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Caitlin.ann
April 11th, 2009, 11:29 AM
For a long time I've been confused about my view on deity to the point where even though I've been a part of the pagan community for years, I still feel like I know nothing.

For the past few days I've been thinking about my view on mythology and how that might influence my current confusion on deity.

In my opinion, mythology is nothing more than stories made up my ancient peoples to explain natural events, culture/heritage, and life lessons and excludes anything metaphysical from actually happening.

This brings me to believe that deities are not omnipotent and less godly than how I viewed deity in my Christian years. So in my search for answers I was wondering how others here viewed myth and how that view influenced how they view deity as well or lack there-of.

Nuadu
April 11th, 2009, 03:23 PM
I would have an alternate point of view on mythology.
Mythology to me is a guide for how my people viewed the world around them and the deities that exist in their exoteric practice. I have no interest in paganism outside that form but I agree with you about this:



This brings me to believe that deities are not omnipotent and less godly than how I viewed deity in my Christian years.

They are not omnipotent in any way. They are spiritual entities that have existed and historically interacted with people and according to religions from a specific culture, folklore and original myths they exist on a higher plane then us that we might pass onto after death. I believe they exist regionally rather then globally my view on the christian god is he began regionally and then became blended into roman imperialism becoming a global god. People praying to that deity are only getting their local deities who are without a doubt baffled but honoured.

I would never pray to a deity or use it in a spell, they were never human there is no telling what they would do. Would they understand the urgency of what you need? You could ask for money today and the twenty you foind on the floor could have gotten there because a deity impelled someone to rob or kill without understanding the need wasnt that urgent.

Likewise never having a physical form like ours they could urge you to walk onto the road in a thoughtless moment in the understanding you will ultimately get compensation without understanding the concequences and immidiacy of pain.

Deities have to be treated with caution and thats illustrated in the myths. Meddle with Gods and youre going to get caught up in things that wont be in your interests.

David19
April 11th, 2009, 04:11 PM
I view Mythology as having many different meanings, not one is "better" than the other, I also view them as being Sacred. Like, on one level, when I read Mesopotamian Myths, like the Descent of Inanna, or Egyptian Myths, about Set, or Greek Myths, etc, I can recognise the literacy genius of them, I can recognise the creativity, etc that went into them, but, at, the same time, I also believe they do take us into other worlds, that they can give us glimpses of the divine realms, etc. I'm not saying that Inanna walked the earth and then descended to the Netherworld, or that the trial of Set happened on earth, or anything like that, but, I think they happened, just maybe not in this realm, that, through our creativity (which are extensions of our psyches/souls), it gives us glimpses into the divine realms. It's also why I view other creative pursuits as sacred, especially drama. Not sure if I explained that well.

It's a good topic, though.

watersprite
April 11th, 2009, 04:13 PM
My main diety is Gaia.

Son of Goddess
April 11th, 2009, 04:25 PM
My view on mythology is that it explains how/why something is done, or tells of divine ancestry/history. Thats about it, but Roman mythology never concerned the actual worship of the Gods, rather it commented on it often trying to explain why something was done. Roman mythology is fairly after the fact because it was things done that was important, and often the reasoning behind why those things were done was forgotten or fragmented over time.




They are not omnipotent in any way.

According to your opinion maybe.


Deities have to be treated with caution and thats illustrated in the myths. Meddle with Gods and youre going to get caught up in things that wont be in your interests.

I disagree with this as well. The Gods must be approached with thoughtfulness and piety, not cautionary fear--thats a very Xena/Hercules-like view on the Gods; as in from the tv series.

Nuadu
April 12th, 2009, 05:20 AM
If you dont like my opinion thats fine though if youre going to be that brash Id like to see a ref I could look up?

Edited to remove ranting offendedness

Its easter morning commemorating the 1916 rising when men went to fight with no hope of winning whos only thought was preserving tradition. Today is a bad day to question the validity of Irish Traditions for me.

monsnoleedra
April 12th, 2009, 05:57 AM
Deities have to be treated with caution and thats illustrated in the myths. Meddle with Gods and youre going to get caught up in things that wont be in your interests.


I actually agree with this from the influence of the Celtic perspective. Many tales and stories I found in Scotland and read of in Irish literature made great points of they just might help or just might stick it to you, all at their whim or notion at the moment.

I recall passing over a fairy bridge while in Scotland and seeing the fairy hole where they still throw a coin to the bridgeman. Heard from other's on base that didn't pay the toll and the problems they had on the trip back home.



I disagree with this as well. The Gods must be approached with thoughtfulness and piety, not cautionary fear--thats a very Xena/Hercules-like view on the Gods; as in from the tv series.


If he had cast it against a Med Basin backdrop then I might agree with this, being against a Celtic backdrop I fully agree with his position.

I really can't explain it but the time I spent in Scotland I saw more back bone beliefs and influnces than I did in the Med. I suppose one might say the ghosts of the past were tied real strong to the population and places and alive today just as much as when the stories were conceived.

I encountered more belief in the land spirits and wights than could ever be imagined. People that would not go out on certain nights or conditions because of the hunt or roving spirits. Saw more things I could not explain than I care to recall.

Even had a person tell me a spirit of an ancestor watched over me from the moment I landed in Scotland. I probally wouldn't have given it much though except they described in detail a person I have know via dreams for years and a castle I have drawn as an old home. Yep my family is of Irish / Scotish ancestry on both sides.

Some of that lore is carried into the mountain families of Virginia as many are composed of old Irish / Scotish families.

monsnoleedra
April 12th, 2009, 06:51 AM
.. I still feel like I know nothing.

I'm 50 years old and still feel like that. Just when I think I understand something new is added that knocks me back to square one.

For the past few days I've been thinking about my view on mythology and how that might influence my current confusion on deity.

That is possible. There was a period I though that the Mythologies of the Dieties I choose would help me and did add to the confusion. For me it was the mythology may or maynot have supported what I felt.

In my opinion, mythology is nothing more than stories made up my ancient peoples to explain natural events, culture/heritage, and life lessons and excludes anything metaphysical from actually happening.

I agree to an extent. I think many times it gives us a small glimpse into the whole world mindset of that culture and time period. Yet it also gives a flicker of how they overcame some event.

I disagree on the metaphysical though. Our word usuage and understading is driven by our social order. Today there are so many things that we simply do not know what it was though the words are there. We speculate on what but many times we run across something that seems as if anyone alive at the time would know what it was but we can not even begin to state other than it was.

This brings me to believe that deities are not omnipotent and less godly than how I viewed deity in my Christian years.

I think for me it depends upon the deity in question. Many show failure in thier actions but through failure do they advance at times. The problem for me is that how does one define what is or is not when so much is lost and all we have are occasional references are fragments of scrolls.

To many it is not suprising that the Christian God would seem omnipotent as for the last 2000 years that has been the primary influence. Anything else was relagated to the notion of myths and or demonized. Even many stories of other gods and influences are stolen as they are re-recorded in the new gods name.

The US is barely over 200 years old right now yet our own history from then is shrouded in great myth and falsehoods. We know more about feudal Europe than we know about many things dealing with the Rev War through documents.

So in my search for answers I was wondering how others here viewed myth and how that view influenced how they view deity as well or lack there-of.

For me I view mythology to be glimpses of how diety was interacted with and seen by our ancestors. It show's the poitive and negative sides but I also know history belongs to the victors.

Some parts I view against our own US history and stories such as Paul Bunyon or Pecos Bill or even Johnny Appleseed. They tell tales of a growth and social time of great changes but also the need to believe in something larger than themselves. To some extent even the rise and fall of stories and lore of a people as one must give way before the new yet the old is longed for in a nostalgic position.

David19
April 12th, 2009, 03:23 PM
I disagree with this as well. The Gods must be approached with thoughtfulness and piety, not cautionary fear--thats a very Xena/Hercules-like view on the Gods; as in from the tv series.

It depends on the God(s), though, doesn't it?, yes, piety is important, but, for some Gods, you should tread with caution, apparantly, the Aztec Gods aren't to be treated lightly, and can mess with you, just for their own fun (I've never had any experiences with them, that just comes from what Aztec recons have said). For some Gods, fear is a sign of respect to them. It all depends on the God(s), IMO, they aren't all alike, so, how you approach them has to be different, unless you're just making a general offering to all the Gods or something like that.

David19
April 12th, 2009, 03:28 PM
I actually agree with this from the influence of the Celtic perspective. Many tales and stories I found in Scotland and read of in Irish literature made great points of they just might help or just might stick it to you, all at their whim or notion at the moment.

I recall passing over a fairy bridge while in Scotland and seeing the fairy hole where they still throw a coin to the bridgeman. Heard from other's on base that didn't pay the toll and the problems they had on the trip back home.



If he had cast it against a Med Basin backdrop then I might agree with this, being against a Celtic backdrop I fully agree with his position.

I really can't explain it but the time I spent in Scotland I saw more back bone beliefs and influnces than I did in the Med. I suppose one might say the ghosts of the past were tied real strong to the population and places and alive today just as much as when the stories were conceived.

I encountered more belief in the land spirits and wights than could ever be imagined. People that would not go out on certain nights or conditions because of the hunt or roving spirits. Saw more things I could not explain than I care to recall.


While I do agree with your post to an extent, couldn't some of those customs be more superstition, like not going out on certain nights 'cause of the Hunt (it just seems it's local superstition that "on this night, a whole bunch of ghost and other beings are going to be riding about, so, stay inside", it seems like a way to control teens, just my opinion).

I'm not saying the whole Hunt is just superstition, maybe it's based on fact, and that it does happen sometimes, but, maybe, a lot of the time, when people fear it, it's just local custom.

BTW, quite cool experiences that you've had :).

monsnoleedra
April 12th, 2009, 03:54 PM
While I do agree with your post to an extent, couldn't some of those customs be more superstition, like not going out on certain nights 'cause of the Hunt (it just seems it's local superstition that "on this night, a whole bunch of ghost and other beings are going to be riding about, so, stay inside", it seems like a way to control teens, just my opinion).

If it was certain days of the month or such I would say very definate. The Hunt came up whenever it was really foul weather and you had to go out. Yet it also depended upon how the storm came in so you could not say "Hey, bad weather so the Hunt is out tongiht".

You'd hear some similar things when you had to cross the FIfe of Firth on stormy nights. Usually about the old train that crashed into the sound when the bridge was taken out in a storm and hear the screams on the winds.

Where I worked we had to cross a long field and usually did so on foot as I lived in the barracks at the time. When it got foul the rain came in sideways and the winds would knock you down. We walked on a lighted path but I'd seen it so bad that you could not see one light beyond another. We actually had people that got pushed off the sidewalk and wandered around in the fog for long periods.

Sometimes you would hear the bay of hounds in the fog and swear something grabbed at you and tried to pull you down or out into the foggy field. Even the thunder of hoves at times but never saw a horse any where near it. Not counting those damn giant hares that would come hauling out of the fog and collide with you at times. Never saw so many hares in my life till I was there.

I'm not saying the whole Hunt is just superstition, maybe it's based on fact, and that it does happen sometimes, but, maybe, a lot of the time, when people fear it, it's just local custom.

I really do not know but it was ingrained in them pretty deep. Like we tried talking a few of the locals into going Snipe hunting with us one night that happened to be a Full Moon. You could see the fear on his face as he spoke about the Werewolves that would be out. It was a held belief that werewolves walked on those nights and no one would go out on the land or swampy coastal flats.

But I heard other stories of people that went farther into the Highlands and talked to people there. Certain area's they would not go into after dark because of haunting spirits and creatures that would do you harm.

BTW, quite cool experiences that you've had :).

I think the eariest feeling I ever had was at Glamus Castle and seeing what looked like the Grey Lady in the Chapel. Even after I had left just the though of that places used to get to me. Saw other ghost's and things there but that one always touched me, I suppose cause she looked so terrified and alone.

Son of Goddess
April 12th, 2009, 08:46 PM
If you dont like my opinion thats fine though if youre going to be that brash Id like to see a ref I could look up?

I'm being brash? All I said was that I disagree with your opinion, if that is cause for anger then you need to chill buddy. Jeez.



If he had cast it against a Med Basin backdrop then I might agree with this, being against a Celtic backdrop I fully agree with his position.

And if he had prefaced his statements with any type of cultural backdrop my thoughts may have been different, but he was being quite general, whether he meant to be or not.

David19
April 12th, 2009, 08:57 PM
I think the eariest feeling I ever had was at Glamus Castle and seeing what looked like the Grey Lady in the Chapel. Even after I had left just the though of that places used to get to me. Saw other ghost's and things there but that one always touched me, I suppose cause she looked so terrified and alone.

I don't know much about the Hunt, so, I didn't know, what circumstances the Hunt arrived in, so, it wasn't just any old storm that people were afraid or, but, a specific type, one that you might be able to hear the Hounds?.

Glowingsun
April 12th, 2009, 10:34 PM
I view dieties as characters of events, natural phenomena and everyday things that ancient civilizations use to describe how the world works or why a disaster happens.
They also give these dieties names, a personality and a story.
I have heard of topas and that alot of religious icons are a result of these dieties being believed so hard that these beings actually come having a spirit that makes their presence felt and sometimes seen. They are not in fact real though.

But I really believe that dieties are part of another realm close to Earth. Perhaps an Earth in an alternate universe. Humanity and our souls could have originated in these realms and thats how we might get these cultures and vast beliefs on specific dieties.

monsnoleedra
April 12th, 2009, 11:45 PM
..

And if he had prefaced his statements with any type of cultural backdrop my thoughts may have been different, but he was being quite general, whether he meant to be or not.

Understand what your saying. I think for me it was a matter of what he wrote but also the general perspective of many of his posts with a backdrop against Ireland and the connection of family and local dieties.

Not sure if I had that in a corner of my mind or not at the time.

monsnoleedra
April 12th, 2009, 11:51 PM
I don't know much about the Hunt, so, I didn't know, what circumstances the Hunt arrived in, so, it wasn't just any old storm that people were afraid or, but, a specific type, one that you might be able to hear the Hounds?.

I really don't know enough about the Hunt to say this is how it always is. But yeah specific type storm that would come in. One of those things were you sort of felt ill and uneasy as you watched it build on the horizion. Almost as if there was an electrical surge building and the static was almost alive.

Then you'd get the driving rains and wind but also a dense fog or mist with it. Sounds that carry but really distorted in the way they arrive to your ears. You know it's strange but it really is sort of hard to describe though I can feel it all these years later.

Xander67
April 13th, 2009, 12:08 AM
Mythology is how the Mystics were able to translate what they received in such a manner that the conscious mind engages the story while the subconscious receives the light.

Myths, Fables , Parables all have many meanings depending on from which POV you are reading.

Russ
April 13th, 2009, 01:47 AM
While I do agree with your post to an extent, couldn't some of those customs be more superstition, like not going out on certain nights 'cause of the Hunt (it just seems it's local superstition that "on this night, a whole bunch of ghost and other beings are going to be riding about, so, stay inside", it seems like a way to control teens, just my opinion).

I'm not saying the whole Hunt is just superstition, maybe it's based on fact, and that it does happen sometimes, but, maybe, a lot of the time, when people fear it, it's just local custom.

BTW, quite cool experiences that you've had :).

I got a friend who once encountered the Wild Hunt, as have I. Fiction and custom it ain't.

For my part I think we spend way to much time tryin' to cram the myths into all these psycho literary interpretations like Paganism is some sorta liberal arts class.

The myths, legens, tales and fables tell us of the Powers and of things an events that even if they never happened or existed are always real and true. An there may just be more truth to them than our post-modern world is comfortable with admitting...

Nuadu
April 13th, 2009, 05:17 AM
I disagree with this as well. The Gods must be approached with thoughtfulness and piety, not cautionary fear--thats a very Xena/Hercules-like view on the Gods; as in from the tv series.

That in my assesment is Brash.
Either way you will have to put your money where your mouth is and I want the refs for what you said. I would progress the discussion to say what is the difference between Mythology and Folklore? Is there a separation between the literary tradition and the native oral traditions.

In the instance of Son of Gods view of Religio Romana the famous folklore of the Tana che urla rejects his interpretation of deity and supports mine. The below is a famous cautionary folktale called the Screaming Hole.

http://members.tripod.com/~DonAlfredo/tana.htm

Un giovane minatore di Fornovolasco, passando davanti a questa grotta, vide una bellissima fata e se ne innamorò. Ma essa non volle incoraggiare questo amore e rifiutò di mostrarsi ulteriormente al giovane. Costui perse ogni interesse per la vita e si ammalò. Sarebbe morto, se la fata non gli avesse fatto trovare sull'uscio di casa un cesto pieno di erbe medicinali. Egli allora corse alla grotta, incontrò la creatura dei suoi sogni e volle farla sua. Ella lo informò che se fosse entrato con lei nella grotta non avrebbe più potuto uscirne e non avrebbe mai più rivisto il cielo. Il giovane disse che non desiderava altro e da allora nessuno più lo vide

I would supply a translation but a man as well versed in his field of study as Son of God can probably provide a better translation then someone who picked up bits of Italian from interacting with Italian Culture.

David19
April 13th, 2009, 12:45 PM
I view dieties as characters of events, natural phenomena and everyday things that ancient civilizations use to describe how the world works or why a disaster happens.
They also give these dieties names, a personality and a story.
I have heard of topas and that alot of religious icons are a result of these dieties being believed so hard that these beings actually come having a spirit that makes their presence felt and sometimes seen. They are not in fact real though.

But I really believe that dieties are part of another realm close to Earth. Perhaps an Earth in an alternate universe. Humanity and our souls could have originated in these realms and thats how we might get these cultures and vast beliefs on specific dieties.

Interesting ideas, I do believe the Gods are part of another realm, although, whether or not our souls come from them is another issue.


I really don't know enough about the Hunt to say this is how it always is. But yeah specific type storm that would come in. One of those things were you sort of felt ill and uneasy as you watched it build on the horizion. Almost as if there was an electrical surge building and the static was almost alive.

Then you'd get the driving rains and wind but also a dense fog or mist with it. Sounds that carry but really distorted in the way they arrive to your ears. You know it's strange but it really is sort of hard to describe though I can feel it all these years later.

Thanks for that, it sounds like a really cool experience (and scary), I might look a bit more into the Hunt.


Myths, Fables , Parables all have many meanings depending on from which POV you are reading.

This I agree with, Myths have many, many different levels of meaning, and none is more "better" or "more true" than another, in other words, if someone just looks at the Myths and takes it on face-value (e.g. that Horus chopped off Aset's head, that Ereshkigal placed Inanna on a spike and turned her into a rotting carcus, etc), that's ok, and if someone takes a more allegorical view of the Myths, then that's fine as well.


I got a friend who once encountered the Wild Hunt, as have I. Fiction and custom it ain't.

For my part I think we spend way to much time tryin' to cram the myths into all these psycho literary interpretations like Paganism is some sorta liberal arts class.

The myths, legens, tales and fables tell us of the Powers and of things an events that even if they never happened or existed are always real and true. An there may just be more truth to them than our post-modern world is comfortable with admitting...

I do agree that a psychological view of Myths shouldn't be the only one, it can be one of many interpretations, IMO, and, I definitely agree about the Myths being real and true, even if they never happened (it reminds me of something many Rabbis and Sages have said about the Exodus). Also, I do agree that events in the Myths that seem fantastic may have happened, maybe they still do, IMO, anyway.


That in my assesment is Brash.
Either way you will have to put your money where your mouth is and I want the refs for what you said. I would progress the discussion to say what is the difference between Mythology and Folklore? Is there a separation between the literary tradition and the native oral traditions.

In the instance of Son of Gods view of Religio Romana the famous folklore of the Tana che urla rejects his interpretation of deity and supports mine. The below is a famous cautionary folktale called the Screaming Hole.

http://members.tripod.com/~DonAlfredo/tana.htm


I would supply a translation but a man as well versed in his field of study as Son of God can probably provide a better translation then someone who picked up bits of Italian from interacting with Italian Culture.

For those that don't speak Italian, would you mind summarising the quote?.

David.

OrionNeb87
April 13th, 2009, 01:18 PM
My response is mostly centered around the Kemetic gods as they're the ones I follow and have had the most experience with.

I've never taken the myths as literally true or as the infallible words of the gods. They were written by the hands of humans and therefore subject to human bias. I also agree that they are mostly stories told to explain a certain phenomenon or to teach a lesson of some sort. To me the gods in the myths and the gods themselves are very different though I do think that these stories can be used to get a deeper understanding of the gods as they were viewed in ancient times and the ancient Kemetic people themselves. I have found in my experience that there is so much more to Their natures than the forms presented in the myths and that you have to look beyond the myths and talk to Them to really get to know Them.

I'll give Set as an example. I have had many people ask me if (or sometimes tell me) He is the god of homosexuality because of the contendings myth where he has sexual relations with Heru-sa-Aset. My answer to them is no, He is not the god of homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality. He is sexuality in all its forms, the raw power of sex, as that is how I and many of my brothers and sisters have experienced Him. I feel that to only focus on that myth and that one event is to place Him in a very small, cramped box. The Set of that myth is bisexual but Set Himself is all sex.

Son of Goddess
April 13th, 2009, 01:25 PM
That in my assesment is Brash.
Either way you will have to put your money where your mouth is and I want the refs for what you said. I would progress the discussion to say what is the difference between Mythology and Folklore? Is there a separation between the literary tradition and the native oral traditions.

Firstly for those who have never watched the tv series Xena and/or Hercules, the attitude toward the Gods they express is that the Gods are petty, always fooling around with mortals, never help mankind, should be avoided at all costs, etc, etc, etc... This is intrinsically false when compared to what history tells us of ancient Greece and Rome.

Pietas - an attitude of respectful duty to the Gods. Adkins & Adkins, Dictionary of Roman Religion.

Mythology and folklore, in the Roman worldview, occupy the same seat; they hold no water over actual cult practice.


In the instance of Son of Gods view of Religio Romana the famous folklore of the Tana che urla rejects his interpretation of deity and supports mine. The below is a famous cautionary folktale called the Screaming Hole.

http://members.tripod.com/~DonAlfredo/tana.htm

Ok, you would be right if fate were deities, but they aren't.

The tale is about a young miner who sees a fairy and falls in love, becomes sick and is later healed by medicinal herbs that she brings him, and then has to choose between living with her forever stuck inside the cove or living his own life. He chose to live with her forever and no one ever saw him thereafter.

Now, you need to stop being so brash yourself. I don't follow everybody around on here knowing what each person posts about and what path they follow, so my misinterpretation of what you said is much more your fault at assuming that everyone knew who/what you were talking about. You spoke with a generalization and never cared for clarification, I won't apologize for your mistake. Lose the attitude.

Nuadu
April 13th, 2009, 02:22 PM
Pietas - an attitude of respectful duty to the Gods. Adkins & Adkins, Dictionary of Roman Religion.

Ok and the same applies to Piety in the christian church.Italian culture influenced christianity because constantine founded the holy roman empire on the back of it but that extract needs a pagan context to relate to pagan deities. I personally do not base my concept of deity on one line from a dictionary.


Mythology and folklore, in the Roman worldview, occupy the same seat; they hold no water over actual cult practice.

So as a reconstructionist your religion is not influenced by the pre christian secular record or the contemporary culture of Italy? I find that exceptionally hard to believe. Could you give me an example of that?


The tale is about a young miner who sees a fairy and falls in love, becomes sick and is later healed by medicinal herbs that she brings him, and then has to choose between living with her forever stuck inside the cove or living his own life. He chose to live with her forever and no one ever saw him thereafter.

Fairies in Italian culture as in irish culture are deities. The deity in question was restricted to the traditional cultural site, in this case a cave. The human courting the goddess who occupied that space (from time immemorial as in all folklore) nearly died, was only revived by machinations from the mortal world in the form of herbs growing outside the goddesses dwelling and at the end of the story is trapped inside the cave never to be seen again. A cave today called the screaming hole. That sounds like a cautionary tale about the sacred places and dealing with deities. Not too different to the stories about the cultural sites here.


Now, you need to stop being so brash yourself. I don't follow everybody around on here knowing what each person posts about and what path they follow, so my misinterpretation of what you said is much more your fault at assuming that everyone knew who/what you were talking about. You spoke with a generalization and never cared for clarification, I won't apologize for your mistake. Lose the attitude.

So its my fault you were wrong because you didnt bother to look to the left of the screen to see where I lived when I mentioned beliefs of 'my people'? :D

I dont want any apology I just want you to support your point with something other then opinion, TV programs and an out of context dictionary reference that could refer to christianity. The reason for that is Fairness. If I was new to irish traditions Id have been sent on the wrong path because you were in a mood. All Im asking now is you justify the concept of deity you love so much that you would trample anyone who has a different opinion. You could have lead one of my people astray and all I want you to do is prove your opinion. Thats not asking a lot and you havent managed it so far

Son of Goddess
April 13th, 2009, 04:17 PM
Ok and the same applies to Piety in the christian church.Italian culture influenced christianity because constantine founded the holy roman empire on the back of it but that extract needs a pagan context to relate to pagan deities. I personally do not base my concept of deity on one line from a dictionary.

Neither do I, but it was a quick reference I had at the time.

And, unless Christianity is polytheistic and has "Gods", the example applies. Do you know why Christianity has so much in relation to Roman Religion? Because when Christianity was made legal by Constantine, the cult legally had to be made into a Roman context. Hence, why the concept of Pietas was carried over.

What you were describing is what is called "superstitio" in the Roman context:


The term 'superstition', as traditionally defined, referred to a whole set of religous attitudes in the widest sense. Suptertitious people thought that the gods were evil, jealous and tyrannical, and this distressed them. This 'ill-controlled fear' of the immortals drove them to all kinds of excesses, in particular to slavish forms of behaviour designed to win the favor of the gods. In contrast, the correct approach to religion involved believing that the gods were good and respected the social code of the city: so long as they were not gravely offended and the city institutions continued to function, the gods were not expected to take direct revenge or to heap disasters upon weak human beings. That was the gods' way of honoring the contract of respect and assisstance that they were commonly believed to have made with Rome.

An Introcution to Roman Religion by John Scheid


So as a reconstructionist your religion is not influenced by the pre christian secular record or the contemporary culture of Italy? I find that exceptionally hard to believe. Could you give me an example of that?

The Religio Romana is not defined by mythology, it is defined by practice. Being that the Religio Romana did not survive into modern times the current culture of Italy doesn't have much to offer, however there are certain attitudes toward religion and the supernatural that remain the same.


Fairies in Italian culture as in irish culture are deities.

Oh...I had no idea Jesus cavorts around with fairies in the Italian Roman Catholic's worldview. I also didn't realize that Italian Roman Catholics are polytheists and pagans...I'll be sure to let my family and coworkers know about this, I bet they'll have a gay old time hearing that one!!! LOL!


The deity in question was restricted to the traditional cultural site, in this case a cave. The human courting the goddess who occupied that space (from time immemorial as in all folklore) nearly died, was only revived by machinations from the mortal world in the form of herbs growing outside the goddesses dwelling and at the end of the story is trapped inside the cave never to be seen again. A cave today called the screaming hole. That sounds like a cautionary tale about the sacred places and dealing with deities. Not too different to the stories about the cultural sites here.

Ok, yes. However, you are missing the difference between numina and Gods. What you are describing is a numen, a 'spirit' or 'power', something that is intimately bound to and by a particular place that it is the guardian of. All the Gods of Rome originated as numina, however through civilization and development, certain numina became more important and influential and were not always bound by location...these are Gods. The fate are numina, but they are not Gods.

Also, if you had such a knowledge of Roman religion like you seemingly imply you do, you would know that the caution in this tale stems from the fact that the young man became emotionally involved with the fata. This is cause for concern on several levels. Firstly, he gave into excessive emotion which is not seen as virtuous in a man; this is still existent in cultures today a la "men don't cry", he essentially became a slave to the fata on his own will. Secondly, he selfishly left his obligations to family and society to occupy his own interests; which you should know that family comes first in Italy. Lastly, he broke the most important aspect of religious procedure according to Roman religion, he did not approach the fata with a legalistic mindset.


The gods were to be approached like magistrates, when there was a matter to be settled. The formalism of words and gestures went hand in hand with a strict legalim. 'One could not be a good priest without a knowledge of civil law,' as P. Mucius Scaevola liked to reiterate. Roman religion was wrapped up with judiciary procedure. It was contractual: do ut des.

The Gods of Ancient Rome by Robert Turcan

The young man broke several taboos because he got swept up in the moment, not because of the fata's scheming. The fata aided him and gave him a choice, in the end he made the wrong choice because he did not regard his place in society.


So its my fault you were wrong because you didnt bother to look to the left of the screen to see where I lived when I mentioned beliefs of 'my people'? :D

And I'm from Western New York State, so if I said "my people" I could easily be mistaken for meaning the people of Western New York in stead of fellow Cultores Deorum Romanorum. Not all Irish people are Pagans, last I knew. Also...your location is on the right portion of your posts, not the left.

monsnoleedra
April 13th, 2009, 05:12 PM
Son Of Goddess wrote:



Firstly for those who have never watched the tv series Xena and/or Hercules, the attitude toward the Gods they express is that the Gods are petty, always fooling around with mortals, never help mankind, should be avoided at all costs, etc, etc, etc... This is intrinsically false when compared to what history tells us of ancient Greece and Rome.



That same sentiment is expressed in the movie Jason and the Argonauts. Specifically when Jason says the gods of Greece are cruel and petty. He even goes on to speak of the end of the gods. It has been a long time since I read Argonautica so I do not remember if that is in the story or if the playrights took creative authorship in the screenplay.

I recall that movie came out in the late 60's I think it was.

David19
April 13th, 2009, 09:05 PM
My response is mostly centered around the Kemetic gods as they're the ones I follow and have had the most experience with.

I've never taken the myths as literally true or as the infallible words of the gods. They were written by the hands of humans and therefore subject to human bias. I also agree that they are mostly stories told to explain a certain phenomenon or to teach a lesson of some sort. To me the gods in the myths and the gods themselves are very different though I do think that these stories can be used to get a deeper understanding of the gods as they were viewed in ancient times and the ancient Kemetic people themselves. I have found in my experience that there is so much more to Their natures than the forms presented in the myths and that you have to look beyond the myths and talk to Them to really get to know Them.

I'll give Set as an example. I have had many people ask me if (or sometimes tell me) He is the god of homosexuality because of the contendings myth where he has sexual relations with Heru-sa-Aset. My answer to them is no, He is not the god of homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality. He is sexuality in all its forms, the raw power of sex, as that is how I and many of my brothers and sisters have experienced Him. I feel that to only focus on that myth and that one event is to place Him in a very small, cramped box. The Set of that myth is bisexual but Set Himself is all sex.

Interesting ideas, and I agree, to an extent anyway, the Gods aren't their Myths, like there are a lot more to them, but, from a Mesopotamian POV anyway, the Myths do give us glimpses into the lives of the Gods, it helps us understand them (although, no God can ever truly be understand, as they are Gods, and we are mortals).

I know Set isn't just associated with homosexuality, but, I've got to say, I love the line "how sweet your backside is" (or it went something like that, didn't it?), maybe, I'll try that one day next time I see a guy I want ;)!.



So as a reconstructionist your religion is not influenced by the pre christian secular record or the contemporary culture of Italy? I find that exceptionally hard to believe. Could you give me an example of that?

I'm not Son of Goddess, but, I don't see why the contemporary Italian culture would influence a Roman recon, it might if the Roman religion had continued in some form down to the present day, but, it hasn't (unlike in Mexico, where there are still remains indigenious beliefs and practices of the Aztecs and Maya, so, modern ethnology is important for filling in the blanks for Aztec recons), I'm a Sumerian/Mesopotamian recon, but, it's unlikely I'm going to be influenced by modern Iraqi culture (unless it's something like the food or music, as I do like Middle Eastern food and some Arab music).




Fairies in Italian culture as in irish culture are deities. The deity in question was restricted to the traditional cultural site, in this case a cave. The human courting the goddess who occupied that space (from time immemorial as in all folklore) nearly died, was only revived by machinations from the mortal world in the form of herbs growing outside the goddesses dwelling and at the end of the story is trapped inside the cave never to be seen again. A cave today called the screaming hole. That sounds like a cautionary tale about the sacred places and dealing with deities. Not too different to the stories about the cultural sites here.

Are there even fairies in Italian mythology and folklore?.




Oh...I had no idea Jesus cavorts around with fairies in the Italian Roman Catholic's worldview. I also didn't realize that Italian Roman Catholics are polytheists and pagans...I'll be sure to let my family and coworkers know about this, I bet they'll have a gay old time hearing that one!!! LOL!

I now have an image of Jesus doing a dance with some fairies!.



Ok, yes. However, you are missing the difference between numina and Gods. What you are describing is a numen, a 'spirit' or 'power', something that is intimately bound to and by a particular place that it is the guardian of. All the Gods of Rome originated as numina, however through civilization and development, certain numina became more important and influential and were not always bound by location...these are Gods. The fate are numina, but they are not Gods.

I've heard of the concept of numen before, but, can I just ask, I've read that it was more the presence of a deity, or the "fingerprint" of a God, it's what a God imprinted on an area (like, for one example, from a Roman POV, would Jerusalem be a Holy spot 'cause YHWH put his numen/energy in it, etc) that made it Holy and Sacred, but, was it also a spirit, or was it both?.

Son of Goddess
April 13th, 2009, 11:07 PM
I've heard of the concept of numen before, but, can I just ask, I've read that it was more the presence of a deity, or the "fingerprint" of a God, it's what a God imprinted on an area (like, for one example, from a Roman POV, would Jerusalem be a Holy spot 'cause YHWH put his numen/energy in it, etc) that made it Holy and Sacred, but, was it also a spirit, or was it both?.

The concept of the numina is both.

David19
April 14th, 2009, 06:52 AM
The concept of the numina is both.

Ok, thanks, so, it's considered both a conscious spirit and an energy/"fingerprint" as well?.

Son of Goddess
April 14th, 2009, 12:40 PM
Ok, thanks, so, it's considered both a conscious spirit and an energy/"fingerprint" as well?.

Numen is variously described as 'divine power', 'presence', 'divine will', 'divine consent', 'nod', etc... Numen is, essentially, the presence of divine power. Academia, depending on the author, says that Roman religion began as a sort of animistic religion prior to civilization; other authors argue that such is not true, but in any event the concept of the numen is still present. Being that Roman religion did have a semi-animist view of the world, the concept of the numina is identified as a divine presence in/of something.

When the Gods are worshipped, They either give consent or "nod" to the sacrifices or They do not, which means expiation and propitiation must occur.

David19
April 14th, 2009, 09:34 PM
Numen is variously described as 'divine power', 'presence', 'divine will', 'divine consent', 'nod', etc... Numen is, essentially, the presence of divine power. Academia, depending on the author, says that Roman religion began as a sort of animistic religion prior to civilization; other authors argue that such is not true, but in any event the concept of the numen is still present. Being that Roman religion did have a semi-animist view of the world, the concept of the numina is identified as a divine presence in/of something.

When the Gods are worshipped, They either give consent or "nod" to the sacrifices or They do not, which means expiation and propitiation must occur.

Thanks for explanation :).

Nuadu
April 15th, 2009, 05:02 AM
I'm not Son of Goddess, but, I don't see why the contemporary Italian culture would influence a Roman recon, it might if the Roman religion had continued in some form down to the present day, but, it hasn't (unlike in Mexico, where there are still remains indigenious beliefs and practices of the Aztecs and Maya, so, modern ethnology is important for filling in the blanks for Aztec recons), I'm a Sumerian/Mesopotamian recon, but, it's unlikely I'm going to be influenced by modern Iraqi culture (unless it's something like the food or music, as I do like Middle Eastern food and some Arab music).

Family is important in all traditional societies but that is only culture in microcosm. The idea that Contemporary Italian and Italian folk culture is not relevant is an insult to members of the Italian Culture and a wild expression of the innocence and arrogance or inexperiance. Someone who dismisses culture is deeply out of touch with the highest expression of the living culture its religion and the nature of reconstructionism.

Traditional religion as with all traditional crafts is created not in isolation by an elite but in a secular environment by the culture as a whole. Traditions rise and fall within the natural rythm of a living culture and they are revived at will so long as that culture is living. That secular culture which is continuous and contemporary is the creator and preserver of its native religion making it an important study for recon. If the continuance of pre christian religion in folklore isnt enough of an illustration then take the continuing family name De Pagano in rural Italy. Those are pagans in the original meaning of the word. People who are not members of the progressive elite people who practice a religion not in tune with the urbane.

The main reason all recons pay attention to the contemporary cultures of the religions they study is the culture where a tradition begins religious or otherwise is key to reconstructionism with its emphasis on empiracism and accuracy. To succeed it must have a place where that religion can function as it once did. Given American society is not the traditional society where the religion formed even if the Gods manifested a solid book of the codified religion for the religion to thrive it must be changed to function within the new non traditional environment. It must have elements americans can relate to and it must shape itself to american culture.

Unless Recons can create something that mirrors the framework of traditional italian culture but is not entirely a throwback to millennia ago, (something that would be alien to contemporary culture) the religion will need to be changed to something that is not recignisably traditional to thrive. A recon can only aspire to be the most Italian, Greek, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Norweigan, Croation et al that they can be within American culture. Just like a family of Italians who do not retain their cultural heritage will not produce children who are recignisably Italian. Failure to study the contemporary culture will mean failure as a recon.

Also to dismiss contemporary Italian culture is to dismiss neo paganism in Italy which has its own native neo pagan revival, as do a lot of European countries today. Most would study the contemporary movements in the understanding that a craftsman who has inherited his craft has an understanding of the nuances within that craft that a craftsman new to the trade no matter how dedicated must lack.


Are there even fairies in Italian mythology and folklore?. SoG can call them numina I call them fairies. I do that because names like Síoga are foreign to people not native to Ireland. Fairy folklore is international and subject to academic study in Ethnology. Each tale type is given its own defining number the AT/U number. For the screaming hole that would fall under 400-459 the supernatural or Enchanted Wife. I recommend a college course in Ethnology for all recons if there isnt an equivolent Celtic Studies course available for their culture of study.

http://oaks.nvg.org/folktale-types.html#atu



I now have an image of Jesus doing a dance with some fairies!.
Hahahaha Im sorry if this is offensive to either of you but I nearly peed myself laughing at this when I went looking for an image of jesus dancing with fairies. Its shockingly hetronormative (for a college kid).

http://loljesus.com/wp-content/uploads/document-1.jpeg


EDIT:
My point with the empiracism and accuracy bit is if the religion is changed to suit its new non traditional home it will move away from being an accurate reconstruction of the religion. It will be a reinterpretation along the lines of wicca.

I use America for my examples because 99% of recons are american

Son of Goddess
April 15th, 2009, 12:02 PM
Family is important in all traditional societies but that is only culture in microcosm. The idea that Contemporary Italian and Italian folk culture is not relevant is an insult to members of the Italian Culture and a wild expression of the innocence and arrogance or inexperiance. Someone who dismisses culture is deeply out of touch with the highest expression of the living culture its religion and the nature of reconstructionism.

Traditional religion as with all traditional crafts is created not in isolation by an elite but in a secular environment by the culture as a whole. Traditions rise and fall within the natural rythm of a living culture and they are revived at will so long as that culture is living. That secular culture which is continuous and contemporary is the creator and preserver of its native religion making it an important study for recon. If the continuance of pre christian religion in folklore isnt enough of an illustration then take the continuing family name De Pagano in rural Italy. Those are pagans in the original meaning of the word. People who are not members of the progressive elite people who practice a religion not in tune with the urbane.

The main reason all recons pay attention to the contemporary cultures of the religions they study is the culture where a tradition begins religious or otherwise is key to reconstructionism with its emphasis on empiracism and accuracy. To succeed it must have a place where that religion can function as it once did. Given American society is not the traditional society where the religion formed even if the Gods manifested a solid book of the codified religion for the religion to thrive it must be changed to function within the new non traditional environment. It must have elements americans can relate to and it must shape itself to american culture.

Unless Recons can create something that mirrors the framework of traditional italian culture but is not entirely a throwback to millennia ago, (something that would be alien to contemporary culture) the religion will need to be changed to something that is not recignisably traditional to thrive. A recon can only aspire to be the most Italian, Greek, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Norweigan, Croation et al that they can be within American culture. Just like a family of Italians who do not retain their cultural heritage will not produce children who are recignisably Italian. Failure to study the contemporary culture will mean failure as a recon.

Also to dismiss contemporary Italian culture is to dismiss neo paganism in Italy which has its own native neo pagan revival, as do a lot of European countries today. Most would study the contemporary movements in the understanding that a craftsman who has inherited his craft has an understanding of the nuances within that craft that a craftsman new to the trade no matter how dedicated must lack.

Ok, I see where you are coming from now and I agree 100%.


SoG can call them numina I call them fairies.

Well I was pointing out what you described in teh context of Roman religion. :-)


Hahahaha Im sorry if this is offensive to either of you but I nearly peed myself laughing at this when I went looking for an image of jesus dancing with fairies. Its shockingly hetronormative (for a college kid).

http://loljesus.com/wp-content/uploads/document-1.jpeg

LOL! I thought you might find that funny! Love that picture, haha!



EDIT:
My point with the empiracism and accuracy bit is if the religion is changed to suit its new non traditional home it will move away from being an accurate reconstruction of the religion. It will be a reinterpretation along the lines of wicca.

I use America for my examples because 99% of recons are american

And this is why *most* recons know that they must alter their worldview to that of the culture in which the religion they are trying to reconstruct. For me, it isn't so bad because I'm part Italian (along with some other stuff, haha) and grew up around that mindset.

David19
April 15th, 2009, 08:56 PM
Family is important in all traditional societies but that is only culture in microcosm. The idea that Contemporary Italian and Italian folk culture is not relevant is an insult to members of the Italian Culture and a wild expression of the innocence and arrogance or inexperiance. Someone who dismisses culture is deeply out of touch with the highest expression of the living culture its religion and the nature of reconstructionism.

Traditional religion as with all traditional crafts is created not in isolation by an elite but in a secular environment by the culture as a whole. Traditions rise and fall within the natural rythm of a living culture and they are revived at will so long as that culture is living. That secular culture which is continuous and contemporary is the creator and preserver of its native religion making it an important study for recon. If the continuance of pre christian religion in folklore isnt enough of an illustration then take the continuing family name De Pagano in rural Italy. Those are pagans in the original meaning of the word. People who are not members of the progressive elite people who practice a religion not in tune with the urbane.

The main reason all recons pay attention to the contemporary cultures of the religions they study is the culture where a tradition begins religious or otherwise is key to reconstructionism with its emphasis on empiracism and accuracy. To succeed it must have a place where that religion can function as it once did. Given American society is not the traditional society where the religion formed even if the Gods manifested a solid book of the codified religion for the religion to thrive it must be changed to function within the new non traditional environment. It must have elements americans can relate to and it must shape itself to american culture.

Unless Recons can create something that mirrors the framework of traditional italian culture but is not entirely a throwback to millennia ago, (something that would be alien to contemporary culture) the religion will need to be changed to something that is not recignisably traditional to thrive. A recon can only aspire to be the most Italian, Greek, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Norweigan, Croation et al that they can be within American culture. Just like a family of Italians who do not retain their cultural heritage will not produce children who are recignisably Italian. Failure to study the contemporary culture will mean failure as a recon.

Also to dismiss contemporary Italian culture is to dismiss neo paganism in Italy which has its own native neo pagan revival, as do a lot of European countries today. Most would study the contemporary movements in the understanding that a craftsman who has inherited his craft has an understanding of the nuances within that craft that a craftsman new to the trade no matter how dedicated must lack.

SoG can call them numina I call them fairies. I do that because names like Síoga are foreign to people not native to Ireland. Fairy folklore is international and subject to academic study in Ethnology. Each tale type is given its own defining number the AT/U number. For the screaming hole that would fall under 400-459 the supernatural or Enchanted Wife. I recommend a college course in Ethnology for all recons if there isnt an equivolent Celtic Studies course available for their culture of study.

http://oaks.nvg.org/folktale-types.html#atu


Hahahaha Im sorry if this is offensive to either of you but I nearly peed myself laughing at this when I went looking for an image of jesus dancing with fairies. Its shockingly hetronormative (for a college kid).

http://loljesus.com/wp-content/uploads/document-1.jpeg


EDIT:
My point with the empiracism and accuracy bit is if the religion is changed to suit its new non traditional home it will move away from being an accurate reconstruction of the religion. It will be a reinterpretation along the lines of wicca.

I use America for my examples because 99% of recons are american

I can understand why family may be important in Italian communities, and others, and, why the culture may be important for Roman recons (or other Pagans who worship Italian Gods), but, I'm not sure if I'd agree it's central to all religions, for example, like my example, I worship the Gods of ancient Iraq, I'm not sure if there's much that can be of use to me, from a religious stand point from Iraqi culture, considering it's mainly an Islamic country, although I haven't studied Iraqi folklore (I'm not sure if anything has been published on it), I do know that the 8 Pointed Star of Ishtar (Inanna) was (maybe still is) important, and was used as a symbol for an Iraqi Nationalist Party or group. However, just to add something, I do take an interest in Iraq, from a religious POV (and others, for example, from a Human Rights POV, as that is what I do), I'd like to see it become more stable, to overcome the chaos that has gripped it right now, and once again, rise up and become a great power, just like it was in the ancient world (ancient Iraq is, basically, the foundation of western society - cities, law, civilization, religious ideas (it had the first State controlled religion, it had a profound influence on Judaism and Christianity (maybe Islam too), on the Hellenic religion, on the development of Neoplatonism, etc). Anyway, I've gotten a bit ahead of myself there, but, I can understand why culture is important, but, for some recon religions, I wouldn't say it's majorally important.

BTW, the picture was quite funny and quite cool.


And this is why *most* recons know that they must alter their worldview to that of the culture in which the religion they are trying to reconstruct. For me, it isn't so bad because I'm part Italian (along with some other stuff, haha) and grew up around that mindset.

Can I ask you something, is the modern Italian mindset similar to the ancient Roman one then?.

Son of Goddess
April 15th, 2009, 10:57 PM
Can I ask you something, is the modern Italian mindset similar to the ancient Roman one then?.

I would say so yes, at least from what we can gather from history. There are certain things that have changed based on the rise of Christian-influence, such as the view of homosexual relationships between men for example. But there is still that family focus, a certain regard for the supernatural, maintaining a sense of respect, maintaining appearances, etc...

Like Nuadu said, modern cultures of ancient peoples inherit the ancient culture--there is a direct line of development from the ancient to the modern, so it is reasonable to believe that the modern culture possess some amount of the ancient one.

David19
April 16th, 2009, 09:33 AM
I would say so yes, at least from what we can gather from history. There are certain things that have changed based on the rise of Christian-influence, such as the view of homosexual relationships between men for example. But there is still that family focus, a certain regard for the supernatural, maintaining a sense of respect, maintaining appearances, etc...

Thanks, I've heard from people that, in Mediterranean cultures, like Italy, as well as Latino cultures, it's not so much the act of a man having sex with a man, but, the position that's important, an active man is looked upon more favourably than a passive man. I've only heard that from one guy on my course who lived in Italy for awhile, not having been there or slept with an Italian guy, I can't say for sure.


Like Nuadu said, modern cultures of ancient peoples inherit the ancient culture--there is a direct line of development from the ancient to the modern, so it is reasonable to believe that the modern culture possess some amount of the ancient one.

True, I've heard from Kemetic Orthodox that there are some ancient Egyptian customs still in use in Egypt and parts of Sudan (such as making offerings to the river angels, or spirits of the river, like in ancient times, etc). Maybe when I have more time, I'll look into modern Iraqi culture, and see if there's an continuation of Mesopotamian religious ideas, there probably are some in folklore that have survived (apparantly, the Marsh Arabs live in a similar style to the Sumerians too), I've also heard that the Cult of Dumuzi may have survived up to the early Middle Ages, although I'm not sure on that.

ninurta2008
April 30th, 2009, 09:05 PM
I'm just curious. In gay sex in the ancient mediterreanean, if you were supposed to be dominant and manly, what would your partner be considered as being? weak and womanly? or somehow dominant and manly? Or something else?

Son of Goddess
May 1st, 2009, 01:40 AM
It had nothing to do with being "manly", it was social status. The person with the higher social status was the dominant partner, whereas the person with the lower social status was the passive partner.

I have no idea if that is pan-Mediterranean, but its true for ancient Rome.

Nesta
May 1st, 2009, 05:52 AM
In my opinion, mythology is nothing more than stories made up my ancient peoples to explain natural events, culture/heritage, and life lessons and excludes anything metaphysical from actually happening.

This brings me to believe that deities are not omnipotent and less godly than how I viewed deity in my Christian years.

I feel exactly the same way.
A long time ago someone told me to study mythology because it would be vital to my journey. Back then I thought 'why?' and now I still ask why.

Deity is very important to me. I didn't go looking, they came and found me and I welcome them wholeheartedly. The mythology is very interesting but, for me, not integral.

MoonBreath
May 22nd, 2009, 10:19 AM
I too don't think mythological stories literally took place. It kind of makes me inwardly cringe when some people claim that they did actually happen, whatever myth it may be. However, i do think they are fascinating and an important part of various human cultures.

Windsmith
May 22nd, 2009, 05:04 PM
I love what mythology teaches us about ourselves, and about human history. It gives an excellent view of how our Ancestors understood the world and explained it to themselves and each other.

I don't believe in deities in a literal sense, but I am coming to understand the sentience of Gaia as an organism. Most of our Ancestors had a much closer relationship with Earth, and I sometimes wonder if some myths are inklings they had of Her processes, and this was their best way to explain it.

As Glenys Livingstone puts it in PaGaian Cosmology:
This translation of mine is kin to William Irwin Thompson’s translation of Lyn Margulis’ description of her study of bacteria: he says that when he saw her film about bacteria, his thoughts “on the relationship between myth and science took a jump forward” as he began to understand what his Irish ancestors meant when they had spoken of “the little people” at work in the leaf mold at their feet.

C. Iulia Regilia
March 8th, 2010, 09:12 AM
I too don't think mythological stories literally took place. It kind of makes me inwardly cringe when some people claim that they did actually happen, whatever myth it may be. However, i do think they are fascinating and an important part of various human cultures.

I think they happened in the Otherworld. So many of them are set in the god's own landscape to begin with. Secondly, I tend to cringe at the notion that you can know the gods without the myths. Most of our understanding of the gods comes through myths and interpretations of the myths. We know that Apollo sent plagues because he did so in the Illiad. We know about the creation because it was written down. If Ishtar really did go to the Underworld, how would we know unless someone told the story?

Caitlin.ann
March 8th, 2010, 11:10 AM
I think they happened in the Otherworld. So many of them are set in the god's own landscape to begin with. Secondly, I tend to cringe at the notion that you can know the gods without the myths. Most of our understanding of the gods comes through myths and interpretations of the myths. We know that Apollo sent plagues because he did so in the Illiad. We know about the creation because it was written down. If Ishtar really did go to the Underworld, how would we know unless someone told the story?

But how would someone be able to tell that story to begin with if we wouldn't know that these things happened? UPGs? The gods told them? Said person thought it would be a great bed time story? How man gained the mythologies as actual events doesn't make sense to me. What does make sense is the belief that man anthropomorphized natural events and the myths were created over time.

Nicholas
March 8th, 2010, 11:16 AM
But how would someone be able to tell that story to begin with if we wouldn't know that these things happened? UPGs? The gods told them? Said person thought it would be a great bed time story? How man gained the mythologies as actual events doesn't make sense to me. What does make sense is the belief that man anthropomorphized natural events and the myths were created over time.

Awe, darlin' you're impressing me now. :)

Twinkle
March 8th, 2010, 11:20 AM
I view mythology as allegorical, it gives us great truths in terms of ethics and so on...but we have to look at and contemplate on them to find those truths.

In no way are they considered literal or *gospel* text.

In regard to how I view deity - it's that contemplation of the myth that leads me to a greater understanding of them - but that understanding is personal, and ultimately irrelevant in terms of practice.

Rainnelor
March 8th, 2010, 12:59 PM
Just an observation here:

There are many people in the world who consider mythology to be only a 'grown-up's' version of an Aesop's Fable...

But they manage to make a WHOLE LOT out of the book of the Revelation...

Just sayin'...

Caitlin.ann
March 8th, 2010, 01:05 PM
Just an observation here:

There are many people in the world who consider mythology to be only a 'grown-up's' version of an Aesop's Fable...

But they manage to make a WHOLE LOT out of the book of the Revelation...

Just sayin'...

Way over my head. And if you're implying that I'm a Christian you would be wrong.

David19
March 19th, 2010, 09:40 PM
But how would someone be able to tell that story to begin with if we wouldn't know that these things happened? UPGs? The gods told them? Said person thought it would be a great bed time story? How man gained the mythologies as actual events doesn't make sense to me. What does make sense is the belief that man anthropomorphized natural events and the myths were created over time.

Personally, while I'm not a follower of any Gods, I like what Jung said 'Dreams are private Myths, Myths are public Dreams', and, I'd add that maybe humans get to know about the Gods and/or their lives through the images that come from their imagination (I also like something I read about Islamic mysticism, where the imaginal world is between this one and the Divine, which doesn't just make something unreal 'cause it comes from the imagination).

That said, I like Myths 'cause they can tell us a lot about ourselves, and, also, there are many, many different levels of reading Myths - literal, allegorical, metaphorical, symbolic, psychological, etc, I don't think any method is "lesser" than another.

C. Iulia Regilia
March 31st, 2010, 10:32 PM
But how would someone be able to tell that story to begin with if we wouldn't know that these things happened? UPGs? The gods told them? Said person thought it would be a great bed time story? How man gained the mythologies as actual events doesn't make sense to me. What does make sense is the belief that man anthropomorphized natural events and the myths were created over time.

Well, first off, a lot of these stories barely touch on an event on earth. Ishtar's descent all happens either in the realm of the gods or in the underworld. There is no way for someone to use that story to relate an event in history, because nothing happened on Earth. Same with the battle with Timiat -- It created the heavens and earth, and no one saw it. I don't see how you could record events that you didn't see.

Now secondly, the notion that these stories merely explain nature presumes that people living in ancient times couldn't possibly figure out nature. It doesn't make sense to me because they were great obvservers of nature -- they had to be. If you weren't in harmony with Nature, your crops failed, your animals died and you starved. So they would have known enough about nature to not need to use a myth to explain nature.

Finally, I don't understand the the fear of UPGs as the source of the myths. Why couldn't the ancient stories be some shaman's UPG that happened to be true? No other source for otherworld stories make sense.

David19
April 8th, 2010, 10:20 PM
Well, first off, a lot of these stories barely touch on an event on earth. Ishtar's descent all happens either in the realm of the gods or in the underworld. There is no way for someone to use that story to relate an event in history, because nothing happened on Earth. Same with the battle with Timiat -- It created the heavens and earth, and no one saw it. I don't see how you could record events that you didn't see.

Now secondly, the notion that these stories merely explain nature presumes that people living in ancient times couldn't possibly figure out nature. It doesn't make sense to me because they were great obvservers of nature -- they had to be. If you weren't in harmony with Nature, your crops failed, your animals died and you starved. So they would have known enough about nature to not need to use a myth to explain nature.

Finally, I don't understand the the fear of UPGs as the source of the myths. Why couldn't the ancient stories be some shaman's UPG that happened to be true? No other source for otherworld stories make sense.

QFT, that actually makes a lot of sense to me, and, describes my views, some of them anyway :) :thumbsup:.

Louisvillian
January 3rd, 2012, 03:25 AM
So in my search for answers I was wondering how others here viewed myth and how that view influenced how they view deity as well or lack there-of.
I personally never really viewed the gods as omnipotent. Just as very powerful divine beings that can affect the physical world. I feel that they are all, in some way, intimately connected to the fabric of the cosmos, of reality. Extending all the way to nature and the Earth.
From this, I consider mythology surrounding the gods and the creation of the universe as a way to tie them more deeply into the energies and cycles of the seasons and the Earth. Generally, at least. I have other theories surrounding mythologies, similar to those of Plotinus and Pythagoras: that some myths are meant to be literal, but most are meant to be in some way figurative.


\Finally, I don't understand the the fear of UPGs as the source of the myths. Why couldn't the ancient stories be some shaman's UPG that happened to be true? No other source for otherworld stories make sense.
Depends on the sort of myth. But, yeah, UPG and ritual experiences make plenty sense as a source of myths. That's actually part of a current theory in Anthropology: that shamans in the oldest folk religions had personal experiences in rites that created the first myths about the afterlife and ethereal worlds.

Aine de Morrigan
January 3rd, 2012, 07:54 AM
Well, first off, a lot of these stories barely touch on an event on earth. Ishtar's descent all happens either in the realm of the gods or in the underworld. There is no way for someone to use that story to relate an event in history, because nothing happened on Earth. Same with the battle with Timiat -- It created the heavens and earth, and no one saw it. I don't see how you could record events that you didn't see.

Now secondly, the notion that these stories merely explain nature presumes that people living in ancient times couldn't possibly figure out nature. It doesn't make sense to me because they were great obvservers of nature -- they had to be. If you weren't in harmony with Nature, your crops failed, your animals died and you starved. So they would have known enough about nature to not need to use a myth to explain nature.

Finally, I don't understand the the fear of UPGs as the source of the myths. Why couldn't the ancient stories be some shaman's UPG that happened to be true? No other source for otherworld stories make sense.

So are you trying to say that the people who created these ancient mythologies understood how the world works and all its processes as well as we do today? Of course, we're nowhere near understanding everything and to even think that is laughable, but in the time before scientific method there many, many things that could not be readily explained. There was every need for myths to explain "nature", because although people were undoubtedly extremely in tune with how the earth changed over the seasons, most if not all of them would have had no inkling as to why this happens. Admittedly, it is argued that the discovery that the world is a sphere and orbits the sun happened much earlier than popular belief has it, but even if a few individuals in a few cultures realised this, it was not common knowledge until relatively recently in human history. And that's just one of the many extremely basic parts of nature that these people would not have understood.

Also, just because the myths are concerned with events in the realm of gods does not mean they have no bearing on real events. Retelling historic events in this context would certainly render them much more exciting.