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Author Topic: Variation in Pantheons  (Read 1729 times)

Megatherium

Variation in Pantheons
« on: February 27, 2017, 04:47:34 pm »
So I’ve recently been a little fixated on the following article (http://odroerirjournal.com/pantheon-what-pantheon/) which, very briefly, questions the extent to which the “Norse Pantheon” as articulated in the Eddas is an accurate representation of how historical Heathens saw their Gods and the relationships among them.

I find this an interesting question because it seems to me that the way a particular culture understands its pantheon of deities is something which is in constant flux. To the extent that this is true, I wonder  how this affects the way a particular persons comprehends and works with the deities in their specific tradition. I suspect that cultures which have a (relatively) high level of literacy and/or political unity, a professional religious class, and denser populations (such as Greco-Roman, South Asian, and Chinese cultures) may have a greater degree of pan-cultural coherence in the way in which a pantheon is understood than in cultures (such as temperate European ones) which are lacking some of the above mentioned factors.
What I want to know is (and these are questions perhaps most relevant to people who practice a particular reconstructed or unbroken type of polytheism though others are welcome to answer);

-   How did the pantheon of deities which you worship develop historically? To what extent does this pantheon exhibit regional or temporal variation?
-   How does any uncertainty which arises from this variation affect your personal practice? (For example, I am a bit reluctant to address Thor and Tyr as the “sons” of Odin because I tend to think this concept may not have been particularly widespread and/or developed in the post-conversion period).
My views are one that speaks to freedom.
-George W. Bush

Darkhawk

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Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2017, 06:53:12 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;203285
-   How did the pantheon of deities which you worship develop historically? To what extent does this pantheon exhibit regional or temporal variation?


Hah.  Um.

So the following things are all simultaneously true in Egyptian theology:

- there was, by the time of Egypt-as-a-nation, a unified civic cultus in which temple gods were formally honored in very similar ways regardless of which god(s) was primary resident in a temple

- each major city had its own mythology, sometimes its own creation myth and creator god, focal deities, interrelationships among deities, local sacred animals, and so on, which were part of the set of deities that other Egyptians would recognise but with their own localised nature (compare the wide variety of theologies and relationships that are called "Hinduism")

- nomes occasionally had low-level conflict with each other that sometimes manifested in religious symbolism (of type, "Well FINE I'm going to eat YOUR SACRED ANIMAL how do you like THAT", mostly)

- which deities were recognised particularly at the national level varied over time, depending on which cities were in political ascendancy, the strength of the priesthoods of various powers, the preferences of the ruling family, and the vagaries of time

- various symbols - as much as various powers - had different portions of their meaning emphasised in different places (so, for example, the city where crocodiles were particularly revered would emphasise different parts of what-it-means-to-crocodile than the areas where the importance of the crocodile was mostly 'they appear basically out of nowhere and drag things down to the depths of the river to die')

Quote
-   How does any uncertainty which arises from this variation affect your personal practice? (For example, I am a bit reluctant to address Thor and Tyr as the “sons” of Odin because I tend to think this concept may not have been particularly widespread and/or developed in the post-conversion period).

 
It mostly has left me with a sense that a localised practice is essential.  There is so much variation within the span of the mythological corpus, and all of it is dependent on a particular timeplace.  My own practice focuses on a set of gods who are not typically grouped, though there are relationships from various places among many of them.  However, that particular grouping is sensical, and holds a particular nature, and is consistent with the larger mythos, and thus I consider it to be the structural interpretation of my nome.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Yei

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Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2017, 07:45:55 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;203285
So I’ve recently been a little fixated on the following article (http://odroerirjournal.com/pantheon-what-pantheon/) which, very briefly, questions the extent to which the “Norse Pantheon” as articulated in the Eddas is an accurate representation of how historical Heathens saw their Gods and the relationships among them.

I find this an interesting question because it seems to me that the way a particular culture understands its pantheon of deities is something which is in constant flux. To the extent that this is true, I wonder  how this affects the way a particular persons comprehends and works with the deities in their specific tradition. I suspect that cultures which have a (relatively) high level of literacy and/or political unity, a professional religious class, and denser populations (such as Greco-Roman, South Asian, and Chinese cultures) may have a greater degree of pan-cultural coherence in the way in which a pantheon is understood than in cultures (such as temperate European ones) which are lacking some of the above mentioned factors.
What I want to know is (and these are questions perhaps most relevant to people who practice a particular reconstructed or unbroken type of polytheism though others are welcome to answer);

-   How did the pantheon of deities which you worship develop historically? To what extent does this pantheon exhibit regional or temporal variation?
-   How does any uncertainty which arises from this variation affect your personal practice? (For example, I am a bit reluctant to address Thor and Tyr as the “sons” of Odin because I tend to think this concept may not have been particularly widespread and/or developed in the post-conversion period).

 
Those are difficult questions. In the first instance we have two problems, as we (well, me) have to distinguish between change in the religion that occurred in Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, and change in the perception and interpretation of the religion in the modern era.
The second problem is a challenge, but at least we have some sources. Earlier scholars tended to depict Mesoamerican gods like Greek or Roman gods, i.e.: as discreet entities. Some scholars, mainly Miguel Leon-Portilla, claimed that the Mexica had a supreme creator deity called Ometeotl, giving the Mexica a religious 'hierarchy' and a central deity. However this interpretation has been seriously question by some more recent scholars such as James Malfie and Richard Haly. Recent scholars, Malfie again and Alan Sandstrom, have noted a pantheistic element to Nahua religion, based on the idea of gods being composed of Teotl, which is omnipresent, and the fact that Nahua gods often have a range of different titles and 'aspects'. However, it is unclear how far this idea should be extended, as many indigenous prayers reference gods specifically by name (or rather, by title), and some gods are oppositional to each other, and many are depicted using distinct sets of imagery and have distinct sets of attributes and associations.

The second part is even trickier, as there is a lack of written sources and everything comes down to interpretation. It is likely, however, that Mesoamerican city-states followed the same pattern as other societies, with local legends, ceremonies, and beliefs. There was however, a lot of cross pollination between different groups. This changed with the rise of the Mexica. They introduced Huitzilopochtli to the Mesoamerican pantheon, and increased the cross pollination between different groups though increased contact and improved communication. Politically, the Mexica adopted the religious practises of their vassals and began to codify them, which may have eventually led to an official pantheon, a unified calendar, and a coherent set of myths forming in a relatively organic fashion. This never happened though, for the obvious reason.

As to the second question, it does not often come up as a problem, though largely because my current practise is hampered by my living conditions. Basically, I have other stuff to worry about. However, when this changes, I would like to create a 'god map' to help articulate the relationship between the gods. I also have to improve my drawing skill.

Megatherium

Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2017, 09:29:38 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;203289
Hah.  Um.

So the following things are all simultaneously true in Egyptian theology:

- there was, by the time of Egypt-as-a-nation, a unified civic cultus in which temple gods were formally honored in very similar ways regardless of which god(s) was primary resident in a temple

- each major city had its own mythology, sometimes its own creation myth and creator god, focal deities, interrelationships among deities, local sacred animals, and so on, which were part of the set of deities that other Egyptians would recognise but with their own localised nature (compare the wide variety of theologies and relationships that are called "Hinduism")

- nomes occasionally had low-level conflict with each other that sometimes manifested in religious symbolism (of type, "Well FINE I'm going to eat YOUR SACRED ANIMAL how do you like THAT", mostly)

- which deities were recognised particularly at the national level varied over time, depending on which cities were in political ascendancy, the strength of the priesthoods of various powers, the preferences of the ruling family, and the vagaries of time

- various symbols - as much as various powers - had different portions of their meaning emphasised in different places (so, for example, the city where crocodiles were particularly revered would emphasise different parts of what-it-means-to-crocodile than the areas where the importance of the crocodile was mostly 'they appear basically out of nowhere and drag things down to the depths of the river to die')


Thanks Darkhawk. I suspected, but was not really aware of the combination of local variation within a broader cultural context in which those local religious differences would be understandable to non-locals. This is especially interesting given that Egypt frequently had a much higher degree of political unity than other Mediterranean regions. I'm no expert on Greco-Roman religion, but I have developed an impression that those cultures also had a combination of a broad comprehensible cultural context with a significant amount of regional diversity.

I wonder to what extent the modern presentation of Mediterranean religious systems is biased in favour of a more unified tradition, and to what extent Christianity has influenced those ideas.


Quote from: Darkhawk;203289

It mostly has left me with a sense that a localised practice is essential.  There is so much variation within the span of the mythological corpus, and all of it is dependent on a particular timeplace.  My own practice focuses on a set of gods who are not typically grouped, though there are relationships from various places among many of them.  However, that particular grouping is sensical, and holds a particular nature, and is consistent with the larger mythos, and thus I consider it to be the structural interpretation of my nome.


It seems strange, but the more I learn about historical Heathen cultures, the more I feel that broad swaths of those traditions simply cannot be translated in a meaningful way into a modern situation. The result of this is a greater focus on my particular region, and I find myself reinterpreting myths and deity roles in the context of my local environment. (F'ex, the marriage of Njord and Skadi has assumed a particular importance for me as a relationship between two forces involved in the annual mountain snowfall and melt - Skadi "leaves" Njord in the winter to return to her mountains, Njord "leaves" Skadi in the spring as the snow melts to return to the ocean).
My views are one that speaks to freedom.
-George W. Bush

Megatherium

Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2017, 09:48:47 pm »
Quote from: Yei;203290
Those are difficult questions. In the first instance we have two problems, as we (well, me) have to distinguish between change in the religion that occurred in Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, and change in the perception and interpretation of the religion in the modern era.
The second problem is a challenge, but at least we have some sources. Earlier scholars tended to depict Mesoamerican gods like Greek or Roman gods, i.e.: as discreet entities. Some scholars, mainly Miguel Leon-Portilla, claimed that the Mexica had a supreme creator deity called Ometeotl, giving the Mexica a religious 'hierarchy' and a central deity. However this interpretation has been seriously question by some more recent scholars such as James Malfie and Richard Haly. Recent scholars, Malfie again and Alan Sandstrom, have noted a pantheistic element to Nahua religion, based on the idea of gods being composed of Teotl, which is omnipresent, and the fact that Nahua gods often have a range of different titles and 'aspects'. However, it is unclear how far this idea should be extended, as many indigenous prayers reference gods specifically by name (or rather, by title), and some gods are oppositional to each other, and many are depicted using distinct sets of imagery and have distinct sets of attributes and associations.


Thanks Yei. My knowledge of Mesoamerican religious systems is extremely poor, but I wonder if it is possible that the polytheistic, hierarchical and pantheistic interpretations could have all existed simultaneously in some of these cultures. In contrast perhaps it is possible that all three viewpoints predominated at particular time periods and/or places.

Quote from: Yei;203290
The second part is even trickier, as there is a lack of written sources and everything comes down to interpretation. It is likely, however, that Mesoamerican city-states followed the same pattern as other societies, with local legends, ceremonies, and beliefs. There was however, a lot of cross pollination between different groups. This changed with the rise of the Mexica. They introduced Huitzilopochtli to the Mesoamerican pantheon, and increased the cross pollination between different groups though increased contact and improved communication. Politically, the Mexica adopted the religious practises of their vassals and began to codify them, which may have eventually led to an official pantheon, a unified calendar, and a coherent set of myths forming in a relatively organic fashion. This never happened though, for the obvious reason.


I find the information about the Mexica's influence on the existing religious systems fascinating. It makes me curious as to what extent Roman religion influenced Germanic traditions. For example, one of the best attested deities worshipped by Germanic people is...Hercules. There are numerous votive stones and coins in Germanic regions which bear the names like "Hercules Magusanus". Some of this archaeological evidence was likely produced by Romans in the area, but there may well have been some cross-fertilization between the cults of Hercules and Donar/Thor (It makes me wonder to what extent the idea of Thor as a slayer of monsters reflects this influence).

Quote from: Yei;203290
As to the second question, it does not often come up as a problem, though largely because my current practise is hampered by my living conditions. Basically, I have other stuff to worry about. However, when this changes, I would like to create a 'god map' to help articulate the relationship between the gods. I also have to improve my drawing skill.


I hope your living conditions and drawing skills improve in the near future!
My views are one that speaks to freedom.
-George W. Bush

Darkhawk

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Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2017, 10:34:16 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;203321
Thanks Darkhawk. I suspected, but was not really aware of the combination of local variation within a broader cultural context in which those local religious differences would be understandable to non-locals. This is especially interesting given that Egypt frequently had a much higher degree of political unity than other Mediterranean regions. I'm no expert on Greco-Roman religion, but I have developed an impression that those cultures also had a combination of a broad comprehensible cultural context with a significant amount of regional diversity.


I know that's the case with Greece.  Part of the reason that Greek mythology seems so unified and consistent, as I understand it, is that basically the stuff that survives is almost entirely Athenian; the particularities found in each other polis are almost entirely lost.

So we know that it was more or less a solid cross-Greek notion to have the Twelve Olympians, but which gods were counted in the twelve differed.  I also seem to recall that the Spartan take on Ares was rather different than the Athenian one (which found him rather uncouth); that's, well, to be expected given the different cities, I think.

Quote
I wonder to what extent the modern presentation of Mediterranean religious systems is biased in favour of a more unified tradition, and to what extent Christianity has influenced those ideas.


I think Romans got that sort of thing first, though their unification was not as comprehensive as came later.

Quote
It seems strange, but the more I learn about historical Heathen cultures, the more I feel that broad swaths of those traditions simply cannot be translated in a meaningful way into a modern situation. The result of this is a greater focus on my particular region, and I find myself reinterpreting myths and deity roles in the context of my local environment. (F'ex, the marriage of Njord and Skadi has assumed a particular importance for me as a relationship between two forces involved in the annual mountain snowfall and melt - Skadi "leaves" Njord in the winter to return to her mountains, Njord "leaves" Skadi in the spring as the snow melts to return to the ocean).

 
One of my first bits of post-conversion poetry was a contemplation of the Set/Osiris myth outside the context of the Nile flood, in which Set has to tear Osiris (source of the flood in some versions) into many tiny pieces, because that is what is rain.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Yei

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Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2017, 12:17:41 am »
Quote from: Megatherium;203324
Thanks Yei. My knowledge of Mesoamerican religious systems is extremely poor, but I wonder if it is possible that the polytheistic, hierarchical and pantheistic interpretations could have all existed simultaneously in some of these cultures. In contrast perhaps it is possible that all three viewpoints predominated at particular time periods and/or places


To be honest, it is impossible to know for sure. I believe that the polytheistic/pantheistic interpretations did exist simultaneously, though the exact degree of either probably varied between time, place, and culture. However, I don't believe it was ever hierarchical. Everything about Mesoamerican spirituality seems to oppose this notion.

Quote
I find the information about the Mexica's influence on the existing religious systems fascinating. It makes me curious as to what extent Roman religion influenced Germanic traditions. For example, one of the best attested deities worshipped by Germanic people is...Hercules. There are numerous votive stones and coins in Germanic regions which bear the names like "Hercules Magusanus". Some of this archaeological evidence was likely produced by Romans in the area, but there may well have been some cross-fertilization between the cults of Hercules and Donar/Thor (It makes me wonder to what extent the idea of Thor as a slayer of monsters reflects this influence).


Sure. People in the past were more mobile, communicative, and philosophical then we often give them credit for. It is not surprising that people travelled and learned from each other. Though because thought does not preserve directly, it is difficult to be sure, especially with cultures that do not use alphabetical writing, or have had their records destroyed.

Quote
I hope your living conditions and drawing skills improve in the near future!

 
The living conditions are likely to change in a year, for better or worse. The drawing skills likely to remain the same for the foreseeable future. I may try drawing a temple/backyard shrine schematic.

Megatherium

Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2017, 02:24:55 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;203326
I know that's the case with Greece.  Part of the reason that Greek mythology seems so unified and consistent, as I understand it, is that basically the stuff that survives is almost entirely Athenian; the particularities found in each other polis are almost entirely lost.

So we know that it was more or less a solid cross-Greek notion to have the Twelve Olympians, but which gods were counted in the twelve differed.  I also seem to recall that the Spartan take on Ares was rather different than the Athenian one (which found him rather uncouth); that's, well, to be expected given the different cities, I think.


Ah yes. Now that I think about it, I do remember reading stuff by Hellenic polytheists where they explicitly state the Athenian bias of their information. I am vaguely aware of a few Hellenic polytheists that try to base their religious life off of non-Athenian sources, and I was surprised by some of the differences. (I remember reading a blog, which I can't find anymore, by a devotee of Apollo whose interpretations of that deity were, I think, more Spartan in nature, and if I recall that viewpoint correctly, Apollo was not considered to be below Zeus in the "hierarchy")

One of my first lessons in the variability of ancient pantheons came when reading about the 12 Olympians. As far as I'm aware, both Hestia and Dionysus were always considered very important deities, but their status as Olympians varied.



Quote from: Darkhawk;203326

One of my first bits of post-conversion poetry was a contemplation of the Set/Osiris myth outside the context of the Nile flood, in which Set has to tear Osiris (source of the flood in some versions) into many tiny pieces, because that is what is rain.


Beautiful! I've often wondered about the difficulty of creating a modern and locally appropriate Kemetic practice, partly because I know next to nothing about ancient Egyptian religion, and partly due to the significant age of those traditions.
My views are one that speaks to freedom.
-George W. Bush

Megatherium

Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2017, 05:19:53 pm »
Quote from: Yei;203330
To be honest, it is impossible to know for sure. I believe that the polytheistic/pantheistic interpretations did exist simultaneously, though the exact degree of either probably varied between time, place, and culture. However, I don't believe it was ever hierarchical. Everything about Mesoamerican spirituality seems to oppose this notion.


There does seem to be a tendency by some people with a Christian background to understand other religious traditions in ways that make sense to them, so I can certainly see an unnecessary imposition of a hierarchical relationship among deities as a result of such a viewpoint.



Quote from: Yei;203330
Sure. People in the past were more mobile, communicative, and philosophical then we often give them credit for. It is not surprising that people travelled and learned from each other. Though because thought does not preserve directly, it is difficult to be sure, especially with cultures that do not use alphabetical writing, or have had their records destroyed.


Yeah, for religious traditions that lack written material from actual practitioners, one may be able to discern basic cosmology, ritual structure etc., but the actual spirituality- the subjective emotions felt by those who participated in the religion - are often notoriously difficult to really grasp. Hopefully, if the research involved in crafting a religious practice based on a historical religion is done to level that allows a modern practitioner to feel really engaged, those subjective experiences may develop naturally.


 
Quote from: Yei;203330
The living conditions are likely to change in a year, for better or worse. The drawing skills likely to remain the same for the foreseeable future. I may try drawing a temple/backyard shrine schematic.


I bet that no matter how poor your drawing skills are, mine are much worse.
My views are one that speaks to freedom.
-George W. Bush

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Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2017, 05:51:11 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;203344
I bet that no matter how poor your drawing skills are, mine are much worse.

 
Now, drafting, with a table and proper tools, I'm not too bad at; at least I got an A in my college course in engineering school. However, drawing, freehand...there are many eight-year-olds who are much better than me.
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Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2017, 10:16:01 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;203344
There does seem to be a tendency by some people with a Christian background to understand other religious traditions in ways that make sense to them, so I can certainly see an unnecessary imposition of a hierarchical relationship among deities as a result of such a viewpoint.


I have often wondered exactly how hierarchical Greek and Roman pantheons really were. Did they genuinely have such a structure (by this, I mean pre-Christian) or was the hierarchy something applied to it retroactively by outsiders? I don't know enough to really know. If I remember rightly, I believe Julian the Apostate attempted to codify Mediterranean religions as a response to Christianity, but I don't know the details of his reforms, so it may have had nothing to do with creating hierarchical pantheons.

Conversely, I wonder if the direction of influence went the other way, and it was Roman religious hierarchies that created Christian religious hierarchies (in terms of Pantheon). I don't think so, but I don't remember much about the Bible, so I can't the sure. Though, I am fairly confident that the Heavenly order predate Romanisation. Still, I sometimes wonder.

Megatherium

Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2017, 03:50:18 pm »
Quote from: Yei;203357
I have often wondered exactly how hierarchical Greek and Roman pantheons really were. Did they genuinely have such a structure (by this, I mean pre-Christian) or was the hierarchy something applied to it retroactively by outsiders? I don't know enough to really know. If I remember rightly, I believe Julian the Apostate attempted to codify Mediterranean religions as a response to Christianity, but I don't know the details of his reforms, so it may have had nothing to do with creating hierarchical pantheons.

Conversely, I wonder if the direction of influence went the other way, and it was Roman religious hierarchies that created Christian religious hierarchies (in terms of Pantheon). I don't think so, but I don't remember much about the Bible, so I can't the sure. Though, I am fairly confident that the Heavenly order predate Romanisation. Still, I sometimes wonder.

 
I think there was definitely a period of time in the Imperial Roman period when pantheistic and/or Henotheistic ideas existed among at least some of the pagan population (http://wildhunt.org/tag/one-god-pagan-monotheism-in-the-roman-empire). During this period, I am sure there would have been some cross-fertilization between Christians and Pagans. It may be that ideas of a more hierarchical divine relationship were held by some pagans and those viewpoints both facilitated the rise of Christianity and coloured post-conversion views of those religious structures.

This is partly meaningful for me because at minimum the view of Germanic religions which developed post-conversion were influenced by Christian understandings of Greco-Roman religion. In a sense, Christian authors may have understood "paganism" through a Greco-Roman lens and interpreted Germanic traditions in that way. I believe you can see this process at work with the names of weekdays, with Snorri's attempts to organize Germanic deities into a pantheon of 12 Gods, and, I believe, Snorri's elevation of Odin to such a high status (something that may have also been influenced by Odin's relative importance to poets and people of a high social class).

All together, this has made me very leery of accepting the divine relationships in the Eddas as an accurate representation of Germanic religion. I don't think that this means the Gods cannot be understood this way as I think any attempt to organize or understand a pantheon will involve significant simplifications; In other words, the "true" nature of the Gods is so complex that any human model will be inaccurate or overly simplistic. However, I do view the way the Prose Edda describes the Gods as a way of understanding those relationships, rather than the way.
My views are one that speaks to freedom.
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Svipdagr

Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2017, 01:27:39 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;203285
-   How did the pantheon of deities which you worship develop historically? To what extent does this pantheon exhibit regional or temporal variation?
-   How does any uncertainty which arises from this variation affect your personal practice? (For example, I am a bit reluctant to address Thor and Tyr as the “sons” of Odin because I tend to think this concept may not have been particularly widespread and/or developed in the post-conversion period).


This is really interesting... The way I see it, there is no fixed pantheon in my belief. The reason is that there is a lot of variation in the Old Norse pantheon depending on where in Scandinavia you are from. For instance it was not believed in southern Scandinavia that Frigga was the wife of Odin but rather the wife of Thor. Up until a 150 years ago or so the people of Värend (a folkland in southern Sweden) would "signa Thore-Gud och Frigge" (Hallow Thor-God and Frigga) on Thursday nights by raising their glasses and drink together. It was also important to keep quiet on those nights, not to disturb our Lady when she was spinning. Needless to say, no woman was allowed to bring out the distaff on these nights.

Another example is how Freyja (or Fröja/Fröa) was viewed in southern Sweden. Here she was the Lady of growth and fertility (Ludhkona) and not primarily a goddess of love. She is also closely related to fruits and especially apples. If you have fruit-trees you always leave a few fruits on the tree in autumn to make it bear more fruit next year. (You can also bury three apples close to the ward-tree for the same result).

My point is that the norse pantheon probably never was uniform. The Eddas are ideas frozen in time. They represent what people believed in Iceland towards the end of the pagan era and the beginning of the christian era. I'm sure that is true when it comes to other pantheons as well.

(The above examples are taken from accounts from the 19:th century and might represent a change in faith and tradition over time...)

Megatherium

Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2017, 01:51:35 pm »
Quote from: Svipdagr;203455
This is really interesting... The way I see it, there is no fixed pantheon in my belief. The reason is that there is a lot of variation in the Old Norse pantheon depending on where in Scandinavia you are from. For instance it was not believed in southern Scandinavia that Frigga was the wife of Odin but rather the wife of Thor. Up until a 150 years ago or so the people of Värend (a folkland in southern Sweden) would "signa Thore-Gud och Frigge" (Hallow Thor-God and Frigga) on Thursday nights by raising their glasses and drink together. It was also important to keep quiet on those nights, not to disturb our Lady when she was spinning. Needless to say, no woman was allowed to bring out the distaff on these nights.

Another example is how Freyja (or Fröja/Fröa) was viewed in southern Sweden. Here she was the Lady of growth and fertility (Ludhkona) and not primarily a goddess of love. She is also closely related to fruits and especially apples. If you have fruit-trees you always leave a few fruits on the tree in autumn to make it bear more fruit next year. (You can also bury three apples close to the ward-tree for the same result).

My point is that the norse pantheon probably never was uniform. The Eddas are ideas frozen in time. They represent what people believed in Iceland towards the end of the pagan era and the beginning of the christian era. I'm sure that is true when it comes to other pantheons as well.

(The above examples are taken from accounts from the 19:th century and might represent a change in faith and tradition over time...)


Ah, that's very interesting. There is a tendency among some modern Heathens to discount modern folklore as it is believed to be remote from historical Heathen attitudes, but, given that I think the Gods are real beings who did not cease to exist or interact with humans after conversion, I always perceive stories as perhaps the most useful place to start when constructing our relationships with the Gods.

You wouldn't happen to have any links relating to the above information described would you? Because I'd really enjoy having a look at them.
My views are one that speaks to freedom.
-George W. Bush

Svipdagr

Re: Variation in Pantheons
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2017, 03:16:45 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;203458
Ah, that's very interesting. There is a tendency among some modern Heathens to discount modern folklore as it is believed to be remote from historical Heathen attitudes, but, given that I think the Gods are real beings who did not cease to exist or interact with humans after conversion, I always perceive stories as perhaps the most useful place to start when constructing our relationships with the Gods.

You wouldn't happen to have any links relating to the above information described would you? Because I'd really enjoy having a look at them.

I got myself slightly to drunk to answer your question right now, but ill try to better my life in the morning. If not, read Värend och Wirdarne by Hylltén-Cavallius, which is good if you read swedish and want to know about recent (19:th) heathen beliefs in southern Scandinavia.. Many other things (Like Freja) comes from my great grandmother, and I've just heard it as a kid and I can't confirm it. You might be able to find archive sources if you want, or I could just provide a link... :) http://luf.ht.lu.se/SerM/
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 03:23:25 pm by Svipdagr »

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