Once a month, my family and I gather in front of our fire-pit or altar to honor our deities, ancestors, and other spirits. We say prayers, give offerings, make petitions, etc. No big deal right? Except I am a Hekataen/Green Earth Witch. My son is a Hedge Witch. My oldest child is a Syncretic Heathen. And my husband is a Druid. We have different gods, different paths, even different styles of witchcraft, devotional, and magickal practice. Even so, we can come together in ritual or spellcraft and it works.
Respecting Our Differences
Anyone who listens to 3 Pagans and a Cat should know we are big believers in respecting our differences. Sure. There are points of opinion or practice upon which we disagree. Sometimes, these differences can be negligible while at other times they are vast.
We may even argue our points with a serious passion that appears flippant or disagreeable. But in the end, we are a family. We still respect the other person’s right to think, feel, or have a different perspective than our own. And there are more points of belief or opinion upon which we agree than those we do not.
As a family of Solitary Practitioners from separate paths, we realized for holidays and family spiritual gatherings, we needed to adapt so that all of our paths can come together into a cohesive work where everyone’s belief is honored. Creating multi-path rituals became necessary.
Multiple Paths Reflected In Ritual
Each member of my family approaches their spiritual path in a different way. Two of us have a more ritual-based practice/devotional path, while the other two are more laid back.
Three of us use spellcraft and will help one another by lending energy, focus, or advice on crafting a spell. Because our individual rituals and magickal methods are different, we are open to listening and learning from one another. We enjoy doing magickal workings together.
Maybe it’s because we are a family. Maybe it’s because we are all solitary practitioners. But in my experience, one does not have to be of the same practice, path, lineage, or tradition to create a powerful and meaningful experience for all participants. There does need to be recognition for all, unity, flexibility, and focused intention.
When we come together for ritual, we choose what is important from our own practice to incorporate into the whole. Sometimes it is planned. These days, we have done multi-path rituals enough that we follow our instinct. In our monthly gathering, the intention focuses on honoring the deities of our individual practices/paths. How we go about doing so is what is flexible.
The Honoring Ritual
My family began this journey of multi-path( syncretic rituals) several years ago when celebrating Mother Night (Modrinight) and Yule. While we had our separate traditions within our individual practices to observe, we also wanted to share these special holidays and represent our individual beliefs while doing so. It worked so well that we have done the same for every one of our family rituals ever since.
We’ve heard from many listeners who have expressed a desire to be part of something similar. Maybe they have a significant other of a different path or a group of magickal friends who want to come together for a shared ritual. So, I thought I’d share a few ideas from our monthly ritual to honor our deities (and other spirits) for people to build upon for a multi-path ritual.
Things to consider when preparing a multi-path ritual:
- How many paths will be represented in the ritual? The more paths there are, the more comprise is necessary.
- How many deities will be invoked or honored? While we’ve never had an issue there are some deities who reportedly do not get along. This should be of consideration.
- Make sure everyone who wants to be represented has a role in the ritual if they are willing to participate.
- Be flexible, be willing to compromise, and allow every path to be represented in some way (great or small).
- As a Witch, I cleanse and create a sacred space through water and smoke.
- As a Druid, Car makes offerings to troublesome spirits outside our sacred space at the beginning and end, so that they will not disrupt or disturb or activities.
- I invite Air, Earth, Fire, and Water to attend and bear witness, lend their energy to our working.
- As a Heathen, Ode will invite the ancestors, house/land spirits to attend our ritual.
- My husband Car will call upon the ancestors, the Mighty Dead, and invoke spirits of Land, Sea, and Sky.
- Each of us takes a turn inviting our individual deities to attend through prayers and invocations.
- We make offerings to our deities, ancestors, house/land spirits, etc.
- We take turns giving hails to our beloved dead and ancestors and/or making offerings.
- If there is a spell, I am usually the one to lead in the casting and then we close the ritual.
- Finally, we have a session of divination (we all take a turn doing a reading) asking for guidance in the upcoming weeks.
More In Common Than We Realize
I’ve had the pleasure of attending a variety of public rituals over the years including Wiccan, Hekataen Witch, New Orleans VooDoo, Druid, Heathen, and OTO. And one thing I’ve come to realize is that while we do have different styles, beliefs, and structures in ritual, we also have a lot in common. This is why my family and I enjoy sharing our own rituals together, leading multi-path (syncretic) rituals, and teaching others how to enjoy them as well.
The past year has been hell for all of us but a time is coming when we will begin to gather once again. And while it is important to work and worship with those who share our path or tradition, I believe it will be of great value to come together in a ritual where many paths are recognized and honored. Not easy, but if we really want to bridge some of the gaps that have come between us in the Wiccan, Pagan, Witchcraft, Druid, and Heathen communities, then maybe the occasional multi-path ritual is a good place to start.