This is not so much a specific question I have, more a discussion topic.
So, the concept of gods having different “aspects” seems to be taken for granted in paganism/polytheism. It’s a seriously complex topic, both historically and in personal understanding.
Most of my personal practice falls under the concepts of “ancestor veneration” and “animism”, working with local land spirits or household deities and such. I don’t call attention from the “big” gods very much, partly because they blow my mind. My brain really wants to put things into tidy categories, so I struggle with how some people’s interpretation of “aspects” conflicts with very hard polytheism.
A historical example: as time progressed Roman philosophy eschewed individualism in deities, and “absorbed” smaller local deities into larger universal ones, especially as the empire expanded.
One aspect concept: many gods change their “appearance” to reflect different parts of their personality or goals. A number of gods can appear young or old, for example, or Hekate’s triplicity. Some folks call this an “aspect”.
But, then sometimes Hekate is viewed as an “aspect” of Diana. Using the above description, this would mean that Hekate and all her functions are a face of Diana, rather than an individual.
And then – what of similar gods from other cultures? Where do you “split” their identities? It seems obvious that Thor and Zeus are different people. But what of Thor and Perkunas? Like the Roman’s concept, are they simply locational translations of larger gods? Or are they individuals who cover similar duties for a different group of people?
I’m under the impression that Kemetics (for example) have no problem with gods being both individual and plural and mixes of each other; I believe the quote is “the gods are individual except when they’re not”. But I am asking more about cross-cultural PIE gods, and how they fit into this concept.
Basically, my problem is not whether the gods are or are not individuals: my problem is with the definition of the word “aspect”, and how it gets thrown around a lot.
(Also, I didn’t really explain my position, because I wanted to just post the question.)
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