Three parts to a god

I can be a bit of a hellenic polytheist stereotype sometimes, and I love to contemplate the nature of the gods. Often I end up confusing myself and then saying, ‘oh it doesn’t matter because no mortal will ever know anyway’ and then I stop thinking about it for a while.

Yesterday I was listening to an interview on T. Thorn Coyle’s ‘elemental castings’ (one of the ridiculous number of pod-casts I listen to), and her interviewee said something along the lines of believing that the gods had three parts to themselves (upper middle lower) like we do. The other things he said didn’t really apply to me, and I did somewhat take his idea out of context, but it stuck with me.

The idea of there being three aspects to a god (which are all united and in fact not truly separate at all. To bastardize Sallustius a little, it’d be more like rays extending from the sun) really makes sense to me. The ‘lower’ aspect is the aspect that attends our rituals and communes directly with us. The almost ‘diluted’ bit of the gods that we can experience without bursting into flames.

Next is the ‘middle’ aspect. The bit where Zeus is sending rain and Poseidon is governing the seas. This is the combination of the three aspects to respresent the whole deity in their form as Zeus or Poseidon.

The final ‘upper’ aspect of the deity is that of pure divinity. The deity completely unhindered by archetype or cultural boxes of any kind. The part that is closest to the ‘source’. At this level, deities from different cultures that are most likely the same being known by different names (e.g Poseidon and Neptune) would be unified (in the same way that different facets of my personality may show to different people but overall I am still ME).

I really liked this idea and thought I’d share my ramblings. As I mentioned above…none of this matters. I will honour the gods in the same way regardless of how I view them. If I thought Poseidon was actually a huge monkey, I’d still honour him just the same. I don’t care if you are a soft, hard, medium or anything else polytheist. Just honour your gods! 😉

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4 Responses to Three parts to a god

  1. RevAllyson says:

    I love this. I’ve been having a discussion with someone lately about the nature of the gods and how to deal with pantheists in my seminary. Seminary contains mostly people who believe “All Gods are One” which is sort of not my thang. 🙂 She is an even harder polytheist than me. So how do we deal with the monotheists and pantheists without being rude or nasty (there’s no need to be, after all)?

    Your comments above really answer that. It makes sense of a connection cross pantheons that I’ve noticed in odd moments, which never before seemed explainable. I mean… when I call on Hecate and get an answer from Brigidh over in Ireland… that’s really weird. Especially when I have no relationship at all with the Irish gods, you know? But it makes sense… on some level, there is a connection between them.

    Perhaps it’s like there is a source that is a union of everything… and from it come rays of light. Close to that union things become blurred, but as you move farther away they become more clear, sharp, individual.

    Thank you!

    • Emma H says:

      I call myself a hard polytheist and an emanationist. So I do believe that the gods all stemmed from one great source, but that they are no less distinct from this source than we are.

      I believe the gods to be separate and distinct entities, but my idea above does address the fact I believe some gods are the same being known by different names. I mean, how many sun gods can there be? Plus, sometimes we can trace the etymology of names and examine how humans redefine gods over the ages. Ishtar and Aphrodite could very well be the same being, on the highest level!

  2. Seillean says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. I think you’ve given me a lot to chew on and meditate over. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Alice says:

    I found your site while searching for UPG and Hellenism. I’m really glad I found you! Your thoughts are very good food for thinking.

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