painandlight: (Default)
Let me start by saying, first of all, that I am a (fairly) hard polytheist. I won't go so far as to say that every single deity name that comes up in mythology is, in fact, a separtate and individual deity. I think that some of them are alternate names for some gods, or that some of them are shades of another god.

For a bit more clarity on that last thought, I'll paste a comment that I made to A blog post on the subject

I get what you’re saying here. It sounds like you’re trying to say in much deeper terms that all of the gods are some of the gods, no?

I also agree that in many cases, a god will appear across pantheons, in different names but that not all gods that appear similar are the same. Most of what I believe about specific deities is pretty much limited to Greek and Roman/Pre-Roman Italic because that’s what I know best and even then, most of it is based only on what I’ve read of mythology, history and religion and based on that, what I’ve decided makes sense to me- though I hope this is a little better than just pulling it out of my ass. I believe that the Greek Apollo and the Roman Apollo are the same god while Artemis and Diana are not the same goddess and Leto and Latona might be the same but I don’t know. I don’t think that Ares and Mars are the same god, or that Aphrodite and Venus are the same goddess. I also don’t think that Apollo is Soranus or Veiovis or Bellenos or Lugh or most of the other gods of which people frequently say he is a cognate- and I am absolutely certain that he is not Helios or Aesklepios though I’m pretty sure that he is Paeon (and to make it more confusing, that Aesklepios might also be), but I think they are all related in varying degrees of closeness. I also think he’s related in some manner to Heimdall and- at least in my extremely limited knowledge- Bragi.


So...there are many separatre, disstinct gods- it's just that not every single name ever is a distinct god. Many, maybe even most are, some aren't.

I am also a panentheist. I believe that the divine is within everything. When I say that I believe the Divine is within everything, I mean that I believe that there is some "stuff" that I call "The Divine" of which there is a little bit in everything. I also believe that this is the basic building block of life for the gods, other non-corporeal beings, and probably for the souls/spirits of such things that have souls or spirits (I'm not an animist, I think I'm semi-animistic, but as far as what exact things I beieve to have spirits versus what doesn't, I haven't exactly made up my mind. Some thing are obvious, others..not so much- but that's wandering a little off-topic here, so maybe some other time.) Please don't misunderstand me- I'm not an emanationist. I don't believe in "The One" or "The all" or whatever you want to call the idea of a single, supreme entity even beyond the gods from which they, uh, emanate. When I say that I believe The Divine is "the basic buildig block of life" for the gods, I mean it in the same sense that carbon is called "the basic building block of life" for physical life. I don't believe that the gods emanate from this one source any more than I believe that plants and adnimals emanate from a cloud of carbon.

I believe in their literal existence. The gods are not "energies" or "thoughtforms" or "archetypes"- this one drives me crazy. the gods are not archetypes. A specific deity may fulfil an archetype, but that's different. An archetype is not a specific example, but a general idea, a stock character. "Love Goddess" and Thunder God" are archetypes. Aphrodite and Zeus are examples which fulfill the archetype.

I said in my last post that I believe that the gods are the supreme beings, I could just copy and paste my second to last paragraph from that post here...but you've probably already read it if you're reading this and if not, if you care to read the bit I elebotrated on that, you can just go back and look.

I don't know if the gods are necissarily male or female, "young" or "old", or each other's mothers and fathers and sons and daughters but I don't think it's not possible that these things are true of them. I also don't think that it's wrong to ascribe human wants, needs and emotions to them. These may be human traits, but I don't think that the gods would reveal themselves in this way if there were no meaning and purpose to it. Of course, I also think it's very possible that humans got all of these traits from the gods themselves.

I believe that the gods are above us, they are to be worshipped and respected and loved. They are not our equals, they are not below us. They can be worked with, but they are not to be used.

This is where I get ranty. As I frequent a number of online pagan forums, I see a lot of things that annoy me. One of the big ones is how people treat the gods. People saying "I dno't worship the gods because I don't bow down to anyone" or "I useed Aphrodite for my Beltane spell last week" or "Hey, I don't know anything about them, butI think it would be a brilliant idea to call Hathor and Quetzalcoal for my Equinox ritual, wanns join in?" all just make me want to bang my head against the most covenient brick wall- and then grab them and do the same to them. Seriously...learn what words mean and learn a little respect for the gods. And learn a thing or two about them while you're at it. Because nothing says clueless like "Apollo's my favorite god because I'm gay and he's gay!" or "Apollo and Artemis go together so they're like the perfect Wiccan lord and lady!!!"

Okay, it looks like I managed to keep the rant pretty short. Tay me.

Da List )
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I didn't think that when I said that thirty days doesn't necessarily mean thirty consecutive days that it would start right away, but there ya go. I'm going to double up today, since I have two posts mostly-written. I think they will probably finish themselves while I write. Also, I'm thinking about changing one of the days- probably the last one because I can't think of any others offhand that I really want to cut right now, but I've been thinking for a few days that I want to write about places that have or have had some significance to me in a spiritual context.

If you could read my thoughts, this is exactly the sort of thing that you would be subjected to frequently. I don't imagine that most people would want to be able to read my thoughts.

The structure of the universe is a subject of curiosity for me. Particle physics and string theory are subjects that I've read a bit about and have wanted to read more but haven't gotten around to it yet. If, as the Big Bang theory tells us, the universe exploded into being from a single point and continues to expand outwards, then clearly there must be a perimeter somewhere, right?

If this is true, I imagine the universe to be something like the town of Seahaven in the movie The Truman show- but on a much, y'know, grander scale. If you haven't seen the movie and want to know, or if you need me to clarify what ideas from the movie I'm talking about- just so you know, I sum the entire thing up in two sentences..... ) If you could take a boat (or a spaceship) out far enough, you would reach the "wall" of the universe. What's the wall made of? what's on the other side? Is it possible to get out? How big is the universe? How much does it weigh? (If on the other hand, it's not true, this is all a bunch of pointless blather.) Here's an idea: what if the spark of fire is the big bang that sets a whole new universe into being? Does that mean that you become a god every time you flick your Bic?

How ridiculous is that? Is it any more ridiculous than a giant bird coming along and laying an egg from which the cosmos hatches? And how is the idea that the universe once took up the space of a single point until it exploded any less absurd?

I don't think it is, but only the latter is at all accepted as a scientific possibility. Science explains how things work, it explains the forces of nature. It doesn't explain the forces behind the forces. We all know that Zeus isn't literally up there, riding around on a cloud, picking out a lightning bolt, taking aim and hurling it at the ground. At least not on this plane of existence. But can we say for sure that He isn't literally doing so on the plane of the gods, that that's not hmm...meta-force? behind the natural phenomenon that we know as lightning? Maybe natural phenomena in this realm is a result of the activity of the gods in their realm bleeding over here. Maybe when Nyx laid the cosmic egg, its first crack in hatching over there caused the big bang. Maybe all stories of creation are literally true in that realm- maybe a whole bunch of different huge events happened all at once, and the outpouring of energy was just so unimaginably massive that it caused this explosion in a void of nothingness that set this realm into being.

It makes sense to me. I've never really been concerned with trying to reconcile how so many different people can have so many different explanations for how the world came into being, so this isn't my desperately grasping at straws. In fact, i didn't really even have this last idea in mind at all when I started writing this. I've long held the idea that I illustrated above with the example of Zeus, but it never went so far as the origins of the universe until now, and as I look back on what I'm typing here, it really makes a lot of sense to me.

Continuing on...

I believe that the gods are the supreme beings- at the very least that they are the highest beings that we humans are aware of, but I don't really believe that there are any higher than that, aware of them or not. Above the gods, I believe there is only "The Divine"- which I will explain more in my next post. No, I'm not an emanationist. From the gods, it goes on down the line, but I couldn't really put an exact order or hierarchy on what "the line" is- where demi-gods versus deified mortals versus nymphs fall, I don't know. The order doesn't affect me, and how or how much it affects them is their affair. I just know that I am human and the gods are above me.

I believe that there are many worlds in parallel, they're all occupying the same space It's like projecting more than one movie onto the same screen at the same time. Sometimes two different characters in two different movies say the same word at the same time, or the same character appears in two movies at once or the same song plays on both soundtracks. When this happens, the worlds bleed through into each other.

I think that's all I have to say on cosmology. For the moment at least.

Da List )
painandlight: (Default)
Why (not) paganism? I'll start by pointing out that it's been a very long time since I've called myself "pagan" or referred to what I do and believe as "paganism". The word doesn't really hold meaning for me. No one can decide what it means exactly, though the definition which many people seem to subscribe to is that it covers any non-Abrahamic religion. That doesn't work for me, and it certainly doesn't even begin to give the vaguest idea of defining me. And I'm not an ancient Italic country-dweller either.

So...pagan? No. I won't argue that it's incorrect, but I don't actively describe myself as such.

I tried to be Christian for many years. I was a member of ADF for several years- I even got to the point of beginning clergy training. But I'm not any of that. And all three of those points will be addressed later in other posts on this meme.

So to steal a thought from my girlfriend, My religion is Apollo. There are other elements to it as well, but they are (mostly) minor in comparison. I have been dedicated to Him since April of 2007, and he has been a major fixture in my religious life since 2005 and present in some way or other for several years before that. He is the one thing I am always certain of, the one thing I have never been afraid of losing. He came in and took over for another deity (also to be addressed in a later post) and has been connected to pretty much everything ever since.

I don't know if I first called to him, or answered his calling me. It doesn't matter. Why Apollo? Because Apollo is what I want, but more importantly Apollo is what I need. Nothing else would be right.

Okay, I got it done tonight. Oh, and I've made a change to the list. )

Me too!

Sep. 27th, 2010 06:25 pm
painandlight: (Default)
Thirty Days of Paganism Meme

I'm gonna do this thing too. I should get the first entry posted tonight, but if I don't, then tomorrow. "Thirty days" does not guarantee thirty consecutive days.

1. Beliefs - Why Paganism?
2. Beliefs - Cosmology
3. Beliefs - Deities
4. Beliefs - Birth, death and rebirth
5. Beliefs - Magic, spellcraft, mysticism and various woo shit
6. Beliefs - The power of prayer/reciprocity
7. Beliefs - Patronage and other deeper relationships
8. Beliefs - Holidays
9. Deity Gender- who cares?
10. Patrons - Apollo (and other Apollo-related gods)
11. Pantheon - Dionysos
12. Pantheon - Hermes
13. Pantheon - Gods and spirits of Sparkly Things In The sky
14. Pantheon - Titans and Protogenoi
15. Pantheon (anti) - Artemis and Brigid
16. On not being "Earth-Centered" or "Nature-Based"
17. My ways of worship
18. Community- Not quite an outsider but don't really belong anywhere
19. Paganism and my family/friends
20. Paganism and my relationship
21. Other paths I've explored
22. Paganism and major life events
23. Ethics
24. Personal aesthetics with magic and ritual
25. Favoured ritual/magical tools, and why
26. Any "secular" pastimes with religious significance, and why
27. How your faith has helped you in difficult times
28. One misconception about Paganism you'd like to clear up
29. The future of Paganism
30. Advice for seekers

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