Making duo-tradition syncretism work for me

Often when I explain that I am Hellenic (over a decade there) and Hindu (baby Hindu at that) there seems to be a concept of following some sort of Eclectism. In reality it ends up being more complicated than that because I am not just picking elements of what I like but rather merging two full religious traditions. But making it work means I have to recognize too what is purely Hellenic and what is purely Sanatana Dharma. That means in daily private home based private worship I have to still distinguish things. Where in general prayers and in shrine building I often show off my syncretic beliefs, I also do traditional rituals of each religion. This also requires me to recognize that there are not perfect syncretisms, and while many gods syncretize and shrine share for that reason, most other gods do not and are worshipped independently.

This means whereas I have a big shrine for Siv-Apollon and Parvati-Artemis, and another big shrine for Zeus-Vishnu/Dionysos-Krishna, and Lakshmi-Demeter with Hera and Poseidon sharing there too, and another shrine for Athena-Saraswati, and a new shrine starting for Ganesha-Hermes…..I also have various non syncretic shrines and worship places in and around my house.

It means that while Monday has become my day for Apollon-Siva overall and my regular offerings reflects this, that my puja to Siva is wholely Hindu regardless of whether or not I address him at any point as Siv-Apollon. It means that when I celebrate Apollon’s birthdays or other major cult festivals that it is wholely Hellenic regardless of whether or not Siva’s name comes into it.

It doesn’t mean banning Hindu murti during my Hellenic festivals, or setting aside Hellenic icons during pujas. It doesn’t mean isolation, but rather a shift of focus of how I worship and interact with the gods given the purpose of what I am doing when I am doing something of particular importance.

It does mean that my regular worship at syncretic shrines tends to contain elements of both Hellenic and Hindu worship, which really has so many commonalities that with my regular offerings that they flow into each other seamlessly. This is due to the fact that unlike festivals, in which the heritage, the god and tradition are of importance as festivals are loaded with very particular meanings (even if they translate well cross culturally), in personal daily worship it is just about you and the gods, there is no other meaning involved. It is purely the engaging in the relationship and honoring however is best to honor them as they have expressed to you over time. One learns what is good and what is not through experience when having a syncretic oikos, when being of a duo-tradition household.

Sometimes there are small mistakes that are made, often based on certain presumptions, but in the end it is a very rewarding spiritual way of living even it is ends up being a bit complicated to thoroughly embrace more than one way of spiritual living and interacting with the gods. And it may be a bit overwhelming at times lol. But it works for me.


9 thoughts on “Making duo-tradition syncretism work for me

  1. This was fascinating to read. I love getting to peek into other people’s devotional lives. I’m glad you’re finding a set up that works for you. This reminds me a bit of trying to balance Heathen ritual formats on one side and Hellenic on the other and how . . . interesting . . . that could be, in the beginning.

  2. Ganesha keeps poking me despite two very firm declines from me. Are you able to give me 101 advice? I’m not required to do puja, right? The Hindu gods (more than Ganesha seem to be watching but He is holding the door open) seem to want a shrine which feels intense to me as I have oaths and spiritual bonds that take priority. I don’t really know what to do. I admire the Hindu gods a lot but I don’t know if I feel I have the time and space for Them in my life. Do you have suggestions?

    • One of the simplest things recommended to me for those who can’t do a puja for whatever reason is to print out the 108 names of Ganesha and chant them while offering a grain of rice to the god after each chant. You can also offer flowers and offer flame and incense circled infront of him to his murti (image). That is a very simple basic starting point.

      • Thanks very much! When you say “after each chant”, do you mean that after I say each name, I offer Ganesha one grain of rice or do I offer Him one grain of rice for the entire recitation?

      • Okay. 🙂
        Do you think its acceptable to cook and consume the rice after? I don’t live in a household where I can simply dispose of uneaten rice without having to field awkward questions.

      • Usually it is not eaten but rather many scatter it out for birds…..because I think it is different than food that is offered as Prasad which we share and eat with the deity.

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