Syncretic Polytheism

I was not sure where to post this, here in Beginners or a more advanced Thread. Since I am new here, I am posting this in the Beginners section.

I am curious to hear from more advanced or experienced practitioners on this topic. I am also open to opinions from new folks as well. Everyone is welcome to comment. I am sure there are a variety of views on the subject, and I would like to hear them all.

The topic is syncreticism or identifying one God or Goddess from one Tradition with a God or Goddess from a different tradition. For example, the Celtic Taranis, a Thunder God, has been equated by some with Jupiter, the Roman God.

My question to practicing Pagan Folks is this: can one God in one culture or pantheon be viewed as an incarnation of another God from another culture and other pantheon? Are Taranis and Jupiter expressions of the same God in two different cultures, or are they separate, distinct deities that just have similarities?

I believe that some Wiccans believe in a Great God and a Great Goddess, and view the many Gods as expressions of the one Lord, and various Goddesses as expressions of the one Lady. Then I am sure there are a lot more pagans (many or most?) who are more strongly polytheistic and view most Gods and Goddesses as distinct and different individuals or entities.

So, I think there is probably a variety of different beliefs ranging from a type of theism where all gods are incarnations of one God or Goddess, down to a syncretic polytheism where some Gods and Goddesses in one culture correspond to other Gods and Goddesses in different cultures. Finally, there probably are a number that view all Gods and Goddesses as separate entities, separate and distinct individuals.

I am asking others to maybe express what their belief is on this subject and also if they have ever encountered contemporary pagan traditions or groups that hew to one of these various perspectives.

My own area of interest is the idea that one God or Goddess in one culture *might* express themselves with a different name and presentation in another, different culture. Thus, Taranis might just be what the Gaulish Celts called Jupiter, and Jupiter is what Romans called Taranis. That is, they might be the same being or entity expressing himself in two different cultures.

I would like to know other people’s thoughts and perspectives on this subject.

 

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