Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" They're bored, those gods. Many of them. Almost all of them, in fact. The deities we know now are just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fine pantheons have come and gone before the dawn of what we call "history." Their names and deeds are lost to time. *Anne weeps*
Here at "The Gods Are Bored" we honor those forgotten deities. Think of us as the Tomb of the Unknown Gods. Eternal flame blazing -- we know not for whom.
One of the nice things about being off school this week is that I've gotten back up to date on the news and the blogs. (The news is bad from West Virginia, but I'll have more to say about that as the Fairie Festival approaches.)
My friend Hecate had a link to an interesting post about praising and worshiping the deities of your place, even if your ancestors lived elsewhere. At the same time, Jason at The Wild Hunt quotes from a Heathen who believes that deities do, and should, stay with their cultural groups of origin. We will begin by quoting the Heathen, whose name is Stephen McNallen:
‘Pagan,’ as I use the term, does not mean lacking a moral code. It does not mean rituals mixing Isis, Thor, and American Indian beliefs, with a little lesbian-feminist philosophy thrown in for good (or bad) measure. It is not a hobby, a pastime, or an affectation … There are only two kinds of religions in the world. One kind, like Christianity, Islam, or Scientology, lacks any roots in blood or soil … The other category includes the ones we call pagan, or native, or indigenous religions. They are innately tied to a specific people and cannot be transferred to another group without losing their truth, power, and integrity. Such religions are the distilled experience of a specific biological and cultural group from its very beginning.”
We at "The Gods Are Bored" accept and respect "the distilled experience of a specific biological and cultural group from its very beginning." If such a thing were to exist today, we would throw ourselves in front of the missionaries trying to "civilize" it. Fact of the matter is, human nature has been to explore, to clash or colonize, to mix and mingle, and otherwise to scatter "specific biological and cultural groups" to the four winds. With all due respect to Stephen McNallen (because we respect all spiritual paths here), it must be more difficult to get into his praise and worship team than it is to prove you can belong to the D.A.R. Does the worship of the Odin pantheon require a DNA sample linking the follower to a pure strain of Norwegian? Put it another way. If Lebron James suddenly decided to worship Thor, would he be deemed unacceptable?
I think we should let Thor decide. Thor would probably be absolutely, positively delighted with Lebron James. But I could be wrong. Thor declined an interview for this post. He's busy seeking new followers. Not wherever He can find them, but from a "specific biological and cultural group." Uh oh. I feel some boredom coming on!
Hecate's link, and her own comments, suggest that we ought to forge bonds with the deities of our ancestors as well as the deities of the place in which we reside. To put it in my characteristically oversimplified "Gods Are Bored" way, it works like this: When you light a candle to Brighid, dedicate it also to Turtle Woman, or to whatever Native deity or deities reside within your place. This is not a "hobby, pastime, or affectation." This is basic respect and acknowledgment of the memory stored in the ground at your feet.
I would even dispute Mr. McNallen's claim that Christianity and Islam (and even Scientology, for the love of fruit flies) "lack any roots in blood or soil." Please don't tell the Muslims that! Making those pilgrimages are an important part of their faith! And by all means don't point this out to the Christians who flock to Israel in droves, leaving their tourist ducats behind!
All spiritual paths are rooted to some specific place. It's how they branch that makes all the difference. Some branches suffocate others. It's our mission here at "The Gods Are Bored" to trim back the ivy and find whatever species of plant exists underneath all that spreading stuff.
We are especially keenly aware of the ancestral deities of place. This means that all "Gods Are Bored" rituals that occur in Appalachia recognize the Algonquin deities. The Celtic deities. The pre-Celtic deities. And the god who was rooted in Palestine and spread like that pesky Wisteria all over the planet. That busy god doesn't need your patronage, but He can't be ignored entirely if your beloved granny went to church every Sunday.
So, here's to heaping helpings of potent bored god mixtures! Create your own today. Don't know how to start? Touch the ground where you live. Then listen.
Images: "The Bitter One," by Seitou. "Manabozho in the Flood," public domain.