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Author Topic: The Presentation Of Deities  (Read 223 times)

Donal2018

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The Presentation Of Deities
« on: December 05, 2018, 07:00:24 pm »
It occurs to me that Deities might appear differently to different people. If we connect with a Deity through our mind or spirit, then the appearance and characteristics of that Deity might be seen through the filter of our minds. I am not just talking about the physical appearance of a God or Goddess, but also characteristics, personalities, etc. So, if I am color-blind and see green as grey, a deity that might appear green to others would be grey to me. I mean this metaphorically. If I have a compassionate, forgiving mind, a Deity might respond to that and be more caring. Whereas if I had a more combative mind, a Deity might appear to me more aggressive.

So each God or Goddess might present themselves differently to different people based on the limitations of the perceptions of the person interacting with that Deity. Therefore, the appearance, personality, and characteristics of a Deity might be sort of "customized" to the particular worshipper, and so could perhaps be highly personalized. I do not know this particular idea to be true ("unconfirmed personal gnosis", a term I saw in some of the SIGs). I am just speculating. What do you think? I think Gods and Goddesses are highly mysterious, and perhaps present different facets of themselves to different people for different purposes.

Ashmire

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Re: The Presentation Of Deities
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2018, 07:33:24 pm »
It occurs to me that Deities might appear differently to different people. If we connect with a Deity through our mind or spirit, then the appearance and characteristics of that Deity might be seen through the filter of our minds. I am not just talking about the physical appearance of a God or Goddess, but also characteristics, personalities, etc. So, if I am color-blind and see green as grey, a deity that might appear green to others would be grey to me. I mean this metaphorically. If I have a compassionate, forgiving mind, a Deity might respond to that and be more caring. Whereas if I had a more combative mind, a Deity might appear to me more aggressive.

So each God or Goddess might present themselves differently to different people based on the limitations of the perceptions of the person interacting with that Deity. Therefore, the appearance, personality, and characteristics of a Deity might be sort of "customized" to the particular worshipper, and so could perhaps be highly personalized. I do not know this particular idea to be true ("unconfirmed personal gnosis", a term I saw in some of the SIGs). I am just speculating. What do you think? I think Gods and Goddesses are highly mysterious, and perhaps present different facets of themselves to different people for different purposes.

Well, if you think about it, this is true in some sort even with ordinary human relationships.  People do bring out different facets of one another's personality very often, especially if they are very close to each other.  So that certainly does make sense.

 I've also had some experiences of channeling that lead me to the impression that in doing that, one is not so much being fully taken over as becoming a composite personality, but there I am only going on my own limited experience and understanding.

arete

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Re: The Presentation Of Deities
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2018, 05:41:02 am »
So, if I am color-blind and see green as grey, a deity that might appear green to others would be grey to me.
In my opinion, the Gods are universal truths and they don't change for our sake.

Altair

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Re: The Presentation Of Deities
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2018, 07:24:05 am »
It occurs to me that Deities might appear differently to different people. If we connect with a Deity through our mind or spirit, then the appearance and characteristics of that Deity might be seen through the filter of our minds. I am not just talking about the physical appearance of a God or Goddess, but also characteristics, personalities, etc. So, if I am color-blind and see green as grey, a deity that might appear green to others would be grey to me. I mean this metaphorically. If I have a compassionate, forgiving mind, a Deity might respond to that and be more caring. Whereas if I had a more combative mind, a Deity might appear to me more aggressive.

So each God or Goddess might present themselves differently to different people based on the limitations of the perceptions of the person interacting with that Deity. Therefore, the appearance, personality, and characteristics of a Deity might be sort of "customized" to the particular worshipper, and so could perhaps be highly personalized. I do not know this particular idea to be true ("unconfirmed personal gnosis", a term I saw in some of the SIGs). I am just speculating. What do you think? I think Gods and Goddesses are highly mysterious, and perhaps present different facets of themselves to different people for different purposes.

This goes back to one's conception of deity. If you believe, as I do, that deities are largely metaphors, constructs of our limited human minds so we can begin to understand and relate to powers and forces far beyond our comprehension, then by their very nature they will take guises that conform to a greater or lesser extent with our own minds and cultures.
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The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Donal2018

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Re: The Presentation Of Deities
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2018, 02:28:45 pm »
This goes back to one's conception of deity. If you believe, as I do, that deities are largely metaphors, constructs of our limited human minds so we can begin to understand and relate to powers and forces far beyond our comprehension, then by their very nature they will take guises that conform to a greater or lesser extent with our own minds and cultures.

I hold a similar belief. They are powerful personifications of certain natural forces. They do have a sort of reality, but their nature is deep and mysterious, or at least that has been my experience.

I don't think that deities "change" for us. I do think that they are multi-faceted and might appear different ways to different people based on that person's perception. The deity is not really changing, but is simply expressing itself differently to different people.

arete

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Re: The Presentation Of Deities
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2018, 03:22:33 pm »
I don't think that deities "change" for us. I do think that they are multi-faceted and might appear different ways to different people based on that person's perception. The deity is not really changing, but is simply expressing itself differently to different people.
It's like the sun, in my opinion. The Sun doesn't chooses how to warm each people. We accept the sun differently, it's us who change to a certain truth.

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Re: The Presentation Of Deities
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2018, 03:39:26 pm »
So each God or Goddess might present themselves differently to different people based on the limitations of the perceptions of the person interacting with that Deity. Therefore, the appearance, personality, and characteristics of a Deity might be sort of "customized" to the particular worshipper, and so could perhaps be highly personalized. I do not know this particular idea to be true ("unconfirmed personal gnosis", a term I saw in some of the SIGs). I am just speculating. What do you think? I think Gods and Goddesses are highly mysterious, and perhaps present different facets of themselves to different people for different purposes.

The gods are not even always clearly visible to other gods!  There's a bit of Egyptian text that has a god putting on their regalia until they become recognizable to a sort of parliamentary gathering of powers.  The word for these different shapes/appearances/manifestations in Egyptian is "iru".

One of the ways many ancient people lived in a more enchanted world than moderns is that they were aware of the possibility that many, many different phenomena could be iru of various gods.  (Consider the number of cultures that have myths about people being kind to wandering travelers and those travelers turning out to be powers of some sort - gods, angels, etc.)

There are cultural traditions, as well, of making explicit which form of a god one's calling upon through the use of epithets, titles, and attributes, and people will often have different relationships with different aspects or presentations.  Which has led me to have conversations with a friend that went something like, "My Brighid is mostly the Smith, and I think that person deals with the Bardic stream more..."

And that's not even getting into the thing where closely affiliated gods seem to hang out in each other's bedrooms swapping clothes and saying "Hey, how about I go as you and you go as me to this party, that sounds like fun."  Gods are a heaache. ;P
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Donal2018

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Re: The Presentation Of Deities
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2018, 04:36:20 pm »
The gods are not even always clearly visible to other gods!  There's a bit of Egyptian text that has a god putting on their regalia until they become recognizable to a sort of parliamentary gathering of powers.  The word for these different shapes/appearances/manifestations in Egyptian is "iru".

One of the ways many ancient people lived in a more enchanted world than moderns is that they were aware of the possibility that many, many different phenomena could be iru of various gods.  (Consider the number of cultures that have myths about people being kind to wandering travelers and those travelers turning out to be powers of some sort - gods, angels, etc.)

There are cultural traditions, as well, of making explicit which form of a god one's calling upon through the use of epithets, titles, and attributes, and people will often have different relationships with different aspects or presentations.  Which has led me to have conversations with a friend that went something like, "My Brighid is mostly the Smith, and I think that person deals with the Bardic stream more..."

And that's not even getting into the thing where closely affiliated gods seem to hang out in each other's bedrooms swapping clothes and saying "Hey, how about I go as you and you go as me to this party, that sounds like fun."  Gods are a heaache. ;P

Wow, great post. I was not aware of that Egyptian term, "iru". I do think that is a very "god-like" to go in different guises. I am not asserting that all do, but clearly there are stories and cases of "powers" going about in disguise, like the traveling angel stories you mention.

Also calling upon different gods based upon their epithets, or really sort of specializations, seems to be a "thing" in various traditions- Greek, Celtic, etc. I know less about Egyptian or Hindu traditions, but I would not be surprised to see that there also. The gods seem to be mysterious and do present themselves in various aspects. It is about being multi-faceted, I think.

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Re: The Presentation Of Deities
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2018, 10:30:58 am »
In my opinion, the Gods are universal truths and they don't change for our sake.

I agree with this from a Hindu pov. The gods appear as they do because at some time the rishis, who had divine insight, saw them in certain ways. That became the canonical iconography. It's the old "a picture is worth a thousand words" because the iconography tells a story of the deity's attributes and characteristics. It's more than just picture or statue.
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

arete

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Re: The Presentation Of Deities
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2018, 12:31:07 pm »
I agree with this from a Hindu pov. The gods appear as they do because at some time the rishis, who had divine insight, saw them in certain ways. That became the canonical iconography. It's the old "a picture is worth a thousand words" because the iconography tells a story of the deity's attributes and characteristics. It's more than just picture or statue.
In the greek religion, the Muses give insight of the gods to mortals.  :) So that us mortals can know the Gods.

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