“Gab in the Grove” (for everyone)

Update [2006-2-22 2:8:25 by Matthew Krell]: In honor of our non-Abrahamic friends, those who are still persevering and those who’ve decided the cookies are too dry – MK

Since my Pagan Roundtable seemed to do well, it occurred to me to try this. Come, join us under the trees, bring the beverage and snackie of your choice, and join the parley, savvy? Everyone’s invited, regardless of their belief system (or lack thereof).

Hmm, can you tell I live in sunny Southern California, that I’m talking about sitting under the trees in the middle of February? ;-). Hey, the weather’s always nice in the Virtual Grove!

Anyway, I’ll try to post this every week or so, and if I miss it I give explicit permission (nay, my blessing) for someone else to post. Tuesday seems as good a day for this as any, but I also see no reason why it can’t move around, or even happen more than once a week. If you have a “gab” type idea for a diary, go ahead and borrow the title :-). My only request is that topics not be Christo-centric, since the idea here is to provide some balance.

I’ll toss out a starter topic, but don’t feel like you have to stick to it: who’s your favorite deity who could be classified as “outrageous,” and why?

And always, always, honest questions from those who don’t understand where we pagans, heathens, and other assorted “weirdos” are coming from are welcome. Part of why I’m here is to help spread knowledge and understanding, and most of us don’t bite unless invited (Propheticus Lycanthroponica has, I believe, had his shots ;-).

29 comments

Loki (4.00 / 6)

I have been intrigued by the story of Loki in the Norse Eddas.  He seems to be one of three co-creators, to have started all manner of shit, and been bound to the world of form until Ragnarok comes.

I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also was a chasing after wind.Ecclesiastes 1:17

by DanielMN on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 15:06:08 PDT

Loki’s one of my favs too (4.00 / 3)

I’ve always been drawn to the Norse and Teutonic pantheons, mostly because I love the mythology so much.

“If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe; but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe.”–Søren Kierkegaard

by Mahanoy on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 16:48:03 PDT

The Morrigan (4.00 / 5)

I would have to say that my personal favourite “outrageous” Deity would have to be the Morrigan.  Often misunderstood, Morrigan governs many areas of life that we moderns have a hard time dealing with.  Death, transitions, the old making way for the new…all are important to the wheel of life, yet all make us nervous.  Working with Morrigan (along with Herne in his dark Lord aspect), She has helped me with many mortality issues, and helped me to embrace all of life (including it’s end).

Bledded Be

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

by Taliesin on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 15:31:07 PDT

That’s interesting (4.00 / 4)

“Outrageous” isn’t a word that would show up early on a list I’d make of words describing the Morrigan, but Roland and I agreed that it certainly fits Her. Well, depending on what sort of mood She’s in, anyway :-).

She and Herne are sort of a natural working-pair, aren’t they?

by Morgan on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 15:41:08 PDT

Quite… (4.00 / 2)

She and Herne are sort of a natural working-pair, aren’t they?

Yes, even though, in my day-to-day workings, I work with herne and Arianrhod.  Lady Arianrhod is quite the unknown quantity to many Pagans, but for those who wish to pierce the viel, she has much to offer.

Blessed Be

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

by Taliesin on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 17:45:16 PDT

Is a Greek and Roman goddess OK? (4.00 / 4)

I guess I like Aphrodite (Venus), best of the women.

I am supposed to like Athena for her wisdom, but I have trouble with some of her stories and I get really upset with Hera.  Artemis (Diana), the Huntress scares me silly though I like that she is the moon.  Demeter is too much for me, also.

Venus comes off rather badly in many stories and yet there have been good ones, too. I also like the later idea of Apollo as the musician and healer.  Maybe because of the cold here, they appeal to me with warmth in their aspects.

I think Lugh is similar to Apollo sometimes.  What do you all think?  

“The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.” Kurt Vonnegut

by cfk on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 15:44:35 PDT

Athena or Aphrodite (4.00 / 3)

Much as I look at other depictions, my image of Venus keeps going back to Botticelli’s great painting. Last week she popped out of a clamshell again at the Olympics. Xena TV show had Aphrodite windsurfing on clamshell, the single most delightful   visual I recall from that entire series, it was so perfect. It’s exactly how I would want her to visit me if I were standing on a beach looking off at the horizon.  But for intellectual attainments, it’s better to go with Athena. The problem with appealing to Aphrodite is that one just might get what one is asking for, but as she sees the matter.

“There ain’t no sanity clause.” Chico Marx

by Asbury Park on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 18:09:55 PDT

Dieties (4.00 / 4)

Oh, man… Outrageous dieties… How can you pick just one?

The Greek ones are the ones I’ve got the most experience with. (Not personal, unfortunately, but I’ve studied them a lot.) And they are indeed pretty outrageous… But I think Sun Wu-Kung really takes the cake (or peaches, as the case may be).

“To make life easier and to be happy ended up being two different things.” – Arjuna’s Father, Earth Girl Arjuna.

by Egarwaen on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 15:53:11 PDT

My $.02 (4.00 / 4)

Since I started it :-).

I like many of the Tricksters (though I have to admit I usually picture Loki as drawn by Kirby ^_^), but for outrageousness I have to go with the Baubo/Uzume type goddesses. Even Christian churches had (and some still have) “Sheila-Na-Gig”s.

And please, remember that this doesn’t have to be the only topic under discussion! 🙂 It was just a starter.

by Morgan on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 16:13:55 PDT

coyote (4.00 / 5)

Don’t forget Coyote. So tricky that Coyote often tricks itself & then makes up some absolutely insane reason for doing it.

“There ain’t no sanity clause.” Chico Marx

by Asbury Park on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 17:57:25 PDT

Yes… (4.00 / 2)

… indeed…  Wile E. Coyote … God’s goofball trickster.  

good choice.

…… Cristo Lumen

by br t on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 21:22:13 PDT

I considered saying Coyote myself… (4.00 / 3)

…but it felt too much like cheating. Shooting fish in a barrel and all that. }G{

(/) Roland X
Or, perhaps, flightless quail three feet away with a 28 gauge shotgun? 😉

by Roland X on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 22:46:20 PDT

Just for fun (4.00 / 4)

Hopefully this will start a fun discussion: my favorite deity is Santa Claus.

Let’s step back from that for a second.  I’m not talking about shopping mall, Coke-drinking Santa Claus.  I’m talking about the ancient deities (mostly from northern Europe) who survive in the fur-clad, mischievous, virile Santa Claus.  The American Santa Claus has lost all but the most distant vestiges of the ancient deity, but many of the European versions are closer to the original (for example, several of the Alpine versions – Krampus, Knecht Ruprecht, Pelznickel, La Befana, etc.)

But we can look at it another way.  There’s a fantastic new book out called The Sacred Santa: Religious Dimensions of Consumer Culture by Dell Dechant.  Dechant claims that consumerism is an independent religion with a liturgical calendar (the yearly sales seasons culminating with the high holy season of Christmas) and a deity (Santa Claus).  It’s a fascinating read and it puts the annual “sacred vs. secular Christmas” in a brand new light!

 

“If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe; but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe.”–Søren Kierkegaard

by Mahanoy on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 17:04:14 PDT

Santa Claus (4.00 / 5)

Santa Claus was part of a little fascinating realization for me this year: that most religions wind up being polytheistic no matter how hard they try to avoid it. Think about Santa Claus for a second. He’s got an associated mythology of impressive feats, including a hefty stable of supporting heros (Rudolph, for the most part). He has a great deal of power attributed to him. He’s got a number of associated rituals and holy songs. He even gets sacrifices! Sounds an awful lot like a minor God under Jesus (in the same sense that most of the major Greek gods had lesser “helper Gods” following them around), doesn’t he?

Yes, the “bringing presents to little children” thing is a tad materialistic. But is it really much different in that respect from, say, the traditional festivals of Dionysus? Wine, wine, sex, and more wine also strikes me as a little materialistic.

Similarly, we have the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Frosty the Snowman…

“To make life easier and to be happy ended up being two different things.” – Arjuna’s Father, Earth Girl Arjuna.

by Egarwaen on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 17:51:09 PDT

Exactly (4.00 / 3)

It’s really fun to think about in connection with the FoxNews-watchers’ screaming about the secularization of Christmas.  There’s nothing “secular” about Christmas as it’s celebrated in the United States – it’s just not always very “Christian”!

“If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe; but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe.”–Søren Kierkegaard

by Mahanoy on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 18:04:56 PDT

Well, of course (4.00 / 4)

when Christianity moved into Europe it was presented with an interesting situation: It was a religious sect which had shed much of the ritual of its parent religion, so it was sort of “naked” theology. Hence, everywhere Christianity became practiced in Europe it picked up the native traditions. The regions and cities of Italy all have unique practices, like snake handling or running races with giant pillars, that were practiced in pre-roman times. In Ireland and Northern Britain, many gods, goddesses and spirits became saints, and the Hibernian Christians adopted the native, pagan aesthetics when they created their beautiful gospels (Book of Kells, for example). Most of the Holiday celebrations we have in Europe and America are not so much Christian as European. Christmas, Easter, and All Sts. Day are just Christian variants of rituals practiced throughout most of Europe.

(Sorry for the incredibly nerdy post ^_^;.)

by Caliban120 on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 18:52:07 PDT

Well then call me a nerd too! (4.00 / 2)

One of my favorite hobbies is collecting Santa Clauses, and I especially love those with echoes of his pagan past.  I also have a small but growing collection of books on the topic, ranging from the illustrated children’s book to the academic.  It’s always fascinated me how flexible Christianity was in its early years, as well as in its forays into other cultures.  It wasn’t until the 17th and 18th century really when it began forcing its culture on those it encountered.  And even that was never entirely successful.  Religion is incredibly resilient – it can never truly be defeated until its adherents let it die.

“If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe; but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe.”–Søren Kierkegaard

by Mahanoy on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 19:14:01 PDT

I have always loved Santa (4.00 / 3)

and St. Nicholas!  

For everything its season, and for every activity under heaven its time.Ecc. 3:1

by PoliSigh on Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 20:21:56 PDT

I do too! (4.00 / 3)

I have a Santa collection too. They have to be Old World Santas. No shiny black boots.  Robe has to more or less come to the floor.  Carrying a tree, etc. Maybe with a goat tagging along. (Scandanavian influence.)  This Christmas I found a picture of Odin to add to the display. Seemed to fit right in. St. Nicolas definitely belongs.

gretel

by gretel on Wed Feb 22nd, 2006 at 16:12:12 PDT

Wells and spirits (4.00 / 2)

And the adoption/appropriation of old holy wells and springs as sites dedicated to Marian devotion or to a specific saint.  

And wasn’t there a whole theological discussion in the Celtic countries over fitting traditional spirits and ‘fairy-tale’supernatural entities into a kind of phylogeny of angels?  IIRC, it’s there especially when the Anglicised Scots and Irish were trying to recapture their repressed heritage.  

by Austin in PA on Wed Feb 22nd, 2006 at 09:45:07 PDT

coyote’s out there (4.00 / 2)

throwing a blizard :p

while the radio weather guy is telling us about how all this rain  sigh

What about the Crow? I thought Crow was something of a mischief maker

by A Missionarys Kid on Wed Feb 22nd, 2006 at 07:29:15 PDT

Hmm. (4.00 / 2)

Since my favorites (Loki and Crow) have been taken….I’ve always been fond of Anansi.  As a child I loved his trickster stories — in my memories they are jumbled up with string games, Raffi, and other stories, especially Brer Rabbit.

“The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.” ~ Psalm 121:5-6

by Sweet Georgia Peach on Wed Feb 22nd, 2006 at 10:47:51 PDT

Gaiman (4.00 / 3)

You have, I take it, read Anansi Boys?

“To make life easier and to be happy ended up being two different things.” – Arjuna’s Father, Earth Girl Arjuna.

by Egarwaen on Wed Feb 22nd, 2006 at 11:10:26 PDT

Actually (4.00 / 3)

I’ve never read anything of Neil Gaiman’s.  ::ducks as books are thrown my way:: But he’s on my list!  And I saw the movie Mirrormask!  ::Runs for shelter::

😉

“The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.” ~ Psalm 121:5-6

by Sweet Georgia Peach on Wed Feb 22nd, 2006 at 13:44:14 PDT

Anansi Boys (4.00 / 3)

Track down a copy of Anansi Boys. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

“To make life easier and to be happy ended up being two different things.” – Arjuna’s Father, Earth Girl Arjuna.

by Egarwaen on Wed Feb 22nd, 2006 at 14:07:46 PDT

As a cultural Christian with some idea (4.00 / 2)

of what people mean when they say that you should stick to your own traditions, I do try not to mess with other people’s gods — although one of my best friends as a true devotee of Ganesha, so I’ve been known to buy him the occasional present.  However ….

The best way I can put this is that about 14 years ago, the Goddess Sekhmet decided I was one of hers.

by loggersbrat on Wed Feb 22nd, 2006 at 11:11:17 PDT

this (4.00 / 3)

needs some explanation.  Story? Please? 🙂

“The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.” ~ Psalm 121:5-6

by Sweet Georgia Peach on Wed Feb 22nd, 2006 at 13:45:04 PDT

really? (4.00 / 2)

I had another internet friend a few years ago who was a devotee of Sekhmet (her website [1]).

by Elizabeth D on Wed Feb 22nd, 2006 at 15:17:42 PDT

I’m not much into Indian deities but… (4.00 / 2)

when I had to regularly make what was, to me, a scary drive between here and Seattle at night in the rain, I put Kali on the hood of my car (in my mind). I must say she just loved the darkness and the blinding lights, but I fear she might have been a little too hopeful for a good catastrophic crash.
Never happened (to me) though.

gretel

by gretel on Wed Feb 22nd, 2006 at 16:17:39 PDT

[1] Link was to http://members.tripod.com/SekhmetRing/temple.html

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