Honoring Syncretism Without Letting it Take Over Your Worship

Now that I have my shrine to Apollon pretty close to how I want it, and how have established his altar before the shrine, I am turning in a new direction to further enhance his worship space. I am going to be investing time into making tiny statues of gods that he is syncretic to in other cultures to pay respect to these other forms of himself. I mean it is not as if I am not already kinda doing that anyway since there is a shivaling on his shrine and his statue wears a rudraska.

This is not a new idea for me but one that I have hesitated a lot about and gone back and forth mentally about regarding whether or not it would be a good decision. One of the reasons why I have not is because I did not want my worship to become bogged down in a mindless must worship every face of him, OMG so much stuff to do. When it comes right down to it I am just not interested in undertaking THAT many complete forms of worship. I will admit that I utterly failed in adopting Hinduism aside from honoring Shiva. This “all the things” is too overwhelming and I really don’t know anyone can keep up with it.

And then on the opposite end my concern was that if I had statues on there and was acknowledging these as faces of Apollon, then wouldn’t I being doing a greater insult by not addressing them in traditional worship methods…and then again to the above statement about OMG.

Lately I have been considering it from a new angle. When I have multiple statues on an altar or shrine do I necessarily give individualized worship to *all* of them. No, not really. Even my oikos altar in which I address the gods of the household, unless it is a specific occasion for one of my gods, I usually address and give offerings to them collectively. And when it comes to a shrine with several different images of the same god I do not actively give worship to each and every individual statue/icon. Why is that? Because these icons serve the purpose that icons serve. An icon is a divine vessel (particularly the main image of worship) but it is also reaffirming visually to ourselves that this is another form in which I see my god (even if it is, for example, Apollon as Daphnephoros rather than Pythios, or Karneios etc.  When I give worship I may not individually giving offerings to and addressing each iconic representation of the god, but the fact that it is there and is there in the presence of my worship, being surrounded by the perfume of the incense, with offerings poured before it, it is honoring this other face of my god.

This in my mind is appropriate and exactly where I want to be in my worship. I do not want it to detract or overwhelm my focus on Apollon and his worship, but I do want to out of respect, as these are faces that I do acknowledge, to be inclusive of them in small ways. Tiny statues are the way to go for that as they are comparably smaller than the main image(s) while still being an obvious presence. So these I will make and line up before my huge statue of Apollon, tiny statuettes to honor him as gifts to him.

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2 thoughts on “Honoring Syncretism Without Letting it Take Over Your Worship

  1. It sounds like our brains work similarly, at least when it comes to the point of hobbling us. I’ve been toying with the idea of acquiring an icon of Narasingha and/or Matsya, and then I don’t, because !!!!! and suddenly now I have to bring Hindu stuff into my practice, which is already very simple and the way I like it. I’m glad you’ve found your way around the “defeatist perfectionism” that can often keep us from even seeing if we like incorporating something. Yay for you!

    • It is my compromise with myself lol. I refused to part with my Shiva shrine altogether, so made a toned down mini shrine and then the rest got incorporated in tiny ways to Apollon’s shrine. Everyone else is just getting tiny incorporated…to keep myself sane lol. The only exception is going to be for the Orishas which will have their own altar as I learn more about Ifa, which if I am going to be dual-tradition, is where my heart settles and time to acknowledge the Orishas that have been around for years. But otherwise yeah this what I will be doing lol

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