Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
The Third Path
Nothing Special... Part Two
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
My Brother's Keeper
December 16th. 2012 ...
Keeping Christ in Xmas
Love is the Law
Listen to Your Heart's Wisdom
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Sweet Ambrosia: The Food of the Gods
Article ID: 14690
Age Group: Adult
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Author: BellaDonna Saberhagen
Posted: January 8th. 2012
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Anyone who has watched Xena: Warrior Princess knows that ambrosia is the food of the Gods and that to partake of it can make a god of a mortal. So what is this food of the Gods? If you read my article “The Chicken or the Egg, “ you will note that I believe man creates gods through sincere belief in their divinity and due worship. This being the case, the food of the gods is that belief and worship; and without it, the gods may vanish.*
One of my first Pagan friends in college used to tell a joke (I don’t know where he heard it, so if it’s copyrighted, I apologize) : The king of the gods called his underlings to him because it had come to his attention that some of them were shirking their duties. He told them, “If you don’t do your job, the people start by-passing you and coming directly to me. Do you know what that leads to? Monotheism!” (Basically, they would be out of a job and his would become much more difficult.)
Many of us know what it’s like to be out of a job, to be downsized, to barely get enough food to survive. I know I’ve had weeks of eating nothing but ramen. You’ll probably give me flack for this, but I believe that by treating “all god/desses as one God/dess”, you’re (at best) putting the gods on the ambrosia equivalent of the aforementioned ramen diet. You can’t survive on ramen alone. It’s not satisfying, nor very nourishing, has enough salt to raise even the Buddha’s blood pressure and you will eventually fall prey to malnutrition. This is, of course, assuming that any of the nourishment (worship) given to The God or The Goddess winds its way down to any of the gods that have been demoted by some soft-polytheists as merely “aspects” of the Great Duo.
Let’s say you have three cats; one is white, one is black, and the last one is tan. You give them love, attention, food and shelter. They give you love and attention when they feel you’ve earned it (They are cats, after-all) . Then one day, someone comes along and takes away your three cats and replaces them with one calico cat, stating that you only need this one because it has “aspects” of the other three.
The calico is nice and friendly and is happy to eat enough food for three cats. Would you think that just because this calico has all three colors of your now missing cats and eats as much as your previous three cats ate that somehow that nourishment is getting to your three missing cats? You’d find that silly. You’d be upset and worried about your missing cats. If the stranger even suggested that by feeding the calico you were feeding your other three cats, you’d think he was off his rocker. This is what some forms of soft-polytheism suggests and I would also state that such worship isn’t fulfilling to The Goddess or The God. You couldn’t expect our allegoric calico to get nutrition if you simply smear food onto its black patch. You’d be missing its mouth.
For example, in Book of Shadows by Scott Cunningham (the new work that was found and supplemented with his other published works in an attempt to make it “complete”) , the specific names of Diana and Kernunnos (spelled here as Cunningham spelled it in his book) are used as the names of the Goddess and the God. However, historically, these are very specific deities (not even of the same pantheon) and they have very specific spheres of influence (at least Diana does; you can give Cernunnos almost any job since all we know historically is his name and iconography… though from iconography we can guess that he had something to do with the forest and virility/fertility) .
So, by calling The Goddess “Diana” (a virgin goddess of the moon) , you’re not feeding the other roles of The Goddess. Diana, being a perpetual virgin (Maiden) , cannot fulfill the Mother or Crone roles typically associated with The Goddess. It is fine to have a mysterious divinely feminine entity that does fulfill those roles, but it is not okay to use those roles as an excuse to template previously conceived deities onto her and expect her “food” to get to her through that filter. (This argument is made from a cultural standpoint in my article Soft-Polytheism: Cultural Appropriation for the New Age) .
The ancient Egyptians believed that immortality was ensured as long as the name was remembered (at least that of the Pharaoh, who was seen as a god) . When Christianity began to take over Europe, the gods were relegated to myths that were written down (the Greeks and Romans wrote their own stories, but it was later Christian monks and scholars who wrote down Norse and Celtic myths) . Had this not occurred, the god/goddess names would have been forgotten and their tales would have disappeared forever instead of being fed again as new forms of Paganism began to form. To be forgotten is to truly die.
If the “Venus of Willendorf” was an ancient goddess -- this has been debated; she and similar statues may have just been fertility charms-- then her true name is lost to history. Truly, until archaeologists found her image, she was a dead goddess and remained so until someone latched onto the image and championed it as “the ancient mother goddess’.
If this statue was the image of a goddess, then that nameless goddess is dead and we have thus poured adoration of a new goddess into that ancient mold perhaps because it fits the pseudo-history some modern practitioners hold as “gospel”. After all, if the “Venus of Willendorf” is a stone-age goddess, that ‘proves’ that the pan-European goddess worshipping Old Religion witchcraft postulated by Margaret Murray is true and therefore valid (Please note this is said in sarcasm. Age has nothing to do with the validity of a religion) .
I cannot say for certain that the gods survived as merely stories without worship. I can say that the IDEA of them survived, and if anyone learning the tales in the past saw them as “real gods that aren’t worshipped anymore” -- as I did when I was first introduced to mythology in school --then maybe that was enough belief for them survive on “rations”. But now that we are free to worship them, is it right to keep them on tight rations? I think not.
Not everyone needs to give each god or goddess worship (This is why I think monotheism and duo-theism are fine and why I only have issues with soft-polytheism) ; the gods aren’t that greedy (Okay, some of them might be, but they tend to have enough followers in this day and age) . If enough people feed each one, they will be fine and well sated. I just fear that if all god/desses are seen as ‘The God’ and ‘The Goddess’, eventually their individualities will fade and only the ‘Great Duo’ will remain. This would be deicide.
*Note: this article is very much my own opinion and belief. It is personal gnosis and as such, I cannot back it up.
Book of Shadows by Scott Cunningham
Location: Sunbury, Pennsylvania
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