Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Are The Gods Persons?

There is nothing requiring us to experience the Gods as persons. There is a convention by which we may relate to them when we are in that mode, but nothing defines what the divinities are, and how their energies and essences infuse the world. We have traditional imagery and dialogue, all of which is indicative of personification, but as to whether this personification must be taken literally is a question up to each user and worshipper as to their present moment of devotion and experience.

The personifications are formal means of speaking in human terms the divinity of certain forces in the world. To believe in the Gods does not necessarily mean that one must commit to a personification. It can mean that through the personification, just as light passes through a stained glass window, one affirms the reality and the worth of that numinosity in the world, and that that numinosity is divine. Of course, at times, because we are human and we like things with a face, we may put a face upon that numinosity, but we understand that the Gods are mysteries that may be experienced in multiple ways, and this keeps us from becoming literalists.

Of course, the divine forces that we give a face to are actual realities in the world, to which we stake our lives upon their importance, but the personifications may be seen as meditative conventions through which we are able to experience forces far transcendant to our human brains. Now, that doesn't disqualify, invalidate, or dishonor any of the worship forms that are geared in the direction of personification. Personification is an honored means of reverencing, and should be honored, but it's not the sole means of relating. There will be times in which we will simply experience the Gods in a faceless, personless way, their multiple colors intertwining like ribbons in a pantheistic experience of the world.


Blogger Apuleius Platonicus said...

This, I think, is an extremely important point. There is no need to choose between "personal" and "impersonal" conceptions/representations of the divine. It seems pretty clear that we need both, and that they each serve their own purposes, and serve them quite well if we don't overthink it.

8:23 AM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

Since we have many different modes of consciousness, it would follow that we have many different ways of approaching the divine, and, moreover, I would think that polytheism in and of itself would make that obvious : many choices, many approaches, many culti.

9:17 AM  

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