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Mixed Pantheons: What Are They, Do They Work, Should You Have One?

The idea of pantheons is not a shamanic concept, so let me explain what that is as a starting point. Strictly speaking a pantheon is the set of deities that belong to a specific mytho-religious belief system. We are most familiar with part of the Greco-Roman pantheon because planets of astrology have been named for some of them:

  • Mercury | Mars | Venus

  • Jupiter | Saturn | Chiron

  • Uranus | Neptune | Pluto

  • Juno | Ceres | Pallas Athena | Vesta

Shamanic practice that derives from the ancient diverse spiritualities of Native North Americans nearly universally speak of the Spirits but these reside in and are archetypes of Nature. They are not considered deities in the same way theistic religions – and South American tribes -- conceptualize gods and goddesses. Some Native North American tribes also revere MotherEarth, and to complete the balance they add a Father Sky, which is not the same as the monotheistic god, although white missionaries confused Father Sky for their God concept.

Many Native North American spiritualities also have a concept of the Great Mystery which is somewhat akin to the Chinese idea of the Tao -- the source of all possibilities and energies. And separate from this is the idea of a Creator who organizes and directs the development of consciousness into matter.

So does the idea of a spiritual pantheon have relevance for shamanic practitioners?

Yes, perhaps.

Some spiritual teachers who are purists do hold that your spiritual allies must all be within the same pantheon in order to avoid them getting into conflict with each other, with you caught in the middle and perhaps left lost and confused. A familiar example of this would be the Catholic priest who supports you asking for help from Mary, Jesus, God, and the saints, but disapproves of you calling on the Norse God Thor, or the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, or a raven power animal.

Other in-the-flow spiritual teachers take the view that all benevolent spiritual beings are available as helpers for humans, regardless of their cultural origins or mytho-historic personalities. These teachers may have never even wondered about mixing deities, spirit allies and helpers because they simply call for help and feel that the one(s) best suited to job will respond.

A third type of eclectic teacher may recommend creating a specific set of helpers that appeal to you, but without regard to their own energies or roles. This is how we get such believers as Wiccans who work with Christ Consciousness, and new age seekers who combine archangels, the Buddha, Ganesh, and elemental beings such as sylphs and undines.

Here’s my take on the question – spirit allies are like an intentional family or team that you bring together for a general purpose, and in addition each one serves a specific role at your request. They need to get along in order to function well for you in an emergency as well as in your everyday spiritual practice.

So in my view, it is fine to mix and match if you do it with some knowledge of innate characteristics and with respect for each ally’s willingness to work and play well with others. I do strongly recommend keeping your pantheon to a minimum -- I work with about 10, and for me more than 12 would get unwieldy.

If you are interested in learning a specific practice for creating your own mixed pantheon or spirit allies, I’m available for SpiritWork consultation and individualized teaching on this topic. See my offering here


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