Friday, June 17, 2011

Day Three: Deities

Today's "30 Days of Paganism" entry is about deities. Deities are pretty important in my belief-system(s).

I'm a polytheist. And by this, I mean that I believe in many deities. They are not aspects of one or two, or part of my mind or subconscious. They're not archetypes or ideas. They are living, breathing entities. (Well, don't quote me on the "breathing" part.) I actually find the concept of "soft-polytheism" very slightly offensive - at least in some interpretations of the concept.

I'm also a panentheist... although I'm not sure I have a perfect handle of the meaning of this term, so I rarely use it. My understanding is that it means deity is both immanent and removed. I believe this, in the sense that the gods are a part of the world, but also independant entities. Thorr may be a part of every thunderstorm, in a sense, but he is also sitting up in Asgard having an ale with Loki. (Or maybe not, depending on where you stand on the "bound" issue.)

I believe in a great many deities. But I only worship some. I used to actively honour some Greek deities, but I didn't do it in an appropriate way. (Oh the guilt, oh the shame.) Right now, I'm too attached to the Nordic cultures and pantheon to want to split my studies and interest to Greek as well, so if I do perform a ritual (as I sometimes do in spring, for Persephone, of whom I have long been fond) it is not according to proper form. (That is, I don't start off by honouring Hestia or anything like that, although I do wash beforehand and try to follow a very pared-down version of Greek ritual.) But I digress. I believe in YHWH also, but not that Yeshua is a manifestation of him... I think of him as a Jewish tribal deity, not one who is omnipresent or omnipotent, and who may or may not secretly be El of the Canaaite pantheon.

First, and I feel like I had to write that "first", I believe in a God and a Goddess Whose names are essentially irrelevant, if indeed They have them at all. My experience with Them has been very different to other deities, in that They seem to work a lot less with words. They are more about movement, sound; more primal. My understanding is that these two deities predated all others and in a sense are (metaphorically) parents of these other deities - in the same sense that They are parents of all things, only more so. Gods are the first "children". Whether my Lord and my Lady are worshipped by other people or not I really do not know. And I'm not sure it's something that's possible to know, without being inside someone else's head.

As for anything that predated Them, a hypothetical "One" or "Prime Mover", no. I don't believe in it. I believe in these Two, as complementary and intertwined entities, and that's it. The energy around me that I perceive in things I don't consider to be a deity in and of itself. They Two are in many things also, perhaps all things to a greater or lesser degree.

Heathenry in general is a polytheistic religion. There are a very few people who consider it to be orthopraxic (I don't) and follow the cultural concepts, and consider the gods to be icons of the culture and archetypes and so forth, but not real. I am not one of those people. I'm a very theistic Heathen, and quite happily so. 

But more on individual deities later. This is just a basic overview.

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