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Author Topic: How Many Gods Does It Take To...  (Read 3106 times)

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VisionFromAfar

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How Many Gods Does It Take To...
« on: January 03, 2011, 04:34:40 PM »

...
Wish I had a punchline, but I'm trying to keep this lighthearted off the bat. I'm just curious what everyone thinks on this issue, and I'm not trying to bait or piss anyone off. This is all your own opinions here, no one has to back anything up. Have I covered my bum enough yet, Mods?   :shame:  :runaway:

And so, Question:

What, exactly, is your view of polytheism? Are all Gods one Divine? Are they archetypes? Do they interact (cross-mythos, I mean)? How does polytheism work with the various and wondrous creation myths?

My Answer, to start it off: 

Mrs. Vision has a very interesting take on this: "All Gods are all Gods. Some are like distant cousins who share interests (re: Greek/Roman varients), but don't try to confuse me with synchronism. Creation is something we can never fathom in our current limitations, but without any disrespect, what better way to garner followers among man than to say: 'All of this? Yeah, my handiwork.' "  I pretty much agree with her.
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Tirya

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Re: How Many Gods Does It Take To...
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2011, 07:01:38 PM »

I tend to subscribe to the "different facets of the same diamond" theory. That the Divine (the diamond) is so beyond our ability to comprehend, we as humans have "broken it down" into something (the facets) we can understand and relate to. The names and attributes we give to those facets reflect our personal and cultural beliefs and needs at the moment.

Most cultures have at least some common needs, and the common threads running through mythologies/religions reflect those needs. But cultures also have some very distinct needs and beliefs, and those are also reflected in the cultural religions/mythologies. So while most religions will have a creation myth about "how we came to be", the details of "how" will vary from geography to geography and culture to culture.

In short, I think that in many ways, the Gods are what we need them to be. But what they truly are is far beyond our ability to comprehend.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2011, 07:05:08 PM by Tirya »
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Eternal Seeker

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Re: How Many Gods Does It Take To...
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2011, 07:32:57 PM »


Agreed, Tirya. I don't even bother to try to address the question because the difference is meaningless to us, at our level. It's like asking, "How long is string?"

peace,
ES
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Crystal Dragon

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Re: How Many Gods Does It Take To...
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2011, 07:54:58 PM »

I'm still pondering this one.  I do agree with what Tirya expressed, but there is another layer that intrigues me and that is the fact that the gods have very different personalities.  Not just the attributes we associate them with, but their individual quirks and tastes.  I'm getting to the point where I'm not sure that what I've experienced fits within this construct.
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: How Many Gods Does It Take To...
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2011, 08:11:13 PM »

In my experience, I see them as individuals. There seems to be an all encompassing intelligence, which in Masonry we refer to as The Great Architect of the Universe, but our local Gods and Goddesses seem to be themselves.
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BronwynWolf

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Re: How Many Gods Does It Take To...
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2011, 08:56:18 PM »

I am closest to GW here. Simple way to look at it: A pyramid. At the top, you have the GREAT DIVINE; all encompassing. We are no where near being able to handle that face to face. So then, you have the other god/desses. Each specific to their own culture (I really don't like it when someone tries to claim Cerridwen and Flora are the same, for example) Then you have the demi-gods....interesting to note that in most cultures, there are stories of divine/human breeding. Then you have enlightened humans, then the rest of us... then the sheep people.
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Re: How Many Gods Does It Take To...
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2011, 08:25:20 AM »

I think that I agree with Tirya's description.  I think we deal with the Divine in archetypal images that make sense to us.  The individual Gods and Goddesses are individual only because that is the easiest way for us to interact with them.
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vordan

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Re: How Many Gods Does It Take To...
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2011, 09:53:37 PM »

I look at them as both individual and part of the greater whole for that is what I see in the natural world. You and everybody you know are part of humanity but everybody is different. In my lawn each blade of grass is separate but part of the greater concept of the lawn. Everything interconnects as part of a greater whole, nothing exists separate from the whole but to deny the individuality of each aspect would be equally inaccurate. To say Hecate is the same as Ceridwen does not agree with my experience but I will say that they as we all, are expressions of the divine energy that prevades the universe.
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bluefire

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Re: How Many Gods Does It Take To...
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 12:10:14 PM »

I am an a comfortable place right now where I am at peace with not understanding the nature of the Divine.  I believe in a basic energy that connects us all.  I believe that we each have our own place in life and that the gods and goddesses have more power and more responsibility than most of us have.  At this point in my life, I embrace holding up my part and trust and respect those who give so much more.
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Mongo

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Re: How Many Gods Does It Take To...
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 12:28:05 AM »

I used to look at it all as one Divine spirit with the different facets. But on the flip side I've had conversations with the God and Goddess and I know that they have different yet compatible personalities.

So like BlueFire I am at peace with not understanding what the deuce is going on in the higher planes and just take solace in the fact that there is something there.

Honestly, just knowing that something is there makes me feel better about things.
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AmberRaven

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Re: How Many Gods Does It Take To...
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2011, 04:11:18 PM »

I used to look at it all as one Divine spirit with the different facets. But on the flip side I've had conversations with the God and Goddess and I know that they have different yet compatible personalities.

So like BlueFire I am at peace with not understanding what the deuce is going on in the higher planes and just take solace in the fact that there is something there.

Honestly, just knowing that something is there makes me feel better about things.

:yeahthat:
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Greybear

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Re: How Many Gods Does It Take To...
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2011, 07:49:45 AM »

I used to see the gods as facets of a divine gem; then I was introduced to hard polytheism, and had the chance to come to know some of the gods. I still feel like there is a governing force, to which even the gods are subject, and I've come to identify that force as Nature. This means, on a spectrum, I believe the gods to be between us and Nature. Individuals, but not supreme - and as the relationship between the Aesir and Vanir shows, some are closer or more attuned to Nature than others.
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