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Pagan Prompts


January 18th, 2011

syncretism @ 01:40 pm

ns_kumiho:
Well after a bit of a hiatus Pagan Prompt is back!

How do you view syncretism? What are your limits of using syncretism in your own beliefs?

Do you feel that there is such a thing as an invalid syncretism? For example: What would your reaction be to Cernunnos and Pan being equated to Satan due to their associations with nature & the natural world and Cernunnos' role of Lord of the Underworld in some traditions?
 
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From:zionmystic
Date:January 18th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
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as a Christian who appreciates nature, I don't like the idea of Cernunnos and Pan being equated to Satan due to their associations with nature...I don't see nature as Satanic.
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From:nightshade_oak
Date:January 19th, 2011 06:04 am (UTC)
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I really can't stand syncretism. I'm sure there are ways in which it can be done respectfully but I haven't seen it happen so far. I've just seen example after example of cultural misappropriation and disrespect for cultures, religions and the gods themselves.

You want to make your own religion? You want to draw from multiple sources? Fine, be eclectic, but do it responsibly. (Hint: some cultures are closed, some religions are closed, and some things cannot be understood outside their original cultural or religious context. You are not entitled to take anything you like simply because you like it. See Lakota Declaration of War.) Responsible eclecticism? A good thing. Taking two different, conflicting things and forcing them into a whole? Not a good thing.

As a polytheist one of the things that upsets me the most is seeing deities stripped of everything that makes them them, reduced to a name or a single attribute or an archetype, and used interchangeably in ritual as if they weren't real, weren't themselves. Syncretising them with other deities that share that attribute as if they were the same, and to hell with all those other attributes they hold. I wouldn't like it if someone reduced me to a single part of myself, a single attribute, and stereotyped the snot out of me. Most people don't like that. Most speak against stereotyping based on nationality, sexuality, subculture, job, ethnicity, family role, gender. I don't see why it's okay to do it with deities.
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From:nightshade_oak
Date:January 21st, 2011 01:25 am (UTC)
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Haha, thanks! I was a trifle concerned I might get flamed for those thoughts, but damnit it needed to be said. It's not really said enough.
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From:verginiamus
Date:January 20th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
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I think it has to do with the habit of monothesism and in particular Christianity to syncretise everything. Once people drift away from those religions and move into Paganism, it is hard to shake that habit of thought. Think of Wicca with the God and Goddess. It is hard to be a polythesist coming from that sort of background.
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From:nightshade_oak
Date:January 21st, 2011 01:23 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I can understand it sort of as a step on the path. But you can't be stuck on something that works out unethical (depending on what you're taking and how - like I say, responsible eclecticism is not a problem with me). It's a step, but you have to move past it at some point, and I think too many people stay there at that early step.