Regarding Personal Myth Cycles, or: when your understanding of what is, is out there.

So, by now, I can only imagine that readers of my blog know where I fall on the whole treating ‘the Lore’ as scripture topic. For those who have missed it: my understanding (and more importantly for this writing) of ‘the Lore’ – everything from the myths that have made it down to our times to the historical information we have regarding how a god or spirit was worshiped and what their cultus looked like – is that ‘the Lore’ is nothing but historical UPG with the weight of tradition behind it. Yes, even the big things like the Eleusinian Mysteries that attracted oh so many people in the ancient world. (I suppose this would become something like PCPG rather than UPG at this point, but you get my meaning, I hope.) I use “unverified’ in an empirical sense, in this understanding – at no point, in what survives, did a god or spirit manifest in a way that could be weighed and measured and shown to be true in a way that survives and convinces everyone. Do I believe that there was something real, something mystical, something spirit or god driven going on in the various places where and when history tells us people gathered together to pay cultus to particular gods at particular places in particular ways? Yes – because I believe the gods and spirits are real and can do so. For all that we know about certain places and ways of worshiping, we never, at any one time, have a clear instance of Zeus or Hermes or Thor sitting down and instructing us, whether or not we believed that they are real. Thus: it is nothing but UPG/PCPG with the weight of tradition behind it.

This does not mean that I don’t take how the gods were worshiped historically into consideration, in my practice and approach. This does not mean that I throw all their myths out and am completely making up new myths whole hog. What this does mean is that I do not give more credence to what we have from history than I feel is necessary, and it does mean that, if what Poseidon is telling me does not go along with anything we have from antiquity, I go with what He says over what the primary sources might say.

I bring this up, because it’s been on my mind lately. Due in part to conversations I’ve had with others (some people writing about stuff that syncs up with my understanding and experiences with Poseidon, other people talking about stuff that does not sync up at all), and thinking about how myths work in general, but also because of the time of year it is, and the inclusion in my personal practice of Poseidon with Odin’s Hunt. And, to be far, because of the struggles of writing some of this out for Poseidon: a Narrative. I’m finding myself being confronted with some of my possibly out there understandings of Poseidon and His Mysteries – though not all of them make it into stories in this book, and not all of the stories that do make it into the book are personally held ideas about How Things Are. It’s an interesting thing, to write a story that is so ‘true’ for me, and then to write another one that is a neat idea, and a fun way of considering something, but that isn’t ‘it’ for me. (I love writing!) Some of the things that are in my understanding, that I think may be ‘out there’: the dividing line between the Brothers is wiggly and wobbly, and is not always a solid thing. I run into this a lot between Poseidon and Zeus, and Poseidon and Hades, and not so much between Hades and Zeus, though I suspect that’s all a matter of focus. Now, in my personal devotion and my interactions with Zeus and Poseidon and Hades, I have certainly interacted with the Three as distinct individuals, so it’s not as though I’m saying I think (and thus treat) Poseidon and Zeus as the same entity. Because I don’t. I swore vows to Poseidon, not to Zeus. Zeus was a witness to my marriage – He and Hera are the ones who blessed it, and I get that it could not have happened without Them. Historically, in myth and in cultus, Zeus is hailed as the King of the Gods, and I get that – and at the same time, in my personal understanding of the gods, that is a rank that is place upon Him by humans, and it’s not quite like that, and . . . stuff. Except, at the same time, it also is. Except it’s not. But then, it is. See? It’s clear. It’s obvious. It’s straight-forward.

I do think the Three are different and distinct . . . but I also think that in places, Zeus assumed roles that Poseidon previously held, and I think that They share names and myths and mysteries as it suits Them, and I think I’m not going to try to hard to suss it all out, but that when Poseidon gets that gleam in His eyes and starts down the philosophical ‘what are names, really?’ road, I relax, even more, my desire to name and categorize and what-not.

Another part of the personal myth cycle that informs my life regards Hekate. Hekate is not one of the gods I’m personally involved in. We have had zero interaction on o/Our own. She is, however, the one Poseidon was first insistent upon that I honor in some way, and this is why I ever began marking the Deipnon (though how that’s marked varies widely from month to month). There is the idea within Heathenry that our gods worshiped something else, something other, something bigger than They Themselves, and that’s an idea that is not commonly seen in other polytheistic traditions (unless it is – do share if your tradition has something like that!). In my personal understanding of the relationship Poseidon has with Others, Hekate would be the something other that He worships. It’s not quite that, but it’s close. I’m told that She is the One who initiated Him into a number of Mysteries. My understanding of Her has become that she in what anchors the worlds to the kosmos, that She is to the Gods what Hestia is to human-kind. I know there are others who do not hold to this idea . . . and I do not for a moment think that either one of us invalidates or cancels out the other’s understandings, doxa, or UPG.

We are all of us living our own myth cycles, and I don’t believe they can be invalidated by mere humans.

Admittedly, I’m something of a loner when it comes to walking my path. Yes, Beth and I share a tradition and a Family. When our paths don’t over-lap exactly they are often complimentary. When they’re not? We don’t fuss over it much. We do our own thing. It’s not a big deal. I am, in my out-look, a little less firmly entrenched in the ‘hard polytheist’ camp than she is – and that’s cool. (I really live in the ‘we can never really know to a satisfying degree that ends all arguments about it, so while it’s fun to poke at, I don’t get so dependent upon my understanding it clearly because why bother’ camp.) So, while I understand the need for “PCPG” when one is dealing with a particular group, outside of that, I fail to see the need.

The stories of the past – the myths, the cultus paid to Poseidon – definitely, without a doubt, color my understanding of Poseidon. They certainly factor in . . . but He hold the final say regarding how things are to be understood and approached. And, that’s how I think it ought to be. What I want is for Poseidon to be worshiped. I want His praise to be sung, I want His touch upon our mortal realm to be seen and acknowledged, I want to see Him receive offerings and libations, prayers and devotional acts . . . but I don’t care so much how people get there. I don’t care that they line up with my understanding of this god. I’m not bothered if they run counter to my own myth-cycle to the point where we may sound like we are talking about two separate gods. The gods are massive. I want Him to be loved and adored and known – the rest just is not important to me. It’s interesting – I like seeing differences as much as similarities – but it is only going to inform my practice and my devotion as Poseidon Himself directs. And, in a perfect world, it would be that way for everyone.

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20 Comments Add yours

  1. Columbine says:

    I ❤ this so much.

    1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

      I’m glad. I’ll admit it — you helped it form. 🙂

  2. Elerah says:

    “There is the idea within Heathenry that our gods worshiped something else, something other, something bigger than They Themselves, and that’s an idea that is not commonly seen in other polytheistic traditions (unless it is – do share if your tradition has something like that!).”

    I don’t identify as a Heathen but there is this concept in my UPG about the Fomoire. In brief, there are three tiers in t/Their society: The Royalty, the Nobles, and the People. The Royalty are the Fomoire Gods from the mythological cycle people are familiar with: Élada, Indech, Eithne, Balor, and to name some more recognizable figures. The Nobles are like demigods or saints who help the Royalty with their bailiwicks. The People are just that- the everyday people who farm that Otherworld, the traders, cowherds, etc. but very important in the scheme of things. Everyone there worships one Deity or more but then there’s an additional layer of worship: Three Beings Whom the Gods, the Nobles, and the People also revere: The Three Hearts of Creation- the White, the Red, and the Black. They’re actually in the “Lore” as three cows who came ashore in Ireland sent from various sources. The Three are initiators, enliveners, invoked during many ceremonies or rituals. They have Their own priesthood and even mysteries but I’m not an initiate, so I can’t comment on those.

    I’ve been working with the Three for at least 10 years but, embarrassingly, I didn’t know They were deities until recently because they were so personal.

    1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

      This is fascinating! Thanks for sharing. (I love how often cows factor into mythologies of creation or giving-of-things to us).

    2. Jose Prado says:

      Oh crap! That’s the Triad I worship! Even the colors more or less match except Asherah is Green in mine!

      Wow…..I cant believe how much blessings are coming because of this post. Jolene you’re definitely on the right path.

  3. Jose Prado says:

    Well, I’m a Gnostic and we believe in all Deities and Religions and Magic including Yahweh and Yeshua from Christianity.

    It may seem ‘weird’ now but Pagans back then or Polytheist or whatever other technical names and semantics people give them worshiped EVERYONE without exception. I’ve often been ganged up in forums by other Pagans trying to Tell me that Yahweh is False. So I said “A Polytheist believes ALL of the Gods are real even if they dont worship them all. So how can you call yourself that if you don’t acknowledge even the possibility that one in a pantheon you don’t like maybe real? And why blame that Deity for the Crimes of people claiming to serve him?”

    Dig deep enough and you’ll find dirt in everyone’s religion. From Aztec worshippers conducting human sacrifice to traditional IFA and Santeria (Nigeria) refusing to allow women to become High Priests, to the Gelupta Sect of Buddhism inflicting centuries of terror and tyranny on Tibet until Mao tse-tung kicked them out (Sorry Dali Lama, but your sect is guilty of War crimes).

    Everyone has committed acts of brutality and inhumane treatment on their fellow humans. So it’s stupid to say all Christians are evil when their religion isn’t even the same religion that was practiced 2000 years ago. There are secret or semi secret “primitive” Christian practitioners who even still use magic, some like the Gnostic Christian Benedicaria of Italy worship Greco-Roman Deities along with Yahweh, Yeshua, and the Saints.

    They just dont call themselves Witches anymore because Europe has a stigma on the word being associated with Satanism. So they call themselves Healers now. Although some more modern members are reclaiming Strega (witch) as their name again.

    They’re religion resembles Christian Voodoo and Hoodoo and they use Plant Spirit Familiars. But I digress. Gnostics believe that Yahweh has family members including a sister/wife named Asherah (God the Mother) the Goddess of physical creation. She made the Earth, Universe, and other Planets. Everything physical comes from her. Yahweh made the spirits including our souls.

    There’s also the Goddess of Wisdom Sophia (God the Daughter) whom we believe Solomon learned Wisdom from before becoming a Sage (Master Mage), an Ascended Master of the Mages.

    We believe they created the Elohim (The Gods) and so the Gods worship them as the Godhead. This isn’t knew either. It’s Hebrew Polytheism. Hebrews were nomadic Canaanites, so Canaanite Paganism and Hebrew Paganism are almost identical except later another sect of Gods called the Baalim or Ba’als joined their family tree.

    I personally also came to believe in a Third aspect of the Deity Head. One that was Dark and without emotion. Pure logic. I sensed him in all my meditations but I couldn’t find a direct name for him. Finally when studying Hinduism I realized it was Brahma so I worship a Triad : Brahma (logic), Asherah (Emotion), and Yahweh (The Bridge between both).

    Asherah can be……intense. The first time I spoke to her she hated humans and wanted to eliminate us all for defiling HER Children. (Plants, Animals, etc) Now that we have come to know each other she is more accepting of me.

    Strange thing: I thought I was weird for believing in the Triad, Until I practiced Santeria. All three are mentioned in IFA Polytheism! Olodumare (Asherah) Creation Goddess, Olofi/Olofin/Olorun (Yahweh) Creator of spirit, and Baba Nzame (Nzambi) Baba means Father and he’s made of Darkness, logic. I believe him to be Brahma! It may have been that all three used to be mentioned and his name in Canaan was lost to time.

    And in Sumerian Polytheism the Triad is mentioned again! So I was like “I knew I’m not completely bat shit crazy!”

    Anyways ahem. We believe, Yahweh and Asherah have Parents higher than them too. Yes listen to that : God is Pagan, has a Goddess Wife equal to him, And he’s not the highest in the Divine Command. He’s just higher than the ‘normal’ Gods we worship.

    We don’t know this other God’s name. But when I researched Aztec lore they mentioned the Creator (God) and said he had a Father too! Gnostics believe all religions were once One Spirituality.

    Not religion, Spiritual Science, knowledge the Gods and the spirits taught us. We turned it into religion, and Fucked it all up. Then later our ancestors argued about who was right or wrong and tore the semi pure Gnosis (knowledge) away into different faiths that were re-interpreted based on the new generations and the Cultures they created.

    So in short it is essential to a Gnostic to practice all faiths and worship all Gods because we need to re-create the Old Gnosis and then transcend from religion to spiritual science once more.

    And to do that we need to be open minded. We need to let go of bias and judgment and listen. So yes, most Heathens probably won’t agree with our beliefs but there is something else out there, a larger Godhead (beyond the Triad) the Gods worship and serve.

    I love Odin and I love Yeshua, I love Nemesis and I love White Bear Medicine Woman and Sophia and Coyote. They have never said “You’re not allowed to associate with this Deity” sometimes they get territorial oh yeah. Especially in Santería.

    A bunch of Orishas (Gods) are fighting over who gets my Head (Spiritual Guardianship). It’s normal. They do that with everyone. But they don’t say don’t work with this Deity.

    Heck Oya wants me to cast the bones and do Necromancy, Inle/Erinle ain’t too happy about that but she respects it. So you just be you miss Joleen. My issue with hard polytheism is they’re too set in their ways to evolve. So one can only go so far with them. I’m neither hard nor soft.

    I’m water. Pour me into a bowl I am a bowl. Poor me into a tree and I am one with the tree. Remember the old Pagans before Constantine worshiped in Temples similar to Catholics in many ways. Constantine outlaws them, they had to change. They started worshiping in the woods. Hedge Craft was truly born. And it wasn’t a Temple anymore each family was responsible for passing down the Old Ways.

    So the ‘hard polytheism’ isn’t so hard. No matter how they try to conserve the Old Ways they’re only conserving one phase of it in one faith. You’re doing well just being you. Me? I love all Polytheism. If I could build a big Ass Interfaith Pagan temple like Thousands of years ago, and maybe a Forrest Camp and Farm for the Old Country Dweller Polytheists, I would.

    Variety is the spice of life I think.

    1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

      I’ll admit, I know pretty much nothing about Gnosticism so much of this was an interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Jose Prado says:

        I’m thinking of creating my own blog. I’m not sure yet when I’ll do it.

        1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

          I think you definitely should start your own blog!

  4. TPWard says:

    I’ve felt — but never been able to articulate — a connection between Hestia and Hekate, which generally crops up for me as similar offerings being requested, but I believe is much deeper than that. You’ve given me something to think on.

    1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

      I’m glad. recently recently so this particular connection has been made for me, and I’m having a lot of fun exploring it. Not the least because in my practice Hestia does not factor in much at all, as Poseidon is my hearth. It is interesting to see Hekate in such a role and to feel the importance that she has to him. I’m still not sure I’ve got it ‘right’and so far I have zero sources beyond Poseidon for this.

    2. Banwen says:

      Curious that you mention that TPWard, because I felt an instant flicker of agreeing. In my own thought ponderings I wonder if there is either a “sister to sister” connection or either a “Mother-daughter” relationship between them. Hekate who reunites us with the lifegiving light (Hestia) through the dark nights of the soul and or Hekate who reminds us that Hestia is all abound in every star, every person, etc etc…..Makes me ponder deeply too.

  5. Yes!! So much this!! *brain explosion*

  6. Reblogged this on A Matter of Faith and commented:
    YES!!!

  7. Reblogged this on Loki's Bruid and commented:
    Reblogging for the thinky thoughts in the original post and also for many excellent comments below.

  8. Angela says:

    This is amazing. What you said about the interchangedness/non-interchangedness of Hades, Zeus, and Poseidon is so similar to my UPG regarding Anubis, Anupet, and Wepwawet. She’s his wife, but his sister, but him, but not, but they’re brothers, but not, but maybe, but… yeah.

    One thing that I value greatly coming from this post, and I’m not sure if this is just reminding me of it or if you actually said this (super tired atm) is that you might not have the answers and that’s all okay. I don’t know if Anupet is Anubis’ wife, his sister, or him herself, but it doesn’t really matter because she is all of them and yet both her own being. My brain wants to pin down the logic, and I’m trying to get better at just letting it go and knowing that it doesn’t really matter.

    Another thing I wanted to add was that I had the experience some time ago with the idea of the gods having their own gods that they worship. It’s totally UPG, but the theory came to me that all pantheons have goddesses of fate. Take just Norse, Greek, and Roman: the Norns, the Moirai, and the Fates. If they all weave the tapestry of Fate, then do they work on it together? Do they each have their piece? It’s my UPG that there is a Mistress Weaver, one who oversees the entirety of the tapestry, and that puts her as a goddess above the goddesses. It’s not such a weird idea, really, but it does start to make my brain hurt, particularly since it seems to dance into areas of archtypes.

    1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

      so similar to my UPG regarding Anubis, Anupet, and Wepwawet. She’s his wife, but his sister, but him, but not, but they’re brothers, but not, but maybe, but… yeah.

      It is wonderful to see someone able to articulate this experience so clearly!! 😉 (Yes, I poke fun, because that’s as articulate as I managed, and I know exactly what you mean, and poking fun is a way to commiserate? It’s that or cry, for me, anyway . . .)

      Re: not having the answers — I don’t think I said that outright, but that’s my general theme, and the idea I operate under. Can’t have the answers, not the way we tend to like our answers (or maybe, not the way I tend to like my answers) all pegged down and straight-forward. Poseidon has, over the course of two decades, trained me out of that need, lemme tell you.

      Words are so funny! Reading along, I’m with you with the Fate-weavers (I have a different understanding of the Moirai versus the Norns, but that’s largely world-view, I suspect, and it’s possible that I simply have a *better* understanding of the Norns than I do of the Moirai) and that it makes sense that if they aren’t all the same being(s), that they at least collaborate or even have an “over-seerer” whose job it is to weave the weavings together. Still, the second the terminology becomes ‘a goddess above the goddesses’ I’m all ‘meh, I don’t like that,’ and rejecting the idea. Because of a phrase, not so much because I think it’s not a sound idea. Silly Jo. And yet, the idea of archetypes does not bother me. (I’m not sure why it bothers so many pagans. It’s a way for people to get a grasp on a difficult idea that is maybe beyond the scope of what they are used to, and it’s between the gods and them whether or not they ever get around to seeing the gods are real outside of archetypes, and none of my business).

      1. Angela says:

        There really is no way to properly articulate that weird “are they or aren’t they” quality gods have. 😀

        “Goddess above the goddesses” is a weird phrase. I couldn’t figure out how to put it. I suspect its another one of those things that is a little hard to comprehend, at least to me. If there is a Mistress Weaver, is there also other overseers? Does that drift into the realm of archtype? Although, even as I type it, I’mm thinking that most bailiwicks probably run quite smoothly together. The death gods know who gets who, the love goddesses, etc. Does that make the Mistress Weaver an archtype, or is just bigger than I can comprehend, or more ‘alien’? It’s something I mull over and is most certainly another answer I’ll just have to live without.

        1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

          It’s not a terribly weird phrase — it conveys what you mean, or near enough, I think. I’m just poking at my silly reaction regarding it. Also, you used bailiwick in a sentence, and you’ve now made my morning. Thank you.

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