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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 23,387,066  

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Question of the Week: 80 - 10/6/2002

Polytheist, Monotheist, Dualist or Other?

Are you a die-hard Polytheist who believes that the many Gods/Goddesses are distinct and individual entities? Are you a Pagan Monotheist? Pantheist? Do you believe that “All Gods/Goddesses are One God/Goddess”? Does the term ‘Lord and Lady’ represent a specific Lord and/or Lady to you or is it a term used most often to simply denote the concept of a male and/or a female deity? Do you think that all of these terms are interchangeable? Can you see where and when the need to define what YOU mean by ‘Gods/Goddesses’ might be necessary? What do you think about ‘Choose one from column A and one from Column B’ pantheon building?

 Reponses:   There are 104 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Agnostic Pantheist Oct 7th. at 1:54:57 am EDT

Arinnadia (South East Coast, USA) Age: 34 - Email

Of all the theories out there concerning how and why life exists I prefer Pantheism but having been raised by an agnostic mother I learned early not to get to arrogant or sure of any one theory of existence. If my mom were here she would point out that the chaos of life may be more easily explained by competition among equally powerful and seperate spiritual forces at work. Then again you could say that the idea of pantheism also supports this since all of creation inherents the same powerful spiritual force and competes and or co-operates in the world. Boy it sure is confusing having the "voice" of an agnostic pop up in your head every time you think you have the world all figured out. But it sure does keep you on your toes. :)

That's where faith comes in. I have faith that even if I've got it all wrong, the power/s that be will love me anyway. I guess I also learned that from my Mom. Thanks Mom.

Blessed Be,

All Gods Are One Are All Oct 7th. at 3:15:20 am EDT

Alumenios (Ocala, FL) Age: 27 - Email

I took the time to read everyone's post before I posted my own... but here I go. I believe in all gods. Any deity that has ever been conceived of, I acknowledge. I believe that deities gain their power from the amount of conscious thought that is given to them, which (IMHO) is a better measure of their influence than the $$$ amount that is given to them in the name of society.
The way I figure it, everyone see's one small slice of the overall divine pie, and we only get a full view of that pie when we put everyone's views together, whether they be pagan, christian, atheist, what have you, as long as it doesn't negate someone else's point of view... wisdom is wisdom, whatever the source. The universe is too infinite not to have room for everybody, as long as they're not hating on someone else.
So BELIEVE! Your belief can make the difference!

Thou Art God..... Oct 7th. at 9:17:40 am EDT

Aravan Windwalker (Saco, Maine) Age: 37 - Email

I am a polytheist. For there are as many gods and goddesses as there are people with imaginations to create them.
There are the pantheon gods(esses). Any deity that has been made up over the centuries and any deity that will be made up. Ever heard of Asphaltia? Goddess of parking. Someone once made her up in a little prayer to find a parking place fast due to a meeting he had to be at. Now I know of many who actually utter a prayer to her when in need.
Then there are the Old Ones. Those of this world who have passed on from this life and are using their experiences and knowledge to aid those of us who are still striving. Do I really consider them gods, well I have to as the third type is considered.
Thou are God. " 'Thou art God.' It's not a message of cheer and hope. It's a defieance--and an unafraid unabashed assumption of personal responsibility." (Mike to Jubal, SIASL by Robert Heinlein)
Each of us is God. Each of us is responcible for what we do and how we act in this life. Life is good or bad dependant on our own actions.
This has become the most comfortable concept for me to follow.
May you never thirst.
Aravan Windwalker /|\ OMS-RDNA Link to More info related to this post -- HERE

Pagan Pantheist Oct 7th. at 10:21:38 am EDT

Nikos Wolf (New England, USA) Age: 21 - Email

To best sum it up, I'm very much a Pagan in terms of my views on Nature and its inherent, immanent divinity, but my specific view on that is pantheistic. As for polythiesm, I'm beginning to appreciate a metaphorical view on the Gods and Goddesses, but I whole-heartedly believe in the possibility of literal deities. The great thing (well, *one* of the many great things) about being a Pagan is that I can easily ease my mind over differing opinions and accept plurality as a blessing, not a complication. With monotheism, I have an immensly hard time beleiving in the Judeo-XN-Islamic notion of a creator God, but rather take the view of Baruch Spinoza, that "God" is actually the laws of the universe and the collection of all essences and thoughts of everything therein. Also, I do not use the terms "Lord and Lady" at all. Nothing against them, mind you, but I try not to assign gender roles to divinity. And, as for the practice of choosing one's own pantheon, I want to first state that I believe in understanding and being true to one's own heritage and culture, even if that culture isn't "in the family", so to speak, and adopted. To clarify, if one follows an Irish path, whether they are of Irish decent or not, I would vouch for focusing on the Irish deities above all, learning and understanding them and thier role in Irish tradition. Personally, though, it comes down to who you are and what you want out of your path - If you find spiritual fulfillment in a mixed pantheon, more power to you.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond Oct 7th. at 10:34:33 am EDT

OmniVitke (Gulfport, MS) Age: 52 - Email - Web

There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
I picture God as a huge Diamond with unnumbered facetts. As you gaze you are drawn to a shard of sparkle and then become entranced on what makes you happy and whole. To profess that this part or that part is the total and only real part is the effect of narrow vision and not using proper eye protection. No matter if you believe in a person hung to a tree or sprung from a caldren, if your Faith gets you thru the Night not measured on any clock, then it is your God to be praised and kept close to your heart. To bend the Wills of others towards Your God is not only wrong but shows Bad Manners. To do this for Profit is just playing the Shell Game for those searching for Truth. Those who do this will find one day that a Diamond is just a lump of coal that work best under pressure. Live Large & Strong.

Polytheist Oct 7th. at 11:09:45 am EDT

Ulfgeira (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) Age: 31 - Email

Being Heathen (Asatru), I believe the God(dess)s to being separate entities, rather than all god(ess)s being one. The wonderful thing about being pagan in general is that everyone has an opinion on things, but no-one starts shouting about the "One True Path" =-) As defining what the divine is and what it means to, I think that is a personal choice between the individual and the deity. There really will never be one theory, answer or choice. And that's good =-)

I Guess I Have To Say Other... Oct 7th. at 12:03:42 pm EDT

Ciarrai (New Jersey) Age: 35 - Email

...because I believe that they are all separate and apart, and at the same time, all One. It works for me though so at least I'm not banging my head into my books trying to find the perfect answer to this! Bright blessing & peace out, Ciarrai

Frustrated Oct 7th. at 12:30:50 pm EDT

Myrddin (Wisconsin) Age: 55 - Email

Well! I just typed a very long answer to this, but upon clicking submit, was told I had forgotten to enter my age and was told to use the "back button" to do that and resubmit. Guess what?
On using the back button EVERYTHING was lost. So until they fix THAT little problem I ain't posting anymore! Very frustrating to spend 20 minutes writing from the heart only to have it ALL LOST because my age was so friggin important and the systems programmers care more about filling in something so inconsequential that they forget to retain the text of the WHOLE POINT.

Not Sure Oct 7th. at 12:33:02 pm EDT

Ashe Winterwolf (Irving, TX) Age: 38 - Email

My belief concerning the nature of Deity has been influenced by Qabalah so I do believe that there is only one Source. However, by Its own Nature It is beyond any human being's comprehension and, therefore, unapproachable.
Being so I believe that this Unknowable One gave birth to Aspects of Itself with which humans could commune. While these Gods and Goddess all come from the Unknowable One, They are separate Beings, each one an Individual with His or Her own personality, likes, and dislikes.
I don't believe that all Goddess are One Goddess or that all Gods are One God. Experience has shown me that I can not invoke Isis in the same manner that I would invoke Ma'at or Kali, or that I can invoke Osirus the same way I might invoke Ra or Apollo.
Just my two cents.

All Of The Above Oct 7th. at 1:48:13 pm EDT

Mordewis ap Llys (Asheville, NC) Age: 49 - Email - Web

God/dess is One, Many, and Inclusive. The One includes everything -- and the nothing that exists between and around the everything. Everything else is God/dess' game with Hirself, and our game of trying to understand Ourselves. Great shades of Alan Watts! This makes me monotheist, polytheist, pantheist, panentheist, and a megalomaniac to boot! Lots of room for giggles, as there always is in my Tradition.

Polytheist Oct 7th. at 1:50:26 pm EDT

Hearthstone (Michigan) Age: 40 - Email

While I freely admit that there is no way of knowing the absolute truth of the matter when it comes to the nature of the gods, I will say that the view I'm most comfortable with is that of the hard polytheist who perceives each deity as a separate being, not an aspect of something else. I absolutely do not believe that all gods are the God and all goddesses are the Goddess--this idea is contrary to my own experience and instinct--and I don't find that gender polarity provides a useful view of the universe. (Please note that this is all purely my personal view--I know that many pagans believe otherwise and it works great for them.)

As for mix-and-match pantheons, I don't use them. I do honor gods from two different pantheons, but I don't mix them--each group is honored separately.

All Of The Above ;-) Oct 7th. at 2:45:30 pm EDT

DrgnDancer (New Orleans) Age: 28 - Email

Ok, here's fun for you, this is my overly rationalised view of the universe. There is a single divine being which we will call "Life" for simplicity sake. It is Energy, It is Power, and It really doesn't care much about life the universe or anything. You could pray to It if you wanted, but it'd be fairly much like praying to a brick wall. It neither requires nor desires your faith in it. It was here before the universe and will be here after, It is not the Creator, nor the Creation, but rather the force used by the Creator for the Creation. It has no conciousness as we would think of it.

There are beings, I choose to believe two, but perhaps one or perhaps many. They are the Lord and Lady, and they have what we call conciousness, but at such a level that it is far beyond us to understand. They are the Creators, and the Creation. They are the Gods (note capitalization). They are formed out of the Life, by their own wills. You could pray to Them if you wanted, but it would be rather like being a peasant trying to get an audience with the king (only worse). They neither require nor desire your worship, they exist by their own wills. They "love" creation, but in a abstract way. They don't love you or me, or even humanity... They love Creation as a whole, and it's a big universe out there. They are however important to Magic. They are immanent Creation and to impose our will on the world or the universe is to impose it on them. When you attempt to change reality you are trying to set your will against some infinetely small fraction of Their will (and also against a fraction of a lot of other people's will too, but we'll get to that). They don't mind (or really even notice) you fighting them here, it's rather like you can't tell what's going on in individual battles between disease cells and your immune system's cells. You would have to change _a lot_ of reality to get a reaction from Them, much more that a human or even god could manage.

There are beings, a whole lot of beings, called gods (note the lack of caps). These are singular indivual beings, not aspects of the Lord and Lady. They are, to a great extent, creations of their worshippers. These are your Jungian archtypes, beings formed when enough people direct their wills into believing in them. They both desire and in some ways need worship. They can modify reality much more powerfully than most humans (that being part of what they were created to do), but are often limited in strange ways (a river Goddess, believed to control a specific river, would have great influence over that river... much more than any single human could, but be somewhat useless when invoked over an ocean). All gods are true gods (well, all gods that have, at some point, enough support to take form), and some are more powerful than others, based on a number a of factors. how large a cult is, how large it once was, how the god wasor is precieved, etc, are all factors in a god's power. Thus our river goddess has limited powers, no matter how large her cult, because she is precieved as limited... her power is over _this_ river. A god whose cult of just under 1000 people was wiped out a thousand years ago has limited powers becasue there was never much power invested in him. So gods like Zeus or Odin are quite powerful, because a lot of people for thousands of year saw them as such. Gods like Jesus Christ or Alah are even more powerful, as millions of people still see them as all powerful. These gods have hit a point of diminishing returns though. The Gods' (note the caps) "immune system" only allows for so much variance in reality. At some point more and more of Their will (inertia if you will) starts building against major changes.

Finally, there are beings trillions, perhaps quintilions or more. They are simply creatures of creation. We are among them. All life an Earth, and any potential life beyond, are among them. If they have the ability to think, they can, to one extent or another, attempt to force their will on reality. Their ability to do so is both more and less than that of the gods. Unlike gods who simply exist with certain powers and abilities, we must train our wills and focus ourselves to change reality. Ritual and meditation techniques are tools for doing so, though one would assume not necesary after a certain level of mastery is attained. We can also call upon gods to mold reality for us or to help us do so, in return for the belief and worship we give them. When we attempt to do magic, with or without help, we set our will against a small amount of the God's will, and also against the will of everbody that believes we shouldn't be able to do a certain thing. The more powerful the belief, the harder it is to fight. thus it would be progressivly harder to 1) make a coin land on the same face three or four times, 2) pull the same card out of a randomised deck of cards three or four times, 3) fly.

Those creatures of creation that have not the ability to think and deliberatly apply their own wills still have spirits. These spirits have an innate "intelligence", even if the body they currently inhabit is limited. These spirits can also be called upon to aide us in Magic, and will sometimes consent. Their powers tend to be very specialised to things that their current body has skill in. Thus a dog spirit migh be willing to help one track something.

So there you have it, My theory of divinity and magic. I'm aware that there are holes in it, I'm still refining, but that;'s the basic run down. So my answer to the question is "all of the above"

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