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Author Topic: A poor defense of Deity conflation  (Read 3316 times)

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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2018, 01:17:02 am »
Ahem, that was meant to be "Roman". Not trying to make generalizations about the religious practices of the Roma culture.

I figured the potential for misunderstanding - not just confusion, but hurtfulness/offense - was great enough that I fixed it.

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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2018, 11:28:09 am »
....and JR Smith needs to pay attention to the scoreboard.

Anyway, I was really intrigued when reading this section of your post. I've always had some difficulty with the relationship between deity and locality - if the Gods are truly these gigantic foundation of reality type beings, then shouldn't they appear in many different cultures under different guises? And if they are more localized, can their worship really be transferred from one locality to another?

The idea that pantheons as humans understand them are a collection of roles that can be filled by a number of deities does allow some way out of this conundrum; cultures take their understandings of what deities do with them and the deities of a particular region may agree to "play the role" so to speak.

This isn't directed at me, but I find the idea interesting. I think, as always, the answer comes down to "it depends". I was just talking to a friend of mine about movable genus locii, something you'd think was an oxymoron! For context, I'm making a big move in a couple of weeks, and wanted to bring some of the local spirits with me For Reasons - basically, they're the ones responsible for making my very early forays into paganism so wildly, hauntingly successful - and to my surprise, I got volunteers when I went out and asked. My friend experienced similar with a well spirit of her childhood. So my feeling is that, if hyperlocal beings can be mobile, surely gods can too. Of course it'll look vastly different when they do migrate with their followers, and a lot of ink has been spilled on the subject by a number of very smart bloggers. The first thing that comes to mind is the widely reported association of Dionysus with the buffalo for North American devotees, for example.

I've found that I increasingly see something similar to this in my experience with deities. For me, this idea was sparked by the following article;

https://larhusfyrnsida.com/2016/10/13/binaman-a-distinctly-fyrnsidere-approach-to-divinity/

...from which I take the idea that the Deities epithets (or Beinamen for us Germanically-inclined folk) can represent distinct personalities contained within a Deity, and perhaps even closely related deities who, as in your experience with the twins, always appear together. These days I often pray to a specific aspect of a particular Deity and I have found this has greatly enriched my relationships.

That's a fascinating article! I've actually done similar - relying on epithet-type naming structures when working with gods I didn't feel comfortable using their proper names for. It definitely works, provided it's not strictly a crutch or a way to misrepresent them.

Quote
(Oh, by the way, was the book you mentioned above the following one?)
https://www.amazon.ca/Masks-Spirit-Image-Metaphor-Mesoamerica/dp/0520086546

The very same!

Quote
Yeah, I think you're right in that one shouldn't let philosophy and theology get in the way of actually experiencing the Deities, and such questions can become a distraction. Yet at the same time, I feel a bout of old-fashioned theological speculation can help cultivate relationships with Deities as long as one doesn't, you know, focus on the finger.



You're right, it definitely can help inform real experience. Most of us wouldn't be here if we hadn't asked a few questions at some point. ;)

Unfortunately, I've seen too many people turn fundamentalist in conversations like these over the years, unable and quite unwilling to let the gods take care of and speak for themselves!

It makes me wonder, though, what it might take for Fyrn Sidu, or any other polytheist religion really, to accept a modern revealed name for a deity whose name had been lost? Of course, the broader off-topic question becomes, when will our religions be producing acceptable primary sources again?
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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2018, 11:58:26 am »
For example, though I think that Freyr and Dionysus are distinct deities, I could see Freyr's associations with the "bounty of the earth", "abundance" and "prosperity" (Snorri) as possibly suggesting that he could function as a God who could have some, shall we say, "Dionysian" aspects. I personally associate Freyr with joy, celebration, and the beverages which can facilitate that. In that sense, though I think Freyr and Dionysus are distinct, I think there is a bit of Dionysus in Freyr.

Have I used the pie metaphor in this thread?  I can't remember, so I'm going to do it (potentially again).

I tend to look at the whole realm of the numinous as being like a giant, N-dimensional pie.  Any given god taking a portfolio is cutting out a slice of pie.  So if one imagines that any given cultural pantheon is dividing up the same basic pie (which is maybe... 70, 80% true; different cultures have different imaginations of what the pie is) then one can sort of describe which parts of the pie each Power has on their plate.

Now, when comparing how other pantheons slice up their pies, there are going to be similarities.  Greenery/foliage gods are often rebirth/resurrection gods, because those bits of pie are, actually, pretty close to each other if one looks at the world symbolically.  But some foliage/resurrection gods have an ecstasy/inebriation riff, and some don't; some ecstasy/inebriation gods are not foliage/resurrection gods; they cut up the pie differently.  Even if foliage/resurrection is a fairly tight pairing - found in the same slice of pie more often than not - other stuff is more loosely associated.

No two Powers will take the exact same slice of the cosmic pie.

But two Powers that snagged really similar slices of pie will be more likely to be regarded by their source cultures as 'different forms of the same god' than Powers that have more partial pie-overlap.

(And you can get more and less stuff wiggling around depending on the sort of focus you've got on the pie.  Religious witchcraft's tendency to produce blurrier, hypersyncretic and impressionistic gods is sort of a 'this is a soft-focus cosmic pie, and we cut it in big slices' thing, where recon paganisms want to track every jot, tittle, berry, and fleck of spice and thus are much, much more particular about precisely where the pie is sliced.)
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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2018, 06:45:11 pm »
This isn't directed at me, but I find the idea interesting. I think, as always, the answer comes down to "it depends". I was just talking to a friend of mine about movable genus locii, something you'd think was an oxymoron! For context, I'm making a big move in a couple of weeks, and wanted to bring some of the local spirits with me For Reasons - basically, they're the ones responsible for making my very early forays into paganism so wildly, hauntingly successful - and to my surprise, I got volunteers when I went out and asked. My friend experienced similar with a well spirit of her childhood. So my feeling is that, if hyperlocal beings can be mobile, surely gods can too. Of course it'll look vastly different when they do migrate with their followers, and a lot of ink has been spilled on the subject by a number of very smart bloggers. The first thing that comes to mind is the widely reported association of Dionysus with the buffalo for North American devotees, for example.

In a sense, I sometimes wonder why I've had difficulty with the idea of Deities moving - for Germanic religions we have a very clear, well-recorded example of the colonization of Iceland and the movement of the cults of a number of Germanic deities to a brand new environment. I guess I always just sort of saw a disconnect between the idea of a God as this really grand typeof cosmic force and the restriction of its worship to a particular culture. But perhaps it makes more sense if I look at it as the worship/cult of the deity spreading, and that engagement with the deity as being possible in new environments because, perhaps, in some sense, all the Gods are at least capable of interacting with their worshippers everywhere on Earth.


You're right, it definitely can help inform real experience. Most of us wouldn't be here if we hadn't asked a few questions at some point. ;)

Unfortunately, I've seen too many people turn fundamentalist in conversations like these over the years, unable and quite unwilling to let the gods take care of and speak for themselves!

It makes me wonder, though, what it might take for Fyrn Sidu, or any other polytheist religion really, to accept a modern revealed name for a deity whose name had been lost? Of course, the broader off-topic question becomes, when will our religions be producing acceptable primary sources again?

I think that, given the relatively small scale of the worship of Pre-Christian Western Eurasian and North African Deities today, new relationships with deities will, initially at least, be on a relatively small scale. In smaller localized communities, the potentially stronger bonds of trust within the group may facilitate a greater willingness to accept new ideas about old Gods as it were.

However, for the foreseeable future, I do think there will continue to be a strong conservative streak in the revived polytheistic traditions if for no other reason than the fact that these traditions may appeal to some people specifically because they can at least appear to be traditions which have a greater degree of structure than some of the more open traditions under the pagan umbrella.

In other words, although I think many people come to modern Pagan religions because they find the relatively high levels of organization and structure in Christian traditions to be stifling, I think there is a subset of modern Pagans who did not disagree with the levels of organization of Christian groups, but just rather prefer to see that level of organization in a different theological context. So some modern polytheists may be resistant to new concepts of the Gods precisely because they find comfort in the "rules", as they perceieve them, of historical polytheistic traditions.
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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #34 on: June 02, 2018, 07:17:29 pm »
Have I used the pie metaphor in this thread?  I can't remember, so I'm going to do it (potentially again).

I believe you have mentioned it already, and that is perfectly fine because I always find the pie metaphor fascinating. I can't claim I understand it all the time, but I certainly find it to be a useful perspective on things.

I tend to look at the whole realm of the numinous as being like a giant, N-dimensional pie.  Any given god taking a portfolio is cutting out a slice of pie.  So if one imagines that any given cultural pantheon is dividing up the same basic pie (which is maybe... 70, 80% true; different cultures have different imaginations of what the pie is) then one can sort of describe which parts of the pie each Power has on their plate.

Now, when comparing how other pantheons slice up their pies, there are going to be similarities.  Greenery/foliage gods are often rebirth/resurrection gods, because those bits of pie are, actually, pretty close to each other if one looks at the world symbolically.  But some foliage/resurrection gods have an ecstasy/inebriation riff, and some don't; some ecstasy/inebriation gods are not foliage/resurrection gods; they cut up the pie differently.  Even if foliage/resurrection is a fairly tight pairing - found in the same slice of pie more often than not - other stuff is more loosely associated.

No two Powers will take the exact same slice of the cosmic pie.

But two Powers that snagged really similar slices of pie will be more likely to be regarded by their source cultures as 'different forms of the same god' than Powers that have more partial pie-overlap.

I think it Edward Butler article I linked earlier has one section that I found quite useful and may relate somewhat to the pie analogy you are using, he says;

"There are two ways in which Gods are “near” one another: first, through being part of the same divine “family” or being in the same myths together, which we usually refer to as being in the same pantheon. Secondly, the Gods can be “near” one another through having similar characteristic patterns of activity, which we talk about across pantheons, like when we say that Hermes and Anubis are both psychopomps (Gods who conduct souls into the netherworld.)"

One of Butler's main points in this article is that "The Gods, as the ultimate individuals, include everything — even each other." From this, I take the idea that Deities can exhibit characteristics which are closely associated with another deity, and that these links will be stronger when deities share either relationships with each other in a "pantheon" of deities or when they share similar areas of influence. So for example, Dionysus and Freyr, as deities from almost-neighboring cultures with some overlap in function may well display each other's characteristics to their worshippers. Whereas Deities with little to no cultural or functional similarity may very rarely or almost never display such overlap - say for example, Odin and Guan Yin may have very little to do with each other.

(And you can get more and less stuff wiggling around depending on the sort of focus you've got on the pie.  Religious witchcraft's tendency to produce blurrier, hypersyncretic and impressionistic gods is sort of a 'this is a soft-focus cosmic pie, and we cut it in big slices' thing, where recon paganisms want to track every jot, tittle, berry, and fleck of spice and thus are much, much more particular about precisely where the pie is sliced.)

I really like the idea that the level of focus or detail can impact your perception of deities. I think one reason that I find myself returning to the types of issues discussed in this thread is that I lack access to a living polytheistic religion and my views of these deities tend to veer between differing perspectives in a somewhat chaotic fashion. Sometimes I retain my old perspective of the Gods as metaphorical ways of looking at nature and then a few hours later I will experience a deity as a very personalized way. It may be that people who live in polytheistic cultures may experience similar shifts in perspective, but in a way that is less confusing to them because their culture and religious infratsructure may provide support for navigating these differing views.
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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #35 on: June 02, 2018, 09:09:33 pm »
I tend to look at the whole realm of the numinous as being like a giant, N-dimensional pie.  Any given god taking a portfolio is cutting out a slice of pie.  So if one imagines that any given cultural pantheon is dividing up the same basic pie (which is maybe... 70, 80% true; different cultures have different imaginations of what the pie is) then one can sort of describe which parts of the pie each Power has on their plate.

Now, when comparing how other pantheons slice up their pies, there are going to be similarities.  Greenery/foliage gods are often rebirth/resurrection gods, because those bits of pie are, actually, pretty close to each other if one looks at the world symbolically.  But some foliage/resurrection gods have an ecstasy/inebriation riff, and some don't; some ecstasy/inebriation gods are not foliage/resurrection gods; they cut up the pie differently.  Even if foliage/resurrection is a fairly tight pairing - found in the same slice of pie more often than not - other stuff is more loosely associated.

No two Powers will take the exact same slice of the cosmic pie.

But two Powers that snagged really similar slices of pie will be more likely to be regarded by their source cultures as 'different forms of the same god' than Powers that have more partial pie-overlap.

I feel like this would also be a good start for a writing exercise if you're trying to make a pantheon, whether to worship or for fictional purposes: how do you divide up the pie?

It's also useful to know which gods are in adjacent slices of pie, because sometimes they blur together as well. A very similar metaphor was used in Jenny Strauss Clay's Fusing the Boundaries: Apollo and Dionysos at Delphi, in which she discusses how intertwined Apollo and Dionysos are in identity.
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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #36 on: June 03, 2018, 12:06:05 am »
In a sense, I sometimes wonder why I've had difficulty with the idea of Deities moving - for Germanic religions we have a very clear, well-recorded example of the colonization of Iceland and the movement of the cults of a number of Germanic deities to a brand new environment. I guess I always just sort of saw a disconnect between the idea of a God as this really grand typeof cosmic force and the restriction of its worship to a particular culture. But perhaps it makes more sense if I look at it as the worship/cult of the deity spreading, and that engagement with the deity as being possible in new environments because, perhaps, in some sense, all the Gods are at least capable of interacting with their worshippers everywhere on Earth.

I've run into this difficulty first-hand, with my more recent foray into polytheism having me delve deeply into a specific set of tropical deities. I was able to connect with a good number of them while living in a mediterranean climate, but the further afield I go, the shakier my connections get, and the more signal "interference" I wind up experiencing. My storm god, with whom I have a very strong relationship, I'll be able to continue to worship, only because of his relative "depth", and because he seems so willing to adapt. He has, for instance, gone from a rather Thor-like being, to something more resembling the fog-ensconced sea captain, smoking a pipe at the prow of his ship. Almost Poseidon-like.

Gods want to be worshiped, that's for sure. It's part of their sustenance. I think a number of them, due to the nature of their effects, their offices, would rather focus on a locality or a people. But the world, being so globalized now, that's just not quite as possible as it once was. Mysteries are often freely shared online, prayers, myths, and so on. Syncretism seems inevitable these days - we humans syncretize ourselves readily enough the more information we absorb. So too our understanding of the gods... at least to get the foot in the door.

Quote
I think that, given the relatively small scale of the worship of Pre-Christian Western Eurasian and North African Deities today, new relationships with deities will, initially at least, be on a relatively small scale. In smaller localized communities, the potentially stronger bonds of trust within the group may facilitate a greater willingness to accept new ideas about old Gods as it were.

However, for the foreseeable future, I do think there will continue to be a strong conservative streak in the revived polytheistic traditions if for no other reason than the fact that these traditions may appeal to some people specifically because they can at least appear to be traditions which have a greater degree of structure than some of the more open traditions under the pagan umbrella.

In other words, although I think many people come to modern Pagan religions because they find the relatively high levels of organization and structure in Christian traditions to be stifling, I think there is a subset of modern Pagans who did not disagree with the levels of organization of Christian groups, but just rather prefer to see that level of organization in a different theological context. So some modern polytheists may be resistant to new concepts of the Gods precisely because they find comfort in the "rules", as they perceieve them, of historical polytheistic traditions.

You're right, there is a strong alt-conservative streak in a lot of polytheist religions, especially of the european sort. For better and for worse. Maybe we're still a little insecure? Trying to find our footing as "legitimate" religions, so we play by the same doctrinal rules as the big dogs. Eventually, maybe, we'll grow confident enough to be able to really emphasize the "living" portion of our oft-cited "living traditions". This will inevitably include all manner of modern syncretisms, myth-writing, and discovery of new gods I'm sure.
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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #37 on: June 03, 2018, 05:36:43 pm »
I've run into this difficulty first-hand, with my more recent foray into polytheism having me delve deeply into a specific set of tropical deities. I was able to connect with a good number of them while living in a mediterranean climate, but the further afield I go, the shakier my connections get, and the more signal "interference" I wind up experiencing. My storm god, with whom I have a very strong relationship, I'll be able to continue to worship, only because of his relative "depth", and because he seems so willing to adapt. He has, for instance, gone from a rather Thor-like being, to something more resembling the fog-ensconced sea captain, smoking a pipe at the prow of his ship. Almost Poseidon-like.

Gods want to be worshiped, that's for sure. It's part of their sustenance. I think a number of them, due to the nature of their effects, their offices, would rather focus on a locality or a people. But the world, being so globalized now, that's just not quite as possible as it once was. Mysteries are often freely shared online, prayers, myths, and so on. Syncretism seems inevitable these days - we humans syncretize ourselves readily enough the more information we absorb. So too our understanding of the gods... at least to get the foot in the door.

I live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, so I am quite far from where Germanic deities were originally worshipped. Nevertheless, I've developed a connection with these deities in this environment, so I haven't personally experienced any difficulty with establishing those connections, although it would be an interesting experiment to see how I felt if I ever get the time and money to visit Europe.

For me, I perceive the Germanic deities as strongly linked to the landscape; for example, in my practice, Skadi is very much a Goddess of the Rocky Mountains. I think living in an environment which has numerous similarities with Northern Eurasia may have facilitated this (there's been a pretty healthy exchange of species between the two continents and many of the species which figure prominently in Germanic stories - Wolves, Brown Bears, Ravens - are quite at home here).

Nevertheless, I am curious to see how my perception of the deities I worship is influenced by distance, especially because all I know about these deities has occured far outside of their traditional region of worship.

You're right, there is a strong alt-conservative streak in a lot of polytheist religions, especially of the european sort. For better and for worse. Maybe we're still a little insecure? Trying to find our footing as "legitimate" religions, so we play by the same doctrinal rules as the big dogs. Eventually, maybe, we'll grow confident enough to be able to really emphasize the "living" portion of our oft-cited "living traditions". This will inevitably include all manner of modern syncretisms, myth-writing, and discovery of new gods I'm sure.

Yeah, I imagine it is going to take decades before modern polytheist revivals can climb out of the shadow of their parent culture. Modern Asatru and Heathenry as actual religions (rather than as (often racist) baubles used to decorate Nationalism) only started in the 1970s. I don't know how long, for example, Hellenic Polytheism has existed, but the YSEE was only founded in 1997. However, I feel like we are in a critical stage for these faiths where if they survive for a few more decades (and I am increasingly confident that they will), there will be a certain level of legitimacy associated with them due to the fact of their perseverance. As the infrastructure for these religions continues to be built up, I think people will become increasingly comfortable with them developing characteristics which distinguish them from their parent religions.
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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2018, 01:59:40 am »
but I ultimately don't find many of their associations convincing.
Same here. I feel a lot of them are very superficial.

Quote
I think your mention of Odin/Mercury is a good example of this - I don't really see much overlap in these deities apart from some vaguely defined roles as a psychopomp and, perhaps, a hat?
There's a bit more to it than that. They're both gods of many skills and a certain degree of cunning and wisdom, as well as magic. Hermes, after all, wields the prototypical magic wand. But I still think they are distinct deities; Hermes lacks Woden's focus on war and leadership.

Quote
I generally find the more complex a deity is, the less likely I am to see them as overlapping with a deity from another culture. Conversely, when a deity is quite strongly identified with a particular natural phenomenon, without a significant amount of other perceived traits, I am more comfortable with syncretism.
I feel the same way. Deities that are particularly primordial or all-encompassing, I tend to see as having multiple faces but a single essence or identity. The various earth-goddesses whose names literally translate to "earth", for instance.
But then again, they must all be parts of a collective that personifies the planet, rather than faces on one single personification.

...and I'm fascinated that a similar idea came up in the context of Roman polytheism. You wouldn't happen to have a link to the discussion you mentioned would you? I would be very interested in seeing what is said in it.
The thread where I first saw someone elucidate it is here (actually in response to my own waffling about the Zeus/Jupiter connection):
http://www.romanrepublic.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=287

But I have seen it expressed elsewhere; I just can't nail down which forums and what posts, or which article.

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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2018, 09:50:13 pm »
Since I have become interested in modern Paganism and Heathenry, I have been fascinated by the issue of the relationship between deities of different pantheons. Generally, when this topic comes up, I find most people I have spoken to online adhere to a view that all deities from all cultures are distinct individuals. My purpose in writing this post is NOT to dispute that such an idea is a reasonable or practical way to be a modern Western polytheist. However, I would like to offer a brief argument asserting that the conflation of deities from different cultures is not an inherently philosophically or morally problematic approach.

I believe the rather poor reputation of cross-cultural deity conflation derives from the way in which it has often been done rather than the idea being problematic in and of itself. I view this issues as similar to some of the criticisms of “eclectic” polytheism – it can be hard to do well, it can be easy to do poorly, but is not an inherently inappropriate approach...

Yes, I just wanted to revive this Thread at least briefly. It gives a more advanced treatment to a topic that I started called "syncretic polytheism" on "paganism for beginners"- https://ecauldron.com/forum/paganism-for-beginners/syncretic-polytheism  ...I think that it is worthwhile to review the content of this Thread if you have an interest in the topic.

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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2018, 10:00:07 pm »
Yes, I just wanted to revive this Thread at least briefly. It gives a more advanced treatment to a topic that I started called "syncretic polytheism" on "paganism for beginners"- https://ecauldron.com/forum/paganism-for-beginners/syncretic-polytheism  ...I think that it is worthwhile to review the content of this Thread if you have an interest in the topic.

What I meant to say was that this Thread was a more advanced or sophisticated treatment of what I was aiming for as the OP of "Syncretic Polytheism" on the "Paganism for Beginners" section. If you are interested in the topic, this Thread is a good read.

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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #41 on: December 10, 2018, 08:24:39 am »
I feel the same way. Deities that are particularly primordial or all-encompassing, I tend to see as having multiple faces but a single essence or identity. The various earth-goddesses whose names literally translate to "earth", for instance.

But then again, they must all be parts of a collective that personifies the planet, rather than faces on one single personification.
The thread where I first saw someone elucidate it is here (actually in response to my own waffling about the Zeus/Jupiter connection):
http://www.romanrepublic.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=287

But I have seen it expressed elsewhere; I just can't nail down which forums and what posts, or which article.

Well, if you want to make an argument based on names, then a number of deities are simply named after a natural force of some kind. Agni just means "Fire" in Sanskrit. Thor/Thunor just means "Thunder" as does the Celtic "Taranis."  Interestingly, Jupiter and Zeus do share an etymological link, but it's not a word for thunder. In their case, it seems to be a word for "Sky" (Dyeus) or in Jupiter's case, "Sky Father" (Ju-Piter.) This would seem  to imply a link between Thor and Taranis, and Jupiter and Zeus, but not necessarily a direct link to all four.

EmberHearth

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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #42 on: December 17, 2018, 08:45:38 pm »
In a sense, I sometimes wonder why I've had difficulty with the idea of Deities moving - for Germanic religions we have a very clear, well-recorded example of the colonization of Iceland and the movement of the cults of a number of Germanic deities to a brand new environment. I guess I always just sort of saw a disconnect between the idea of a God as this really grand typeof cosmic force and the restriction of its worship to a particular culture. But perhaps it makes more sense if I look at it as the worship/cult of the deity spreading, and that engagement with the deity as being possible in new environments because, perhaps, in some sense, all the Gods are at least capable of interacting with their worshippers everywhere on Earth.

I had a pretty good conversation about this a year or so ago, on Twitter.

I ended up drawing on concepts from ADF's Kindreds and The Troth, about different forms of spirit:

1) the Shining Ones or the Gods
2) the Ancestors, for which I've also included some reading on the Matronae, and
3) the more nature spirits

From my perspective, I've never had a problem with (1) moving.  There seems to be plenty of literary evidence for gods staying with their peoples through migrations.

I see a few different options for (2):
a) being / staying where they are buried
b) following their descendants through blood / DNA / adoption.  There are stories... ISTR "The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries" and also Russian stories of the ancestral house-spirit climbing on the loaded wagon before the family moves.
c) Some of the Matronae seem to have been honored through associations with skills or crafts.  In which case, I could see them following/supporting practitioners of those skills wherever they are.

As for (3), I understand the landvaettir to also come in several forms:
a) elemental spirit (which might include general plant-type or animal-types, like Plantain or Fox) that can go wherever their "element" is
b) Spirits of Place that are specifically connected to THIS rock, tree, spring, river, plant, animal, etc.  A few of those might be transplantable, but I wouldn't do so on a whim.
c) mobile beings, somewhere in-between ancestors and elementals. This would include many of the Hidden Folk from fairy tales.

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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #43 on: December 17, 2018, 09:16:40 pm »
Well, if you want to make an argument based on names, then a number of deities are simply named after a natural force of some kind. Agni just means "Fire" in Sanskrit. Thor/Thunor just means "Thunder" as does the Celtic "Taranis."  Interestingly, Jupiter and Zeus do share an etymological link, but it's not a word for thunder. In their case, it seems to be a word for "Sky" (Dyeus) or in Jupiter's case, "Sky Father" (Ju-Piter.) This would seem  to imply a link between Thor and Taranis, and Jupiter and Zeus, but not necessarily a direct link to all four.

My personal practice seems to be moving to synthesize about 3000 years of Celtic and Germanic history, from the continent to the British Isles to the modern U.S.

So the methodology I'm trying to develop includes linguistics, historical attestation, literature, and folk belief.

As you say, all four are linked linguistically, but not necessarily in other ways.

I have seen no evidence that Thor was ever the head of a Germanic pantheon the way that Jupiter is head of the Roman.  Suggested predecessors for Odin are Tyr (who is more closely connected, linguistically, to Dyeus) and possibly Ullr.

OTOH, I connect Yngvi-Freyr  with Angus (Oengus) - Mabon on several levels:

1) Linguistically, the Clann Bhride essay included Ingheann Bhuide, "yellow-haired girl", which seems to have a similar PIE root, ing- meaning youth.

2) Mythically, Freyr saw his bride through a magical mirror, and could not rest until he found her and won her love.

Angus dreamed of a woman, whom he searched for all over until he found her.

That Gerd is an etin,  while Angus' bride is a swan-maiden... I think it's close enough.

3) Both Yngvi-Freyr and Angus-Mabon have associations with grain and harvest.

This may include calendrical associations, as Freyfaxi seems to happen between Lammas and Mabon.

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Re: A poor defense of Deity conflation
« Reply #44 on: December 22, 2018, 11:38:29 pm »
And of course there's the artistic styles slider I wrote about in The Art of Being a God (Pagan Bloggers column), where the reconstructionist envisioning of deity tends towards the Neoclassical and Romantic, where religious witchcraft gets more Impressionistic or Post-Impressionistic.  It's a lot easier to syncretise with the more modern-artistic visions of the gods, I think.

That's a great article, Darkhawk! I feel similarly as far as being part reconstructionist and part religious witchcraft. Thank you!
"Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people."

- W.B. Yeats

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