Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Gods: Personalities and Archetypes

A little while back I was having a rather heated exchange with someone as to why I call myself a polytheist.

This person was a 'reformed monotheist' {their words} and now they are a pantheist, and just could not understand why I as a Pagan was not. My beliefs are 'divisive' and 'heretical'. There is no 'proof' that there are multiple Gods and Goddesses. Heh.

Of course it goes without saying that it is pretty stupid to bash other people's spiritual beliefs when the basis of your argument is 'proof' and you believe in the intangible yourself. That is a justifiable tactic for a materialist, not so much for someone who believes in the unseen.

So, how did I come to be such a 'heretic'? Believe it or not, I used to be like this person. Well, ok, sorta. I wasn't the judgemental asshat they are, but I had considered myself pantheist.

Now I identify as a polytheist and an animist.

Someone wrote on Wikipedia:

Hard Polytheists believe that gods are distinct, separate real divine beings not psychological archetypes or personifications of natural forces. Hard polytheists reject the idea that "all gods are one God"

This is contrasted with Soft Polytheism, which holds that Gods may be aspects of only one God, psychological archetypes or personifications of natural forces.

Personally I reject the whole idea of 'soft' and 'hard'. I see polytheism as the belief in multiple Gods who have their own distinct existence, and that they are not merely the personifications of one God and/or Nature. And after some reflection on my part, this is how I came to realize that I was in fact a polytheist.

I do believe that everyone on our planet is interconnected. I see us all as members within a larger community {with smaller communities and tribes within that}. But we are all still autonomous individuals who make up that community.

Since I do not see myself an archetype, to me it just made sense that the Gods aren't either. I see each one as a complex individual with their own feelings and personalities, with wonderful qualities, as well as faults. Pretty much just like all of us, except they are deities.

I don't just believe in the Gods and Goddesses that I worship and work with, I believe in those of other pantheons as well. Many of them I find quite nifty, and others not so much. That is not to say that I see my own as 'better', but they are the best choice for me.

This also goes for other belief systems...mine is no better than others, it is just best for me.

Anyhoo, this is turning into a nattering post, so I will leave it at that. Feel free to share you own thoughts {either in the comments or feel free to email me}. Blessings to you all, regardless of what you do or do not believe in. :)




Bek said...

All really interesting, thanks for sharing something so personal.

It's made me realise I never stop to think about what I believe in...I guess I've always tended to take the sit-on-the-fence annoying view...

My partner defines himself as an atheist, but I swear this is as much to do with 'punk fashion' as anything else, as to me it's as 'arrogant' to deny something you have no proof doesn't exist as it is to try and convince people of god/s that there is no proof for.

The fact that I allow for the possibility that there may be more than our eyes perceive stops me from being a mere materialist, but other than that I don't know!!

I used to work as nursery teacher and love children's animism.

Sorry, this is a rather long comment!! :)

perma_culture said...

Interesting! I find it hiliarous that others would judge your faith when they believe in things that we can't scientically proove X^D

Metronyx said...

Have to agree with perma culture about the judging part. Myself being a (don't freak out ; D) christian in one way I would never judge another being on gods green earth for what they believe in. Despite that I believe in God I feel as you that all that lives is connected to each other. I don't care if someone else is a atheist or a witch or a jew. We are all one as I see it. And really none of us can prove anything,so what's the point of arguing. Is it not wonderful that we are all the same and still not : D

nefaeria said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts folks! :)

Bek: Choosing to believe or not believe in something is such a personal matter, and I think often changes as we do. :)

I took the 'not too sure' approach for a long time, and for many things I am still there, especially when it comes to creation and the like.

I don't know where I stand on what the Gods actually are, and who created who. At this point I pretty much buy into Darwin's theory and think that we possibly has an intervention of some kind {perhaps from another planet}, which granted man with the gift of technology and creativity. I am also pretty convinced that many of the Gods were once human themselves and through extraordinary feats they were elevated to the status of a God/Goddess.

*whew* I hope that made sense! ;)

As far as someone being an atheist or a materialist, I really can't argue with that personally. Given that we are a 'rational' culture now, and we can't prove the existence of the unseen through our current technologies and science, it kind of makes sense.

Permie: Indeed! :) I will be the first to admit that I believe in a whole bunch of 'wacky' things, so I am not about to judge other people's faiths!

Metronyx: Hey, no freaking out here! I find your outlook fantastic, and no one should shun your for it. :)

We should all have the rights to our beliefs {or none if we choose} in our world and respect each other at the same time!

Cheers to you all! :)

Elizabeth S said...

Interesting. I have not put too much thought into labels but I largely follow the traditions of my ancestors. We don't really believe in gods in the same way as Europeans more so spirits. I guess we are animinists. It is refreshing to see that you and others that come here are open minded to other people's beliefs and traditions. Keep up the great work!

Medusae said...

Great post! I love learning about different religions and spiritual understandings.
I really have no idea where I stand on such things, but I cannot in good faith rule OUT things. It's not logical!