Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth
In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.
Peering through the Eye-Holes
It lies at the opposite pole from All gods are one god.
All gods are distinct.
So Thórr ≠ Perún ≠ Perkunas ≠ Zeus ≠ Jupiter ≠ Indra ≠ Ba'al ≠ Changó?
Although, in a History of Religions sense, I can see a certain merit-of-convenience to the hyper-Distinct school of thought, I have to ask myself: just how far does this extend? Is African Changó a different god from Brazilian? Is the Thunderer of my valley existentially distinct from the Thunderer of your valley next door?
If dreary monism is the danger of “All gods are one god,” is not the danger of “All gods are distinct” atomization? Personally, when I see gods getting smaller and smaller, I worry.
Looking at pagan history, I note a pronounced tendency to look for one's own gods behind the masks of other people's.
Cross-pantheon identification is an inexact science, to say the very least. (Perhaps it's more of an art.) But since sharing a god binds people across ethnic divisions, it seems to me ultimately a societally (if not theologically) beneficial act, in the hyper-tribal world of the paganisms, to identify one's own gods with those of others.
A Heathen, a Hellenist, and a Santero live next door to one another. One day, a beautiful big thunderstorm blows through and waters all their gardens.
So, whose god did the watering?
Better, it seems to me, to say that Gods show themselves differently to different people in different times and different places.
To ask: just Who is peering through those eye-holes?
Above: Figurine (“Eye Goddess”), Tel Brak (Syria), circa 4000 BCE
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