Archive | April 2, 2012

G is for Goddesses and Gods

I’m an unapologetic polytheist. I do not believe all energies are one energy and all deities are one deity. That is monotheism masquerading as polytheism because their mind can’t fathom it. It’s a new age excuse. Some deities that travel continents or change cultures might take on aspects of other deities , such as when the Romans re-named deities along their way like Athena becoming Minerva but both those goddesses would have retained their original aspects.

Deities develop because of culture and geography to fit the people who worship them. The collective unconscious of a culture creates a deity that meets their needs. Not unlike a culture that has a lot of snow so it creates a lot of words in their language for snow but a culture that has never seen snow might not have a word for it or might borrow a word.

I do believe that the spark of the divine is in everything and everything is divine so I suppose I come under panentheism and a tad pantheistic of one sort but not all.

A deity that forms in Scotland or Ireland is not going to have the same personality or aspects as a deity in Africa or in South America or Southern Europe. They may not have the need to see their goddesses as all knowing or always perfect such as the Middle Eastern jealous war god that seeks to be an only child and his followers behave like the spoiled only children of a bad marriage. (I’m not saying that only children always behave badly, I’m saying that many Christians act like the stereotype of only children, always wanting their own way and having tantrums when they don’t get it. See the current Republican leadership for examples.)

Cultures that are desert cultures have primary deities that are sun gods. Cultures like Egypt where Ra or for a short time Ankhnaton, was head of the pantheon much of the time. Cultures where sunshine isn’t always predominant may have a god who isn’t like Odin , a god of war, wisdom or magic and prophecy. Not as much sunlight in Scandinavia so a sun god isn’t going to be prime. While the Irish pantheon has the Dagda of the Tuatha DeDanaan has a club that can kill 9 men but he also has a cauldron that feeds his people and none go away unsatisfied because hospitality is a cornerstone of the Gaelic countries where to be inhospitable is the worst sin there was. He also has a sense of humour and isn’t afraid to be the butt of a joke. Something not always found in the head of a pantheon.

It’s the same for goddesses. Kwan Yin is not Mary and she is not Isis, or Brighid. Just because you are a goddess of compassion or healing, it does not make all goddess who are goddesses of compassion the same one. They are very different. Both Brighid and Kwan Yin have claimed me for themselves and I know firsthand they are not the same, not even close. They have let me know that in no uncertain terms any more than the Morrigan is Hecate.

Gods reflect culture. If you have a mellow relaxed culture where getting daily needs are met like food and you don’t need heavy clothing, then you have more mellow and relaxed deities such as Italy and the Romans. If life is hard such as in northern countries in Europe then your deities are less relaxed like the Scandinavian pantheon who is a bit more bloody minded and exacting. If Odin or Freya wants you to do something you had better drop everything and do it now. The Celtic pantheon is a bit more relaxed and the Greek and Roman pantheons seem to have a bit more patience, particularly Bacchus and Aphrodite. Doesn’t mean you can fart around too much just that you might have a bit more leeway, from my observation.

I don’t know how some humans can think all are one. All people aren’t one. So why should all gods be one?

Poetry month – Yeats

The Stolen Child    
by W. B. Yeats 

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scare could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.