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Thread: God.. Reinterpreted.

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    God.. Reinterpreted.

    I am not speaking of a return to monotheism.

    To me, polytheism is quite natural.. as if there were only one, then that being is responsible for all the evils as well as the good. In a polytheistic framework such as our own, our holy powers are not all knowing and all powerful. They do as they can with the efforts they can.

    What I am looking for discussion on, is using 'God' as thus; Odin is our Father and King with Frigga as Queen and Mother if we wish to take the sense of a rulership. Those members of his house, his son Thor for instance, and those to whom a pact has been made i.e., the Vanir.

    Yet, I have heard it said before, that beyond the Aesir and Vanir before the creation there was the 'spark' or charge of life. It is not necessarily a god of the gaps argument. Only that respect is given to that power beyond. I am not also referring to Wyrd or some other. One could say, I am trying to blanket cover such forces beyond the holy powers so that they are given inclusive respect and not left out in blots and rites.

    It seems to Lucasian (to invent a term) to use 'the force', even though I admit being fond of it for its simplicity. God is a bit overused, so I am also looking for suggestions as to another term one could use.

    Gratitude, to all in advance for their input.

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    To me, Woden is (one of) the god of kingship, as opposed to King of the Gods; though I can, evidently, understand why folk see him as King of the Gods.

    In regarding the divine I have long pondered the basic Germanic terms holy and weoh, and their compound weoh-holy. These seem to me to strike toward the very heart of the matter of the question what is a god? And, is it a he or a she or one group of many or many groups of many???

    Now the term weoh (Old Norse - ve, Gothic - wih, etc) was, in it's various forms, used chiefly in reference to things divine; from sacred altars to sacred images, and, in one rune tine, to the very hallowing power of the divine, ie. Thunor wigi. At it's root the term means separate, and it contains strong connotations of mystery ... in the elder sense of "ineffable" rather than a "problem as yet unsolved". It is comparable to the "mysterium tremendum", the mysterious and oftentimes terrible aspect of the divine.

    The essence of the term weoh indicates to us that the ultimate nature of the divine is, at least fundmanetally, unknown and UNKNOWABLE, to mankind. Is their one or many? Male or female? One group of many, or many groups of many? In the face of the mystery of the divine all of these answers become equally valid possibilities.

    We see this understanding not only ingrained in the language, but TAcitus himself hints at it in relation to one of the early Germanic tribes whom he said believed it incompatible with the majesty of heaven that the gods be rendered in any human likeness; and while we have plenty of evidence, including the word weoha to indicate other tribes did render them in somewhat human likeness, this art (the fashioning of idols) reveals a roughshod, praeter-human likeness that betrays the actual artisitc skill of our Germanic ancestors. We also hear an echo of it centuries later, in Anglo-Saxon England on the night of Northumbria's conversion. Here, King Edwin's High-Priest Coifi bemoans the "uncertainty" at the heart of the native beliefs and contrasts it with th certitude offered by Catholicism. Indeed, in the Eddas we read of how everything, even the Tivar themselves sprung from Ginnungagap, the Gap of the Magical Bewilderment of the sense, as in Gylfa-ginning, the Deluding of Gylfy. Also, the Eddic bridge needed to span the gulf that exists between "man and god".

    One might say this understanding was the very crux of the religious tolerance and diversity of the ancients. Certitude can clearly be shown as the origin of the religious bigotry of other religions.

    Now, doesn't this just reduice everything to a big load of vague nonsense in which everything means anything and makes anything thus mean nothing????

    Well, maybe I suppose. But here we come to the hallowing might of weoh and the concept of holiness ... of wholeness.

    Just because we can't know the ultimate reality of the gods ... just because we can't know the gods as they know themselves -- hell, most of us have enough problems figuring ourselves out! -- doesn't mean we can't have a meaningful and productive relationship or having nothing to share in our experience of the divine.

    A dog cannot possibliy know the the full nature of it's human master. At best the dog can only understand him in dog terms; which of course our humanity goes WAY beyond. But us humans, being higher beings, can do "alpha dog" and that dog will think, and rightly so, that we have something pretty special together.

    So, that which is holy is our rendering of the our (culturally filtered)experiences of the divine into a cultural form ... a form we can relate to. These forms might differ profoundly, from culture to culture, and might shown infinite variation within a given culture, as each seeks to keep it's beliefs in line with the source of weoh ...the power of which is to cause things to become holy, whole, healthy.

    I don't think that the ultilamte conclusion of this is that all of the gods are just manifestation of one mysterious source of divinity. Afterall, a common charactersitc doesn't mean all things, ie. humans, are really one. Some people get stuck on that, and don't understand the the entire "beyond human though and perception, ie. NO ONE CAN KNOW!!!

    But the Germanic system of thought and understanding of the divine, the fruits of our ancestral experience of and relationship with the divine mystery, is OUR system, OUR relationship. And we'll be sticking with it. Or at least I'll be!

    The measure of the worth of one's beliefs, actually in a societies, is not in the beliefs themselves (which are unverifiable), but in the health (from the same root as holy and whole) of the society itself ... which has a BIG impact on the health of the individuals that make it up.

    Anyway, just osme thoughts have have occured to me over the years on the subject!

    Cheers!

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    In Anglo Saxon, weoh = wig, which Sweet defines as 'idol' (no doubt a Christian influenced reductionism).
    But revealingly, wig is also defined as war, and here we get at the essence.
    It is close to that 'force', or rather 'will of power'.
    It is the Heraclitean 'war is the father of all things'.

    So I would understand the primal term, the weoh-holy, as being total war.
    Nietzsche's will to power; that is 'god'.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Weoh is cognate to the Old Norse ve, meaning altar, sacred space, separate from mundane space. Anglo-Saxon also uses a form of the word to refer to idols, man-made images of the divine. It is also found on an old rune artifact bespeeching Thunor (Thor, Donar) to hallow the object.

    Cheers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamey Martin View Post
    Weoh is cognate to the Old Norse ve, meaning altar, sacred space, separate from mundane space. Anglo-Saxon also uses a form of the word to refer to idols, man-made images of the divine. It is also found on an old rune artifact bespeeching Thunor (Thor, Donar) to hallow the object.

    Cheers!
    ... and the connection with Thor is instructive, as the essence of Norse religion is war.

    And the Aryan root of these words is *Wik-, meaning on the one hand to separate (as we see in the sense of worship), and on the other hand, to fight - the separation between friend and foe.

    So I postulate that the notion of god derives from war, something demonstrated in the Norse religion with its Ragnarok and Valhalla, etc.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moody View Post
    And the Aryan root of these words is *Wik-, meaning on the one hand to separate (as we see in the sense of worship), and on the other hand, to fight - the separation between friend and foe.
    There are five forms of the P.I.E. *weik- root. Another yields words meaning clan, yet another words meaning magic and witchcraft. Etc.

    Cheers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamey Martin View Post
    There are five forms of the P.I.E. *weik- root. Another yields words meaning clan, yet another words meaning magic and witchcraft. Etc.

    Cheers!
    Sure, but they all stem from the root meaning of to separate in some sense or other.

    The clan [weik-] is the result of separation, just as the sacred place [and therefore by extension those who work the sacred] is separate from the mundane place.

    Of course, particularly to a warlike culture such as the Germanic, fighting [weik-] would be the primary sense of the word - that is the definitive act of separation.

    The world is then understood from its very essence as being a struggle, a fight a war.
    From its beginning in Fire versus Ice, to its end in Ragnarok, and so on.


    Thor fighting
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    I hear what you're saying, and appreciate it to a degree, but think it, ie. what you're saying, has more to do with the nature of existence than with the fundamental nature of godhood; which I posit is separate from the mundanity of "existence".

    When I read you thoughts here I can't help but be reminded of the god-name Tuisto; rooted in the concept of two, but IMO not meaning twin as so many would have it, but conflict (zwist, tvista, etc).

    Cheers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamey Martin View Post
    I hear what you're saying, and appreciate it to a degree, but think it, ie. what you're saying, has more to do with the nature of existence than with the fundamental nature of godhood; which I posit is separate from the mundanity of "existence".

    When I read you thoughts here I can't help but be reminded of the god-name Tuisto; rooted in the concept of two, but IMO not meaning twin as so many would have it, but conflict (zwist, tvista, etc).

    Cheers!
    I too thought often of Tiw as we discussed the issues here, and I inlcine to the opinion that Tiw pre-dates Woden.

    In Tiw, justice and war are one, and he plays a vital role in Ragnarok too.

    And yes, duality in Germanic thought equals conflict.

    So, coming to the view that 'the godhead' is separate from mundane existence [a duality in itself], it strikes me that in Germanic religiosity there is no singular 'godhead' as such, because the essence of all existence - whether it be mundane or supra-mundane - is a duality ... i.e., a conflict.

    So the essence of 'god' [and I believe we are discussing this within the context of Germanic heathenry] is gods, plural, and that plurality is by its very essence, one of combat.

    So if we go beyond the gods, so to speak, to drive at the ultimate nature of the gods, and so reach a metaphysic, we have something like Nietzsche's 'Will to Power', as I've said.

    In that very term there is a duality of conflict ...
    power wills itself ,,,
    it overcomes and conquers: Wig, or Vic ...
    it desires vic-tory at all times.

    This is the very tragedy of the Norse religion ....
    and its very essence.

    But it is not an essence of 'god' as in monotheism ...

    The essence is war

    One might argue that that the yawning abyss of nothingness is the very ultimate ground of all this, but the suggestion even there is that in nothingness itself a split is inherent.

    I would therefore argue that in Germanic heathenry there is no godhead in the sense of a One ...
    there is always a Two ...
    a fighting two.

    But what of the mundane versus the sacred?
    I don't believe that the supramundane is completely cut off from the mundane here.
    They rather constantly interact and struggle.

    The mortal and im-mortal realms are constantly shifting between themselves forever in doubt.

    There is a siege mentality in Germanic heathenry.

    It is the religion of War not Peace.

    It is the religion of Hostility not Love.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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