Which mythic pantheons resonate with you most?

2012 Thing on Thursday #10

The HP project is all about the marriage of science and myth.  By myth, I mean traditional stories usually involving supernormal beings, such as deities, ancestors, spirits, and so forth, such as Athena, the Dagda, or Gaia.  Such myths are typically organized into pantheons indigenous to a culture.  At HP, the general guideline has been to focus on pantheons from or inspired by Euro-Mediterranean cultures.

Our question today is twofold:

  • First, is our Euro-Mediterranean focus too narrow, too broad, or just right?
  • Second, which pantheons resonate with you most?

An explanation of the Euro-Mediterranean cultures zone and the rationale behind it follows the polls.

The poll options list only the most popular, broad-level pantheons.  There obviously many more in the region, and each option could well be subdivided into dozens of distinct pantheons.  Also, if your focus goes beyond the Euro-Mediterranean zone, then these options will be insufficient.  So, please specify other pantheons of your choice in the comments.

Please choose one.

Please choose up to three.

The Euro-Mediterranean cultures zone

Europe Physical Map, from Geology.com

The Euro-Mediterranean cultures zone: bounded on the west by the Urals, the south by the Sahara, and the east and north by oceans

As a reasonable starting point, a Euro-Mediterranean focus was chosen for HP.  There were two reasons for this.

The first reason was to preserve meaningful dialogue.   It seemed that allowing “Pagan” to refer to any non-Abrahamic religion stretched it beyond the breaking point; the cultures included are far too diverse to draw any meaningful conclusions about them.  Thus, it seemed wise to restrict “Pagan” to a set of inter-related cultures in close contact for thousands of years, occupying a Euro-Mediterranean geographical region roughly defined by the Ural Mountains on the East, the Sahara Desert on the south, the Atlantic Ocean on the west, and the Arctic Ocean on the north.

The other reason involved potential issues of cultural appropriation.  This has often plagued the Neopagan community.  Questionable incorporation of Native American and Hindu myths in particular have been problematic.  The boundaries of the Euro-Mediterranean region avoid most of the controversial hotspots.

The question now is: Is this Euro-Mediterranean focus useful?

About Thing on Thursday

Althing in Session, by W.G. CollingwoodThis post is part of a series of councils on matters vital to the future.  The name represents both the generic term for, you know, a thingie, as well as the Old Norse term for a council of elders: a Thing.

Each week from the Autumn Equinox until the Winter Solstice, Thing on Thursday explores a new controversy.  Participation is open to all – the more minds that come together, the better.  Those who have been vocal in the comments are as welcome as those quiet-but-devoted readers who have yet to venture a word.  We value all constructive opinions.

There are only a few rules:

  • be constructive – this is a council, so treat it as such
  • be respectful – no rants or flames

Comments will be taken into consideration as we determine the new direction of Humanistic Paganism.

So please make your voice heard in the comments!

5 Comments on “Which mythic pantheons resonate with you most?

  1. Basically, my only mythological interest is goddesses. I draw mostly from non-Western pantheons, and basically understand them as imaginary personifications of feminine or transgender aspirations and contemplation. The Shona religion includes a high deity who is both male and female, Mwari. Other goddesses include Quan Yin, White Buffalo Calf Woman, and Gaia.

  2. My opinion in the past, and now, is that it is too narrow. Mostly because of how the times are.

    We’re more global a community than ever before – “the world is my nation.” Many modern people tend think beyond national boundaries. We are as concerned about what is happening on the other side of the world as we are about our own backyards. We are in instant communication with anybody anywhere, we’re bound to exchanged world views, we’re bound to share cultural concepts. Who doesn’t know about Yoga? How many people do we know that have done, or do yoga or meditations. These contemporary versions we’re from the middle east and eastern cultures. Is this cultural appropriation? No. This is cultural exchange. Using what has been found to work in the cultures we experience.

    Cultural appropriation only happens when someone doesn’t learn the traditions of a culture and goes ahead and does it on their own while claiming it to be of the same culture when it is something quite different. It is especially cultural appropriation if you are doing this to make money. If inspired by these cultures and use elements of these cultures while not claiming your doing the same thing as that culture, you are not appropriating it. You’ve incorporated it as a form of cultural exchange.

    This happens subtly all the time while being exposed to cultures that immigrate into the area. The established culture, and immigrated culture more often than not exchange ideas – influencing each other. With the age of the internet, it is happening more rapidly. Where subcultures have a grander stage and have greater influence over the mainstream.

    We are already experiencing high cultural exchange and can’t stem the tide. It is bound to happen regardless of how we try to shape the dialogue. Pagan or not, we are quite familiar with many cultures of the world and have incorporated aspects of them already without really realizing it. Its the little things, like surf boards, chopsticks, sushi, Thai massages, kimonos, dream catchers, djembes, curry, Holi, alpaca farms and so on.

    To try to focus on a select few cultural mythos would not preserve meaningful dialogue, it would prevent it. I suggest going beyond Pagan (which has already incorporated Abrahamic religions from proto-Abrahamic religions to Quaker Pagans) and looking at how the world really is today and really make it a meshing of mythology and science for today’s world.

  3. As for, which mythic pantheons resonate with you most? I like a little bit of all of them because I see value in each. Each has something special to offer and wouldn’t want to miss out on that.

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