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Author Topic: Deity without gender?  (Read 7978 times)

Hayley

Deity without gender?
« on: March 06, 2013, 08:48:45 am »
Or rather, do any of you know of any deities that aren't considered to be masculine or feminine? Or have an otherwise vague gender/sex?

Out of curiosity on my part, mostly, and I didn't have much luck with Google.

Adana Knows Best

Re: Deity without gender?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2013, 01:23:44 pm »
Quote from: Hayley;99818
Or rather, do any of you know of any deities that aren't considered to be masculine or feminine? Or have an otherwise vague gender/sex?

Out of curiosity on my part, mostly, and I didn't have much luck with Google.

 
I do!  I actually came across this in an article online about a week ago, and looked a bit up.  I googled under "androgynous deities" and found resources, so you may not have been googling the right terms... it happens.  

Some references:  
Intersexed and Androgynous Deities in Religion or Mythology
Adrogynous Archetypes
LGBT Themes in Mythology

Personally, I don't view any god or goddess as purely one gender; it's my own personal belief that every living thing has both in varying degrees, including deities.  By this, I mean more along the lines of feminine or masculine energies than anything else.

Vale

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Re: Deity without gender?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2013, 02:06:38 pm »
Quote from: Adana Knows Best;99863

Personally, I don't view any god or goddess as purely one gender; it's my own personal belief that every living thing has both in varying degrees, including deities.  By this, I mean more along the lines of feminine or masculine energies than anything else.


I personally think we anthropomorphise deities. I also don't believe that any of them are entirely masculine or feminine. If indeed masculine or feminine has any meaning at all in this context.

SkySamuelle

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Re: Deity without gender?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 02:13:55 pm »
Quote from: Adana Knows Best;99863
I do!  I actually came across this in an article online about a week ago, and looked a bit up.  I googled under "androgynous deities" and found resources, so you may not have been googling the right terms... it happens.  

 
Or maybe androgynous and agender are two entirely differing -actually opposite- adjectives/concepts.

Back to the OP- aside Yawhe, that is still referenced as 'god father' and maybe the Holy Spirit I can't think of any genderless deities I have ever heard of.
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Hayley

Deity without gender?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 04:34:34 pm »
Quote from: Adana Knows Best;99863
Personally, I don't view any god or goddess as purely one gender; it's my own personal belief that every living thing has both in varying degrees, including deities.  By this, I mean more along the lines of feminine or masculine energies than anything else.
I look at it similarly and personally don't really consider any deity to be specifically masculine or feminine, even when they are often represented as such.

Thank you for the links though, very helpful! I have friends who consider themselves agendered, and pondering along those lines earlier today led me to thinking about deity worship when you don't consider yourself to be man or woman as such.

 I actually searched for 'agendered' and 'genderless' deities though which didn't get me very far. Androgyny didn't even cross my mind despite being the most obvious search term for that sort of deity.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 04:38:39 pm by Hayley »

Hayley

Deity without gender?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 04:43:12 pm »
Quote from: SkySamuelle;99879
Or maybe androgynous and agender are two entirely differing -actually opposite- adjectives/concepts.

Back to the OP- aside Yawhe, that is still referenced as 'god father' and maybe the Holy Spirit I can't think of any genderless deities I have ever heard of.
They are indeed opposites. I was referring to agender rather than androgynous in this case, but searching wise I imagine androgynous is a far more common term used even if it is in an incorrect context.

Nyktipolos

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Re: Deity without gender?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 05:03:10 pm »
Quote from: Hayley;99818
Or rather, do any of you know of any deities that aren't considered to be masculine or feminine? Or have an otherwise vague gender/sex?

Out of curiosity on my part, mostly, and I didn't have much luck with Google.


P. Sufrenas Lupus has written on a couple of deities who are either genderqueer, pangender, trans*... I'm not entirely familiar with what he has written, but here's a link to his main tag on the subject of these deities. I'm not sure how "historical" they are, though. He's also written a book on the Tetrad (the group of fluid gendered gods he is writing about). I also can't say whether any of them are agendered, because like I said I'm not 100% familiar with it (I just follow his blog on my feed, but I don't read everything).
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Re: Deity without gender?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 09:43:27 pm »
Quote from: Nyktipolos;99901
P. Sufrenas Lupus has written on a couple of deities who are either genderqueer, pangender, trans*... I'm not entirely familiar with what he has written, but here's a link to his main tag on the subject of these deities. I'm not sure how "historical" they are, though. He's also written a book on the Tetrad (the group of fluid gendered gods he is writing about). I also can't say whether any of them are agendered, because like I said I'm not 100% familiar with it (I just follow his blog on my feed, but I don't read everything).

 
Lupus' Tetrad aren't historical, particularly--they're new gnosis, and even he talks about them as a new phenomenon.  My understanding from conversation with him, and from his writing, is that none of the Tetrad is agender, but rather that they have non-binary or trans genders, which is different.

Generally responding to this conversation, there are a lot of non-binary-gendered deities (many belonging to genders that are nonetheless standard in their associated human cultures), a lot of androgynous deities and multigendered deities, a number of what we might call transgender deities, but the only agender deities I know are the really abstract ones, like the various Neoplatonic/Gnostic/mystical-monotheist conceptions of the ultimate infinite, or those conceptions of divinity expressed through pantheism and panentheism.
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MordredRedeemed

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Re: Deity without gender?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2013, 01:03:14 pm »
Quote from: Hayley;99818
Or rather, do any of you know of any deities that aren't considered to be masculine or feminine? Or have an otherwise vague gender/sex?

Out of curiosity on my part, mostly, and I didn't have much luck with Google.


First thing that popped into my head was Hermaphroditus but i'm not sure that's what you were looking for.

Wiki article for what it's worth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermaphroditus
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Nyktelios

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Re: Deity without gender?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2013, 04:24:49 pm »
Quote from: Hayley;99818
Or rather, do any of you know of any deities that aren't considered to be masculine or feminine? Or have an otherwise vague gender/sex?

Out of curiosity on my part, mostly, and I didn't have much luck with Google.

 
The Anderson Feri Tradition of Witchcraft has a very gender-fluid theology, which is hard to explain in a forum post like this. Basically, gender is unique to the physical experience, and spirit beings like gods are thought to be both male and female in one. The Great Goddess/Star Goddess/God Herself is the primordial being, and she is feminine in function because she gives birth to all creation, but she is neither male or female. She gives birth to the Divine Twins, the two aspects of the masculine deity, from her lust, and while they are masculine in function, they can manifest as various combinations of genders.

In terms of gender-bending gods from ancient cultures, Aphrodite and Ishtar come to mind. Ishtar, as represented by the planet Venus, had both a male and female aspect. Venus as the morning star was Ishtar in her male, war aspect, while Venus as the evening star was Ishtar in her female aspect as goddess of sex and fertility. Aphrodite is very similar to Ishtar, and apparently one of the forms in which she was worshiped on the island of Cyprus was bearded in male guise. I don't know how to explain it, but my personal opinion is that it was to show the universal nature of these goddesses, that they were the prototype of all creation, both male and female.

I don't know about totally genderless gods. I think that the more primordial deities are less concerned with gender than the younger, more anthropomorphic generations of deities, but I can't think of specific examples. Atum (Egyptian) comes to mind, but he if usually in male form. I don't really buy that the Abrahamic god is genderless. While I can see the point of the argument that using masculine pronouns is just a convenience and God really has no gender, it's not all that convincing when the older, more traditional sects of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam consider female clergy to be blasphemous and view women in general as second-class citizens. Yes, they come out of patriarchal societies, but ancient Greece was also militantly patriarchal, and there were still priestesses to serve female deities.

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Re: Deity without gender?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2013, 04:44:57 pm »
Quote from: Carnelian;100360
I don't really buy that the Abrahamic god is genderless. While I can see the point of the argument that using masculine pronouns is just a convenience and God really has no gender, it's not all that convincing when the older, more traditional sects of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam consider female clergy to be blasphemous and view women in general as second-class citizens. Yes, they come out of patriarchal societies, but ancient Greece was also militantly patriarchal, and there were still priestesses to serve female deities.

 
I recall, the following passage from Genesis is used to argue that Abrahamic God is genderless, or perhaps rather hermaphrodite:

Quote
So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

(the pronouns "he", "his" are not present in Hebrew text)

Polymorphia

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Re: Deity without gender?
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2013, 04:50:48 am »
Quote from: Hayley;99818
Or rather, do any of you know of any deities that aren't considered to be masculine or feminine? Or have an otherwise vague gender/sex?

Out of curiosity on my part, mostly, and I didn't have much luck with Google.

 
Personally I wouldn't think divine beings would need a gender, since it's such a human construct. Still, this is coming from someone who doesn't worship a deity. I don't mean offense to anyone who does. xD

I still don't understand why divine beings would need to have human biological functions to reproduce either, but y'know.

Hayley

Deity without gender?
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2013, 04:27:57 pm »
Quote from: Polymorphia;100635
Personally I wouldn't think divine beings would need a gender, since it's such a human construct. Still, this is coming from someone who doesn't worship a deity. I don't mean offense to anyone who does. xD

I still don't understand why divine beings would need to have human biological functions to reproduce either, but y'know.

I agree with you on both points, the first of which was part of my thought line leading to this thread. Humans tend to assign their deities with some semblance of gender though, even if that may be fluid or dual - I wondered if there had been a deity who was thought of as a genderless entity, rather than inherently masculine or feminine.

So far it seems there's always some reference to gender though, even in deities that are thought to encompass everything.  I guess they're the closest thing.

Rhyshadow

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Re: Deity without gender?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2013, 06:34:35 pm »
Quote from: Polymorphia;100635
Personally I wouldn't think divine beings would need a gender, since it's such a human construct. Still, this is coming from someone who doesn't worship a deity. I don't mean offense to anyone who does. xD

I still don't understand why divine beings would need to have human biological functions to reproduce either, but y'know.

 
Depends a lot on the Pantheon - in Irish-Gaelic tradition, the Tuatha de Dannan aren't "gods" per-se, but just advanced beings. They can be killed, they aren't immortal and they do have children - the death of Brighid's son Ruadán is when she invented keening, Dain Cecht's children turned out to be better healers than he was, etc-etc-etc.

Most other Pantheons I'm familiar with have similar things, Norse especially, but even the Greco-Roman gods had children and the Egyptian ones did as well.

I think in the long run, we DO create "God" in our own image, but since the stories passed down are pretty much all we have to go on, to dismiss the thought of gender in deity does a dis-service to those who wrote the stories down

YMMV of course, and if thinking of deity as genderless works for you, then by all means, go for it - for me, gender is as important to them as it is to us

Myrth

Deity without gender?
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2013, 10:32:36 pm »
Quote from: Hayley;99818
Or rather, do any of you know of any deities that aren't considered to be masculine or feminine? Or have an otherwise vague gender/sex?

Out of curiosity on my part, mostly, and I didn't have much luck with Google.

I don't view deity as male or female. As to their being historically worshipped, the other answers here are probably more what you are looking for. But my first thought in answer to your question was the Great Spirit.

My second was...

May the Force be with you.

:)

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