Dual Traditions

by bennybargas

It seems that many pagans nowadays have dual traditions, or, at least, there seems to be many more today than there were in previous years. There seems to be many who are now discovering ATRs or ADRs in addition to the polytheisms of ancient Europe and the Near East. I, too, am “dual traditioned”, though I seemed to have done the reverse of what others have done: I was initiated into an ATR (Kemetic Orthoroxy) before I was initiated into a Eurocentric tradition (Wicca).

Oil & water

Oil & water

Though I went to parochial school and my parents were nominal members of the Catholic Church, I have spent most of my life as a pagan. In fact, I tend to think of paganism as the religion that “I grew up in” because I had been studying and practicing it since I was 14 or 15 and so have been a pagan far longer than I ever was a Christian (I disavowed Christianity at 12). For most of those years, I identified exclusively as a Kemetic (and later [and to this day], Kemetic Orthodox). And for the last (almost) 2 years, I have identified as a Wiccan. So, as a “dual traditioned” pagan, how do I combine the two?

I don’t.

I keep my Kemetic Orthodoxy clearly and plainly out of my Wicca and vice versa. I think that this is the only way to pay due respect to both traditions and to the Gods of each. To mix the two, in my opinion, dilutes, cheapens, and destabilizes them. To allow the rituals or liturgy of one to affect the other would create inconsistency and, quite frankly, nonsense, so I keep them very much apart and this seems to keep the Gods happy, too. (Though, that is not to say They would be unhappy if someone were to mix them–I don’t know.)

The symbolism, both ritual and ideological, of Wicca is not compatible with the worldview of Kemetic religion and Kemetic symbolism is not compatible with the worldview of Wicca. Down to the the very core of the religions, they are irreconcilably different.

Wicca is a fertility religion and a fertility religion will have a very different worldview than one built upon divine and earthly order. Fertility, including sex, sexuality, and fecundity are important focuses for a fertility religion like Wicca, where almost everything to do with those areas of life are celebrated, revered, and sacralized. As an extension of that focus on fertility, polarity is an important focus for Wicca.

That isn’t really the case in Kemetic religion. Surely, yes, one can find examples of sacred sex and polarity in Kemetic religion (Amun & Amunet, the Ogdoad, etc.) but those are not central themes or foci for the religion as they are in Wicca. Kemetic religion is focused primarily upon Divine Order, or, Ma’at, and the institutions and proprieties necessary to keep Ma’at (and by extension, the Universe) functioning.

Given the core natures of these religions–indeed, the exceptionally different ways these religions conceptualize and relate to the world–are so different, it would be impossible to mix them in any coherent fashion without sacrificing some important features of either, so I don’t.

I honor my Wiccans Gods in the Wiccan way and I honor my Kemetic Gods in the Kemetic way.

(This has got to be my least favorite post. I struggled to come up with a post for D and I’m already a week behind. I am not happy with how this post turned out but I cannot possibly spend any more time on it.)