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Author Topic: Pre-human Gods?  (Read 2272 times)

Materialist

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Pre-human Gods?
« on: January 23, 2013, 12:03:50 pm »
A thought occurred to me when I was reading an article in a science magazine, which was detailing new findings in human evolution, and how Homo sapiens is a hybrid of at least two species.

My sudden thought was: what if the gods/sacred spirits of these species prior to/contemporary with H. sapiens  still existed? Would they try to contact us because we're their descendants?

I'm referring to Homo neandertalensis and the Denisovans, for those who don't keep up with such things, and borrowing a being from Mrs. Auel's "Earth Children" series-the Cave Bear Spirit, to represent hypothetical pre-human gods, how would you react if such an ancient entity contacted you?

Marilyn/Absentminded

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Re: Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 12:18:07 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;93160


My sudden thought was: what if the gods/sacred spirits of these species prior to/contemporary with H. sapiens  still existed? Would they try to contact us because we're their descendants?


 
There are a fair few cultures whose myths involve the 'human gods' wresting control from more savage or uncivilized beings - the Titans and the Jotuns, from Greek and Norse mythology respectively, occur to me.  Maybe these legends refer to the pre-human gods you're talking about?

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Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 12:25:06 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;93160
what if the gods/sacred spirits of these species prior to/contemporary with H. sapiens  still existed? Would they try to contact us because we're their descendants?

Why do you assume the gods of pre-human beings are different from the gods of humans?

My take:  My path is centered on Brighid exclusively.  I believe She is one name for a Force that has always existed.  She pre-dates everything else and is a Creator of the universe we know.  So, I think She was around before humans were and will be around after humans.

I think it's probably the same for other gods, although not necessarily ALL other gods.

Just my $0.02, though.

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Re: Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 12:29:01 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;93160
A thought occurred to me when I was reading an article in a science magazine, which was detailing new findings in human evolution, and how Homo sapiens is a hybrid of at least two species.

My sudden thought was: what if the gods/sacred spirits of these species prior to/contemporary with H. sapiens  still existed? Would they try to contact us because we're their descendants?

I'm referring to Homo neandertalensis and the Denisovans, for those who don't keep up with such things, and borrowing a being from Mrs. Auel's "Earth Children" series-the Cave Bear Spirit, to represent hypothetical pre-human gods, how would you react if such an ancient entity contacted you?

 
Interesting question!  (Though I want to add some nuance: this isn't true of all Homo sapiens.  My understanding is that most people of exclusively African descent do not have Neanderthal ancestry, nor, I believe, Denisovian.  I remember feeling a particular thrill, as an anti-racist activist, when I realized that it means people of African descent are theoretically the most "pure" "modern" humans on Earth.)
It's difficult to know anything about the shape of, say, Neanderthal religion.  They seem to have had a sense of symbol and awe and artifact, and there seems to have been some kind of veneration of natural forces or animals, but it's all "seems."  There's just no concrete knowledge.  And past that--let's say they did have animal deities.  What is the place of a deity of, or in the shape of, an animal that is now extinct?  A mastodon God?  An aurochs God?  A hyracotherium God? A glacier God south of the 45th Parallel?  There's the bigger question, right?  What happens to a God of something that doesn't exist any more?  What was the shape of deity pre-mammal, or pre-sentience?  In the Cambrian Explosion?

I think one of the ways to address it is Aster's--Gods as we know Them are eternal and represent bigger things than humans or hyracotheria, and maybe look like things that are familiar to us for convenience, or because They adapt to the times.  And Absent's is another--Titanomachies, succeeding dynasties as the world changes.
I find this unexpectedly fascinating to ponder, even though it has no practical application in my life.
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Juniperberry

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Re: Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 01:30:37 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;93160
A thought occurred to me when I was reading an article in a science magazine, which was detailing new findings in human evolution, and how Homo sapiens is a hybrid of at least two species.

My sudden thought was: what if the gods/sacred spirits of these species prior to/contemporary with H. sapiens  still existed? Would they try to contact us because we're their descendants?

I'm referring to Homo neandertalensis and the Denisovans, for those who don't keep up with such things, and borrowing a being from Mrs. Auel's "Earth Children" series-the Cave Bear Spirit, to represent hypothetical pre-human gods, how would you react if such an ancient entity contacted you?


I flove neanderthals. One of my initial fascinations with Germanic mythology was its possible ties to a forgotten pre-history of humans clashing with neanderthal. I know there are theories that the jotuns represent the Ns while the Aesir were the Hs. And I would be fine with evidence that proved this.

If they had gods, and these gods contacted me, I'd be fine with that too. Though I've also had the feeling that their gods would be more animalistic. I haven't read what Valentine has so I have no idea why I think that. UPG I guess. :)
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Materialist

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Re: Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2013, 04:55:49 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;93163
Why do you assume the gods of pre-human beings are different from the gods of humans?

My take:  My path is centered on Brighid exclusively.  I believe She is one name for a Force that has always existed.  She pre-dates everything else and is a Creator of the universe we know.  So, I think She was around before humans were and will be around after humans.

I think it's probably the same for other gods, although not necessarily ALL other gods.

Just my $0.02, though.

~ Aster


Well, Aster Breo, I am unable to contemplate not-being-human, let alone one that lived 50,000 years ago. To me, it naturally feels like it would be something totally alien to my experience.

Materialist

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Re: Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2013, 04:58:30 pm »
Quote from: Valentine;93164
Interesting question!  (Though I want to add some nuance: this isn't true of all Homo sapiens.  My understanding is that most people of exclusively African descent do not have Neanderthal ancestry, nor, I believe, Denisovian.  I remember feeling a particular thrill, as an anti-racist activist, when I realized that it means people of African descent are theoretically the most "pure" "modern" humans on Earth.)
It's difficult to know anything about the shape of, say, Neanderthal religion.  They seem to have had a sense of symbol and awe and artifact, and there seems to have been some kind of veneration of natural forces or animals, but it's all "seems."  There's just no concrete knowledge.  And past that--let's say they did have animal deities.  What is the place of a deity of, or in the shape of, an animal that is now extinct?  A mastodon God?  An aurochs God?  A hyracotherium God? A glacier God south of the 45th Parallel?  There's the bigger question, right?  What happens to a God of something that doesn't exist any more?  What was the shape of deity pre-mammal, or pre-sentience?  In the Cambrian Explosion?

I think one of the ways to address it is Aster's--Gods as we know Them are eternal and represent bigger things than humans or hyracotheria, and maybe look like things that are familiar to us for convenience, or because They adapt to the times.  And Absent's is another--Titanomachies, succeeding dynasties as the world changes.
I find this unexpectedly fascinating to ponder, even though it has no practical application in my life.

 
My thinking wonders into these areas as well. Eventually it leads to Neil Gaiman's "American Gods."

Laveth

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Re: Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2013, 05:08:38 pm »
Quote from: Valentine;93164
Interesting question!  (Though I want to add some nuance: this isn't true of all Homo sapiens.  My understanding is that most people of exclusively African descent do not have Neanderthal ancestry, nor, I believe, Denisovian.  I remember feeling a particular thrill, as an anti-racist activist, when I realized that it means people of African descent are theoretically the most "pure" "modern" humans on Earth.)
It's difficult to know anything about the shape of, say, Neanderthal religion.  They seem to have had a sense of symbol and awe and artifact, and there seems to have been some kind of veneration of natural forces or animals, but it's all "seems."  There's just no concrete knowledge.  And past that--let's say they did have animal deities.  What is the place of a deity of, or in the shape of, an animal that is now extinct?  A mastodon God?  An aurochs God?  A hyracotherium God? A glacier God south of the 45th Parallel?  There's the bigger question, right?  What happens to a God of something that doesn't exist any more?  What was the shape of deity pre-mammal, or pre-sentience?  In the Cambrian Explosion?

I think one of the ways to address it is Aster's--Gods as we know Them are eternal and represent bigger things than humans or hyracotheria, and maybe look like things that are familiar to us for convenience, or because They adapt to the times.  And Absent's is another--Titanomachies, succeeding dynasties as the world changes.
I find this unexpectedly fascinating to ponder, even though it has no practical application in my life.

 
I think my brain is leaking out my ears...

There is some speculation regarding some Slavic deities that their identity began being understood and acknowledged as elementals and vila, rather than deities. That they were personifications of various natural aspects, and the deities we now know are just leader-type elementals/vila.

Perhaps the ancestors of modern humans (or whatever) followed the idea of basic elemental life.

Chausette

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Re: Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2013, 06:18:22 pm »
Quote from: Marilyn/Absentminded;93162
There are a fair few cultures whose myths involve the 'human gods' wresting control from more savage or uncivilized beings - the Titans and the Jotuns, from Greek and Norse mythology respectively, occur to me.  Maybe these legends refer to the pre-human gods you're talking about?

Absent

 
I never thought of the Titans as being the gods of non-human beings, but that makes a great deal of sense to me; especially since the Titan myths tend to deal with when the world was new and 'wild'.

Rhyshadow

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Re: Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2013, 07:25:34 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;93160
A thought occurred to me when I was reading an article in a science magazine, which was detailing new findings in human evolution, and how Homo sapiens is a hybrid of at least two species.

My sudden thought was: what if the gods/sacred spirits of these species prior to/contemporary with H. sapiens  still existed? Would they try to contact us because we're their descendants?

I'm referring to Homo neandertalensis and the Denisovans, for those who don't keep up with such things, and borrowing a being from Mrs. Auel's "Earth Children" series-the Cave Bear Spirit, to represent hypothetical pre-human gods, how would you react if such an ancient entity contacted you?

 
My question being, why would you think Homo neanderthalensis, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo floresiensis and all the rest aren't Human?

Just my scientific mind at work - all were tool-makers, all had a form of culture and all were successful - Neanderthal Man flourished for over six times the length that Homo sapiens sapiens has existed.

iulla

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Re: Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2013, 09:31:04 pm »
Quote from: Laveth;93314
I think my brain is leaking out my ears...

There is some speculation regarding some Slavic deities that their identity began being understood and acknowledged as elementals and vila, rather than deities. That they were personifications of various natural aspects, and the deities we now know are just leader-type elementals/vila.

Perhaps the ancestors of modern humans (or whatever) followed the idea of basic elemental life.


There's some scholarship suggesting this about several Roman deities as well.  What with the concept of numinism (sort of, very much an understatement here, animism) and all.

I could see this, and I could see this happening with "pre-humans" as well.
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Fireof9

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Re: Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2013, 12:24:31 am »
Quote from: Aster Breo;93163
Why do you assume the gods of pre-human beings are different from the gods of humans?

My take:  My path is centered on Brighid exclusively.  I believe She is one name for a Force that has always existed.  She pre-dates everything else and is a Creator of the universe we know.  So, I think She was around before humans were and will be around after humans.

I think it's probably the same for other gods, although not necessarily ALL other gods.

Just my $0.02, though.

~ Aster

 
I tend along these lines too. I think there are gods that have been around long long long before humans were a sparkle in the universes eye. I think that there are also gods that are highly evolved nature spirits, but they likely pre-date humans as well to some degree.

In my opinion, humans have put themselves on a pedestal that says that all things revolve around us. But we are simply species that is somewhat more evolved than others on our planet. For all we know we are a petri dish experiment of the gods........
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Materialist

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Re: Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2013, 11:29:46 am »
Quote from: Rhyshadow;93359
My question being, why would you think Homo neanderthalensis, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo floresiensis and all the rest aren't Human?

Just my scientific mind at work - all were tool-makers, all had a form of culture and all were successful - Neanderthal Man flourished for over six times the length that Homo sapiens sapiens has existed.


Chimpanzees also have a too-making culture, but they are not human.  Archaeological evidence of tool use is poor evidence for human-like behavior. Obviously, with Neandertals and Denisovans, they were intelligent enough to communicate with humans and live together, but how similar they were to each other is unknowable with present evidence.

I'm reminded suddenly  of the "Lord of the Rings;" Elves were always called elves, never humans, despite being almost identical. Such complete distinction between species may have existed with hominins-I'm speculating in a thread about speculating.

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Re: Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2013, 01:39:44 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;93169
I flove neanderthals. One of my initial fascinations with Germanic mythology was its possible ties to a forgotten pre-history of humans clashing with neanderthal. I know there are theories that the jotuns represent the Ns while the Aesir were the Hs. And I would be fine with evidence that proved this.


I've read some of the same speculation you and Marilyn are referring to, and it makes makes sense to me that there would be different kinds of gods for different peoples, especially the division of the wild, elemental jotnar from the agricultural Vanir and the more civilized Aesir.
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Pre-human Gods?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2013, 02:05:52 pm »
Quote from: Jack;93486
I've read some of the same speculation you and Marilyn are referring to, and it makes makes sense to me that there would be different kinds of gods for different peoples, especially the division of the wild, elemental jotnar from the agricultural Vanir and the more civilized Aesir.

If I wanted to study all of this, What would I study in? Geology? Archaeology? This is fascinating and I'm in college (at my age ha)

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