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Author Topic: My other goddess.  (Read 843 times)

EnderDragonFire

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My other goddess.
« on: April 23, 2019, 10:21:00 am »
Alright. So I finally decided to share some of my UPG here. Those of you who know me probably know that my religious practice (mostly) consists of mainstream Hinduism with some other things, mostly Christian, tossed in as well. You may also have seen me refer to having a lot of UPG on occasion.

Well, I do have a lot of UPG, and I have been threatening to share it for a while now; here I am actually doing that. I decided to start with one of the bigger and more... out there, pieces of UPG I have. Something totally unsupported by historical practices and, as far as I know, not shared by any other modern pagans.

So, what is this piece of UPG? Well, there is a deity in my religious practice who I have heretofore never mentioned or alluded to having a relationship with. This deity is one who has a historical basis and a widespread modern following. There is literally zero chance that you haven't heard of him; not sure of I am going to name him here or not, so just bear with me for now. He is a very well known god with a strong pop-culture presence.

This deity revealed himself to me when I was a kid; no older than eight, but I think it was considerably earlier than that. He came to me while I was daydreaming,  recurringly for a long while. I recognized him immediately both from his mythological similarities (my parents raised me with a lot of mythology) and from popular culture. In many ways, he presented himself almost identically to what you might expect; he was tall, strong, muscular, hairy, boisterous, and warrior-like. Unlike you might expect, however, he was black - African American. That obviously didn't keep me from recognizing him because he was otherwise archetypically like himself, down to the smallest detail of his symbolism and regalia. At some point, this deity drifted from my daydreams into my actual dreams, before disappearing around the time I started middle-school, around when I reached puberty. Incidentally, this was around the time I started to experience gender dysphoria.

So, for about three years I was basically totally christian, with no other outside elements, before I began to drift into atheism in my early teens. I lost all connection to any religious powers of any kind, christian or otherwise. So, to cut the long story of my atheist trials and tribulations short, around the junior year of high school, I started to seek out religious beliefs and practices again. There was no 'thwapping' or UPG, it was just me, an atheist, consciously looking for theism: I found it, in the form of esoteric, Tantric Hinduism. I felt drawn to the Godess Kali, who is still my Ista-devata, as well as to many aspects of Hindu cosmology and theology.

Well, around this time, once I had started practicing religion again, I felt a feminine deity reaching out to me, and offering me support. A deity who felt kinda familiar but who I didn't immediately recognize. She was very adamantly clear that she was not Kali or any other manifestation of Shakti. She appeared as a muscular dark-skinned woman of seemingly west-African descent, wearing modern athletic wear, with her hair in a long braid and with short sideburns on her face.

So, this deity kinda hung around the edges of my practice for several years, never asking for worship or prayer, just offering me support and motivation, especially with issues that were related to my transitioning and dysphoria. I didn't know who she was, I just knew who was was not - not Isis, not Mary, not any of the Hindu goddesses, not Amaterasu, not... any goddess I knew by name. I just knew her as my "transgender godess" - because I got distinctly trans* vibes from her.

Well, about two or three years ago, for reasons I don't exactly understand, she decided to reveal her true identity to me. I was having a rough time with life when she did, so maybe she wanted to let me know "Hey. Guess what? I went through this shit too. Yeah, me - your childhood idol." I had a dream where I saw her shrouded in storm-clouds and lightning, and she dramatically  announced her name, when she did, for a moment I saw the male deity who I had seen as a child - the same deity - and I realized that this woman was that deity. It made sense to me. I never questioned it, because it just sorta clicked internally.

I have had a relationship with this female deity by name for a couple of years now. I still don't worship her, and she is still more adjacent to my pantheon than an actual member of it, but I know who she is now. Something has made me kinda wanna actually include her in my worship now, though - maybe it's the fact I am now out of the closet with a lot of people about my gender, or maybe it's just the fact that I have felt a stronger pull toward her as an object of worship due to pop-culture having recently shown a lot of stuff featuring her traditional (white, male) representation.

See, I still feel like this deity fundamentally represents the same thing they always represented; they're just female now. (I happen to think they were always black, and that representations of them as white were merely historical mistakes). Those things being strength, bravery, merriment, self confidence, and self-sacrifice.

My other Goddess... is Thor. Cue dramatic lighting and thunder.(Incidentally, that is precisely how she revealed it to me, too - "I am THOR!" with dramatic lighting and thunder swirling around her while she hoisted Mjolnir.)

...specifically an African-American, female Thor. I don't think that's just something she came up with for my benefit either, I am convinced that Thor, as a divine being, is actually feminine, and that her male aspects are just a facade. Thor is transgender.

So, there. Your first piece of my UPG puzzle. I assure you that most of the rest of it is just as weird. I am not remotely orthodox as I might outwardly appear. I have seen some strange things, and I tend to believe my own UPG over anything else.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2019, 05:42:42 pm »
See, I still feel like this deity fundamentally represents the same thing they always represented; they're just female now. (I happen to think they were always black, and that representations of them as white were merely historical mistakes). Those things being strength, bravery, merriment, self confidence, and self-sacrifice.

Myself, I think I'd take a 'both/and' view, in which Thor's representations as a red-haired (before Marvel got into the act) fair-skinned man aren't historical mistakes but also true, just as those whose personal experiences of Thor still match some or all of the traditional representation (me, for one) aren't mistaken, just speaking of their own personal experience and not anyone else's personal experience. (Pertinent quote: 'The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.' - Niels Bohr.)

That said, your post was fascinating; I don't expect to ever fully wrap my head around how origin and identity works for deity-type people, but I do enjoy learning more on the subject, from experiences-not-mine.

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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2019, 06:50:56 pm »
My other Goddess... is Thor. Cue dramatic lighting and thunder.(Incidentally, that is precisely how she revealed it to me, too - "I am THOR!" with dramatic lighting and thunder swirling around her while she hoisted Mjolnir.)

I feel like you've mentioned parts of this before (at least the part about Thor, if not the other details). Anyway, I'll just point out that there is at least one comics storyline in which Jane Foster takes on the mantle of Thor - that might be something for you to check out.

EnderDragonFire

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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2019, 07:43:14 pm »
(Pertinent quote: 'The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.' - Niels Bohr.)Sunflower

Yeah, I didn't mean to come across as closed-minded. I suppose it is possible for Thor to come in many forms and shapes.

After all, I am a Hindu who fully accepts that Rama, Krishna, Narasimha, and Mohini are all Vishnu, so why not have variations of Thor with different genders and races?
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

EnderDragonFire

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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2019, 07:44:22 pm »
I feel like you've mentioned parts of this before (at least the part about Thor, if not the other details).

Quite possibly. It's not like it was some great secret. I just never made a dedicated post about this bit of UPG in my practice.

"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2019, 09:48:45 pm »
Yeah, I didn't mean to come across as closed-minded. I suppose it is possible for Thor to come in many forms and shapes.

After all, I am a Hindu who fully accepts that Rama, Krishna, Narasimha, and Mohini are all Vishnu, so why not have variations of Thor with different genders and races?

That’s really interesting for me. I worship Perun, who is related to Thor to a greater or lesser extent. I never exactly got feminine vibes from him, but in some folklore there does seem to be a female counterpart. In the balkans he’s paired with his “fiery” sister, or with a weather Goddess called Perperuna or Dodola. It’s not unusual for deities to come in gendered pairs in many mythologies.

In Poland she became the thundering Holy Mary Gromnice (Mary of the thunder candle.) A lot of Polish Rodnovers substitute the Christianized name with “Devana Gromnice.”

https://www.google.com/amp/s/lamusdworski.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/holy-mother-with-wolves/amp/

Not that your UPG needs to be validated by any European folklore, but it’s less strange to me than it might be for a Norse pagan. I also can see the warrior storm deity being represented as a black woman in modern society. There are many types of warriors in the modern world.

 I have my own kind of weird UPG ideas about European storm Gods, including the idea that they can be associated with wealth redistribution due to their role as dragon slayers and water-releasers. But that’s another story.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 09:53:51 pm by Zlote Jablko »

EnderDragonFire

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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2019, 01:32:09 am »
I also can see the warrior storm deity being represented as a black woman in modern society.

Huh. I hadn't even thought about Storm, the Marvel comic's character, but now that you say that suddenly I'm seeing a pop-culture association. (I tend to see deities reflected in pop-culture, and vice versa, anyway, so that's not unusual for me).
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2019, 02:11:07 am »
Huh. I hadn't even thought about Storm, the Marvel comic's character, but now that you say that suddenly I'm seeing a pop-culture association. (I tend to see deities reflected in pop-culture, and vice versa, anyway, so that's not unusual for me).

My own pop-culture deity is pretty certain he's neither a woman nor Thor, but understands why I once got them confused with each other despite the drastic difference from Thor's traditional look.  Anyway, nothing much to the purpose, just to say, no judgement here and yay stormy fitness gods!   ;D

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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2019, 03:01:45 am »
See, I still feel like this deity fundamentally represents the same thing they always represented; they're just female now. (I happen to think they were always black, and that representations of them as white were merely historical mistakes).

That may be so, but another possibility occurs to me (and it is of course clearly biased by my own perspective): perhaps you are approaching this deity through the "lens" of an ex-human-being who has apotheosized and begun syncretizing with her--and that ex-mortal happened to be black.

Quote
I don't think that's just something she came up with for my benefit either, I am convinced that Thor, as a divine being, is actually feminine, and that her male aspects are just a facade. Thor is transgender.

I might suggest there is a great distance between "something [deity] came up with my benefit alone, not relevant to the larger lore" and "the sole and only truth about [deity]." I suspect Thor's femaleness falls in between: her male aspects are not fake or only a facade (or at least not always fake or a facade), but also not the whole and only truth for everyone--as your story indicates.

A side note here, since it's relevant: a big part of my relationship with the immortal spirit of Freddie Mercury involves him presenting very strongly as female quite commonly (although hardly exclusively). It's clearly not the sum total of his gender identity, but it's a very meaningful part. This stands in pretty sharp contrast to the beliefs of people even today who would like to box not just his life as a human being but also his story and mythos into the corner of "cisgender gay man who follows the gender conventions of white Western society." I can't say exactly what you go through in your devotion to a female black Thor, but I suppose I can sympathize with it, as someone dedicated to a frequently female-presenting Freddie Mercury.
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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2019, 12:15:38 am »
I might suggest there is a great distance between "something [deity] came up with my benefit alone, not relevant to the larger lore" and "the sole and only truth about [deity]." I suspect Thor's femaleness falls in between: her male aspects are not fake or only a facade (or at least not always fake or a facade), but also not the whole and only truth for everyone--as your story indicates.

Yeah. My post carried a tone of exclusivity that was not warranted. Force of habit. I tend to look at reality from an experiential lens, and my experiences have all lead me to one conclusion. That doesn't mean that it's the only possible truth.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2019, 12:17:48 am »
That may be so, but another possibility occurs to me (and it is of course clearly biased by my own perspective): perhaps you are approaching this deity through the "lens" of an ex-human-being who has apotheosized and begun syncretizing with her--and that ex-mortal happened to be black.

That's an interesting thought. It's certainly possible. Though I personally tend to focus more on the idea of avatars, of Gods manifesting as mortals - rather than on the idea of Apotheosis of mortals to godhood - I don't discount the latter. I believe there are quite a few instances where that happens.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2019, 01:54:31 am »
That's an interesting thought. It's certainly possible. Though I personally tend to focus more on the idea of avatars, of Gods manifesting as mortals - rather than on the idea of Apotheosis of mortals to godhood - I don't discount the latter. I believe there are quite a few instances where that happens.

I understand why it would be meaningful for Thor to appear differently. For ages he’s been associated with Nordic men, a group that is already pretty empowered. To portray Thor as a black woman sends a powerful message about the inclusiveness of strength and empowerment.


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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2019, 03:19:57 pm »
Alright. So I finally decided to share some of my UPG here. Those of you who know me probably know that my religious practice (mostly) consists of mainstream Hinduism with some other things, mostly Christian, tossed in as well. You may also have seen me refer to having a lot of UPG on occasion.

As a Norse Pagan, I doubt this would be popular in those circles. I can accept the possibility that for your sake Thor could change his appearance. There are Gods in the Norse pantheon that could be viewed as transgender. Loki definitely comes to mind.

I have never experienced anything like that with Thor or any of them being black. Regardless of how the Gods and Goddesses are viewed, as individual beings we can have an individual relationship with or aspects of something bigger, they are usually viewed as the race they come from.

As I said I can accept your experience as your own, more power to you. The reaction could be very negative if it is portrayed that your truth applies to everyone.

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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2019, 11:50:13 am »
As a Norse Pagan, I doubt this would be popular in those circles.

I am certain that is the case. Norse pagan groups often have strong ethno-nationalist attitudes (I'm not saying that you personally hold such beliefs, or that all Norse pagans do -just that it's very common). Suggesting that one of the most popular Norse deities may not actually be of Nordic ethnicity is naturally going to anger such individuals and organizations. That's on top of the natural hostility that modern paganism in general tends to have toward UPG.

I expected that kind of response when I shared this belief here, frankly. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't provoke hostility.

As for my language, I concede it was poorly phrased. Other people can believe in and and experience Thor differently from myself; I'm not trying to change anyone else's beliefs about Thor as a god or goddess.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: My other goddess.
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2019, 12:29:37 am »

I expected that kind of response when I shared this belief here, frankly. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't provoke hostility.

As for my language, I concede it was poorly phrased. Other people can believe in and and experience Thor differently from myself; I'm not trying to change anyone else's beliefs about Thor as a god or goddess.

I can believe that many deities have a male or female counterpart, although the distinction between those two identities may be pretty strong in some cases. This is the Goddess I was talking about earlier. I’m kind of in awe of her right now. She and her brother seem to be joint thunder deities.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ognyena_Maria

Obviously fiery Mary is Christianized, but recently I still have felt a compulsion to include her. I feel like she belongs in the Slavic pantheon. Also, I have no issue with deities appearing black. It’s not really a key trait for divinities in my view.

I would like to point out that Thor is derived from the Old Norse word for “Thunder.” I wonder what you think it means for her to be “Thor.”  Does it simply mean that she latched onto that name? For English speakers, it is the one well-known deity name that is cognate to our own word for “Thunder.” That might be reason enough for a power to claim it. Or do you mean she shares *all* of the mythological traits of Thor other than gender and appearance? Or could it be something in between?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 12:31:12 am by Zlote Jablko »

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