Question 8: Balancing
This is the last of the Questions I have in my queue; if you or anyone you know has a question just let me know and I’ll do my best to answer it. Thank you Dreaming in Smoke and Fire, James Two Snakes, and Lokisbruid for contributing questions!
How do you balance being priests of Gods of two widely different pantheons?
It is interesting at times how this works out. While I was Anubis’ priest first, Odin takes precedence. Anubis led me to Odin when I had my eyes and ears tight shut regarding the Norse/Germanic Gods. I was very happy being a priest of Anubis, a ceremonial magician, and helper to the Lost Dead. Worshiping the Norse really hadn’t come into my head until Anubis drug me over to Odin, said “You’re following Him and we will be in touch” and away He went. That was about four years ago.
This does not mean that Anubis has totally left my life, that His priesthood is unimportant, or that I have stopped worshiping Him. Quite the contrary. I do still work with the Dead, but much closer with Them than what I did while working under Anubis. When I was working with Him I kept the Dead as best I could at arms length. I cannot do that anymore. I am very connected to my Ancestors now, much more so than when I was Anubis’ priest full time, and my Work now includes not just the general Dead and the Lost Dead; it also includes the Military Dead.
Most of the way I balance working with these Gods is that I am careful in my ethics. Given I am Northern Tradition I tend towards those ethics and values, most of which in some way, shape, or form mesh with the Kemetic ones. I do my best to follow the Negative Confession, reading it every night and reflecting upon it whenever I am able. It has proven a good guide for me. An area I struggle with is “cursing another in thought, word, or deed” as I see this to mean magically cursing a person as well as saying things like
“I hope that person fucking crashes” when I get cut off in traffic because words take on power. To speak and write is to engage heka. So I make effort to avoid speaking ill, literally or figuratively, of people, places, and things. To speak is to engage my önd. Much of the ethics I approached Anubis with translated well into my Work with Odin.
Anubis has given me many blessings in the time I have been His priest, going on six years. I still pray and give offerings to Him, and He has a place of honor among the Gods on my Gods’ altar. I still carry a brass wand my former teachers helped me put together in service to Him, and it comes with me when I work with the Lost Dead, or to help direct the Dead where they need to go. Anubis has been the Opener of Ways not just in my Work with the Dead, but in my life in general. When things were hard He opened doors for me, though sometimes I refused to walk through them. Four years ago He opened the door to Odin, and in that alone He has given me no small measure of blessing. He has never left me, despite my intense Work with Odin and He remains a patient, powerful force in my life.
As far as balancing relationships between these two Gods go, as I wrote in my Question 5 post, being owned by Odin as I am, He is first and foremost above all others. My Work is with Odin, primarily, and as Anubis desires things, whether it is my attention, Work to be done, or certain offerings, He makes it known to me. He and Odin have an understanding in this regard. The balance in my life is inherently skewed toward Odin, but much of my Work with the Dead dovetails nicely with where my Work with Anubis has been, and is evolving. Anubis introduced me to Working with the Dead, setting boundaries, and giving me hard lessons in that sometimes there is nothing I can do for another as a priest, for the Dead or the Living. Odin took me into working with my Ancestors and the Military Dead.
In Their own ways Anubis and Odin keep me in Their balance. Being in that balance requires me to listen, above all else, to Them and those They point me to, and where I am called to act or speak, to do so. The Work I do with the Dead is Their Work. Sometimes it is to clean graves for the Dead, sometimes it is to speak prayers, and other times it is to sit while a long-Dead spirit talks about hir trouble in moving on. Other times it may be to speak to someone’s descendant or to deliver a message. Sometimes it requires I stop everything I am doing to help bury a forgotten pet. Whatever the Gods need of me, it is my job to be available for that work as a priest. The balance I find between these Gods is in the service I give to Them.
Hail Odin and Anubis!