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Multi God Practices

This is an expansion on a reply I made in nonfluffypagans:

I'm a multi trad pagan. In my home tradition (Diamond), it is advanced level work to work with multiple deities, and a bit of a specialty as well. The trad also encourages working with other trads to help a person find their best place and become familiar with the many different ways of viewing the universe. All of it should be done with respect.

Things I've learned working with multiple deities:

1) Don't expect them to get along. Certain pantheons just don't mix. If the religious tradition they come from doesn't take well to outsiders, and isn't historically syncretic, the odds on them even being on speaking terms with other pantheons.

2) If you "talk" with a mixed group, do it on "neutral" ground. Don't expect one deity to be happy with getting dragged in to the "home territory" of another pantheon. Wars have been fough for less.

3) Ask them before you mix them in ritual, and make sure to check out the ritual with both (or more) before you start. Permission to call more than one is not a blank check. The ritual should be home written, and have elements sacred to both deities, or go strictly "vanilla". Don't drag a diety from Tradition A into completely foreign ritual from Tradition B. (Do not invoke happy fun Grandfather Coyote in a Dianic ritual to Isis!)

4) Some deities from even the same pantheons don't mix well. Have courtesy, don't use a blender. Don't start or egg on fights. You life could be their chosen battleground. The one who loses most is you.

5) If you're going to honor multiple trads' deities, make sure to spend time with each according to their own rituals, not just in mixmaster mode. Those rituals are their home, and part of their power. The whys and wherefores of this are a matter of theory and debate, but it seems to prove out in practice.

6) If a deity says "not now, I'm busy", accept it, and thank them anyway. They have more than just dancing attendance on you to deal with. If you are not their dedicant, and have no interest in being such, don't expect them to drop their other priorities to come to your tea party. If you are their dedicant, realize that you aren't the only one, and most gods expect you to stand on your own two feet, not run to them with everything (certain jealous desert gods being the exception to this.)

7) Don't make promises you have no intention or mechanism to keep, and be sure to keep your promises. The gods have loooong memories for slights. If you make a promise and find yourself unable to keep it, don't just blow it off, explain and apologize to the deity in question, and see if they will accept a different promise/action.

8) Don't overcommit. Multiple patrons need to all agree with the arrangement, you, and each other. If you don't keep this in mind, they'll end up fighting over the shreds of you, and you will be torn apart from the inside out.

9) Spending time with and learning from a god does not mean a lifetime (or even long term) commitment. While you always need to give "tithe" (a term for the particular god's price for the knowledge), don't promise 10 years service for a brief conversation. While in general it's better to have a god that may "owe" you, don't assume how they will pay their debts/balance the scales. They are gods, after all, and what they may see as a boon may not be to you right now.

10) Gods are not simple. Their motives are complex, multileveled, and not human. While myth and lore may portray them as engaging in seemingly immature activities, realize that such things are often simplified in the telling, and you may not know the whole story. We won't even begin to discuss demigods and other such beings.

11) Gods see time differently. They see things in terms of human lifetimes, or split seconds, their view of events is different. Dates tend to be "fuzzy", unless you are very specific, and they use you for a clock.

12) Be careful what you wish for, you might get it, but with the god's interpretation of what you wanted and/or needed. This is especially true if the god you asked is a trickster or a subtle sneaky type.

13) Making demands of random deities isn't a good idea either. While some magical traditions "command and compel" demigods and other spirits, it's not a good idea to try this with most gods.

14) A relationship with the gods is always give and take. The best way to avoid misunderstanding is to know yourself, your needs, your weaknesses, and the lore of the god in question. If you have this, there are fewer suprises.

15) Do not take up a relationship with a god because it seems to be the "in" thing to do. Be courteous, but you need not dedicate yourself just because some colleague or teacher pushes you into it. If a god calls you, you will know, and even then not all callings are for a lifetime. Again, know yourself.

16) You always have a right of refusal. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If we had no free will, our value to the gods would be nothing. Be polite in your refusal, and be prepared for some very effective persuasion. Don't slam the door shut on "later", but be firm about what you want and need for now, and why a close relation with them is not part of it. Gods aren't like human lovers. They understand waiting.

This is a work in progress, and mostly stream of conciousness for now. Comments are welcome.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
ladyqkat
Jan. 30th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
Okay, this is very well written and I am saving it in my memories. I may have need of using some of these points from time to time, if that is okay with you.
ravan
Jan. 30th, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC)
Fine by me.
mlion
Jan. 30th, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
Nicely done - you've put a lot of things I've been thinking about into clear, concise terms.
lysana
Jan. 31st, 2006 06:00 am (UTC)
I like this a lot.
weofodthignen
Jan. 31st, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I would imagine the terms of dedication to a god differ somewhat by pantheon? I do not think a less than lifetime commitment occurs with my lot, for one thing because I think my lot always do the choosing--the only exceptions I can come up with are kids "given" by their parents.

the late M
ravan
Jan. 31st, 2006 05:37 pm (UTC)
They don't ask lifetime commitment for just a brief chat and "get to know you", IMO.

Since this is a pantheon agnostic list, the level of commitment expected by each god for what type of relationship varies with the pantheon, and the god.
wulfmann
Feb. 3rd, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC)
(Do not invoke happy fun Grandfather Coyote in a Dianic ritual to Isis!)</i>


Hehe. I don't know Grandfather Coyote but if he's anything like Loki, he'd bring a "friend"... like Pan Priapus... just for giggles, ya know! :D

wulfmann
Feb. 3rd, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC)
sigh... I really should pay more attention to the markup... sorry.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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