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Working with Several Pantheons
Most Pagans usually start working with one Pantheon, or set of Deities, depending on initial training, culture, background, or personal choice. The two most common choices tend to be the pantheon your ancestors would have worked with hundreds – or thousands – of years ago or the most exotic Pantheon the new Pagan can find. In the latter case it is quite common for a newbie Western –style Pagan in Japan to be working with the Celtic Gods and Goddesses, while his or her counterpart in England gets in contact with the Egyptian or Hawaiian Pantheon.
As the Pagan in question becomes more experienced they frequently become interested in Pantheons other than the one they began with. In many cases because it’s because they start to notice the similarities in some of the Deities in one Pantheon and another, or the spells they come across are written specifically to a God or Goddess. The Fates of the Greek Pantheon are so similar to the Norns of the Norse one that a Witch I know suggested that they might be ‘double dipping'(!) While the spell, more accurately called a “petition” uses the energy of that aspect of the Divine to filter and focus the spell.
This is fine as far as the ‘following the recipe’ style of spellcasting goes, but when specific Divine energy is used as part of the ritual then the person casting it should really do their homework . Gods and Goddesses of all pantheons have many aspects to them and setting up an empathetic response with the wrong aspect, or not binding the correct force to the spell in question can have effects wildly at variance with the intent of the spellcaster.
Ritual Magicians and Pagans handle this problem in different ways. Magicians will work on the fundamental forces side of things, binding all forces associated with the God or Goddess and singling out the one they want to use. Pagans on the other hand work with the character of the Deity they have contacted, explaining what they want done and why, possibly with a suggested course of action. Both systems work, how well depends more on the type of person using them than the systems themselves.
A friend of mine set up a training coven in the area where I lived, and frequently invited guest instructors from the local magickal community to teach the group. Some of the Ritual Magic teachers were quite miffed that some students would do a spell or ritual with wrong Sephoric associations, and sometimes even involving the wrong Deity, but still get the results they wanted to achieve. More eclectic and experienced Mages realized this was because the intent of the practitioner, combined with their interaction with the persona of the Deity they were working with, overcame any of the minor technicalities of incorrect ritual.
Pantheons of Gods and Goddesses have unique ‘feels’ and attitudes because of the societies that invested them with their various attributes, powers, and abilities. In my personal experience the Ancient Egyptian pantheon has a very stylised and sophisticated set of Deities with clearly defined areas of influence and set of attributes. When wisiting the area of the astral where they interact with humans most people find a planned area of cleanly laid out buildings, and open spaces. Even nature is organised, in so much as that which is not agricultural is mainly rocky or sandy desert with the occasional oasis.
The astral area of the Norse Deities is much more rough and ready. I always associate it with the atmosphere of a friendly biker bar: nice people but with lots of leather, studs and rowdy behaviour. Here there’s a lot more “It’s not my area, but I’ll give it a go” and nature is not only present around structures, but frequently in it. You may do a pathworking to meet with Odin at Valaskjalf (His Hall) only when you arrive there are ravens with him, and there is a massive tree growing out of the floor and through the ceiling. Celtic Goddesses and Gods although developed from peoples bordering - and sometimes overlapping -Norse and Teutonic territories have much more of a Surfer Dude/ette aura to them and any workings with them give better results when this is taken into consideration.
Working with their shared areas of interest is the best way to get the Deities from several different Pantheons to work together, combined with passionate intent. I compare it to when I was a visiting Pagan Chaplain for local prisons and worked with other chaplains from Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and other spiritual paths. There were few conflicts because we were united in ‘being there’ for the inmates and staff rather than attempting to exalt our particular path, or make converts. The concentration was on the health, welfare, and progress of both disparate groups. So it is with sympathetic multi-pantheistic workings; all the different Deities put aside any differences and work together for a positive outcome.
An example of this is the working I did when feral cats moved into a friend’s garage. He only noticed them when he saw the kittens exploring his garden. He did contact a local cat rescue group when he saw them in the summer, but heard nothing back. However someone else got in contact a few weeks ago because they had had a call from a neighbour who was feeding them but didn’t know where they lived. We arranged to meet on the next Friday night to see if they could be caught and given new homes.
Freya is the Norse goddess after whom Friday is named and the cat is her sacred animal. I did a Tarot reading to see if it would be alright to do a ritual to Her to aid in a successful outcome for all concerned. In the reading the four queens came up suggesting to me that a ritual calling on Goddesses from several pantheons who loved cats was probably most effective way to proceed.
Auspiciously I had access to the garage before the Cat Rescue people turned up, so I was able to stand in the clearest bit and mentally cast a Sacred Sphere. I called upon Freya for the North, Bastet for the East, Sekhmet, for the South and Brighid in the west. In this case I called on two Goddesses from Egypt, or two aspects of the same Goddess, depending on how you look at it. This was because Bastet deals with protection of cats and kittens, while Sekhmet is proactive in general protection which I thought the Cat Rescue people might need as the area is quite a rough one.
In their first visit the rescue people were able to catch two kittens. Unfortunately a big fight broke out at the end of the road they were in trying to catch the cats, police arrived and cordoned off the area. Neither the combatants nor the police bothered the rescue people, but all the noise caused the remaining cats to go into hiding so traps were set in garage. These were checked by a volunteer 2-3 times a day and over the next few days caught a further 3 Kittens plus an unneutered male.
All the kittens went to the Rescue Centre for socialisation and to be put up for adoption when they were comfortable around people, as was the male once he was neutered. The mother cat remained at large, but started going into the neighbour who had been feeding the cats’ house and was caught by someone from the Cat Rescue a week after the others, effectively saving the whole family.
At the time of writing three of the kittens are expected to be re-homed subject to a background check on the people who want to adopt them. The mother cat has the offer of a home, and the male plus other kittens look like getting one soon. In all a good result for everyone. The cat rescue people did comment on the lack of problems including not getting caught up in the fight or the police investigation afterwards. Even some of the youngsters giving the group some problems early in the first night were scared off by a passerby.
Naturally I thanked all the Goddesses and asked them to keep on looking after the Cat Rescue group and help it when necessary. The positive results already attained show what can be done when you think through any multi – pantheistic workings using emotion and intent rather than blindly following someone else’s instructions.
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