Musings on Mixing Pantheons
Q: Mixing Pantheons!?! This has never been done! Right?
A: Well, it depends. Certainly in modern-day Eurasian-centric pagan traditions, pantheons are seldom mixed. However, there are many other traditions that “mix” pantheons regularly (the Afro-diaspora and Hermetic traditions, for example), and there is extensive evidence in the historical record that ancient Europeans mixed pantheons all the time (Cults of Isis in the Roman Empire, for example).
Q: When would you mix pantheons?
A: When co-creating our rituals in the planning phase, we work in consensus, with multiple priestesses. Our planning will consist of a blend of traditional practices for that ritual (e.g., working with Lugh at Lughnasadh), historical practices for our tradition (e.g., going to the Isle of Apples at Samhain), and the intuition of the priestesses present. In the case of the latter, when a provocative idea is suggested by one priestess, all other priestesses check in with their own intuition to see how the suggestion feels. If all priestesses agree the suggestion resonates, it is incorporated into the ritual; if a single priestess feels uncomfortable with the suggestion, it is not made part of the ritual.
Q: That’s it? You just felt into mixing pantheons and it was groovy?
A: Not entirely. For mixing pantheons we also each conduct divinatory readings (e.g., with runes or Tarot) with questions around how the deities themselves feel about that matter. The readings themselves, not just the priestesses’ interpretations, are shared with the other planners. When all omens indicate mixing pantheons to be in alignment, we heed the call!
Q: So, what sort of hits did you get about working with Brigid and Hephaestus?
A: As shown in the intention that came through, we felt a strong pull to work with Brigid’s smith aspect. We were called to the energy of fire both to cast off the dross and to forge new tools to change the worlds. And we felt Brigid strongly called to this work as well. In exploring other deities to work with for the ritual, we also felt Hephaestus’s call. Both are skilled craftspeople, kindred smiths, and both are keen to change the world for various reasons (which we’ll explore during the ritual) and to work with humans who want to help them do it.
On top of that, there was a strong message that at a time when people seek to drive pagans and like-minded people apart, the idea of mixing pantheons actually works to counter that very spell. After all, is paganism really all about the “purity of the pantheon?” Reclaiming is an eclectic tradition focused on elevating diverse and sometimes disparate voices. And who better to forge connections among peoples than the smiths so used to making single metals stronger by mixing them?