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Author Topic: Gender of Deities  (Read 5856 times)
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« Topic Start: June 23, 2008, 11:42:59 pm »

This thread was inspired by What Gender Deity do you respond to most and why thread.

How do you differentiate between male and female deities?  Is it based of the form this deity appears to you as?  Intuition/a certain energy?  Both?

Also, do you think the gods think of themselves in terms of gender.


To answer my own questions: both and the gods only know for sure.
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« Reply #1: June 24, 2008, 08:29:40 am »

How do you differentiate between male and female deities?  Is it based of the form this deity appears to you as?  Intuition/a certain energy?  Both?

Well, the deities I deal with tend to be from the Greek pantheon, which has a fair amount of documentation available to help with this sort of thing.  Wink  So I tend to draw from that, I guess.  It's not something I'd consciously thought about.
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« Reply #2: June 24, 2008, 12:15:17 pm »

How do you differentiate between male and female deities?  Is it based of the form this deity appears to you as?  Intuition/a certain energy?  Both?

I haven't really thought about it.  I basically know because of myths and images of Them I've found.
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« Reply #3: December 14, 2008, 07:26:04 pm »

How do you differentiate between male and female deities?  Is it based of the form this deity appears to you as?  Intuition/a certain energy?  Both?

Also, do you think the gods think of themselves in terms of gender.
I'm reigniting this thread in response to the AGAOG thread here.

I think how we differentiate between genders of deities is probably largely through the myths and precedents set within the culture they originated from (another question... do gods originate from cultures?!). I also think there is a certain difference in energy that people like to interpret as "male" or "female."

As for if the gods interpret *themselves* as having gender, I really don't know. That kind of implies that gods tend to associate themselves as "human" or at least as a living thing on Earth, where gender is important for reproduction. I'm really not sure how "humanized" the gods actually are, or if we are just so biased because that is our experience. Or do they just go along with the gender connotations because they realize that's an easier way for us to understand them?
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« Reply #4: December 14, 2008, 07:59:26 pm »

I'm reigniting this thread in response to the AGAOG thread here.

I think how we differentiate between genders of deities is probably largely through the myths and precedents set within the culture they originated from (another question... do gods originate from cultures?!). I also think there is a certain difference in energy that people like to interpret as "male" or "female."

As for if the gods interpret *themselves* as having gender, I really don't know. That kind of implies that gods tend to associate themselves as "human" or at least as a living thing on Earth, where gender is important for reproduction. I'm really not sure how "humanized" the gods actually are, or if we are just so biased because that is our experience. Or do they just go along with the gender connotations because they realize that's an easier way for us to understand them?

That's a very good question! I myself think that They feel that we humans would more easily understand Them if They appeared in human form and as specific genders. I myself would probably get a bit flustered if, say, Zeus, appeared to me as a woman, simply because of the way that He has appeared in Greek myth and culture. But then again, as you pointed out, maybe that is our own human bias at work here. So that puts me back to square one.
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« Reply #5: December 14, 2008, 08:17:51 pm »

That's a very good question! I myself think that They feel that we humans would more easily understand Them if They appeared in human form and as specific genders.

That makes probably the most sense.  While I tend to think of them in a certain way, I also see them as having no set form and being able to appear as they please.
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« Reply #6: December 14, 2008, 09:51:04 pm »

This thread was inspired by What Gender Deity do you respond to most and why thread.
How do you differentiate between male and female deities?  Is it based of the form this deity appears to you as?  Intuition/a certain energy?  Both?
Also, do you think the gods think of themselves in terms of gender.
To answer my own questions: both and the gods only know for sure.

Since I deal mainly with the ancient Egyptian deities this isn't difficult. There is a duality. There is usually a male / female counterpart to each.  The creator Gods are usually genderless although they may be represented as one gender as in the case of Khnum (male) or Neith (female).
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« Reply #7: December 14, 2008, 10:09:44 pm »

As for if the gods interpret *themselves* as having gender, I really don't know.

At least according to myths, the Greek deities seem to think of themselves as having gender.
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« Reply #8: December 15, 2008, 08:31:43 pm »

How do you differentiate between male and female deities?  Is it based of the form this deity appears to you as?  Intuition/a certain energy?  Both?

Are we talking about sex (biology) or gender (sexual identity) here?  If it's sex, then might I suggest a peek under their togas?   Wink  Kidding aside, I usually just go with the traditional views of a deity as far as the naughty bits go.   

With a couple of notable exceptions, I tend not to differentiate gender in deities, unless the deity demands it.  Gender is so subjective and culturally biased that it's difficult for me to think of deities in those terms.  In terms of their energies, most of them feel androgynous to me, some mix of masculine and feminine energies. 

To throw a few more questions onto the pile: Should we judge the gender identity of deities based on our contemporary ideas about gender? Or, in the case of recons, based on the original cultural context?  Are the deities even subject to gender identities as a general rule or are they above such labels and distintions?


Also, do you think the gods think of themselves in terms of gender.

I think, for the most part, only the deities know that answer.  However, if I were to place a bet, I'd say that certain deities do think of themselves in terms of both sex and gender (Cernunnos springs to mind). 

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« Reply #9: December 15, 2008, 08:36:54 pm »

Are the deities even subject to gender identities as a general rule or are they above such labels and distintions?

They are above them, but we aren't. To reiterate what has been said above, I think that it is us humans who sometimes feel the need to give deities a specific gender. I think it makes the Gods easier to relate to (I don't know about another people, but I very much like to have a mental image of my Gods in my mind when in ritual/prayer, and gender definitely helps to make that possible).
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« Reply #10: December 22, 2008, 09:11:04 am »

This thread was inspired by What Gender Deity do you respond to most and why thread.

How do you differentiate between male and female deities?  Is it based of the form this deity appears to you as?  Intuition/a certain energy?  Both?

Also, do you think the gods think of themselves in terms of gender.


To answer my own questions: both and the gods only know for sure.

I work with three deities, one that is female, one that is male, and one that is both. 

Its not what I assigned them, its what they told me they are.  I don't know whether or not thats for my benefit, but to me it doesn't make a difference.  That is how they are presenting themselves to me, so who am I to argue?  Cheesy
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« Reply #11: November 02, 2009, 11:36:56 pm »

This thread was inspired by What Gender Deity do you respond to most and why thread.

How do you differentiate between male and female deities?  Is it based of the form this deity appears to you as?  Intuition/a certain energy?  Both?

Also, do you think the gods think of themselves in terms of gender.


To answer my own questions: both and the gods only know for sure.

I don't see the gods as having genitalia, so they have no physical sex (male or female). They have what humans label as masculine and feminine qualities, and this gives us a sense of their gender. I think we just represent them as whatever sex best represents them and their functions, but they don't have a literal sex or gender.
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« Reply #12: November 02, 2009, 11:43:04 pm »

How do you differentiate between male and female deities?  Is it based of the form this deity appears to you as?  Intuition/a certain energy?  Both?

Also, do you think the gods think of themselves in terms of gender.

If a god in question appears to me in some anthropomorphic form, I assume it has the gender appropriate to that form.

If it doesn't take a physical form, it doesn't matter to me.

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« Reply #13: November 03, 2009, 12:22:52 am »

How do you differentiate between male and female deities?  Is it based of the form this deity appears to you as?  Intuition/a certain energy?  Both?

Also, do you think the gods think of themselves in terms of gender.

For me, the 'Godhead', 'Divine Source' or 'Great Mystery' as I usually call it, that unifying Super-Consciousness that ties everything together is genderless, formless and faceless.

The Gods and Goddesses are Gods and Goddesses, but I would probably call sexless or androgyne or hermaphroditic deities Gods much like I usually end up referring to Goddesses as Gods (it gets kind of Star Trekkian where everyone is 'Sir'). Some may change Their shapes or forms or faces, but by and large They have chosen to communicate to us as male, female or androgynous/hermaphroditic. Some do shift, but I haven't had much exposure to any that do it regularly. Dionysus likes to dress in drag and Cybele has appeared before me as Agdisthus, Cybele's original hermaphroditic form.
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« Reply #14: November 07, 2009, 02:58:49 pm »

This thread was inspired by What Gender Deity do you respond to most and why thread.

How do you differentiate between male and female deities?  Is it based on the form this deity appears to you as?  Intuition/a certain energy?  Both?

Also, do you think the gods think of themselves in terms of gender.


To answer my own questions: both and the gods only know for sure.
Well, the deities I worship have pretty well defined genders. I'm pretty sure that Zeus wouldnt to happy to be addressed as a female.
I am fairly certain they too have genders amongst themselves but they arent quite as clearly defined in their relations with one another, hence the amount of gay and bisexual encounters that do not result in a god or goddess being labeled homosexual.
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