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Date: Tue, 05 Nov 2002 06:33:36 -0600
From: James Jordan 
Subject: Re: (urth) Gnostic Wolfe

At 07:50 PM 11/4/2002, Alga wrote:

>(This is so parenthetical that I'm putting it in parens, but two more that
>many know something about (there are hundreds of small ones, mostly tribal)
>are Rome before they adopted "Greek ways" in their drive to world
>dominance--but they always kept their household "lares and penates," which
>Latro dimly recalls--and Japanese Shinto, which was actively promoted in the
>20th century as a way of keeping citizens loyal to the Emperor instead of
>some important--or imported--god. I would go along with that "this-world"
>guess, though I also think it is "natural" to be awed by the heavens and to
>have some "other-world" feeling that way.)

         What you tend to find in all "pagan" religions is something like this:

a. Nature gods of streams, woods, etc. Little local gods. Totem tribal spirits.
b. Often these are linked with ancestors, who have become spirits somehow. 
Household gods. Lares and Penates. Totem poles and masks.
c. Sky gods, associated with government. The big gods. And medium gods 
associated with particular cities. Vesta in Rome.
d. Some kind of "god behind the gods" with whom we have no contact. (Though 
there are those who question how much the "great spirit" really exists for 
"pagan" people.)

         In any culture, it becomes a matter of emphasis. Small tribes go 
mostly with local gods and ancestors. Large citified or imperial cultures 
move more into sky/government gods -- their horizon has been enlarged. But 
even the things in the sky are mostly animal constellations, though they 
get linked up with more humaniform gods "behind" them.
         So, I agree that the Romans were influenced by the Greek pantheon, 
but I think it would not be completely correct to say that they did not 
have something pretty similar before they began to move out into the world.

Parenthetically yours,



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