Saturday, September 14, 2013

Post-Christian polytheism

Sometimes I think that the hatred which a lot of WN and Pro-Male writers have for Christianity is justified.

The current dickless post-Colonial form of The Faith which we now must suffer through is certainly out of character with most of its history. If you look at the Thousand Year Regime of Orthodox Catholicism (both Western and Eastern) from, about 400 to 1500 and even beyond, this was not a faith for pussies and liberals. The Knights Templar were monks with swords, after all.

Nowadays we must endure Francis the Talking Pope* and the mewlings of the mitred capons and polyester nun-crones who rule the American church, all grovelling before foreign invaders...oh, sorry, refugee migrants with human rights under social justice...who will benefit their new countries just like termites in a log cabin. Yeah, I can see the point of the hatred. Nietzsche wasn't entirely wrong about it.  Yesterday I was feeling it myself. And it included not only Church but State also.

Having been captivated even in grade school by the Greeks and the Romans, and later the Norsemen, and their gods, and having been softened up by Jung's vision of the archetypes in the collective unconscious of the human race**, I think I could cozy up --on days like yesterday-- to a revived form of polytheism for the West.

After a thousand and a half years of monotheism, and Christian monotheism at that, I don't think that pure polytheism is possible for Occidentals. Something more like Hinduism (which some White Nationalists claim as a paradigm of Aryan religion). You have a pantheon of gods and goddesses with all their stories and myths, including their avatars, and even a select inner circle, so to speak of the highest gods. But in the end, these are all manifestations of The One. You get the psychological robustness of polytheism and the intellectual respectability of monotheism in one religion.

If think about traditional popular Catholicism, the huge role of Mary and the saints suggests that archetypal polytheism never really died out in Europe until the Reformation, with its utterly humorless revival of King Josiah's logocentric and iconoclastic Yahwism. And in typical enantiodromic form, the Protestant churches are the ones who eventually collapsed into feminism.

Off the top of my pointy head, I think that a pantheon of twelve might serve, with seven male gods, five female goddesses. And a thirteenth god outside it, who would be Death. For the gods, you'd have, say, The Father --head of all the gods--, the Warrior, then two sets of twin brothers as The Hunter and the Farmer, and the ShamanHealer and the PoetSinger, then a god of trade and trickstering. You could have spirit servants (like angels, but not gauzy and frilly) and avatars and associated heroes. I think you could cover the archetypal bases pretty well. As for the goddesses, I am less apt, but again, with a subsidiary set of spirits, avatars and heroines, you could flesh out a real and non-feminist pantheon. Death would be neither male nor female. Or both.

And all of them would be the refracted colors of a single originating Godhead who creates the world (including us) for its prism. An interesting challenge would be how to situate the Thousand Years of monotheism in history, when the gods seemed vanquished by the stronger Christian God.

What kind of ethics would such a religion support? Well, it sure as hell wouldn't be a perfectionist universalist Liberalism based on deification of victims. Or some pussy kind of Wiccanism. It would be rooted in a particular people, as all polytheisms are.

Protestant accusations that Catholics are crypto-pagans do have some merit! Especially if their heads are as pointy as mine.


*Just in case some of my readers are too young to catch the insult, click here.

*James Hillman, a deracinated Jew and renegade Jungian, created a fascinating post-Jungian school of archetypal psychology which was frankly pro-polytheist but was also utterly captive to a shared Jungian Boomeronian Captivity to country club liberalism. Thomas Moore is the pre-eminent popularizer of this school. It was his book Care of the Soul that got me into the therapy business.


Anonymous said...

The Gods being manifestations of the One. The Modalist interpretation has it's appeal, but I would cast the net wider to be more conciliatory of Christianity, Gnosticism, and Paganism, the West's chief religious traditions.

Surprisingly, Tolkien did a very nice job of it. I'll summarize the pantheon:

At the top is Eru, the One True God, from whom all things come. He's pretty explicitly the Christian God: Tolkien had notes that humans have a prophecy that he would one day enter the world to rid it of evil. And he's rather hands-off: he tells humans that they have to gain knowledge and wisdom on their own.

The One in turn creates the Ainur, essentially angels who each have dominion over a specific concept in reality. Some of the Ainur, called the Valar, and their servants the Maiar created the universe at the One's behest, according to his design. Tolkien hypothesized that over time, as the distant-yet-observant One was forgotten, the more active and involved Valar came to be worshipped as gods in their own rights.

Seven Kings and Seven Queens: Manwe, King of the Valar and the Sky, and his wife Varda Lady of the Stars and Light; Ulmo, Lord of Waters; Aule, Smith and Lord of Earth's materials, and his wife Yavanna the Giver of Fruits, Lady of Fruits and Living Things; Namo, Lord of Death and Prophecy, and his wife Vaire the Weaver, who weaves the history of the Universe into tapestries; Irmo, the Lord of Visions and Dreams, and his wife Este the Gentle, Lady of Healing and Comfort; Nienna, Lady of Sorrow, who teaches pity and hope; Tulkas, Lord of Bravery and and Strength, and his wife Nessa the Dancer, Lady of Joy; Orome, the Hunter, and his wife Vana, Lady of Youth and Flowers. Lesser gods, the Maiar, attend the Valar and represent subsidiary concepts.

Melkor is the odd-man-out; a hybrid Lucifer-Abraxas figure, he marred the design of Creation before its commission out of pride and desire to make. However, not all of his alterations are bad: snow and clouds, for example, are of his creation due to introducing extreme temperatures. However, his pride caused him to turn to evil, becoming Morgoth the Dark Enemy, and he was eventually cast out of the universe by the Valar.

At the end of time, Morgoth will return to the universe, and then all souls, good and bad, will take part in the Battle of Battles, and Morgoth will be vanquished for good. Then all souls will learn their role in the story of Time, and then will work with the Valar to create a new universe that combines the good things about the "original" universe and the "flawed" universe, but none of the "flawed" universe's bad aspects.

In terms of reconciling disparate systems and faiths, it's impressive and extremely powerful. It's not the Modalism that G.R.R. Martin utilizes in Game of Thrones, or the "all-in-one" deal the Hindus have, but it does have a nice unifying element to it: there is One True God, who created lesser beings who receive the bulk of our prayers and intercessions and were responsible for the creation of a universe that was flawed before the first brick was laid; there is a grand struggle between Good and Evil, which all people play a role in; there will be an epic battle battle between Good and Evil, after which a new Creation is made featuring all of the "good" flaws of the old one. I could get behind something like that, especially since it would basically be Christianity cozied up with the best of Paganism and Gnosticism's more logical bits.

P.S. I'm curious, why did you choose seven gods and five goddesses?


OreamnosAmericanus said...

No egalitarian am I. In a naturally patriarchal pantheon, the males have the majority.

Anonymous said...

To take a stab at the goddesses, I suggest the ubiquitous Maiden-Mother-Crone trio, Maiden representing Innocence and Youth, Mother representing Mercy and Comfort, and Crone representing Wisdom. The other two are a little tricky: off the top of my head, I can think of the Weaver and the Lover: perhaps the Weaver and the Lover could be counterpart siblings, with the Weaver being a sort of Superego deity of Knowledge and Logic, and the Lover being an Id deity of Emotion and Desire? In any case, wisdom seems to be a "goddess sphere": why else would the Greeks and Hebrews refer to Wisdom as a woman?

The monotheism stint could be explained as people remembering that all the gods are manifestations of the One, but unlike Hinduism, Jews got really specific about the "Many-In-One" thing to the point that they disregarded the constituent gods for the Whole. Mohammed had the same experience.

There would be theological issues to pin down: is Yahweh the Father-as-sole-god, or is He a masculinized form of the Many-as-One? Was Jesus an avatar of the Father? Is the Spirit another Father avatar, or an avatar of another god/goddess? Or is the Trinity a fabrication? Is there really a Devil, or is he just a metaphor, or is he one and the same as Death/The Stranger? Do physical forces have their own deities, a separate group (or two) for things like Time, Life, Madness, etc.?

Interesting. Would love to continue this discussion with you. Theopoeia is an awesome hobby. :)


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