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- a collection of essays on Neodruidic Studies
- a journal of Post-Reconstructionist Neopaganism





Sunday, September 11, 2011

Part II of POST-Reconstructionism...

"Vetting" our deities?
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Please see my previous post for the explanation of the context for this material.  
A downloadable PDF of the form below is linked HERE...
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Hmm, let's see, where did we leave off last time?  Oh, yeah...

...WHAT ?



YOU SAY WE SHOULD BE 
"VETTING" 
OUR DEITIES - ??

( Damn straight... )

P o s t - R e c o n s t r u c t i o n i s m
 a new (?) vector for Neopagan Druidism


Part II


EHUMERIZATION is a term for the intentional religious action, or accidental folk-process, in which a heroic or otherwise legendary character from the lore of a people becomes elevated from the status of remarkable mortal-being to that of a deity or exalted spirit, worthy of religious veneration.

SO, using the following (IMO, not unreasonable) form, how do you think the following candidates would fare if vetted for their actual historical or contemporary qualification as a "deity" ?

EXAMPLE CANDIDATES - a mix for comparison:



Zeus; Demeter; Hermes; Herakles
Cernunnos; Lugos; Taranis; Ogmios 
In Dagda; Mannanan; Brighid; Lugh; Cuchulainn
Rhiannon; Arianrhod; Cerridwen; Taliesin; Merlin
Odin; Tiw; The Norns; Freya; Thor; Balder

I intentionally mixed up the list of sample deities to include a lot of "sure things" layered with some who are not. 

Let's see... there's:

1.) the "Sure-Things"
- plenty of evidence of being worshipped as deities in the ancient world. 
(Greeks, Romans)

2.) the "Certain, but without surviving lore"  
- (Romano Gaulish is a good example)

3.) the "Certain, but sources expurgated"
- only surviving lore transcribed by Christian clerics and historians, living roughly contemporary with their sources (Norse, Germanic)

4.) the "Likely, but sources expurgated"
 - only surviving lore is heroic, no one is referred to as a deity, written by Christian clerics many hundreds of years afterward. (the entire Irish corpus)

5.) the "Speculative, literary"
- based on isolated texts of heroic material referring to none of its characters as deities 
( Welsh (Mabinogion))

6.) the "Speculative, folkways"
- based on active folk traditions collected over the last 500 years.

Yep, I'm not ashamed to admit for myself and the rest of us that to a greater or lesser degree we're playing-out a big Druid-"Field of Dreams" operation.

SO... let's coax them out of that cornfield.


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THE FORM:


VETTING OF DEITY-CANDIDATE

for
FORMAL CONTEMPORARY EHUMERIZATION


1.) Name of candidate spirit/character


2.) Region / culture(s) involved


3.) Estimated time-range this spirit/character was venerated (years BCE/CE)


4.) Estimated time this spirit/character fell out of ongoing formal/public worship.


5.) Did this spirit figure as a character in specific heroic (or other) ancient lore?


6.) Did this individual appear in multiple stories; or in multiple sources?


7.) Was that lore primarily “heroic” lore, telling the stories of a great mortal’s life, or when and to what degree did it contain esoteric elements implying the character was in part or wholly supernatural? Give examples.


8.) Have archaeologists discovered clear evidence of shrines or temples and/or offerings made, or dedicated to the veneration of this spirit/character?


9.) Does the historical record give us mention of worship at shrines or temples, or celebrations dedicated to this individual as an exalted spirit worthy of veneration?


10.) Were said sources writing in a time contemporary with or closely-to the time of said worship? Were the sources quoted relatively friendly-to their subject or could their writing be seen as libeling them as savage, deluded or un-civilized?


11.) MITIGATING FACTORS…

In the case in which the candidate does not do well in light of 1-10 above, give compelling reasons for why our organization should collectively agree to elevate this candidate to the stature of a spirit worthy of veneration (i.e. “worship”) at our public rites.





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CONCLUSION:

On the weight of the above and/or the following scholarly source and reference materials, we the undersigned feel confident this candidate either was formerly worshiped as a deity, or (see #11,) should by now qualify for religious veneration at the status of “deity” or “exalted spirit”…

SIGNED:



DATE:

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REFERENCES:






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