This Saturday, I went to a small get-together hosted by a friend of mine, who has recently been reading up on Norse paganism. She ran a short but sweet dawn ritual for midsummer, which followed an all-night vigil full of good conversation (and kittens!). While the ritual itself was pretty firmly grounded in Norse religion, the gathering itself was pretty eclectic. In attendance were myself and my partner (both Kemetics), the hostess (Norse), her partner (sort of animist-y/magician-y), a friend with Jewish heritage who is researching Norse paganism and her partner, whose religious orientation I’m uncertain of, and another friend who is mostly Wiccan with her partner, who proudly professed his worship of science.
In other words – an alphabet soup of deities.
I’ll admit, I’ve gotten pretty uncomfortable with the idea of mixing traditions. I’ll honor other deities based on holidays, or on small interactions we’ve had — but I haven’t spent much time in a place where all participants come from such different backgrounds. What surprised me the most was how well it worked. The hostess and her partner ran the main ritual, and once that had closed, we were all invited to offer our own praise or celebration for the solstice and the sunrise. Earlier in the evening I spoke about Sekhmet, the Destruction of Mankind and the Wandering Goddess; at dawn I read a prayer to Ra, and my partner read a prayer to Set – both from Rev. Tamara Siuda’s Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook. Others read little prayers, or offered discussion on where they are in their own paths. We compared our traditions, discussed myths we’d like to know more about. Everyone had the opportunity to share something from their own traditions.
While I’ve always been wary of doing anything that smacks of eclecticism, it seems like there’s ways to do it that gets the right point across, so to speak.