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14 August 2012 @ 01:28 pm
Finding the Gods of Paganistan  
Paganism is the religion of place, and I want to find the undiscovered Gods of this place. This might take a little explaining.

Back in 2004, I created the PaganDaily Calender. In researching it to have acurate descriptions of the holidays, what I found was that holidays and celebrations tended to be extremely regional. The way one village would celebrate was completely different from how another village would celebrate, and different regions had entirely different holidays. This truly underscored the point that Paganism was ultimately about the community in which it was practiced.

Beyond this, different areas have entirely different Gods. The Gods of Greece are different from the Gods of Norway, and they are different from the Gods of central Africa. Yet, there are things which all of them have in common. There are always spirits of place: Faeries, tricksters, nymphs, little devils. Each region has a different name for them, but they are always there. Then there are the animist Gods: the river, the Earth, the sun. Then there are the guardians: the Titans, the Ice Giants, the Storm Gods. Then there are the mythological Gods.

Belief in the spirits of place is common, and most of us do accept that the River brings life to our land, and can rise up and kill us. We do celebrate the animist Gods because we know that they are real. Every May Day at Powderhorn Park thousands of people gather to celebrate the triumph of the Sun God with the return of warmer weather. Every Midsummer thousands of people gather on Stone Arch Bridge in celebration of the Mississippi River as a living God. Nature is undeniably real, and therefore easy to worship.

In talking to Pagans about Gods, there are times when it seems that many Pagans don't completely believe in the mythological Gods they worship as Gods which were always there. They talk about them as creations mirroring us, but not independent without us.I've seen Pagans call Gods as elemental forces. I hear that Goddess chant, "Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna" where these great and distinct Goddesses are lumped together on the basis that they are all female and therefore representations of the Goddess. When this happens, it's clear that these people do not truly believe in these deities, or they would never do things like that. If people don't really believe in Gods, then they're not going to go looking for Gods.

So we have the animist Gods who's existence is obvious and undeniable, and the Mythological Gods who's existence is questioned by many of their worshipers. Very few people ever talk about the Gods in between the animist Gods and the mythological Gods. For the sake of keeping them distinct, I'm going to call them the Guardian Gods. The Guardian Gods are in the background of many stories; the Titans, the Ice Giants, the Storm Gods. These Gods tend to be distinct to a place and depicted in a way which is distinct to that place. I'm calling them Guardian Gods because that's what they seem like. Others might argue with this, but as a way to hold them as distinct from the other types of Gods, it seems like a place to start. Within each mythology there are a few Gods who seem like these Gods, but it's all very difficult to explain other than that they are very large and very much a part of this place.

The area of Paganistan was a place were nomadic people once traveled and hunted. It was an undeniably sacred place with sacred springs and burial sites, but still, they were primarily a nomadic people, and therefore animists. It takes a long time being in a single place to find the Gods of that place, especially if you aren't looking for them. Then the European descendants settled here, and brought with them their own Gods, and were not looking for the Gods who were already here. The Gods of this place are, as far as i know, truly undiscovered Gods. We're beginning to know a little about them, but just the bare beginnings.

There have been sightings of the native Gods, but for the most part it has been dismissed as a curiosity, not really relevant to what people were doing at the time. There was a Shamanic Journey Practice Circle that used to gather at the Sacred Paths Center. After the journeys we would discuss what we found. It was not uncommon for people to describe things which were just sort of on the periphery, and not directly a part of the work they were doing, and so they would note it, and then move on. The descriptions were always similar. Recently at the Sacred Fire Circle in Paradise a participant had a vivid vision and has continued trying to work with this deity who is not quite like any other deity she can find anywhere in the world, but does fit with the description people have of the local Gods. One of the guests of honor at Sacred Harvest Fest saw giants around the Twin Cities as she flew in who perfectly matched the description. This latest sighting was what got me to the threshold of realizing that it was time to stop and take note. It's time to devote several years to trying to begin a relationship with these deities.

Their features are bold and angular. They are often described as being like the carvings of Easter Island only more like the Mayan carvings. These are the Gods I am looking for. If you see them, please take notes and let me know.