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Author Topic: Separate or the same?  (Read 2339 times)

ALiteraryLady

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2014, 08:17:19 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;135112


Odin was, by everything I've read, considered equivalent to Mercury by the Romans.

 
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HeartShadow

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2014, 08:41:20 am »
Quote from: Elyria;135100


 
That's called soft polytheism.  It's not uncommon.

That said, that various cultures have some kind of "dark goddess" figure - which is I think the thread you're going for - doesn't mean they're the SAME dark goddess.  I mean, I have a son.  My mother has a son.  My son is not my brother.  Veggiewolf and I are both staff members here and both mothers, but we're not the same person.  Etc.

I do think gods are more complicated than we think, and do sometimes swap hats and impersonate each other and it gets very strange.  But ... where we draw the line depends on what bits are important and what bits we see as critical.

Stella

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2014, 11:59:04 am »
Quote from: Elyria;135100


This is just an idea I'm playing with.. But is it wrong to think this way? I suppose the beauty of paganism is the ability to chose your own beliefs. I guess I just wonder if I'm alone in this idea. Any thoughts?


This too is what I believe that the energies are all the same but just slanted with a different perspective. Interesting how it is all woven together though energy wise.

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Materialist

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2014, 09:00:22 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;135292

  I mean, I have a son.  My mother has a son.  My son is not my brother.  Veggiewolf and I are both staff members here and both mothers, but we're not the same person.  Etc.


Does this fundamental fact about human biology apply to divine biology, though? In several discussions I've read hard polytheists reuse the "three mothers" argument, as I call it, and you've provided a "three generations" version, but I don't understand how it is supposed to explain polytheistic theology, or convince someone of its truth, and I've come across a few who have used it for that.

Unless what you're trying to get across is that gods are a species of metazoa, and therefore the comparison applies.

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2014, 08:59:34 am »
Quote from: Materialist;136606
Does this fundamental fact about human biology apply to divine biology, though? In several discussions I've read hard polytheists reuse the "three mothers" argument, as I call it, and you've provided a "three generations" version, but I don't understand how it is supposed to explain polytheistic theology, or convince someone of its truth, and I've come across a few who have used it for that.

 
If you're looking for an explanation out of, "Look, just because two entities share a couple of adjectives doesn't make them the same being, look at all of these obvious counterexamples", you're probably going to be looking for a very long time.

"A flute is not the same thing as an oboe, even if you blow into both of them to make sound and find them in orchestra pits" is, likewise, not an explanation of romantic-period musical theory.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Materialist

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2014, 12:10:56 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;136662
If you're looking for an explanation out of, "Look, just because two entities share a couple of adjectives doesn't make them the same being, look at all of these obvious counterexamples", you're probably going to be looking for a very long time.


 Is there a particular reason why simply saying (paraphrasing HeartShadow) "deities are individuals" was insufficient? If you were speaking to a person who didn't understand the word "individual," providing a string of counterexamples would make sense to me,  otherwise I don't understand the point of going into such detail.

veggiewolf

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2014, 12:21:56 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;136701
Is there a particular reason why simply saying (paraphrasing HeartShadow) "deities are individuals" was insufficient? ...

 
For me, the reason is because deities are individuals...except when they aren't.  I tend to allow them to tell me when that happens, though.
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Darkhawk

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2014, 01:15:54 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;136701
Is there a particular reason why simply saying (paraphrasing HeartShadow) "deities are individuals" was insufficient?

 
There have been years of having the topic come up every few months, always in the same format, usually with - as in this thread - someone equating wildly different powers on the basis of one or two characteristics.  If "deities are individuals" were sufficient, it would have worked once or twice.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
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we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2014, 02:33:07 pm »
Quote from: Mama Fortuna;135165
Dude, have you read the threads on the forum? Banter happens. Bitching about it just makes people think you have no sense of humour.

Anyway, smattered in there were answers to your question, and some questions raised in response. (Olie and Darkhawk and Louisvillian all posted things directed at you.)

You asked "is it wrong to think this way?" The answer is not in a moral sense, no. Not even in a philosophical sense, really, since none of us can prove a damn thing when it comes to deities. Where you will run into trouble, on this board especially, is making sweeping comparisons that do not fit with the known mythology. There's a lot of scholarly types on the Cauldron, and remarks like "Lillith is like the Morrigan" will not go unchallenged.

So while the idea of fewer gods existing under many names is not wrong - plenty of people think that way - arguing convincingly in some cases is gonna be really, really hard because there isn't any evidence to back it up. That's all.


nicely done! just sayin'. carry on...
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Miss Diss

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2014, 03:50:19 pm »
Quote from: Elyria;135100
This is just an idea I'm playing with.. But is it wrong to think this way? I suppose the beauty of paganism is the ability to chose your own beliefs. I guess I just wonder if I'm alone in this idea. Any thoughts?

 
I am not a fan of syncretism. Here's why: Inanna is one of the oldest godesses we have any records of. She's pretty awesome, a goddess of war, fertility, sexual lust, she demands ritual prostitution in her service and likes to have genderqueer folk as temple servants.

Then we have Ishtar, she's very much the same deity, worshipped in the same temples, with the same stories, but in a different language (akkadian instead of sumerian, the Akkadians having conquered the Sumerians).

The Akkadians spread out, their empire falls, and on the east coast of the Mediterranean we find Ishtar being worshipped as Astarte. A bit less lust a bit more love, no more ritual prostitution or queer priests. A few centuries later we find Astarte being worshipped on an island in the eastern Mediterranean as Aphrodite, still a lover, still a warrior, no longer really a fertility goddess. Then of course Aphrodite becomes Venus, and some version of Venus even becomes the Virgin Mary. And we've got archaeological and textual evidence to show this whole development.

So if we're being syncretistic i should be able to enter a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary in order to honour Inanna. But i am pretty sure that Inanna would consider that an grave insult, something which i am not willing to risk.

I'm not saying that syncretism is wrong, but i personally find it just doesn't fit with how i think and perceive the world.

Sage

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Separate or the same?
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2014, 03:54:42 pm »
Quote from: Miss Diss;136749
I am not a fan of syncretism. Here's why: Inanna is one of the oldest godesses we have any records of. She's pretty awesome, a goddess of war, fertility, sexual lust, she demands ritual prostitution in her service and likes to have genderqueer folk as temple servants.

Then we have Ishtar, she's very much the same deity, worshipped in the same temples, with the same stories, but in a different language (akkadian instead of sumerian, the Akkadians having conquered the Sumerians).

The Akkadians spread out, their empire falls, and on the east coast of the Mediterranean we find Ishtar being worshipped as Astarte. A bit less lust a bit more love, no more ritual prostitution or queer priests. A few centuries later we find Astarte being worshipped on an island in the eastern Mediterranean as Aphrodite, still a lover, still a warrior, no longer really a fertility goddess. Then of course Aphrodite becomes Venus, and some version of Venus even becomes the Virgin Mary. And we've got archaeological and textual evidence to show this whole development.

So if we're being syncretistic i should be able to enter a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary in order to honour Inanna. But i am pretty sure that Inanna would consider that an grave insult, something which i am not willing to risk.

I'm not saying that syncretism is wrong, but i personally find it just doesn't fit with how i think and perceive the world.

It sounds like you're conflating soft polytheism and syncretism, or universal syncretism with specific syncretism. Syncretism has occurred within religions (in the case of many Egyptian deities, like Hethert-Sekhmet and Amun-Ra). But it doesn't mean all deities are interchangeable, or that the syncretized deities in question mean they're seen as completely identical.

Soft polytheism on the other hand may see the identity of multiple gods squishing with each other, often beyond cultural boundaries.
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Miss Diss

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2014, 04:31:07 pm »
Quote from: Sage;136752
It sounds like you're conflating soft polytheism and syncretism, or universal syncretism with specific syncretism.

 
Very possibly, yes. I've very rarely had the opportunity to talk about any of this, and my vocabulary is probably a bit idiosyncratic, not to say wrong.

Materialist

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2014, 07:42:57 pm »
Quote from: Miss Diss;136749
Then of course Aphrodite becomes Venus, and some version of Venus even becomes the Virgin Mary. And we've got archaeological and textual evidence to show this whole development.


This reminds me of something I've thought about off and on. I sometimes get the impression from hard polytheists that their gods haven't changed since the first pope was enthroned, though you have clearly shown how gods evolved through the first two thousand years of their recorded history.

It keeps reminding me of "is it in the lore?" debates within Asatru, but why can't gods be completely different from what they were two thousand years ago? Why can't there be new syncretisms with all the new cultures that exist now?

Nyktipolos

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2014, 08:50:38 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;137279
It keeps reminding me of "is it in the lore?" debates within Asatru, but why can't gods be completely different from what they were two thousand years ago? Why can't there be new syncretisms with all the new cultures that exist now?

 
Syncretism can and does exist (I'm sure there are many people out there that can and do worship an Aphrodite-Venus, and I'm possibly one of them!), and new gods can come about due to syncretism, but that doesn't mean people are obliged to accept that Aphrodite and Venus (for example as "the source gods") are the same.
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SleepingCompass

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Re: Separate or the same?
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2014, 09:55:16 pm »
Quote from: Elyria;135100
And I started wondering if perhaps all the deities WERENT different, but merely one being twisted from culture to culture. Like with Lilith, perhaps she is Lilith, but also Inanna, but also Maeve, but also Hecate or the Morrigan. And Zues would be Jupiter and Odin.

This is just an idea I'm playing with.. But is it wrong to think this way? I suppose the beauty of paganism is the ability to chose your own beliefs. I guess I just wonder if I'm alone in this idea. Any thoughts?

 
I agree with what you said:
"...the beauty of paganism is the ability to chose your own beliefs."

It's one of my favorite things about being a pagan/solitary witch :)

Personally, I think all deities stem from a single source and each individual deity we encounter is just a facet of the whole, like looking into one angle of a single jewel.  I think its easier and more like dealing with a human when we talk to divinity in a segmented form; they're more approachable... closer to us.  But I also think they're separate entities in their own right with their own thoughts and feelings.  

It's kind of like with humans; I believe that we all carry a spark of the divine; that we are all part of the same whole... the same source that the Gods themselves spring from... So we are all one in that way, but we're also very separate individuals as well.

I think its the same way with the Gods, at least from my viewpoint.  

So it makes sense to me that some Gods could be the same being with different names; but also still be separate.  They may have both sprung from the same facet, originally, and be essentially the same being.  But they are also still different; I think even in the case of the exact same God that two different people worship, even that same God will show two different faces.  The Gods come to us filtered through our own perceptions and imaginations; our views of them are bound to be different, just as we are all different.  

When enough humans visit the same God, that God becomes more and more accessible to the rest of humanity.  Jung's archetypes theories tie into this with the universal unconscious, if I'm remembering right.  
 
We all have the ability to birth new Gods from our inner sparks of divinity and creativity, but its easier for us is if we follow the paths of humans who have already created a God before us.  

     I am the Fire of Mind
     Which divideth itself
     Into the Superior and Inferior natures,
     And putteth on a robe of flesh
     To come down.


This is from The Book of Tokens, by Dr. Paul Foster Case.  It has always spoken very strongly to me, though I admit there's a lot in there left for me to contemplate and understand.  

This is a passage from the Aleph chapter, which coordinates with the Fool card of the tarot deck.  Aleph is supposed to be the universal source from which all things are derived.  From this passage, in particular, the line: "...Into the Superior and Inferior natures,..." I think that's referring to the Gods and us.  Also, I think every time we seek out a God, we rebirth them into this world.  Similar Gods are kind of the same, but still different...

Another passage from the same book and section that bears relevance to this topic:

     Whose radiance lighteth all the world,
     Whose life-breath ebbeth and floweth
     In creatures great and small,
     Whose power taketh form
     In all the acts of men, of beasts, of plants
     Yea, and of things which seem inanimate,
     as well.


To me, this says that in every act we commit, we are acting out the will of the original source, that all acts we commit are divine as we carry a spark of the divine ourselves.  Every creation we bring about, including the creation of Gods, is a divine act.  

The concept that all Gods spring from the same force, is also a central part of Hinduism as well.

Okay, I just wrote a lot more than I had originally planned... so I'll stop here for now.

Anyways, suffice it to say, I don't think that your idea is wrong and there are others who share your ideas.

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