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Author Topic: Gods who remind you of each other?  (Read 954 times)

Redfaery

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Gods who remind you of each other?
« on: May 21, 2014, 09:45:31 am »
Hey all, I hope all my fellow graduates are enjoying themselves. Good luck with the next stage of your life!

My question is...has anyone ever had experiences with a god/goddess/boddhisattva that made them feel "you're a lot like this other god/goddess/boddhisattva I know." I'm specifically asking this of those with a more hard-polytheistic bent, as I think this question would be kind of silly without the belief that some, most, or all divine entities have a more or less distinct identity.

(To be clear, I would label my own polytheism "historically frustrated." I view deities as separate entities by default, unless I am presented with historical evidence to show that they were thought of as one and the same by the cultures that worshiped them. And yes, I know this has some problems.:ashamed:)

Also, I am more or less henotheistic by nature. I have had interactions with a few divine entities - Ame no Uzume, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Loki (who is indeed "around" most of the time but not worshipped), and recently Bast. But I am only able to focus my attentions on one deity at a time. I'm monogamous by nature, most likely, and it seems I'm in a committed relationship with Sarasvati. (And now that I've typed that, she's laughing). So I have little deep experience with other deities.

But...in my worship of Sarasvati, I've noticed that I get knee jerk responses to images of Guanyin I see for sale. I see them and go "Mommy!" like it's an image of Sarasvati, and oddly enough, the more traditional images of Sarasvati for sale I have a strong aversion to...:eek:

To get to the heart of the matter (and this question) I have read of other's experiences of Guanyin on this forum, and seen her described as a compassionate, calming entity. That's pretty much my experience with Sarasvati; when she reaches out to me, I am flooded with an overwhelming feeling of peace. I don't think it's quite the same. It's more in line with what's described as "sattvic" energy - I feel like my consciousness has simply been lifted above my obsessive worrying.

I know I worship Sarasvati and not Guanyin. I'm pretty sure my draw to the Guanyin imagery has to do with how I'm filtering Sarasvati - not as a Hindu deity, but as a Mahayana Buddhist one.

So...this turned out far more rambling than I had anticipated. Sorry. I was just wondering if anyone else had any similar experiences with confusion between deities? How did you sort it out? Did you? Was it even important?
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Faemon

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Re: Gods who remind you of each other?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2014, 11:13:56 am »
Quote from: Redfaery;148186
has anyone ever had experiences with a god/goddess/boddhisattva that made them feel "you're a lot like this other god/goddess/boddhisattva I know." I'm specifically asking this of those with a more hard-polytheistic bent, as I think this question would be kind of silly without the belief that some, most, or all divine entities have a more or less distinct identity.

I was just wondering if anyone else had any similar experiences with confusion between deities? How did you sort it out? Did you? Was it even important?


One interesting challenge to spiritworking/godphone-subscribing soft polytheists I've heard was "Try to get Poseidon and Manannan mac Lir in the same space together. They hate each other." I sort of kind of did that, and the lines weren't all that clear. They had facets and aspects that created sort of distinct "core" signatures I suppose but the boundaries weren't always clear. So I figured that when it came to ocean gods it was more about paradigm than entity, more subjective than objective. Then something just sort of changed. I have a no-name no-mythology undine hanging around now, that I always forget to wonder if he's associated to water gods and/or how. When I'm where he is, I just always forget to ask, so perhaps I'm really not meant to have that question answered.

Another no-name no-mythology guide was a trickster. From my experience with oceanic deities, I figured that a recurrence of a Trickster figure meant that it was the same entity as Loki in a different filter or interpretation.

Then I got them in the same space together.

And they hated each other.

So definitely a jelly polytheist here. There's a blurring and the union for a reason, I believe, and the separation and discrimination (in a positive sense of the word) for a reason, whenever it happens, whoever to.

Trying to make a method of it gets in the way of the experience.
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HeartShadow

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Re: Gods who remind you of each other?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2014, 11:32:07 am »
Quote from: Redfaery;148186


 
First and foremost, if it works, it's good.  So if the image works ...

Second, I do believe gods moonlight as each other, when it's .. appropriate?  effective?  ...amusing?  I don't know.  But some gods are/aren't the same, sometimes maybe depending.

I go with "hard polytheist, but gods are weird" usually.  Because sometimes we create rules they just plain don't fit.

Aster Breo

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Re: Gods who remind you of each other?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2014, 01:49:57 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;148198
First and foremost, if it works, it's good.  So if the image works ...

Second, I do believe gods moonlight as each other, when it's .. appropriate?  effective?  ...amusing?  I don't know.  But some gods are/aren't the same, sometimes maybe depending.

I go with "hard polytheist, but gods are weird" usually.  Because sometimes we create rules they just plain don't fit.

This. I don't think gods play by the same identity and relationship rules that humans do.

Also, to the OP: Many of us here on TC have experienced similarities between Brighid and certain other deities, to the point that several of us talk about the "constellation" of deities that we think are connected, but we're not sure how, exactly.  You might be interested in some of the threads about Brighid, especially the ones related to the Lady of the Stars, where we discuss this concept.  It sounds very much like what you're talking about.

Oh, and Sarasvati is one of the deities some of us include in the constellation.
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Redfaery

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Re: Gods who remind you of each other?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2014, 02:23:06 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;148210
Also, to the OP: Many of us here on TC have experienced similarities between Brighid and certain other deities, to the point that several of us talk about the "constellation" of deities that we think are connected, but we're not sure how, exactly.  You might be interested in some of the threads about Brighid, especially the ones related to the Lady of the Stars, where we discuss this concept.  It sounds very much like what you're talking about.

Oh, and Sarasvati is one of the deities some of us include in the constellation.

 
I think I did stumble across a post comparing Brighid to Sarasvati and Guanyin. I'll have to look it up.

As to gods "moonlighting" as each other, Sarasvati/Benten in Japan is much more like Lakshmi, because historically speaking, she absorbed the Japanese version of Lakshmi, Kichijouten. However, my interactions with Sarasvati indicate that yes, she does answer to Benten still. After all, that's how I first found her - I was approaching Benten for good luck in my schoolwork! I've also had a tendency towards random streaks of good luck, which I attribute to her Benten side.
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Lana288

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Re: Gods who remind you of each other?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2014, 02:26:25 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;148198
I go with "hard polytheist, but gods are weird" usually.  Because sometimes we create rules they just plain don't fit.

 
This highly amuses me. I completely concur.

As far as dieties blending in with one another, I've had that happen. It's how I was drawn/drug/something to the Baltic pantheon. When I asked about it (or, who was who or if both dieties in question were the same), I was given a "Maybe."

I wouldn't know why you're drawn to images of Guanyin, but I'd agree that it probably has something to do with the way you worship Sarasvati. Is there any connection between the two dieties? (It sounds like there isn't, but I'm not certain)

(And I'm also a historically frustrated polytheist- I lean towards reconstructionism, so I also try to keep dieties seperate unless the cultures worshipped them otherwise. It makes looking up dieties like Marsava- a diety that seems to have been meshed with Christianity's Mary- very diffficult. *sighs*)
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 02:26:58 pm by Lana288 »

Redfaery

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Re: Gods who remind you of each other?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2014, 03:13:41 pm »
Quote from: Germandragon;148216
I wouldn't know why you're drawn to images of Guanyin, but I'd agree that it probably has something to do with the way you worship Sarasvati. Is there any connection between the two dieties? (It sounds like there isn't, but I'm not certain)

 
Yes, there is some sense of connection, but it takes a good bit of explaining. Guanyin is a  boddhisattva, from the Indian Avalokiteshvara. Originally, she was male, but in China, she was female. In Japan, interestingly enough, (where she was called Kannon) she was male (at least in Classical and Medieval times), but very, very androgynous in appearance. Sarasvati is an Indian Goddess who was absorbed into the Mahayana pantheon and went wherever Mahayana Buddhism went. She is not, however, currently worshiped in China.

Sarasvati appears in many faiths - Hinduism, Mahayana and Tantric Buddhism, Jainism, and Shinto (as Benten). However, I realized that I'm filtering her primarily through the Mahayana Buddhist lens. So I'm wondering if my knee-jerk reaction to Guanyin is due to her importance in Mahayana Buddhism? Buddhist images of Sarasvati are so hard to find!
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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