The description of my blog is “a blog dedicated to my adventures in studying Neo-Paganism in central Ohio.”, and I feel like I have not written a whole lot on that topic. So today I thought I would tackle a topic not often talked about. “Clash of the Pantheons”.
Back in the late 90s-early 2000s there was a strong trend in Wicca of “plug-and-play” deities. It was widely excepted that the gods were just archetypes and any deity of the desired archetype could be inserted ritual and spell work. As someone that was devoted to a specific Pantheon that rubbed me the wrong way. I felt to was kind of disrespectful to the deities. I also robbed the practitioner and the deity of the full richness of that deities cultural background. while I still feel that way I realize now that experimenting with different deities till you find the ones that resonate with you is not a bad thing for beginners.
Moving forward to the present. As I have mentioned before I have been attending ADF Druid rituals to celebrate the Wheel of the Year. I am running in to a road block as it were. They are Druids and as such a majority of their rituals are to Celtic deities. I only work with the Roman/Hellenistic pantheon. While at first it was neat learning more about Celtic deities I am beginning to feel uncomfortable attending the rituals. Giving lip service to a god I don’t honor just to socialize feels shallow. On top of this the increasing dissatisfaction with the politics of this grove is making socialization itself feel shallow. The simplest solution would be to stop attending but that is not the overall point of this post. The point is asking the question:
“How do you deal with being at a public ritual that honors a deity you don’t know or care about?”
I asked around on Facebook and got the following suggestions:
- Enjoy the socialization and community of the other attendees.
- Look at it as an opportunity to learn a new deity.
- Identify and Appreciate the Archetype
Yeah Okay I’ve tried all that. Those may work for other people but it is not working for me. It is like going to the birthday party of someone you don’t know just because your friends are there. It is awkward and rude. It also feels like I am disrespecting my own pantheon when I work with other deities. Maybe I am just too set in my ways? Maybe I should take people’s advise and get over my feelings and go anyways? But why? If I am not getting anything out of attending what is the point of going? It would be no different than an Atheist going to Church just because the people he want to be friends with are? It is faking it in hopes things will get better. Dose that ever really work? No wonder so many people prefer to be solitary practitioners it is so much easier. No social drama and no dealing with a Clash of Pantheons.
I suppose from the outside looking in a clash of pantheons is a ridiculous situation. My imaginary friends and your imaginary friends don’t want to play together. Does this count as an adventure in paganism? Dealing with the pitfalls of group dynamics, emotional discomfort, and strange gods? Well it would if this was a game of Dungeons & Dragons it would so sure an adventure then.
How many other people out there have a similar problem? How do you deal with going to a public / group ritual where they are honoring deities foreign to you?
Herbal Tea for the Pagan Spirit; Inspirational Stories of the Pagan Path by Emerys Somerled.
A Short review for a short book, only 141 pages. This is a collection of feel good stories about people practicing paganism, similar to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series. It is the kind of book one can in squeeze in to short amounts of time like coffee breaks at work. It leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy. This is a book I plan on loaning out to friends because it is a great pick me up for people that feel are feeling a disconnect from their chosen spiritual path. It is also a great read for solitary practitioners that are feeling a little too isolated and alone and want to feel some connection to the larger pagan community.
If you are are looking for more books that are full of pagans sharing their personal stories you might also want to check out . Cakes and Ale for the Pagan Soul, edited by Patricia Telesco
Once the shopping frenzy of December is over winter seems to drag on forever. The temperatures here in Ohio have been crazy swinging from 19 degrees to 50 and then back down to 30 degrees some times in the same day. The warmer days have me yearning for spring. I have already ordered all the seeds for my vegetable garden and am planing my flower bed too.
I missed doing out on attending a public Yule ritual due to illness, and ended up missing the Druid’s Imbolc because I was still recovering from the flu. But a few days later I was well enough to attend a Imbolc celebration held by the Wiccan shop “Blessed Be”. This was my first time experiencing a Wiccan ritual. I got luck because it was a two for one ritual. The first part was for Imbolc and the second part was a full moon ritual.
I can honestly say it was a fun and enlightening experience. There was about 27 participants. We were outside in the cold, under the moon (hidden behind a cloud of coarse cause you know Ohio weather never does what you want it to) and it help me really appreciate the timeless tradition of humans huddling around a fire and encouraging each other to be strong, be creative and be nurturing and remember ‘Spring is coming’. Most importantly every social interaction felt natural. None of my normal feelings of social anxiety crept into my brain. There was no intimidating auras, no pecking order, or performers vs. audience vibe that I sometimes get at other pagan events.
It reminded me why I first fell in love with paganism in the first place, and it reminded me of my early days when I use to claimed Wiccan. A while back I had grown disenchanted with Wicca due to trends in literature and online content back in the early 2000’s. I have just claimed Greeco-Roman pagan for the longest time. I have been thinking of joining the ADF because I had not found any Hellenistic groups, but the past few months I have been reconsidering that. I am not sure if it is right for me. This feeling of reconnecting with Wicca the past few days has me thinking that maybe it is time for me to come full circle in my studies and revisit Wicca beyond one public ritual.
To my readers I ask, have any of you ever left Wicca for other pagan paths and then found yourself going back to it? If so I would love to hear your story.
Hellenismos Today by Timothy Jay Alexander is a book about Hellenic Reconstructionism, or in other words a a modern pagan religion based off ancient Greek religion. It is a hard polytheist moment based that to quote the author ” focuses primarily in the public or popular religion of ancient Greece.” I feel like the author spends a lot of the book trying explain how it is not like Wicca / neo-paganism and poring out watered down Greek history and philosophy. While an it is an interesting way to consider worshiping the Greek Pantheon it is just one way at looking at Greek reconstructionism.
- Polythestic Reconstructionism
- Ancient Greek Religion
- Gods and Goddess
- Ethics -(these are based off the Maxims of Delphi)
- Role of Clergy
- Rituals & Rites of Passage
- Holidays & Festivals
- Magick & Mysticism
- Appendix I: Works and Days of Hesiod
- Appendeix II: The Theogony of Hesiod (note: both copies of Hesiod’s work presented in this book were translated by Hugh G. Evelyn White 1914 and edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
- Appendix III: The Emperor Julian’s Oration to the Sovereign Sun (translated by Taylor Thomas in 1793 and edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
A Beginner’s Guide to Hellenismos by Timothy Jay Alexander is the complementary book to the Hellenismos Today. As you can tell from the Chapter list below there is a lot of copy paste from the previous book, although the Appendix offer greater variety and complement the ones provides in Hellenismos Today. This book places an even bigger emphases on orthopraxy than the previous one did but offer little profound insights.
- Intro to Hellenismos
- Three dimensions of Worship
- Prayer & Hymns
- Rites and Ritual
- Festival Calendar
- Temples, Shrines, Statues & Images
- Appendix I: Sallustius : On the Gods and the Cosmos (translated by Gilbert Murry 1925, edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
- Appendix II: The Emperor Julian’s Oration to the Mother of the Gods (translated by Taylor Thomas in 1793 and edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
- Appendix III: The Homeric Hymns (translated by Hugh G. Evelyn White 1914 and edited by Timothy Jay Alexander)
- Appendix IV: Epithets of the Gods
- Appendix V: A Glossery of Greek Words
Overall I felt Booth books fell a little flat for my taste. If you don’t already have a decent grasp on neo-paganism ideas and language the average reader may get lost. and the historical reverences and examples could really use some more fleshing out. In general I would say if you want to read these books get a copy from the library cause it is not really worth the purchase.
Well everyone is buckling down and freaking out about winter storm stella and I’m over here sipping a cup of tea patiently waiting for spring. I can’t wait to get outside and play in the dirt and plant some seeds. Last week’s temperatures were in the low 70s what a tease, but the weather gods in Ohio are bat shit crazy.
So what is a witch to do while the storm brews outside? Research plants and garden plan of coarse. I’ve read two different herb books (reviews coming soon) and about to start reading a third book on the native plants. Herbology is a subject I’ve rather neglected in my studies over the past 19 years. I focused most of my spiritual studies on history and magic theory, but now I’m trying to round out my education and spend a little more time connecting with nature.
I must confess I am far from a master gardener, this is only my third year doing it. My biggest battle have been with invasive wild strawberries and remembering to water. The Second biggest battle is with mosquitoes and what ever the hell keeps eating my cabbages. One year it was roly polys a.k.a pill bugs and last year it was cabbage moths.
Today I am reviewing ‘Everyday Witchcraft; Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World’ by Deborah Blake. I should start by saying this is the first book I have read by this author so I came at it with no set expectations. I had bought it on a whim from Amazon because it had been a while since I had read any books of the subject of modern witchcraft (been focusing more on the historical research).
I felt it to be a refreshing read that over all left me feeling more centered. Deborah Blake has a easy going writing style that comes across a friendly conversation. The book has 11 chapters that are full of wonderful and simplistic suggestions on how to incorporate your spiritual path in to your everyday life. While a lot of her advise seems like common sense it gently reminds the reader how to take a step away from daily grind and nurture your spirit. Personally ‘Chapter 3 Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World‘, and ‘Chapter 9 God and Goddess in Everyday Life‘ were the most useful to me. Chapter 3 is short but it reminds the reader the importance of making time for your faith and the positive effect it can have on your outlook. Chapter 9 is full of insight in to building a better relationship with the Divine.
While this book may follow and use a Wicca format I want to stress this is not another Wicca 101 book, but it is great supplemental reading for anyone following a neo-pagan path whether it be Wicca, Witchcraft, Druid or Reconstruction. I give it 2 thumbs up.