As covered previously I’m a devotee of Artemis, but I wasnt’ always this way. My belief in the gods has morphed over the years I’ve been a pagan from hard polytheist to atheist to soft polytheist, which is where I sit now. How can I be both a devotee of Artemis, a singluar Goddess of a specific pantheon, AND a soft polytheist who believes that all gods are faces of one divine unity? Easy. It’s faith. It doesn’t always have to make sense, though it’s nice when it happens.
Soft polytheists, such as myself, see the gods and goddesses as parts of a divine whole or as part of a larger God and Goddess. Many Wiccans, probably most I would guess, fall into this catagory. The God and Goddess are *all* gods and goddesses, which is why during esbats and sabbats it’s normal to invoke a specific deity and follow it with the Charge of the Goddess (or God, though that’s much rarer).
|Stella, Sol and Luna by Selina Fenech|
Hard polytheists often make up the Reconstructionist paths, the Celtcs, Hellenics and Heathens and Asatruar. These Pagans see the Gods and Goddesses each as individual beings, powerful and alive and actually existing. Where, I’m not sure, but Somewhere. Our prayers are heard, our offerings appreciated, and it’s more of an actual relationship.
It doesn’t matter to me who’s ‘right’ in their thinking. There is no right or wrong here because it can’t be empirically proven either way. Proof of the gods, outside of individual experience, is not really proof at all, so it’s a moot point to try and make. I’d be happy to go to a Hellenic Reconstructionist ritual sometime, as I have a feeling that I’d be quite comfortable there, just as I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing with the Aquarian Tabernacle Church and Wicca. For me there’s no division or chasm between the two ‘sides’. It’s a non-issue, though for some Pagans I realize it’s a Big Deal. ‘An it harm none, do as you will’ is how I choose to act here; someone choosing to believe in the Divine in their own way is none of my business and more power to them, as long as they’re not hurting themselves or anyone else.
How do you see the Gods? Do you have a personal relationship with them or is it more professional and distant?