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Author Topic: Fictional Characters in Religion and Magic.  (Read 30081 times)
Jabberwocky
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« Reply #45: May 13, 2009, 06:17:58 pm »

Can I ask why you chose to work with Slaanesh (for however long)? I know a bit about him and he's. Well he's something.

Hmm.  I seem to be rather tardy at answering questions.  In the same way Herod is rather poor at babysitting.  Mea culpa.

And it's a good question.  It comes down to three things really.

1.  The "kid in the sweetshop" factor I mentioned before.  At the time I did a bit of work with Slaanstesh, I was very new to magic in general, and specifically pop culture magic, and was really looking for an excuse to try out the concepts.  Not necessarily with that much thought.

2.  While I'd done a tiny bit of work before the Slaanesh stuff, I was still firmly atheist at the time and hence believed I definitely wasn't working with any forces outside of my own head.  That's no longer the case.  (And I'm even more tentative about my agnosticism now then I was for the post you quote).  That, for obvious reasons, means I'm just a little bit more wary then I used to be.

3.  I do think that, if you're going to work with fictional entities, you have to dig a bit deeper into the fictional context.  With the Warhammer canon, it's almost all written from the perspective of the Empire.  That obviously skews the description of the Chaos Gods.  I'd argue that, if you look at beyond how he's presented, Slaanesh is essentially amoral not immoral.  He's just outside of the whole concept of morality and can be used accordingly.

And Slaanesh is a reasonably obvious fictional character to use if you're looking at basically hedonistic goals- getting laid, wild parties etc.  As long as you're aware that the well-being of yourself and others isn't really what the motif is about.  So you have to watch that yourself.

On top of that, while Slaanesh is best known in the fiction as the god of selfish pleasure, that's not actually his only role.  He's also the god of poets, authors, actors and creativity in general.  So it's possible to work with him in that aspect.  Although he's still a comletely selfish and amoral figure, it's merely putting that to a different purpose.  (And, in my experience, a lot of arty types are incredibly selfish at times.  Myself included).
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« Reply #46: January 10, 2010, 06:44:38 pm »

There seems to be some connection between religion and storytelling.  Many of histories greatest stories tell about deities and their (mis)adventures.  Is it so strange then that characters from stories could become religious figures?  If the experience feels real does it matter that the entity with whom you interact (supposedly) isn't?  How do you feel about the idea of a whole religion based on such a fiction?  Have you ever worked with a fictional character?  If so, who and how?

If I had to pick one person to be my representation of Deity, if I had to choose between every established deity of every pantheon, if I had to pick one element and one element only to express myself spiritually... I would worship the Doctor, from Doctor Who, and I'd be completely happy to leave all other Pagan notions behind.

It's interesting because I don't worship the Doctor (specifically his tenth incarnation) like I do Dionysus, Athena, and Pan - and even those three, it's less worship and more of a working relationship. The Doctor has yet to be on my altar, or to be officially prayed to. (One exception to that: during the last aired episode, when the last actor left and the Doctor regenerated into his new body, I cried and sent up a quick prayer.) However, I have written hymns and poems for him, and worked with a hypothetical language of Gallifrey. I also read and write a lot of fanfiction - which, as far as I'm concerned, has as much spiritual worth and satisfaction for me as doing magic with Aphrodite, or kneeling before a statue of Isis.

I don't much care about what the Doctor is, or how he measures up to "real" deities. As far as I'm concerned on a macro level, spirituality is just humanity's way of interacting with the cosmos. I can't say that I believe things are honestly there. What's important is the choice one makes towards conceptualizing deity, and how one interacts with that concept. Maybe Pan and Athena really are out there - they certainly seem to act autonomous. But they were characters once, too. Deified, maybe, but they were in plays and histories and the oral tradition. For me, the Olympians are an incredible cast of characters who help many people feel spiritually connected. And the Doctor does that for me as well.

Not so much worship, but I've also been reading through White Wolf's Old Word of Darkness series of tabletop books (starting with Werewolf, heading onto Mage) and feeling a lot of identity with the cosmology and culture of the Garou. We'll see where that takes me!
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« Reply #47: January 11, 2010, 11:58:05 am »

If I had to pick one person to be my representation of Deity, if I had to choose between every established deity of every pantheon, if I had to pick one element and one element only to express myself spiritually... I would worship the Doctor, from Doctor Who, and I'd be completely happy to leave all other Pagan notions behind.

It's interesting because I don't worship the Doctor (specifically his tenth incarnation) like I do Dionysus, Athena, and Pan - and even those three, it's less worship and more of a working relationship. The Doctor has yet to be on my altar, or to be officially prayed to. (One exception to that: during the last aired episode, when the last actor left and the Doctor regenerated into his new body, I cried and sent up a quick prayer.) However, I have written hymns and poems for him, and worked with a hypothetical language of Gallifrey. I also read and write a lot of fanfiction - which, as far as I'm concerned, has as much spiritual worth and satisfaction for me as doing magic with Aphrodite, or kneeling before a statue of Isis.

I don't much care about what the Doctor is, or how he measures up to "real" deities. As far as I'm concerned on a macro level, spirituality is just humanity's way of interacting with the cosmos. I can't say that I believe things are honestly there. What's important is the choice one makes towards conceptualizing deity, and how one interacts with that concept. Maybe Pan and Athena really are out there - they certainly seem to act autonomous. But they were characters once, too. Deified, maybe, but they were in plays and histories and the oral tradition. For me, the Olympians are an incredible cast of characters who help many people feel spiritually connected. And the Doctor does that for me as well.

Not so much worship, but I've also been reading through White Wolf's Old Word of Darkness series of tabletop books (starting with Werewolf, heading onto Mage) and feeling a lot of identity with the cosmology and culture of the Garou. We'll see where that takes me!

as an aside, the time I sent up a prayer to the doctor, any doctor, was in the Children of Earth Series that ended torchwood.  If ever we needed him, it was then.  We had to stop the show once we realised where the talking was going, and put the two youngest kids to bed before continuing.  The older two, 16 and 15, were in shock during the last episode and the roundup.

on a archetype note, the doctor (and the master and any  other gallifreyans) offer the option of a faceted god.  Each one is a different face of the same god.  All doctors are one.
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« Reply #48: January 11, 2010, 07:13:12 pm »

as an aside, the time I sent up a prayer to the doctor, any doctor, was in the Children of Earth Series that ended torchwood.  If ever we needed him, it was then.  We had to stop the show once we realised where the talking was going, and put the two youngest kids to bed before continuing.  The older two, 16 and 15, were in shock during the last episode and the roundup.

on a archetype note, the doctor (and the master and any  other gallifreyans) offer the option of a faceted god.  Each one is a different face of the same god.  All doctors are one.

I've just started making my way through Torchwood and while I've read the episode summary of Children of Earth, I haven't seen it yet. I know it's going to be incredibly intense when I do sit down to watch it, so I want to make sure I'm in a good frame of mind. I understand the emotions you're talking about, though. I haven't had a personal disaster since being introduced to the Doctor, but when I think of anytime in the past when my life's been shattered, or when some large-scale disaster happened, it would have helped so much to have known the Doctor. Out of all the gods and characters and thoughtforms out there, he's the one whose job is to save the Earth, over and over. And be humanity's biggest cheerleader. Smiley

I've never heard the term faceted god before, although I think I can infer the meaning. One of the strongest draws I have to the Doctor is definitely the fact he can change his body and personality but still be the Doctor. Right now my strongest focus is Ten, just because he's where I started and I've seen the most with him, but I've also seen a bit of One, Four, Eight's movie, and of course Nine. To understand the Doctor better I definitely need to delve more into his history, but I feel like there's so much of it... it's similar to my dilemma with Star Trek, which I just got into last summer. We started marathoning the original series, and my friend's a fan of TNG, and my other friend swears by Voyager, and I feel like I couldn't even begin to scratch the surface of this universe.
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« Reply #49: January 11, 2010, 07:15:17 pm »

I've just started making my way through Torchwood and while I've read the episode summary of Children of Earth, I haven't seen it yet. I know it's going to be incredibly intense when I do sit down to watch it, so I want to make sure I'm in a good frame of mind. I understand the emotions you're talking about, though. I haven't had a personal disaster since being introduced to the Doctor, but when I think of anytime in the past when my life's been shattered, or when some large-scale disaster happened, it would have helped so much to have known the Doctor. Out of all the gods and characters and thoughtforms out there, he's the one whose job is to save the Earth, over and over. And be humanity's biggest cheerleader. Smiley

I've never heard the term faceted god before, although I think I can infer the meaning. One of the strongest draws I have to the Doctor is definitely the fact he can change his body and personality but still be the Doctor. Right now my strongest focus is Ten, just because he's where I started and I've seen the most with him, but I've also seen a bit of One, Four, Eight's movie, and of course Nine. To understand the Doctor better I definitely need to delve more into his history, but I feel like there's so much of it... it's similar to my dilemma with Star Trek, which I just got into last summer. We started marathoning the original series, and my friend's a fan of TNG, and my other friend swears by Voyager, and I feel like I couldn't even begin to scratch the surface of this universe.

There are no gods in Star Trek, except maybe Q, and you probably don't want to invoke him. There are heros, but no gods. 
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« Reply #50: January 11, 2010, 07:20:24 pm »

There are no gods in Star Trek, except maybe Q, and you probably don't want to invoke him. There are heros, but no gods. 

I'm not particularly drawn towards Star Trek, but I'm not interested in necessarily working with fictional gods. Instead I'm looking to any of the characters, who I'd treat the same as any gods from this universe. I've flirted with the idea of literally using the trinity of Kirk-Spock-McCoy, but I don't feel the burning devotion that I do towards the Whoniverse. (Just the regular fannish obsession.) From Doctor Who, I'm also interested in making a pantheon out of the new series, with the Doctor, the Master, Jack, Rose, Martha, and Donna. This would mostly be an exercise in creating a religious system that had some sort of logical (to me, at least) sense behind it. If I do end up worshiping the Doctor the same way I honor the Olympians, I'd imagine he'd want some company. It's no fun to be the only god in your pantheon!
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« Reply #51: January 11, 2010, 08:00:52 pm »

I'm not particularly drawn towards Star Trek, but I'm not interested in necessarily working with fictional gods. Instead I'm looking to any of the characters, who I'd treat the same as any gods from this universe. I've flirted with the idea of literally using the trinity of Kirk-Spock-McCoy, but I don't feel the burning devotion that I do towards the Whoniverse. (Just the regular fannish obsession.) From Doctor Who, I'm also interested in making a pantheon out of the new series, with the Doctor, the Master, Jack, Rose, Martha, and Donna. This would mostly be an exercise in creating a religious system that had some sort of logical (to me, at least) sense behind it. If I do end up worshiping the Doctor the same way I honor the Olympians, I'd imagine he'd want some company. It's no fun to be the only god in your pantheon!

Erll, the only otyher named gallifreyans that I remember are the master and romana, so you got yourself a trinity there.
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« Reply #52: January 11, 2010, 08:20:20 pm »

Erll, the only otyher named gallifreyans that I remember are the master and romana, so you got yourself a trinity there.

I'm ashamed to admit that I've never met Romana outside of fanfiction, but I plan on fixing that with a good dosage of Old Who coming up soon. I've heard she's quite the gal. Smiley The trinity with Spock-Kirk-McCoy was more a thought experiment anyway. I'm one of those people who, once she gets into one god in the pantheon, either needs to stick with that one deity or go meet all his friends and neighbors.
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« Reply #53: January 11, 2010, 08:46:16 pm »

I'm ashamed to admit that I've never met Romana outside of fanfiction, but I plan on fixing that with a good dosage of Old Who coming up soon. I've heard she's quite the gal. Smiley The trinity with Spock-Kirk-McCoy was more a thought experiment anyway. I'm one of those people who, once she gets into one god in the pantheon, either needs to stick with that one deity or go meet all his friends and neighbors.

Well, the doctor has LOTS of friends and neighbors, as well as quite a few enemies.

Daleks as demons, anyone?
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« Reply #54: January 11, 2010, 09:00:01 pm »

Well, the doctor has LOTS of friends and neighbors, as well as quite a few enemies.

Daleks as demons, anyone?

Ahhhh you totally read my mind. Smiley For me it would be the Cybermen, since they represent what I'm most afraid of (after heights and sharks). Most of my life has been defined by distinguishing myself from the crowd. The idea of never being able to pull away from the herd would drive me insane.

These two comics are about a guy debating the Doctor vs. Jesus with a door-to-door evangelist. http://www.homeonthestrange.com/view.php?ID=211 and http://www.homeonthestrange.com/view.php?ID=212.
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« Reply #55: January 19, 2010, 05:21:32 pm »

Ahhhh you totally read my mind. Smiley For me it would be the Cybermen, since they represent what I'm most afraid of (after heights and sharks). Most of my life has been defined by distinguishing myself from the crowd. The idea of never being able to pull away from the herd would drive me insane.

These two comics are about a guy debating the Doctor vs. Jesus with a door-to-door evangelist. http://www.homeonthestrange.com/view.php?ID=211 and http://www.homeonthestrange.com/view.php?ID=212.

Those comics are priceless.  I lol'd. Smiley

The Cybermen scared the crap out of me, the first time I saw them in the recent series.  Even my husband was a little freaked out by them, and we had to take a break from the DVDs and clear our brain palates with something harmless and NOT intense, like Famliy Guy or Seinfeld.

 I think it's no coincidence that the Doctor is referred to as The Lonely God.  He's kind of put forth with these godlike qualities, isn't he?
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« Reply #56: January 19, 2010, 05:35:36 pm »

Erll, the only otyher named gallifreyans that I remember are the master and romana, so you got yourself a trinity there.

The Rani also appeared in a couple of stories.  She was fun.
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« Reply #57: January 19, 2010, 06:02:41 pm »

I think it's no coincidence that the Doctor is referred to as The Lonely God.  He's kind of put forth with these godlike qualities, isn't he?

Especially when compared to us little humans. I absolutely love that epithet of his. For me, it just embodies his entire character. Gleeeee. Cheesy

I think it's important that for the most part (at least the Tenth Doctor) he really tries to downplay the fact he does get conflated with a god. It makes sense, though - the man who never ages, who seems to never die, from a distant world, to whom time and space are more like loose guidelines. And he's brilliant.
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« Reply #58: January 19, 2010, 06:11:38 pm »

Ahhhh you totally read my mind. Smiley For me it would be the Cybermen, since they represent what I'm most afraid of (after heights and sharks). Most of my life has been defined by distinguishing myself from the crowd. The idea of never being able to pull away from the herd would drive me insane.

These two comics are about a guy debating the Doctor vs. Jesus with a door-to-door evangelist. http://www.homeonthestrange.com/view.php?ID=211 and http://www.homeonthestrange.com/view.php?ID=212.

ROTFL!!!  OMG!!!  Those are so good!  I will have to remember that the next time a victim comes to my door.
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« Reply #59: January 19, 2010, 06:17:07 pm »

ROTFL!!!  OMG!!!  Those are so good!  I will have to remember that the next time a victim comes to my door.

I wish the Mormon missionaries hadn't learned that stopping by my home was a dead end, so I could use it on them. Smiley
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