Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Deity of Your City

Welcome to "Gods and the City!" I'm your host, Anne Johnson, and I look just like Sarah Jessica Parker!

Well, maybe a little...

Okay, so maybe just a teensy weensy bit ...

All right, already! I look nothing like Sarah Jessica Parker! I didn't like that stupid show anyway.

The always fascinating Hecate posted the other day about modern city-dwelling Pagans and how they might search for an urban deity particular to their places. What a fitting way to end Pagan Values Month! Let's dole out some deities!

The ancient Greeks associated various deities with cities. We should bring back the practice, but we should find new deities who fit the personality of the cities in which we live.

Yes, I can hear you skeptics. "Now look what Anne's doing. First she re-names the constellations, then she creates a custom pantheon. That's just heretical!"

Easy does it, readership.

First of all, this site is called "The Gods Are Bored." And I'm sure you'll agree that some deities are so bored and forgotten that their names are lost to history. So let's try lighting a small bonfire, calling to these, the most bored deities of all, and re-assigning them to modern urban centers.

Why stop there? The Celts understood that deities could be very particular to even the smallest spot. A wayside well could have its own Goddess. Now, think how many of these wells have gone dry over the course of millennia. There are oodles of Goddesses out there waiting for new assignments! Invite one to your small town today!

In this spirit, and mindful that the Fourth of July is nearly upon us, I pondered the deity situation in the big city nearest to me -- Philadelphia. And it is a big-ass city.

The name Philadelphia means (in Greek) "City of brotherly love." So this metropolis is not named after a deity already.

We have a totally open playing field.

And so, after a little bit of thought in the grocery store parking lot, I turned on my car (ignition causes engine to fire, that counts as a fire), and I invoked a brand new Deity for the "City of brotherly love."

She is a Goddess who will gladly (and charmingly) wear patriotic red, white, and blue. Except on Sundays in the fall, when she will attire herself in hunter green. She will champion those who love justice and liberty, those who do not seek to rule over others but rather to work with them on a level playing field. She is an equal opportunity Goddess who welcomes to her stately bosom people of every race and ethnic origin. Her totem is an eagle, her direction is East. Her holy day is July 4.

I thought and thought about what proud name this fine Goddess should carry into the modern world.

All right. Actually the name came to me right away, because I've lived outside Philly since 1987, and I know its people.

Ladies and gentlemen, please give a wild, warm, wonderful "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Bueue, Great New Goddess of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley!

If you're wondering how to pronounce "Bueue," well, it rhymes with "queue."

Now I have given a wonderful city a Goddess whose name will be lovingly chanted at every sporting event, most political rallies, and almost every social occasion except the annual Mummer's Parade.

At times, specifically when teams like the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants arrive in the city for football games, the Great Goddess Bueue will be loudly and continuously praised by the citizens of Philadelphia, for hours at a time!

What bored deity wouldn't jump at a chance like this?

Thalia, do you have any untitled Goddess portraits lying around? Bueue would like everyone to know how She looks!

Now, the rest of you have to get busy drawing a bored deity to your locality. Bueue informs me she will remain strictly in the environs of Philly, never straying even so far away as Wilmington.

Oh, Bueue. How I love you!


Sarita said...

I'm on talking terms with the spirit of the land I live on. Does that count? :)

Wait, but she's a land spirit, not a land goddess...or is she??? lol

Dalesings said...

How Bueue-ti-ful!

THE Michael said...

Bubba, the God of Middleburg? Spitter of chewing tobacco and protector of 4x4's?

I don't think so.

I'm happy with the Green Man, Pan, Loki, and all the other hell raisers of our pantheons.

Tlachtga said...

Hail Bueue! Never a more appropriate deity of place has ever been found, at least around Philly.

Evn said...

I'm glad you don't look like Sarah Jessica Parker. She has big, scary man-hands.

Remember the time I announced that Cardea was officially Goddess of Elevators? This is totally like that. Good show!

Nettle said...

Hail Bueue! I have actually heard her invoked at the Mummer's Parade as well. And once, memorably, at the art museum. She's really everywhere!

Anne Johnson said...

Only in Philly would the Goddess Bueue be invoked at the art museum!

Thomas said...

My city isn't named after a Goddess but it's name is very similar to that of a character from classical mythology.

However, she's a patron of the hunt and, insomuch as she fills that roll, she's kind of outmatched by an existing goddess.

I'm going to have to find someone else.

Oh well.

Hecate said...

Hail Bueue!


Philidelphia the city of brotherly love..yeah, right..what a misnomer...them suckers are about as brotherly as a pack of wolves..I think loki would be a better diety for ole philly....

Tlachtga said...

Yellowdog, you're not a Cowboys fan, are ya?

Thalia Took said...

Whoa, I got a shout-out! Good thing I checked in!

I'm afraid I don't have any unnamed portraits of Goddesses kicking about. They are usually quite specific when They come through.

I don't know anything about Philadelphia, though my Mom went to art school there once upon a time.

I can imagine Bueue also being the patroness Goddess of charming old polymaths like Ben Franklin.

I was just thinking about this sort of thing, having read Hecate's post the other day. I was thinking about the Greek Goddess Tykhe, though. From Theoi:

TYKHE was widely worshipped as the guardian spirit of a city's good fortune. As such she was usually depicted crowned with the turrets of a city-wall and holding a cornucopia (horn of plenty) brimming with the fruits of the earth.

...So I imagine there are individual Tyhkes, in this case, Tykhe Philadelphia? Since the name is already Greek and looks like it'd work as an epithet. Not that I actually know Greek, I mean.

(Ha! Mistyped that 'Geek' first time. How appropriate.)

Also Libertas, I'd think, would have a special place in Her heart for a city like Philadelphia, with all the history there.