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Author Topic: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals  (Read 2360 times)

schweinsty

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Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« on: August 28, 2013, 06:28:29 pm »
I'm a soft polytheist, wobbling between seeing the gods as aspects of a greater energy or being, perhaps existing discretely within it, or as archetypes which humans came up with to explain or describe this greater being.

I used to lean far more towards just the archetypical 'model' when I started practicing a couple of years ago, and I felt a little hesitant at first to enter into the Pagan community, as many (though certainly not all) of the rituals or ideas for worship, such as offerings, that I initially encountered, seemed to approach worship with a harder idea of polytheism than I believed in.

I've found a way of performing my religious observances that works for me, and I am a bit harder than I used to be (though still fairly soft by most standards), but I was wondering how others who held to the 'gods as archetypes' model structured their worship and rituals. Do you still do offerings and prayers and such to the gods as discrete individuals? How do you acknowledge the greater Whole (for lack of a better word) in your observances and day-to-day faith?

Elizabeth G.

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2013, 08:37:25 pm »
Quote from: schweinsty;120362
I'm a soft polytheist, wobbling between seeing the gods as aspects of a greater energy or being, perhaps existing discretely within it, or as archetypes which humans came up with to explain or describe this greater being.

I used to lean far more towards just the archetypical 'model' when I started practicing a couple of years ago, and I felt a little hesitant at first to enter into the Pagan community, as many (though certainly not all) of the rituals or ideas for worship, such as offerings, that I initially encountered, seemed to approach worship with a harder idea of polytheism than I believed in.

I've found a way of performing my religious observances that works for me, and I am a bit harder than I used to be (though still fairly soft by most standards), but I was wondering how others who held to the 'gods as archetypes' model structured their worship and rituals. Do you still do offerings and prayers and such to the gods as discrete individuals? How do you acknowledge the greater Whole (for lack of a better word) in your observances and day-to-day faith?


This is what I believe, more or less:  At one time, there was no matter, only energy.  This energy is the Deity.  According to physics, matter and energy are interchangeable.  At some point (and I take no stance on how or why) some of this energy (the Deity) reformed itself into matter.  Thus, human beings and every other physical thing is god/goddess.  The greater energy (Deity) continues to exist alongside the physical world.  The Deity encompasses every characteristic of the physical world: s/he is beautiful, ordinary, and hideous, kind, indifferent, and cruel, forgiving and vengeful, predator and prey.

I believe that all named deities are human attemps to understand and identify with the greater Deity, and that they are perfectly valid if they aid one's spiritual path.  On the other hand, I believe that a deity who has been called upon and worshipped long enough, sincerely enough, by enough people, can manifest as a semi-independent being - in the way a leg on an octopus is still octopus, but is its own leg.

In my own practice, I might call upon a named deity for a particular need, but generally I just reference the God and Goddess.  (Sometimes just the Goddess, because I think the God gets plenty of attention from monotheists.)

schweinsty

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2013, 11:33:31 am »
Quote from: Elizabeth G.;120367
This is what I believe, more or less:  At one time, there was no matter, only energy.  This energy is the Deity.  According to physics, matter and energy are interchangeable.  At some point (and I take no stance on how or why) some of this energy (the Deity) reformed itself into matter.  Thus, human beings and every other physical thing is god/goddess.  The greater energy (Deity) continues to exist alongside the physical world.  The Deity encompasses every characteristic of the physical world: s/he is beautiful, ordinary, and hideous, kind, indifferent, and cruel, forgiving and vengeful, predator and prey.

 
I really like the way you phrased that :). I tend to think the Deity stands a bit more apart from the world and doesn't bother itself overmuch about individual beings like us, but still exists all around us anyway.

Quote from: Elizabeth G.;120367

I believe that all named deities are human attemps to understand and identify with the greater Deity, and that they are perfectly valid if they aid one's spiritual path. On the other hand, I believe that a deity who has been called upon and worshipped long enough, sincerely enough, by enough people, can manifest as a semi-independent being - in the way a leg on an octopus is still octopus, but is its own leg.


I also subscribe to the 'leg of an octopus' idea, but I think perhaps some of the beings manifested because the Deity sort of sent them to be messengers or beings, independent of worship.

Quote from: Elizabeth G.;120367

In my own practice, I might call upon a named deity for a particular need, but generally I just reference the God and Goddess. (Sometimes just the Goddess, because I think the God gets plenty of attention from monotheists.)


I tend not to pray or call so much on deities themselves (though I do once in a while, more for guidance), but to use prayer beads/mantras and such to remind me we are all sacred and I can do what I've set my mind to. In my worship, I definitely focus more on female deities, worshipping/reverencing them as part of a greater whole of female energies. I'll admit I also neglect the male half of the equation quite a bit :P.

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2013, 11:53:40 am »
Quote from: schweinsty;120362
I was wondering how others who held to the 'gods as archetypes' model structured their worship and rituals. Do you still do offerings and prayers and such to the gods as discrete individuals? How do you acknowledge the greater Whole (for lack of a better word) in your observances and day-to-day faith?


I'm a softy, and I generally don't do worship or rituals in any formal sense. However, I acknowledge my gods, the forces of nature, when I recognize them at work in myself or in the world around me.
 
Acknowledging the greater whole tends to hit me unexpectedly, sideways. It happened just the other night, and I had to put it up on Facebook:

'I lean back and see the Summer Triangle, a trio of stars giving the illusion of staking out the night sky, even though they're splayed out light-years in different planes. At the edge of my sight, the silhouette of grassy seed heads, a delicate filigree of plant sex, stirs in the slightest breeze. A cricket trills a steady rhythm in the distance. The grass and the bug and I share ancestry; and we three are cobbled from the matter made by stars like the ones overhead. I ponder these things and for some reason think: "Here. And nowhere else." '

That, for me, is recognizing Her in all Her glory.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
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

Materialist

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2013, 08:02:43 pm »
Quote from: schweinsty;120362

 I was wondering how others who held to the 'gods as archetypes' model structured their worship and rituals. Do you still do offerings and prayers and such to the gods as discrete individuals? How do you acknowledge the greater Whole (for lack of a better word) in your observances and day-to-day faith?


Orthopraxy has its limits. I am very opposed to the practice of worship, and have never done it because worship of anything is idolatrous, because everything in existence is a created being. Especially gods. Like I'm going to sacrifice a chicken to a figment of my imagination? Heh. I also don't pray to anything because to me that is a false prayer. True prayer is getting one's crap sorted out and donating to charity.

I see the universe on an egalitarian plane, with all beings helping each other out to survive, evolve, and function better.  In gratitude for this help and in acknowledgement of our equality I give food and libations to plants, animals, fire, water, graves and some tools. Things that actually exist. And I'm a total religious freak so I do this all the time.

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2013, 02:52:09 am »
Quote from: Materialist;120445
Orthopraxy has its limits. I am very opposed to the practice of worship, and have never done it because worship of anything is idolatrous, because everything in existence is a created being. Especially gods. Like I'm going to sacrifice a chicken to a figment of my imagination? Heh. I also don't pray to anything because to me that is a false prayer. True prayer is getting one's crap sorted out and donating to charity.

I see the universe on an egalitarian plane, with all beings helping each other out to survive, evolve, and function better.  In gratitude for this help and in acknowledgement of our equality I give food and libations to plants, animals, fire, water, graves and some tools. Things that actually exist. And I'm a total religious freak so I do this all the time.

Etymology of 'Worship': Old English worðscip, wurðscip (Anglian), weorðscipe (West Saxon) "condition of being worthy, honor, renown," from weorð "worthy" (see worth) + -scipe (see -ship). Sense of "reverence paid to a supernatural or divine being" is first recorded c.1300. [from the Online Etymology Dictionary]

I worship - give honour and ascribe worth - all the time. I do not see them as beings that humanity has created, but rather as older, wiser kindred who order the world around me and protect the tribes, and are therefore worthy of honour, renown and deep respect. My gods have never asked me to sacrifice a chicken, but I do offer sacrifices often.

While I understand that you might not share the sense of need to worship, I wonder why you are 'opposed' to it. That suggests to me that you dislike it when done by others, too - though I may be wrong, and you may be speaking purely for yourself. There are lots of religious practices that I wouldn't engage in myself, but I wouldn't say I'm opposed to most of them.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 02:52:51 am by Naomi J »
"We're all stories, in the end. Make it a good one, eh?"
- Doctor Who

Materialist

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 01:41:03 pm »
Quote from: Naomi J;120465
I wonder why you are 'opposed' to it. That suggests to me that you dislike it when done by others, too - though I may be wrong, and you may be speaking purely for yourself.


Is schweinsty's question in modern English or Anglo-Saxon? Is this conversation about modern views on worship or Anglo-Saxon heathen practices? Why have you focused on that word, and not on the etymologies for "religion" and "faith"? Maybe I forgot what their original meanings were to Iron Age Italians.

So you're a theist.  Your point in mentioning that? I explained my opposition to worship. Do I need to put it into polytheistic terms so you can understand it? Ultimately I don't care how you screw up your religion with theism because salvation is universal.

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2013, 03:37:05 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;120480
Ultimately I don't care how you screw up your religion with theism because salvation is universal.

 
... is there some reason we should be particularly caring about the wacky notion that "salvation" is necessary or relevant?
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

HeartShadow

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Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2013, 03:57:44 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;120480
Is schweinsty's question in modern English or Anglo-Saxon? Is this conversation about modern views on worship or Anglo-Saxon heathen practices? Why have you focused on that word, and not on the etymologies for "religion" and "faith"? Maybe I forgot what their original meanings were to Iron Age Italians.

So you're a theist.  Your point in mentioning that? I explained my opposition to worship. Do I need to put it into polytheistic terms so you can understand it? Ultimately I don't care how you screw up your religion with theism because salvation is universal.

Screw up religion ... with theism?

No sensy makey.

Neteruhemta RaShuSet

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2013, 04:08:53 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;120480

So you're a theist.  Your point in mentioning that? I explained my opposition to worship. Do I need to put it into polytheistic terms so you can understand it? Ultimately I don't care how you screw up your religion with theism because salvation is universal.

 
So I'm guessing it doesn't matter that the word polyTHEISM is in the subject of the thread?

Neteruhemta RaShuSet

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2013, 04:23:05 pm »
Quote from: schweinsty;120362

I've found a way of performing my religious observances that works for me, and I am a bit harder than I used to be (though still fairly soft by most standards), but I was wondering how others who held to the 'gods as archetypes' model structured their worship and rituals. Do you still do offerings and prayers and such to the gods as discrete individuals? How do you acknowledge the greater Whole (for lack of a better word) in your observances and day-to-day faith?

 
In my own practice, there is a mixture of archetype and "hard" polytheism. There are points where I have rituals to "distinct" individual deities, and others where it really is about the archetype.

Three distinct archetypes I do rituals for are Ma'at, Heka, and Aakhu.

Ma'at stands for order and rather than focus on the Neter-t (goddess), I focus on the concept. I live as honest as I can, and give to the balance of the universe. There are symbolic rituals where it's myself connecting with the concept.

Heka stands for the act and actions of "doing". It has been translated as magic, but it's beyond that. It's not just the act of existing, it's action itself. It's speaking with the right words, it's making "stuff", and etc.

Aakhu is a term used for "shining ones" or ancestors. I don't have much of a relationship with my own ancestors including family members who have passed in my lifetime. When I do rituals towards Aakhu, I am not working with my own lines, I am offering to the energies of the collection of light from they who came before and who I will meet at my own end.

The difference between these rituals and the others I do that are "hard" is the focus tends to be on the universe, rather than for a specific function. It's little acts here and there. The softer points of these concepts differing beyond deity allows a strengthening of my own connection with the world around. It's a lot less pomp and circumstance, but still has the same "umph" the other rituals I do have. It can be as simple as being honest or as complicated as "preparing the way" for another.

schweinsty

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2013, 07:31:21 pm »
Quote from: Neteruhemta RaShuSet;120489
In my own practice, there is a mixture of archetype and "hard" polytheism. There are points where I have rituals to "distinct" individual deities, and others where it really is about the archetype.

 
How interesting - so it's more of an action of ritual in everyday life rather than 'sit down and, say, burn a prayer to this deity and light a candle' rituals?  I find myself doing something a bit similar with certain archetypes as well, but I do tend to miss the latter sort of 'rituals' after a while. That's a really neat way of integrating your faith into your daily life :D.

schweinsty

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2013, 07:40:29 pm »
Quote from: Naomi J;120465

I worship - give honour and ascribe worth - all the time. I do not see them as beings that humanity has created, but rather as older, wiser kindred who order the world around me and protect the tribes, and are therefore worthy of honour, renown and deep respect. My gods have never asked me to sacrifice a chicken, but I do offer sacrifices often.

 
As far as the word 'worship' goes, I'm more in agreement with Naomi J--as far as worship goes, I tend to save it for the greater Whole, and I think of it more as a way of acknowledging my place in the universe and respecting--or even revering--everything else that makes it up.

luc798

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2013, 08:57:32 am »
Quote from: schweinsty;120362
I'm a soft polytheist, wobbling between seeing the gods as aspects of a greater energy or being, perhaps existing discretely within it, or as archetypes which humans came up with to explain or describe this greater being.

I used to lean far more towards just the archetypical 'model' when I started practicing a couple of years ago, and I felt a little hesitant at first to enter into the Pagan community, as many (though certainly not all) of the rituals or ideas for worship, such as offerings, that I initially encountered, seemed to approach worship with a harder idea of polytheism than I believed in.

I've found a way of performing my religious observances that works for me, and I am a bit harder than I used to be (though still fairly soft by most standards), but I was wondering how others who held to the 'gods as archetypes' model structured their worship and rituals. Do you still do offerings and prayers and such to the gods as discrete individuals? How do you acknowledge the greater Whole (for lack of a better word) in your observances and day-to-day faith?

Well, I am also a soft Polytheist. My interpretation on the divine is more or less as the one made by Jung in seven sermons to the death -http://gnosis.org/library/7Sermons.htm#Sermo_I

But that being said, and interpretation done, I honour a dual aspect of God/Godess. I don't have any specific images, I call them "Mother and Father". I pray to them, I talk to them; I thank them when I'm riding my bike and the day is beautiful, or take two minutes to appreciate the rain and think how is it coming from the Mother and nurturing the soil (wow.. I'm so fluffy) . Maybe I will find a specific Deity one day? It is just difficult for me to connect with something as vague as -the Everything, so to say.

My altar has some figures that I have thought they are nice representations of different aspects of the divine, and that have some emotional links with my life. I have a traditional Italian figure of a witch -La Befana, some "root mans" traditional from Austria (Wurzelschnitzerei) as well as some goblins. For me, they have all some divine "spark" so to say.

Finally, I also believe that different deities are "tied" or are stronger depending on the Land. not because of the "Land" , but because of the adoration done to it, I don't know.. I believe it becomes stronger (of course, if there is a strong community dedicated to, Norse deities in USA for example, I believe that this deities will become stronger and stronger in that land as well), so when I was looking for apartment in Rome I was praying strongly to Vesta, asking for a home and promising to lit her candles. something along the lines of "the Divine power that permeates through the universe, has a character perceived under the name of Vesta in this Land and by now it is used to hear prayers of this type, so I might as well use the energy invested by people before me in differentiating this aspect of the divinity on my prayers too" :) Ok, now I'm just rambling... it is a fascinating topic :)

Aeronis

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Re: Soft 'Archetypical' Polytheism and worship/rituals
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2013, 01:15:05 pm »
Quote from: Elizabeth G.;120367
This is what I believe, more or less:  At one time, there was no matter, only energy.  This energy is the Deity.  According to physics, matter and energy are interchangeable.  At some point (and I take no stance on how or why) some of this energy (the Deity) reformed itself into matter.  Thus, human beings and every other physical thing is god/goddess.  The greater energy (Deity) continues to exist alongside the physical world.  The Deity encompasses every characteristic of the physical world: s/he is beautiful, ordinary, and hideous, kind, indifferent, and cruel, forgiving and vengeful, predator and prey.

I believe that all named deities are human attemps to understand and identify with the greater Deity, and that they are perfectly valid if they aid one's spiritual path.  On the other hand, I believe that a deity who has been called upon and worshipped long enough, sincerely enough, by enough people, can manifest as a semi-independent being - in the way a leg on an octopus is still octopus, but is its own leg.

In my own practice, I might call upon a named deity for a particular need, but generally I just reference the God and Goddess.  (Sometimes just the Goddess, because I think the God gets plenty of attention from monotheists.)

 
Exactly. Although, in my personal worship, I think mythology and personality, etc. are important as well. I sort of see individual deities as different faces of the one big THING. Like, if a ruby is cut, the different faces may look different, but they're still rubies.

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