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Author Topic: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?  (Read 6323 times)

Juniperberry

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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2012, 11:10:41 am »
Quote from: PlaceboArtist;51294

So what I want to ask is, how do you decide when gods are separate entities?


I guess I took an easy road concerning this, by sticking to one pantheon in one region. I'm more interested in west Germanic religion than north Germanic so Tyr doesn't concern me. Likewise, I'm much more interested in Ing than I am in Freyr. Since I'm focused on one cultural reference from one era, there isn't a lot of work to be done on reconciling a more universal understanding of deity.

I also think it comes down to mode of worship. Perchta and Hulda may be one in the same, but I prefer Perchta in the Bavarian context and interact with her according to that tradition. Whatever distinct relationship she had with that region of people and framework is the reference I use rather than trying to adjust all her relationships into one meaningful mold.

I don't personally think its important to reconcile all distinct deities into a global community, but instead understand the few you've chosen to deal with and their impact on your local community (even if the community consist of just you in your apartment). Not that its wrong to do so, though. Just what works for me.
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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2012, 11:23:57 am »
Quote from: HeartShadow;51307
My hard-polytheism gets squishy sometimes - because sometimes they ARE the same god.  Or one wears another for some reason.  Or /something/.

I go on the assumption that whatever They are, it's what They are - I'm just gonna work with what I have and assume They know what They're doing. :D:


This.  I also ask, like Sunflower does.
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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2012, 01:32:42 pm »
Quote from: Tana;51469
I was once tangled up there, too.
Things improved immensely when I stopped to worry and got on with the relationship itself. Names are not that important sometimes, you know. ;)


Very much so  - I've resigned myself to never having a researchable name for my raven goddess.

SkySamuelle

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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2012, 02:34:46 pm »
Quote from: Tana;51468

Or as I was told (pure UPG): Not all gods are the same, but some are.

 
I tend to wander on this side of hard polytheism as well. The impact of this belief on my personal practice is that I pretty much behave like every deity with its name is a single entity unless I am given solid hints to consider otherwise.

Often deities that might seem very alike on surface have a a very different modus operandi when you get to know them (exemple: I saw around Hermes defined as a sort of 'male version ' of Hekate, because They might share a few simliar roles, but They carry those in opposite ways. Hermes is VERY trickery, whereas Hekate just is not). Other times you might find connections you would never expect between one facet of one god in a certain pantheon with another god of another pantheon.

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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2012, 03:07:25 pm »
Quote from: SkySamuelle;51515
I tend to wander on this side of hard polytheism as well. The impact of this belief on my personal practice is that I pretty much behave like every deity with its name is a single entity unless I am given solid hints to consider otherwise. ..


Bolded mine.

I agree with that though I admit it initially got me in trouble.  Yet the facet that got me in trouble the most was when one god / goddess was seen to be acting like another. For instance if one looks to Hekate-Artemis you see where Artemis is working in some manner that is usually attributed to Hecate.  Say when you have Artemis of the Crossroads the action being performed reminds you of Hecate but is being done by Artemis.  The same might apply in Artemis-Hecate where Hecate is associated to the wilds in a manner that would be reflective of Artemis in action.   Just a personal note here but I tend to view the order as first position who is being acted like, second position as who is doing the acting.

I admit though at times I do wonder myself as to if I am a Hard Polytheist.  Artemis initially directed me to Bast and Pahket as I studied more and more about Artemis.  So I wonder if the cat headed goddesses who appeared to me are they actually Bast and Pahket or is it simply Artemis wearing a mask?  Sometimes I think it is a mask she wears, other times I am sure they are unique unto themselves but give a greater enseight into all three.  For the most part I treat them as unique individuals.

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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2012, 06:05:42 pm »
Quote from: SkySamuelle;51515
The impact of this belief on my personal practice is that I pretty much behave like every deity with its name is a single entity unless I am given solid hints to consider otherwise.

 
It's much ruder to treat a distinct individual as if they aren't an individual, than the other way around.

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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2012, 06:11:43 pm »
Quote from: Nachtigall;51301
First, I don't believe in gods "splitting" or "merging", or otherwise changing their nature because of human politics... it's the human perception of them, what is changing.


This stuck in my head for a few days and it finally clicked something and I'm going to be a very bad boy for bringing this up

Take as basis:  Certain god/desses did originate from a singular source but split off based on cultural perceptions
 
Consider Hypothesis: Did the cultural differences come first and the deity split because of it, or did the deity split first and guide the cultural separation

Chicken and the egg question :confused:

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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2012, 08:15:36 pm »
Quote from: Tana;51469
I was once tangled up there, too.
Things improved immensely when I stopped to worry and got on with the relationship itself. Names are not that important sometimes, you know. ;)

 
Yep! And yet, like a canker sore, I keep nudging at it and making more work for myself because I am ridiculously stubborn. He'll get brownies either way.

SkySamuelle

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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2012, 02:01:52 am »
Quote from: Rhyshadow;51552
This stuck in my head for a few days and it finally clicked something and I'm going to be a very bad boy for bringing this up

Take as basis:  Certain god/desses did originate from a singular source but split off based on cultural perceptions
 
Consider Hypothesis: Did the cultural differences come first and the deity split because of it, or did the deity split first and guide the cultural separation

Chicken and the egg question :confused:

(G&D&R)


Hypothesis One: two different culture perceive the same deity differently because their 'filter' is different.
Hypothesis Two: if 'as Above so Below', as deity evolves, He/She has that change mirrored into the world.
 Hypothesis Three:  for whather reason,a deity takes on a certain mask and then mask may or may not develop into an identity of His/Hers?
Hypothesis Four: people just decide to reinvent the deity and the deity doesn't care to prove them otherwise.

This is just an intellectual exercise to bounce off theories- I have not really encountered this issue with my practice so I wouldn't really know.;)
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Asch

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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2012, 02:14:16 am »
Quote from: PlaceboArtist;51294
I understand that Hard Polytheism is a rejection of the 'all gods are one god, all goddesses one goddess' point of view. So no matter how similar their spheres of influence are, Mars and Ares (for example) are distinct entities. But what about gods who have become different due to regional variations on name spelling? For example Lir and Llyr, Tyr and Tiw? At one time these gods would certainly have been the same, but they are arguably now separable. But then, many gods have more than one name that unequivocally applies to them: Odin has twelve names listed in the Prose Edda.

So what I want to ask is, how do you decide when gods are separate entities?


As others have already said I approach each Being (ancestor, deity, nature spirit/wight etc) as an individual. If It goes by another name or epithet I assume It will let me know.

Regarding the question of which comes first, cultural change or deity name change, I think it's impossible to say.

For funsies I'd hypothesize that both or either come into play. That is to say there are undoubtedly occasions where the cultural change is Other directed and occasions where deity name is culture directed and cases where it's a synthesis or union of the two.

Generally speaking I don't sweat it.

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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2012, 01:46:47 pm »
Thanks for your responses, everyone. I haven't been on in a few days and there's more replies than I can really respond to individually. But they're all very interesting :)

Egarwaen

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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2012, 04:53:12 pm »
Quote from: PlaceboArtist;51827
Thanks for your responses, everyone. I haven't been on in a few days and there's more replies than I can really respond to individually. But they're all very interesting :)

 
I'll give you one more, then!

While I'm quite new to actually sitting down and thinking about and seeking a relationship with dieties, I've come to a few conclusions:

1) Our understanding of dieties is necessarily imperfect. If we could understand them completely, we wouldn't be living here, in this world, right now.
2) Much of the diversity in world religion comes from this imperfect understanding. I'm willing to accept anything I'd recognize as a religion as thoroughly valid interpretations of what their believers have been told by their diety/dieties.
3) There are multiple, distinct, conscious entities that we refer to as Gods or Goddesses. They have personalities, or things resembling such, and are, for the most part, capable of relating to humanity and interested in humanity.
4) Dieties are eternal; they're not tied to this world or physical universe, or anything else inherently temporary. As such, they have no beginning or end. This is part of why they're so hard for us time-trapped humans to comprehend.

This conveniently sidesteps most of the cultural problems associated with our very mutable understanding of diety by acknowledging that most of our understanding, even that delivered directly VIA mystic or revelatory experiences, is going to be, at best, imperfectly understood.

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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #27 on: April 25, 2012, 06:19:23 pm »
Quote from: PlaceboArtist;51306
No, I mean that those gods are traceable to common roots where they were one god. I'm not saying the names *make* them the same or even similar. What I'm saying is that once upon a time there was a god called Wodanaz, and as his followers spread out to Scandinavia, Germany and eventually England, his name in each separate community gradually shifted until he was Odin, Wotan and Woden. The question I'm asking is 'Do you believe these gods are the same or different being(s)?'

If the names changed because of human language changes/differences, then the Gods are the same. If the gods were different but similar and this was noticed when the cultures met, chances are the gods are different beings. This is no simple rule to follow. Each case would have to be examined on its own merits.
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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2012, 03:24:51 pm »
Quote from: PlaceboArtist;51294

So what I want to ask is, how do you decide when gods are separate entities?

 
Bumping this up because I think this is a really important topic.

I don't decide Who is/is not a separate entity because, often, I think our meat brains are a little too small to understand that all the time. My UPG is that there are Deities and Spirits Who are willing to take the name a people has given them simply because it allows Them to do Their work and get done what needs getting done.

I think cultures borrow the IDEA of a Deity/Spirit and not the Deity/Spirit Themselves, and then that name is taken up by Someone Who is willing to fill that role, if that makes any sense.

Aine Rayne

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Re: Hard Polytheists: How far does your hardness go?
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2012, 03:51:48 am »
Quote from: Egarwaen;51849
I'll give you one more, then!

While I'm quite new to actually sitting down and thinking about and seeking a relationship with dieties, I've come to a few conclusions:

1) Our understanding of dieties is necessarily imperfect. If we could understand them completely, we wouldn't be living here, in this world, right now.
2) Much of the diversity in world religion comes from this imperfect understanding. I'm willing to accept anything I'd recognize as a religion as thoroughly valid interpretations of what their believers have been told by their diety/dieties.
3) There are multiple, distinct, conscious entities that we refer to as Gods or Goddesses. They have personalities, or things resembling such, and are, for the most part, capable of relating to humanity and interested in humanity.
4) Dieties are eternal; they're not tied to this world or physical universe, or anything else inherently temporary. As such, they have no beginning or end. This is part of why they're so hard for us time-trapped humans to comprehend.

This conveniently sidesteps most of the cultural problems associated with our very mutable understanding of diety by acknowledging that most of our understanding, even that delivered directly VIA mystic or revelatory experiences, is going to be, at best, imperfectly understood.

 
please, please, spell Deities correctly. I love your post, it's well reasoned and makes quite a bit of sense, but my focus is derailed over the five or six times you said dIEties as opposed to dEIties. I don't understand how anyone can spell that wrong repeatedly like that. I'm really sorry, I'm not trying to attack you or anything, I'm a word nerd and a tad obsessive-compulsive, seeing anyone's spelling and grammar mistakes (especially my own) or ones that are really obvious, at least to me, just make me twitch. But seriously, I like your thought process and can pretty much agree there.

To actually contribute here, I have no idea really if I'm a hard polytheist. I say my views probably change depending on who I'm talking to. Currently I only truly work with one god and He was separate from the other god I started working with who has since backed out with much affection. Anpu and Wepwawet are sometimes conflated, both in modern times and in the mythos, but my experience of them is usually separate and distinct and sometimes it's much fuzzier, but that could be me thinking too hard as well lol or not listening. For the most part I'd say I'm a hard polytheist, but not rock hard, more like a tough rubber tire of sorts. Anpu is still here quite solidly, but Wepwawet is definitely not around, or like, He's in the neighborhood or city and I have His phone number, but He's not in the house. I think that's about right. Not really sure beyond that since I haven't really bothered to try and work with other deities besides Sekhmet and Set, who are sort of where Wepwawet is in relation to me, the difference being that they're not really interested in me while Wepwawet sort of is.
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