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 Wicca 101 Series - Sixth Installment: Theology

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Join date : 2009-11-30
Age : 37
Location : Minneapolis, MN, USA

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PostSubject: Wicca 101 Series - Sixth Installment: Theology   Wicca 101 Series - Sixth Installment: Theology Icon_minitimeThu Dec 17, 2009 4:21 pm

Wiccan Deity Construct

The main Wiccan view of Deity is that of the Union of the Horned God with the Great Mother Goddess, and this Union is related to the ritual celebrations throughout the year. The God is born at Yule, grows in strength till Midsummer, declines during the Fall months, then dies at Samhain to be reborn again. He lives and dies for the sake of the people and the land, growing with the seedlings and dying with the harvest. The Goddess is both Mother and Wife to Him, depending on the moment in the cycle. This is not, however, an incestuous relationship, but part of the Mystery of the Divine Union. The Goddess is specifically honored during Moon rituals, called Esbats, with the Full Moon seen as the height of Her power.

Many words can apply to my personal view of Deity, that may or may not be shared by others;

1. Monism: I believe that, ultimately, all Divinity and existence stem from a single source of “God stuff,” that both encompasses and transcends name and form (this differs from monotheism, in that I do not claim there is one God, but instead that all is One, and all is God/Divine).

2. Duotheism: I believe in the Divine Union of the God and Goddess, and that all life and Divinity spring from this Union (the Union itself being a dualistic manifestation of monism, as was explained above).

3. Polytheism: I believe there is more than one God and more than one Goddess, that the names and faces recognized by other cultures and paths are further expressions of the Divine Couple.

4. Pantheism: I believe the physical universe itself is Divine, and thus infuses all forms of existence with Divinity, with that “God stuff.”

5. Panentheism: I believe there is more to the Divine than the physical universe, that Divinity is comprised of, encompasses, and transcends this plane simultaneously.

6. Animism: I believe all entities have their own spark of Divinity that is uniquely theirs, yet all made up of that same "God stuff."

7. Henotheism: I believe all views of the Divine are valid, even if they differ from my own; I contend that all God-forms exist, even if my specific practice does not focus on Them.

But perhaps the most important term is nondualism: I believe all these views are not only valid, but accurate, and not at all in conflict with each other. I don't see the nature of the Divine as either/or, but rather this/and.

For clarification's sake, think about the concept of Divinity as being like the ocean. In the ocean, there are innumerable drops of water, broken down further into molecules and atoms even. Each atom, each molecule, each drop is indeed an individual entity unto itself. However, they are all still simultaneously part of the ocean, are made up of the same “ingredients” as the rest of the ocean, and can also split and come together in different ways (i.e., two drops can become one, then join with a third, then split back into only two, etc.). It's all still water, but can be viewed and appreciated in its more individualized forms as well.

There are those who practice what is beginning to be called “hard polytheism,” believing that every Deity is separate and individual unto Themselves, without a monistic, pan- or panentheistic idea of a higher source. My view, in contrast, can be described as “soft polytheism,” since I do see the Gods as separate, yet still pieces of something greater, and in that way united. However, in most practices it doesn't matter if all involved agree on the "true" nature of the Divine's existence, as long as they can agree on the specific God forms being honored. If all participants in a ritual can agree that the God and Goddess they are calling on are, say, Isis and Osiris, and it's understood what these Gods represent, it doesn't matter if one person views Them as wholly individual and another believes They are part of something greater.

In closing, here is a quote from the novel Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny, that struck a chord with me the moment I read it. It struck me as truth, and one of the most concise and beautiful descriptions of the condition of Godhood I‘ve yet encountered:

“Godhood is more than a name. It is a condition of being. One does not achieve it merely by being immortal, for even the lowliest laborer in the fields may achieve continuity of existence. […] Being a god is the quality of being able to be yourself to such an extent that your passions correspond with the forces of the universe, so that those who look upon you know this without hearing your name spoken. […] Being a god is being able to recognize within one’s self these things that are important, and then strike the single note that brings them into alignment with everything else that exists. Then, beyond morals or logic or esthetics, one is wind or fire, the sea, the mountains, the rain, the sun or the stars, the flight of an arrow, the end of a day, the clasp of love. One rules through one’s ruling passions. Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, ‘He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.’ […] they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them.”
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