Monday, February 22, 2010

Syncretism and Hard Polytheism

Let me be very clear, I am a hard polytheist. I always have been. I can not recall a time in my life when I did not believe in multiple Gods that are independent of one another. One of my major gripes with Gardnerian Wicca is the belief in the so-called Dryghton, which effectively reduces the religion down to monotheism.

That being said, I've come to a place during my research for my book where I've begun to accept that the Gods may manifest themselves under different names to different cultures. The example that is foremost in my mind is that of Athena, Neith, and Anat. Another well-documented parallel is that of Aphrodite and Inanna.

The Greeks believed in syncretism, but I am having trouble seeing how this fits with a hard polytheist world view. Part of me (the researcher) sees Athena as a facet of a very ancient Indo-European owl-and-serpent Goddess, one that shows up in other cultures as very different Goddesses. Lilith is one example. The other (hard polytheist) part of me looks at Lilith and Athena and recognizes that they are extremely different entities.

Should syncretism have a place in my spirituality? How much room does Hellenismos allow for this kind of middling academic polytheism?

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