Wyldwood

Wyldwood

Pagan Art, Articles and Wanderings

The Nature of Deity

Where do deities come from? Are they beings from another world or a higher vibrational dimension? Are they conscious aspects of nature or perhaps mankind’s attempt to personify the forces of nature? Perhaps they are all of these things.

Is the belief in a deity a surrender to blind faith or is it an expression of love toward a force far greater than ourselves?

Is any deity more important than any other, or more powerful?. Deities, no matter whether they are Pagan, Hindu, Christian or otherwise are important to each of us for very different and often profound reasons. However, as with all things, critical thinking should be employed when working with any deity.

Some religions practice indoctrination; they enforce a belief upon a person, often from early childhood and attempt to impress upon the followers, an idea of superiority or exclusivity, this is extremely unhealthy. Not every person on earth is meant to venerate a God of war for instance, some are more suited to Gods of the healing arts, communication, trade etc.

It is important at this moment to state that my personal belief in the nature of deity is just that; my personal belief. It has been built on (at the time of writing) thirty years of experience, veneration and above all, critical thinking. Other groups and individuals hold similar beliefs to mine about Deities, others still have an entirely different view of Deity even when using the same names that I do, and this is not wrong, it is just their personal experience. It is important not to accept what I write here as fact, rather it is important to experience and question what I write. If what you read here sits with you, that’s great, if not, then you will find your own profound experience.

So, what do I believe is the nature of Deity?

The All

The name ‘The All’ is drawn from the Kyballion, it’s not a completely authentic Hermetic work, but it does echo my own beliefs. One could just as easily use ‘The Eternal’, ‘The Source’, ‘Bramhan’, ‘The Universe’ or any other name which expresses a totality, a true omnipresence and omnipotence. If you feel the names God, YHVH, Jehovah, Allah etc encompass this (minus the highly restrictive ideas of this Deity enforced in the books and organisations which hold it as a central figure) then it would not be incorrect to use them. Those with a more scientific leaning could also refer to that infinitely dense, infinitely hot object before the ‘Big Bang’.

I have also seen the name ‘Divine Providence’ used occasionally in reference to the source of all things, particularly in Traditional Witchcraft.

What is The All? It is exactly that; All. In it is everything and it is in everything. It is the source of all, every atom that ever was, is and will be, every word that has been, is being and will be spoken, every single expression of energy. It is devoid of bias, it is neither good nor evil, hot nor cold, light nor dark.

The all is consciousness incarnate, the will to create, destroy, recreate, to change, experience and grow toward a divine state of being.

Do I believe this is the only “God”? No, nor would I pray to The All. I also venerate a the divine masculine and feminine principles (without being restrictive or gender biased), or as they are more commonly called, the God and Goddess. These are mutable, ever changing, yet somehow stay the same. Both are horned and not horned, dark and light, healing and harming as they need to be. Both create in their own ways. In the past I have referred most commonly to the God as Cernunnos and the Goddess as Brigantia, however I find that restricting them to a name restricts their ‘feeling’ if that makes sense, so now I just call them God and Goddess.

How are Gods and Goddesses made?

There are many ways for a God or Goddess to come into being, here are a few:

  • Some are formed of the bravest, most devout or most powerful people who have been chosen by the Gods to become Gods themselves for instance Aesclepius who was made divine because of his skill with healing arts.
  • Some are born as children of pre-existing Gods for instance Thor who is the son of Odin (Fury) and the Giantess (Titan) Jord (Earth, Terra, Gaia).
  • Some are the divine manifestations of nature such as Thamesis (Dark flow) who is the Goddess of the rivers Thame, Isis and Thames.
  • Some are mortal humans elevated to Godhood by their descendants, usually as ancestors and often personified as local mountains, rivers, lakes etc.
  • Some are expressions of divine or more human principles for instance light, poetry, smithcrafting, healing, night.

Duality or Non-Duality

Are we separate from the Divine or are we aspects of the Divine ourselves? Here I would have to say that we are both. Although I believe that all things are manifestations of The All, I believe that we are both separate in our own consciousness and yet still a part of the source. We may be able to understand that we are not separate, yet we cannot fully grasp The All, mainly because we are finite beings in the face of the eternal.

This oneness is expressed in the language and philosophy of many ancient cultures such as:

  • The concept of Brahman and Atman in Advaita Vendanta (a form of Hinduism).
  • The Mayan phrase ‘In Lak’Ech’ meaning ‘I am another You’*.
  • The Lakota phrase ‘Mitakuye Oyasin’ meaning ‘All are related’*.
  • The concept of the true nature of Krshna in the Bagahvad Gita.
  • The Zulu word Ubuntu which in its philosophical form is seen as the universal bond which connects all humanity[1]
  • The Yogic understanding that all is one and that through deep contemplation we can return to the state of oneness.
  • The Buddhist understanding of oneness.

(*Please note, my translations may not be 100% accurate, however these are as they were taught to me.)

I believe that consciousness manifests on many levels, from the least conscious, non-sentient particles of matter, through the sentient plants, through the self-aware animals and humans and onward through divine beings and on to The All.

There is a belief that even the highest form of the Divine is an aspect or our own minds, that we are in fact in charge and creating our own reality. Part of me feels that there may be an element of truth to this, however, it doesn’t yet sit right with me. Perhaps because I am used to being an actor in the play rather than the director as it were.

In a Nutshell

I believe that the Gods venerated by humanity do indeed exist, as do the divine beings which have been written about or have appeared in stories throughout history. I may not believe they exist on the same plane as us, nor do I agree with the constant light and fluffy depictions of neo-pagan, pop culture, but I do not deny their existence or validity.

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[1] Ubuntu – About the Name –https://web.archive.org/web/20130223104643/https://help.ubuntu.com/10.04/about-ubuntu/C/about-ubuntu-name.html