Sep. 28th, 2010

travelyggdrasil: Made by me. (Default)
As a modern Pagan I inclined to believe the Universe was physically brought into existence by the Big Bang followed by cosmic inflation some 13-odd-billion years ago.

Metaphysical cosmology isn’t something I have delved into too deeply, but I have a idea that works for me currently (which is always subject to change, of course).

I believe there is a source of energy from which all the universe is born and will return. Some people call it the All or the Great Spirit. I just call it the Source. I view the Big Bang as a physical result of the Source willing itself into existence. I don’t believe the Source is necessarily a ‘sentient’ force, but to completely honest I don’t believe that it is not, either. It just is. It is not good or evil, it is nature in it’s purest force. It is creation, destruction and rebirth and all cycles of life adhere to this force of the Universe.

For now I ascribe to the theory of three realms; The Underworld/Sea, The Upperworld/Sky and Middleworld/Land. Within these worlds I see the seven worlds of the Anglo-Saxon’s cosmology* arranged as follows:

The Upperworld holds the worlds of the Gods (‘Asgard’ and ‘Vanaheim’)

Between the Upper and Middle realms lies the world of the elves (‘Alfheim’)

The Middleworld holds the world of humans and our flora and fauna. (‘Midgard’)

Between the Middle and Under worlds lies the world of the dwarves (‘Svartálfaheim’) and the world of the Giants (‘Jotunheim’)

The Underworld holds the world of the dead (‘Helheim’)

At the center of the cosmos is the World Tree, or the axis-mundi that balances the worlds and provides transportation between.

As you can see, my ideas of cosmology are bare-boned, but as my practice is leaning more and more towards shamanistic practices I am finding metaphysical cosmology a more important topic to explore.

*Note: Currently my theory on why the Anglo-Saxon’s seemed to believe in 7 worlds rather than 9 like the Norse is that Muspelheim and Niflheim collided to produce the Big Bang and were deconstructed in the creation of the universe.
travelyggdrasil: Made by me. (Default)
Firstly, I am an animist and a polytheist.

Animists believe that everything – humans, animals, rocks, plants, the weather – everything has a spirit or a soul. I view this as a spark of the energy from the Source that I spoke about in my Cosmology post before this. It is an energy and certain kinds of ‘intelligence’ that we can sense and communicate with because we too are a spark of the Source and everything is connected.

Polytheists are people who believe in multiple Gods and Goddesses and view as individual entities with their own personalities and their own agendas and not just archetypes for a male and a female energy/deity such as The God and The Goddess in Wicca. There are varying degrees of Polytheism spanning from Hard Polytheists believing that gods are distinct, separate real divine beings not psychological archetypes or personifications of natural forces to Soft Polytheism, which holds that Gods may be aspects of only one God, or a God and a Goddess, psychological archetypes or personifications of natural forces.

Up until recently I considered myself a hard polytheist, I certainly do believe the Gods are separate beings and not archetypes, but I also leave some wiggle room in that theory to leave space for migration and cultural intermarrying. I don’t believe that Odin, Wotan and Wodan are all different Gods, I believe they are all the same, but with a different name and slight variances in perception that change from culture to culture. That being said, though they have some similarities to them, I would not go so far as to say Freyja is also Aphrodite or that Njord and Poseidon are one. Of course, I may be wrong… I have never met Poseidon or Venus. It is purely on a prominent instinctual prompt that I draw those lines. When I think about the possibility of Freyja being Aphrodite I feel a strong tug in my gut and a firm “No” impression that is outside my own thoughts.

The way I view it the Jotun are spiritual beings which are linked to primal elements of the Universe, the most obvious being the Fire and the Frost Giants spoken about in Norse Mythology. I believe these to be the first spirits in existence, which is backed up by lore speaking of Ymir, the first Frost Giant. As the worlds evolved I believe the next tribe of spirits to emerge were the Vanir. The Jotun and the Vanir are what I believe the pre-Indo-Europeans worshiped before the Aesir moved into town. The Jotun and Vanir are both heavily rooted in nature, whereas the Aesir seem to be more about human society, which is where I base my assumption. The way I kind of think of it in my head is as follows:
The Source

The Jotun/Etins/Primal Forces

The Vanir and The Aseir

Elves, Dwarves, Wights, Ancestors

Humankind

The way I see it is that the Source is just way to vast and complex for us to understand in a practical manner. The Gods are a bit closer to us and easier (though, still plenty complex!) for us to communicate with.

I dont believe the Gods are omnipresent, omnipotent or omniscient. They have more power that humankind, but the only one running the Universe is the Source itself, which even the Gods are bound by.

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Eardcwēn

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