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Birth of a Modern Day Deity

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#1 Pikkusisko

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 08:51 AM

Just mullings... apologies if this subject isn't a new one.

It struck me yesterday that we might not expect to have any future deities. This is the age of rationalism, non belief, and it's catching quick. It's easier to continue in the reverence of an established deity than it is to start paying attention to any "current" ones. But if there are to be any new deities forming themselves in the next hundreds/thousand years I have all my bets on Santa Claus.

When it comes to the creation of a deity- and if you've other theories I'd love to hear them- I believe there to be a few important founding qualities. Firstly, you need to have been a human (or at the least a spirit who was recognised and had a strong relationship with humans) who after death was given a certain level of remembrance based on their actions in life. Secondly, that level of remembrance/reverence needs to have spanned for long enough in order to make the spirit stronger. And lastly, those beliefs grow and turns like a tumbleweed, attaching stories and sometimes even other revered spirits (example; native spirits become combined with recent saints) until you are no longer man but something much more, which mortals believe they can turn to for support and even comfort. Whether or not the spirit even has the capacity to answer the prayers is one thing, but regardless they're still getting the attention- even if they don't personally feel themselves to be the mask people have created for them.

Santa Claus seems to have it all to me. Once man, then saint, then coated in older lore and already existing mythology. Eventually you get a spirit who is far more complex than when they started. A Turkish do gooder is suddenly associated with the winter season, there are conditions to his level of benevolence and punishment for those who disobey. He judges the 'goodness' in others and reigns as king over a group of elves. He's already had several outfit changes to adapt to the way he is currently percieved, had various animals associated with him, and even certain foods. In his Yule season he is celebrated with processions, offerings of food and drink, feasts and song. Heck, I've even seen children pray to him. And once the feast is over he is in the minds of those who believe in him until his next season.

It's really not difficult for me to imagine Santa Claus in a thousand years with more of a 'white walker' appearance and an army of fierce elves awaiting to follow orders to exact wintery judgement on those who commit crimes. The 'naughty' people are brought to Santa's domain in the North where they are held within his ice palace as captives and given trial in a great ice courtroom. Having judged them to either to be good or bad, the elves take the captors to the "workshop" where they are punished for eternity. The victims and families of the victims are given blessings in turn by Santa, and the gift of knowing the person who harmed them is being given fair punishment.


What do you think? Are you seeing other potential future deities (or maybe current- maybe it's just how we view deity as opposed to what one actually is)? How do you believe a deity is made? And do you feel there's a chance this may be the end of new found deity belief and worship?

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'There's rules to this stuff. Wishing an event to be changes elements before and after it. Memories will be destroyed, babies will not be born, potential worlds could be evaporated by your wish.' - Prismo


#2 Michele

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 11:00 AM

There are a lot of nature deities who were never human, only defined by humans. I think there may well be many more and many re-interpretations of existing ones. Look how many grain goddesses and earth goddesses there are, or how many hunt gods there are.... but they are all defining the same thing/concept.

I believe that for nature divinities, forces exist but they are beyond the realm of human understanding so we make them more"human like" by personifying them so we can related to and understand them better. So humans didn't make the force, the god - it always existed. Humans merely made umpteen personifications of it.

As for human divinities. A group of people - usually tribal, today the world is too big and populated for most groups to agree on pizza much less gods - would often have a ruler or a warrior who really saved or advanced their culture/tribe. Since back then the whole group would have believed in ancestors, afterlife, etc., he/she would have been consulted and venerated long after death for his/her wisdom and protection. Stories about him/her told at gatherings. I don't know that the people would have set out to make him/her a god as much as it would have been such an attachment by the tribe that the stories remained for generations until the man was forgotten but the god remained.

The current new gods are technology and money, and the new churches/gathering places are corporations. Neil Gaimen (sp?) and Joseph Campbell both wrote very interesting pieces about that.

Anyway, that's my take on it, lol

M

Edited by Michele, 15 June 2015 - 11:02 AM.

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#3 Caps

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 03:08 PM

I consider that there are some things that are difficult for me to put into words, however I am one who does not specifically believe that higher beings are God entities... That being said, I'd like to toss George Washington into the mix. Just a brief study and survey of the man can easily show the "deification" of heroes. There is a painting of him in the dome at the Capitol building in DC titled "Apotheosis of Washington" that displays him with Roman deities as an equal. His Masonic brothers think of him in such a way, and he represents one of the first non-deity or non-monarch figures to appear on coinage in history... That was only 100 years ago. An archaeological find unfamiliar with American history would ponder who the deity was more than likely.

Edited by Caps, 15 June 2015 - 03:10 PM.

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#4 Aurelian

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 04:41 PM

I don't know....I know people who have been died and already 'sainted' in their traditions. Is becoming an Ancestor or one of the Mighty Dead not one of the pathways by which human spirits are deified? Certainly!

There's also a bloody lot of, as another example, Freemasons who have been....elevated but not 'deified' as Loa. Loads of people conflate them as gods, though, but they are not.

Ah, there we identify a problem, the conflation of minor spirits as gods, but that's not what this post is about.

I like Michele's point about the anthropomorphization of spirits, and it isn't just nature spirits, but that's a really good example. Humanity assigns human traits to non-human spirits, in order to relate to them easier, most like, but if you actually communicate with those spirits..they are quite evidently not human.

I mean, chrissakes, people are deifying Avengers characters and worshiping them! I mean, this makes me giggle(and retch), and it is laughable watching the playgans handle what are essentially RPGers with kid gloves.....this sort is truly bringing some elementary school realness, but at least it's tragically funny.

I don't know, I think the 'god' thing is a racket anyway, by spirits taking advantage of humanity in order to get free offerings while not having to do anything in return. At least in most cases. I'll keep in mind that gods exist, although, I've never met one, except for...what would have to be an emissary spirit claiming to represent an ancient intelligence, but I'm not quite so credulous at this point. I'll just say that such things are not part of my Work.

Pardon the digression. At any rate, it's still happening, or at least, it appears to be!

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"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning."  - Cormac McCarthy


#5 Pikkusisko

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 08:38 PM

Michelle - I enjoyed your post and I agree with you. I'm not trying to suggest there are deities who weren't human although I am beginning to wonder whether or not it's even common these days. Having a 'deity' (which in my opinion just means highly praised spirit- there are of course powerful spirits who can act completely independently from humans) is a uniquely human phenomenon, so it makes a lot of sense to me that as we have become further removed from our original practices tied to the earth and we have instead turned to other humans. It most likely would have been a slow process tied to ancestral worship and our gradual disconnection from the land. It is easier to relate to a person than it is to personify something which can never truly know how it feels to be a human.

Caps- I've found the appreciation for the founding fathers quite bizarre as an outsider. Even the way Abraham Lincoln is treated in popular culture surprises.

Aurelian- Haven't escaped some of that Marvel worship on tumblr... can't even. No words. As for spirits being open to calling themselves deities- I've not come across that either. I have been in contact with a few 'gods' but they have all been quite disinterested and distant from their godliness. I feel they realize they are what they are, regardless of what ever concept mortals like to force on them. At the end of the day it's a freebie, and if you happen to be one of the more obsessive spirits with a cause I guess it's quite nice it keeps you running to do whatever you enjoy doing. A little like a sponsorship.


I was thinking about Guy Fawkes today. In the UK we celebrate the public execution of the Catholic man who attempted to blow up a Protestant parliament every year with a bonfire and fireworks. It would amuse the hell out of me if it turned out this degrading and nasty little act of reinacting his punishment was keeping his spirit stronger than any of those who had him sentenced to death. While I don't think it could move into deity territory, it's still an interesting thought that he could in many ways be considered closer to Saint level.

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'There's rules to this stuff. Wishing an event to be changes elements before and after it. Memories will be destroyed, babies will not be born, potential worlds could be evaporated by your wish.' - Prismo


#6 Caps

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 01:10 PM

I was thinking about this topic a little.. Came to the personal conclusion that human deification is as simple as this: a god is born every minute. Left hand paths often glorify self deification, becoming ones own personal God. I want to see if anyone else sees how that fits into the topic.
"It is the still and silent sea that drowns a man." - Old Norse proverb

"It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war."

#7 Crow59

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 10:51 PM

I've heard it said that man creates god in his own image. If that's the case I don't see why we won't have new deities in the future, though any deification of a contemporary person would almost certainly be labeled a cult. That's not to say that it couldn't endure; Christianity was thought of as cultish when it began and look how long that's lasted.

Caps, intriguing take on self deification. I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts into words, but I believe we are all of God (whatever He/She/It is). I guess it's not too far from "being of God" to "being God".

Pikkusisko, your idea of Santa Claus as the White Walker has Hollywood blockbuster written all over it. Brilliant!

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#8 Pikkusisko

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 09:48 PM

I was thinking about this topic a little.. Came to the personal conclusion that human deification is as simple as this: a god is born every minute. Left hand paths often glorify self deification, becoming ones own personal God. I want to see if anyone else sees how that fits into the topic.


I wouldn't mind elaboration on what this mean and how it's achieved. It doesn't make any sense to me because not every creation myth involves a deity, and while I think having a healthy respect for yourself and your connections (such as nature- being a part of it) is important I just don't understand how you can be a deity without others thinking so too.

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'There's rules to this stuff. Wishing an event to be changes elements before and after it. Memories will be destroyed, babies will not be born, potential worlds could be evaporated by your wish.' - Prismo


#9 RoseRed

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 11:52 PM

Ah, there we identify a problem, the conflation of minor spirits as gods, but that's not what this post is about.


There's actually quite a bit of that going on lately. I don't know if it's a trend with spirits or if it's people hoping for more than what they made contact with.

And the most popular living god is doing some jail time at the moment - drugs and guns and young children.

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#10 Guest_monsnoleedra_*

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 01:10 AM

I think the new god / goddess has to be charismatic in some super fashion which makes them seem higher and more important. When you look to the left hand path self charisma is one of the corner blocks upon which self worth and value seems to be built. They are godlike because they see themselves as being the source of energy and purpose.

The bad thing is being charismatic doesn't mean good or even caring when you consider the likes of Jim Jones, David Koresh (sp), Adolph HItler all of which achieved a near godlike status to their followers.

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#11 Caps

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Posted 04 July 2015 - 03:20 PM

I wouldn't mind elaboration on what this mean and how it's achieved. It doesn't make any sense to me because not every creation myth involves a deity, and while I think having a healthy respect for yourself and your connections (such as nature- being a part of it) is important I just don't understand how you can be a deity without others thinking so too.


===
In a (non-atheist) Satanic philosophy or worldview, the self is the source of divinity and does not rely on outside power to achieve divinity. Some people (whom I personally feel are delusional) do not recognize that people or forces outside of themselves are consequential, in a self-centered Satanic worldview there is only self and many believe themselves to be perfect and have no use for introspection or self-adjustment. In a Satanic worldview that utilizes sonder, the recognition that there are other forces outside of self presents itself, but the individual does not seek those powers as an influence to their lives.

Monsno had a pretty good explanation of it. Didn't realize he was gone actually.

Edited by Caps, 04 July 2015 - 03:21 PM.

"It is the still and silent sea that drowns a man." - Old Norse proverb

"It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war."

#12 Aurelian

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Posted 05 July 2015 - 09:54 AM

This, on self-deification, from the founder of the Sect of the Horned God:



That should clarify things a little bit!

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"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning."  - Cormac McCarthy






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