At some point I decided the term for someone like me was "multi-faith." (Derived from "dual-faith," which was what I used before the others showed up. :)) I like it well enough although I have also seen it used for gatherings among those of multiple faiths, so it is not perfect and may already be taken. I've also seen the term "polytraditional" which does go nicely with "polytheistic," but I don't care so much for the term "tradition." Multireligious? Polyreligious? What I say to myself is that my head is full of gods, but while that is descriptive, it is not succinct.
This isn't about that, though. This is about what it's like to practice more than one pagan faith/religion/tradition. Specifically, it is about what it is like for me
, personally, to practice more than one pagan faith/religion/tradition. Nothing prescriptive, no comment on the practices of others, this is how it works for me. Keeping in mind that I am a low-woo person whose practice is first and foremost about practice, and that I find it most comfortable to keep my pantheons and practices separated.
I've already written about the details of what I do here
, which I think defines the What and the Where. Here I want to get more into the Why and the How.
When I say "balance" with regard to my different practices, that doesn't just mean that my life regularly involves a bit of work with each god, or even each pantheon. To some extent that is true. I do say daily prayers and so forth; it doesn't feel right if I forget. That, however, is a What.
At times I do feel like I have a sort of spiritual balance in my days, at least in terms of my practice, my base level of interaction and connection with deity. Practice is mainly a head thing, and a head thing can be planned for. Practice keeps me going, it keeps me flexible, it keeps me in spiritual shape. It is steady and reliable. It is the fuel that feeds.
At other times I am overwhelmed with a god, or with a group of gods, just blinded by them to the point where I can't think of anything else. I write and write and write, hours, days, weeks, until I think the words are gone, and an hour later they're back and so am I. I study, I think, I pray, I draw, until I am exhausted. I stay up too late when I'm in the midst of it, and if I wake up in the middle of the night I go downstairs and am back at it. It is actually kind of wonderful when it happens, although I think it would exhausting as a full-time state of being. What it means, though, is that this sort of inspiration/passion/compulsion isn't something I can schedule or plan for; it isn't steady and it isn't reliable. It isn't an all-the-time thing--it can't be--and although I know there will be an end to it, I know also that it will be back again. It happens when it happens, and because of that I rarely say no to it. It is the spark that ignites.
So, while practice is more or less in balance, inspiration is not. Can't be. Inspiration is very much all or nothing. Sometimes the all is for a short time, sometimes it lingers, but always it is so sweet and sharp and perfect and beautiful that it's worth any wait. (Okay, waxing lyrical again, I will rein that in. :)) But it does mean that sometimes I'll be expending all my extra energy in one area. The practice goes on as always. But the inspiration--when that's in play, it feels like what I am doing is all there ever is, all I should ever be doing, all I'll ever want to do. And that is so clearly
not the case. After all, love is a verb, and that is so with the love we have for our gods as well.
You know, I think perhaps on the whole the inspiration is reasonably balanced as well, but it never, ever seems that way when it is in progress.
All relationships are unique, each connection exists in its own space and follows its own nature. So I'm not going to say simply that I interact with the Greek gods using one model and with the heathen gods using another, etc. It's not so, or at least it's not that direct, although as someone with a recon leaning I will say that I make use of some commonalities (for example, I pour out libations to the Greek gods, I may or may not share drink with the heathen gods when I make an offering, and with regard to the Egyptian gods there is reversion of offerings so that's its own thing) in terms of ritual structure, calendar followed, and to a lesser extent types of offerings made.
Aphrodite was the first, I have known her the longest, and what goes along with that is a certain level of ease and familiarity. I am (in a manner of speaking) a child of Aphrodite and I know that; I may be atypical of her children, but that makes it no less true. As for how this affects other aspects of my spiritual life, well, for example, certainly the presence of Aphrodite is one of the things that precludes my ever being other than a Kemetic divined Remetj; she is not always first in my life, but that space needs to always be available for her, because sometimes she will be, and that is non-negotiable.
And there are times when the Greek gods as a group are front and center, insistently.
And there are times when it is the heathen gods who are most there, and who want things done.
And there are times when the Kemetic gods are everpresent and always with me.
Those are heart things, inner things, things that have a drive of their own.
My practice, a head thing, goes on, always, because it can--and it is the wheel I use to steer my ship, the oars I use to power it when the wind is down, I could not do without it.
The heart things--the inspiration, the drive--are the sails, they catch the wind and the vessel flies. Of course, if there's no wind at the moment, you aren't going anywhere without the oars.