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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in polytheism

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Questions on Piety from a Reader

In my previous post, I promised that if people wanted to ask me questions about my practice or about the way I express piety in my devotional life, I would be more than happy to answer them. Liza broke the ice and asked the following three questions, which I found very insightful, so I decided to tease them out into their own separate post. 

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Liza
    Liza says #
    Thank you, BTW, for thinking out these questions to give answers. I've had a busy week, and I am now only catching up on reading a
  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova says #
    Trine, thank you for your question. I just answered it in my most recent post. Go and take a look. These are good questions, fol
  • Trine
    Trine says #
    Thanks for opening up for questions - this one has been on my mind for a while. Maybe there's no answer to it (and maybe it's too

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Yet More on Piety

 

In a comment to my previous article, Anne Niven wrote: 

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  • Tannim Wolfkin
    Tannim Wolfkin says #
    Just finished writing a paper on hubris for my English class and came across this post. Wish I had read it before finishing the da
  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova says #
    Thank you, Laura. I think you may be on to something with the way our society devalues service. In Heathenry, part of it is also t
  • Laura P
    Laura P says #
    Thank you again for writing about piety, a subject all too often overlooked in modern paganism. To me piety means respect, love an
  • Christine L Berger
    Christine L Berger says #
    Piety to me is a manifestation of love and respect intertwined. It is a reflection in my heart, in my being, of the desire to giv
  • Liza
    Liza says #
    Questions first, then answers: For the newbie, youn'in, seeker without a physical community to led them, how do you suggest they s

Over on The Wild Hunt, Teo Bishop has made an interesting proposition: he would like to crowdsource Pagan theology in anticipation of an upcoming conference presentation. People are encouraged to post their personal Pagan theology in the comments section, on their blogs, and on Twitter. 

When I have to use any kind of terminology at all, I define my personal theoilogy (not theology, thank you) as polytheistic panentheism. Translation: I acknowledge the existence of a multitude of autonomous Powers which are simultaneously inherent/manifest within creation and transcendent/beyond creation. Some Powers are intimately interwoven with creation -- for instance, the dryad who lives and dies with her tree. Other Powers manifest within but are not as tightly bound to creation -- Athena, for instance, with Her ties to olive trees and owls and serpents, is also connected to "higher" qualities such as wisdom and creativity. And I do mean multitude; how many Powers have existed since before the beginning or been born in the interim I dare not even guess.

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Ritual, Monotheism, and Again with the Piety

 Seriously, folks, argue and disagree with me all you want, but do so based on what i say, not the misinterpretations you project onto what I say. I find it particularly interesting that in the course of the comments to my two articles on ritual (both those posted and those I received privately), quite often I'm being accused of everything BUT promoting piety and respect in ritual. Why is that such a difficult and challenging concept? It certainly wasn't for our ancestors. Piety was a central concept to the majority of ancient polytheisms, though of course the words used to describe this behavior varied from culture to culture. Plato, for instance, wrote an entire dialogue ("Euthyphro") in which the definition of piety was the central issue under discussion. The ancient Romans considered it a necessary and sacred virtue and one simply cannot read writers like Cicero, Pliny, or Seneca (to name but a few) without finding exhortation after exhortation to pious behavior both within one's temples and without. Why is it so difficult for us moderns? Because it is. I don't quite know why, though I have my suspicions, but it really is.(1) 

Unlike Plato, who had his character Euthyphro define piety in part as 'what is dear to the gods,' i would, in addition, define it as 'right behavior toward the Gods.' Piety is a curb and a guide to our behavior.  Of course, right behavior implies precisely that: that there is a right and wrong way of behaving, that there are standards. Standards do not imply tyrannical theocracy. They imply behaving properly and mindfully as the occasion and interaction demands. Now I've written about the opposite of piety here: http://krasskova.weebly.com/1/post/2012/05/pagan-blog-project-i-is-for-impiety.html for those who might want to take a peek. I'm going to let that stand and speak for itself, because there actually is a right way of doing things and it's not that difficult to figure out.  You know what else? The Gods and ancestors are more than capable of telling us what it is if we do the work and listen. Of course that might lead us to a reordering of our priorities but c'est la vie.

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  • helmsman of inepu
    helmsman of inepu says #
    I think you're right about "the filter." You even see it operating with "Evangelical" atheists- it's not enough for them not to be
  • Ainslie
    Ainslie says #
    Paganisms of the world are diverse. Galina's a particular person doing particular work in a particular context. Some of that conte
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Oh dear. I really wasn't gonna jump back into this, but feel I've been pulled in by reference. So I'll speak up and say, "me, me!
  • sannion
    sannion says #
    The amateur sociologist of religion in me looks at this kerfuffle and says, "Oh, this is just the community moving into a new stag
  • Amarfa
    Amarfa says #
    Ok. I'm confused, where was the part about 'piety' questioned? You're preaching to the choir when it comes to the Romans being ve

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
More on Ritual Praxis

 

So my recent Heathen Heretic article and its reception  (both of which you may find here: http://www.witchesandpagans.com/Pagan-Paths-Blogs/beltane-offerings-not-the-post-i-intended-to-write.html)  led me to a certain epiphany with regard to the way so many of us approach ritual. Let me begin by saying that I'm always surprised when people purposely, or so it often seems, miss the point of my articles. A colleague recently pointed out that much of my writing provokes people past their comfort zones and that too rather surprised me: that people would draw lines against experience and narrow their worlds down to such small, grey places. Oh well. we do and everything in our world encourages us to do this so I guess i shouldn't be surprised. Still, there is nothing in my practice that should be radical to someone engaged in deep devotion with their Gods. Nothing. 

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  • Amarfa
    Amarfa says #
    "Why does this imparting their own morality or decision making process as a mean to judge others need be a negative? If experience
  • Amarfa
    Amarfa says #
    I forgot to mention that there are rituals out there that don't involve the Gods. They involve personal transformation. That b
  • Tim Schneider
    Tim Schneider says #
    "That being said, when I see or hear the words "[blank] should be [x]," a red flag goes up. I respectfully wish to relate that whe
  • Amarfa
    Amarfa says #
    I know I'm not going to change your mind, Galina, but I'm hoping you will see how you are presenting yourself: with a great deal o
  • Tim Schneider
    Tim Schneider says #
    I don't think you read Galina's post in depth, nor her response to Anne. Anne, I think you're looking at piety and devotion thro
Beltane Offerings- Not the Post I Intended to Write

I recently posted a question on my Facebook, asking what recipes and dishes folks would suggest be made as offerings to Freya for Beltane. Cooking for the Gods, cooking up offerings is such a sacred rite in and of itself, and I can't help but wonder if our ancestors didn't have certain traditional foods or customary dishes (beyond roast pig)  that were prepared for the various Powers. If they did, of course, we've lost that knowledge, but that doesn't mean that over time we won't regain it through the wisdom of our ancestors and inspiration of our Deities nor does it mean that we shouldn't give thought to what might please the various Gods and Goddesses the best right now. I very strongly believe that it's by engaging in devotion and working hard to strengthen the tradition and restore the lineage that such knowledge will be returned to us.  Devotion is a powerful teacher in and of itself. So as I'm planning my House's Beltane celebration, I wanted to find out what foods other people customarily made for Freya at this time of year.

 

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  • sannion
    sannion says #
    I think you're misunderstanding my point, which is very easy to do with this imprecise medium of communication. So, to clarify,
  • Theresa Wymer
    Theresa Wymer says #
    I have a fairly new practice and am still working out a lot of things. It's very helpful to have writers like Galina and Sannion g
  • Laura P
    Laura P says #
    Why is it so controversial to love and respect the Gods and put the proper emphasis on the need to serve them well? It baffles me,
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    But that's just it. I don't think it is a question of respecting the Gods properly. I think it is entirely possible to do so, but
  • sannion
    sannion says #
    Technically my title is His Phallic Awesomeness Sannion I, Pope of the Pagans - not prophet. But I'm glad you appreciate my presen

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
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