One of the things that’s most annoying that I see pop up from time to time in the pagan communities (pagan being used as a umbrella for extent of this post) is a bit of condescending attitude towards people who are genuinely curious and interested in other pantheons, spirit groups, etc. Especially if the person is considering you to be…engaging in cultural appropriation.
‘Cuse me while I Listerine my mouth for even speaking those two piece of shit words.
First of all…why the fuck would you even ask another human being who isn’t even your teacher or coven mate or close friend who understands your religion let alone the black hole that is the Internet? Are you that starved for self-affirmation from the echo chamber you’re deluding yourself into thinking you have to have in order to be a good pagan? And what makes you think the random person you asked will answer you honestly?
There’s this arrogant tendency that if you’re a mutt-blood mostly Caucasian North American born you have this narrow strip that you can work with. Second of all, nice way to stereotype people there ya hypocrite. If I want to worship Pele, guess what? She has got a quiet place here in Arizona called the San Francisco Volcanic Fields. I’m closer to living to volcanoes here than what I was back when we lived in California. I’m only an hour away here. In Cali, it was three. I’m gonna be nice to Pele bitches.
Yes, I can understand wanting to keep a pantheon or spirit group special…but most of the people who screech this intellectual vomit aren’t even practitioner’s, devotees or priest/priestess of any of the groups. Strike two dumbasses.
Third, most genuine practitioners will welcome you with open arms if you are being genuine as well. Even if you don’t end up working with that tradition’s patrons and matrons, you’ve gained valuable knowledge about the universe and most likely yourself. That’s also not to say, that you don’t end up earning some favor with those Spirits and end up continuing to be friends if nothing else with some of them.
Fourth, why are you such a scaredy cat? Part of what gets bragged about in the community is that “we can think for ourselves, we don’t need some priest (oops) or pastor or mullah to tell us how to have a relationship with the divine”. Then they turn around and wring their hands about being a white Puerto Rican whose attracted to working with Puerto Rican Espiritismo but they don’t look hispanic enough to people outside the tradition looking in. If you are interested in a God or Goddess or a spirit group like the Loa or even the mighty Orisha or Yogun, then go study them.
Go read their legends and mythologies. Then, quietly and humbly, reach out to them. Ask them directly, if you can be theirs. Because quite frankly, The Gods, Goddesses, Spirits and everything else are the only ones you need to be worrying about judging you to be fit to be a friend or devotee or whatever. Because they are the ones you are opening a relationship with.
Personally, at this point in being a Witch, I don’t have a specific Pantheon. However they all know who I am and I’m getting to know most if not all of the Pantheons. I don’t really have a need to work with anyone, but part of being a Witch is at least knowing enough to know who it is you’re dealing with in circle when it’s not who you originally meant to talk to. And that means knowing why Baron Samedi decides to show up to be the guide for the miscarried children you’re finally letting go of. That means knowing why the Wraith Queen and Hera get along as well.
We pagans preen ourselves over individuality….when so many of us fail to practice it in the most crucial ways.