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Author Topic: "Alien-ness" of Gods  (Read 15497 times)
Marilyn (ABSENTMINDED)
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« Reply #30: June 05, 2008, 07:17:38 pm »

Btw, can you recommend any sensible book about the topic?

Thinking about this, I realized that I have never actually read a book about /my/ religion.  I've read books about Christianity (my dad's faith), Wicca (the big thing when I hit university and discovered public paganism) ancient Greek and Roman religions and cults, South American religions (although the books I've read on those are extremely unreliable and I knew it at the time- I was enjoying the concepts rather than looking for truth), and various of the pre-christian religions of the cultures I studied in school, Russian, Norse, etc.

For some reason, though, I go almost entirely, for my own stuff, by stories from the home, from the res, and from relatives who love to tell them.  I've steered clear of the animal oriented new age books, although I've read lots of the soul oriented ones.  Since discovering the net I make occasional forays into encyclopedias and collections, like Sacred Texts and Folktexts, but I'm rarely looking for anything I already know (or, obviously, think I know)

So, no book recommendations.  I don't even know what's out there.  I'm kind of shocked to realize this.  Just an ignorant practitioner of what I was brought up on. Cheesy

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« Reply #31: June 05, 2008, 07:22:32 pm »

Do you think some of them are malevolent or do they just teach in a rude way? I find it very hard to figure out which to trust and which not to.

I don't think they're necessarily malevolent.  Most of the time I don't think they overly care.  If approached, they will very often answer the question, but without taking our precious sensibilities into account.  If 'sent' they tend to just get the job done, much as I do if 'sent'.  Rarely, I think they may take a fondness for a particular person, or kind of adopt them as a pet or companion.

They tend to act the way they are, and the way they think, rather than the way we are or think.  It's only fair, since when we approach them we usually do it from within our own selves, and may seem brusque, rude, wimpy, cuddly, etc. to them.

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"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure."
- Jack E. Leonard

Blessed are the cracked, for it is they who let in the light.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in

L Cohen
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« Reply #32: June 05, 2008, 07:23:43 pm »


I wonder if it's an Irish thing

Not entirely  Smiley I once got an image of Ma'at in hawk form, eating a person's heart from out of their chest ... with the feeling that this is for people She *likes*.
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« Reply #33: June 06, 2008, 02:26:10 am »

Thanks, that makes sense.
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« Reply #34: June 06, 2008, 08:28:38 am »

Figuring out how to assimilate all that stuff strikes me as being the basic nature of the Mysteries of a particular god:  this and this and this are all fundamentally the same thing -- you sort out how.

Lightbulb Moment! 

Thanks for that Darkhawk.  After reading what you wrote a piece of UPG slid into place with some research that made no sense to me concerning Epona.  I'm tempted to quote Shrek here concerning onions and layers but suffice it to say that empahsizing only one aspect of a god/ess is severly limiting to the deity as well as yourself.
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"Then I will tell you a great secret, Captain. Perhaps the greatest of all time. The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station, and the nebula outside, that burn inside the stars themselves. We are starstuff. We are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out. As we have both learned, sometimes the universe requires a change of perspective. " ~ Delenn, Babylon 5
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« Reply #35: June 09, 2008, 09:16:01 am »

What 'type' of god do you follow?  Do you think the other types actually count as gods or as something else?  What is the actual, way back when, origin of your god, if you know it?

Feel free to rephrase the question or go off into a relevant tangent if I've left out some part of your cosmology. Cheesy
My short answer is, "I dunno."  Or, "Any or all of the above, in varying proportions, plus other stuff."

Some of those I work with are, or seem to be, readily placed in one or another category, but even then there's stuff (from myth/lore, or UPG) that sounds more like other categories.  (Sometimes there's conflicting myth/lore - Coyote, f'ex, turns up in the material from quite a lot of different tribes, always AFAIK as Trickster [though I suspect in some cases Tricksters who have SFA to do with canis latrans have been mis-labelled as/conflated with Coyote], but ranging from a "culture hero" who doesn't seem to fit the deity label, to your "representative" category, to disrupter-of-creation, to the Creator.)

I tend to think of those categories - or rather, since those are your taxonomy, the lore from which you derived the categories - as being attempts by humans to get a handle on who these deity-type people are, where they came from, etc, rather than necessarily having anything to do with actual backstories.  Not to say the human ideas are wrong, they (some or all) could be spot-on for all I know, just that they're hypotheses (or poetic truth, or WAGs) rather than facts.

That goes along with the way that I avoid calling them gods, and tend to prefer "deity-type people" to simple "deities" - I'm not sure what, objectively, is or isn't a god, much less which of those I work with do or don't fit that objective standard.  I have a private name for this class of beings (one of mine is amusedly emphatic that he's not a god/deity, but finds that private name acceptable - and the others I work with don't seem to consider him to be a different or lesser sort of being), which I prefer even more since it makes no reference to godhood (it's actually the word a Craft-sister of mine invented in childhood for them), but there's no point in using it on forums, even TC, because I'd have to be constantly explaining it.

And sometimes - when I'm feeling especially agnostic about my interpretations of my perceived experiences, or when I want to remind people that I don't take it too factually - I refer to them as my "imaginary friends".  They don't seem to mind.

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« Reply #36: June 09, 2008, 09:27:04 am »

That was a good read, thanks for sharing Sunflower! I thought it was just me stupid newbie who can't tell if something is a symbol, a spirit, a God or something else. (Not saying that you see it exactly the same way as me, but it's good to know that more experienced people also have sometimes agnostic feelings and it's maybe not some crazed newbie phase you necessarily have to overcome.) Not sure if I'm making sense to you, please don't feel insulted.  Huh
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« Reply #37: June 09, 2008, 12:33:20 pm »

(Not saying that you see it exactly the same way as me, but it's good to know that more experienced people also have sometimes agnostic feelings and it's maybe not some crazed newbie phase you necessarily have to overcome.)

Oh, I definitely can get agnostic-ish. I find it useful to be able to question and look at things from different angles.  And I'm pretty sure some of the deities I honor would be upset if I *didn't* think and question stuff.
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« Reply #38: June 09, 2008, 06:16:19 pm »

That goes along with the way that I avoid calling them gods, and tend to prefer "deity-type people" to simple "deities" - I'm not sure what, objectively, is or isn't a god, much less which of those I work with do or don't fit that objective standard. 

I've started talking about Beings a bit more.  One of Those I honor is a not-quite-deity, I'm pretty sure.  She's never said otherwise. Smiley
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« Reply #39: June 15, 2008, 10:05:21 am »

That was a good read, thanks for sharing Sunflower! I thought it was just me stupid newbie who can't tell if something is a symbol, a spirit, a God or something else. (Not saying that you see it exactly the same way as me, but it's good to know that more experienced people also have sometimes agnostic feelings and it's maybe not some crazed newbie phase you necessarily have to overcome.) Not sure if I'm making sense to you, please don't feel insulted.  Huh
I'm glad it was helpful for you - I don't know just how similar our perceptions of it are, but probably not too far apart; I've noticed that my take on things often has some resonance for you.

There's nothing whatsoever about any of my religious designations that requires, or even particularly values, certainty of belief (the closest thing is probably that Will-based magic tends to work better if one is focused on its purpose, and not on one's state of belief or disbelief, which IMO is where "it only works if you believe it will" comes from).  The idea that lack of doubt is somehow virtuous has never made a lot of sense to me.

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« Reply #40: June 15, 2008, 10:43:37 am »

There's nothing whatsoever about any of my religious designations that requires, or even particularly values, certainty of belief (the closest thing is probably that Will-based magic tends to work better if one is focused on its purpose, and not on one's state of belief or disbelief, which IMO is where "it only works if you believe it will" comes from).  The idea that lack of doubt is somehow virtuous has never made a lot of sense to me.
I guess I still have some Catholic reflexes left, so that I feel kind of guilty for not believing in something like it was THE truth. Not sure if I'm really a sceptic, for me spiritual and religious stuff just isn't the same sort of truth like a brick stone is, for me it's more like a picture of the brick stone you can draw or paint with different materials and styles. A one-color pencil sketch isn't less true than a colored painting in oil, one might be more practical for a specific purpose though. I guess I just have to admit it to myself and stop feeling inferior or guilty about it like some naughty girl.
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« Reply #41: June 20, 2008, 07:25:10 pm »

I guess I still have some Catholic reflexes left, so that I feel kind of guilty for not believing in something like it was THE truth. <snip> I guess I just have to admit it to myself and stop feeling inferior or guilty about it like some naughty girl.
Well, yeah, that's about it - you have leftover mental reflexes that you haven't yet succeeded in weeding out.  But don't you go feeling guilty about not having got rid of them, either - it's not something you can just toss out and be done with; it takes time and processing.  I know you've talked about it in other threads, and I was thinking about that when I posted; I chose my words, not as some sort of "magic logic" that'd make the mental habits go away ('cause there's no such thing), but as just one more of the many, many discussions (with yourself or with others) that'll help to gradually erode the habits.

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« Reply #42: July 24, 2008, 12:10:21 pm »


What 'type' of god do you follow? 


Hrrrm. To use your terms...'Alien' and 'Representative'.

But my representative category is slightly different, and I'm hesitant to call them gods because...well for one thing I name them. I think of them more as intermediaries, the meeting point between an abstract quality (e.g. Hate) and its manifestation in my psyche. That works well with abstract human qualities, though when it comes to natural forces (e.g. Rain), it gets conceptually hazier.

Quote
Do you think the other types actually count as gods or as something else? 

LOL. This question's been around on the Cauldron in some form or another for yonks!  Cheesy I suspect that a lot of Cauldronites have roughly compatible theologies (something along the lines of multiple entities that have power and can be interacted with), it's just that the labels being used are different.

Like for me, I use the label God specifically for the 'Alien', transcendent deity I worship. Leftover of my monotheist upbringing, but also because it makes identification way more convenient when I say or think things like "Oh my God!" "O God, help!"   Smiley

And I'd refer to my 'Representatives' as powers, or spirits, etc. But other people would call them gods. The way I interact with them (a lot more bartering and channelling rather than kowtowing) doesn't strike me as particularly godly, but I know you for example have precisely that kind of interaction with your gods.

So back to your question...heh. I'm going to have to give a sideways answer. I mightn't personally label beings from those other categories gods, but I still believe that they're powerful entities with the ability to influence things and who don't occupy the same metaphysical space as humans. Toh-may-toh, toh-mah-toh...
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Marilyn (ABSENTMINDED)
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« Reply #43: July 24, 2008, 01:36:00 pm »

Hey!  Great to see you around, Tree.

And I'd refer to my 'Representatives' as powers, or spirits, etc. But other people would call them gods.

Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be better to use a label like powers or spirits, too.  At times I think calling them gods is a bit of 'kissing up', keeping them sweet by exaggerating their 'size', as it were.  Perfectly proper impulse, and practical in the context of my religion.  At other times, I think I do it because I want to make it clear that they are bigger than all the totems and spirit guides that seem to run around the pagan world, and I don't want to diminish their portion of respect by letting them be perceived as individual talismans or pets.

I guess its kind of a mixture of proper reverence and knowing which side my bread is buttered on. 

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"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure."
- Jack E. Leonard

Blessed are the cracked, for it is they who let in the light.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
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That's how the light gets in

L Cohen

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