Daily Deity — Seeking comments

Since I was away for a while, I figured I’d gather some opinions before starting up again.

What would folx like to see on this series? I’ve done random deities and a theme week, and I think the theme went over better but that could have been that the random deities were kind of off the wall :-).

FTR, I already know who I want to do on Dec. 21 and 25 :-). Other than that, I’m open to suggestions. I do remember that someone asked about Hera, so maybe I’ll do the Greco-Roman pantheon next.


somewhat subversive… (none / 1)

…but how about a “co-opted deity” series?

For example, Kuan-yin the goddess of fertility/birth in China becoming a bodhisatva in Buddhism, or St. Brigid of Ireland.

by Betty Black on Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 20:13:13 PDT

Actually (none / 1)

that sounds very interesting!

My Blog: Recovery, Spirituality, Politics and Kilts.What more could you ask for?

by Andy Ternay on Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 20:28:44 PDT

Sekhmet? (none / 0)

I had a friend who was involved with my online Star Wars group who was a devotee of the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet. This is her website:


This is the main site of the Sekhmet temple:


by Elizabeth D on Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 23:29:48 PDT

Please, please… (none / 1)

Not the “Graeco-Roman pantheon”.

There’s no such beast.

There are two distinct pantheons with significant similarities–which the ancients did acknowledge and even play up.  But they’re not the same.

Mars is not Ares.  They’re radically different.

Minerva is not Athena.

That said, the Greek pantheon and the Roman pantheons would be interesting to people simply because they probably already think they know that stuff… <heh>.

by ogre on Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 23:55:40 PDT

Yeah (none / 1)

I mean, I don’t know much about the Hellenic or Roman deities, but they’re distinct.  There are intriguing and significant similarities between various pantheons, and those things can help us unravel fascinating truths about cultural evolution.  But conflation of separate deities is often just lazy or offensive.  It’s like, “I don’t know your gods, but I’ve vaguely heard of these other ones, and that’s close enough.”

I was bothered in the one Friday diary.  I was excited to have a chance to discuss Frigg.  Mixing in Freya too was unnecessarily confusing.  

The approach I would take in this case is a narrow one:  Discuss one deity, and find a pretty unique definition.  You could also discuss that they have similarities to, and may at certain times or in certain regions have been considered interchangeable with, other deities, but don’t lump just so you don’t have to write as many paragraphs.

“As scientific knowledge advances, it does not mean that religious knowledge retreats.”
– horse69 on the bnet recon C&C board

by lonespark on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 05:02:18 PDT

Thinking they know (none / 1)

People do that a lot.  The other day I was listening to the radio, and a host was saying how it didn’t seem like (certain) Christians worshipped their own god, because the one they talk about is vengeful and capricious and unconcerned with human suffering and likely to smite you out of spite.  Well, ok.  I certainly wouldn’t say that sums up the god of the Bible, but there are passages where he/she comes across that way.

But then he was like, I think they worship somebody else, who’s high handed and capricious and throws lightning around just to be a prick.  Like Zeus or Thor.  I was floored.  I mean, Thor?  How does that describe Thor?  I couldn’t offhand think of a Norse deity anything like that.  Maybe you’d go with Loki, but even he is far more complex and subtle, and notably not with the lightning.  I don’t get why people make theological assertions when they clearly have no idea what they’re talking about.  Although it would have been amusing to imagine Cheney et all worshipping, say, Cthulu.

“As scientific knowledge advances, it does not mean that religious knowledge retreats.”
– horse69 on the bnet recon C&C board

by lonespark on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 05:10:44 PDT

Deity selection (none / 1)

courtesy of DC comics

by Austin in PA on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 12:06:41 PDT

More Than That (none / 1)

They are two distinct, if similar, types of religion. Romans were animists while the Hellenes were polytheists.

As Cato the Elder once lamented, “Many towns in Italy have more gods than citizens!”

But I can never mention Roman spirituality without mentioning my very favorite of the numinae, Sterculius… spirit of dung.

by Sarcastro on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 12:47:16 PDT

Animist? (none / 0)

Really?  Shows what I know.  

I’m very interested in the older traditions underlying and and coexisting with Buddhism and other big religions in SE Asia, too.  I believe these are in general described as animist, but I don’t know where to begin in research/discussion.

“As scientific knowledge advances, it does not mean that religious knowledge retreats.”
– horse69 on the bnet recon C&C board

by lonespark on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 19:05:53 PDT

Animist is close. (none / 0)

The Latin and Japanese perspectives seem very similar.

The Latins experienced things and places as having numen.  The numen of a place seems to be very, very similar to the kami of a place.  

If you’ve ever been somewhere where… you can just sense the “character” or “nature” of the place, that’s what would be called numen.

Rocks, plants, animals, places, people–all have numen.  It IS animist, or only a half step away.  The gods were part of this experience–and were not originally personified as anthropomorphic.  Some never were, such as Vesta, despite the Hellenic influence (via, in part, the Etruscans).

The Etruscans appear to have shared this perspective, too.  

There’s Diana, the goddess of the moon… and Losna/Luna, who was the moon.

My gut suspicion is that the proto-Latins and other Italics adn the proto-Greeks were all more in the animist camp.  That the Greeks were strongly influenced at an earlier era by their contacts with the civilizations and cultures of the Near East, who were polytheists.  So they–by the era we can “see” clearly, were polytheists, too.  And you can see the animistic traditions of the Latins become more polytheistic.

by ogre on Sat Dec 3rd, 2005 at 12:51:55 PDT

Themes are fine (none / 1)

But why not hit something really unknown by most, like VoDoun or Santeria?  The blending of Catholic imagery with Yoruba Deities could be intriguing to some here.

Blessed Be,

Taliesin Athor Govannon
HP, Coven of Caer Arianrhod
Taliesin’s Witchcraft Page

by Taliesin on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 10:32:03 PDT

Good idea, (none / 1)

but what I think would be best would be if we actually had someone who practices or is familiar with a given tradition talking about it.

“As scientific knowledge advances, it does not mean that religious knowledge retreats.”
– horse69 on the bnet recon C&C board

by lonespark on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 11:24:08 PDT

Ancient Middle Eastern (none / 1)

You might want to post sometime about the deities which are so anathema to the writers of the OT: Baal and Asherah. I did a paper on Asherah; this is the word that is sometimes translated as “abominations” in Kings and elsewhere. She was the Goddess who was the consort of “Jahweh” (YHVH), once upon a time.

by MagentaMN on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 17:37:34 PDT

Don’t forget (none / 0)

The Zoroastrian deities.  They don’t get a lot of air time these days.

God has no hands but yours to use, no heart but yours to feel, no eyes but yours to see.What will you do with the hands, heart and eyes of God?

by Thameron on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 20:43:18 PDT

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