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Author Topic: A Neo-Pagan Pantheon? (or, Odin, Hecate and the Morrigan walk into a ritual...)  (Read 6245 times)

Jack

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Has anybody else had a chance to read this interview with Gavin Bone? I found it via the Wild Hunt this morning.

Quote
We are forming a Neo-Pagan pantheon. We only have a finite amount of energy to give the gods as spirits as they wake up.  You see the same gods and goddess coming up all the time in our community. Hecate, Brid, Isis, Morrigan, Freja, Odin, Diana etc.  Because there is only this finite amount of energy for them, they are congregating and forming a  new pantheon.  All awakened gods from different cultures forming a pantheon, and redefining roles.


I find this conceptually a really interesting idea, but I can't help feeling like trying to put all of those deities in a single pantheon is... well, it'd make for a hell of a dinner party.

That I would watch from over here, behind lead shields.

Joking aside, there's a lot of interesting bits to chew on in the interview. I do feel like the energy we give to the gods is important - if I didn't, I wouldn't need to put so much effort into my relationship with Mara - and I feel like there's a give-and-take there without necessarily being able to express it in words.

I'm not sure where the idea of a "Neo-Pagan Pantheon" like this would end up, especially as those gods would still be interacting inside their own pantheons as well. Surely Asatru/heathenry is widespread enough to generate the energy to support their own gods?

I mostly just wanted to see what other people thought of Bone's comments, so I figured I'd pin this here.
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Quote from: Jack;112819
Has anybody else had a chance to read this interview with Gavin Bone? I found it via the Wild Hunt this morning.

 
I dunno, seems to me there are plenty of people who are devoted to an entire pantheon. Or at least, do the appropriate rituals and sacrifices required for their selected pantheon.
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Quote from: Jack;112819
I find this conceptually a really interesting idea, but I can't help feeling like trying to put all of those deities in a single pantheon is... well, it'd make for a hell of a dinner party.

That I would watch from over here, behind lead shields.


Um, yeah.

Aside from the kind of terrifying guest list, that's not a functional setup as far as I can see.

I mean, one of the valuable points of dealing with a pantheonic group as a pantheonic group is that that covers all the jobs, more or less.  Which means that even if you're not dealing with the god of such-and-such on a personal level, you're dealing with their cousin, their foster-sibling, their some form of established relationship.

When most of what you've got are (to approximate) gods of magic and power, well, yeah, magic and power will take you a long fucking way, but that's not a well-founded system that will cover an entire society, and it's not a pantheonic structure that will address people getting fed, let alone other things that people might be concerned with.

And in your worst case, you'll just get the people who are only interested in magic and power, and not in much of anything else, even when the 'anything else' falls into the purview of some of the gods in this so-called pantheon.
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Nyktelios

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Quote from: Jack;112819
I mostly just wanted to see what other people thought of Bone's comments, so I figured I'd pin this here.


It's an interesting idea, but I don't really see things the same way. I don't think certain gods are "waking up" now that people have begun to worship them again, but you never know. I personally think that the  gods are personifications of the natural powers of the universe, which have always been functioning, whether or not silly humans acknowledge them. I also think that the popularity of certain deities is like the popularity of anything else in that it has more to do with which ones people of influence in the community talk/write about, sparking an interest in others.

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Quote from: Jack;112819


I mostly just wanted to see what other people thought of Bone's comments, so I figured I'd pin this here.


Without yet having had a chance to read the actual comments,* I shy away from this idea, for the reasons everyone else has already laid out. To amplify what Darkhawk said, the gods exist in relation to the others in their pantheon. They need to be understood in context, and most importantly, understood through their myths (which almost invariably involve other gods from their pantheon). The stories are what define them.

Otherwise, it's kind of like the Imagination Land trilogy in South Park, where there's some giant table with Jesus and Aslan and Luke Skywalker all sitting around. Without context, it's goofiness.

*I reserve the right to revise any of these remarks once I've had a chance to read the actual comments!
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Quote from: Jack;112819
Has anybody else had a chance to read this interview with Gavin Bone? I found it via the Wild Hunt this morning.



I find this conceptually a really interesting idea, but I can't help feeling like trying to put all of those deities in a single pantheon is... well, it'd make for a hell of a dinner party.

That I would watch from over here, behind lead shields.


I can see a coven of eclectics doing this but I don't see it having impact on the community as a whole.

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Quote from: RoselynLibera;112836
I can see a coven of eclectics doing this but I don't see it having impact on the community as a whole.


Same here, most of the people I know work in a particular pantheon. I also as someone else said do not see the Gods as recently 'waking up'. They didn't go to sleep just because they weren't actively being worshipped by a lot of humans. In the celtic pantheon they have lives and family and friends and enemies of their own and have been doing things long before they started being worshipped and I figure they've been occupying themselves just find in the hollow hills without us :)

Ravaris

Quote from: Jack;112819
Has anybody else had a chance to read this interview with Gavin Bone? I found it via the Wild Hunt this morning.



I find this conceptually a really interesting idea, but I can't help feeling like trying to put all of those deities in a single pantheon is... well, it'd make for a hell of a dinner party.

That I would watch from over here, behind lead shields.

Joking aside, there's a lot of interesting bits to chew on in the interview. I do feel like the energy we give to the gods is important - if I didn't, I wouldn't need to put so much effort into my relationship with Mara - and I feel like there's a give-and-take there without necessarily being able to express it in words.

I'm not sure where the idea of a "Neo-Pagan Pantheon" like this would end up, especially as those gods would still be interacting inside their own pantheons as well. Surely Asatru/heathenry is widespread enough to generate the energy to support their own gods?

I mostly just wanted to see what other people thought of Bone's comments, so I figured I'd pin this here.


Do Pagan god's really need people to worship them in order to function? I find this idea so odd.

Leanan Sidhe

Quote from: Jack;112819


I mostly just wanted to see what other people thought of Bone's comments, so I figured I'd pin this here.


 
I work mostly with one pantheon, though I have a deity each from two others and I've worked with those from a few more.

I don't agree with the whole "awakening" bit. That really strikes me as a whimsical line of thought.
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Cabal

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Quote from: Leanan Sidhe;112878
I work mostly with one pantheon, though I have a deity each from two others and I've worked with those from a few more.

I don't agree with the whole "awakening" bit. That really strikes me as a whimsical line of thought.

 
My deities come from a Brythonic pantheon and trying to incorporate them into another would to me be disrespectful!
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Dark Midnight

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Quote from: Darkhawk;112825
Um, yeah.

Aside from the kind of terrifying guest list, that's not a functional setup as far as I can see.

I mean, one of the valuable points of dealing with a pantheonic group as a pantheonic group is that that covers all the jobs, more or less.  Which means that even if you're not dealing with the god of such-and-such on a personal level, you're dealing with their cousin, their foster-sibling, their some form of established relationship.

When most of what you've got are (to approximate) gods of magic and power, well, yeah, magic and power will take you a long fucking way, but that's not a well-founded system that will cover an entire society, and it's not a pantheonic structure that will address people getting fed, let alone other things that people might be concerned with.

And in your worst case, you'll just get the people who are only interested in magic and power, and not in much of anything else, even when the 'anything else' falls into the purview of some of the gods in this so-called pantheon.

 
I agree. The whole point of a Pantheon is that it covers the whole gamut of jobs and issues. Why would the Deities even want to join another group?

Personally, it sounds to me as though someone is trying to do a 'pick and mix' for a group that would suit them because they have problems with other certain Deities in the current Pantheons. Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me, and I think I'd rather watch from a great distance away.
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MadZealot

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Quote from: Leanan Sidhe;112878
I don't agree with the whole "awakening" bit. That really strikes me as a whimsical line of thought.


Yeah. When I came across this sentence-
Quote
Because there is only this finite amount of energy for them, they are congregating and forming a  new pantheon.

- I was briefly reminded of American Gods.  Great story and premise, but, you know, fiction.
Profanity is a social construct.

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Quote from: Jack;112819



OK, OK Gavin... 'random list of gods, called on by people, because they are the gods most popular and most likely to be found in a superficial search' equals not 'Pantheon'.

This is imo the other way around. Folks run on 101 Wicca books and the named gods are often mentioned, so they 'use' them and chose to 'work' with them. It's like a lot of neo-wiccan, neo-pagan stuff. Writers copy stuff from each other and to the new, unsuspecting reader, there seems to be a homogeneous thing behind the repetition.

Well, it is not.

Also... how cute to think, the gods need to be woken up.
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That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance.
You couldn’t set out to be a good witch or a bad witch. It never worked out for long.
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Confuzzled and proud. :p

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Quote from: Darkhawk;112825
Um, yeah.

Aside from the kind of terrifying guest list, that's not a functional setup as far as I can see.

I mean, one of the valuable points of dealing with a pantheonic group as a pantheonic group is that that covers all the jobs, more or less.  Which means that even if you're not dealing with the god of such-and-such on a personal level, you're dealing with their cousin, their foster-sibling, their some form of established relationship.

When most of what you've got are (to approximate) gods of magic and power, well, yeah, magic and power will take you a long fucking way, but that's not a well-founded system that will cover an entire society, and it's not a pantheonic structure that will address people getting fed, let alone other things that people might be concerned with.

And in your worst case, you'll just get the people who are only interested in magic and power, and not in much of anything else, even when the 'anything else' falls into the purview of some of the gods in this so-called pantheon.

 
I didn't even go and look; just the bit Jack quoted had me :hdsk::hdsk::hdsk:. One of the major reasons I am so alienated from Greater Pagandom is that I (superficially) fit the template of What Every Pagan Is Like that a certain large, loud contingent keeps pushing, and their damn templates do not even serve me well, much less those many, many people who don't conform, or seem to conform, to this purported ideal.

I sometimes feel a bit embarrassed about being too specific about my personal thematic pantheon (pantheon, because they interact and work with each other; they are not just the list of deities I work with) since it's pretty heavy on 'popular' deities. Take the names listed in the bit Jack quoted; the only one I definitely don't work with is Isis - otherwise, yeah, with some fiddling about cognate-kin and culture-specificity. For which reason, I don't find the list as :yikes: as Jack does... but OTOH, that has to do with my personal relationships with them and why they're 'on a team together' in context of me and my practice. Others' mileage will certainly vary; I don't recommend trying to invite 'em all to the same party unless you have a practice that supports it. No, scratch that; I don't recommend that a pracftitioner try to be the primary agent in getting them to interact, period - I didn't; I interacted individually with various deities that took an interest in me and my practice, and the 'thematic pantheon' thing eventually developed. (See also, 'I don't know, man, I didn't do it.)

One of the things about a personal thematic pantheon? As Darkhawk notes (and this is why I hung this off her post, though it turns out I'm not responding to it as much as I expected when I hit 'reply'), there often are things that aren't really covered. That's not necessarily a massive problem for one practitioner (not like the cultural pantheons these deities originate in don't exist, or that they're cut off from 'em), but it's not a non-problem, either.

... And now I'm stuck, because the silliness comes on so many levels, and I'm not sure which level(s) Bone is being silly on. A hubristic one, in which he fancies he can tell the deities which ones are 'allowed' to involve themselves with All Neo-Pagans (or, slightly less hubristic but still unspeakably arrogant, which deities that oh-so-monolithic [not!] mass of Neo-Pagans is permitted to interact with)? A statistical one, in which he assumes that because a deity has a certain high level of popularity among eclectic pagans, that means each and every person who is an eclectic pagan is contributing to that popularity by having some kind of interaction with the deity in question? A theological one, in which he takes the fictional device of 'small gods, who die without the nourishment of worship-energy' (or at least are dormant, unreachable until a critical mass of worshippers is achieved) as established doctrine? A simple linguistic one, in which he supposes that 'highly popular' somehow constitutes enough of a theme to establish not just a personal and thematic pantheon, but a cultural one for all of a subculture, thus stretching the word 'pantheon' all out of shape?

Hell, 'personal thematic pantheon' is a bit of a stretch (which is what the adjectival modifiers are for), but at least it addresses how and why that set of deities is a functioning team, when the how/why is not 'to serve the whole needs of a whole culture' (which a subculture is not, kinda by definition). This idea doesn't seem to be about a functioning team at all. At best, he's pointing out that neoPaganism-the-religion (that otherwise-nameless, vaguely-Wiccish subset of neoPaganism-the-movement [no, I will not be getting off that hobbyhorse any time soon]) has a thing regarding deities that is very, veeeeery loosely analogous to Olympians:Theoi. (Film at Eleven! In other news, Dog Bites Man!)

(And, oh, I did engage/springboard from Darkhawk's points quite a bit after all; I just ran enough farther with them that I didn't quite notice it was still them.)

I may try reading the article at some later point, if I'm feeling inclined to face all possible outcomes of, 'Is this as headdesky as it appears, or does it have redeeming values, or is it even more headdesky than that?' But don't hold your breath.

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Quote from: Tana;112887

Also... how cute to think, the gods need to be woken up.

 
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
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