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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Gods

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

In honor of the Winter Solstice and Christmas I offer this story of the birth of a god recorded by Jung. In this selection from his Red Book, Jung describes in symbolic language the consequences of the death of his god. Jung is overcome by how his god is made small, like an egg which he can keep in his pocket. He is left disoriented by the loss of his god. So Jung takes the egg containing his god, protects it, nurtures it, while it gestates into something new.

b2ap3_thumbnail_cosmicegg.png

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Every so often, I'll get asked about Gods and Goddesses. Who 'my' Goddess is, my patron, my chosen pantheon... you know the sort of thing.

I've pondered the deeper meanings of deity often, as I think you must if you are to travel a Pagan path at such a level. Does deity have existence outside of human belief? Are they just energy forms? Is it not presumptuous to just 'pick and choose'? (My answers, briefly, are 'Yes', 'Not exactly', and 'It depends who's doing the choosing'...)

But recently, the multifaceted nature of Goddess has been on my mind. From the sad passing of my oldest animal friend into the arms of Bast, to the focused dance of the Morrigan, via the peaceful mysteries of Kuan Yin, this week has seen many aspects of my Lady pass through my life.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Cat - congratulations on having a HUGE number of likes and reads on Facebook for this post. Our FB feed shows that over 11,000 rea
  • Cynthia Savage
    Cynthia Savage says #
    Hmmmm......I don't think I've ever been asked about deities.
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Very nice knitting! As a Platonist, I have noticed that individual 'soft'/'hard' polytheist self-identification is one of the lar

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Gods in Druidry

Who are the gods in Druidry?  There is no one answer to this question, as deity, like religion, is such a personal thing in Paganism.  There is no single authority telling us who our god is, or what She is saying.  There are books, teachers, Orders, Groves etc that can offer paths of a tradition that may lead to a relationship with the gods, but again they won’t tell you exactly who they are – we’re given a map and a compass but we have to find our own way.

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  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    This is something that I've been thinking about lately as I try to deepen my spirituality. I'm a member of OBOD, which has a lot o
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    I love the concept of The Mystery... x

In part one of this two part series, I wrote about personal patronage in the ancient and modern context. Today, I want to talk about professional patronage (i.e. Apollon as the patron of the arts, and thus prayed to by artists). Personally, I think the only thing that professional patronage shares with the practice of personal patronage is its name--and we will get to that in a second. 
 
The interesting thing is that none of the academic sources at my disposal make mention of this practice under the term 'patronage'. Patronage in the context of ancient Hellas seems to focus on the non-lineal bond between two people--a patron who took care of a client or slave in a material, financial, or emotional way. 'Patron' to mean the support, encouragement, or privilege that a deity bestows upon those practicing a profession or living in a city is a Christian term, which refers to patron saints. Patron saints are regarded as the tutelary spirits or heavenly advocates of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person. Taking this description would give you, for example, Athena as the patron of Athens--but outside of Christianity, the proper term is 'tutelage'; a tutelary deity.

A tutelary, or tutelar, deity is 'a guardian, patron, or protector of a particular place, geographic feature, person, lineage, nation, culture or occupation'. Both tutelary and tutelar can be used as either a noun or an adjective. As such, Athena is the tutelary Goddess of Athens, or the tutelar of Athens--but because we are so used to 'patron(ess)', 'tutelar' does not have quite the same ring to it.

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  • Matt G
    Matt G says #
    This doesn't sound right to me. When I look at Catullus' "Carmina" in his first poem he addresses "patrona virgo" specifically in
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you that is a helpful distinction.
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    I think I will use the term 'tutelage' from now on, as the commonly-used modern Pagan term "Patronage" really does not seem to app

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Lacking ideas (please send me some!), I chose to write about Pan this week.  A divinity whom I know very little about.  Read on to find out what I've learned.

b2ap3_thumbnail_pan_1_md-from-Clip-Art-Etc.gif

Pan is the Greek god of pastoral life including shepherds, animals and music.  This rustic divinity is known to dwell in grottoes during the heat of the day and wander the mountains for his entertainment.  He guards flocks, whether wild or tame,

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Nice summary, thanks for sharing!
Songs for the Feri Gods: Dian Y Glas

For this next edition in my series of devotional playlists for the gods of the Feri tradition of Witchcraft, we take a look at Dian Y Glas (and boy does he liked to be looked at). Dian Y Glas, also called simply "Blue God", Is the youngest [mostly]male emanation of the Star Goddess in the pantheon of Feri deities. Dian Y Glas is often seen as young, lustful, and androgynous. He represents the love and passion held deep within the heart of the Star Goddess, where all things emerge. 

Blue God to me represents the power of the ecstatic Craft that celebrates all things free and wild. His energy is chaotic but seems to make sense on a deep and cellular level. He is filled with pride, confidence, and attraction, which are all things that awaken within us when we follow the tune of his call. My playlist for Dian Y Glas consists of songs that make me jump up and down and scream "I am ME and I am completely and utterly awesome in every sense of the word."

Look at Me - Geri Halliwell
"I'm the drama queen if that's your thing, baby."

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Bulls.  Big, strong, temperamental creatures that have had loomed large in man’s past.  Bull jumping, bull baiting, bull fights and running of the bulls are events where they were, and in some cases still are, featured.  They were used in the form of oxen to pull plows and carts.  Their virility kept up herds, generating wealth for their owners. In some areas, placing a bull head above a door gives protection and luck much like the horse shoe.  As sacrifices, few animals were more costly.  From them we get the terms ‘seeing red’ and ‘bull-headed’.  A lot of myths feature bulls, even modern myths like Paul Bunyan and his blue ox.  In some cultures, earthquakes are blamed on a rowdy celestial bull believed to have the world upon its horns.  A lot of masculine divinities, particularly those of the sun and the sky, are associated with bulls.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Minoan_Head_Bull_-_Heraklion_Archaeological_Museum.jpg

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  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    I saw that but again I wonder if those are bulls or cows with horns. Sounds like an interesting temple!
  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    Interesting post and great list thanks! I follow the research done at Catal Huyuk; their dig season just started back up, so I've
  • Stifyn Emrys
    Stifyn Emrys says #
    Great informational post. Odd coincidence: My wife and I were just talking about Paul Bunyan and Babe today.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

(Still on vacation this week!  Hopefully my travel mates are still on speaking terms with me!)

The god of the guessing game is Thor! 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Thor.jpg

Too easy?  It wouldn't have been for me as I know very little of the Norse pantheon.  I can, however, now tell my son the differences between Marvel’s Thor and Thor of the Norsemen.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I’m on vacation this week, so instead of an article I leave you with a guessing game. 

My 6 year old son recently asked me about this divinity and how he differed from his doppelganger.  Hopefully, this is not too easy.  Explanation will be posted next week.

 

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  • Candi
    Candi says #
    Frey?

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

When I was a child, I would wave to the man in the moon who I imagined peering down at me through the window. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Man-in-the-Moon-from-L-Richter.jpg

It wasn't until I became a Pagan that the moon came to be associated with the feminine.  The phases of the moon just seem like the perfect symbol for the stages of a female and for the menses.  So when I first heard about moon gods, I was sure there was some mistake.  How could that be?  It not only can be, but isn't as unusual as I thought it was. 

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  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley says #
    Wonderful!
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    My wife and I often have half-joking arguments about whether the moon is a "he" or a "she".
  • Fred J. Fritz
    Fred J. Fritz says #
    An interesting list to explore! Thanks for posting!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

“Let’s hear it for the God
Let’s give the God a hand
Let’s hear it for the male
You know you gotta understand
Maybe he’s no Romeo
But he’s my loving deity
Whooa, whooa, whooa-oh
Let’s hear it for the God!”

You know what? I get it. Really I do. Goddesses are wonderful beings. Yes, they have been neglected and abused in the past and in some cases, still are. But. Let’s learn from that and not do the same thing to the Gods. One hears a lot about feminine deities…pictures, stories, poems, prayers, divination decks, etc. You can find Pagan/Polytheistic items with a goddess theme quite easily any more. Not so much for the masculine divinities. Often they are relegated to the sidelines, treated as a minor player, if mentioned at all. I get it. I did it too. But then Zeus came along…

It all started on Halloween 2007. I was continuing my study of the Gods using the idea of Gods of the Month Club. It is where you draw a god to study for a month. I drew Zeus. I wasn’t thrilled. In my mind, Zeus was firmly linked with the Roman Catholic god, the only difference being that Zeus had sex…a lot…and he didn’t seem picky about it either. I was raised Roman Catholic and painted all male divinities with the same broad, ugly brush. Yet I vowed to study whatever divinity came up and so I did. I spent that month studying and meditating on Zeus.

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  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    Thank you! Another book?! Quit tempting me!
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Yay! Welcome to PaganSquare, and I look forward to your next blog. Oh, and if you are looking for a good resource/inspiration,
Coming to terms with my mortality

It has been over two months since I've written anything for Witches & Pagans. Looking back, it doesn't seem that long, but it's the truth. I've been on a journey, one that I hadn't planned on taking, and one that started as just an annoying, yet familiar pain. A problem I thought for sure I could handle, as long as I was strong, and just tried to push through.

Without boring you by explaining my medical history, I'm familiar with kidney stones. The first time, in 2011, I had them, I went to the emergency room, who readily pumped me full of drugs, told me to drink a lot of water, and wait to pass them. They passed. $4000+ to be told to drink more water.

In early March of this year, I got that familiar twinge in my back, and I was determined to not accumulate another $4000 of medical bills just to hear, "drink more water", so I drank a lot more water. The pain remained, steadily getting worse. I drank more water. I lost my appetite, and couldn't even keep food or water in my stomach. Then, on April 11th, I got really ill, not the kind of ill where you lay down in a dark room under blankets kind of ill. The kind of ill where your wife drags you to the car and races to the emergency room. I was in so much pain, and so sick that I passed out in the car.

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  • Fred J. Fritz
    Fred J. Fritz says #
    A powerful experience that will take time to process. Be sure to give yourself that time.
  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley says #
    I'm working on it, Fred, thank you.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Administering justice is often placed in the sphere of influence of either Athena or Nemesis, and both Goddesses do, indeed, have connections to it. There is one Theia, however, who is the personification of the phenomenon of justice. Dikē (Δικη) is the Goddess of justice placed upon mortals, fair judgements and the rights established by custom and law. According to Hesiod, She was born from a joining of Zeus and Themis, the Titan Goddess of divine law, custom and prophecy. She has five sisters, Eunomia (Ευνομια, Goddess of good order and lawful conduct) and Eirênê (Ειρηνη, Goddess of peace and spring), with whom Dikē forms the Horai (Ὡραι), the Goddesses of the seasons and the natural portions of time; and the Moirai, the Goddesses of fate. Their names are Kloto (Κλωθώ, spinner), Atropos (Ἄτροπος, unturnable), and Lakhesis (Λάχεσις, Alotter).

 
The Horai: Eirênê, Eunomia, and Dikē
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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Another great post! Such an important Goddess for us mortals...

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Today Connecticut is passing some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Approximately 60 pages of details about which long guns are now illegal, and when, where, and how people who have criminal and mental health issues may or may not have access to a firearm of any kind. In wading through the legalese, I looked and looked for something that, had it been in place before Newtown, would have stopped the murder of 26 people. I can’t find anything.

A conservative commentator, Bill Whittle, says,

We want to blame something, anything that we can control. But what we really want to ban is violence and murder and insanity, and we don’t talk about that because deep in our hearts we all know that violence and murder and insanity are built into the human condition, and likely always will be.

And I have to consider what I, as a Pagan, think about that statement. Of course I don’t believe in some Angra Mainyuesque power that pulls us toward horrible, despicable acts. But if we did not have any pull to do these things, we would not need ethics. Pagan gods provide many more obvious behavioral models than the monotheistic religions. We have plenty of warrior gods and goddesses, we have deities that destroy creation, and deities that make trouble. But we don’t condone rape because someone was possessed by Zeus, and we would not excuse a bomber because they said Kali wanted something destroyed.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I am so sorry you had such a distressing struggle with your step-daughter and glad that some of that burden has been lifted for yo
  • Selina Rifkin
    Selina Rifkin says #
    This is the first I have heard about any other mass killer having an autism spectrum disorder, and if this is common in the media,
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Dear Selina, I was unaware you were a New Town resident. I cannot imagine how it feels to be a member of that community now. Just

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

"Scorn not the Gods: Despite their non-existence in material terms, they're no less potent, no less terrible.  The one place Gods inarguably exist is in our minds where they are real beyond refute, in all their grandeur and monstrosity."

-- Alan Moore, From Hell

"But are the archetypes real?"  This is a question that haunts any discussion of the archetypes, especially discussions of the gods as archetypes.  I have made the argument here and here that the polytheistic experience of deities can be explained in Jungian terms as archetypes.  But the question of the ontological nature of the archetypes remained unanswered. 

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When I was younger, I used to be a regular at the local hospital. Nothing too serious, mostly check-ups, but I still owe a lot to a few doctors in my life. I've been fortunate that the operations I needed in my life all went well, and I attribute that mostly to the physicians who performed them. Today, at dusk, the festival day of the Asklepieia starts. The Asklepieia (Ἀσκληπίεια) was held on the eighth day of Elaphebolion, in honor of Asklēpiós, who was honored monthly on the eighth. The Asklepieia is linked to the Epidausia, celebrated six months later, as both were special days where those in the medical profession--as well as those seeking medical counsel--made sacrifices to Asklēpiós.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing!
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Very welcome!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Ever so often, I get the feeling I really need to write about something specific; references to the topic pop up everywhere, I get asked questions about it, and the desire to write about anything else drops to an all-time low. So here we go: today's blog post is about Hestia and Dionysos, and who has the throne up on snowy Olympos.


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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing! Aetius

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Coming of age ceremonies are prevalent in most cultures and are often linked to the religious views of the people performing it. Famous examples are the bar mitswa's and bat mitswa's of the Jewish. The ancient Hellens had coming of age rituals as well, and like almost everything else in ancient Hellenic life, these rituals were tied into deity worship. Today, I'm going to talk about these coming of age ceremonies, but because the differences are so great between girls and boys, I'm going to describe their coming of age ceremonies separately.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Today, I'm kicking off a new series, based on ancient Hellenic mythology. Like with the constellation series, in this series, I will take an often well-known piece of knowledge or myth, and will attempt to provide a more well-rounded view, or provide you with information you might not have about it. This series, in particular, focusses on the connection between certain Theoi and the various flowers, plants and trees we associate with Them through mythology.

I'm starting this series off with a flower, associated with a very tragic love story: the hyacinth. From Wikipedia: "Hyacinthus is a small genus of bulbous flowering plants in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae. Plants are commonly called hyacinths. The genus was formerly the type genus of the separate family Hyacinthaceae; prior to that it was placed in the lily family Liliaceae. Hyacinthus is native to the eastern Mediterranean (from south Turkey to northern Israel), north-east Iran, and Turkmenistan."

Within Hellenic mythology, we find Hyakinthos (Ὑάκινθος), a divine hero with a cult in Amykles (Αμύκλες), a village located southwest of Sparta.

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Last time, I talked about how Jungian archetypes, far from being mere metaphors for natural and psychological processes, can accurately be described as "gods".  In this post, I want to discuss how the experience of Jung's archetypes closely resembles Polytheists' descriptions of their encounter with the gods. 

It is not uncommon for Pagans to draw on Jung’s concept of archetypes to explain the nature of Pagan deities.  Polytheists*, however, often reject Jungian or archetypal explanations of the gods because they seem reductive, and such explanations do not seem to account for the Polytheistic experience of the gods as “actual beings with independence, volition, and power”.  When Polytheists hear the gods described as archetypes, they may hear the speaker telling them that it is "all in your head".  In addition, talk about “archetypes” can seem abstract, which is inconsistent with the Polytheists' experience of the gods in all their specificity.  For example, the "Mother archetype" may not evoke the same devotion among Polytheists as the goddesses Demeter or Kali do. 

But is Jung’s theory of the archetypes really inconsistent with the experience Polytheists?  Is it possible that the archetypes have been misunderstood by many Polytheists and Pagans alike? 

Jung in dialogue with the archetypes

The way that many Pagans have applied Jung’s theories does admittedly render a divinity which is psychologized and abstract.  But Jung’s own description of the experience of the archetypes was very different.  Jung engaged his unconscious through a technique called “active imagination”, which he also taught to his patients.  Active imagination involves inducing a kind of trace or “twilight consciousness”, of the type which we experience just before falling asleep -- a waking dream, if you will.  Then Jung would attempt to consciously interact with the images that emerged. 

In his semi-autobiographical, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung writes about how he would dialogue with archetypal images, like his "anima", a muse-like mediating archetype.  The fact that Jung would talk to the archetypal images of his unconscious, by itself, is not all the surprising; but the fact that the images responded to him -- actually talked back to him -- is surprising.  (Jung admitted that he sometimes feared for his sanity.) 

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  • B. T. Newberg
    B. T. Newberg says #
    >Jung's concern, like in the others in the psychoanalytic school, would be with something influencing our behavior that we are not
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Jung said it is the project of several lifetimes.
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    I didn't mean to imply that he thought it could be avoided, just that the point is to work toward ever greater levels of conscious

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