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The Gods: Real or Archetypes?

Discussion in 'Heathenry DIR' started by Podo, Aug 29, 2018.

  1. The Hammer

    The Hammer Well-Known Member

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    I believe that the Gods are as real as you and I. They exist as both as entities outside of our "reality", that can indirectly interact with it, and sometimes very directly. I believe their interference is a rarity not a repeated thing.
    I also believe that we can all feel the Gods, even when they are not directly interacting with us, and we can interact with them through ritual.
     
  2. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    It doesn't matter how individuals interpret the nature of our deites we are an orthopraxic folkway not an orthodoxic religion; there is no canon to inform us as to how we should think.

    I would be more worried if you asked ten heathens and got one answer.
     
  3. The Ragin Pagan

    The Ragin Pagan A.K.A. The Kilted Heathen

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    Whoops, never got back to it...

    On a certain level, though (to Hildeburh's last statement), asking ten Heathens will produce one (general) answer, but it depends on what's being asked. In regards to the gods, if you ask ten Heathens who Thor is, all ten are most likely going to say "the god of thunder".

    It is correct (more or less) that Heathenry - and for the most part Paganism as a whole - is more orthopraxic than orthodoxic; that is to say that it's more important that you have proper action, rather than proper belief. However a good religion has a balance of both, and while Heathenry isn't as dogmatic as Christianity, we still do have a religious canon through the Eddur, the Sagas, and various folk tales and customs that are consistent in their presentation of the gods to where it would essentially fly in the face of serious Heathenry (as I have observed and shook my head at MANY times on Amino) were someone to claim things like Tyr being kind and peaceful* (when he is a god of war), or Fenrir being "just a really big puppers". There is still enough known about the gods that there can be the dismissal of people just making sh*t up. (And, they almost always throw out the justification of "well it's all made up," which to me just really speaks of irreverence and non-belief in the gods, treating it all like a game.)
     
  4. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    A good religion? The Norse did not refer to their folkways as a religion but as the old custom (Forn Sidr) and the conversion to Christianity as siðaskipti, a change of custom.

    Heathenry is an umbrella term for a fairly wide array of folkways, there was not one Heathenry in the past as there is not one now. Our ancestors learned from their ancestors and there would have been regional and tribal variations. So unless you are refering to modern Asatru adopting the Eddas, Sagas as canon I cannot agree.

    The Eddas, Sagas and folktales (to which folktales do you refer?) inform Asatruers not all Heathens. As an AS pagan the Eddas and Sagas (apart from an historical and perhaps of comparative interest) are of no value to me.

    Even for Asatruers it is difficult to consider the Eddas and Sagas as a canon as they have very little to say regarding day to day practice; having been written or censored by Christians. Norse literature contains Christian and Classical themes, omissions and contadictions. Overcoming source problems has always been an issue for Heathens, I'm not advocating a hypercritical approach but to consider Norse literature and later folktales as a canon ignores far too many issues.
     
  5. The Ragin Pagan

    The Ragin Pagan A.K.A. The Kilted Heathen

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    I'm aware that the Norse didn't refer to their beliefs as a religion; I'm talking about today's religions. (In general, that's what I mean when I say Heathenry; I am strongly in the camp of we must move past the year 900; ancient foundation but modern practice). And despite there being a division between Norse and Anglo-Saxon Heathenry, somehow we always manage to mingle...

    Frankly I view it as akin to Protestants and Catholics.

    As for the canon, The Eddur are specific to Norse, yes. There are more sagas than Iceland's, however (as someone in the Troth made mention to me,) and plenty of folktales from any culture - not just Germanic - that can and do include the gods in keeping with their established presence. And even though there is Christianization to sift through, this isn't really an obstacle. There are depictions and tellings that pre-date Christianity and the writing of the Eddur enough that we can reasonably determine what is genuine and what is not. Regardless, they do form a mythological and theological canon, with next to no issues. We don't have one tale where Thor is the god of thunder, and another where he is the god of fire.
     
  6. DanishCrow

    DanishCrow Seeking Feeds

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    Not to play Loke's Advocate here, but the reason there's "no issues" is that the canon was all written at the same time, wherein the gods had one specific portfolio. Religious historians are pretty sure all gods have changed names, jobs and even been split up or laid together over time..

    Anyway, the reason no historical source in scandinavia talks of "religion" is that we had never had another tangibly different one at that point. It's "forn sidr" because there is no distinction between religion and life. One who differentiates between religions or does not believe would talk specifically of the gods by name.
     
  7. The Ragin Pagan

    The Ragin Pagan A.K.A. The Kilted Heathen

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    I don't think I've ever heard or read that the gods changed names, jobs, or spouses in a wildly frivolous (how I read it) manner. Thor has always been a god of thunder, and while he might not be the only one associated with it (Odin is also known as "thunderer",) I don't think he's ever been seen - even outside of written canon - as a god of, say, skiing.
     
  8. DanishCrow

    DanishCrow Seeking Feeds

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    I'm not sure I expressed it clearly, then. I'm saying that the gods have been different things to different people in different time periods - not through their actions, but through the historical needs of their communities and the political developments around them.

    Odin, for example, was not the king of gods or the god of the kings before circa the 800s, as the new class of chieftains required a religion that supported their claims. So if your bondsmen worshipped a bunch of different gods, yours had to be the king of their gods. Shoot, Valhalla itself wasn't a thing before society had halls!

    I recommend the paper 'Ascending the steps to Hlidskjalf' by researcher Josua Rood (himself a practicing believer in the aesir) if you're interested.
     
  9. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    Rood is a good read. I would also recommend: Terry Gunnell, Pantheon? What Pantheon? ( Also a Heathen) Available free online.
     
  10. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    Has Thor always been the the god of thunder? The thunder element took a back seat in Iceland, no thunder storms as it doesn't get warm enough to create the conditions for lightning and thunder. From memory the Eddas mention the thunder aspect once, I would expect experienced Heathens to have moved past simple constructions of our god and godesses. Read Declan Taggart, How Thor Lost His Thunder the Changing Face of an Old Norse God.

    How Thor Lost His Thunder: The Changing Faces of an Old Norse God, 1st Edition (Hardback) - Routledge

    In the literature Thor is many things; god of fertility, war god, protector of the people the common people and god of hallowing. His name may translate to thunder as Odin's translates to frenzy/rage/excitement but Heathen gods are far more complex than the etymology of their name. If someone asked me what Thor was god of my first reaction would be Heathens don't have god/esses of XYZ like the Romans.
     
  11. Hildeburh

    Hildeburh Member

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    Ouch....... Protestants and Catholics are monotheistic, orthodoxic mass religions. We've all moved past 900AD but that does not mean we equate our folkways with Christianity or aim to ape them by claiming a canon of belief or praxis. Claiming universality diminishes us, it does not enrich us.


    The Sagas are late and folktales are and admixture of cultural imputs that have been transmitted through countless retellings. There are some runes that predate the Eddas and Sagas but nothing else (beside archeology, etymology, linguistics and some charms) that predate Christian interference and censure. Anything recorded and interpreted through the lens of Christianity is suspect.

    There are a few written tales of Thor, most of which (if not all) have nothing to do with thunder. They are tales of strength, protection, hallowing and fertility.

    Why the need for a canon? Hangover from a Christian worldview? Desire to emulate Abrahamic religions? Move toward orthodoxy or one Heathenry? Count me out.
     
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