1. jfc
  2. General Talk
  3. Tuesday, 05 May 2020
  4.  Subscribe via email
Much is said and written about DNF's Christian hermeticism and her deep Christian beliefs but far less seems to be discussed about her views on paganism which have, in fact, had a profound impact on the modern pagan traditions that have been reimagined recent history.

There is no doubt that DNF believed that the pronouncement of Christ that ‘In my Father’s house there are many mansions' was a tenet that held great significance. Her strong belief that, as she declares in ‘The Sea Priestess’, ‘All the gods are one god and all the goddesses are one goddess and there is one initiator’ held true for the whole of her occult career. Her vast experience in both psychology and magic led her to hold a view, in harmony with my own, that the creator is like a diamond and each god or goddess is a different facet of that precious gem.

She held the strong belief that the old pagan mysteries, which came from a time when mankind was in much closer contact with the inner world - before the stresses and strains of the physical world overwhelmed the delicate balance of inner and outer - were well trodden ‘tracks in space’ which, if worked either in ritual form or by meditative methods, could be opened up once more and utilised in the the current phase of the Great Work. This can be clearly seen in her novels such as ‘The Sea Priestess’ and ‘The Goat Foot God’ which, as well as being a practical lesson in Qabbalistic methodology serve to promote the use of ancient pagan symbolism as a route to the inner planes. Further strong examples of her nod to the Old Gods, particularly the nature deities, can be found in her workings of the Rites of Isis and of Pan and also in the short story that forms a part of ‘The Secrets of Dr Taverner’ that is called ‘The Daughter of Pan’.

Since her work has had such a profound effect on modern paganism, it would be nice to see it more widely discussed.
Wendy Accepted Answer
The ‘three hares’ image (in which each hare appears to have two ears but they have only three ears between them) is fascinating, not least because like the ‘bi-stable’ image of the ‘chalice/two faces image, you can see either one hare with two ears, or three hares with one ear, but not both alternatives at once. There are a good number of examples in churches on Dartmoor near to where I live and the image really captures your attention in a ‘there’s more here than meets the eye’ sort of way.

You're right, the earliest example of the three hares discovered so far comes from China, in the ‘Thousand Buddha Caves’ at Dunhuang at the eastern end of the Silk Road. There are examples all along the Silk Road and into northern Europe but I think it would be unwise to make any claim as to where exactly the image originated, or if indeed it did emerge from a single location. The symbolism of the image seems to triumph over any attempt at precise definition. It must surely have represented something very different to 7th century Chinese Buddhists compared to the beliefs of those who carved and painted the same symbol in European Synagogues, or to the mediaeval church builders and woodcarvers on Dartmoor. The hares seem to transcend boundaries of nation and religion, and your suggestion that it is an expression of the concept of sharing, continuity and oneness makes a whole lot of sense, especially right now! I must say that the hares look quite carefree in an acceptance of their lot.

I’m not sure what the hare symbolises in Chinese mythology apart from a connection with the Moon. I shall do some research...... but in the meantime, I can add that in the Egyptian hieroglyphs the symbol of a single hare means ‘Existence.’
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 1
Nova Genista Accepted Answer
Thank you Wendy for those very interesting observations about links between Chinese and Western mythology. Perhaps those links themselves are representations of all being part of one.
The three hares (or rabbits?) image appears to have been popping up with regularity of late. I understand that the earliest images of the three hares that have been found were in China, yet it crops up in the west, albeit apparently from a later date. The image appears to relate to science too, being a fine representation of covalent bonds (sharing of electrons in organic compounds). Interestingly, that scientific image relates to sharing to produce stability, and so can be considered to be related to all being part of one.
The cross fertilisation of images between magic and science is not limited to that. The claim by Kekule that he realised the structure of benzene after a dream involving the ouroboros may be apochryphal, but at the very least it shows he was familiar with the image of the ouroboros.
It seems that there could be a worldwide awareness of images relating to sharing, continuity and oneness, that awareness not only spread geographically but also crossing between the 'magical' and 'scientific' communities.
I would be most interested to know if you have come across any information related to the three hares image in connection with Chinese mythology.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 2
Wendy Accepted Answer
I have recently been reading about the Chinese god Pan Gu, who is generally recognised as the original creator-god in Chinese mythology. His name is only coincidentally similar to the Western god Pan and is translated as ‘coiled ancient one,’ although illustrations of Pan Gu also reveal a remarkable similarity to the Greek god, depicting him as a hairy man dressed in leaves and having two horns on his head.
It is said that the physical world was created from parts of Pan Gu’s body at the time of his death. As he expired, his four limbs became the four cardinal directions, his spine became a splendid mountain range, the blood in his veins became flowing rivers, his flesh became rich arable land and his teeth and bones became metal and precious stones. There is something very attractive about this image of the body of the god transforming into the living body of the earth! I find that it offers a satisfying addition to the character and function of the Greek god ‘Pan’ as it is described in Greek mythology which tends to focus more on his unconstrained animal nature than his ability to epitomise ‘All.’
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 3
Wendy Accepted Answer
There is an interesting comment in The Cosmic Doctrine regarding the Green Ray. It concludes section 19 of Part II.

"It is sometimes liable to cause confusion if a 'Ray' is associated with a special colour. The 'Ray' of the Cosmic Christ is that of the Oversoul of the Lords of Mind. It works through the precessional Signs of the Zodiac and contains within itself a whole spectrum or a set of strata of colours of which strata the so- called 'Purple Ray' is a stratum. The Green Ray or green stratum of the same great Ray worked through the force described in the legends of Osiris, Orpheus and Dionysos. It is the true Ray of Mind and leads to the innermost sanctuaries of the 'Mysteries.'

The idea that the Green Ray is the 'true Ray of Mind' is surely not what we would naturally assume. Intuitively, this statement appeals to me very much but I have to say that I have never fully worked out how the Green Ray is the true Ray of Mind nor even how it leads to the innermost sanctuaries of the Mysteries. Yet somehow I believe that it really does.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 4
Alfred Accepted Answer
In a similar vein to the previous comment, I found the following sections from the chapter on Netzach in DF's Mystical Qabalah apposite. It seems to support the position that DF had a clear understanding of the value of paganism and how it works in magical practice, and also that - my personal opinion here - for whatever reasons, it was not a path she was especially drawn to.

9. When his mentality was still primitive man worshipped these images, by means of which he represented to himself the great natural forces so all-important to his material well-being, thus establishing a link with them, by means of which a channel was developed whereby the forces they represented were poured into his soul, thus stimulating the corresponding factor in his own nature and thereby developing it. The operations of this worship, especially when it became highly organised and intellectualised, as in Greece and Egypt, built up exceedingly definite and potent images, and it is these that are generally understood as the gods. Generations of worship and adoration build a very strong image in the astral light, and when sacrifice is added to worship, the image is brought a step farther down the planes into manifestation and acquires a form in the dense ethers of Yesod, and is a very potent magical object, capable of independent action when ensouled by the concrete ideas generated in Hod.
10. We see, then, that every celestial being conceived by the mind of man has as its basis a natural force, but that upon the basis of this natural force is built up a symbolic image representative thereof, which is ensouled and rendered active by the force it represents. The image, then, is but a mode of representation indulged in by the human mind for its own convenience, but the force that the image represents, and which ensouls it, is a very real thing indeed, and under certain circumstances can be exceedingly powerful. In other words, although the form under which the god is represented is pure imagination, the force associated with it is both real and active.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 5
Nova Genista Accepted Answer
Wendy suggests that a reason that Dion Fortune may have written relatively little about pagan work was because of the risk of diversion from other paths arising from the glamour and ease of working with elementals. This does sound plausible. I wonder too if the suggestion that aspects such work are relatively simple might have been a deterrent. In Aspects of Occultism Fortune says ‘In pagan faiths the same principles prevail. The simple soul likes gods and plenty of them, full-flavoured and highly coloured; but the thoughtful man develops the idea of the God behind the gods...’. I do not intend here to suggest that Fortune had snobbish views but times were different then and perhaps it would not have been perceived by some to be a good idea to be associated with simple souls.
In the same publication Fortune says ‘The different gods and archangels of the different systems, Egyptian, Greek, Chaldean, Norse, which are native to our culture, are the racial thought-forms built up to act as vehicles of these primary cosmic forces. Being the primitive faith of our racial culture, their symbols lie deep hidden in the subconscious mind of each of us, utterly ineradicable, and capable of evocation to conscious activity by the use of the appropriate means. All the pagan pantheons contain the same factors because they all have to minister to the needs of a human nature that does not vary very much as to its ingredients from race to race but merely in the proportion in which these are on the average compounded.......Consequently, when we want to perform a rite of any given type we find it convenient to choose a method which is most closely fitted to the needs of the moment and our own temperamental bias’. The needs of the moment would not appear to be a factor in directing her attention away from pagan work because she says ‘The pagans were right when they deified and sanctified all aspects of nature and of human nature.......We need to bring back reverence for natural things, and respect for the body and its functions, and adore God made manifest in nature...if we are to have any real health of mind, body or estate and return as prodigals to the bosom of our Great Mother, where alone is to be found healing for the diseases that arise from too much civilization and too little sun and air’. Based on the above excerpts, perhaps it might have been the temperament of Fortune and her associates that steered the work generally away from the pagan even though she recognised its importance ‘We walk in this wonderful world of ours as if we were not of it, but a creation apart; but we are of the world, and have within our bodies every part of it, and therefore must be affected by all that concerns it. The magnetic quality of its stone and mass of metals, the generating life of animal and vegetable nature, all play their part, but could we bring our intellect to help us, I feel sure that we could attain a result beyond our expectations’.
It is also possible that her concerns about the different reactions some people might have to such work deterred her from publishing more extensively in that area, warning in relation to sacred places that ‘We may enter these unknown regions lightheartedly, but to get away from them and rid oneself of unpleasant attachments is not easy, and help is not always at hand when required’.
Despite these excerpts, which appear to show that Fortune distinguished between pagan and other esoteric work, she does seem to view all the different aspects of the work as one continuum: ‘The red end of the spectrum is concerned with the development of the individual, and the violet end with Group Minds. The Green Ray is the connecting link – the nadir, and has affinities with both past, present and future. It is the Ray of Beauty. The Blue is the Hermetic Ray with its roots in Egypt and Chaldea; it is the Ray of the Magician. The Indigo is the Gnostic Ray of the abstract mind and of philosophy and science, and the Purple is the ray of devotion – of healing – of the Lord Jesus.
We must think of man as being influenced by three Rays at least, for man is a triangle of emotion, mind, and spirit, and we must try to trace the relationship of one Ray with another, for instance the Green Celtic Ray is connected with the Purple Ray through such Celtic saints as St Columba and St Bride, and with the Hermetic Ray through the Magician Merlin and the Holy Grail legends. The Indigo Ray will link with the Purple Ray through the speculations of symbolism, and much that is now dark will be brought to light by science and religion working together.
The Magician is the Priest of the Elements. He works with the powers of the Elements and Nature Forces and he is considerably affected by the changing tides. But the Lord of the Violet Ray, under whom all the masters of the Western tradition serve in this present phase of evolution, is also Lord of the Elements, with power to command the waves and storms, as recorded in the New Testament, and as Priest of the Most High God he is much less influenced by the tides. Where the Magician would contact the Elemental Forces through their Great Regents, the ordinary Christian would do so through the Group Mind of his religion and the Lord Jesus
’.
Whilst Fortune does here appear to recognise the interlinking of the various approaches, perhaps the final sentence suggests that her Christianity may have led her to find approaches other than the pagan more appropriate for her at that particular time.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 6
Wendy Accepted Answer
Dion Fortune has described the initiatory vision or lucid dream she received at the outset of her magical career, in which she travelled in vision to the Himalayas where she was contacted by a Master of Compassoin and a Master of Wisdom. The full account is given in: Gareth Knight, Dion Fortune and the Inner Light ( (Loughborough, Thoth Publications, 2000) page 39

But Charles Fielding (Charles Fielding and Carr Collins, The Story of Dion Fortune (Loughborough: Thoth, 1985), pp. 28-30. states that Dion Fortune had already experienced a similar vision in the previous month when a third figure, a representative of the Green Ray, was also present. It has been suggested that she suppressed this contact because she was concerned that the glamour and ease she felt at working with elementals could lead to a neglect of the development of the other two Rays – the Devotional and the Hermetic - in her future Fraternity.

So far as I know, neither author gives the source of their information but assuming what Fielding says is correct, it would explain why it is difficult to find much reference to the subject of the Green Ray or of paganism in DF's own writing. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why there is less discussion of her Green Ray work, although it seems that she has given us plenty of hints to take up and develop.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 7
Wendy Accepted Answer
Thank you Margaret for posting the fascinating excerpt from The Occult Review giving DF's views on the magical significance of Pan.

It confirms my impression that DF considered Pan to be a very significant figure - but I am a little taken aback to find that this is in connection solely with men’s psychological and spiritual development rather than - as I had assumed - Pan as a central pagan god in Green Ray magic.

She observes that the post-1st World War era was characterised by the breaking down of inhibitions, and that the magical performance of her Rite of Pan was therefore intended to enhance this process because it represented the “sublimation of the sex force from a lower to a higher arc.” She suggests that If the magic worked, this change of alignment would initiate creative activity and a increased vitality of the human spirit.

It has often been suggested that DF’s magical work with Isis played a significant role in the post-War liberation of women, but has her role in the changes of consciousness experienced by men in recent years ever been considered? Do we now think of Pan, and DF's Rite of Pan in this context? I’m not sure that we do, although perhaps I’m not qualified to make this judgement.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 8
Nova Genista Accepted Answer
DF's Aspects of Occultism, Chapter II: Sacred Centres, appears to give some pointers as to her views relating to paganism and the way in which work with the land could be of benefit.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 9
Wendy Accepted Answer
Jeremy, I must admit I don’t find it easy to locate the point you are making!

DF’s aim in magical work was to achieve changes of consciousness in accordance with spiritual will, and that is the purpose behind these discussions. We are told that one of the first steps in that process is to achieve detachment from the clamour of the emotions and the concrete mind.

I think it is fair to say that because this is a Dion Fortune website, it therefore naturally avoids the infinite fascination of other traditions/religions - there is plenty of room for them elsewhere! Irrespective of her immediate environment and upbringing, DF was contacted by the immortal beings of the Inner Plane Hierarchy who guided her work in a certain direction which they believed would assist in the course of evolutionary development in the current epoch, and an aspect of that is what is developing in the 'modern pagan tradition.'

Those who consider themselves part of DF’s tradition and legacy find particular relevance - or ‘contact’ one might say - in her writing; not simply the written words as they appear on the page, but the Inner meaning behind those words in which inspiration may be discovered through meditation. But I think any genuine inspiration or 'Wisdom' tends to come in few words!

Hence the origin of this discussion which isn't an attempt to define paganism or to locate its origin or chart its historical practice, but to reach a greater understanding of its meaning for us here and now, and how it can be progressed, by contacting the wisdom that may be discovered behind DF’s writings.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 10
jeremy Accepted Answer
Hello All

I wonder if this might be the right moment for us to return to the original spirit of this thread, which is to ponder Dion Fortune's views on paganism? Not an easy question to answer - but I think quiet contemplation may bring some valuable insights.

With love, Wendy


I've used my quiet time constructively.

I imagined a Hellenistic world, combined philosophy with fact in the broader context of Western Esoteric Traditions and to do this I required a breadth of knowledge, intention and motivation.

I chose to reprise the roles of Dionysus and Apollo as two of life’s Companions. Casting Dionysus as preoccupied with music and drink while Apollo’s important analysis of the realities of the day were being ignored. I would have thought that this was an obvious allegorical reference to humanity’s penchant for partying while the planet burns.
I touched on the idea that Greek Gods are not Gods because they didn’t reveal themselves through sacred texts because Apollo and Dionysus are primarily only “known” today through the context of ancient Greek plays.
The inclusion of popular culture icons makes the Hellenistic backdrop relevant and recognises that music has been integral to human development and spirituality.

I wrote a ten line play to illustrate that thought and irrational impulse need to co-exist to prevent one from jumping off a building because he believes he can fly and the other from going crazy because he can’t find order in chaos.
Irreverent humour allows anyone who isn’t ready to identify or implement wisdom to laugh or be equally offended by the situational humour.
When a story containing eight dead people and ten jokes left my head, I’d already understood their parts, struck the poses, sung the songs and collapsed laughing at the absurdity that knowledge and imagination is the embodiment of what Esotericism was trying to capture in magical form.

Maybe it's relevance wasn't obvious :D
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 11
jeremy Accepted Answer
Reading through our realisations so far, what rings true for me are the suggestions that pagan magic is 1. comparatively simple, 2. takes place out of doors and 3. depends to a significant extent on individual experience. This is confirmed by DF’s descriptions of pagan magic so far as I am aware, because this type of magic is described only in her novels (it doesn't get a mention in The Mystical Qabalah! )and usually (always?) takes place out of doors. I hesitate, though, to use this as a definition of pagan magic because it may seem to imply that it is therefore ‘lesser’ or ‘lower’ than complex rituals that take place in a formal, indoor, Masonic/Solomonic temple setting. Was the DF's belief, I wonder?
I think this might be the crux of the matter - paradoxically pagan magic is much more difficult to define, explain and formulate than Hermetic magic. And yet we know that it is more significant and valuable than a simple, out-door, devotional ceremony might suggest because - ideally - it involves a direct recognition of and 'working with' the Planetary Being, irrespective of what god/ess forms happen to be invoked in the process: pagan, Christian or whatever.
The final pages of The Cosmic Doctrine suggest that in fact all our magical endeavour should be dedicated to the purpose of raising the consciousness of the Planetary Being towards its spiritual apotheosis as the Planetary Entity, and for me this is the best possible definition of ‘pagan’ magic.
But I find it difficult to identify in DF’s writings any imaginative/magical description, or analogy, or symbolic image, of either the Planetary Being or the Planetary Entity, or practical suggestion of how this 'Ascension' may be achieved. Maybe I’ve missed it? Or maybe during her lifetime no-one had quite reached that stage of perception? I think if I could find something like this in her work I would be clearer as to her contribution to pagan magic.


The European Age of Reason is noted for the rise of the rational in response to Religious oppression and ignorance. Philosophers like John Locke had redefined knowledge as a process of experience and perception and Kant recognised that religions, culture and societies can set aside rational behaviour, but concluded that as individuals it was our responsibility as humans to act and think rationally.

You’re asking for people to speculate on what someone else thought about Pagan Magic. And you provide the answer that the evidence of all her knowledge is contained within the publication of her fiction titles.

To establish that DF had any actual knowledge or experience of Pagan Magic you need to show the presence of Pagan Magic and then show the intersection between the possibility of DF’s access and experience of that practice.

The only facts that I can establish are:
DF was operating within various occult areas from within a predominantly Christian culture and filtered through that framework.
The whole Planetary Entity idea is contained within Greek and Roman mythology as Gaia and Terra respectively.
The idea of Ascension is thought to be an Eastern philosophical and physical journey towards Nirvana to end the cycle of suffering through rebirth.
A view of Paganism is dependent on either speculation, received knowledge from books or direct contact with indigenous people, nature worshippers, deists, animists or Pagans.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 12
Nova Genista Accepted Answer
DF does seem to have said very little about pagan magic but there are some snippets in one of her papers that might help to indicate her views on one aspect of it. The following paragraphs are from The Brocken Tryst, Part II, Occult Review, Vol 56, August 1932, pp 102-107. The main thrust of the article was an assessment of an experiment proposed to be carried out by Harry Price (National Laboratory of Psychic Research) using a manuscript of which DF doubts the validity. Despite that, the following may be of interest to those interested in her views on paganism, albeit her available publications appear to indicate that her views on some matters may have changed with time.

Now Pan and his congeners are the givers of frenzy, the crudest form of the divine inebriation. In psychological terms, Pan equates with the abreaction. The he-goat, grossest of beasts, represents the most primitive form of the libido. Whoever performs the Rite of the Goat intends to liberate the most atavistic aspect of the unconscious mind. The analogy is natural and obvious to anyone who is acquainted with the manners and customs of billy-goats, just as the Cockney child, seeing pigs fed to the first time, exclaimed, “No wonder they call ‘em pigs!”
The goat-formula, then, is a form of unrepression........
.......
There is always a basement to the house of life, and different temperaments abreact their primitive aspects in different ways, as psychology has shown us. Some arrive at a working compromise which would scandalise the Alliance of Honour, but nevertheless enables life to be carried on. Other develop neurotic traits of one kind or another. The ancient pagan systems found a place for the Rite of the Goat; the non-Christian faiths understand its significance and deal with it after their own fashion. Protestant Christianity alone knows nothing whatever about it and makes no attempt to deal with it, except by the blind and inadequate method of repression.
.......
When we consider the general tendency of social life since the war, with its breaking-down of all restraints and inhibitions, we shall see that the formula of the goat rite is not an inappropriate one for the present age, and that we are entering one of the periods when the woe-water of libido is beginning to rise. It is a period of unrepression, like the Elizabethan Age and the Age of Pericles. These periods of the breaking down of inhibitions are also periods of creative activity and a great vitality of the human spirit, for the higher aspect of Pan is Dionysus.
........
For be it noted that the goat is Pan, and the beautiful young man is Dionysus, Balder, Quetzlcoatl, or any other beautiful youthful god. The Blocksberg formula, therefore, represents the sublimation of the sex force from a lower to a higher arc, its idealization, as it were; and it teaches a very important Mystery truth, which modern psychology is just beginning to suspect. It teaches that the loftiest spiritual force has its roots in the primitive and cannot be cut off from them without withering. The presence of the goat in the rite indicates that the sex forces will be stimulated and called into activity; the presence of the virgin indicates that they will be kept under control and sublimated, and that the rite will not end in an orgy
’.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 13
Wendy Accepted Answer
Reading through our realisations so far, what rings true for me are the suggestions that pagan magic is 1. comparatively simple, 2. takes place out of doors and 3. depends to a significant extent on individual experience. This is confirmed by DF’s descriptions of pagan magic so far as I am aware, because this type of magic is described only in her novels (it doesn't get a mention in The Mystical Qabalah! )and usually (always?) takes place out of doors. I hesitate, though, to use this as a definition of pagan magic because it may seem to imply that it is therefore ‘lesser’ or ‘lower’ than complex rituals that take place in a formal, indoor, Masonic/Solomonic temple setting. Was that DF's belief, I wonder?

I think this might be the crux of the matter - paradoxically pagan magic is much more difficult to define, explain and formulate than Hermetic magic. And yet we know that it is more significant and valuable than a simple, out-door, devotional ceremony might suggest because - ideally - it involves a direct recognition of and 'working with' the Planetary Being, irrespective of what god/ess forms happen to be invoked in the process: pagan, Christian or whatever.

The final pages of The Cosmic Doctrine suggest that in fact all our magical endeavour should be dedicated to the purpose of raising the consciousness of the Planetary Being towards its spiritual apotheosis as the Planetary Entity, and for me this is the best possible definition of ‘pagan’ magic.

But I find it difficult to identify in DF’s writings any imaginative/magical description, or analogy, or symbolic image, of either the Planetary Being or the Planetary Entity, or practical suggestion of how this 'Ascension' may be achieved. Maybe I’ve missed it? Or maybe during her lifetime no-one had quite reached that stage of perception? I think if I could find something like this in her work I would be clearer as to her contribution to pagan magic.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 14
Alfred Accepted Answer
Agreed! Also, the most tangible evidence of DF's views will be found in her writing - so that's a project for someone!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 15
Wendy Accepted Answer
Hello All

I wonder if this might be the right moment for us to return to the original spirit of this thread, which is to ponder Dion Fortune's views on paganism? Not an easy question to answer - but I think quiet contemplation may bring some valuable insights.

With love, Wendy
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 16
jfc Accepted Answer
Regarding my metaphor of the diamond perhaps I misspoke slightly with the use of the word 'Creator' which I used because I was speaking in the context of paganism in the light of Christian understanding. A better phrase to use would perhaps be 'forces of creation' indicating that it is not a specific deity in its own right but rather more akin to the three Negative Veils of Existence made manifest and then differentiated into the relevant god forms.

With regard to the rest of my namesake's points I wouldn't even know where to start but I must say, whilst I have been called many things over the years I don't recall 'heretic' being one of them!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 17
jeremy Accepted Answer
I felt like exploring some more ideas while I was stringing up the cucumbers and watering the aubergines.

I should say something positive about jfc’s initial post. I suspect that he is suggesting something mildly heretical. But in DF, you have intellect and ritual and from modern Paganism you could take intuition and freedom. So blending the best parts could invigorate DF’s current works.

I think the justification was played out better 3000 years ago by the sons of Zeus. Apollo and Dionysus are the rational or impulsive representations of ourselves. The heart and mind if you like and balance can be retained when they worked together.

So to wrap this up I’ll use my best Greek accent to play a bunch of dead people and both sons of Zeus:

Apollo: John’s Gospel attribution to Jesus “In my father’s house there are many Mansions” is not a tenet or significant.
Dionysus: (Doing his Freddie Mercury impression) Buzzkilla No! He will not let you in!
Apollo: It’s a way to explain that even if everyone chooses the afterlife experience, the house was so big that everyone would fit in. It’s not a message of inclusivity, it’s dealing with the awkward question of available heavenly real estate.
Dionysus: Yeah? But let’s have a drink first!
Apollo: Christianity is not inclusive. Jesus was the voice of tolerance in a land under Roman occupation, but he wasn’t inclusive. The entire foundation of redemption is based on conditions and exclusivity.
Dionysus: (singing with a West Indian accent) Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, None but ourselves can free our minds!
Apollo: (Getting frustrated) The synagogues were full of Pharisee collaborators, Roman sympathisers, hypocrites and purity freaks and the obsession with man-made rules was absolutely opposed by Jesus ….
Zeus: (Interrupting, walking ominously towards the bannister) You boys had better learn to respect each other’s strengths!
Dionysus: (Using a Mexican hippy accent and laughing) Hey Zeus, we’ll try.
Zeus: (Shouting over the bannister) Otherwise you two will be played by McCoy and Spock on Star Trek!
Apollo: Pass the wine Dion, serious work requires a sense of humour.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 18
jeremy Accepted Answer
That's a nice but pertinent aside Alfred, I'd pondered a similar entertaining idea earlier:

In the same way that Neanderthal or Denisovan genes blended with early Homo Sapiens wherever their territories or food sources overlapped. Religion, ideas and technological advancements all shared the same routes and space.
Here's an imagined history to illustrate cause and effect.
Those lands where people and civilisations gathered along rivers were cursed by neighbour's territorial expansions, at the mercy of invasion, greed and warrior culture. But after those dying moments, survivors were left with new partners, offspring, influxes of culture, ideas and beliefs. They had trading interactions and accessed new technologies and communicated in new languages. Creating accounting to track commerce hurries the need to transition from an oral tradition to the written word. Which eventually grew into the great religious movements, educational centres and philosophies we recognise today.

When it came to Christianity there was a much more rapid transition between localised Paganism and organised Religion. It occurrs when a state, army or leader adopts an orthodoxy. Eventually state sponsored intolerance destroys the lingering heretical opposition and Paganism or the ideas behind those beliefs are subsumed by what we now refer to as "cultural appropriation” rather than a natural osmotic synthesis of the best ideas.
If you want to believe that Muslims are wicked and barbaric or that Islam was spread by the sword and forced conversions, it certainly suits the writers of the Crusader era as well as the modern narrative -
But imagine trying to convince someone that your own society would change its entire historical identity because an invader put a sword to a neck or two.
It's not to say that forced conversions didn't happen, but a more enticing explanation for the spread of Islam could be the Jiyaz tax, which non-Muslims paid directly to the rulers, so there is no financial benefit to forcing conversions ... giving any conquered population a good excuse to pretend to be Muslim to avoid paying the tax would produce high take up statistics.

In regard to the opening comment about DF's diamonds and facets declaration: I don't think DF thought it through.
My preference is a love for Ganesh, but Hindu tradition styles each God to represent various human attributes or goals. Rama and Krishna along with a number of others form avatars of Vishnu which could certainly be described as facets of the same God.
It's become popular to lump in the Abrahamic initiators Yahweh, God and Allah as different names for the same creator, but I suspect it's more to distract from the glaring differences and often deplorable human behaviour that these Gods display in their own Word than it would actually be true.

I've always felt that a more likely beginning of the Universe was a happy accident waiting to happen and then hydrothermal vents, soup and amino acid appeared for breakfast.
But for theists there can't be anything worse than going through 4.5 billion years of evolution to finally develop a strong sense of mammalian sentience only to realise that you're alone in your own head ... and for the past 4000 years Buddhists have been telling you that all the pain and suffering to get here is just an illusion.
Pagans, New-Agers and every other theist or Deist have all felt the same concept of "something", "we're all connected" or "It's all one" but whether they called it Gaia in Greece or Allah in Turkey the only sure reason that a creator becomes a necessary part of the story is because believers require security, purpose and something out there that cares.

However, I didn't mean to digress so far from the fatal flaws in the diamond analogy, because while history requires part guesswork, part prejudice and part imagination, the flaws are pragmatic.
Paganism precedes monotheism so the mapping of a pantheon onto a diamond requires multiple demotions of pre-existing Gods and one new God's elevation to supreme being status.
It's also not a good analogy to equate the idea of a creator with a man made object where none of the facets are equal in size, colour or importance and the ability to cut diamonds is only a few centuries old.

To wrap this up, I like to imagine that Tolkein built an entire world of magic, but when he announced that there would be “one ring to rule them all.” I hope the introduction of what appears to be unnecessary dogmatics is in fact a reflection of the power and simplicity that monotheism holds over any other belief system.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 19
Alfred Accepted Answer
This thread is an excellent example of intelligent discussion and synthesis. As an aside, I watched a recorded TV programme today about the myth/s of King Arthur and the archaeological evidence for the Dark Ages. Rather than providing evidence of a great battle or invasion of Saxon hordes the truth is a lot more complicated and points to a blending of cultures. The main difference was one of locality with an approximate demarcation between the dominant culture extending diagonally up from the West Country. In the end, these things are more nuanced than they first appear, and the reference in this thread to Christianity as it was commonly considered during DF's time is, I feel, a key missing piece of the puzzle.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 20
  • Page :
  • 1
  • 2


There are no replies made for this post yet.
However, you are not allowed to reply to this post.