Re: Divine identities

Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 13:08:25 -0000

Alex :

>multiplicity of gods, or the mystery of the Trinity, or the
>of the identifications between different RW pantheons. (i.e., to
>out Nick Brooke's old example, supposedly in this account of
>either Jupiter is not Zeus, or he _is_ a werewolf...)

I think your reference to panentheist theories (I think you specificaly
mentioned Hinduism) is apt. They would probably say that clearly Orlanth
has destructive aspects. Shargas is a god of destruction, so therefore there is a conection. They would not afaik therefore identify Orlanth with Shargash. They would simplky say that they share a part of their natures at some transcendent level.

To panentheists, gods are not discrete entities in the way that we believe that people are discrete entities. Rather, there is a cosmic divine essence that is all pervasive. Our eyes are designed to detect particular wavelengths of light, within certainranges of wavelength. In reality, light exists at (effectively) a continuous range of wavelengths that is not meaningfully decribed by the way our eyes detect it.

A creature with different eyes would see different ranges of wavelengths
and define them differently to us. So it is with mortal perception of the divine world. Different cultures develop different magical methods of percieving the otherworld and interacting with it, and so they develop different ritual, magical and mythical language to understand and interact with it. You can't cut and paste concepts from one system to the other without encountering inconsistencies. Similarly, you can only transfer very basic words and meanings from language to another, say english and chinese. Many words and phrases have similar meanings, but those meanings mutate in radicaly different ways depending on context. Nevertheless, we share a common emotional and rational experience of life that we can recognise in each other.

The recent discussion of what Lodril meeting and wrestling with his opposite, and integrating it is makign an important point. Sometimes when a god 9and hence a heroquester) meets an opponent and defeats it, you cannot therefore simply say that they must be different entities. The myth may actualy tell us that the god has conquered some inner flaw or tendency that was personified in his opponent. If Shargash defeated Zorak Zoran, then he has actualy defeated Hate. Was it the Hate in others, or the Hate in himself?

Simon Hibbs

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