This is an old bit of puzzling I did when I was trying to bucket myself. My current bucket, as of 10/16/04, is Animism. Back them though, I was worried about:
Pantheism or polytheism?
Pantheism is defined as the belief that all is one. Polytheism is the belief in many gods. Is it possible to blend the two? Or does that just leave pantheism?
I believe in many gods. My Lord being primary in the list, but there are others that I follow as well. I also *touched* the One once. Joseph says there's more than one One, and as I thought about my experience with the One, I realized that the only thing that made me think it was a "the" and not an "a" was the immenseness of it… which could easily be an imposition of my limited awareness. Joseph says there's many "Ones." That doesn't run counter to what I believe, but I'm not sure if it feels right either.
Start with souls. I think I've come to accept the 3-piece theory: Piece 1 being that which stays with the body, piece 2 being that which is the mind and stays as a ghost, and piece 3 being that which is eternal and returns to be recycled into a new soul. This is the only way I can explain some phenomena I've seen, such as ghosts, and co-incarnations of people.
Where then do gods fit in? Are they, as I have always thought, simply more-evolved beings that help us along? Somehow I don't think so.
Somehow I don't think the evolution of souls thing is right actually… Well, I don't know. And that may be the only acceptable answer - I don't know. But I don't know.
Well that was intelligible.
I don't know how to explain gods. They inspire devotion. They are not perfect. If they lay down the law it's best to obey, but don't expect them to *not* get you in trouble. They see farther than we do, but they are not omniscient. My Lord in particular doesn't want me to blindly follow him all the time - but when He Says So, I'll get slapped down if I don't obey.
I don't think they're part of the One.
At least, not the same One I'd be part of.
My brain hurts. Am I thinking about this too much? Possibly. But I'm at a religious crisis point of sorts, at least in my studies.
This whole issue, in fact, was started by me looking over the Asatru site Joe pointed me at, then started following links (always a trouble-starter) and now I'm… trying to establish what is different between me and what I've read.
I've never felt any affinity for the Norse gods. That's not quite true. It's the Ragnarok story I think that I never felt an affinity for, the fundamental defeatism I found in the mythology as I read it as a child. That might have been an incorrect finding, I hope it is, but if it's not, well… it's not my approach.
Why not though? Why does the presence of an "End" ultimately make me feel like "what's the point?" Perhaps that's a personal flaw then, and something I should look at. But it just doesn't *feel* right.
So then I got thinking about the article about Wicca and Asatru, and the essential conflict between pantheism and polytheism. Hence my musing about just what am I?
Every time I think about things on this level, I get the feeling that I'm getting beyond, well, what I can "ken." I'm stepping out of my realm of comprehension. And really, what is the relevance of whether or not My Lord is part of a One or not? Doesn't grow corn.
I feel like I'm going in too many directions. I've always been of a religious bent, more than a practical one. Damn I wish there was a seminary school.
I can say however that I'm pretty sure my old theory that the gods are more "evolved" people who help us is WAY off. Wrong answer, thank you for playing.
I wonder if there's a difference between the gods and the mysteries? I often refer to My Lord as a mystery. I still think that's true, but I guess the two are different and He just happens to be both.
Is My Lord a god in the same sense as other gods? I don't know. On the one hand he's almost the embodiment of a physical force. On the other - why the heck would that worry itself over one person?
I can't say one way or the other. I try to say "it must be a personal manifestation of Spirit and not really the hunter/hart" and it's NOT right. And I can't say he's not personally concerned with me, because it's obvious that he IS.
Maybe that's why we call them gods.