Friday, October 11, 2013

Breathing the Aethers: Experiencing Different Pantheons


Every deity belongs to a specific group of deities, which belongs in turn to a different culture. Each culture has certain customs, languages, ethnicities, and symbols in common, and as such each deific group has its own specific characteristics. It is as if each pantheon has its own signature, its own scent, its own sensation. Galina Krasskova in the past monthasked how Greek deities as a group feel in comparison to Norse deities as agroup. I have also been put up to this exploration by a two-part dream I have had this past week where I experienced the Thracian deities in one dream, and the Greek pantheon in another. How do certain pantheons “feel” when you experience them?  The question is a good one, and I thought I would tackle it across a wider arc. 

It’s an excellent question. I will try to share what I have encountered in my limited experiences. This is from a generalized point of view: not all deities of a “pantheon” feel the same, and this is but the briefest of looks and the broadest of generalizations.

The Norse Deities
I have felt that the Norse deities are present, direct, terse, and loud. They are up-front, immediate, immense, and vast.  They speak in few words, but what words they use are clear. They can be intimidating, and I think of them as the strong, quiet type. Sometimes in their case, it is what they aren’t saying that is part of the message. They smell of cold metal on the air. I’ve experienced Loki as cussing a blue streak in a hilarious and socially inappropriate monologue, and yet still have time to find my sunglasses which had been missing for two years. Odin is the most terse and direct, and has manifested an object for me to use as a gift.

The Greek Deities
In a dream once, I met up with the pantheon. I joined them at a resort on the beach for the wealthy. It felt much like being at a tennis club, complete with wearing light colors and a diamond tennis bracelet. They keep more to themselves and do not interact on a personal level as often or as blatantly direct as the Norse deities. They have a heightened love of beauty, of sunsets and shorelines. They are cultured, elite, and civilized The few times I’ve experienced Apollo, I found his presence calculating, lofty, and clean. Dionysos is a contradiction of mystery and approachability. What little I have felt of Aphrodite has been of champagne bubbles and warm scented oils. Ares looms, present, colossal, wall-like, and mostly silent.

The Mesopotamian Deities
This covers a very broad category of three cultures. The Sumerian culture came first. The Assyrians and the Babylonians came next and are much more related to each other than they are to the Sumerian culture. I have not had as much experience with these deities as a whole, but I have hadexperience with the Babylonian moon god Sin. It was a stark experience. My experience of them, through him, is that they are concerned about the efforts of technology, structure, and civilization: a proper place and order to everyone and everything. They do not have a lot of “wiggle” room. Experiencing them is vaguely akin to opening up a computer and examining the circuits: ordered in a way that is difficult for an average layperson to understand. 

The Thracian Deities
These deities are of depth, darkness, and primordial mystery. Instead of communicating in words, they often prefer images, symbols, sensations. They are more physical and give more cues in the body than other deities tend to, and thus they remind me of my own Iluma (the Canaanite deities). Being surrounded by them is much like swimming in a warm cosmic soup that is heavy and presses in on you from all sides without smothering. Sabazios has shown up in a dream as a frightening visage which I first thought was symbolic of a vaporous, white angel of death riding in to harvest souls. Later, I have experienced him as affable, and as giving me a message only to prove that he gave it to me by having a relative who knows nothing of him call me and give me the same message. The Thracian deities have a quite different presence than the Greek deities. 

The Canaanite Deities
I like to use the word Iluma, since it means “deities” in Ugaritic, just as pantheon is Greek. The Canaanite deities are quieter than the other deities and can be a challenge to hear sometimes. They communicate freely through symbols and emotions, and will often put a sensation on your body like a transparency on an overhead projector (if you remember such beasties from the far-flung past), or they will communicate with sensations directly in your body. Their words are sometimes unusual: they can use several words smashed together to represent one word, one concept. They like to communicate in images. Sometimes you will feel their presences for a few days before they communicate, or before they can make you hear them.

The Norse communicate the least in dreams, in my experience. The Greek deities communicate some in dreams, depending on the deity. The Thracian deities and the Canaanite deities have communicated more to me in dreams. However, I believe that all sets are certainly capable of doing so. 

"But, Tess," you say, "you didn't cover my gods and goddesses!" Leave me a note. I'll give it the old college try, or I'll pick my brains to see what experiences I've had in the past with other deities and groups. 



Today Is
7 Magmaru, Shanatu 86
It is the seventh day of the lunar month of Magmaru, the second month of the year. It has been eighty six years since the rediscovery of the Canaanite city of Ugarit in modern-day Syria. We get much of our primary documents of the religion of the Late Bronze Age Canaanites from Ugarit. 

Image Notes

6 comments:

  1. Fascinating! I don't know if you've had much experience with Antinous, but since he's sort of cross-pantheonic (Greek, Roman, and Egyptian at least; possibly with some Canaanite and Thracian in there from way back, too...!?!), and was a mortal to start with, I'd be interested in hearing what your impressions of him might be. He's also quite connected to dream appearances and communications, so since that is something you do, you might encounter him easier than others in that context.

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    1. A fascinating prospect! I've not encountered him before. Are there specific symbols, colors, incenses, offerings, that you would recommend before/during such a venture?

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    2. He's my main deity, really; there's a lot on my blog that talks about him, and of course in my books. But, in brief, a few things you might take into account, apart from his many statue images that show what he looked like, would be: the red Nile lotus, a star below the constellation of Aquila, and a spider (his symbols); storax (his incense/oil); red, black, white, and purple (his usual colors); and as far as offerings go, he enjoys any of the usual foods one would offer to other Mediterranean deities (olive oil, yogurts, pita bread, wine, pomegranates, etc.), and has not really shown any aversion to any food (nor specifically delineated preference) that we've offered to him this far, which has included Indian food and chocolate as well! ;) I suppose, like many very active human males of his age (late teens), he's pretty happy to eat almost anything, perhaps...!?!

      You might also find this particular blog entry interesting and useful from your own viewpoint: http://aediculaantinoi.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/echmoun-and-antinous-and-a-postscript-on-creative-syncretism/

      Incidentally, I had a dream which had you in it the other day after commenting and listenting to your Story-Eyed Youth interview...you were working in a 7-11-like place, and I went there to ask you about dream interpretation. I might have to write you a private e-mail about some questions that arise as a result of that dream...anyway...

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    3. Marvelous, this is something I would be enchanted to try. When you say storax, do you mean Liquidambar styrax or do you mean something related to benzoin? (I have both.) I have a great deal of Work I'm tackling this week through the weekend, and may be assimilating such Work in the beginning of the week ahead, but I would be willing to try this later next week.

      As for seeing me in a convenience store dispensing information, that is largely symbolic of what I do. ;) It may well have been me; I have been known to dreamwalk before. Please feel free to drop me an email. I'd love to hear from you and dream interpretation is something of a particular love for me.

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  2. This is an absolutely fascinating post. Thank you! I keep coming back and rereading it.

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    1. Marvelous. I'm glad you find it useful, Teka.

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