Roman times, Celts began to name their deities in Latin, and identify them with Roman deities. Isis was worshipped in Celtic Britain. It happened in the past, so why should you avoid something with precedent?

Something to consider, though, is keeping the culturally distinct ritual styles apart.

MeadowRae

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2016, 08:46:48 am »
Quote from: Koudelka;196899
Hello again! After contemplating my last thread over I started to ask myself something, and indeed it is about "mixing" different paths.

SO hopefully I won't confuse anyone here.

First of all, do any of you walk different paths at once? Like for me I'm having a hard time, because I want to believe in Celtic things, but at the same time have Egyptian deities.

I want to learn to communicate with my goddess while also still receiving guidance from the celtic path. It's a lot of tug and pull, and I'm confused. Lol. Not to mention the whole Angels thing... but that's for another previous thread! I'd go on, but I think I've said enough. I think you guys will get where I'm coming from with just that.
So any advice, knowledge, etc. please! Thank you!

 
I can't speak to the validity of this story, but an old pastor of mine told me that there was a missionary that went to India and became very disgruntled with the Hindu population. When the pastor asked him what happened, he replied "We went to share the gospel of Jesus, and they really accepted the message! Then they put Him on the shrine with all their other gods!" This message was meant to appall the audience, but I couldn't help but giggle.

Syncretism (incorporating one faith or religion into another) has been happening pretty much as long as humans have. Individualism and the preservation of individual culture didn't really gain importance until the Romantic period. This is when the West in particular really started to value original stories and historical accuracy. (There have been exceptions to this, but this is generally the case.) Before that point, many, many cultures blended faiths with Christianity in order to fall in line with societal/state expectations. In my locale, the Appalachian granny witches would almost always identify themselves as Baptist and they call on Jesus and banish the Devil in their magic.

I have had this battle in myself, as well. I come from a really strong Christian background, and I find myself thinking of or referencing the words of Jesus often. I also feel a strong pull toward Celtic ideals. I think the key to syncretism is not trying to go into a religion thinking you own it, or that your way is the best or only way to practice. And, of course, that you respect the wishes of those who practice the religion in a more historically accurate way, or who say that there religion is definitively closed to those outside the culture.

I'm a super soft polytheist, though, so someone working with deities as corporeal beings may look at this a different way.
The genderqueer witch your mother warned you about

Darkhawk

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2016, 10:11:13 am »
Quote from: Koudelka;196899
First of all, do any of you walk different paths at once? Like for me I'm having a hard time, because I want to believe in Celtic things, but at the same time have Egyptian deities.


So a question for you: what about this seems hard to you?

Do you carry a belief that religions are in some way exclusive, and thus you have to only do one at a time?  Or that they're sealed bubbles and not cross-fertile with each other?  (These are both common bits of baggage that people carry around, for what it's worth.)

Quote
So any advice, knowledge, etc. please! Thank you!

 
Religions have a spectrum of practice and belief associated with them, which can be filed into four broad and blurry-edged categories: the stuff that you must do, the stuff that people commonly do, the aesthetic trappings and stuff people can take or leave, and the stuff that you may not do.  (And there's the big zone of 'stuff that's irrelevant'.)

It is possible to practice multiple religions so long as the MUST stuff from each of them does not overlap the MAY NOT.  It is easier to do so the more of the MUST and common stuff overlaps, and the aesthetic components certainly help.  (The fact that my Egyptian reconstruction and my Craft line both have symbolism involving the heart as unifying moral centre and goal to be attained makes a lot of things very straightforward.)

At the same time: are you wanting to practice multiple religions at all?  Because from what you've said in your OP, I'm reading two possibilities that seem more plausible: that you are either looking to build an eclectic practice (you talk about Egyptian gods and Celtic beliefs, but not Celtic gods, Egyptian theologies, or any form of practice), or that you want to have a core practice and are not sure about whether off-brand components can work with it.

Both of these have a long history in modern paganism, and roots in older practices.  (As MeadowRae notes above.)  I don't think I have any advice on them that wouldn't just be recapitulating an article I wrote, so here is the article:  http://www.ecauldron.net/eclecticism.php
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Koudelka

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2016, 09:16:36 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;196913
So a question for you: what about this seems hard to you?

Do you carry a belief that religions are in some way exclusive, and thus you have to only do one at a time?  Or that they're sealed bubbles and not cross-fertile with each other?  (These are both common bits of baggage that people carry around, for what it's worth.)


 
Religions have a spectrum of practice and belief associated with them, which can be filed into four broad and blurry-edged categories: the stuff that you must do, the stuff that people commonly do, the aesthetic trappings and stuff people can take or leave, and the stuff that you may not do.  (And there's the big zone of 'stuff that's irrelevant'.)

It is possible to practice multiple religions so long as the MUST stuff from each of them does not overlap the MAY NOT.  It is easier to do so the more of the MUST and common stuff overlaps, and the aesthetic components certainly help.  (The fact that my Egyptian reconstruction and my Craft line both have symbolism involving the heart as unifying moral centre and goal to be attained makes a lot of things very straightforward.)

At the same time: are you wanting to practice multiple religions at all?  Because from what you've said in your OP, I'm reading two possibilities that seem more plausible: that you are either looking to build an eclectic practice (you talk about Egyptian gods and Celtic beliefs, but not Celtic gods, Egyptian theologies, or any form of practice), or that you want to have a core practice and are not sure about whether off-brand components can work with it.

Both of these have a long history in modern paganism, and roots in older practices.  (As MeadowRae notes above.)  I don't think I have any advice on them that wouldn't just be recapitulating an article I wrote, so here is the article:  http://www.ecauldron.net/eclecticism.php


I'm not exactly certain on the core practice. I feel like Wicca should be my backbone, and branch from there. I don't know if that sounds particularly smart/intelligent, but Wiccans have many different beliefs, and I didn't start on this path till I found it. My small library of books can vouch for that.

Nice on the link. I had an "ahah" moment when I read this:
"Conquest would often lead to forms of assimilative syncretisation in which the local gods were either equated with the conquerors' gods in some way or declared related to them (often as wives or children)."

I've researched a bit on Egyptian history, and a thing I find conflict with is where they say Anubis is either Bast's son, or consort. I'm like well crap now I can't stop associating them with incest when I want to work with them!! I mean they say that happened back then, but this can't be right! Woe. I'm working on that as I realized things changed up a lot during different integrations in their society that changed this or that in their religion. If anyone can clarify that for me it'd be muchly appreciated.

I am interested in Egyptian theologies, and have barely touched the surface of Celtic beliefs, but they both feel right... There are other paths as well, but I think your article will help me on that.

I liked this line:
"Historically speaking, eclecticism is generally a fairly organic process, caused by the growths and flows of cultures."

I think culture has a lot of influence on where I'm going, and what I'm drawn to. It was very pleasantly enlightening to read that! I've been pulled in all kinds of directions while dealing with a crisis I'm going "Well duh..." now. Lol!

This:
"Clarity of thought -- purely individual religion may not have all of its tenets and thought patterns clearly articulated. I know that I not only think more clearly when I can lay out where I'm coming from but often find bugs in what I'm doing by doing so. If there is no religious community, there is no intrinsic need to go through this process, so muddy thinking may be perpetrated and thus mean that spiritual development gets stalled."

I think I'm struggling with that right now. I know enough not to cross boundaries, and "muddy things up", but it's there, and something to worry about.

"I don't know, man, I didn't do it -- sometimes a motley assortment of gods shows up in someone's life and makes it clear that They don't intend to go away.  At this point, the poor pagan is left to figure out how the heck they're supposed to deal with this confounding pile of miscellanea."

Oh man that made me laugh.

Thanks!
My Jedi senses are tingling...


Darkhawk

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2016, 10:06:44 pm »
Quote from: Koudelka;196927
I'm not exactly certain on the core practice. I feel like Wicca should be my backbone, and branch from there. I don't know if that sounds particularly smart/intelligent, but Wiccans have many different beliefs, and I didn't start on this path till I found it. My small library of books can vouch for that.


Right, then.  So you have a Wiccish practice (many pagans do), and want to figure out how to install Celtic and Egyptian belief modules on that.

For Tameran Wicca, by the way, my strong recommendation is Ellen Cannon Reed's Circle of Isis, which is brill if you're into that sort of thing.  (It's one of my pocket recs even though I'm an Egyptian recon, because the impression I get from reading it is that she's definitely dealing with the same gods, even if her format is different.)

Quote
I've researched a bit on Egyptian history, and a thing I find conflict with is where they say Anubis is either Bast's son, or consort.


Oh, gods are never as simple as that.  Check out Per Sabu (the best online resource on Egyptian jackal gods, period):  http://www.per-sabu.org/parentage-and-origins.html

Quote
I'm like well crap now I can't stop associating them with incest when I want to work with them!! I mean they say that happened back then, but this can't be right! Woe. I'm working on that as I realized things changed up a lot during different integrations in their society that changed this or that in their religion. If anyone can clarify that for me it'd be muchly appreciated.


God relationships are often incestuous, it has nothing to do with societies, it has a lot to do with the nature of gods.  (How many sibling marriages are there in - not just the Egyptian, look at the Greek, for the mythologies that are best known in Western culture.)  You have to look at the underlying theological reasonings behind pairings and associations.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
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we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Koudelka

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2016, 10:53:09 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;196929
Right, then.  So you have a Wiccish practice (many pagans do), and want to figure out how to install Celtic and Egyptian belief modules on that.

For Tameran Wicca, by the way, my strong recommendation is Ellen Cannon Reed's Circle of Isis, which is brill if you're into that sort of thing.  (It's one of my pocket recs even though I'm an Egyptian recon, because the impression I get from reading it is that she's definitely dealing with the same gods, even if her format is different.)



Oh, gods are never as simple as that.  Check out Per Sabu (the best online resource on Egyptian jackal gods, period):  http://www.per-sabu.org/parentage-and-origins.html



God relationships are often incestuous, it has nothing to do with societies, it has a lot to do with the nature of gods.  (How many sibling marriages are there in - not just the Egyptian, look at the Greek, for the mythologies that are best known in Western culture.)  You have to look at the underlying theological reasonings behind pairings and associations.


But a son and his mom? Really? Is this for real? Surely they just changed it up and there's confusion between which is which, right? I already got that link btw, and the Isis book is on my list to buy. :)
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Darkhawk

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2016, 11:27:18 pm »
Quote from: Koudelka;196932
But a son and his mom? Really? Is this for real? Surely they just changed it up and there's confusion between which is which, right? I already got that link btw, and the Isis book is on my list to buy. :)

 
There is an ancient title that several gods have, Kamutef.

It means, literally, "bull of his mother".

(Seriously, too? If you're familiar with and working with a Wiccan ritual structure this is not a shocker.  Go back and look at the more popular Wicca 101 mythologies again.)
as the water grinds the stone
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Yei

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2016, 12:43:53 am »
Quote from: RecycledBenedict;196900

The Greek and the Romans acknowledged the existence of both Celtic and Egyptian deities. The Egyptians acknowledged the existence of Syro-Lebanese, Greek, Roman, Persian and Thracian deities, but the Celts (if that is a useful word at all) lived too far from Egypt to influence the Egyptians. In Roman times, Celts began to name their deities in Latin, and identify them with Roman deities. Isis was worshipped in Celtic Britain. It happened in the past, so why should you avoid something with precedent?

Something to consider, though, is keeping the culturally distinct ritual styles apart.

 
More and more I'm considering the problem of appropriation to be more  about commercialism, than about syncreticism.

There may be some faiths whose values are too opposed to be contained within the practise of a single person. But I have not actually encountered such a thing myself.

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2016, 05:04:51 am »
Quote from: Yei;196937
More and more I'm considering the problem of appropriation to be more  about commercialism, than about syncreticism.

Commercialism is a problem in many (most?) religions, but I believe it is a more severe problem in New Age, since there aren't parallel non-commercial structures (monasteries, informal groups, member fee financed communities) to rein that particular aspect in.

I am not against transaction of money as such: the carpenters who produce meditation stools/benches have to get paid, a meditation group (or a ritual group) need a roof over their head (at least in my climate), pieces of art is often useful, but it is immoral to make money out of the living traditions other peoples share for free within their communities.

Syncretism has always been among us, and the common approach of pagans in the past was to acknowledge the existence of all deities, even if a particular individual or a particular city didn't sacrifice to all of them.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2016, 05:05:52 am by RecycledBenedict »

Yei

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2016, 04:43:08 pm »
Quote from: RecycledBenedict;196945
Commercialism is a problem in many (most?) religions, but I believe it is a more severe problem in New Age, since there aren't parallel non-commercial structures (monasteries, informal groups, member fee financed communities) to rein that particular aspect in.

I am not against transaction of money as such: the carpenters who produce meditation stools/benches have to get paid, a meditation group (or a ritual group) need a roof over their head (at least in my climate), pieces of art is often useful, but it is immoral to make money out of the living traditions other peoples share for free within their communities.

Syncretism has always been among us, and the common approach of pagans in the past was to acknowledge the existence of all deities, even if a particular individual or a particular city didn't sacrifice to all of them.

 
Indeed. I think the problem with commercialism is not the selling of goods, which is normal and ancient. It is how companies sell 'values' that they attach to a product. This has the effect of rendering those values shallow, weak, dumbed down, and unusable in life, which is a problem if one intends to live by those values and needs to apply them to complex situations. But this is a conversation for a different thread.

Koudelka

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2016, 12:03:41 am »
Quote from: Darkhawk;196934
There is an ancient title that several gods have, Kamutef.

It means, literally, "bull of his mother".

(Seriously, too? If you're familiar with and working with a Wiccan ritual structure this is not a shocker.  Go back and look at the more popular Wicca 101 mythologies again.)

I don't really know everything about Egyptian mythology, but I do know that the whole Goddess and God mythos in Wicca throughout the seasons isn't to be taken as literally the goddess gets with her son. There's many layers to one thing. I feel like that story is about the goddess bringing life back to her beloved through her loving arms after his transformation, and the cycle is that this happens over and over again. Just like what happens to the many during their life here. Not ignoring the fact that she DOES give birth, but I don't think she literally gives birth to him. I think that he finds transformation through her, and they have a child. Haven't gotten past there yet though, but I got a whole life time to understand it!

Or at least that's my interpretation.

Ah, but anyway. I am glad I found you here as I've found more sources from you to continue my search from! Even if we do have some differences in ideas.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2016, 12:11:34 am by Koudelka »
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RecycledBenedict

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2016, 04:56:41 am »
Quote from: Koudelka;196987
I don't really know everything about Egyptian mythology, (...)


Another thing to remember about Egyptian mythology, is that they were Egyptian mythologies. Each city had its own mythology. A deity, who was a child of two deities in one particular city, could be the sibling or parent of these deities in other cities. Egypt had several creator deities, for instance.

Darkhawk

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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2016, 08:59:50 am »
Quote from: Koudelka;196987
I don't really know everything about Egyptian mythology, but I do know that the whole Goddess and God mythos in Wicca throughout the seasons isn't to be taken as literally the goddess gets with her son.


So why are you going "Is this for real?" about Egyptian mythology, if you're already using nuanced theological thought for other mythologies?

Also, as Benedict pointed out, different cities have different theologies, and while there was an overarching state religion (which is where Egypt differs from Greece, which was similar) that state religion also changed over time.

Though I'd note after reviewing my references, I haven't come across any legit historical basis for Anup having a consort at all, let alone one of the ones that is listed in a parental role.  Basically, as far as the surviving mythologies would indicate (and my own personal experience, for what that's worth) he's genderqueer and ace.
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Re: Walking Many Paths (how to?)
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2016, 12:56:54 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;197001
Basically, as far as the surviving mythologies would indicate (and my own personal experience, for what that's worth) he's genderqueer and ace.


Seconding this on the basis of my experiences in working with him.
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