I had a question asked of me today that actually gave me a moment or two of thought as I was asked what my syncretism looked like in terms of my worship of Apollon. Truthfully, while I no longer keep a directly syncretic practice with a thoroughly mixed singular shrine (rather Siva and family have a separate small shrine), it is still an important part of my worship relationship with Apollon. That is to say that being “nudged” in that direction truly benefited my relationship with Apollon and helped me get past some personal hurdles in terms of relating to the god in my worship in his larger and less neatly contained matter of being that while I had it pretty well intellectualized hadn’t really made an impact on my worship life until then.
For one, I truly realized just the limitless value of the anioconic symbol as a more direct representation of the god superior to a pretty statue. That this form is as a endless column of light and sound, endless. The use of the rudraska also really got me to appreciate the use of malas as a vehicle of worship by wearing it on oneself and adorning sacred images with. So whereas the rudraska remains of Siva’s shrine I have done something quite similar with the tears of Apollon, amber. That this is an intimate and personal connection to men of the love and compassion of the god, and that by wearing it and holding it there that connection at work through it to the deity. Even more so is an understanding of the greater cosmic and primordial nature of a deity of truth, death, movement, life and stillness in reflection and focus. It is about seeing that which is still and yet being an illusion of stillness, that which is silent but speaking endlessly in volumes the truth of all things in the world around us. To be the dance that creates, honors and destroys…that such expression can be so many things at once as a representation of the whirling uncontained fierce movement of the god. It for these reminders of these natures that I keep small images of Siva and Parvati on the shrine as a continual reminder, not only of these connections but also the unending seamless unity of Apollon and Artemis, that what appears to be blurred reflection and tangled mix of identities, that they are both separate and one, and in their separateness they too cherish their oneness….even as a mortal in my separation of being from Apollon I can appreciate and express even better my love for him.
As such my worship involves mantra and chants, and offerings of flame, honey, cool water and incense in these simple signs of adoration, as a deity who can be violent and fierce, is also mild and loves the sweeter joys in life that exist all too briefly in the world at a time. Such is very much the way I consider Apollon’s love and championship of humanity, it is this very same fondness of the impermanent sweetness of the living world, that as a turner of time and destroying god he himself quickly removes from the world. That which is sweet eventually turning rancid, that which is sweet and clean turning stale and stagnant. That decay breaks down all things in the end, and that he is beyond it makes it even sweeter for him and is a beloved offering in every way. It has become more by far than a intellectual “Oh Apollon was also an elder deity, father of the Korybantes, alternately a son of Korybas, lord of the ravaging wind storms, turner of seasons and time. My eyes feel opened to the boundlessness of the heart of the god, his fury, passion, compassion, love and dispassionate destruction of the fragile lives of all living things. He is both this and that, he is one of the eldest seasons and deities and at the same time a child of Zeus. He is as a multitude of voices singing and chanting at once layered into a cosmic song that spins the movement of all things in their harmonic order until what time to breaks down that order and begins anew.
In this manner the syncretism has a had a very powerful impact on my spiritual life and my worship of Apollon, even though the form of it has changed over the last couple of months as I follow Apollon’s direction. But still I give my offerings to Siva and Parvati, and still their images remain to remind and honor of this larger being that is manifested and unmanifested.