Your reason for being a hard or soft polytheist?

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WaffleBox
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Your reason for being a hard or soft polytheist?

Postby WaffleBox » 06 Aug 2014, 19:54

Howdy folks! I'd be very curious to hear your reason for having hard or soft polytheistic beliefs. I don't mean why you have polytheistic beliefs instead of, say, monotheistic or atheistic beliefs. Instead, given that you are a polytheist, what led you to your belief that the gods are all separate entities, or that they all represent some aspect of a unified entity?

Personally, I am still trying to figure out what I believe in this regard.
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Re: Your reason for being a hard or soft polytheist?

Postby Aphritha » 06 Aug 2014, 20:40

When I came to Paganism, I kind of held a general 'god and goddess, and everybody else is just an aspect of them' kind of belief. Over time after working with the deities, I really couldn't say I felt that way anymore. They all felt very separate, and even to call too similar ones seemed just as incorrect as someone calling me by my sister's name. It was basically my own experiences that led me to feel this way, not so much anyone told me, or anything I read. Perhaps they share connections, much like humans, but that doesn't make them(or us) the same...


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Re: Your reason for being a hard or soft polytheist?

Postby Wolf Dreamer » 06 Aug 2014, 22:36

As Apritha said, I too feel from my experience that each god or goddess is separate.

I believe that the gods are unique beings but that doesn't mean they are not connected ultimately to the same source. Much in the way that we are in my opinion.

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Re: Your reason for being a hard or soft polytheist?

Postby DaRC » 07 Aug 2014, 11:59

Apritha+1
whilst intellectually it seems rational to suggest that gods/goddesses could be archetypes I've now, through my interactions, come to think that they are separate entities but may have different names.
So, for example, the Thor/Thunor/Taranis of Southern England I don't think is quite the same as the Swedish Thor or the Mediterannean Taranis. They are unique aspects, but like Wolf Dreamer I think we (people and their gods) are all related to the same source.
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Re: Your reason for being a hard or soft polytheist?

Postby Davin Raincloud » 07 Aug 2014, 13:06

I don't find the Hard Poly stance to be convincing enough.

I'm more an animist these days anyway.

I love how Hard Polys try to explain the combined Egyptian Gods and the way shape-shifting Gods must be defined to one set name.

I love seeing Hard Polys try to explain the Morrighan. :) She can be a real cow sometimes. Literally.

Maybe one doesn't have to take a stance either way. Maybe the mystery is enough?

I had enough of fundie literal Christianity when I was in it. I'm happy with the mystery. I don't need another dogma.

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Re: Your reason for being a hard or soft polytheist?

Postby treegod » 08 Aug 2014, 10:00

My first brush with polytheism was with Wicca's duotheism: "all gods are apects of one god and all goddesses are aspects of one goddess." Later I added "and both are the same." So the idea that "the gods are aspects of the same thing" was present early on. And I was interested in mysticism, so the unity of Ultimate Reality was something present, too.

Later I started to consider that the gods represented aspects of nature, so when I started to look for the "boundaries" that made each god (read aspect of nature) an individual, I saw too much overlap, flow and interdependence, so the whole "gods embody natural forces" reinforced for me that they're all aspects of the same underlying, unified, interdependant nature/universe/reality, and that the gods of the different myths are interpretations of each culture of the "divine presence/s" in nature. The divisions of the roles and functions of each god at times seemed to arbitrary. They also appeared too human and culturally specific, and the "character" of nature didn't seem to match the anthropomorphic images we find in myths.

Animism also had its hand in eroding hard polytheistic ideas: I considered "each thing" as having a spirit/soul, and as I considered "each thing" it became clear that even atoms have their own soul/spirit/consciousness. Could it be that my soul is made up of the souls of my body's atoms? My answer became yes. This meant that the gods (forces of nature) were in turn constituted by smaller gods and spirits, in the same way that all forests are constituted by different forests, forests by trees, trees by cells, cells by atoms, and so on. If the whole Earth is a deity, then it is comprised of all the gods of nature, whether they represent seas, land, sky, weather, forests, deserts, fish, trees, people, rocks, etc.. Even humanity is an aspect of this god/dess.

Pantheism too: the universe is "God", and everything is a part of the universe, so yes, the gods (polytheism) are aspects of the same God/ess (pantheism).

This eroded ideas about a soul surviving my body after death, too. When my body disintegrates, my soul disintegrates, though its constituent parts (the atoms) carry on. And even they are subject to disintegration at some point. I was strongly influenced by Buddhist ideas about impermanence, applying the idea to my soul and even the gods. Everything is impermanent, without exception. The different aspects of nature are in a constant state of flux and transformation, meaning the gods are in a constant state of flux and transformation. And they cannot be subjected to our anthropomorphisms.

I also felt that belief in the afterlife contributed to dualistic thinking that separates spirit and matter, and from there the disconnection of humans from our environment and our harmful actions within it. "As above, so below" became for me a confirmation that there is no duality between spirit and matter. The nature-based aspect of Paganism was always what interested me more than the traditional polytheistic beliefs. I was more of an ecomystic than polytheist.

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Re: Your reason for being a hard or soft polytheist?

Postby andromeda » 08 Aug 2014, 20:10

I am mostly animist too. I think everything that is not dust is alive :D

But saying that I am partial to Arianrhod, the Morrigan, Cernnunos and Brigantia. As I get to know more currents I am sure I will get partial to more named frequencies

I also love dragons and owls :hiya:
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