Articles/Essays From Pagans
December 1st. 2013 ...
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
The Celtic Tree Calendar
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
September 8th. 2013 ...
Introduction to the Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage
The Druidic Concept of Nwyfre
The Holocaust Survivor (Part 1)
Giving and Helping
September 1st. 2013 ...
Use a Flyswatter for a Fly: More on the Dark Arts
How Spells Work
Is It Really 'Energy'?
August 25th. 2013 ...
Mother Nature’s Way: Forging a Distinctly American Path
Healing Moon Ritual
Unconditional Love: The Paradox of Perfect Love
Earth to Soul/Sole
August 18th. 2013 ...
How Not to Fall in the Bunny Trap
Why Are You Like That? Thoughts on Hoodoo and Appropriation
Finding the Right Coven
The Knowledge Found in Silence
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances, Hazelnuts and Magick Wands
August 11th. 2013 ...
“I Survived a Weekend with Galina Krasskova”
The Charges of the Goddess and God with Commentary
August 4th. 2013 ...
Fair Weather Witches
Pagan Studies II: Modern Paganism in the Americas
Pagan Abbeys - A Practical Heritage for Spiritual Lay and Professional Cloistered Communities
July 28th. 2013 ...
Crystals 101: A Helpful Guide For Beginners
The More the Merrier? It’s not Only an Inaccuracy; it’s an All Out Farce!
My Pagan Manifesto
July 21st. 2013 ...
I'm a Witch, Not a Wiccan: A Brief Summary of Broad Pagan Designations
Rethinking Community for Solitaries
13 Keys: The Beauty of Tiphareth
July 14th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés We Use (Part II)
Pagan Humanism: A Tradition of Rational Religion
Moon/Planetary Musings: The Holly King and John Barleycorn
July 7th. 2013 ...
Coping With Depression: Learning to Dance with the Sacred Twins
Shamanic Healing of Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Humility and Community Service
H is for Hubris
June 30th. 2013 ...
How To Feel The Energy Around You
Planning A Ritual
Why Pagans Might Benefit from Counseling Techniques
The Weight of Contemplation: When the Silent Self Grows Louder
June 23rd. 2013 ...
Magick and Play
Tarot Spell for Protection
Moon Musings and Planetary Preponderances: RE-fuse, RE-duce, RE-use, RE-pair and RE-cycle
June 16th. 2013 ...
How To Stay Spiritual Amidst This Chaos?
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article ID: 13135
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,769
Times Read: 2,728
RSS Views: 81,060
Author: Stifyn Emrys
Posted: February 1st. 2009
Times Viewed: 2,728
Many modern Pagans assert that all gods are one, reflecting various facets of the universal whole. It's an idea that seems, at first blush, to present Paganism as a variety of monotheism - a label usually applied to Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
But wait a minute. Isn't each of these paths historically antagonistic toward Paganism? Surely these fiercely monotheistic religions don't see Pagans as monotheists. So what gives? Are the Pagans just trying to "fit in" with so-called "mainstream" society by minimizing their differences with these other groups? Are we compromising our roots in a sellout to New Age fluffiness?
Personally, I'd have to answer "no" to such questions. First of all, the three western monotheistic faiths aren't just hostile to Pagans - they've been at one another's throats for centuries (and deriding heretics within their own traditions for just as long) . Second, the idea that all gods are one is hardly a new or fluffy idea. It can be found in Gnostic belief systems that viewed various gods, angels and/or heavenly beings as emanations from a single ineffable source. And if Pagans are merely selling out in an effort to conform, we're doing a pretty lousy job of it. Most Pagans I know have no interest in mirroring Christianity, and few Christians have welcomed our ideas any more readily than in the past.
There are, I would argue, significant differences in between Paganism and western monotheism. First of all, you don't have to be a monotheist to be a Pagan. There are plenty of pure polytheists around who are every bit as Pagan as the "all gods are one" crowd. By contrast, monotheism is fundamental to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. You can't really profess one of these faiths without believing in one and only one god (Trinitarian ideas notwithstanding) .
Just as important are the origins and character of these two profoundly different kinds of monotheism. To boil it down simply, Pagan monotheism is the result of a synthesis, while western monotheism is the result of conquest. For evidence of the latter, one need look no further than the person most responsible for the vast spread of Christianity: the Roman Emperor Constantine. According to legend, his conversion to Christianity was all about conquest. He reportedly saw a Christian symbol in the clouds, accompanied by words that announced, "In this sign you shall conquer."
Perhaps the contrast between Paganism and western monotheism can best be expressed as follows: The former recognizes each of the gods as a valid expression of the universal whole, just as each member of a legislative council is recognized equally as a representative of that body. All the members may not agree, and they may even quarrel or try to seize power, but in the end their votes are taken and produce a unified consensus. It's noteworthy that rivals on such divine councils never seem to prevail with any finality, but the tensions created among them serve as the dynamic force that keeps the universe in motion, turning the wheel of the year time and again. The eternal struggle between Set and Horus in Egyptian mythology is but one example, and the process is exemplified by the yin-yang symbol of light and darkness.
Western monotheism is quite different. Instead of continual tension and dynamism, it postulates that light will ultimately prevail over darkness, ushering in a state of stasis or "rest." A look at the history of this tradition reveals why. Unlike Pagan monotheism, with its many quarrelsome but collaborative gods, the origins of western monotheism can be traced to a single god bent on conquering - and destroying - all his rivals.
If the single Pagan god can be likened to a democratic divine council, the single god of western monotheism is an autocratic warlord on the rampage. This is only natural, as he began life as a storm/war god who was called upon to ensure victory in combat with rival nations. As those nations grew, so did this god's power, and he eventually engineered a "coup" against the other gods on the council. It's interesting to note that "god" is often derived in the early part of Genesis from the name Elohim - a plural construction denoting more than one god. In later literary traditions, the war god's mysterious name YHWH (or Yahweh) is used much more frequently and "Elohim" disappears.
Yahweh's warlike influence can be seen in the Israelites' conquest of Palestine, complete with the burning and pillaging of cities, and the slaughter of women and children. Similar widespread (and often brutal) conquests were conducted during Mohammad's campaigns across North Africa and the Christian crusades for the "holy land."
Pagans, of course, have been victims of such campaigns, as well. Nowadays, the campaigns are more likely to be conducted by evangelists seeking converts. The United States is a nation with split personality of sorts: Its government is based on the ancient Pagan model of the divine council, while its spiritual identity is largely based upon western monotheism. This internal conflict has raged for years, leading to a sort of self-conscious schizophrenia as we attempt to live up to both philosophies. Is the United States a "Christian nation" first, subject to the rule of a single autocratic god, or is it an open and democratic society in which many different ideas can be heard and honored in arriving at a consensus?
This is the very question that most western monotheists and Pagans answer quite differently. It can be posed on a scale as large as a nation's identity or as small as an individual's moral code. And how its answer reflects a view of the world that is either dynamic or static. With conquest comes finality, death and, ultimately, decay.
With dynamism comes an eternal cycle of birth, death and renewal that the ancients recognized in the seasons, the tides, the constellations and virtually every other aspect of their lives. This dynamism, ironically, was at the heart of early Christianity, with Jesus taking on the role of the eternally dying and rising Green Man. He had not conquered death, but embraced it as part of the eternal cycle. This is what the western monotheists failed, so tragically, to recognize. And in that failure, they sowed the seeds of eternal death.
Location: San Luis Obispo, California
Author's Profile: To learn more about Stifyn Emrys - Click HERE
Other Articles: Stifyn Emrys has posted 1 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Stifyn Emrys... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2013 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).