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Thread: Can someone help me describe my beliefs?

  1. #1
    Sr. Member toxicyarnglare's Avatar
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    Can someone help me describe my beliefs?

    So I'm right now sorting through what I believe, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to word it so that, say, it can fit easily into the religion section under my name.

    Basically, it goes like this. I believe that there is probably one major overarching deity who is all loving, who may or may not be directly connected to the fabric of the universe itself. After that, I believe there are probably other major deities and/or beings that are in higher planes, but not necessarily different "faces" of the one main deity.

    Following that, I believe there are what most people would call gods and goddesses that are more connected to our current plane, and that a lot of pantheons that worship different gods/goddesses would fall under this category, with the more major ones being of higher planes.

    I also believe there are more "regular" spirits that are all around us, I currently call them earth spirits, but that may change over time. These wouldn't be necessarily equated to gods or goddesses, but rather more similar to the Shinto Kami, or the even the Celtic Fairy, and I believe there's many kinds of these, that exist on planes close or farther away from us.

    So my predicament is that when trying to describe this in a nutshell, the term soft polytheist wouldn't quite work, because I believe that many deities aren't necessarily faces of the "grand divine." But I feel hard polytheist wouldn't work quite well either, because that would give the expectation that this grand divine I believe in is on the same level as other gods and goddesses, which I don't really think is the case.

    While these views may, and probably will change over time, does anyone have any idea as to how I can describe this? Any wide range of responses would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Elyria'Winterwood
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    Re: Can someone help me describe my beliefs?

    Why is it important to put a label on what you believe?


    My beliefs center around the Earth Mother. I switch between calling her Mother Earth, Mother Nature, and Divine Mother. Either way, she is the All for me. But I also believe in a lot of little sub gods and goddess. Honestly, I believe in all of them in some strange way. I don't believe they are all the same face with different names (i.e. Greek vs. Roman). They are all separate beings with different identities.

    But that's besides the point. My point is, I don't have a name for my "religion" either. I don't even have a name for my Goddess. I tried to go with Gaea once, since she's the "Mother" of Greek mythology (what I'm really drawn towards). But that didn't work. So I tried Demeter. That didn't work either. Eventually, I just realized that the harder I tried to find a name for my beliefs, the further from my beliefs I got. I have such a strong connection with the Divine. I feel like I'm never ignored, always heard. But when I started searching, I didn't get answers as much. I got lost.

    I know this answer doesn't help you at all. I don't really have much experience with different terms, which is why I came here in the first place. My point is, don't get too caught up trying to name something that is strictly yours. If you put a name to it, you'll lose that connection with it that makes it your own. It'll just become basic, the same as everyone else. Your beliefs are special. Don't focus so much on naming and just enjoy it.


    Blessed be.
    Elyria

  3. #3
    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone help me describe my beliefs?

    You have just described your beliefs perfectly, Toxicyarnglare - so when someone asks you, just say you're a polytheist (which will satisfy most!) and then go on to explain (as above) if someone presses for further detail.

    Labels are for tin cans. Human beings don't need them.
    www.thewolfenhowlepress.com


    Phantom Turnips never die.... they just get stewed occasionally....

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone help me describe my beliefs?

    Quote Originally Posted by toxicyarnglare View Post
    So my predicament is that when trying to describe this in a nutshell, the term soft polytheist wouldn't quite work, because I believe that many deities aren't necessarily faces of the "grand divine." But I feel hard polytheist wouldn't work quite well either, because that would give the expectation that this grand divine I believe in is on the same level as other gods and goddesses, which I don't really think is the case.
    I tend to agree with the others about labels, but if it helps, I personally use the term 'hardcore polytheist panentheist animist' lol. Not that I actually go around calling myself that, but it's as close as I've gotten to a nutshell description. 'Hardcore polytheist' is obvious.The 'panentheist' is in reference to the fact that I also believe in an overarching Divine Source that is inherent in all things. It's not a deity, and it's not sentient. More like the Divine Spark that is present in all things. Panentheist contrasts pantheist in the sense that pantheism equates the Divine Source with the Universe or Mother Nature, while panentheism is the belief that it includes but is not limited to, and transcends the concept of the Universe. The 'animist' bit is because I'm an animist and believe that all things have a spirit of sorts, or at least the capability to have one.

    If you're looking for labels, Google the different types of 'theism' - it's actually a really complex subject.

  5. #5
    ...uhh Bjorn's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone help me describe my beliefs?

    Hmmm...

    Pagan. That usually alludes to respect for the earth as well as polytheism.

    If you want to get more specific, I like to use the "Hand" analogy: there is one Hand (call it a purpose, an overarching deity, etc) that controls many "fingers" of the universe (and beyond), both separately and in unison with its many parts.

    Honestly though, people aren't that interested in what you believe, even when they ask. They usually ask because they expect your beliefs to be wrapped up in a neat little package with umbrella terms that tie the whole thing up with pretty bows. People hear "pagan" and then it switches to the word "witch" in their heads, so even if you DID try to explain what your beliefs are using those pretty words, you're fighting an uphill battle from the get-go, and for what? For a stranger to quirk an eye at YOUR interpretation of the cosmos?

    Sheesh, at least you're TRYING to figure it all out. You just keep that fire inside you going and I promise it'll sort itself out in words that come to you, not from any of us.
    No one tells the wind which way to blow.

  6. #6
    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone help me describe my beliefs?

    I agree with Bjorn - just because someone asks what you believe in doesn't mean they're really that interested in an in depth answer.

    It's a bit like when people ask me how I'm feeling. I now have two favoured answers (depending on who's doing the asking.)
    No. 1 "Believe me, you don't want to know."
    No 2 "How long have you got to spare?"
    www.thewolfenhowlepress.com


    Phantom Turnips never die.... they just get stewed occasionally....

  7. #7
    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone help me describe my beliefs?

    It sound like you have a great grasp on what you believe, even if there isn't a specific title. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if most of us had an equally complicated response. Depending on the questions asked, who's asking them, and in what context, my response could range all the way from atheist to Jungian archetypes to hard polytheist.

    It feels frustrating at first. Heck, it feels a bit aggravating even if you think you're used to it( conversations at different times during the same weekend about why atheism is the most rational choice and something that Freya really wanted from me spring to mind). Ultimately, though, I find the way that I see the world is much more diverse without trying to compare what I think so any sort of measuring stick.


    ETA: Ruby Gloom!!!

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    PF Ordo Hereticus MaskedOne's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone help me describe my beliefs?

    I have a host of very easy labels.

    Or wait...

    People want informative and accurate labelling

    erhmm I don't provide that, sorry world.
    "It is not simply enough to know the light…a Jedi must feel the tension between the two sides of the Force…in himself and in the universe."
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    Yoda told stories, and ate, and cried, and laughed: and the Padawans saw that life itself was a lightsaber in his hands; even in the face of treachery and death and hopes gone cold, he burned like a candle in the darkness. Like a star shining in the black eternity of space.

    Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

    "But those men who know anything at all about the Light also know that there is a fierceness to its power, like the bare sword of the law, or the white burning of the sun." Suddenly his voice sounded to Will very strong, and very Welsh. "At the very heart, that is. Other things, like humanity, and mercy, and charity, that most good men hold more precious than all else, they do not come first for the Light. Oh, sometimes they are there; often, indeed. But in the very long run the concern of you people is with the absolute good, ahead of all else..."

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  9. #9
    Sr. Member toxicyarnglare's Avatar
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    Re: Can someone help me describe my beliefs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elyria'Winterwood View Post
    Why is it important to put a label on what you believe?


    My beliefs center around the Earth Mother. I switch between calling her Mother Earth, Mother Nature, and Divine Mother. Either way, she is the All for me. But I also believe in a lot of little sub gods and goddess. Honestly, I believe in all of them in some strange way. I don't believe they are all the same face with different names (i.e. Greek vs. Roman). They are all separate beings with different identities.

    But that's besides the point. My point is, I don't have a name for my "religion" either. I don't even have a name for my Goddess. I tried to go with Gaea once, since she's the "Mother" of Greek mythology (what I'm really drawn towards). But that didn't work. So I tried Demeter. That didn't work either. Eventually, I just realized that the harder I tried to find a name for my beliefs, the further from my beliefs I got. I have such a strong connection with the Divine. I feel like I'm never ignored, always heard. But when I started searching, I didn't get answers as much. I got lost.

    I know this answer doesn't help you at all. I don't really have much experience with different terms, which is why I came here in the first place. My point is, don't get too caught up trying to name something that is strictly yours. If you put a name to it, you'll lose that connection with it that makes it your own. It'll just become basic, the same as everyone else. Your beliefs are special. Don't focus so much on naming and just enjoy it.


    Blessed be.
    Elyria
    Thanks for replying! I thought this too, and I do have an idea on what to call myself if no other options present themselves, but I was looking more for terms that maybe I could share between pagans.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tylluan Penry View Post
    You have just described your beliefs perfectly, Toxicyarnglare - so when someone asks you, just say you're a polytheist (which will satisfy most!) and then go on to explain (as above) if someone presses for further detail.

    Labels are for tin cans. Human beings don't need them.
    That's kind of my plan but again, it would just be nice to see if something describes my beliefs. If not then... I should start trying to be less complicated. jk

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    I tend to agree with the others about labels, but if it helps, I personally use the term 'hardcore polytheist panentheist animist' lol. Not that I actually go around calling myself that, but it's as close as I've gotten to a nutshell description. 'Hardcore polytheist' is obvious.The 'panentheist' is in reference to the fact that I also believe in an overarching Divine Source that is inherent in all things. It's not a deity, and it's not sentient. More like the Divine Spark that is present in all things. Panentheist contrasts pantheist in the sense that pantheism equates the Divine Source with the Universe or Mother Nature, while panentheism is the belief that it includes but is not limited to, and transcends the concept of the Universe. The 'animist' bit is because I'm an animist and believe that all things have a spirit of sorts, or at least the capability to have one.

    If you're looking for labels, Google the different types of 'theism' - it's actually a really complex subject.
    That actually sounds pretty close to my beliefs actually. I did a search on theism and wow, you're right. I did find henotheism, but I've never heard that before, that it may be slightly off a little.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjorn View Post
    Hmmm...

    Pagan. That usually alludes to respect for the earth as well as polytheism.

    If you want to get more specific, I like to use the "Hand" analogy: there is one Hand (call it a purpose, an overarching deity, etc) that controls many "fingers" of the universe (and beyond), both separately and in unison with its many parts.

    Honestly though, people aren't that interested in what you believe, even when they ask. They usually ask because they expect your beliefs to be wrapped up in a neat little package with umbrella terms that tie the whole thing up with pretty bows. People hear "pagan" and then it switches to the word "witch" in their heads, so even if you DID try to explain what your beliefs are using those pretty words, you're fighting an uphill battle from the get-go, and for what? For a stranger to quirk an eye at YOUR interpretation of the cosmos?

    Sheesh, at least you're TRYING to figure it all out. You just keep that fire inside you going and I promise it'll sort itself out in words that come to you, not from any of us.
    That does give me some food for thought though on how to approach people on the subject with other people. Again, as I mentioned before, this is more for between other pagans, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tylluan Penry View Post
    I agree with Bjorn - just because someone asks what you believe in doesn't mean they're really that interested in an in depth answer.

    It's a bit like when people ask me how I'm feeling. I now have two favoured answers (depending on who's doing the asking.)
    No. 1 "Believe me, you don't want to know."
    No 2 "How long have you got to spare?"
    This made me laugh.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Dez View Post
    It sound like you have a great grasp on what you believe, even if there isn't a specific title. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if most of us had an equally complicated response. Depending on the questions asked, who's asking them, and in what context, my response could range all the way from atheist to Jungian archetypes to hard polytheist.

    It feels frustrating at first. Heck, it feels a bit aggravating even if you think you're used to it( conversations at different times during the same weekend about why atheism is the most rational choice and something that Freya really wanted from me spring to mind). Ultimately, though, I find the way that I see the world is much more diverse without trying to compare what I think so any sort of measuring stick.


    ETA: Ruby Gloom!!!
    That is kind of a good point, thanks.

    AND OMG YES RUBY GLOOM. She doesn't air in the US but I saw her on Netflix. OMG. Misery. Nuff said.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaskedOne View Post
    I have a host of very easy labels.

    Or wait...

    People want informative and accurate labelling

    erhmm I don't provide that, sorry world.
    hahaha.

  10. #10
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    Re: Can someone help me describe my beliefs?

    Henotheism. Henotheism is at least normally still polytheism, but it also has the idea of a 'supreme deity,' whether the rest are 'independent aspects' of that one or not, or on the same level or not.

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