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Thread: Interactions between pantheons

  1. #1
    Copper Member Thorbjorn's Avatar
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    Interactions between pantheons

    As a fan of the tv show American Gods on Starz https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1898069/ I'm excited that more of the old gods are entering the story. This season we see Kali, Frau Holle, Ahura Mazda, Ame-No Uzume, and a host of others. I may have misunderstood, but Thor/Donar may be included in future episodes. In the past three episodes of this season (#2) the most interacting gods have been Mr. Wednesday (Odin), Mama-ji (Kali), Czernabog, Mr. Nancy (Anansi), and Mad Sweeney (a 6'5" ill-tempered "leprechaun").

    I missed Ep. 1 in which the gods had a meeting, in their true forms (Kali with blue skin, multiple arms and all), about organizing for battle, so I didn't know for sure that Mama-ji (Kali is called Maa, mother; ji is an Indian honorific, not unlike Japanese san) is Kali, who is forced to work as a maid/waitress at the American Motel. I only surmised it by her retort to Mr. Wednesday (in their human forms): "You brought the battle to my doorstep. Now I have no choice but to resume lopping off heads, drinking blood and liberating souls... that is if I can switch weekend shifts with Arjun" (gotta have some humor). Arjuna is a reluctant and indecisive warrior in the Mahabharata whom Krishna eventually persuades to fight.

    This clip cracks me up more and more each time I watch it.



    So the point, especially in light of the meeting of the gods hosted by Odin/Mr. Wednesday in an inter-dimensional mead hall, is that gods and goddesses from different pantheons know each other from time immemorial and have worked together. It seems also that they are individuals, not the same deity seen through cultural lenses, as we like to say. In one exchange, one says to another "... as one god of war to another...". As a polytheist I'm not sure how true that actually is... have the gods of war: Athena, Ares, Kartikeya, Guan yu, Bast, Kali/Durga fought together? Do the gods and goddesses of the Earth: Sif, Demeter, Ceres, Bhudevi, take care of different parts of the Earth? Or do they "stay in their lanes"? But it's an intriguing thought. Especially since so many polytheists mix and match and blend pantheons.
    Last edited by Juniper; 26 Mar 2019 at 19:17. Reason: font color removed to make legible on dark themes
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  2. #2
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    Re: Interactions between pantheons

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorbjorn View Post
    As a fan of the tv show American Gods on Starz https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1898069/ I'm excited that more of the old gods are entering the story. This season we see Kali, Frau Holle, Ahura Mazda, Ame-No Uzume, and a host of others. I may have misunderstood, but Thor/Donar may be included in future episodes. In the past three episodes of this season (#2) the most interacting gods have been Mr. Wednesday (Odin), Mama-ji (Kali), Czernabog, Mr. Nancy (Anansi), and Mad Sweeney (a 6'5" ill-tempered "leprechaun").

    I missed Ep. 1 in which the gods had a meeting, in their true forms (Kali with blue skin, multiple arms and all), about organizing for battle, so I didn't know for sure that Mama-ji (Kali is called Maa, mother; ji is an Indian honorific, not unlike Japanese san) is Kali, who is forced to work as a maid/waitress at the American Motel. I only surmised it by her retort to Mr. Wednesday (in their human forms): "You brought the battle to my doorstep. Now I have no choice but to resume lopping off heads, drinking blood and liberating souls... that is if I can switch weekend shifts with Arjun" (gotta have some humor). Arjuna is a reluctant and indecisive warrior in the Mahabharata whom Krishna eventually persuades to fight.

    This clip cracks me up more and more each time I watch it.



    So the point, especially in light of the meeting of the gods hosted by Odin/Mr. Wednesday in an inter-dimensional mead hall, is that gods and goddesses from different pantheons know each other from time immemorial and have worked together. It seems also that they are individuals, not the same deity seen through cultural lenses, as we like to say. In one exchange, one says to another "... as one god of war to another...". As a polytheist I'm not sure how true that actually is... have the gods of war: Athena, Ares, Kartikeya, Guan yu, Bast, Kali/Durga fought together? Do the gods and goddesses of the Earth: Sif, Demeter, Ceres, Bhudevi, take care of different parts of the Earth? Or do they "stay in their lanes"? But it's an intriguing thought. Especially since so many polytheists mix and match and blend pantheons.
    Ahura Mazda is showing up on TV? I may look into this just to see that happen.
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  3. #3
    Copper Member Thorbjorn's Avatar
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    Re: Interactions between pantheons

    Quote Originally Posted by MaskedOne View Post
    Ahura Mazda is showing up on TV? I may look into this just to see that happen.
    Yeah, he is one of the gods at Odin's war meeting. He didn't speak, only his face was shown. The actor is Al Maini.

    Ahura-Mazda.jpg


    Extra special bonus: Mama-ji aka Goddess Kali.

    Mama-Ji.jpg
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    Sleepy Optimistic discord's Avatar
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    Re: Interactions between pantheons

    Hi,
    From a European perspective, our ancestors were highly mobile, and had contact with many cultures and ideas.

    There was considerable overlap and assimilation of ideas, especially spiritually. But it should also be noted that with the exception of a few attempts to merge gods to appease certain politics, most pantheons were considered to be seperate beings.

    That said, I think we tend to have a very stratified idea of how our ancestors viewed and interacted with god's and spirits.
    One that is probably not at all realistic, and one that tends to glorify the practices of the nobility rather than the general populace.

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Interactions between pantheons

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorbjorn View Post
    As a polytheist I'm not sure how true that actually is... have the gods of war: Athena, Ares, Kartikeya, Guan yu, Bast, Kali/Durga fought together? Do the gods and goddesses of the Earth: Sif, Demeter, Ceres, Bhudevi, take care of different parts of the Earth? Or do they "stay in their lanes"? But it's an intriguing thought. Especially since so many polytheists mix and match and blend pantheons.
    As a hard polytheist, I have personal experience with cross-pantheon networking. It fould be unfounded UPG, or it could be a symptom of the deities I work with being either Northern (who have a rich history of inclusiveness and syncretism) or Demons (many of whom are demonised deities of non-Abrahamic pantheons). Most notably, I have been sent to learn at the feet of a deity from another pantheon, who may have accepted me purely because my husband is a devotee of Her husband (which we didn't realise until after the fact). To this day I consider Ereshkigal to be one of my honored deities, even though She is neither Northern nor a Demon.

    So yes, I do think that certain deities have encountered deities from other pantheons, and that in some cases they maintain ongoing relationships. Some may have little reason ro, but others do. In my experiences, deities of the Dead maintain lines of communication between their realms. And while I don't work with deities of war, I think it's just as likely that they have healthy rivalries as alliances.

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    Copper Member Thorbjorn's Avatar
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    Re: Interactions between pantheons

    Interesting thoughts, thanks.

    I'm a semi-hard polytheist, like Jarlsberg cheese. We have a plethora of gods and goddesses in Hinduism, many or most of whom are manifestations, forms, incarnations or avatars of the major gods Vishnu, Shiva, and Devi (the Goddess). This is in the puranas and itihasas (stories, histories, epics, "mythology"). These manifestations, forms, incarnations or avatars can have their own manifestations, forms, incarnations or avatars. For example, Parvati is the wife of Shiva and considered the source of all the goddess forms... Durga the warrior appeared from Parvati when the gods gave Parvati all their weapons. As the battle looked hopeless, Durga became so enraged she manifested as Kali. Yet all three forms of the goddess exist(ed) at the same time.
    śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ


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