Heathen Round Table, July: Non-Norse Deities

What are your beliefs about deities from other religions/pantheons, both polytheistic and not? Do you honour any, and how do you balance that with heathenry?

I believe very strongly that other deities exist. I don’t tend to go seeking Them out, unless I get a REALLY STRONG indication it would be a good idea; I didn’t go seeking a lot of the Norse deities I actively worship, either.

My practice is only “heathen” in the sense that the majority of the gods I worship are Norse (I do not consider myself a heathen, for numerous reasons), so in a sense it’s really easy to balance things.

While some of the altar items I have are based on historically-attested associations various gods have, I’m not any kind of reconstructionist: I have not been trying to replicate any Viking-age (or earlier) Scandinavian rituals or holidays or methods of worship. My interactions with Them are almost entirely based on what They indicate They want, so in terms of fitting non-Norse deities into my life, it doesn’t matter if one of the Them in question is Norse or not. My calendar of “holidays” is also mostly personal in nature, with the exception of the Solstices (though Summer Solstice is also a personally important anniversary), so I don’t have scheduling conflicts with two completely different sets of religious festivals/holidays/etc.

There have been a very small number of large rituals I’ve done where I did honor deities of multiple pantheons simultaneously, but the ritual was only loosely, or not at all, based on anything historical – I made one large altar, with representations for all of Them, arranged in a way that felt right (that is, was Everyone “comfortable” with Their neighbors?), placed offerings, and then did the thing. But, along with not really doing holidays or festivals, I don’t do a lot of big rituals very often.

I’ve had a few non-Norse deities active in my life. The first was the Kemetic Set. He was around for a few months, working closely with Loki on some of my personal issues. I set up an altar with Kemetic-recommended symbols, and made Him offerings that Kemetics said were appropriate – bread, honey, water, alcohol – but every time I tried greeting Him with the “Dua” phrasing, I always stumbled over it, so I figured the heathen-origin “Hail” would just have to do well enough, and apparently it was fine.

I currently have a few Other deities around (in some cases I am not 100% certain “deity” is more correct than “land spirit” but They seem big enough that I consider them deities, perhaps as well as being land spirits). A couple of Them have altar spaces in the house; I’ve had little to nothing to go on in terms of historical documentation that would indicate what They like, or really anything about how They might have been worshipped, so it’s all been guided by either blatantly obvious associations, or what They tell me or what “just feels right.” In terms of Them getting along with the Norse crowd, it’s been pretty obvious that some of Them are working closely with Loki (and potentially some of the other Norse Powers (Ran, for example, has guided me to encounters with some local spirits). The biggest challenge is when one of Them is really active in my life, and wants me to devote time to Them, because then I have to balance that time requirement with other things in life – but that’s no different than when I’ve got multiple Norse gods asking for regular time.

 

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About Fjothr Lokakvan

More or less Northern Tradition polytheist.
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