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How do you conceive of Deity?

I try to avoid having any conception
Other (please post description)
Total votes: 171

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Post by Philip » 27 Oct 2004, 22:48

Hello! I am writing a book about Druidry and would be interested to see what a poll shows about how different druids view Deity. If you'd like to take part please read the paragraphs below then vote. If you need more explanation on poly, pan, etc theism please google them!
Philip /|\

Since Druidry is a spiritual path – a religion to some, a way of life to others – Druids share a belief in the fundamentally spiritual nature of life. Some will favour a particular way of understanding the source of this spiritual nature, and will call themselves either monotheists, duotheists, polytheists or pantheists. Others will avoid choosing any one conception of Deity, believing that by its very nature this is unknowable by the mind.

Monotheistic druids believe there is one Deity: either a Goddess or God, or a Being who is better named Spirit or Great Spirit, to remove misleading associations to gender. But other druids believe that Deity exists as a pair of forces or beings, which they often characterise as the God and Goddess. They are duo-theists, and their belief is shared by many Wiccans.

Polytheistic Druids believe that many gods and goddesses exist, while Pantheists believe that Deity does not exist as one or more personal gods, but is instead present in all things, and IS everything. The term Pantheist was coined during the Druid Revival period by John Toland, author of 'The History of the Druids.'

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Post by Underground River » 27 Oct 2004, 23:33

I voted other so here is my poor attempt to explain.
I believe that everything in the universe is intrinsically good and beautiful in some way but not in any deities. I suppose that's sort of like pantheism except I don't consider everything gods. I am not an atheist either though. :) Are you confused yet? :lol:
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Post by ildanach » 27 Oct 2004, 23:56

I consider myself a panentheist, sort of a combination of monism and henotheism.


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Post by Azrienoch » 28 Oct 2004, 00:52

I believe that God is one, and all is God.
Now, I do think that there are higher beings, but just because they live on another plane of existence doesn't mean that they are gods.
I can't really describe this as monotheism, because of the "God is elsewhere" connotations that come with it.
I can't call it pantheism, because the definition just doesn't quite seem to fit my own views, as I believe in a "beyond the universe" One God.
Ildanach pointed out Monism, and I suppose that fits the best, but still not quite. I guess that God to me is philosophy of the combination of existence and non-existence, everything and nothing.

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Post by Merlyn » 28 Oct 2004, 02:34

Blessings of Samhain Philip,

Poly-pantheistic is what I came up with. I feel, deeply that there are spirit guides and also Gods. Sometimes they are a cross of both. Humanity has a spirit duality, God and Goddess, and they are also present in the cosmos. This duality and all that is in between is also in the plant and animal realms.
I look at the earth as a fertile bed for life, and a goddess, the Sun a god.
The God and goddess of humanity and all the religions work for that realm, but in Druidry I can seek and commune with the Animal realm as well as the Tree and plant realms, Sea and sky as well.
I feel these other realms are simply in a different "state" from humanity, but just as valid. Just as we wish to shed “baggage” from our lives to feel young and vital, I find this Poly-pantheistic spirituality more primal and closer to what works for me. Each realm brings a very different and powerful dialogue, insights and understanding. This grew from the Druid work and insights from study of early spiritualities.

Merlyn /|\
Dyro, Dduw, dy nawdd;
ac yn nawdd, nerth;
ac yn nerth, ddeall;
ac yn neall, gwybod;
ac o wybod, gwybod yn gyfiawn;
ac o wybod yn gyfiawn ei garu;
ac o garu, caru Duw.
Duw a phob daioni.

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Post by Kat Lady » 28 Oct 2004, 04:45

I Like Merlyn's description best: Poly-pantheistic. I do believe there are beings "of more than human powers". (I like this definition of god best.) But I believe the Divine is in everything. I don't believe these "gods" are all powerful, controlling our very existence. But I do believe they act as guides, teachers, counselors to help us along our path of becoming more divine, more enlightened. To provide a human example, you have a better understanding of the Divine than I do at this stage of the game (no duh!). So you write books and provide guidance to help me understand and teach me so that I can progress. Then in maybe another 50 or so lifetimes, I may actually get it and be at the point you are now.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has a creed that states, "As man is now, God once was. As God is now, man shall become." While theirs is a monthestic belief, I see its point. Replace God and rephrase and you basically get, "The Divine was once man and man can become Divine." Or better yet: Divine=man=Divine (Was that a circular thought I just had? Eureka! I've learned something! :grin: )

As far as the rest of nature, it is already Divine. It is man that needs to learn the lessons, to re-learn how to be Divine.

So to sum up my beliefs: the Divine is in everything and we have enlightened beings that help us along the path and guide us to become more Divine and Enlightened.

I'm not sure if this really makes sense right now since it is late and I am still on a high from seeing the divine lunar eclipse!

If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain


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The Gods

Post by Eilthireach » 28 Oct 2004, 06:20

I believe that the Divine is infinite and uncreated and that in Its essence It is "One". But since It is infinite It is at the same time everywhere.

The Divine is formless and conceptless. In order to enable the human mind (which is used to form and concept) to approach the Divine, the images of the gods have been created to personify aspects of the Divine. The gods are also personifications of natural forces and of aspects of our inner selves (unconscious mind). At the same time the gods are not only factors and aspects, but intelligent and purposive forces who show an independent will.

We can't exactly understand the nature of the Divine and of the gods, but to say it with Dion Fortune, "we know that by doing certain things we get certain results."

I wish all of you a blessed and inspired Samhain!

Eilthireach /|\

I wish to learn the things that are
and understand their nature
and to know God.
(Corpus Hermeticum I,3)


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Post by Pete » 28 Oct 2004, 06:39

I chose pantheistic as the one which most closely resmbles my feelings. The best description I've read is in the holy book of the Hindu, the Bhagavad Ghita;
"If you perceive me in all things and behold all things in me, then you will never lose sight of me and I will never lose sight of you."

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Post by Crow » 28 Oct 2004, 08:03

I chose pantheistic because it is simply the biggest definition I can imagine, and because by adopting this view, I never have to suppose that my god is real while another person's god is false.

If God lives in all things, then no one is ever wrong in their worship. Jesus is God, but then so is a tree, a river, Allah, a blade of grass, a man, or a woman.

“You can't study the darkness by flooding it with light.” ~ Edward Abbey

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Post by Mey » 28 Oct 2004, 09:19

Many blessings Philip,

I'm definitely Poly-pantheistic. I believe in the God and Godess as creators of our everything. Besides that I believe in differend deities as well for each deity has his of hers speciallity (Morrighan for instance).
I see, feel, hear, smell, taste The Divine in everything and am thankfull for that.

I'm looking forward to the book!


If you need more of my thoughts about this subject please feel free to PM or email me.
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Post by grian » 28 Oct 2004, 09:55

great to hear you are writing another book - cant wait...

definitely another poly-pan here:

poly because i think the human psyche needs the goddesses and gods to act as interface between us and the huge marvel of creation, too vast to comprehend without some sort of symbols we can link to

pan because creation must have god/dess everywhere, it is such a miracle


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Post by Stormcloud » 28 Oct 2004, 10:32

I think your first paragraph captured my view best:
Others will avoid choosing any one conception of Deity, believing that by its very nature this is unknowable by the mind.
I am one of the people who view druidry as more of a philosophy than a religion. However, while I do not have any specific beliefs in a god/gods/goddesses I do believe that there are forces out there which defy my description, and which affect us, although I cannot really say what! Vague I know!

I did read James Lovelock's Gaia Hypothesis, and whilst some of the heavy science went over my head at times, the idea of the earth being a self-regulating entity for want of a better word, made sense to me on some level.

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Post by FallingLeaves » 28 Oct 2004, 10:42

What is sings to ears
Ears hear whispers

Eyes see unfolding Now
as hands touch Form

The scent of Being
do noses suck

And mouths feast
on the taste of Love

And Freedom kisses
a Mind without measure.

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Post by DaRC » 28 Oct 2004, 11:44

I am mono-poly-pan!

In the respect, which is based in pantheism, that Nature is a divine universal force.
This is in many respects monotheistic.

Nature pervades everthing within the universe.
Which is pantheistic.

However the human mind is not capable of comprehending a single divine universal force.
For the human mind to comprehend the divine a pantheistic / polytheistic approach enables balance and understanding.
For the human mind to approach the divine in a monotheistic way is unbalanced - it leads to mis-understanding.

Cheers, Dave.
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most sweet the sight of the sun;
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and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68) Image

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Post by Fae » 28 Oct 2004, 11:54

Hello Philip: From my small piece of paradise to yours, I voted other.

Here is why, I do not believe in any specific deity, but rather two specific beings - Mother Earth creator of all. Father Sky - contains sun, moon, etc. life giving forces to the mother.

Hope that makes sense. I believe without these two, nothing would exist.

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Post by Lora » 28 Oct 2004, 12:25

I'm another one to put their hands up for poly-pantheistic. I do see the gods as individual: yet I think there is a spirit within them all and within all beings that derives from one source. Or is that mono-poly-pan? I see that source as genderless or androgynous and perhaps beyond our understanding.

Fae, wouldn't your definition make you duotheistic?

Last edited by Lora on 28 Oct 2004, 12:36, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by frank » 28 Oct 2004, 12:36

Hi Philip,

I'm another one of those poly-pan people. Isn't a poly-pan a type of squash or something? :grin:

I'll take a different tack--not philosophical, but experiential.

If one follows a Jungian type model for a guided meditation, one meets quite a few beings inside one's head, some of which certainly seem to be gods. That, to me, is the polytheistic aspect. If one meets only one God inside one's head ("The still, small voice of God"), then I suppose you'd be a monotheist. However, I think the experience is basically polytheistic, because it's equally possible to encounter God, Lugh, Kwan Yin, or Eris in this way.

Conversely, if one lets one's boundaries down, either through meditative exercises, drugs, or some truly incredible sex, then the entire universe can appear to be basically conscious and benign. So far as I know, this is the experience of the Tao, Buddhist Ground State, The Way, The Truth, and the Light, or whatever name. This is definitely a pantheistic experience, I believe.

I'd also add that the archetypes can be gates to the Tao, just to confuse things further. The Buddhists (and others?) call this Guru Yoga.

So, several different types of meditation, leading to several different perceptions of the divine. Personally, I think that philosophical discussions of why one or another must be true can be...interesting. There's nothing wrong with trying to abstract from one's perceptions to the basic state of the universe, but it would be nice if people first determined that what was going on in their heads had any relevance to the reality around them, first.


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Post by Fae » 28 Oct 2004, 12:49

Lorraine, I had thought of that..but I don't see them as only two, but all encompassing. Hmm...if we go to the christian path in the funeral ceremony we hear.."From ashes to ashes, dust to dust"

Kind of close. In that we are all part of this being, not separate but united, all things come from the earth.

A ecosystem that is interdependant on each other for survival.
No creator and no worshipper, but all one.

Does that make sense.
Peace from the branches of the Mighty Oak

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Post by liban » 28 Oct 2004, 12:59

Keeping with the past few posts...poly-pan.

I honestly am still exploring this topic personally. I think it may have something to do with our minds and how we what I am working on is whether it is real or my perception (or is it real because I perceive it that way).

BUT I do believe there is more than one diety yet I see the divine as present in everything. I can not look at birds soaring or anything else and not feel the presence of something divine in them as well as ourselves. However I can not help but thank certain dieties for the gifts of the season or the wonder around me or anything else for that matter. I can not, not see the influence of them upon the world around me and me.

Confused yet?

Love and Laughter -- Liban

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Post by mighty coyote » 28 Oct 2004, 13:19

Others on this thread have already covered this much more eloquently than I can, and I can only echo their thoughts.

As individualistic as Druidry is there seems to be a pretty common thread here.

Is deity ONE big thing, transcending gender? Yes.
Is deity in everything? Yes.
Is deity two equal dualities as played out in the natural world? Yes.
Is deity also a bunch of individual gods and goddesses who might turn up to talk to you? Yes.

So all the above can be true simultaneously in the larger sense even if your perception shifts. Also, our moments of experience of deity as transcendent and omnipresent are very rare, so it is much easier to attune to gods and goddesses.


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