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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: 23,343,430  

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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 

All Things In The Universe Are Truly ONE Oct 7th. at 2:45:48 pm EDT

Sylvan G. (West Virginia) Age: 42 - Email

I think that ultimately there is only ONE Divine Source. We are a part of it, just like everything else in the Universe is a part of it. Humans envision Deity in the way that they can easiest understand. That's why there are countless Gods and Goddesses. The ONE will respond to a sincere worshipper in the form that is best suited to that particular person. Being human we cannot truly comphrend the vastness, immmensity and complexity of the Universe, nor can we comprehend the boundless, intricate permutations of Divinity.

To me, the Lord and Lady are the masculine and feminine aspects of the ONE. Whether they are actually masculine and feminine is irrelevant. Because I am a hetrosexual human, that is a convenient way for me to catergorize them. I know my limited intellect cannot see them as they truly are. I also consider each God/Goddess, ever conceived by humanity, to be a distinct aspect of Divinity. Some people have a mental illness where they contain multiple personalities within their brain--each one with a distinct personality and character. If this is possible in humans, why can't it be possible for Deity on a much grander scale. I'm not suggesting that the ONE has multiple personality disorder or any sort of mental illness. It's just a simple way of illustrating my point. With the limitless creative potential available to Deity, It could manifest however It so chooses, in whatever way would best facilitate Its relationship with worshippers.

I think I can identify with all of the labels--Monotheist, Polytheist, Pantheist, Dualist. Perhaps we need a new label for those who believe that everything in the Universe is a part of Deity, that there are many Gods who are ultimately ONE and that the ONE is actually TWO who exemplify the masucline and the feminine and yet are really ONE.

Polytheist Oct 7th. at 3:33:05 pm EDT

Peter (Stillwater, OK) Age: 48 - Email - Web

I believe that the God(dess)s get quite chuckle when they hear us try to define them. Is there one, two, a group or something else we can’t even comprehend. I don’t know, however, I do believe it only matters to use, they surely don’t care. If your relationship with your God(dess) is fulfilling then you have chosen well, and it matters little if there are other possibilities . Our God(dess)s can be a real and personal part of our lives if we allow them to be, however, they like all relationship requires dedication, trust and a lot of work.


All Of The Above Oct 7th. at 4:33:52 pm EDT

Mica (FL) Age: 32 - Email

My views really defy any attempt to squeeze them into one category. I identified with what many of the other posters wrote (Matt Ikonen, Dark Moon Panther, Alumenios, Nikos Wolf, Ashe Winterwolf, Sylvan). I think of the "big" deity as everything, but I also recognize the individual deities that humans worship in an attempt to understand the "big" one. I don't even have a name for it, because as soon as we try to put it into words, we limit it, so I'll try my best to explain my multi-faceted ideas.

The energy of the universe is constantly changing and transforming itself. Now it's a wave, now it's a particle. It manifests as the galaxies and stars and planets and all of their inhabitants and even things on the non-physical level... now a bit of the energy is a leaf or a bird or a person or a spirit, and as its manifestation reaches the end of its "life," it transforms into something else... food for animals, dust that might become rocks or mountains or planets. All of these manifestations are part of each other and part of the whole. For me, this is how I picture "the Force" in the Star Wars stories, but I don't know if that's how it was intended to be pictured. To me, this is the universal deity and it doesn't have a consciousness beyond the consciousness of its own manifestations. It doesn't have a moral system or a sense of "right" or "wrong" beyond the morals of its own intelligent manifestations. As energy, it simply is. Like one of the other posters said, it does not care whether your worship it or not (but, different from what that poster said, I do not believe that it is the stuff out of which a "Creator" creates... I don't believe in a Creator). In this sense, I'm a Pantheist.

But I also recognize our other ideas of deity. On our planet, humans created myths, religions, and gods and goddesses to explain what they understood to be the larger universal deity. Of course, they were only explaining the bigger picture from what they could see of it and from their own perspective. (From here on, when I speak of "deity," I'm talking about gods and goddesses, not the universal deity described earlier.) Although the deities and nature or ancestral spirits these cultures worshipped were based on their own cultural perspectives, they shared many of the same archetypes because they stemmed from similar human experiences and observations that people have had since humans could ponder and wonder (Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell are important teachers for me)... archetypes such as Mother, Father, Warrior, Maiden, Eggs, Sun, Moon, and many others... This is why so many myths and deities share similar elements.

I think that deities are entities that exist as individuals. In this sense, I suppose I'm a polytheist, but here is where I probably deviate from most of the rest of you. I believe that deities exist as extensions of our collective human psyche within the framework of a culture (whether it be a small-community culture or a national one). I believe that they were created by us and their existence is dependent on the people who worship them. The energy we invest as individuals and as a culture or community in worshipping, believing in, or working with a deity creates and keeps that deity "alive." If all humans were wiped out from the face of the planet, our deities would go with us. I'm sure there were countless other deities worshipped over time for which we have found no record, no myth, no statues, no temples, and they as individual entities are gone from existence, although the archetypes they are based on live on in other deities. Furthermore (and I know a lot of you are probably going to gasp over this one), I don't think that the gods and goddesses that we worship today are *exactly* the same as they were thousands of years ago. The people and cultures who originally worshipped those deities are gone and, in many cases, a lot of time has passed since anyone has worshipped them again. Myths and stories help us, but there is more to a deity than its story. As I said earlier, the deity exists within the framework of the culture that it is rooted in, and it is impossible for us to step back in time and know what it was really like to live in an ancient (or even not so ancient) culture with its perceptions and customs and traditions and experiences and ways of thinking. We can only do the best we can with the myths available to us and by tapping into our own understanding of the archetypes.

Many have stated that the tradition and the deities you work with should be within the framework of your culture, and I agree. However, our Western culture is anemic in that area. We are not ancient. We have no rich pantheon of gods and goddesses. For me, all I have to work with is the gods and goddesses that went before me (unless I want to go back to Christianity, which is lacking on many levels for me). I tend to work with the deities of other cultures on an archetypal level, knowing that no matter how much I read and study about the culture that gave birth to the deities, I will never really be able to worship or understand them within the framework of that culture because I can't live in it. I can only worship or understand them within the framework of mine.

I Believe In Many Things Oct 7th. at 5:02:13 pm EDT

Rowan (Broadneck) Age: 14 - Email

I believe that there are many different goddesses and gods,and that each one is a key part of a Whole Goddess or God, I have a Rather dualitic/polytheisitic veiw to all of it, but I also believe that Both the Goddess and God are part of a singular bigger thing, Call it the universe, Spirit but It's all part of something bigger. I believe in many different pantheons and such, but I believe they all add up to something larger. I suppose I'm slightly monotheistic, but not soo much because I praise both and all aspects of Deity/Spirit and not just the entirety.

Democracy Rule's Oct 7th. at 6:04:13 pm EDT

The Son of Medea (U.S.A.) Age: 38 - Email

I am a polytheist. It was polytheism that gave us democracy, and it is polytheism that rule's our destiny now.

Always think W.W.M.D. The Son of Medea

How I Vew The Gods Oct 7th. at 6:16:01 pm EDT

Thunder Mouse (Saint Joseph Missouri) Age: 21 - Email

Hm....One would think this would be a simple question to answer. For me I find it rather complex. I was raised Christian so for the longest time I vewed god as being one being seperate from everything that comands all from affar. I now vew the gods as being a part of everything and in everything yet still having there own self awareness of there own existance as individual entities. I personaly belive that there are two gods. A god and A goddess. Both are so vast that they are in everything. I also belive, that like a husband and wife, who once are married in my vew are individuals still, yet are also one person now, that the goddess and god are one. They are so vast though, that nomater how hard you try to consider that the goddess and god are in everything (speeking from my point of vew) Its realy hard to picture two beings as being within so much. There for, If I am being specific on something (and depending on my knowledge of particular gods from the different world mythologies) To kind of try to comunicate sommething to the gods, to make it a little more specific, I invoke a deity that is specific to what is the subject. Im not entierly shure how to explain how I vew them. Its hard to explain something so vast and wonderfull as the creator of all things within all things. I also feal that it is wise for me to point out, that because I am still rather young, and new to the craft, that my vews and opinions and perceptions of how thigns work, the world, Deities, etc are still evolving. But at this moment, this is the best way to describe how I vew the god and goddess as two different beings within everything that are one (I belive that everything in existance is a part of everything ells)....ok ok...time to stop rambeling now. This is just my two cents.

Everything Is Everything Is One Is One Is One Oct 7th. at 6:25:03 pm EDT

lilith (los angeles) Age: 33 - Email

or something like that.

let me put it this way-- when i do various workings i call upon various deities. most of them are female, since my patriarchy issues largely prevent me from being comfortable working with a male deity, but occasionally i have called upon a male entity with excellent results. i dont know if i have any hard and fast beliefs on the state of these beings, if they are actually "they", if they are actually outside of my own head, whatever, but i do notice from a purely empirical point of view that if i call upon a specific entity for a specific reason there is always something quite peculiar to that entity and to how the working turns out.

i dont think one should mix pantheons within a particular working-- in fact i make it policy to never call upon more than one specific entity for a single working. and i wont switch horses either if the working isnt, well, working, because that is impolite. the only time i call upon multiple entities is when i call the names of the goddess for ritual purposes, or to oversee something of a more general nature.

i dont have an opinion yet as to whether there actually is more than one entity out there, or if they are all different aspects of the same, or whether the universe has multiple personality disorder. i may have more of a grasp on this in ten years.

Pantheist/Polytheist Mix Oct 7th. at 6:44:46 pm EDT

Jay Gregor (Columbus, OH) Age: 21 - Email

I believe in both a pantheistic and a polytheistic system. I am pantheistic overall, believing that All is God and God is all. However, I also believe that specific aspects of life are represented by lesser divine forces than the whole, known as gods. Thus we have gods of love, of healing, of death, of the seasons, etc. They may or may not exist on an anthropromorphic level, but they exist to me as conceptualizing the divine in all it's myriad forms.

My Answer Oct 7th. at 8:48:03 pm EDT

Danielle (Texas) Age: 21 - Email - Web

There are many gods and goddesses. Most traditional witches believe that witches all worship the same goddess and god, but this goddess and god isn't THE Goddess and God of Wicca and Neo-paganism. We don't believe that ALL gods and goddess are part of one though.

And I quote from House Faringdoun Trod:

"The Wiccan belief system states that there are only two divine beings, A “god” and a “goddess”. The many different gods and goddesses worshipped by our European ancestors, or anyone else on earth for that matter, are thought to be “aspects” or “manifestations” of these two beings. Thus “All Gods are one God, and All Goddessses one Goddess”. This divine reductionism is referred to as “Duotheism”, and it is not a Traditional Witch Belief. It is, in fact, a very modern belief. Furthermore, many Wiccans believe this “God” and “Goddess” to be themselves aspects of an unknowable divine unity, or a great being sometimes called "The One"... leading us essentially straight to a new version of Monotheism, well suited to ease the consciences of the usually ex--christian converts to Wicca."

"Our European ancestors were Polytheists. They believed in many Gods, or in local Gods. This is true for most Traditional Witches. There are some beliefs now (and in ancient times as well) of some divinties being “greater” than others, almost to the philosophical point of transcendence, and universal power. This sometimes appears in Traditional Craft as well, but in the form of mysteries, and not everyday devotion, or new-agey monotheism."

"It is so common in Wiccan circles to hear invocations to “Pan and Thor, and Lilith, and Ganesh” or any other assortment of Gods and goddesses that the coven feels like invoking. With no respect to culture or heritage, and with no authenticity or historical context, Eclectic Wicca’s belief in the Gods and Goddesses all being “one” makes these wiccans feel as though they have the right to blithely call upon any combination of deities they wish. This is unforgivably new-agey, and shows complete lack of seriousness, and cultural context."
(Sorry if this last paragraph sounds a bit harsh.)

Their website is:

These are also my beliefs, thus I have answered the question of the week. Link to More info related to this post -- HERE

Polytheist, Monotheist, Dualist Or Other? Oct 7th. at 9:18:00 pm EDT

Ariana SilverMoon (Florida) Age: 32 - Email

I am a Polytheist personally. I view the Divine as a jewel with many facets. A rich, sparkling many, MANY faceted jewel.

Polytheism All The Way. Oct 7th. at 9:34:11 pm EDT

TImoto (PA) Age: 17 - Email

Im a polythiest. To me the idea that only two dieties is a little far-fetched. How could one goddess be in 2 places at once? (Refering to the Illiad, were Hera, Aprodite and Athene Appeared befor Paris) That does not make sense to me. Also, no god would proclaim against himself, unless he was the Judeo-Christian god, which has bi-polar disorder. Link to More info related to this post -- HERE

Undecided Oct 7th. at 9:36:17 pm EDT

Stella (Pasadena, CA) Age: 24 - Email

I am undecided. In truth, I think it doesn't really matter if there is one god, a god and a goddess, or many gods. If, as I believe, the supreme deities (or diety as the case may be)is on the whole loving and understanding, then he/she/it/they will forgive me if I make mistakes in my perception of him/her/it/them. If the God/dess(s) are prone to fits of anger and want to be worhiped and adored their way, then I am screwed one way or another. I am personally inclined to believe that there is one divine being with both male and female aspects (the god and the godess) who isn't bothered a bit by the fact that I choose to call it by several different names to help me better identify with it. Religion and spirituality are very personal things. Each person relates to it very differently. I think the God/dess understands that.

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