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Thread: Monolatry, what is it really?

  1. #1
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    Monolatry, what is it really?

    How do you see it? many websites right now are saying that it means "the recognition of many gods, with service to one".
    This is not incorrect however it isn't telling the whole story of the context either.
    Monolatry -> mono = latreia
    Latreia is "priestly service"
    so a monolatrist is a flamen, somebody dedicated to the mysteries of a specific god.

    Etymologically speaking this is correct and checks out historically.
    However when you do go back and look at the historical context,
    you'll notice that the background dor this word is rather soft-poly, not hard-poly.
    So all those other gods, are of the different mysteries of divinity as a whole.
    They each had their own personality but it was more of a "all myriad things come from the monad"
    kind of thing, with there being just as much philosophical thinking as outright worship applied tot he word.

    So in older texts you'll see monolatry used to describes certain spiritual systems such as Hinduism, with its avatars...
    Wherein the practitioner has a dedicated practice to say Krishna, while realizing that he is just one aspect of Vishnu.
    and where Krishna says "To worship any god is to worship me".

    where monolatry and being monolatric, were used at one point as synonyms for softer-polytheism... not the sense of "all gods are the same personality imagined differently" rather a lineage of emergent personalities from divinity"

    latron (n.) "pay, hire," latris "servant, worshipper," from PIE *le- "to get"
    Those dedicated to that god or aspect within a pantheism, charged with keeping that cult.
    There's instances of hard-polytheism there but there's also mystery schools associated which do not tend to make as many hard and fast distinctions.
    Thus we often see a distinction between common worship at large, and that of clergy within temples... where we often find conflation.

    You follow, or no?
    Essentially the gods had various influences and domains and the flamens attended to the gods, so that their governance and relationship was where it should be concerning the people.
    There was usually some supreme being or way of things in a pantheon, and balance between the gods which itself was often personified. in so much that the gods tended to arise out of the personification of natural and abstract forces, they were seen as
    parts of the larger whole of this nature. We see this even with the progression of the gods toward the ruler of aspects of civilization moreso than the wild, natural world. We see this in concepts such as the Hekateris, and later the fates. Also, the Wyrd,
    and also the charter for who rules the underworld, upper-world etc.

    Really, even though we tend to depict these things as a vertical up-down hierarchy qhen we talk of emanations, avatars and aspects..... really, we're getting at a homeostasis of the big picture and that's what this kind of soft-poly really is... whether the gods come from one thing or whther the one thing is born of and transcended the sum, is a chicken vs the egg paradox, and from where we stand it is going to be.
    Last edited by Humming Bird; October 28th, 2015 at 10:53 PM.
    Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
    (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
    anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

  2. #2
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    I define monolatry as the "from one, many" thing... for example, I am Kemetic, thus I work with Netjer. In specific, I work with the Name of Netjer that is Bast-Mut. She *is* Netjer, but only part of It.

    Another way to look at it is that it's like a diamond. Netjer/God is the diamond Itself, and the Names are each of the facets of the diamond.

  3. #3
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    See that's the context ("From one, many") that was given back when i was first learning about monolatry. i've seen newer books move away from this and internet sources have mirrored that trend.
    Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
    (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
    anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DracoJesi View Post
    See that's the context ("From one, many") that was given back when i was first learning about monolatry. i've seen newer books move away from this and internet sources have mirrored that trend.
    Huh, interesting... all the dictionaries, and wikipedia, have this newer definition, too. Strange.

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