I am not entirely sure what this meme is wanting for today, since I am to apparently delve into depth about the deities I work with at a later date. I thought about writing what I believe gods/goddesses to be, but that is a topic I only seem able to write on when I am in a good rant mode. Which I am sure you guys will get to witness sooner or later, once I have gotten my sea legs for this public blog thing.
But, for a 5:30 AM post after pulling an all-nighter listening to my love read to me bits of research he is doing in regards to a link between the Minoans and Okinawa (yes, really, it is a theory), that is a bit too charged for me to handle writing about. So instead, how about an overview?
I am a squishy polytheist. My favorite explanation of this concept so far comes from the Waincraft website (if you do not know what that is, you should check them out – they are really good people).
“squishy” polytheism – i.e., the idea that the same gods may appear across cultural lines.
It is a path that falls in between the more established soft and hard polytheism lines. And works well for me, because there are some entities I have dealt with that seem to have culture hopped a fair bit. I err more to the side of hard polytheism, though, and the idea of lumping gods and goddesses together can make me very irritable, if done improperly. *cough-robert-graves-cough*
Plus, this just makes logical sense to me, when you study the evolution of cultures and how they influence one another, and adopt and merge deities. I do not, to use a personal example, believe Britomartis and Artemis are the same goddess. I do, however, feel there is some connection going on there rather than them being wholly and entirely separate. I feel similarly about Zagreus and Dionysus, and am a big fan of the Not-Twin theory, which we have yet to explain here. But to put it very simply, it is like a splitting of sorts – an entity feels pulled multiple ways, so they split from each other into two separate entities, but still tied. Two expressions of the same idea. (Really, there will be more on that later, I promise!).
While my blog is very Minoan-centric, I do not deal solely with Minoan deities. In fact, I was dealing with a handful of pantheons before that even came into play. Here are some of them:
Angels – Not really deities, but they have a big place in my spiritual path. I deal primarily with angels often referred to as “fallen”, but some still aligned with Heaven as well. The two discarnate I deal with most frequently are currently Sariel and Samael. I also deal with some demons, although I am still working on the difference between the two, including a few of the Goetics.
Greek – I have dealt with, to varying levels, several deities and entities from this pantheon. Some of them are: Dionysus, Ariadne (I consider her Minoan, but some may place her here), Hades, Persephone, Demeter, Nyx, Morpheus, Thanatos, Hermes, Poseidon, and Apollo.
Norse – My dealings are very, very limited, and mostly there due to alliances. I have a feeling that will change in the future, which is why I am mentioning it here.
Shinto – Again, very limited dealings. I have only interacted with Tsukuyomi and Susanoo.
Various – I have crossed paths with various other deities that have been isolated incidents so far. For example, Atargatis (Syrian), and when I was a child, Kalki (Hindu).
I do not generally go searching deities out for the first meeting, but wait for them to come to me. The times I have initiated contact in the beginning never seem to go well for me. Besides, I still generally have an avoidant-ambivalent approach to spiritwork, so even when I have been given permission to reach out at any time, I still try not to.
If it was not already clear, I am pretty eclectic in practice, and not the kind to pick and choose what gods exist and which do not. Besides, the second I deny something, it comes to smack me in the face pretty quickly.
So, there is my breakdown. If anyone who reads this is particularly interested in my dealings with someone mentioned, let me know and I will try to include them in the later Pantheon posts. ❤
“they are really good people”
Derp, thank you. 🙂
Yeah, I also tend to lean more hard polytheist but there is a strong case to be made for a few deities who show up in neighboring cultures – like I absolutely believe Perun and Thor are the same entity known by two different names. Not all thunder gods are the same, not all love gods are the same, etc, but sometimes Someone will show up across cultural lines. My general rule of thumb with my own personal practise is I will still treat gods as being distinct individuals even if I think I’m dealing with So-and-So – like there’s a school of thought in revival Druidry that Loki and Lugh are the same entity. Regardless of what my own POV is on that, I will treat them as separate unless told by Them to do so.
“the idea of lumping gods and goddesses together can make me very irritable, if done improperly. *cough-robert-graves-cough*”
“Besides, the second I deny something, it comes to smack me in the face pretty quickly.”
I know that feel. >.> XD
I’d personally like to read more about the Hellenic gods. 🙂
“I will treat them as separate unless told by Them to do so.”
I mean “do otherwise”. How do I words. 😛
I was just stating the facts. ❤
You and I really seem to pretty much have the same approach in this area, and I am grateful for that since it does not seem to be a common one!
And Hellenic gods it is, then! At least a couple of them, if I tackle one for each post. ❤
My definition and application of “soft polytheism” is much closer to squishiness than what my mother calls “the Neo-Pagan Mush Goddess,” wherein all Goddess names and forms and faces are interchangeable. That’s not what I mean when I say I’m a soft polytheist. I mean that I deal with something akin to named-and-faced archetypes/Not-Twins, because I believe natural laws apply to Gods, too, including the Law of Conservation of Energy. Hence, all Deity forms derrive from a singular source and thus have to be parcelled out in very particular ways.
I think of it this way: Each cell in my body is in fact an individual entity, distinct from every other entity in existence. Some are blood cells, some are bone cells, some are brain cells. But they are yet part of a larger organism, me, that is also an individual entity, distinct from every other entity. And then I am part of the species homo sapien, which while a collective of individual entities, much like “blood cells” are, is individual among the living creatures on this planet. Yet all living things also are a collective that make up a greater individual entity, the planet itself. Which is individual among planets but part of the Solar System. Which is individual among planetary systems but part of the galaxy. Which is individual among galaxies but part of the physical universe. And so on, ad infinitum.
So to me, the question of hard versus soft polytheism, is really a matter of scale; am I choosing to work with THE KNOWN UNIVERSE, or a collection of cells?
Yeah, I am not a fan of the “Neo-Pagan Mush Goddess”, as you so aptly put! And by “not a fan”, I mean “thinly veiled offended” by it.
And unless “Not-twin” is defined elsewhere off this blog and I am not aware of that definition, I just want to point out since we have not fully explained it yet, that it is not synonymous with archetypes as you mentioned.
I did my stint of more nebulous workings back in the day, with the focusing on everything as One. I cannot think of it that way anymore, because it interferes with my own personal work. I think the approach you describe can work for some people, just not me. I see things as a bit more distinct than that.
I didn’t mean to offend with my archetype/Not-Twin conflation. But, your brief description of Not-Twin sounded thr same as my own working definition/understanding/application of archetypes. My apologies.
Nebulous workings with the All is tricky, I agree. Thats why I approach my Gods as “individual cells” rather than as “the Universe.” I make a distinction between my approach to Them, and my view of Their nature.
Oh! You did not offend me on that. I just wanted to clarify a bit to help curb future confusion. ❤
I agree with what you’re saying, I have been thinking along the same lines as of late as well. Perhaps some of the gods share similarities that might indicate that they come from the same source with variations in the personality and function. Maybe there a smaller collection of group of major gods who have these different aspects in play.
I think in that case, it is more than just a variation in personality and function. They are actually separate individuals, and conflating them together is like saying that two junior managers at a firm who both like pizza and bowling, are thus the same person.
Even if they started as the same entity, they may no longer be one. In any case, what you are describing strikes me as a bit more soft polytheist than what I was saying, and just wanted to be sure I put that out there. ❤
To follow your analogy, the way I view the topic is that the “archetype” is the position itself, the actual role of junior manager at the firm so to speak, which is modulated by each individual person that fills that role based on their own predilections and personalities.
But the difficulty comes with the fact that there are, experientially, persons that will actually answer to the job title itself, not a particular permutation thereof, so at that point the analogy falls apart, because a title and position in human terms is not a differentiated person in and of itself…
Very good points!