When we first put together our course on Witchcraft in 1968, we recommended that students of the course select a pantheon of deities relevant to their individual background. Many modern Witches choose to revere the various Celtic gods and goddesses; other Witches choose other pantheons. We have also recommended that people who are into Christianity can use Father/Son/Holy Ghost or Mary as their pantheon. A surprising number of circles use Mary. It is simply amazing to realize that over 90 percent of the churches and cathedrals of old Europe are dedicated to her. Open-minded theologians surmise that Mary is just the most recent name for the Mother who has been worshiped for untold centuries–She of many, many names.
In the cultural matrix where we westerners find ourselves, Christianity is the default religion. Still today many people don’t dream that another system exists with a whole other nomenclature.
Within the modern Witch/pagan subculture there is a high resistance to use of the Christian pantheon in rituals. Can we not accept these people as true seekers, even though they use the default nomenclature–and can we perhaps also accept Witches who have a view of the world slightly different from our own? In general they are just as eco-friendly as any modern Witch. It is only when they are attacked on the truthfulness of their holy book that they distinguish themselves from the Witches, who in general are willing to discuss and perhaps compare their pantheons and ways of worship.
It is this very closed-mindedness that separates many Witches from the mainstream. Guys and gals, we wish you’d give it up. The problem, you see, is that when anyone defends a specific pantheon and excludes all other possibilities, they become divisive. We find many modern Witches are equally divisive in the defense of their own specific pantheon. Can we not take what is good from everybody’s practice and if we like it use it, disregarding the parts that we don’t like? Your pantheon is necessarily as personal as your toothbrush. That fact can (and should) go a long way toward smoothing out jealous differences.
Remember that, after all, some of us have little or no use for named pantheons of deities. Such pantheons are merely the names of tribal heroes and heroines that have been passed down to us. Yes, you can call on the great goddess Gaea to help with your growing crops; but equally you can get out into the yard and put up a hex sign that might encourage the plants themselves to grow. Or you can do a chant with the same intent in mind. Such an act need involve no third party at all.
In India for centuries this acceptance of the good and rejection of things which are not liked by a specific group has worked successfully. You can go to festivals that honor many different gods and goddesses–yes, including even the Christian pantheon–and everybody gets along happily. We, Gavin and Yvonne, know full well that many people totally reject our own magical practice and the precepts that we espouse–yet thousands of others find within them truth and strength.
Tell us, dear Reader, either how we can improve our ways or how we can convince others that we are not dogmatic divisive dictators.