Thoughtful Thursdays Presents: Personal Pantheons
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Ok, so without further ado...
What is a personal pantheon?
Simply put, a pantheon is a group of gods and goddesses associated with a particular location or culture. The pantheons we know of today are most likely not exactly who the ancients were devoted to, as the deities often began as local variations, and over time they grew together. Often you will find that deities, especially Irish or Welsh Celtic, have a number of aspects and qualities.
A personal pantheon is the group of gods and goddesses an individual works with. The reason I am bringing this up today is because there have been too many instances where influential authors will state that you should not choose deities from different pantheons. Are they like cats and dogs? Will they bicker and fight? My pantheon has deities from all over the place! The Morrigan from Ireland (click HERE to learn more about her), Akhilandeshvari from India (click HERE to learn more about her), Hekate is a Greek Titaness, Cerridwen who’s from Welsh tales, Lugh – another Irish Celt, and Cailleach – she has been ‘assigned’ to the “Celtic pantheon” but her history dates back far earlier than the Celtic societies. I know this from experience and from experts – Rev. Don, in First Degree Lessons in the Correllian Tradition, states
“Other people believe that you should never mix deities from one pantheon with deities from another pantheon; this is a superstition, and experience shows that it is simply not true.” (p. 152)
Personal Pantheon Process...So how does one come to create a personal pantheon? Establishing a personal pantheon is not as simple as picking deities out of a book. I learned this the hard way. When I became pagan I was excited at the idea of gods that could cross the Veil, that could-and did- make themselves known...and I didn’t understand that it wasn’t my choice- not fully anyway. Cerridwen was the goddess who called to me relentlessly until I finally let go of the faith of my family – I clung to it out of a sense of obligation more than anything. But anyways, excited about finally accepting that there are gods other than “the one and only,” I started going through the dozen or so books I had accumulated so far and started picking out deities I thought were interesting. No, not interesting. I’ll be honest. I picked deities I thought would make my life better. I’m not going to lie, when I began practicing witchcraft it was because my life was a mess and I was not much more than a shell of a person. I couldn’t see past my sons and my needs.
So, when I performed rituals, I rigidly called to the deities I picked out. Sometimes they came, other times I just visualized them but they weren't present. What stands out in my mind is there was never any emotional reaction to their presence. When I first journeyed to meet Cerridwen, I wept and dropped to my knees I was so overwhelmed with emotions. It was the first time truly feeling the presence of a deity and that made me feel both sad and happy - happy right down to my soul. I felt immense gratitude and I could feel her power, her intensity. My physical body was trembling and tears streamed down my cheek. I cried the first several times I met the Morrigan - I manage to remain dry-eyed now. Even though I've interacted with the Morrigan hundreds of times, I still tremble slightly when I feel her near, still feel my heart flutter. My reactions were not as intense when I met the other deities in my pantheon but there were still intense emotions tied to the meetings. Emotions, or lack thereof, you feel in the presence of a deity will be a major indicator as to whether this god or goddess is meant to be in your life.