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Author Topic: Gods as Archetypes  (Read 2419 times)

Septima

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Gods as Archetypes
« on: November 21, 2011, 02:30:25 am »
This may be a silly question, but I've heard that some Pagans view the gods/goddesses such as Pan, Demeter, Lugh, Thor, Isis etc as archetypes what does that mean?

Fagan_the_Pagan

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Re: Gods as Archetypes
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2011, 02:59:55 am »
Quote from: Septima;31176
This may be a silly question, but I've heard that some Pagans view the gods/goddesses such as Pan, Demeter, Lugh, Thor, Isis etc as archetypes what does that mean?

 
I am sure that someone will be able to answer this better than I can, but here it is as best I can explain.  

It relates to Jungian psychology, which posits that many roles and character types show up in many different forms, all over the world, because they tap into what Carl Jung called the Collective Unconscious.  Basically, that either through evolution or what, humans all over the world had an unconscious connection.  We are all programmed in a way, to respect or fear certain things.  These hazy forms in the collective unconscious become templates or "archetypes" for characters that appear all over the world.  

So there is a wise-man archetype in our collective unconscious that leads to the creation of such characters in myth and legend as Odin, Merlin, Gandalf, Obi-wan Kenobi, and so forth.  Similarly, there is the trickster figure, which creates figures like Loki and Set.

Many pagans believe that the gods are really archetypes of these kinds.  The individual characteristics of these gods and goddesses may vary slightly from religion to religion, but they are filling the same role because they are all tapping into the same psychological need or fear.  

So this creates what is often called "soft polytheism," where the gods do not have discreet identities or consciousness, but are rather made up of the collective energy we put into them.  

Does that help at all?
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Etheric1

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Re: Gods as Archetypes
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2011, 03:16:17 am »
Quote from: Fagan_the_Pagan;31179
I am sure that someone will be able to answer this better than I can, but here it is as best I can explain.  


I'd say you nailed it.   That's a spot on description of Jung's work.
No matter how dark the fur, the bunny is still fluffy. - Mel\'s Law of Dark Fluffs.
Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear. – Albert Camus
You can easily judge the character of a person by how they treat those who can do nothing for them. - unknown
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Nyktipolos

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Re: Gods as Archetypes
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2011, 09:06:28 pm »
Quote from: Septima;31176
This may be a silly question, but I've heard that some Pagans view the gods/goddesses such as Pan, Demeter, Lugh, Thor, Isis etc as archetypes what does that mean?

 
Basically, what Fagan said.

Things also get real interesting when you believe in both God and Archetype!God.
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I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night." - Sarah Williams
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Nachtigall

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Re: Gods as Archetypes
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2011, 05:30:24 am »
Quote from: Fagan_the_Pagan;31179
So this creates what is often called "soft polytheism," where the gods do not have discreet identities or consciousness, but are rather made up of the collective energy we put into them.  

Does that help at all?


I'm not sure whether I support the archetype theory fully (I have to study Jung more to make my opinion more informed), but I'd like to add something to the last paragraph. If the archetypes exist - and I believe that gods as deities exist as well - we still don't make up the gods. Instead, they make up the collective unconscious of humanity; one can say, if the archetype theory is correct, people are born ("programmed", as you said) with some knowledge of divinity.
Of course, these are just my beliefs, and I don't claim that everyone should share them, but I still disagree that everyone who finds some value in Jung's work must also believe that the deities are completely "made up" by humans.

Fagan_the_Pagan

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Re: Gods as Archetypes
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2011, 01:34:23 pm »
Quote from: Nachtigall;32170
I'm not sure whether I support the archetype theory fully (I have to study Jung more to make my opinion more informed), but I'd like to add something to the last paragraph. If the archetypes exist - and I believe that gods as deities exist as well - we still don't make up the gods. Instead, they make up the collective unconscious of humanity; one can say, if the archetype theory is correct, people are born ("programmed", as you said) with some knowledge of divinity.
Of course, these are just my beliefs, and I don't claim that everyone should share them, but I still disagree that everyone who finds some value in Jung's work must also believe that the deities are completely "made up" by humans.

 
I went through an Archetype "phase," but while I am glad that I was able to provide a more-or-less adequate description of Gods-as-Archetypes, I am not inclined towards viewing them as archetypes anymore.  At least, not exactly.  My experiences with Brighid inform me that the gods are their own entities. There is a lot of energy flowing about, and the energy we send to our gods through honor, worship, offerings, and the like makes them stronger, but OUR energy is not THEIR core essence.  It can help them and sustain them, but they don't NEED us, as such.  They vibrate on a higher frequency than we do.  They are vibrating faster than we can see, but can reveal themselves to us if they truly wish to.
(/|\\)  Fire in the Head: My Blog on Matters Spiritual, Political, or otherwise important to me.
Bardistry Wandworks: My Etsy shop for wands, athames, and other pagan crafts.

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