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Author Topic: All Gods/esses are one God/ess (Myths of Neopaganism)  (Read 15521 times)
Darkhawk
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« Reply #30: December 15, 2008, 02:07:21 am »

Off topic (I think Cheesy) but I would find comparing, contrasting, and looking for points of similarity between Sekhmet and Kwan Yin or between Apollo and Veles interesting.

Off the top of my head, both Apollo and Veles were known for having cattle? Wink
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« Reply #31: December 15, 2008, 07:07:25 am »

This is a spin off of Sunflower's MMC, GUM, and other myths of neoPaganism. I think the topic deserves its own thread.

Has this myth influenced your path and how does it work/ not work for you?

It only influenced me until I was initiated into Gardnerian Wicca.  British Traditional Wicca [of which Gardnerian is one form] does not believe in this concept:  we are sworn to particular gods, not the neo-Wiccan Lord and Lady.

I suspect it's rooted in Roman syncretism [of course Odin is just like Mercury(?!)] and codified for the new-pagan upheaval by Dion Fortune's so-quotable line.  I think it's popularity is based on the idea that this concept makes it easier for those fleeing their parents' churches to pretend that they aren't going far:  after all, Jesus is the God and Mary is the Goddess, right?  It's just the resentment against organized religion, really! We're still worshipping God(/dess)...

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« Reply #32: December 16, 2008, 03:39:45 am »

It's not "all war deities are one war deity", "all love deities are one love deity", "all prosperity deities are one prosperity deity", "all pestilence-and-healing deities are one medical deity" -- none of these are as important as "innie or outie?".

I get really twitchy about gender reductionism.
I've never looked at it from that point of view. For me AGAOG is a poetic statement about a different category than fields of expertise. I'd say it has its sense if you use it in its own limits, but can't be applied to deities in a way that it would reduce the deities to their genders. I don't think that you can apply every field of expertise to a gender. War could be male or female for example.

But then I guess its a difference if you interpret AGAOG strictly monotheistically, strictly duotheistically or more metaphorically. I'm duotheistically enough to see the universe made of 'female' and 'male' forces, but I don't take AGAOG that literally to explain every characteristic of a deity with its gender.

Doesn't it also depends on the circumstances? If one celebrates Beltaine as a feast of fertility and sees it about fertility produced by two different sexes, that would be the main focus on the deities worked with. One would choose deities whose femality and virility are very striking. While if you do a healing ritual gender wouldn't matter that much. It might be only a personal choice if you could relate better to a female healing deity than to a male, but the important thing would be that it is a healing deity at all.

I find this subject very confusing.  Huh
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« Reply #33: December 18, 2008, 02:03:43 am »

nope, you got it right -

We believe in the Divine, but we deal with actual gods, because the Divine is impersonal and makes heads go *boom*
I really like this line of thinking. So would you say specific deities are some sort of picture people make of the divine (while the 'real' divine can't be fully shown to human eyes)? Or do you think the divine can present itsself how it wants, so it goes to person A telling 'hey, I'm YHW, the only God there is', to person B 'Hey, I'm the great Goddess and the God is my consort' and to C 'Hey, we are a whole bunch of Gods, don't get us mixed up!'

How mythical or real are the gods for you?


I'm gonna to revisit this thread, I think there was something relevant to this topic in it:
Alien-ness of Gods: http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=5796.0
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« Reply #34: December 18, 2008, 03:12:04 am »

It only influenced me until I was initiated into Gardnerian Wicca.  British Traditional Wicca [of which Gardnerian is one form] does not believe in this concept:  we are sworn to particular gods, not the neo-Wiccan Lord and Lady.
Please don't get this wrong, I'm just trying to understand. But isn't there some gender duality in BTW? How does this work? Are you sworn to two specific gods in a duality system or to more than two?

Do you have to be soft polytheist to be duotheist? What about hard polytheists? Do some of them believe in some gender duality or can't that be combined? Or is it some form of henotheism? Huh
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« Reply #35: December 18, 2008, 09:09:55 am »

Do you have to be soft polytheist to be duotheist?

Technically, a duotheist is someone who believes in exactly two deities. For example, Zoroastrianism is duotheistic (as are heretical versions of Christianity where Satan is equal to God are duotheistic).  Belief that all other deities are just "avatars" of these two deities is not really a requirement to be duotheistic.
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« Reply #36: December 18, 2008, 09:24:47 am »

Technically, a duotheist is someone who believes in exactly two deities. For example, Zoroastrianism is duotheistic (as are heretical versions of Christianity where Satan is equal to God are duotheistic).  Belief that all other deities are just "avatars" of these two deities is not really a requirement to be duotheistic.
Thanks, so the first case would be some sort of 'hard duotheism' while the second one would be duotheistic soft polytheism? Sorry, if I'm asking too many questions about that topic, I really find it hard to understand.
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« Reply #37: December 18, 2008, 03:59:15 pm »

Thanks, so the first case would be some sort of 'hard duotheism' while the second one would be duotheistic soft polytheism? Sorry, if I'm asking too many questions about that topic, I really find it hard to understand.

I suspect there are at least three possible belief positions.

1) These two deities exist and no others exisits.

2) These two deities exist and are the ones I follow. Other deities may exist as well but are lesser than mine (at least in my opinion).

3) These two deities exist and all other deities are just forms of them or human misunderstandings of them.
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« Reply #38: December 18, 2008, 04:47:52 pm »

Please don't get this wrong, I'm just trying to understand. But isn't there some gender duality in BTW? How does this work? Are you sworn to two specific gods in a duality system or to more than two?

Do you have to be soft polytheist to be duotheist? What about hard polytheists? Do some of them believe in some gender duality or can't that be combined? Or is it some form of henotheism? Huh

Just to help, coming from a slightly different angle:

BTW works (from all accounts I've heard) with two specific deities, who are male and female, and who have specific sets of interactions with each other.

However, many BTW folk (and this has recently come up on the Amber and Jet email list, which is BTW focused) have ongoing interactions with other deities. The thing is, those aren't part of their BTW circles or practice: it's something done separately. Many of the people in that and other discussions on that list have said, in as many words "the deities we work with in BTW practice are not particularly jealous" - in other words, work with other deities outside the BTW circle is not a big deal, and only would be if it directly affected BTW commitments/oaths/etc.

I'm the same way, except for a slightly larger number involved: I work closely with my coven deities, the pair of tradition deities that we work with for certain rituals, and with my personal deities. (Who, in all three cases, are male/female, but in only one case is it clear that they're lovers/sexually/romantically involved - incidentally, that'd be the personal deity work.)

There are, however, many many other deities out there - and while I don't have problems being in rituals working with a number of them (if I go to a public ritual, a festival, etc.), I don't work with them regularly/seek them out/etc.
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« Reply #39: December 19, 2008, 12:44:04 am »

Thanks Randall and Jenett. I think I got it know. Problem is whenever someone speaks of serving their gods, you don't know how many gods they serve.
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« Reply #40: December 19, 2008, 12:47:14 am »

Please don't get this wrong, I'm just trying to understand. But isn't there some gender duality in BTW? How does this work? Are you sworn to two specific gods in a duality system or to more than two?

Do you have to be soft polytheist to be duotheist? What about hard polytheists? Do some of them believe in some gender duality or can't that be combined? Or is it some form of henotheism? Huh

We are sworn to serve certain gods. 

Wherever there are male and female there is gender based duality.  That isn't the only kind of duality there is, of course, but when you consider that the primary preoccupation of most pre-industrial religions was the ongoing survival of the worshippers.  That means the religion had to focus on manipulating the fertility of crops, of livestock and of women.  Think about fertility and you're going to think about male/female duality.

No,you don't have to be a soft polytheist to be a duotheist.  Most Wiccans I know are hard henotheists:  we believe that all gods are.  We only worship Those to Whom we are sworn.  Outside of that, we often have private, individual relationships with other gods.  Myself, I share my beer with Thor; as a rule, he'll nudge rainstorms for me so I don't have to unload groceries in a downpour.  He's a nice guy, in my experience.  Sometimes he enjoys a good story as much as a cold St Pauli Girl.

Does that make it more clear?
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« Reply #41: December 22, 2008, 09:03:10 am »



Has this myth influenced your path and how does it work/ not work for you?




It worked for a while for me, because it made sense when I was still unsure about whether or not there even was some form of Divine.

Here's how my thoughts went:
If there is a being powerful enough to create everything, then surely that being can take on any form it wishes, and if that being wants to communicate with us, its creations, wouldn't it take on a form that has meaning to *us*?

I'm still not sure whether or not there is an ultimate Divine Source.  But I've got enough trouble working with the three Deities in my life, the question seems irrelevant somehow.
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« Reply #42: December 22, 2008, 09:50:13 am »

Does that make it more clear?
Yes, thanks. Smiley
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