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Gods: Cosmic Powers, Individual Entities or Aspects of the Self?

EyeofOdin

Active Member
I've noticed that there seems to be a lot of debate, sometimes heated, about what is the nature of the gods. Are they cosmic or cyclical forces? Do they represent aspects of the psyche? Or are they distinct individuals?

I see this debate mostly between soft polytheists and hard polytheists, mostly Wiccans and various traditional polytheists, but other religions and spiritual traditions as well. I open this up here because I think that it would make an interesting discussion.

In my view, the gods are cosmic forces. They also bring out aspects of our self, soul and mind. With all of this in mind, they also are individual entities, with thoughts, emotions and desires. I feel that this is what makes gods gods, is the fact that they control and represent these huge parts of the cycle of life, they bring out from within us wisdom, strength and courage and also they are real entities. I don't think that these aspects of the gods are contradictory, rather for me it gives them more complexity, mystery and awe.
 

Quintessence

Consults with Trees
Staff member
Premium Member
It is my feeling that all human understanding is always a map of the territory. The "true nature" of anything is thus never grasped by us, rather we find manners of describing the territory. I won't claim to know any Ultimate Truths of reality, so I won't comment on the Ultimate Nature of the gods (which to me, are the various aspects of reality). For the map of the territory I do use, the nature of a god depends on the one in question.

However, I would answer "yes" to every single one of the questions posed in the OP. Are gods cosmic forces? Some of them (i.e., Moirae). Are they cyclical forces? Some of them (i.e., Horae). Are they aspects of the psyche? Some of them (i.e., Mnemosyne). Are they distinct individuals? Yes, insofar as anything in this interconnected Weave is distinct.
 

Poeticus

| abhyAvartin |
In my view, the gods are cosmic forces. They also bring out aspects of our self, soul and mind. With all of this in mind, they also are individual entities, with thoughts, emotions and desires. I feel that this is what makes gods gods, is the fact that they control and represent these huge parts of the cycle of life, they bring out from within us wisdom, strength and courage and also they are real entities. I don't think that these aspects of the gods are contradictory, rather for me it gives them more complexity, mystery and awe.

Friend EyeofOdin,

Thank you for another interesting thread. I would like to ask you a question:

Do you view your Gods having emotions and desires as being human-like or constructions levied upon such great and awesome Cosmic Powers to be of human orientation?​

The "true nature" of anything is thus never grasped by us, rather we find manners of describing the territory.

I think that's very reasonable, and I find it much in line with my thought on various Truths I call or categorize as Ultimate. Cool post, Quin.
 

Jainarayan

ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
Staff member
Premium Member
In my view, the gods are cosmic forces. They also bring out aspects of our self, soul and mind. With all of this in mind, they also are individual entities, with thoughts, emotions and desires. I feel that this is what makes gods gods, is the fact that they control and represent these huge parts of the cycle of life, they bring out from within us wisdom, strength and courage and also they are real entities. I don't think that these aspects of the gods are contradictory, rather for me it gives them more complexity, mystery and awe.

I agree with all of this. They are cosmic forces and parts of us. After all, we're part of the cosmos. When I think of Hanuman and Thor, I think of the strength and courage in me, and try to invoke it. In fact, I wear their pendants. When I give up on my music, I feel it's a slap in the face to Saraswati as well as selling myself short, because I know her talents are within me.

In Buddhism the devas (gods and goddesses) are more highly advanced beings than we are, but are none-the-less subject to the cycle of rebirth. They can be reborn as lower beings; we can be reborn as devas. In Chinese Traditional Religion, many of the deities were human, Guan yu (the warrior god, not Guan yin the goddess of compassion) and Xuan wu for example. They are believed to be very real beings.
 

Contemplative Cat

energy formation
मैत्रावरुणिः;3657592 said:
Contemplative Cat,

Please be respectful of the European religions DIR. Your text/response, quoted above, can come off as disrespectful conjecture.
if people require some sort of criteria then,
The mytholgy represented represents a greco-gnostic theology, which includes reincarnation. As it is apt at describing the Personal experience of interacting with these beings.
resource; essential Gnostic Scriptures, and time spent in a summoning circle.

Any individual will have its own agenda. Its not smart to trust ultraterrestial beings that want to do there own thing. They will.
 

Quintessence

Consults with Trees
Staff member
Premium Member
If we can't look up to the gods and rely on them for comfort, love, strength or guidance, why are they called gods in the first place?

Perhaps because it's not about us? Or that the gods are fundamentally greater than humans or humanity?

I confess I tend to get a little confused when I meet Pagans who view the gods in a sort of... celestial mommy/daddy fashion that is more typical of the big three monotheisms. And I don't mean that as a put-down: there are certainly Pagan gods who hold such roles, but disqualifying anything that doesn't serve humanity - or that is malicious - from god status leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. I think I'll leave my comment at that, though, because I don't wish to inadvertently stir up a debate here. :cover:
 

Contemplative Cat

energy formation
Well its just a serious warning in the sense that these beings are not out to do good or bad, they are just individuals and individuals are hardly the most trustworthy.
But some of them are good, but most are just neutral and don't care about you because your just some stranger.
They could probably be any variety of moral disposition.
 

EyeofOdin

Active Member
Perhaps because it's not about us? Or that the gods are fundamentally greater than humans or humanity?

I confess I tend to get a little confused when I meet Pagans who view the gods in a sort of... celestial mommy/daddy fashion that is more typical of the big three monotheisms. And I don't mean that as a put-down: there are certainly Pagan gods who hold such roles, but disqualifying anything that doesn't serve humanity - or that is malicious - from god status leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. I think I'll leave my comment at that, though, because I don't wish to inadvertently stir up a debate here. :cover:

You have to keep in mind is that the "celestial mommy/daddy" is the belief of where the gods come from. Ancient African tribes believed that the small reflected the large, and Egypt kept this belief. If there were children and parents of the household, and citizens and leaders of countries, who are the "children or citizens" of the universe, and who are the "parents or leaders"?

I don't believe that it is the job of the gods to baby us and to protect us. What I do believe is that through the ancestors we are connected to all of our living kid, including the gods. The gods are our family, whether we know it or not, they know it.
 

Contemplative Cat

energy formation
An ego is a individualization of an object.
A human says "I am stan" that's its ego.
In the same way if a rock was equiped with a brain it says "I am a rock" then it would get an ego.

The Archons are individual egos. They are just powerful people.

But the aeons are forces of nature,
with no ego at all, the powers are utterly Neutral.
The only thing individualizing them are the people observing them.
 

EyeofOdin

Active Member
Well its just a serious warning in the sense that these beings are not out to do good or bad, they are just individuals and individuals are hardly the most trustworthy.
But some of them are good, but most are just neutral and don't care about you because your just some stranger.
They could probably be any variety of moral disposition.

I do agree with you that they are individuals, and don't subscribe to human ideas about morality because morality is something we created.

I do not agree however with the idea that deities view us as just another stranger. They are our kin, and our kin in spirit is eternally connected to us. It's hard for us to recognize the connection because we live in a physical life and have both physical abilities and spiritual limitations because of it.
 

Contemplative Cat

energy formation
Why? They were created to by "cosmic mama or daddy"

All humanity are our kin, but they will still do things to one another that cause a lot of suffering.

Civil war, sibling rivalry, family dysfunction would extend to any being with the capacity fir abstract thought and a sense of individuality.
If a being thinks as an individual they are prey to anger, greed, lust, hate, and the whole gambit of sentient emotions that come up during the experience of a mind.

The powers(insert label) are forces that have no individuality and thus by default is neutral.
whethor a hero or a villian called on them is irrelevant(however good people often have an easier time being calm & or focusing.)

But I don't need to really say all this, because you will know intuitively.

But the notions of custodial gods vs. Wrathful gods is not a new theme in paganism.
 
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