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Thread: Beginner question.

  1. #1

    Beginner question.

    Heyyyy there.

    So, I am new to this journey into paganism and I am trying to decipher which path resonates best with me. I am doing a lot of research an am currently reading "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft" (although I don't know if I'll end up fitting under either of those categories, I am just trying to get a feel for things and absorbing as much information as I can.)

    The book talks about how you shouldn't mix and match gods from different pantheons and then lists gods and goddesses from different parts of world, and lumping all sorts of celtic deities together. Isn't that sort of a contradiction?

    I have been roaming the internet looking for more of these celtic deities and what I'm finding is that a lot of the celts worshipped local gods that personified issues that were important to maybe only a small group of people? The book lists Cernunnos along with Ceridwen and a quick glance at Wikipedia says the former is Gaulish and the latter is Welsh??

    So does that mean that if I want to work with Ceridwen I can only worship other welsh deities? Is this book full of poo? HELP.

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    306 Maria de Luna's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner question.

    Oh my, this is an interesting conundrum. It's one that is regularly debated, and if you dig a wee bit you can find a number of heated discussions on this subject on this very forum.
    The word "Celtic" is broad, it encompasses many peoples, and areas, they did not communicate well throughout all of what would have been considered the Celtic world, they spoke different languages, they worshipped different gods, or the same ones with different names depending on whom you ask. And there's the rub, the opinion of whether or not all Celtic deities fall under the same umbrella, or whether it even matters, or what Celtic religion or worship even is, is largely dependent upon whom you ask.
    Try asking yourself. I know that answer does not feel helpful. You need to read more than just the "for dummies" book, frankly, I'd recommend finding a few more specific books, look for info on cerridwyn, or welsh deities. Look for other sources about witchcraft, if it interests you. Read some threads here, see if you find anything useful. But in the end, it's your decision to make... It really is, what you believe is right is the most right thing you can do. Because in the end, it is you who will be worshiping your gods, or not. What someone else thinks about it isn't their business. Approach what you do with respect and reverence, and you should not feel bad about doing what feels like the right thing to do...
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    Re: Beginner question.

    Quote Originally Posted by foxinthesnow View Post
    Heyyyy there.

    So, I am new to this journey into paganism and I am trying to decipher which path resonates best with me. I am doing a lot of research an am currently reading "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft" (although I don't know if I'll end up fitting under either of those categories, I am just trying to get a feel for things and absorbing as much information as I can.)

    The book talks about how you shouldn't mix and match gods from different pantheons and then lists gods and goddesses from different parts of world, and lumping all sorts of celtic deities together. Isn't that sort of a contradiction?

    I have been roaming the internet looking for more of these celtic deities and what I'm finding is that a lot of the celts worshipped local gods that personified issues that were important to maybe only a small group of people? The book lists Cernunnos along with Ceridwen and a quick glance at Wikipedia says the former is Gaulish and the latter is Welsh??

    So does that mean that if I want to work with Ceridwen I can only worship other welsh deities? Is this book full of poo? HELP.
    "Mixing and matching" deities from different pantheons can be done and there are plenty of practitioners out there who work with a variety of deities from more than one culture/religion without issue.

    That being said, there are certainly those deities/spirits who will not work together and who should not be paired with particular other deities/spirits for a variety of reasons.

    I would generally advise you to first familiarise yourself with the pantheon(s) in question and their respective mythologies before making a decision to pursue a working relationship with Them anyway. I also don't believe that it's necessary to worship an entire pantheon when you have a connection with only a single deity from that pantheon.

  4. #4

    Re: Beginner question.

    Oh wow! Thanks for such great answers! That was all very helpful. Also, not to worry, this book is the first of several I have lined up to read, my amazon wish list is filled with books of this nature.

    I appreciate your emphasis on trusting my gut, I grew up in a very strict Christian household where faith was replaced with indoctrination so sometimes it's hard for me to remember that it's okay to decide what feels right for *me*.

    Thanks again!

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    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner question.

    I'd start by deciding what you think a ''God'' is. The answers to your questions are going to be very different depending on whether you think they're aspects of your subconscious, or manifestations of natural forces, or independent spiritual beings, or any of the other theories people have come up with.

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner question.

    Quote Originally Posted by foxinthesnow View Post
    The book talks about how you shouldn't mix and match gods from different pantheons and then lists gods and goddesses from different parts of world, and lumping all sorts of celtic deities together. Isn't that sort of a contradiction?

    I have been roaming the internet looking for more of these celtic deities and what I'm finding is that a lot of the celts worshipped local gods that personified issues that were important to maybe only a small group of people? The book lists Cernunnos along with Ceridwen and a quick glance at Wikipedia says the former is Gaulish and the latter is Welsh??

    So does that mean that if I want to work with Ceridwen I can only worship other welsh deities? Is this book full of poo? HELP.
    Actually, that's a pretty good book as an intro. Its not perfect, and TBH, this particular topic is one that is fairly contentious within Paganisms at large. But it is an intro, and as such, is geared towards what I call "non-denominational" or "general" Paganism (Hubby calls this "justaPagan" and I've snidely seen it refered to as "generic" Paganism). (another good, IMO better, introductory sort of book is Paganism: An Introduction to Earth Based Spiritualities by River and Joyce Higgenbotham)

    As for (what I like to call) The Celtic Question...its a matter of personal preference and opinion. “Celtic” is a description and name for the various cultures that shared the family of Celtic languages. For some people, the idea of a pan-Celtic theology is a no-no (Celtic reconstructionists, for example, might take issue with this), but for others, it may be perfectly acceptable.

    No book speaks for everyone. Religion is deeply personal, and their are no right answers...only answers that are right for you.

    I do think that what Aeran suggests is a good idea for any newbie (for extra questions, try here):


    Quote Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
    I'd start by deciding what you think a ''God'' is. The answers to your questions are going to be very different depending on whether you think they're aspects of your subconscious, or manifestations of natural forces, or independent spiritual beings, or any of the other theories people have come up with.
    I agree with this...with a slight change of terminology and one caveat.

    I'd start by deciding what form you think *that which is Divine* takes--Does it take the form of multiple and distinct gods (in which case, what are those gods, where do they come from, can they change)? Of an over-arching Universal Divinity? Of the Earth? Of "I don't think there is any such thing"? Of something inbetween? Of something else?

    But the caveat would be to not let your belief limit your practice...you can be an agnostic Heathen or an atheist Druid or a panthiest Hellenic and still have a meaningful and rich religious experience. Don't let your belief (or non-belief) define what practices you may or may not find useful or meaningful, whether those practices originate in other religions or no religion.

    Unless, of course, you find your bliss in a religious experience that delinates its practice from their idea of correct belief.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

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    Re: Beginner question.

    Ok so the "only work with deties from the same culture" thing is not with out merit on many levels. However if you can manage to work with deities from similar groups (and the Cymri and Gauls are at least "related") the more power to you.

    As an ADF Druid of longstanding (14 years) we don't mix and match in ritual. What you can do however is work with the deities individually, then you are not mixing cultures

    Last comment, you also have to work out who you invite into ritual from the same culture. Balor and Lug are nota good choice for example

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    Re: Beginner question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
    I'd start by deciding what you think a ''God'' is. The answers to your questions are going to be very different depending on whether you think they're aspects of your subconscious, or manifestations of natural forces, or independent spiritual beings, or any of the other theories people have come up with.
    Okay so I'm a little late to the discussion, sorry about that. I agree with this. Somehow as my concept of deity has changed, the way they interact with me has. I was taught not to mix deities when I started out and even when later teachers told me that it is okay, I couldn't shake the discomfort I felt from 'breaking the rules'. I've even been outright rejected by local deities I've tried to interact with while staying in another country. At the time I blamed them for not wanting anything to with me, but I've come to discover it was actually me putting up a barrier.

    That said, I do tend to stick mainly to one pantheon, if you can call it a pantheon. They're a mixture of Celtic deities from as close as the river Tyne (less than a mile from here), to as far as Slack in West Yorkshire (140 miles away, although just because he is only known from one inscription in Slack, it isn't to say he wasn't revered up here too).

    Having said that, deities I've interacted with in the past have popped by from time to time, presumably because they already exist as familiar archetypes to me. As such, I guess I'm a soft polytheist these days, as I've reached the conclusion that while some deities are unique to a particular locality, others may well have several names and images ascribed to them in various regions of the world.
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

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