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Date: Wed, 6 Nov 2002 11:59:28 -0800 (PST)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: Re: (urth) Gnostic Wolfe

--- James Jordan  wrote:

>          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.

I think "all 'pagan' religions" is an exaggeration.  Probably
mostly civilized cultures have "big gods" associated with government.

> (Though 
> there are those who question how much the "great spirit" really exists
> for 
> "pagan" people.)

I've talked with one Native American woman who was very strongly
against the ideas of one God and one Truth, but I don't know whether
that opposition was part of her tribe's traditions or more a
response to the damage done to them by monotheists.

>          In any culture, it becomes a matter of emphasis. Small tribes
> go 
> mostly with local gods and ancestors.

I agree, but I might say "only" rather than "mostly".

> Large citified or imperial cultures 
> move more into sky/government gods -- their horizon has been enlarged.

And subjugation, whether of foreigners or their own peasants, becomes
more important to them.

Jerry Friedman

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