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How could all deities exist at the same time?

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How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby PeakoftheTrees » Sun May 20, 2018 12:52 pm

Something I've been wondering lately is how all deities could exist at the same time, meaning Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Celtic, and so on, if all the creation stories are different, and usually start with the creation of the Earth.

I believe to an extent that this could have been people filling in the blanks, without proper knowledge of how the Earth was created (I won't get into that, though, that's not the point), but how come these Gods don't seem to have any interaction whatsoever, and how come they are they gods of the same things? Like, sun Gods, moon Gods, ocean Gods, etc? I feel only one would be needed.

How could one please all of the Gods at once? Even within their own mythology, they have rivalries and pleasing one can upset another. Wouldn't the best way to avoid aggravating them be being impartial to them outright? How come there's all this paranoia on upsetting a god/goddess if there's no way to avoid it? You can't worship every single one, there are too many! And worshiping only a few of them could lead to misunderstandings?

So how do we get out of this godly dilemma?

I'm an atheist coming into Paganism, so forgive my over-analyzing into things.
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby Ashrend » Sun May 20, 2018 2:17 pm

With my understanding of this, it's like all the gods are a singular god with multiple faces and personalities. As humans we struggle to piece the veil and see things clearly so we perceive it as best as we can with are human eyes. For instance gods of the sun may have come about because people interpreted a bright yellowish light as the sun, relating their experience with a so called god with the sun. The human imagination can be amazing so much so people that have gone through traumas can have different memories of what has happened because their mind has reimagined it in a way that is easier to deal with. This is not to say that we should treat it like Christians with the one true God, it is simply that are human capability of comprehension is what has created so many god's with so many stories. The different stories of creation could simply be different universes creations that the god or gods tell us. There isn't a way to keep all the gods happy, but I like to think that because of their elevated stature as god's that they aren't so petty as to get upset are very being that doesn't do or say exactly what they want. We pray to and believe in god's that align with us and make us happy, give us power and strength and guidance.
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby SpiritTalker » Sun May 20, 2018 5:01 pm

I think in terms of how religion might have begun. At Gobekli-Tepe in Turkey a multiple stone circle, ritual site dating back to about 11,000 BCE was discovered in 1996. It's the oldest religious site discovered &'may have been built in response to the comet strike that caused the ice age. There were a couple successive ice ages. We don't know who or what was here before that.

The Gobekli Tepi circle was oriented to the star Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, which was located in the "crotch" of a divide in an arm of our Milky Way galaxy. A large holed-stone marked the northern altar. It seems to have symbolized the birth channel of the Primordial Mother Goddess who birthed all that is, & through which souls pass in birth and death. It could be said that our earliest perceptions of deity derive from man's observations of the sky & earth.

During the ice age hunters followed migrations of deer herds which could suggest the concept of a Horned God/dess. Much later connections to both the re-emerging wild forest and more refined development of agriculture may have brought forth the Forest God & Green Man, while still ever-present was the geo-centric life-force writhing under foot as the spirit of the Earth. The "gods" were the forces of life & death and not omnipotent beings.

As tribes relocated & mixed their gods moved with them, mingled & multiplied. Every geographic group had it's counterparts because they're all observing the same sky and same earth under their feet. The lesser gods were the earth spirits, the genius loci, the forces specific to a location - Hawaii is experiencing a visitation from their local goddess force Pele just now. Once mankind recognizes a force as a god-being, that acknowledgement doesn't go away but remains in the global mind. Our perception morphs over eons & eons. Our consciousness keeps growing.

How can multiple gods coexist? Why be so literal? We could as well ask how multiple nations and planets coexist in the multiple galaxies. I can only handle it if I dumb it down in my head by thinking all-that-exists is the One Force knowing Itself as the Many. Think big picture - "a" god is all that exists.
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby Siona » Sun May 20, 2018 8:43 pm

Even in a literal all gods are real, individual beings sort of sense, it's not really too weird, is it? I mean, how can so many different people exist? Each with their own likes, dislikes, relationships, strengths, weaknesses, and so on. Sometimes these things overlap. You can't know every person, but you can know some... Many hard polytheists, modern and ancient, did not run into trouble worshiping one, or a few deities, or having a narrower focus than all deities. It was not about necessarily pleasing all the deities all at once through direct worship.

Because the thing to realize, the myths? They're not literal. This isn't generally word of God sort of stuff. Ancient pagans didn't generally take their myths the way some folks view their holy books these days. This is why you find conflicting myths within the same pantheon, let alone before bringing in other pantheons. The Egyptians had several different creation myths that all conflicted with one another. They were seen as symbolic. As reaching out to understand something that humans could not really understand. Different pieces of a very big event. In Greece you get into those myths of this person angering this god, this person being rewarded, this event, etc, etc, a lot of those myths were actually just meant to be entertainment. Many were symbolic. The myths did not always reflect how people actually worshiped and had relationships with their deities. Sometimes the myths were quite central (Persephone's myth having a whole mystery cult around it.) Other myths weren't so central.

More historically, many gods and myths might not actually be so different in origin. We see many themes repeating through many cultures - sometimes because such themes are just obvious and a part of the life of any human. Sometimes because these myths and gods had a common origin. Look into the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion (and language). There is no direct evidence for it, but we can reconstruct it by looking at the descendant traditions. Dyeus Pter is the most well attested - we know him as Zeus, Jupiter, Dyaus Pita, Tyr, Dievas, and others. (Even ancient pagans often looked at the gods of their neighbors and said, yeah, your deity X is out deity Y. A different form of a vast being. How many different words for sun do we have? How many different forms of symbolism does the sun contain? Same idea. )The myths share common links, the gods share them, though they changed through thousands of years and as different cultures grew and fell. Again, even from a harder polytheist stance, haven't you changed over the years? Perhaps not so odd, after all. Especially when we consider that these would be beings that would probably be hard for a human to fully grasp. Maybe information becomes fragmented. It becomes viewed through a particular cultural lens. There are a lot of ways this issue could be viewed.
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby Lady_Lilith » Sun May 20, 2018 11:45 pm

Maybe they don't. There's also plenty of stories of gods reincarnating. Parvati into Kali or Vishnu and his 9 incarnations. Quetzalcoatl even came back as a human.

Gods killing each other is an even older mythic cycle. It is shown in reliefs in Mesopotamia. (Marduk vs Tiamat) And even prior to Marduk. A good example is the Greek Olympians vs Titans, that is pretty common. So, no I don't feel every god literally exists all at once on this vast planet.

If we take into account that some gods die and others are newly born, then it is impossible to see them existing all at the same time. They would have life cycles like humanity?
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby blue_moon » Mon May 21, 2018 8:32 am

I agree Siona, that was my first thaught when i read the title. There are many individuals and we all exist side by side just as the dieties do.
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby GhostRider » Mon May 21, 2018 9:05 am

Good day - Bon Jour - Gutten Tag - Khoroshego dnya ------ How does the Multiverse say Hello?
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby PeakoftheTrees » Mon May 21, 2018 9:59 am

I actually find that quite compelling and honestly don't see how I didn't see it sooner, however, that doesn't answer the whole "pleasing all gods" debacle. It seems there wouldn't be a way to keep yourself out of trouble with the gods.
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby GhostRider » Mon May 21, 2018 12:49 pm

You could just go with staying out of trouble with yourself. Know what you think is right and wrong and stay true to yourself. I don't think you can make anyone happy if your not true to yourself. Not Gods and Goddesses {however you conceive of them}, not other people and most of all not yourself.
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby Siona » Mon May 21, 2018 2:49 pm

PeakoftheTrees wrote:I actually find that quite compelling and honestly don't see how I didn't see it sooner, however, that doesn't answer the whole "pleasing all gods" debacle. It seems there wouldn't be a way to keep yourself out of trouble with the gods.


Why do you think all the gods particularly care about whatever it is you get up to? One person in a large universe. They probably have better things to occupy their time with. ;) (Pagan gods aren't typically described as all-knowing, all-seeing deities, either.) Myths, which again, not literal texts, sometimes warn against angering a specific deity. Or doing something with the wilful intent to disrespect a deity. If you're not running around yelling about how you're a much better weaver than Athene, or committing murder, or other terrible acts that you know to be wrong, you probably don't have a lot to worry about.

Worshiping a deity doesn't instantly bring about the wrath of another. In stories? Perhaps, although usually there's quite a bit more to it than that - but again, you have to look at the actual practice of it. People worshiped these gods for thousands of years, people worship them today, and what you're describing just isn't a common experience people are having. Plenty of polytheists are going about their lives, worshiping their gods, without ever facing this issue.
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby PeakoftheTrees » Mon May 21, 2018 3:31 pm

Of course, again, don't know how I could not have noticed that. In fact, it almost seems self-centered of me. I've seen an odd amount of Pagans worry about pleasing gods, but now, I won't be afraid. I was simply wondering how this all was, was all.
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby Siona » Mon May 21, 2018 4:00 pm

Oh yeah, I mean you're certainly not alone in wondering all of this! Although you are coming from a personally atheistic background, most of us live in a culture where religion is quite different, and that's what we are familiar with. The dominant religion tends to say look, god knows everything, god is always present, we're all sinners, we have commandments, believe or be punished, there's a holy book, the myths in it are word of God real stuff, etc, etc. I mean, of course there are many variants in Christianity, as well, but that's sort of what the broader image tends to be. Combine that with what most people know of ancient paganism, the myths, and it becomes a problem. Because the myths do show gods getting angry, they do show drama, and so on. (And, to be fair, I'm not trying to say that a god will never get angry. Just, generally not in this particular way you're asking about.) But the context is all missing, so it gets looked at through the cultural context we do tend to have, which is not the same - just as all ancient pagans didn't share the same cultural context, either.

And that makes it more complicated. Not all pagans did or do share the same cultural context or personal beliefs. I've been answering from a more hard polytheist, there are really many gods approach. But soft polytheism has been mentioned, as well - there is one divine being with many faces. The gods are just humans trying to understand this single divine being, these 'smaller' glimpses help us understand the whole. We couldn't relate to the whole as well as to these individual aspects, etc. Although even then you're left with a similar idea. Myths and so on are just humans trying to understand. But, you won't anger Artemis by worshiping Aphrodite because they are, in the end, one and the same. So, there's a lot of ways it could be looked at.
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby barker » Sat May 26, 2018 6:21 am

You create your own reality.
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby vassal » Sat May 26, 2018 1:15 pm

If time is merely a location in space then I think it makes sense. Time is illusory so to me when people speak of reincarnation I just think of multiverse theory. We have a certain level of consciousness aware of the realm it resides in but any past or future lives are merely existing simultaneously as other potentialities. We are existing on many levels. We're just blind.
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Re: How could all deities exist at the same time?

Postby Shekinah » Sat May 26, 2018 8:41 pm

In lab experiments with Quantum physics we can demonstrate that a single object can be in as many as 3000 different locations at the same time. This is called bi-location and is a function of entanglement. So I suppose a single divine entity could very well manifest in multiple space/time locations. Space and time are not independent things as once thought. Now we call this dimensional fabric simply space/time and consider it a field of potential manifestation.

In simple terms everything that ever there was or is or will be remains quantum entangled from the singularity that created the "Big Bang" this includes the phenomenon of collective consciousness which we call Akasha. The so called Gods are aspects of Akasha (Akashic Records) existing everywhere at once across space/time. When we connect with a God/Goddess we are tuning in to Akasha and receiving and perhaps even materializing thought forms from Cosmic Consciousness. This collective consciousness (Spirit) is fed by all consciousness of the life phenomenon on many inhabited worlds. Collectively we (units of awareness) and other sentient life across the cosmos are the creators of Spirit (Gods/Goddesses) "A God did not create the universe but rather the universe is creating God".
An analogy might be our own internet web "Cloud".
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