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Gods, gods, Worship, Nature and QBL

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.religion,talk.religion.misc,talk.religion.newage,alt.pagan,soc.religion.paganism,alt.religion.christian,alt.mythology
From: (nocTifer)
Subject: Gods, gods, Worship, Nature and QBL (LONG)
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 1997 07:20:41 CST

49971126 aa2 Hail Satan!  (this is compiled from a # of msgs and is
			   quite long; it contains the writing of
			   JMarshall, ABillings and PSchuerman; I
			   apologize for any errors of quotation)

peace be with you, my kin.

"Jeff Marshall" :
& If we view Man as Sinful and Fallen and must subdue Nature as the montheisms
& of the West generally do, then we are going to set ourselves apart from
& Nature and create a Nature-Spiritual dichotomy.  And in doing so, I think we
& create a schizophrenic  condition in ourselves and actually distance
& ourselves from the Divine.  I think this is the root cause of the malaise
& the West is suffering now.

yes, and 'matter' is not the same as 'nature'.  as I see it, 'nature' includes
all objects (cars, clouds, bodies) and subjects (thoughts, feelings, pain,
pleasure, etc.) and 'matter' is just the 'stuff' out of which the objects seem
to be composed.  the dichotomies seem to revolve either around Orphic (spirit
vs. matter) or Manicheaen (Go(o)d vs. (D)evil) dualisms, respectively
associated.  very often *wild* nature (which I contend is Satan or (D)evil),
is associated with 'the world' and therefore the Adversary of Christians.

& Is the cure polytheism then?...

IS there a cure?  is there one Solution for everyone?  does everyone need
such a Solution?

& ...the answer is to see all things as [aspects] of the Divine....
& There is a glorious spark of the Divine within all. unto God.

so instead of polytheism (which you interpret in a manner that I understand
to be fairly commonplace), you seem to suggest a LIMITED PANENTHEISM.  that
is, the divine is eternal-temporal consciousness, partly exclusive of the
World (if not exclusive then you favor complete panentheism).  Hartshorne
and Reese (1) indicate that similar philosophers who also entertain this
conception of the divine would be William James, Christian von Ehrenfels,
and E.S. Brightman.  check them out and see if they compare to your taste.

"Peter L. Schuerman" :
# Angels, ...are the result of the polytheistic impulse surfacing in
# monotheism.  In other words, they give the divine multiple faces.
# The same thing goes for saints, too.

as 'theos' implies 'god' or 'God', it seems to me that the term 'polytheist'
has become ambiguous of usage by virtue of referent.  one may presume that
there are many 'gods' and that some 'God' underlies them all, or one may
dismiss this notion entirely, accepting the simple notion that it means,
as my dictionary (2) instructs, one who worships or believes in more
than one god.

I hear you saying in response to Jeff that this latter perspective is an
oversimplification of pre-Christian or even modern polytheistic religious
paradigms, and I'd challenge you to produce a reputable source that gives
this interpretation as necessary or global.  it seems an unfortunate
consequence of 19th-century religiology that it saw Oriental religions
through a biased and narcissistic lens.

this appears to be the case with 'Hinduism', a confluence of religious
expressions obtaining to complexity and diversity overlooked by the
Victorians, who separated out 'philosophy' from 'religion' in a manner
which oversimplified and confused many aspects of world religion.  this
can be seen also in the way that Chinese religion has been described,
and massive confusion about both have only within the last few decades
begun to get cleared up in the Western scholarly community.  more on
that (with citation) below.

"Jeff Marshall" :
$ ...give *the* divine multiple faces....  ...a "pure" polytheistic
$ approach splits everything apart.   Each diety is separate and
$ distinct.  They are not aspects of the one Divine Source.

this is also my understanding.

$ The monothesitic approach I'm tracking on isn't the typical western
$ approach of denying Isis et al.

this denial usually takes the form of reclassifying the particular
entity from a 'god' to a 'demon' (fundamentalist Christianity) or,
perhaps less antagonistically but no less disrespectfully, from a
'god' to a 'spirit' or 'djinn' (some Christians merely mean by
'demon' a spirit antagonistic to the Christian faith, so the two
are only separated by slight cosmological presumptions).

$ ...Isis and Michael are ...aspects of the Divine.  There is one
$ source, with different faces and functions.

the only thing which separates this from pantheism is that you seem
to specify that each object or spirit or whatever has a 'spark of
the divine' rather than being the divine itself.  your classification
of 'God as fundamental Source of All things' is reminiscent of both
the emanationism of Plotinus and various Neoplatonists after him as
well as Taoists who claim that Tao is 'Mother of All Things' and yet
not the 10,000 Things (World) themselves.

$ On the surface, this is similar to polytheism, but the root is pure
$ monotheism.

I'm not sure this is at all meaningful.  you sound as if you'd like
to make assertions along the lines of Indian philosophers and their
pantheistic monism (one Source from which all things are derived
which are also divine but not the Source), and yet you want to use
the term 'monotheism' while characterizing the World as divine in
some way.  I don't see how you can do it without denying the divinity
of Isis or Michael as you have outlined above, admitting to pantheism,
or (if cars and rocks and other objects aren't divine) polytheism.

$ My surmise is this was the original esoteric interpretation of
$ polytheism anyway, but I can't prove that.

I'll bet that the original usage was by Western religious who looked
upon their competitors with few clear conceptions and from a
perspective heavily tainted by their own limited polytheistic
monolatry which they sometimes mistakenly called 'monotheism'.

"Peter L. Schuerman" :
# ...there may indeed be a one-ness, a collective, a single "source".
# But aesthetically speaking, why dwell upon it?  It is a boring
# conclusion.

monist mystics have apparently been dwelling on it for centuries.
mysticism can be some of the most tedious and boring of enterprises.

# If god is everywhere, he might as well not be anywhere.  He factors out,
# so to speak.  No matter where or how I look, there cannot be a different
# degree of divinity.

I see no required negation of degree by virtue of pantheistic presumptions.
variations of spiritual potency could be arrived at in a quality similar
to the Melanesian *mana*, distinguishing spirits, people, and any other
specific object, place or event.

# ...polytheism recognizes the idea of a source or oneness....

I'd love to see modern sources that maintain this and yet do not
participate in the variety of errors (Tylor, Marett, Frazer, et al)
that run rampant in the early studies of religion.  as Eliade and
others have made plain, such oversimplifications are stupendously
difficult to prove and exceptions can more often than not be found.

# monotheism is ...only socially successful when people are made to
# believe that it is, in fact, in short supply or access is limited. No one
# has ever been successful at making a religion out of telling people that
# they are already surrounded by god and that they don't need any help to
# come in closer contact with the divine.

this illumines some of the presumptions you have about what religions
are and how they come to begin and perpetuate -- apparently designed
and originated by an ecclesiastical class in order to obtain social
power.  this is of course similar in certain respects to the theories
of Emile Durkheim, who claimed that religion is the worship of society
itself, though it may be disguised by myths and symbols. (3)

# ...polytheists recognize this source as being of less importance than
# the more immediate, manifesting deities.  For instance, the Greeks
# did not worship the creators Gaia and Ouranos to anywhere near the
# extent that they worshipped their children.  The Norse do not pay
# homage to the Great Cow, or the sea of yeast, the first man, or the
# giants that were involved in creation; they worshipped the generation
# of gods that was closest to humanity.

# The source is less important because it is not appropriate for human
# reality.

this does appear to be a common element in religions, I agree.  whether
the supreme god is seen as immanent or transcendant seems to vary, as
does Hir importance.  to polytheists generally I think your assertions
are fairly sound, but I note that I am still researching this.

# You could think of polytheistic deities as being "transducers" of
# consciousness... more channeled, focused, and directed.  Or interfaces,
# perhaps.  Polytheism is surprisingly (to some) sophisticated.  Sweeping
# away polytheism and replacing it with monotheism is like erasing the
# operating system from your computer... all those programs, designed to
# give you access to the abilities of the computer, all gone.  It's no
# wonder that monotheism rapidly mutates into polytheism (e.g. the addition
# of an adversary/devil, the addition of angels, demons, saints, ghosts,
# sephiroth etc.).  Monotheism is a crappy interface, and people
# instinctively "hack" it to make it workable.

so would you propose a kind of 'evolution of religion' in aftermath of
Darwin and variation of Herbert Spencer and others?  this theory seems to
be on the downswing -- a variety of religious forms appear to be found
in many cultures, sometimes side-by-side, sometimes combined in weird ways.

# About the only thing monotheism seems to support is centralized authority.
# I guess the more interested you are in having a central authority (e.g.
# being told what to do), the more you should adhere to and support
# monotheism. I can't see what else it is going to do for you.  It also
# gives you the chance to be seen as a central authority, which is exciting
# to some.

you later comment that such centralized authority has a quite practical
benefit in the support of the military.  I think this may contribute
to the life-cycle and endurance of world religions, as well as their
propagation.  there are certainly obvious examples where religions
were martially spread (Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and many
other Middle-Eastern religions, etc.).


"Peter L. Schuerman" :
# ...even polytheism includes the concept of divinities of lesser and
# greater power....

but here is another ambiguity.  when we specify 'divinity' it is unclear
whether we are talking about a 'god' (polytheistic singular of many like
Zeus), a 'God' (fundamental originator of all things like the Christian
deity), an angel (emissary or agent of some 'god' or 'God' as in Judaism
or popular Christianity), or a primitive idea concerning spirits or mana.

are ALL of these to be considered 'divinities', or will we, as have a
variety of authors, reserve this for a 'God' or 'god'?  there is no
absolute consensus on the point.  here you appear to be using it in a
very inclusive sense, or perhaps along the lines of Greek gods and their
immortal councils.

"Jeff Marshall" :
$ can see all the dryads, angels and gods you want.  You can
$ commune with them as seemingly separate entities.  But they are all
$ aspects of the one Divine, as are you and I.

it is unclear to me how you mean the term 'aspect' here and above,
since it doesn't seem to square with your usage of 'divine sparks'.
the former seems to imply pantheism while the latter emanationaism
or something else.

"Peter L. Schuerman" :
# is inherent in monotheism to not respect diversity for what it
# is, but for what it supposedly contains (e.g. god).  And this makes you
# less cognizant of diversity, because it focusses the mind on the hidden,
# the unseen, the theoretically common elements.  Monotheism encourages
# monocognitive thought.

and yet,

	the mere idea of a multiplicity of superhuman souls,
	astral or otherwise, is not incompatible with
	monotheistic intent.  Even to call these 'deities'
	or 'gods' in a loose sense may be a passing
	concession to ordinary language where precision is
	not sought. (4)

so while you are correct as regards a kind of strict monotheism,
the language varies considerably across descriptions and there
may not even be categories constructed to describe the type of
religion which borders amongst 'monotheism', 'polytheism'
(limited) and 'polytheism' (strict).  this is why Jeff begins
to segment them into 'surface and root monotheism' below.

"Jeff Marshall" :
$ ...surface monotheism does that.  But root monotheism
$ cannot, because it sees all as faces and aspects of the one Divine.  This
$ approach lets us see all aspects of the Divine and to explore these faces
$ separately as we will.

and yet as Peter has pointed out, your language is vague in that you have
not clearly separated this 'root monotheism' from pantheism.


"Jeff Marshall" 
$ I've also spoken to Wiccans that maintain just the opposite.  It seems
$ you and I are more or less in agreement in how we see things.

Al Billings 
% ...Nothing in acknowledging a single source rules out other gods....  gods
% have always come in greater and lesser amounts of ability and influence.
% Just because I acknowledge one source doesn't mean I'm a monotheist. I'm not.

nothing inherent, no, and monolatry, henotheism and polytheism all differ
from monotheism in this sense: the latter denies the existence of other gods:

	Belief in one god alone is 'monotheism', and is seen in Judaism,
	Christianity and Islam, and in some of the most important
	religious groups in Hinduism and elsewhere.

	Belief in many gods is 'polytheism' and these gods together
	are said to form a pantheon.  However, within a pantheon
	one god may be supreme, a 'president of immortals', like
	Zeus in ancient Greek mythology, who in theory dominates
	all others.  'Monolatry' appears when one group worships
	a single god yet recognizes that other people worship
	different beings, as when in the Bible the judge Jephthah
	professed to follow Yahweh but told the Moabites to
	possess the land which Chemosh their god gave them.  Rather
	different is 'henotheism', concentration upon one god at
	a time while recognized under different names, as when the
	vedic Indians said that 'they call it Indra, Mitra, Varuna,
	Fire, or the heavenly sun-bird.  That which is One the
	sages speak of in various terms.'

	Henotheism seems to prepare the way for monotheism, or it
	may develop into 'pantheism.'  When people began to reflect
	upon the universe and its gods they sought some unifying
	principle to explain it.  A famous dialogue in the Indian
	Upanishads reduces the gods from 3,306 to one, and that
	one is Brahman, the holy power.  From this unification came
	pantheism, the idea that everything is god and god is
	everything.  Perhaps this is more accurately termed 'monism',
	the doctrine that only one reality exists.  Hindu thinkers
	called it 'non-dualism', meaning that there is no duality
	or difference between the humand the divine.  In another
	direction 'dualism' was illustrated in the ancient
	Zoroastrianism of Iran, which postulated two prilnciple
	spirits, one good and one evil.  The term is also used of
	other forms of belief in which the eternal dualism of
	difference between god and human is taught. (5)

while I don't agree that all of these statements are true, they
are commonplace in modern religious studies and illustrate the
problem with attempting to categorize particular religious
perspectives when we begin to distinguish between 'sources' and
'aspects' (which starts sounding like emanationalism to me :>).

"Jeff Marshall" 
$ ...perhaps the terms monotheism and polytheism have too many cultural
$ associations attached to them.  I'll call it omnitheism in the future.

the terms have accreted cultural biases, though these are typically
strained out with any precise and fair examination of comparative religions.
of course such an inclusive study also makes it difficult to generalize. ;>

"Peter L. Schuerman" :
# ...your description of omnitheism is identical
# to that of polytheism....  You might want to delve into Hindu
# religion, which is both polytheistic and which is similar enough to your
# current way of thinking that it should reveal to you this underlying
# concept of one-ness.

can you really claim this about Hindu religious with exactness?  what
about the fact that:

	The most distinctive feature of Hindu or Indian religion is
	indeed its vast complexity.  Hindu writers at the present
	time are among the first to emphasize this complexity as
	they note how hard it is to see the wood for the trees
	and avoid taking some of the trees as all that constitutes
	the wood.  A similar sensitivity to this same complexity
	distinguishes western views today.

	It means a very different view of Hindu life and thought
	from that which obtained a century ago.  A good many of
	the earlier western writers drew a sharp line between
	what was called philosophical Hinduism and popular
	Hinduism.  Philosophical or sophisticated Hinduism was
	then presented with narrow reference to the dominant
	school associated with the medieval scholar-saint, Sankara,
	the Thomas Aquinas of Hindu thought, which was described as
	monistic or pantheistic.  In contrast, popular Hinduism
	was seen as polytheistic gathered around a superstitious
	respect for some of the many gods in the Hindu pantheon.
	Accompanying this hasty classification there was a special
	regard for the more philosophical or systematic presenta-
	tions of Hindu thought to the comparative neglect of the
	poetic expressions of the Hindu view of life which can be
	found in the great epics.  There was also a very western
	separation of philosophy from religion which is foreign
	to the Indian mind.

	Today, with increasing knowledge of the many and various
	sources which have to be taken into account for anything
	approaching a more adequate understanding of the great,
	broad, immensely diversified Hindu tradition, we find it
	said that when it comes to Indian religion we must see it
	in terms, not of any one religion, if indeed our western
	concept of religion is at all applicable in this context.


	If there is need in general, then, to revise earlier
	accounts of the great religious traditions of the world
	in light of new knowledge, this is manifestly true in
	regard to the Hindu religion....

	...To be confronted with Hinduism is immediately to be
	confronted with the need emphasized in our introduction
	for reconsidering earlier western views of oriental
	religion.  The need is especially patent in the case of
	Hindu thought since it is still identified in the minds
	of a good many western readers with monistic or
	pantheistic treands, treands which are undoubtedly there
	but which by no means constitute the full context. (6)

"Jeff Marshall" 
$ When I go to my dictionary and
$ look up polytheism, I see "The worship or belief in more than one god."
$ When I talk people who profess polytheism, they often state the gods are
$ separate and are not faces of one Divine source.  Many catagoricially state
$ there isn't a single Divine source.  I bet if we carried this discussion
$ into alt.paganism, we get some interesting answers.  Some would certainly
$ say there is a single source, others would not.

it is here that I agree most strongly with you.  simultaneously I would say
that there are a large number of new religious who have been heavily
influenced by their Christian context and/or family such that this sourcing
element is integral to their cosmopolitan, syncretic view of polytheism.
there is a diversity of interpretation and ignoring it is foolhardy.

$ If we asked the average person to define polytheism, I doubt that more
$ than a handful would speak of the gods as aspects of one Divine Source.

that would depend on whether the 'average' identifies with the term or
with something else, I'd think.  ask a Christian and I think this will
be the typical response.  ask a Neopagan who considers themself a
polytheist and I think you'll find the more common answer is as has
been given by the others in this discussion.

"Peter L. Schuerman" :
# ...the reason that polytheism does not strongly emphasize the
# underlying connection between things is because, as I've said before, it
# is of extremely limited application.  I think I used the word "boring" as
# a shorthand for this.

it is only boring to those who don't focus on it.  I think the monists
and some of the panentheists or emanationists like Jeff consider it of
vital importance, striving to have a relationship with it despite its
perceived lack of immanence.

# The reason that polytheism naturally contains the concept of the
# underlying divine is that it is derived from animism....

as I said, this idea appears to be disputed somewhat firmly in the discovery
of several different types of religion side-by-side in ancient cultures.
the Darwinian animism=>monism=>monotheism=>polytheism model (or any other
type of linear, progressive variation) appears impossible to substantiate.
I defy you to cite one modern source who continues to believe it while
resting on the observations of modern archaeology.

# ...this monotheistic concept is an oversimplification.  You can call
# ki/chi/prana/numen/etc anything you like of course, but the rich
# symbolic heritage of polytheistic belief systems offers a more advanced
# interface for interacting with it.

I'm unsure why you think polytheism is 'more advanced' except that you
have a somewhat limited view of monotheism and monism, presuming for
some reason that direct experience ("finger in the socket") of the
divine is somehow impossible or of little value.  what do you think the
monastics and ecstatics of conventional Western mystical traditions
have been doing all these years?  you use taste analogies in your
assertion that the experience of this type of monism is 'boring'.  to
those who understand the ultimate unity of singularity and diversity,
this reductionism yields a transcendance of the very category of taste,
often described as an experience without parallel of ecstatic rapture
or spiritual import.  how could such a thing ever be 'boring' except
on its surface, misunderstood for its intent and result?  have you never
studied the texts of mystics like John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila,
Thomas Merton, or a number of other 'via negativa' Christians?  theirs
is not an expression of interminable boredom, but surely vacant of the
erotic and effusive sensorium associated with polytheistic immanence.

I would add as an afterthought that I am not trying to favor either the
via positiva or the via negativa, only defending what I see to be your
short-shrift of the latter.

# You are familiar with the concept of Nirvana, right?  This is a belief
# that nestles comfortably within the polytheistic context of Hinduism.
# This is a good example of what I'm referring to....

I thought I was familiar with the concept of nirvana in Buddhism (it seems
to vary slightly through the Buddhist traditions), but I am not sure I
really understand this claim o 'nestling comfortably within' your supposed
polytheistic Hindu context (an apparent projection).  why should nirvana,
whose root imagery surrounds *extinguishment* (as of a candle flame) nestle
comfortably with polytheism?

# What I think is interesting is this: given that creation is connected,
# what does this allow you to do?  What freedoms and abilities does this
# realization grant?  This is what the "interfaces" of polytheism are about.

unless this creation is happening all the time, or if it is a product of
our fractured minds.  re-integrating our minds/spirits and coming to a
direct connection with this Source would therefore be of prime importance.

"Peter L. Schuerman" :
# ...People realized that everything was connected.  They built on this idea,
# and developed user-friendly interfaces for *using* this realization to
# achieve things.  That's what polytheism *is*.  That's why polytheism
# *recognizes* one-ness, but doesn't obsess about it.

not all polytheists do recognize this 'one-ness' of which you speak,
especially in relation to any sort of divinity.  even so, granting that
your analysis of the progress of religions has any sort of validity,
the typical obsession of monotheists for this Source is that it yet
retains the power of the cosmos.  usually it has not delegated it to
the elements of the creation.  some polytheists see that the power is
also distributed to the gods (thus we have a 'god of fire', and a 'god
of the north wind', etc.).  it is here that I think you are raising a
very important challenge to Jeff, who must choose between accepting
that these 'divine sparks' are necessarily divided up into gods that
now manage the cosmos for the Source (polytheism as you have it) or
that they are still in essence unified in an Originator who continues
to be the agent of change (again, a type of panentheism).

# Other people took this realization, adjusted the idea slightly to allow
# for "divine scarcity", and used it to form hierarchical social structures.

I could just as easily describe polytheism as the breakdown of a pure and
perfect monotheistic 'religion' (as has been done by Western religious
for centuries).  I don't see that such extremities of description do much
beyond demonstrate our bias and ignorance of history of religion, however.


"Jeff Marshall" 
$ ...when you see the source all around and can feel the source in all its
$ myriad shapes and faces, you can draw from it.  No, it's not sticking your
$ finger in the socket or trying to balance electrons to program.  It's
$ knowing there is a unity to all and that one form can be converted to
$ another.  And all is a glorious expression of the Divine.

sounds more like monism to me the way you describe it here.

"Peter L. Schuerman" :
# So, how would one use this realization to convert one form of the divine
# into another?  I can do that just fine by eating something.  I eat a
# divine sandwich, and convert it into divine shit, right?

# ...if god is in everything, then one does not have to
# become upset about that which is unpleasant.  Suffering is god.  Shit is
# god.  War is god.  Pain is god.  Therefore, if one is upset about such
# things, one is in error: One must correct one's thinking to accept these
# things.

it seems to me that there is a difference between saying that the divine
assumes a mykriad shapes and forms and that the divine is to be found 'in'
myriad objects (not being the objects themselves).  the first is monistic
while the latter is something else.

# ...if divinity *is* as omnipresent as you say, then it would
# be impossible to be out of tune with the divine.  Being out of tune would
# mean noticing it less, or resonating with it less... which would mean that
# there are mental states into which one can escape from divinity.

taoism recognizes that tao is everywhere and yet we can, through our
ignorance, begin to work against the natural Way.  the tao itself
brings nothing to pass, yet through tao all things come into being.
the typical illustration is of the drunken man.  he falls off the
moving cart and is not harmed because he wasn't resisting the force
of gravity or the impact of the ground.  resistance to that which is
happening is very similar to the Buddhist concept of 'dukkha', to
which the 'nirvana' you suggested might be nestled with polytheism
is the solution or remedy.

# Which means that your god isn't everywhere.  Your philosophy is inconsistent.

if a god is everywhere, I might still resist that god.

# If divinity is everywhere, and a person were not in tune with the divinity
# within themselves, they would be in tune with the divinity outside of
# themselves... and that would be the same, because it's everywhere, right?

I don't see the logic of this.  why need we be attuned to anything,
whether inside or outside?  what if we are 'out of tune' completely?

# If not, perhaps you are suggesting that there is a *difference* between
# the divinity in one person, and the divinity in another person...?  This
# is a key point, and I would love to hear a concise answer from you on this
# score.  Is it ever important to distinguish between the divinity within
# *me* and the divinity within *you*?

perhaps the divinity of me is 'ill' in that it doesn't recognize its own
power, strength, value, or perfection.  perhaps my divinity is out of
phase with its own qualities in a way that a vibrating metallic sphere
can be ill-set within a machine such that it blasts it apart rather than
contributing to the overall machination.


"Peter L. Schuerman" :
# do you know what you can and cannot change, unless you try?  Life
# is *about* trying to change things.

"Jeff Marshall" 
$ ...the responsibility rests with us as CoCreators to shape and mold
$ creation and change it.  But I think prior to doing so, we need to
$ understand our Will.  I don't think the Divine Source controls all events.
$ I think it's more [like] a well spring and a container.  Two different
$ images, perhaps but I think both are there.

$ Well spring in that it is the source for the creative energy.
$ Container in that it has drawn up the outline of the Master Blueprint and we
$ all are given areas to create.  Simplistically, we have guidance on how it
$ is to interface with the rest of the design, but within that we're free to
$ create.

"Peter L. Schuerman" :
# So freedom separates us from Divine will, yes?  And so, there are areas of
# life --- situations and so forth --- that are separate from the divine.

I think this is a very important point.  if the divine will is not controlling
us in some fashion, then there is some portion of us (unless we are all
divine, and thus so is our will ;>) which is not divine.

"Jeff Marshall" 
$ Conflict and those crappy things you mention spring from not being in
$ contact with the Divine Spark and thus not understanding your Will.

"Peter L. Schuerman" :
# So when an event occurs that is *not* controlled by the Divine Source,
# what is it controlled by?

again, I think this a crucial question.  first, must a thing be controlled?
does setting a thing's constraints for greater limitation to choose amongst
a variety of options constitute 'providing it with freedom'?  or is this
more like putting a rat in a maze with cheese at the other end and saying
'choose your path'?


"Jeff Marshall" :
$ War and monotheism?  That is the function of Satan as in the Tanach.  I
$ think Jeffrey Smith addressed this fairly well.  War, etc keeps Man off
$ balance and from getting too comfortable so we will continually adapt and
$ evolve.  YHVH is Nature red of tooth and we were pushed out of Eden to
$ struggle with it to evolve and grow.

I'd like to hear more about this 'Tanach' and Satan's function here.

"Peter L. Schuerman" :
# See, in response to my question, you *immediately* tease out a symbol,
# separate it from God/Divine source by giving it a separate name.  Satan.
# You might as well have said "Ares" except it's not your favored mythology.
# Don't you get it yet?  This is exactly what polytheists do when asked
# similar questions about reality.  You were able to do it while still
# believing in a divine source; why don't you think they could do the same?

I think that this is based on a faulty perception of what 'polytheists'
include, as I think I've said above.  some of them would agree with you,
of course, but many would not.  then again, it depends on whether you want
to have a linear progressive model of religion, are trying to describe gods
and their relation to the world, or are talking about a psychological
explanation for why people retain certain concepts of the divine.

"Jeff Marshall" :
$ ...the concept of omnitheism is inherent in Qabalah.

I think it is inherent to Hermeticism, which developed Qabalah out of what
it took from Jewish Kabbalah.  I'm unsure that pantheism of the sort you
are describing (or panentheism) is a necessary part of the Judaism that
created Kabbalah, however.


Jeff Marshall :
$ ...the dichotomy between the material and the spiritual.  ...pure,
$ rigorous monotheism and how Man views the marriage of Spirit and
$ Matter determine the nature of the marriage and how "happy" Man is
$ while incarnate.  The strict monotheisms of the west generally
$ separate Spirit and Matter.  Christianity in particular sees Man
$ as fallen and hence the imprisionment of Spirit in Matter and dichotomy.

note the typical Hermetic element of view-determining-state.  it is also
related to Buddhism in this way (though Buddhism is usually more complex).

$ The cure:
$ Embrace Nature.  I am growing to see Isis, as Nature as the subconscious
$ processes of the Diety.  Osiris, Christ or whatever is the conscious
$ processes of the Deity.  And something else is the Superconscious
$ processes.  The Veil of Isis is the Veil between the conscious and the
$ subconscious.  I think the subconscious has a great deal to tell us and
$ by embracing and accepting it, we can learn a lot and reintegrate.  Seek
$ harmony and balance with Nature.
$ Embrace the divinity of Man.  We are not fallen and flawed creatures.

this begins to become a jumble, though I truly appreciate the sentiment.
first of all I don't find that Isis easily abstracts to 'Nature', though
quite a few modern Neopagans enjoy this perspective.  Her forms have been
varied and you'd have to select one out in particular that was somewhat
universal (there are these of course).  second, by selecting out this
divinity (rather than just talking about 'Mother Nature' and allowing a
more syncretic coalescing of the goddesses as is favored by Wiccans),
you begin to force yourself into either a pantheon or a string of
henotheist visions, shifting thereafter to either monotheism or pantheism.

some of the problem is the distinguishment between 'Nature' and humans.
are we part of this Nature?  if so, then is our consciousness also?
do we by virtue of our consciousness become part of the Osirian Deity,
or are we a composite of Isis-Oriris Deity?  why bother with any kind
of godnames here at all?  why not just look at this strictly in
psychological terms and equate the experience of integration or self-
actualization or whatever with 'divinity'?  why bother trying to make
any of this relate to 'Nature'?  why isn't consciousness part of Nature
too?  is this just a remnant of Promethean visions or (modern) Setian
xephers in which the original presumption that something is broken is
in part responsible for the breaking in the first place?  there are a
lot more questions I could ask of this.

your description, aside from the terminology, sounds alot like taoism
to me.  the objective is to attune to the Way of Nature.  we are out
of tune, and when we rejoin this harmony we will once more begin to
know the peace and joy of swimming with the current rather than
against it.  that current manifests to us in the unconscious, through
dreams, visions, symbols.  it arises in the form of gods, the filling
out of archetypes buried in the deep recesses of ourselves.  there is
much Jungian within your text as well, and I favor these ideas also.

what I'd like to see more of in this forum (kabbalah-l) is a connection
to how this relates to your Qabalah and why.  do you think the objective
of your Qabalah is to explain the things you are saying in prose via
symbols?  do you derive an understanding of these things from the symbols
you have hitherto used?  do you think that there is only one perspective
that *can* be derived in such reflections?  one correct perspective?
or is all of this just a tangent to Qabalah studies?

blessed beast!
nocTifer:  ---
TOKUS-COE Office: 408/2-666-SLUG --- Mother Church (CoE)
 caution: I don't read all posts, filtering out those of < 3000 bytes.
 I select text by key authors.  cc me if you absolutely need a response.



 (1) Hartshorne/Reese, _Philosophers Speak of God_, Univ. of Chicago
     Press, 1975; p. 17.
 (2) _The American Heritage Dictionary_, Second College Edition, Houghton
     Mifflin Co., 1972; p. 962.
 (3) Parrinder, _World Religions From Ancient History to the Present_,
     Facts on File, 1983; p. 13.
 (4) Hartshorne/Reese, p. 57.
 (5) Parrinder, pp. 15-6.
 (6) Lewis/Slater, _The Study of Religions_,  Pelican Books, 1969;
     pp. 35-7.

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