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Author Topic: Do Deities Get Lonely?  (Read 1807 times)

Shine

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Do Deities Get Lonely?
« on: October 19, 2012, 09:18:32 pm »
I was reading someone's blog a couple days ago (can't remember whose, otherwise I'd link to it) talking about how some forgotten or nearly forgotten deities--deities who may have had a large cult back in their day--must be lonely. This person then went on to say that saying a prayer or making an offering to a deity like that would really make his or her day.

My kneejerk reaction was LOLNO, but now I'm not so sure. I doubt a god or goddess experiences loneliness in the same way we humans do, and there are still other deities to hang around with. But to say they don't get lonely at all in any way, shape, or form may be going a little far, at least in my mind.

Then I think of the offerings, prayers, communings, meditations, feasts, and (sometimes raucous) festivals a deity may have once received. It starts to make a little sense. It's not that said deity's life is ruined, that they're now mopey and depressed, or that they have no purpose to exist. Nor is it that a deity's going to get all lovey-dovey on someone who deigns to pay attention to them. There are still rules and boundaries for mortals. ;) It's just. . . there are times where the little things are missed, eh?

I sometimes get that impression from Atum--an impression of loneliness. Maybe "loneliness" isn't quite the right word, though. Maybe it's a desire to be contemplated. Dunno. That would be a topic for a different thread.

So, what do you think?
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NiDara

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Re: Do Deities Get Lonely?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2012, 02:20:19 am »
Quote from: Shine;77274
I was reading someone's blog a couple days ago (can't remember whose, otherwise I'd link to it) talking about how some forgotten or nearly forgotten deities--deities who may have had a large cult back in their day--must be lonely. This person then went on to say that saying a prayer or making an offering to a deity like that would really make his or her day.

My kneejerk reaction was LOLNO, but now I'm not so sure. I doubt a god or goddess experiences loneliness in the same way we humans do, and there are still other deities to hang around with. But to say they don't get lonely at all in any way, shape, or form may be going a little far, at least in my mind.

Then I think of the offerings, prayers, communings, meditations, feasts, and (sometimes raucous) festivals a deity may have once received. It starts to make a little sense. It's not that said deity's life is ruined, that they're now mopey and depressed, or that they have no purpose to exist. Nor is it that a deity's going to get all lovey-dovey on someone who deigns to pay attention to them. There are still rules and boundaries for mortals. ;) It's just. . . there are times where the little things are missed, eh?

I sometimes get that impression from Atum--an impression of loneliness. Maybe "loneliness" isn't quite the right word, though. Maybe it's a desire to be contemplated. Dunno. That would be a topic for a different thread.

So, what do you think?


I don't see why it couldn't happen. There are some deities who get a lot more notoriety than others, in all the pantheons. They may have had a significant number of followers in centuries past, but lost them after Christianization, and now don't quite get the attention that they used to. While I doubt they'd be immensely bothered by it, everyone likes to be noticed from time to time, after they're done running whatever facet of life they run.

thorsvin

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Re: Do Deities Get Lonely?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2012, 02:41:37 am »
Quote from: Shine;77274
So, what do you think?

 
Interesting question! I don't have any good answers for this. But if you haven't read "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman, you really really should. That kind of thing is a central theme.

Faemon

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Re: Do Deities Get Lonely?
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2012, 05:52:01 am »
Quote from: thorsvin;77296
Interesting question! I don't have any good answers for this. But if you haven't read "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman, you really really should. That kind of thing is a central theme.

He also has interesting UPG on what sounds like the genius loci of cities, that I was reminded of while reading this topic.
Quote from: Neil Gaiman
Athens remembers the days when there were those who considered themselves Athenians.

In a more soft-polytheist time, I would have said that gods are lucky: they die when nobody believes in them. Having to barrel on in that state is one of my least favorite feelings in mortal life, ever, but it wasn't something that happens to gods. But now? I'm not sure... I've gotten the impression that a few might be lonely, but I also got the impression that I don't count as fulfilling company on that level.

On the other hand, I hear all sorts of stories about how merpeople or humans in a particularly sucky afterlife and such get so lonely that they'd drag just any random unlucky person into the other world with them, or take to haunting. So, maybe the "small gods" get petty like that.
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Vitkyng

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Re: Do Deities Get Lonely?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2012, 12:24:16 am »
Quote from: Shine;77274
I was reading someone's blog a couple days ago (can't remember whose, otherwise I'd link to it) talking about how some forgotten or nearly forgotten deities--deities who may have had a large cult back in their day--must be lonely. This person then went on to say that saying a prayer or making an offering to a deity like that would really make his or her day.

My kneejerk reaction was LOLNO, but now I'm not so sure. I doubt a god or goddess experiences loneliness in the same way we humans do, and there are still other deities to hang around with. But to say they don't get lonely at all in any way, shape, or form may be going a little far, at least in my mind.

Then I think of the offerings, prayers, communings, meditations, feasts, and (sometimes raucous) festivals a deity may have once received. It starts to make a little sense. It's not that said deity's life is ruined, that they're now mopey and depressed, or that they have no purpose to exist. Nor is it that a deity's going to get all lovey-dovey on someone who deigns to pay attention to them. There are still rules and boundaries for mortals. ;) It's just. . . there are times where the little things are missed, eh?

I sometimes get that impression from Atum--an impression of loneliness. Maybe "loneliness" isn't quite the right word, though. Maybe it's a desire to be contemplated. Dunno. That would be a topic for a different thread.

So, what do you think?

 
You may be onto something there. Consider Greek myth for example, where the Gods & Goddesses were extremely jealous of the attentions mortals paid to other gods within the pantheon.

If gods can be jealous, it stands to reason they could also be lomely. Not so much that they are going to lavish their attention on mortals that give them even the sligtest of offerings, but maybe enough that when an offering is made they may take a little more notice.

The flip side of that coin is that if a god can sense the motives of the person making the offering, would not an offering made with such a motive seem a little less than sincere?

Shine

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Re: Do Deities Get Lonely?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2012, 12:34:51 am »
Quote from: Vitkyng;77429
You may be onto something there. Consider Greek myth for example, where the Gods & Goddesses were extremely jealous of the attentions mortals paid to other gods within the pantheon.

If gods can be jealous, it stands to reason they could also be lomely. Not so much that they are going to lavish their attention on mortals that give them even the sligtest of offerings, but maybe enough that when an offering is made they may take a little more notice.

The flip side of that coin is that if a god can sense the motives of the person making the offering, would not an offering made with such a motive seem a little less than sincere?

 
You raise a good point with the Greek myths.

And yeah, no matter how "unpopular" said deity is, a mortal making offerings to him or her isn't going to become center of that deity's world. Deities have stuff to do other than deal with humans after all.

I'm not sure about the sincerity thing. It would depend on the situation. If the person making the offering is presenting himself (I'm going to use male as default here) with, say, ulterior motives, maybe there would be a problem. Like, the person pretends to want to give this deity the attention he or she deserves, but the person is only after. . . stuff. Hope that made sense?

But if the person is open about it, that's different. ("Hey, I know you don't get a lot of attention. You also happen to be in charge of some arcane stuff I'm dealing with right now. Can we strike up a deal where I give you offerings, let people know of your existence, and what not and you help me out?")
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Shefyt

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Re: Do Deities Get Lonely?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2012, 09:26:32 am »
Quote from: Shine;77274

Then I think of the offerings, prayers, communings, meditations, feasts, and (sometimes raucous) festivals a deity may have once received. It starts to make a little sense. It's not that said deity's life is ruined, that they're now mopey and depressed, or that they have no purpose to exist. Nor is it that a deity's going to get all lovey-dovey on someone who deigns to pay attention to them. There are still rules and boundaries for mortals. ;) It's just. . . there are times where the little things are missed, eh?

 
That's been my impression. I've offered to a few really obscure deities; Wenut seemed really happy to be remembered, and Heru-hekenu was keenly interested in the attention. (Sekhet doesn't particularly care--or if She does, She isn't letting me know about it--but is satisfied to deal with me as long as I watch my step.)

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shaamangirl

Re: Do Deities Get Lonely?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2012, 06:00:08 am »
I try to live in solitude,so a loner God/Goddess would be perfect for me,and that's why I worship Odin,Thor and Freya,bevause Asatru was a big thing in Iceland during Ye Good Ol' Times.

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Re: Do Deities Get Lonely?
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2012, 03:50:44 pm »
Quote from: shaamangirl;79469


 
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Re: Do Deities Get Lonely?
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2012, 04:06:01 pm »
Quote from: triple_entendre;77305
On the other hand, I hear all sorts of stories about how merpeople or humans in a particularly sucky afterlife and such get so lonely that they'd drag just any random unlucky person into the other world with them, or take to haunting. So, maybe the "small gods" get petty like that.

That reminds me of a hilarious Pratchett-novel with the title 'Small Gods' about a very desperate deity, who had only one true follower left...

I don't know if deities get lonely like a human, but maybe they like to recieve offerings, prayers or attention in a form they deem appropriate. I'm not sure why they pay attention to us mortals, sometimes I have the impression they also care a great deal about the subject I petition them about, like a computer geek gets excited if you ask for help with a computer problem. But you would still treat the person with respect for assisting you. Maybe both things are important for deities...

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Re: Do Deities Get Lonely?
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2012, 02:03:21 am »
Quote from: Shine;77274

Then I think of the offerings, prayers, communings, meditations, feasts, and (sometimes raucous) festivals a deity may have once received. It starts to make a little sense. It's not that said deity's life is ruined, that they're now mopey and depressed, or that they have no purpose to exist. Nor is it that a deity's going to get all lovey-dovey on someone who deigns to pay attention to them. There are still rules and boundaries for mortals. ;) It's just. . . there are times where the little things are missed, eh?


I've had that sort of impression from Sobek before, about being lonely when no one was calling His name anymore. I'm not sure to what extent it is loneliness in the way us humans understand the term, though. I mean, I got the impression Godstuff still went on anyway, because there is always Godstuff to do, but yeah, the little things were missed.

The Elder Muses gave me a similar impression, though They were more excited about being remembered at last, and I think Their overwhelming happiness at hearing someone calling Their names and asking for help might've drowned out any remaining traces of loneliness. But perhaps that's what you get when you call on Muses pretty much no one remembers or honours anymore. Perhaps They felt it more keenly because so much of what Muses do is tied into a relationship with humans.
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