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Ethnic religions and mixed people.

Discussion in 'Paganism DIR' started by Saint Frankenstein, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein God is my Light
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    Okay, so some Pagans say that you should only worship the Gods of your ancestors. But what about if you're mixed race? I'm personally European-American (Germanic and Celtic), African-American and probably Native American. So where would that leave a person like me?

    And just how are we to reverence our physical ancestors if we come from broken families, highly abusive families, etc.? The only relative I really want to reverence and include on my altar is my dearly departed mother. I hate most of my family, including my father.
     
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  2. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I'd leave these sorts of proclamations at the door and forget about it unless it is important to how you want to construct your own tradition. Particularly since there's not much indication that historical Pagans would have limited themselves in this way.
     
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  3. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    To give a bit of semi-related follow-up, in my tradition the rule is to honor gods that relate to your local area because those are the gods immediately present in your life such that you are able to develop a good relationship with them. It's possible that some Pagans feel that it isn't possible to develop a good relationship with gods that aren't somehow related to you by blood (as "ancestors" is usually interpreted in that fashion). That's a really strange idea to me, but I wager the idea of focusing on what is local to you is strange to some others, too.
     
  4. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Are you aware of any clear treatments of adoption of a culture in Pagan doctrines and practice?
     
  5. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

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    Not really a pagan, but I thought I'd share this with you: I chanced to meet someone with pure Eastern African descent who knew the local traditions and language here as well as his own. He was taught by a local traditionalist.
     
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  6. Goddess_Ashtara

    Goddess_Ashtara NIN MOJAVE AK IMEN

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    I do not restrict myself to experiencing only the deities worshipped by my ancestors, and I do not encourage it in others either.

    Though, I do understand how one with close and intimate ties with their family, clan, or community would be wise to utilize those cultural spiritual-religious currents around them in ways that can significantly impact one's understanding and relationships with them for the better.


     
    #6 Goddess_Ashtara, Feb 6, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
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  7. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Love is patient. Love is kind.

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    There are a couple things that come to mind.

    First, I'm African American, Hispanic, Caucasian, Cherokee, and Blackfoot. I probably have some Indian in my family given I finally got my great grandmother's pictures. I notice a lot of my family had mixed marriages. We've had broken homes, people who hurt others, and a whole lot of things that would make our family seem unhealthy.

    I start with the family member I know the most which is my grandmother on my mother's side. My father's side grandmother passed recently; and, I didn't know her too much. Through them I talk to the rest of my family.

    In some cultures there are healing rituals where if you know a family member is hurting and maybe still causing discord with your living family, you can do healing rituals to help them out.

    Unless you don't want to reconcile your hate with the rest of your family, there isn't much you can do but revere the ones you feel you're closest to. If you want to grow towards forgiveness or a lighter perspective of the family you hate, maybe start with rituals around forgiveness or simple things.

    It's not really revering but building a communication and relationship with family. You don't have to put them on a pedalstool and revere them. Talk to them. Say "hey, $%@ family member, I don't like you but I want to figure how to get this family together...and I need your help." If you don't get a message, then let it be. Just like any other family member, you don't have to communicate with them all.

    I read in one tradition you have a "pool of ancestors". First you go to god (monotheistic tradition not abrahamic), then you go to your ancestors starting from who you know on back, then the pool of ancestors (ancestors you know exist but don't know personally), then you go to the spirits (or in other traditions to the gods).

    Other times you can just light a candle for your family in general. It doesn't have to be specific. I just find healing rituals may work if the family you hate is kind of putting a barrier on your practice and who you want to revere.

    As for different ethnicity, that depends on who you want to revere, in my opinion. Most of my family I actually know are African American and most of them are Christian. So, the closest I can get is being in their presence and talking with them. But those who are Native American and all the other ethnicity I pretty much say my thank you but I have not yet figured how to communicate with them. So, it's a growing process.
     
  8. The Emperor of Mankind

    The Emperor of Mankind Currently the galaxy's spookiest paraplegic

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    As far as folkish folk who believe this sort of crap are concerned, you're pretty stuffed. No gods for you. :p
     
  9. Callisto

    Callisto Active Member

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    I’ve heard that assertion and it makes very little practical sense since it ignores a lot. Ultimately, everyone is mixed and has millions of ancestors. Cultures didn’t and still don’t form in hermetically sealed bubbles unaffected by change or influence of immigration, emigration, trade or invasion, or time. One tribe replaced another, only to be replaced by another and another. During each iteration, there would have been some blending. Ancestors having lived in a certain area doesn’t mean every previous generation came from that area as well.

    Also, the statement begs the question: so, how far back is one to trace their ancestry to determine what gods to honor or religion to practice? Which religion of which ancestors?

    Not long ago there was a scandal with the PBS program "Finding Your Roots", Ben Affleck wanted the series to omit the fact that one of his ancestors was a slave owner. No surprise that cast a shadow not only on the integrity of FYR and PBS but it shows even individuals who consider themselves progressive, open-minded and informed can be fearful, judgmental and uncomfortable when faced with the realities of where any of us come from.

    One is not required to venerate every ancestor (nor would it be feasible). Just like in life, you might not (and can't) invite every relative over for a holiday. Also, many who practice ancestor veneration include honored individuals who were influential in their lives, such as friends and mentors whose presence contributed to the person being who they are today.

    Also, while there are truly reprehensible people, it's not always the case - not every presumed bad ancestor was necessarily a bad person. Between genealogy and ancestor veneration, the first thing that became evident when I began searching was to realize it’s necessary to leave our own biases at the door, we are a product of our era and its societal views. Our ancestors were products of theirs. That was Affleck's problem. If you start with a conclusion that x-ancestor was "bad" for y-reason then don't bother, any further effort stands to become an act of futility.

    I'm biracial and my family runs the full range of "heroes" and "villains", most of whom simply amount to ordinary people who were the product of their times. It's hard to foist blame or feel shame when I am the direct descendant of slaves and Indians and of slave owners and those who were killed and kidnaped in Indian raids. I can trace one side back several hundreds of years through peerage while the other I cannot get very far because they were classified as property, if of record at all. One of my great grandfathers and some of his brothers were Confederate soldiers while his other brothers were Union Army, as was another great grandfather. In most instances, I think people will find there are no clear demarcations between who "should" be honored or reviled. "Good" or "bad" we're here because of them all.
     
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  10. Cassandra

    Cassandra Active Member

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    My view,

    If you are of mixed race you have a wider range to choose from when you want to worship ancestral Gods. What matters most in worship of Gods is the spiritual connection that you feel with a particular deity.

    Special connection is often based on affinity, connection based on (or feels like) kinship, structural resemblance. Often we only feel a deep spiritual connection with one God, even if we worship more than one. Just like your are more likely to have one heart friend than two. It takes some searching to find one you truly connect with. If the connection is there, it is unmistakable.

    The same Nature Gods are found in different cultures under different names, but in different roles and importance. Because Gods create their own offspring in Nature and for some people they maybe creator Gods and for others not..

    The Gods people worship as Creator or Fertility Gods are often considered ancestors. For instance the Royal Swedish family is considered to be offspring of Freyr. the Frisians also see Freyr as their ancestor. Such Gods are the protectors of their people and descendants can ask their help.

    Ancestor spirits we carry with us (even materially in our genes). With our ancestor spirits it is the same thing as Gods: Though it is beneficial to honor them all, one often feels guidance from one. Like with the living, it is mostly the loving spirits that help others.

    During or after life, it is the same loving spirits (guardian spirits/angels) that help others and it is selfish spirits that only want to do their own thing. It is important to invoke the right spirits. The ones that help you ahead on your path to become a better being. On critical moments of our lives they will even take over and make us do the right action.

    If you had a loving contact with your dearly departed mother than that would be a logical choice. The mothers love is greater than any other and overcomes death. Often it is more about allowing such spirits to let them help you by maintaining the contact, than begging them.
     
    #10 Cassandra, Feb 8, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  11. The Emperor of Mankind

    The Emperor of Mankind Currently the galaxy's spookiest paraplegic

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    This. When I first discovered Paganism I was most keen to forge a relationship with the likes of Odin (I know, I was naive and new at the time) & Thor as I have Norse ancestry. I got nothing in response. Absolutely nothing. When I started reading the Greek stories, on the other hand, that seemed to awaken something in me and the gods have, I believe, reached out to me in return.
     
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  12. Miles

    Miles Member

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    It depends on context. There are a lot of cases where white pagans and polytheists will use this concept to advocate racism (strangely, they seem to have no problem with me being Hellenic, even though the only possible Greek ancestry I have is through being Italian and Irish...)

    And there are a lot of cases where people who are part of closed ethnic religions genuinely just want their culture respected, as in the case of the Native Americans in this documentary:

     
  13. Dr. Mahlek

    Dr. Mahlek New Member

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    I’ll always go on the principle that what someone believes in has nothing to do with anyone else. It’s not their business. Any who says another person shouldn’t worship XGod/‘s because of their ethnicity probably have racist tendencies.

    I like what some have already said; that you should respect the Gods and religious practices of your locality. That doesn’t mean they are the ones you personally identify with, only you can answer that.

    Sorry to hear of the issues with your family, I hope you’re able to come to terms with yourself. No easy answer to your question.
     
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  14. GoodbyeDave

    GoodbyeDave Well-Known Member

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    I've just made a post on ancestry and choice of gods, so I won't repeat myself.
    https://www.religiousforums.com/thr...udy-via-genetic-ancestry.210168/#post-5686989

    As for ancestors, start with your mother. You don't have to struggle to fix things with your father unless you feel up to it. You might like to read Galina Krasskova's Honoring the Ancestors, which discusses this problem and others, like being descended fom both slaves and slavers.
     
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  15. Holdasown

    Holdasown Active Member

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    Some pagan tradition have an aspect of ancestor worship. Combine that with racist and bigotry and you get people who will think they can tell you the gods will or will not work with you. I have mostly Christian ancestors to a point and that doesn't stop me from being a polytheists. I happen to work in my pre Christian ancestors pantheon. If some outside god approached me I wouldn't tell them to go away because they were not Germanic or Norse. Unless one I am working with now said no way.
     
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  16. Brian daniel mcmahon

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    true pagan knight and please visit my profile thank you
    you know the Greeks believe that Aries forged the earth, the Jews started monotheism and wrote every time Jehovah spoke then every time god spoke there not the same now Jesus is Jehovah's son to america and in the middle eat he is not god or Jehovah's son to the Jews but is Libra prince Libra to Greece you know that your reading the story incorrectly you wonder why im pagan but i understand but Jehovah is Poseidon i dont know if it is his middle name but he sure knew how to hide mars
     
  17. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein God is my Light
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    What??? :confused:
     
  18. Brian daniel mcmahon

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    true pagan knight and please visit my profile thank you
    the Greeks said Aries forged the earth
     
  19. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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