Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...



Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]


Views: 16,506,811


April 20th. 2014 ...

Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide

Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus

A Pagan Perspective on Easter

Morality and Controversy in the Craft

The Oak King's Domain (A Story)

The Star Child


April 13th. 2014 ...

Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils

Being a Worrisome Witch

Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!

What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops


April 6th. 2014 ...

The Elements and the Quarters

Dark Moon Scry: Aries 2014

How the Wheel of the Year Works “Down Under”

13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah


March 30th. 2014 ...

Manifesting the Dream: On Religious Organizations, Pagan Abbeys and our Order

True Meaning of Community

Thoughts on Unverified Personal Gnosis

My Beautiful Grove- A Matter Of Perspective


March 23rd. 2014 ...

Spirituality and Social Change

The First Step to Anywhere!


March 16th. 2014 ...

From Christian to Pagan (Part I)

Nature And The Celtic Tree Calendar

The Teeth in the Darkness


March 9th. 2014 ...

Healing the Witch Within

Incarcerated Witches

Discovering Wicca as a Young Child

March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright


March 2nd. 2014 ...

Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward

The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role

Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?

The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects


February 23rd. 2014 ...

Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences

Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless

The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community

What Makes Us What We Are


February 16th. 2014 ...

The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief

Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing

Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence

Alternative Medicine – What Is It?


February 9th. 2014 ...

Words of Power!

The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse

Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings


February 2nd. 2014 ...

The Magick of Jewelry and Metals

Building a Magick Mirror

The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)


January 26th. 2014 ...

Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do

The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)

13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed

Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected


January 19th. 2014 ...

Open Letter to the Goddess

A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality

Social Conventions and the Pagan World

Reclaiming Independence


January 12th. 2014 ...

Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing

One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression


January 5th. 2014 ...

Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age

Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey

2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!

Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild


December 29th. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)

13 Keys: The Might of Geburah

Beyond The Season of Greed


December 22nd. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)


December 15th. 2013 ...

The Hex Murder of 1928

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)

Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)

Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots


December 8th. 2013 ...

Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey

Using Your Wand in Reverse

The Cry of the Soul

Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward


December 1st. 2013 ...

The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness

A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism

Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?


November 24th. 2013 ...

The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective

The Pagan and the Papacy


November 17th. 2013 ...

Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca

For Love of the God

A Threat to Religious Liberties?


November 10th. 2013 ...

Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?


NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.












Article Specs

Article ID: 4216

VoxAcct: 164846

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 4,394

Times Read: 6,180

Mixing Pantheons in Modern Pagan Practice

Author: Ben Gruagach [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: April 13th. 2002
Times Viewed: 6,180

It has been said by some Wiccan authors that mixing mythological pantheons is bad and should be avoided at all costs. The usual argument given for this admonishment is that each pantheon, indeed each deity, has very specific features and should be treated individually. To equate one goddess with a similar goddess from another pantheon is seen as disrespectful. Each deity, it is argued, deserves to be treated as an individual. Bringing together deities and elements of worship from different pantheons is confusing and results in muddled worship and ritual. 1

This argument appears, at least on the surface, difficult to refute if we want to honor the deities as vibrant, powerful, and alive.

However, it seems the deities themselves are not so hard and fast about the distinctions between individual deities, not as unforgiving when worshippers use different names for them, as we simplistic modern humans would make them out to be. There is a long history of mixing pantheons that goes back to the dawn of human reverence of the divine. There are gods and goddesses that we take for granted today as being individual which are actually composite deities amalgamated in the distant past from more than one source deity. Why should modern reverence of ancient deities force them to fossilize when they were clearly organic and changeable in the past?

Ancient Egypt, one of the oldest recorded civilizations in human record, developed from various groups into the Upper and Lower Kingdoms prior to their unification around 3100 BCE under the rule of the first pharaoh, Menes. This bringing together of peoples into one nation encouraged religious practices to come together, helping to establish ever greater temples and religious dynasties. Deities were merged, which resulted in combined names in many cases. Amon-Re (or Amun-Ra), Ptah-Nu, and Re-Atum are a few examples.2

The merging of local deities into a larger national deity and the incorporation of foreign deities into a specific pantheon were not limited to Egypt. They happened all around the world any time two groups of people with different deities met. In Mesopotamia, lesser goddesses merged into the great Inanna, who under the Babylonians was known by the name Ishtar.3 The spread of Greek culture, largely due to the conquests of Alexander the Great around the fourth century BCE, resulted in the 'Hellenizing' of many cultures and religions -- that is, making the local religions and cultures more Greek-like.4 With the rise of the Roman Empire, the Greek Artemis became the Roman Diana. Even Christian mythology adopted Pagan deities in a roundabout way, with goddesses like Brigid becoming Saint Brigit.5 Imagine that -- a Semitic desert religion adopting a fierce Pagan goddess from the Green Isle!

Walter Burkert describes how ancient Greek society included foreign deities: 'The Greek pantheon is not immutable. Only a small number of the Mycenaean gods are Indo-European, and Apollo and Aphrodite probably arrived only later. The fact that a fixed group of Greek Gods was established at all is due not least to epic art... [for example] The cult of the dying god Adonis is already found fully developed in Sappho's circle of young girls on Lesbos... For the Greeks it was well known that he was an immigrant from the Semitic world, and his origins were traced to Byblos and Cyprus.'6

Today, Wiccan practices most commonly draw upon mythology from the British Isles. Despite the geographical separation from mainland Europe, there has been plenty of opportunity for incorporation of foreign deities. John and Caitlin Matthews wrote: 'As successive waves of influence have dashed against our shores, so has the existing coastline of the mythic dimension been modified and moulded. Yet the persistent retention of certain characters, archetypes and themes is remarkable, revealing the true nature of British myth. Indigenous features, like our weather (which the Irish call 'soft' but which tourists find plain wet), form the prevailing climate of our belief. Sleeping kings who will come again, hags who become gift-bestowing maidens, wild men with staves and other-world women with cups, are all part of our composite tradition. Whatever gods and beliefs have been brought to Britain, they have a way of settling in so that the sharp definition of their origins is gradually blunted until it blends into the ambience of the new homeland.'7

Deities from different pantheons were mixed together in more than just the merging of lesser deities into greater deities, or the recognition and often integration of foreign deities into a local or national pantheon. Magickal practices, such as those recorded in the Greek magickal papyri dating back to the second century BCE draw clearly from such diverse sources as Egyptian, Greek, Babylonian, and Jewish mythology to achieve their ends8 Witches, wizards, magickians, priestesses, and priests did not shy away from communing with whatever deities they felt would be most effective as each situation warranted.

For example, a love spell includes the following invocation: 'I entrust this binding spell to you, chthonic gods, Hyesemigadon and Kore Persephone Ereschigal and Adonis the Barbaritha, infernal Hermes Thoouth Phokentazepseu Aerchtathoumi / Sonktai Kalbanachambre and to mighty Anubis Psirinth... '9 Within this one incantation, we find Kore (Greek), Adonis (Greek, adopted from Semitic), Ereshkigal (Assyro-Babylonian), and Anubis (Egyptian) along with others. The ancient magickian who wrote this spell obviously didn't think it was a bad idea to mix pantheons!

Modern Wicca continues this tradition of eclecticism at its very root. One of the foundation ritual pieces, the Charge of the Goddess, makes this point clear. It starts:

'Listen to the words of the Great Mother; she who of old was also called among men Artemis, Astarte, Athene, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Cybele, Arianrhod, Isis, Dana, Bride and by many other names.' Again, we see within a single ritual passage the presentation of goddesses from various different pantheons all together: Artemis (Greek), Astarte (Canaanite version of Ishtar, also adopted under this name in Greek culture), Athene (Greek), Dione (Phoenician/Greek), Melusine (Irish/Scottish/French, possibly Scythian), Aphrodite (Greek), Cerridwen (Welsh), Cybele (Phrygian/Greek, eventually merged with Rhea), Arianrhod (Welsh)... you get the picture.10

Getting to know a particular deity or small group of deities thoroughly through the study of their myths is a good way to get started on an intimate relationship with these particular expressions of the Divine. We should be careful to not allow our focused studies to blind us to the larger picture, though, of how our revered deities and pantheons connect with the rest of the mythological world. As the Greco-Egyptian god Hermes Trismegistus put it succinctly, 'As above, so below.' The ecology of myth is the same as the ecology of life on Earth: everything is connected.

References:

(1.) 'Deity' chapter, Ellen Cannon Reed's The Heart of Wicca, Weiser: 2000.

(2.) Introduction to Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero's The Magical Pantheons, Llewellyn: 1998.

(3.) 'Inanna's Family Tree, ' page ix, Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer's Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, Harper & Row: 1983.

(4.) Entries on 'Hellenism' and 'Hellenize, ' Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary, Lexicon Publications: 1988.

(5.) Entry on 'Brigit/Brigid/Bride, ' John and Caitlin Matthews' The Aquarian Guide to British and Irish Mythology.

(6.) Pages 176-179, Walter Burkert's Greek Religion, Harvard University Press: English translation 1985.

(7.) Introductory section, pages 12 and 13, John and Caitlin Matthews' The Aquarian Guide to British and Irish Mythology, Aquarian Press: 1988.

(8.) Introduction to editor Hans Dieter Betz's The Greek Magical Papyri In Translation, University of Chicago Press: 1992.

(9.) Page 44, lines 335 to 345, editor Hans Dieter Betz's The Greek Magical Papyri In Translation, University of Chicago Press: 1992.

(10.) See individual entries for each goddess in Janet and Stewart Farrar's The Witches' Goddess, Phoenix Publishing Co.: 1987.

Ben Gruagach




ABOUT...

Ben Gruagach


Location: Novelty, Ohio

Author's Profile: To learn more about Ben Gruagach - Click HERE

Bio: Ben Gruagach is a solitary eclectic Wiccan who has been actively practicing for two decades. He is originally a country boy from Ontario, Canada. He currently resides in Glendale, Arizona with his non-Pagan but supportive sweetheart and two feline companions, Pip and Bub. He is working on other writing projects, both nonfiction and fiction. Ben maintains a website at http://www.witchgrotto.com.




Other Articles: Ben Gruagach has posted 2 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE




Email Ben Gruagach... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)

To send a private message to Ben Gruagach ...



Pagan Essays
1996-2014





Pagan Web
8,000 Links





Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.





Pagan/Witch
80,000 Profiles














Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops



Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World




Search Articles
1996-2014










 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide


NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).