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A Single Cause Deity and How This Relates to Paganism

Posted by Tony on April 14, 2016 at 12:50 AM



This is a very large and loaded question. I’ll give my thoughts on this subject, although I must stress that they are merely my thoughts. We do not seek in my grove to impose orthodoxy on anyone, and I believe that any genuine seeker’s insights are no less valuable than others.

Many people have expressed to me that they believe that ultimately there is one Godhead. This thought is usually expressed as something felt intuitively. The idea has a certain attraction, beyond the scientific big bang theory, what caused the big bang? How did all the stuff that became matter get there? As a religious man, I feel that there had to be a first cause. I think that people feel that it makes the most sense that the prime cause is one, because the universe is one.

However, it is possible that the idea of one God is a result of fairly modern thinking. In the 1800 it became the accepted theory that human kind passed through phases of religious belief. It went that we proceeded from magical thinking to animism, then to polytheism to explain the natural world. From there the next advancement is to monotheism. In the 1800s scholars saw no problem in that much of the world was still polytheistic. With their belief in ‘lower cultures’ they just felt that not everyone had advanced that far yet.

While I believe that there is no rational cause to believe that the first cause could not have been a group of Gods and Goddesses acting in concert, we may have some evidence of a single first cause in the mythology. It is pretty common in Indo-European mythology to see a Sky Father figure who is only vaguely present in the stories. For instance, we have Tir in the Norse mythology who only appears actively in a few myths. In Irish mythology we have Nuada who goes into quiet retirement when Lugh becomes king of the Gods. I see in this a possible echo of a single creator theory however distant.

We’ll never answer this single creator theory definitively, and I’m ok with that. Part of the problem I have with monotheism is that it’s impossible for me to relate to a single being that knows and sees all. I feel far more comfortable with Gods and Goddesses who handle different spheres of nature and activities. If there is a single creator deity, I believe that They (I am using the transgender form of pronoun) would encompass all that is in the universe.

That is too big of a chunk for our mortal brains and spirits to relate to. So I believe that if a single cause created everything, then parts of it got separated into Gods and Goddesses that we can relate to.

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5 Comments

Reply Ragnhilta
1:46 PM on April 14, 2016 
There are so many parallels between the Celtic and Norse mythologies. I thought for a very long time that Cernunnos and Odin were different names for the same being! In becoming an actively practicing pagan, I have come to decide that the two gods have different energies and are not different faces of the same being. But they are EXTREMELY similar. On that note, personally, I subscribe to a theory that the gods are Awen, the great force that makes all, giving itself shape for all of its incredibly many facets so that it might share in experiencing our lives with us. If that theory is correct, then both statements are true: One single force, Awen, created everything, but it took many gods working in concert to produce fruit from that initial spark. I'm also unique in that I believe in all the gods from all the pantheons; thought gives power, our thoughts have tangible energy that is carried in our brains, the soul is a quantifiable (and often very tangible) thing that leaves a marked difference when a person dies insofar as immediately at death a body will weigh less than it did the moment before, and without enough time to elapse to allow for any kind of decay or degradation. There is simply too much evidence not to believe in the spiritual, and it is a combination of that realm and that of science which is the foundation of the world as we know it . . . in my humble opinion.
Reply Tony
12:47 PM on April 15, 2016 
Ragnhilta says...
There are so many parallels between the Celtic and Norse mythologies. I thought for a very long time that Cernunnos and Odin were different names for the same being! In becoming an actively practicing pagan, I have come to decide that the two gods have different energies and are not different faces of the same being. But they are EXTREMELY similar. On that note, personally, I subscribe to a theory that the gods are Awen, the great force that makes all, giving itself shape for all of its incredibly many facets so that it might share in experiencing our lives with us. If that theory is correct, then both statements are true: One single force, Awen, created everything, but it took many gods working in concert to produce fruit from that initial spark. I'm also unique in that I believe in all the gods from all the pantheons; thought gives power, our thoughts have tangible energy that is carried in our brains, the soul is a quantifiable (and often very tangible) thing that leaves a marked difference when a person dies insofar as immediately at death a body will weigh less than it did the moment before, and without enough time to elapse to allow for any kind of decay or degradation. There is simply too much evidence not to believe in the spiritual, and it is a combination of that realm and that of science which is the foundation of the world as we know it . . . in my humble opinion.
Reply Tony
12:51 PM on April 15, 2016 
Very well said, Ragnhilta! I also believe that all of the Gods are real. I believe that since cultures have different values and needs, different Gods are appropriate for different cultures. I particularly like your thought that The God/desses brought about form after the Awen.
Reply Ragnhilta
9:34 PM on April 17, 2016 
Tony says...
Very well said, Ragnhilta! I also believe that all of the Gods are real. I believe that since cultures have different values and needs, different Gods are appropriate for different cultures. I particularly like your thought that The God/desses brought about form after the Awen.


Thank you! And, oh, absolutely. Awen and the gods are just as varied as the human experience, if not moreso! Ah, I cannot take credit for that. I actually really disliked that theory at first; it was shared with me by a Gypsy boy that I knew for a brief period of time. At first, I felt it cheapened the gods, but I've since decided that every soul has the spark of divinity within itself, and his theory brilliantly explains how and why everything has a bit of magick (that divine spark) . . . even the mundane! And I go back and forth on whether or not I think everyone can perform magick. But I suppose you could argue that some people's magickal abilities are in the physical! It's all purely conjecture, though. I can't wait to fall through the Veil and get to ask the gods that. Or I guess I could work on my astral projection. I have friends who are really gifted at it. I can get to the Inbetween no problem, but I don't really retain the knowledge I gain there, I only seem to remember bits and pieces, brief flashes. Definitely all things to work on!
Reply Janet hand
12:21 AM on April 9, 2017 
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