Syncretism

I have no issues with this, in fact you could call me a syncretist. It isn’t a new idea in any shape, form, or fashion. People in the ancient world moved, married, warred, settled, uprooted, etc., so why is it such a hard idea in many modern Pagan circles?

America is a country of syncretism, I had a post on this earlier on this blog. Canada is there too from what I’ve seen and heard of it, many countries of this modern world are already syncretistic. Man that’s a hard word to spell.

The ancient world was not as severed and blocked off as many would assume.

There was tobacco in Egypt:

http://scienceforums.com/topic/12436-tobacco-and-cocaine-in-egyptian-mummies/

http://books.google.com/books?id=8-OilJCX1moC&pg=PA248&dq=ancient+Egyptians+tobacco+cocaine&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1dVgT8qXJeGA2gX5hcWQCA&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=ancient%20Egyptians%20tobacco%20cocaine&f=false

Roman statues and traded pottery found in Mexico:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca_head

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Columbian_trans-oceanic_contact#Amphorae

Found a possible lead on the Jade Buddha found in a Viking hoard: (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1391864/posts)

So historically, syncretism isn’t a new idea – people were trading goods and ideas for centuries. What about the Celto-Roman interpretations? Celto-Germanic anyone? In our modern era we have Conjure, Voudon, Hoodoo, Santeria, and even there’s still more out there.

And for us mutt Americans and North American inhabitants in general this shouldn’t be too shocking – in truth, many of the Pagans that were against this idea were syncretists, I’m not sure if they knew it or not. The four elements? Greek, not Celtic. If you practice Wicca, it’s syncretic. It’s not a bad idea, I think syncretism can create beautiful devotions – such as those who revere the Loa.

How do you know that the Celts who were conquered by Rome didn’t worship Cernunnos and Lupa? How do you know a woman who married a Teutonic man didn’t worship Rosmerta and Frigg?

Syncretism is about being in sync, in a balance, wherever you happen to be and with whomever you happen to be with. The ancients didn’t mind sharing Gods – because it’s an ancient notion of ‘Hey, they’re doing pretty damn good, I think I’ll worship their Gods as well,Ā  for some good ju-ju to come my way too.’ Says a Greek man in Babylon.

Or maybe ‘They kicked our asses, maybe their Gods are stronger.’ Says one tribal man after a battle.

Or possibly ‘Sybil speaks to me, I heard Her in Her temple. I will revere Her too, alongside my own Gods of Freya and Ishtar.’ So sayeth the Nordic merchant’s wife.

Truth is, you don’t know. Scholars don’t completely know. We could have the whole picture backwards. All we have is the educated assumptions of scholars through archeology, and our own gnosis.

I do believe that everything came from some ‘source.’ But this ‘source,’ is genderless and without form, in my view that wasn’t the point. It was raw awareness, the makings of Gods, people, everything. The Gods made themselves from this awareness, and became themselves.

It is because of this, my views on Fate, have changed. I do not see one deity, but many faces, and more of a webbing than just one cauldron. It is a force, a power, a will, in and of itself, even the ‘Fates,’ are bound to it. No one escapes. Like a rolling rock gathering moss sort of thing, in an indirect description.

I have actually almost gotten into physical fights over this with other Pagans. Look, if you are unsure of your own beliefs that’s your business, I don’t think you’re wrong; IĀ  do think however, you’re being a dick by trying to tell me how I should approach the divine. This may be titled ‘The New World,’ but many, many old Gods came with people here. You’d be just as likely to meet Bast as you would Lupa, or Anubis, or Apollo, on a lonely highway.

Now, I’ll go pour all of us some rum, and let’s play scrabble until we forget how to spell, ok?

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7 thoughts on “Syncretism

  1. I don’t know why syncretism is such a dirty word. We do not know what events led up to what we undertsand of the various pantheons. Chances are, they are products of many hundreds of years of syncretism by their ancestors. We simply don’t have the records to trace it. Any superficial study of human history & evolution shows that people get around & few live in isolation for long periods of time. It is silly to think that our ancestors were somehow “pure,” living in a vacuum, uninfluenced by neighbors & strangers.

    As for the webbing, I have that same general conception, or sometimes I think of it more like a soup or primordial sea, a rhythmic chaos if you will.

  2. dreema

    W0rd. W0rd a LOT. I am actually writing an article about this because I’m multi-racial, and I spent a fair portion of my time being told by other people who I should worship and what I should be into because “your people do that, right?” But “my people” differed depending on the person who told me this stuff – the white people saw my black features, the black people saw my white features, and the Native Americans gave me a doubletake then shrugged. Who am I supposed to worship, then, since I’m not 100% anything?

    I made my peace with my West African heritage (and that was hard work!) once Oya made an appearance, and now I’m having to do the same with the Norse aspects as I work with Thor. But I’ve had a few heathen folk faint in coils when I even show my face in their circles. I have found myself having to give my entire lineage background to even try and explain why I’m there at all even though I don’t have white skin and flowy blond hair…but there we are. Vikings and Moors traded together – the Viking glass beads are found everywhere FFS. Do we really think people went NOWHERE back then? They found ways!

    At the end of the day, the Powers That Be tend to choose you, and that’s all there is to it. If anyone wants to argue why my so-not-pureblood face is at a rite, they can ask my gods.

    • Elizabeth

      I’m multi-racial as well. I’d be really interested in reading that article when it’s done šŸ™‚

      • dreema

        Right on, I’ll let you know if I get it into the publication. Ashe!

    • Very well said! I’m multi-racial but you wouldn’t know it looking at me at a glance. I’ve got Haitian, and Seminole pretty close (Great Grandmothers) to my place in the family tree. My brother looks like Obama, my oldest like a Native American, and my other brother is blonde and blue eyed. Somehow, I got red hair. Joy.

      I would love to read your article, let me know when you’re done! And I completely agree – Arta picked my ass out of a crowd for reasons She only knows. If another person joined in with me during my rites skin color wouldn’t even factor in as ‘prerequisite,’ for joining. So come on down, you’re the next contestant on the price is right!

  3. Pingback: Interesting things I’ve seen « The House of Vines

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