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odinsson
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 02:45 AM
what are peoples beliefs here?

are the gods purely spiritual entities or do they retain a physical form?

Jagerzen
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 02:48 AM
Or are the gods an ancestoral memory of real people and a good reminder of Germanic values?

Just a thought.

Athalwulf
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 02:52 AM
I believe that the gods were alive at one time, but are now only in spiritual form. I believe that the gods are ancient fallen heroes who have ascended to "supernatural" levels.

odinsson
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 02:59 AM
I believe that the gods not just of the Norse pantheon but all gods were created by the creation of this universe and born of nature (nature is the creator of gods) and that all have a physical form they are stronger more wise and just plain superhuman they utilize (the Norse gods at least) their physical form to mingle amongst people and gain insight into our lives and manifest their wills

I honor the norse gods exclusively though

ĆinvargR
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 03:51 AM
I made a thread of my thoughts (http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=93909) on the matter earlier. Men made into legends basically, as Jagerzen says good reminders of values.

Pino
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 10:42 AM
I think they exist in spiritual form, and even if they do in physical form then our pictures of them are probably wrong anyway.

Carl
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 12:11 PM
Its a difficult question for any faith in the world - and there are many. Not surprising therefore that the many Germanic groups ( Asatruar, Volkish, Folk Heathen usw ) have many varied understanding of what the Gods might be. But it is important surely to decide who they might be -- so as to form a clearer understanding of whose who ought not to be so considered! Few groups would want to greatly honour Loki ( let alone his offspring!) - since although divine as Odin's blood brother, he was not himself of Godly line. Nor did he live up to their expectation.
However we might see the Gods, it is more important to identify them meaningfully.

Ulf
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 12:54 PM
Its a difficult question for any faith in the world - and there are many. Not surprising therefore that the many Germanic groups ( Asatruar, Volkish, Folk Heathen usw ) have many varied understanding of what the Gods might be. But it is important surely to decide who they might be -- so as to form a clearer understanding of whose who ought not to be so considered! Few groups would want to greatly honour Loki ( let alone his offspring!) - since although divine as Odin's blood brother, he was not himself of Godly line. Nor did he live up to their expectation.
However we might see the Gods, it is more important to identify them meaningfully.

How do we distinguish the Godly line from the Jotnar's? Many of the gods were born of Giants and Giantesses.

My opinion is the difference in character between them. Many gods were born of the Jotnar's line but distinguished themselves from the Jotnar by being good and honorable.

Or is it that there need only be one parent of the Godly line for them to be of the Aesir?

odinsson
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 01:50 PM
I think they exist in spiritual form, and even if they do in physical form then our pictures of them are probably wrong anyway.

It is said in the lore that they often visit Midgard and man so we would have some tales of description as we do but thats just general and yes slightly inaccurate

Sigurd
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 02:10 PM
I took the liberty to rename the thread into something more telling. "The Gods" is a little unrevealing to the potential interessent. ;)

Either way - even though the topics aren't completely congruent, a thread that might be insightful is the topic "Your View of the Gods? (http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=76895) - which touches on the question asked and some related ones, too. :)

odinsson
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 02:13 PM
I would change it on your request if i knew how

I will take this into consideration next time i post a thread :|

rainman
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 02:08 AM
I put little weight on the "myths" we have handed down to us which contradict and are cumbresome with fictional bloodlines (which again contradict).

I have traced the origins of Nordic beliefs back to the original Aryans. Where there seemed to be a set of deities identified with the "heavens" basically the sky. They symbolized astrological values. I think in Europe the myths and such are more distorted because of lack of literature and also Christianity. So if you study Indian theology (Aryan) you can start putting more links together.

Anyway even Christianity is really an astrological religion (watch the Zeitgeist movie on youtube). So that is one aspect of the deities which has been completly lost in modern practice. Though you can easily see it in Greco-Roman theology- Venus is a planet as well as goddess, mars, etc. They live in the "sky". Actually Jewish/Christian religion has the same Aryan root.

The other aspect is that they symbolize ancestors. It used to be said that our ancestors dwelled in the sky or among the stars. Thus the astrological belief and ancestor belief were made one. Zeus the supreme God or Thor may have been associated with the sun (same as Jesus). The Aesir are the gods of the Aryan invaders. There is some evidence (though disputable) that there is some link between the Asa and the word "Aryan". They represent Aryan ancestors to me. The Vanir are of the older Caucasion race. They represent those ancestors. "Elves" comes from the Germanic "Alben" that comes from an Aryan root "albos" meaning white (albino). Elves are in fact as well white ancestors. black elves may be the dinaric or alpine dark haired whites (or red) and the light elves are the blondes. Jotuns are foreign barbarians.

Above all I see Asatru as folkish. Honoring ancestors and a folk.


I believe there is also another level. A psychic force. If enough people pray to something or revere a symbol it gives it power of itself. They also are symbols that we put on forces of nature that we experience. I may go to a special place in the forest and feel a presence immenating out of the ground. For lack of a better term I may associate it with my ancestors or the gods of my culture.

Which goes to another aspect: cultural symbols.

That's how I see them.

Psychonaut
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 02:26 AM
Zeus the supreme God or Thor may have been associated with the sun (same as Jesus).

Where are you getting this from? The only known historical association of Zeus with the Sun was the deity Zeus Tálos (Ζεύς Τάλως), who was more of a syncretism of Zeus and Tálos (Cretian for Helios, the Sun Titan) in the Egyptian style then a God in his own right. I've never run across an account of Ţórr being associated with the Sun either.

Athalwulf
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 02:32 AM
Rainman, Zeitgeist also claims that Odin's life was similar to Jesus and says that the Gauls worshiped Thor. How anyone can call any of the "information" in that video credible is beyond me.

Your thoughts of the origins of the Norse gods are also very strange to me (I'm not saying they're wrong, by the way). If the giants are foreign barbarians, how could the gods produce children with the giants and still be considered "folkish".

I also wouldn't believe any claims of "Aryanism" if I were you.

Lyfing
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 02:36 AM
I like to think of them as supernormal sign stimuli.

Later,
-Lyfing

odinsson
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 01:37 PM
rainman's belief seem strange for me and hard to grasp i know when what i believe what i believe because i feel it in my soul, it calls to me


That didn't call to me :|

Carl
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 02:40 PM
How do we distinguish the Godly line from the Jotnar's? Many of the gods were born of Giants and Giantesses.

My opinion is the difference in character between them. Many gods were born of the Jotnar's line but distinguished themselves from the Jotnar by being good and honorable.

Or is it that there need only be one parent of the Godly line for them to be of the Aesir?

Well we would have to say the latter -- for the most part. (There are excpetions). According to the myth it goes right back to the original creation from "fire and ice". Frost giants descended from Ymir, the primal ice 'giant'. The Gods descend from the primal ice being Buri, 'beautiful and bright' who was licked into being by the great Ice Cow Audhumla. Like it or not, there is a polarity; these are the early myths and yes, there are real echoes of an Indo-European origin.

We can trace Odin and his brothers back through Bor to Buri. Yet, agreed , on the 'maternal' side, a 'good' giantess (Bestla); this does not invalidate the other divine line, as some would see it. And of course, Giants were seldom 'good' - which is why Odin's son Thor was kept so busy "in the east".

This is mythology!! I think its important to keep a judicious eye on what is actually recorded in the earliest texts available to us ; they are priceless because, in a way, they are all we have. Upon them hang all later thinking. When the thinking becomes too wild and "off message" , it seems unreasonable to me for folk to consider themselves meaningfully loyal to the Gods. Even so, be warned, the story is never simple because the sources are often confusing; groups are tasked to make the best interpretations from the given facts! The Price of loyalty perhaps? The rest is purely personal invention.... which anyone can do!

Chlodovech
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 02:41 PM
The people behind Zeitgeist are connected to the mystery schools themselves. You'll find more Youtube videos and entire documentaries on this topic if you search for 'Zeitgeist debunked' or 'Zeitgeist hoax'.

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Thrymheim
Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 03:42 PM
To me the gods have a physical form, they may well be personifications of old heros but that does not preclude them from being physical fact. I do see where people who say that they are just spiritual beings are coming from but I'm afraid that I see that as a bit of a cop out on belief :shrug sorry!

Carl
Friday, November 7th, 2008, 11:55 AM
But if they do have a physical form, are they like superHuman beings who sometimes even now appear in the world? The Acedemic text "The Odin Brotherhood" seems to suggest that something like that has certainly been considered. If they were simply former Heroes of the race - or even great and powerful Shamanic figures of the past, then they would be legendary-myths. Yet many others would even now affirm that the Gods do still live ; everything then depends on what that might actually mean. Another cyclic question I think.

Maelstrom
Friday, November 7th, 2008, 12:11 PM
I see the gods as spiritual but also as ideals.

It is my belief that they were based on certain individuals who expressed such traits as we associate with the gods. However, I do not think, for example, that Odin is merely the result of one ideal, but rather many.

The gods changed and I think this is would seem to explain why. Also social trends in the importance of certain characteristics may have led to Odin becoming chief god of the Aesir, taking the place of Tyr.

As far as seeing the gods as physical entities goes, I don't fully agree. I think that at times individuals can exhibit traits or mannerism of the gods, but I don't believe that the gods actually have their own physical bodies here on Midgard :)

Lyfing
Friday, November 7th, 2008, 06:05 PM
Like I said, I like to think of them as supernormal sign stimuli..


Obviously the human female, with her talent for play, recog-
nized many millenniums ago the power of the supernormal sign
stimulus: cosmetics for the heightening of the lines of her eyes have
been found among the earliest remains of the Neolithic Age. And
from there to an appreciation of the force of ritualization, hieratic
art, masks, gladiatorial vestments, kingly robes, and every other
humanly conceived and realized improvement of nature, is but a
step or a natural series of steps.

Evidence will appear, in the course of our natural history of the
gods, of the gods themselves as supernormal sign stimuli; of the
ritual forms deriving from their supernatural inspiration acting as
catalysts to convert men into gods; and of civilization this new
environment of man that has grown from his own interior and has
pressed back the bounds of nature as far as the moon as a distil-
late of ritual, and consequently of the gods: that is to say, as an
organization of supernormal sign stimuli playing on a set of IRMs
never met by nature and yet most properly nature's own, inasmuch
as man is her son.

Primitive Mythology, pages 43-44

But, the following does a lot for me as well..



Chapter 2:
The Nature of Divinity and Deity in Ásatrú

Polytheism: n. the doctrine of, or belief in, many gods or more gods than one.

Ásatrú is a polytheist religion which anthropomorphizes its deities. What this means, is that we believe in multiple, individual gods and goddesses that appear or have the attributes of human beings. One of the largest and most important concepts of religion is the nature of divinity and deity. Within the Ásatrú religion, there is a wide road of generally accepted ideas and philosophies of the nature of divinity and deity. Within the context of this chapter, I will discuss five major viewpoints.

The first idea of the divine and deity is the belief that the gods and goddesses are actual, living beings. These beings were created by the unfolding universe. In this thought they too grow, mature, gain wisdom, and die as does everything else in the universe. They are divine in the aspect of them having a longer life span, more power, greater intellect, and that they are our creators and ancestors. Our gods are only immortal in relation to our own life span. They are not omniscient, or all knowing. In this, our gods can understand us better in that they too must struggle to enforce their wills and desires within their own existences. In that, the differences between a god and a mortal is merely by degree. A god's fundamental nature is similar to mankind’s. The extreme position in this idea could encompass taking the lore as pure, actual fact. This is the thought of the strictest polytheists.

The second concept of divinity and deity which I will discuss is the idea of the gods being a manifestation of forces of nature. In this concept, the gods and goddesses of our folk are seen as being the personified greatness of the natural world. The myths and lore are symbolic teachings in which the forces of nature are personified into entities in order to help with understanding.

Although more pantheistic in nature, this is where the religious or philosophical belief adheres to the thought that it is the universe itself and all of the creation within it which are divine. In this strict case, divinity itself is not conscious, but a type of power which permeates, and is central, in all things. Often, the concept of pantheism is confused with polytheism, even amongst many learned persons. For the sake of this work, I am keeping in strict with definitions. In the light of accepting this concept, the myths and lore would be thought of as being highly symbolic.

The archetype is the third concept in which we will discuss. It is based strongly on the works of Professor Carl Gustav Jung, a Swiss psychologist who wrote many essays and works in the 1900's. In his works, an archetype was like a psychological "well" of conscious and unconscious memory in which new life, enthusiasm, and energy for the soul and willpower of the individual, group, or peoples could be found. In his famous essay, "Wotan" he writes;

"...We must go back to the age of myths, which did not explain everything in terms of man in his limited capacities, but sought the deeper cause in the psyche and its autonomous powers. Man's earliest intuitions personified these powers as gods and described them in the myths with great care and circumstantially according to their various characters. This could be done the more readily on account of the firmly established primordial types or images which are innate in the unconsciousness of many races, and exercise a direct influence upon them. Because the behavior of a race takes on its specific character from its underlying images, we can speak of an archetype, Wotan, as an autonomous psychic factor. Wotan produces effects in the collective life of a people and thereby reveals his own nature. For Wotan has a peculiar biology of his own, quite apart from the nature of man."

One should note that Jung’s use of the word, “race” was quite different than the modern usage. When Jung was writing, “race” denoted what we would consider being a specific ethnicity (i.e. the Irish race, the Roman race, or the race of the Franks).

There is a fourth concept of the nature of divinity and deity within Ásatrú in which I will explain as being the patterns of the evolution and deification of the self. In this concept it is the self which is divine, and the gods and goddesses are an internal function of every human being. In this concept and viewpoint, the gods and goddesses are a part of the self and are also patterns for which one is to emulate in order to gain in the evolution of the self.

The gods and goddesses in this thought exist as models for determining what is ideal and what is inferior in the human condition and psyche. In the gods, we are to see ourselves in both strengths and weaknesses. This is because the gods are, literally ourselves, in this philosophic concept. Myths and lore are believed to be codes for learning about ourselves and how to improve the self, in this concept of divinity and deity. In these thoughts, the gods, goddess, and other beings illustrate the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious forces of the self.

The fifth, and final, concept of divinity and deity in which I will discuss is the intricate combinations of the already explained concepts. In this thought pattern, the idea is that the nature of divinity and deity is not to be defined so strictly. It adheres to the philosophy that the nature of the divine is multi-natured to begin with. Within this concept, the idea that a deity could encompass existing as an actual conscious being, a manifestation of nature, an archetype, and as also a piece of every individual worshipper is acceptable in a vast array of degrees.

The myths and lore are accepted as spiritual truths in which some are to be taken literally, some symbolically, and some as teachings for the evolution and discovery of the self. Deities are not only internal, but also external. They are not only subjective, but also objective. The one thought process which must be foremost in accepting this philosophy of the nature of divinity and deity is, to accept the overriding idea that there is no such thing as contradiction.

Ways of The Asatru, by Michael J. Smith

Later,
-Lyfing

Scott Wodenson
Friday, December 5th, 2008, 04:52 PM
I view them as many, many meaning that they can be all of the following.

-Spiritual Beings
-Physical Beings
-Ideas and Thoughts that pop into your head.
-Jungian Archetypes
- Signs
-The Ordered Natural Forces of the Universe and or Nature.

Combinations of all of these things, after all they are gods.

Hrafnmann
Friday, December 5th, 2008, 06:41 PM
. . . after all they are gods.


Exactly. They are our gods and can do what they will. Variances in manifestation offer no barrier to their indomitable volition. Besides, we are in no position to set limits on beings we can barely fathom with any depth. Believe me, it isn't worth treading the path of presumptuousness.

Oski
Friday, December 5th, 2008, 06:49 PM
Should we add a voting poll to see what most skadites think?

Flash Voyager
Friday, December 5th, 2008, 07:33 PM
IMO deities are the inevitable reaction of the imagination when confronted by the difficulties of a fierce world.

Hrafnmann
Friday, December 5th, 2008, 10:50 PM
Should we add a voting poll to see what most skadites think?

Sure. . .let 'er rip! :D

Winslow Hunt
Friday, December 19th, 2008, 08:44 PM
For me the gods are real beings who are both spiritual and physical depending on what they want at any given time and weren't just historical kings, queens and heroes.
I feel Christianity wanted the elder heathens to believe that the gods are purely historical entities because it was one of the ways that they're godhood was taken from them in the hearts and souls of the heathens. Same thing with labeling them demons or devils.

Oski
Saturday, December 20th, 2008, 03:39 AM
I think mortals trying to figure out what the gods are/were is hilarious. I'm sure if the gods still exist they are all laughing at us and our blathering.

;)