Thursday, September 11, 2008

Higher and Lower Dieties

A quick teaching on the nature of dieties. They come in two varieties transcendent and worldly. Many manifest as both.

For instance Shiva has a very transcendent nature that is understood by Kashmir Shaivites as being the whole of everything. I am Shiva, you are Shiva, your computer is Shiva, this post is shiva, and the act of you reading it is Shiva. To other people however Shiva manifests in a more mythological manner as a being that has likes, dislikes, gets into fights with other dieties etc.

Hekate is another good example. There are plenty of myths where she has conflicts with other dieties and takes sides in issues and so on. Yet in the Chaldean Oracles (and probably in her original Anatolian forms as well) she is a cosmic force that mediates between the first and second fathers and has the whole of nature suspended from her back and virtue springing from her thigh. In this form she is Heka of "beyond" the mythical forms.

Many have argued that the entire Priestly and Elohist narrative in the Pentatauch is an attempt by Jewish Priests to elevate YHVH, who in the J narrative manifests much more personally and mythically, into a transcendent and universal deity. Thus you have Genesis 1 which is based upon the Ennuma Elish and the creation of the whole universe added to the older Genesis 2 which tells only of the creation of the Garden. This struggle can be seen in Christian history between the idea of a personal God with likes and dislikes and the idea of God that is more akin to Platonic forms.

Anyway. It is important to know what you are dealing with when you are dealing with it. Many Pagans still retain a monothiestic filter when dealing with Pagan Gods and Goddesses and expect them to be very cosmic and transcendent beings with humanities best interests at heart. They sometimes get their hands burnt. In most ancient paganism the Gods sometimes had a very different relationship with mankind as well as with each other.

One occult scholar that I know has a theory that many of the problems of the original GD stemmed from them each taking on various egyptian god-forms in ritual. On the higher level they are a Pantheon of cosmic forces, but on the mythic level, they play out their conflicts throughout all time.

On the higher level, pantheons can represent Cosmic forces with transcendent natures. On another level they are the archetypal dis-functional family.

Just something to keep in mind.

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