Gearrfhacal: Where have the Gods Been?

Yet again, a post to the ADF Celtic forum has sparked a massive outpouring. I place it here for now, but plan to fill this out and properly address a number of these points as soon as I can. 

I am convinced that the gods are absolutely active in the world and remained just as active as they were prior to the conversion period; it’s just that human eyes have changed. For example, when I strove to be Christian I would get very upset by how few people actually observed the twelve days of Christmas. I could not understand why ‘the Holidays’ began in late (sometimes early) November and began seriously fading around December 28th. If the Christian church was established on the grace which I understood as a common spiritual experience and mental perspective in keeping with the theology of Christ as the head, then why was so little in evidence in his members? Why would Christians not keep the whole feast instinctively? Instead, they seemed to follow a different organizing principle altogether. It’s only now in really trying to open my eyes to the actions of the Gods that I can see that it’s the traditional observation of Yule (extending over the two months from late November to early January) that is drawing them to observe the holidays as they do. The high point is of course right around the winter solstice three days after to be precise.

From there I began to see all kinds of areas where Christianity became increasingly a hodgpodge of cultic moments which maintained the older, truer religion of the Gods. God the father = Dyaus-peter (can’t figure out how to type the schwa in gmail’s composition box), Jesus = Mitra, Cult of Saints = Cult of the Ancestors, etc. etc. … all of this is well attested and even well studied, but to my knowledge there is no comprehensive collection of such studies which looks at all of it as merely a fragmented and self-inconsistent tradition of genuine religious observation. Never has the statement “they know not what they do” had so much relevancy.

The point of all this is that we need a theory/theology that recognizes what actually happened. It’s not that ‘the one god comes to drive out the many’ – such is impossible … I mean, they’re Gods! Instead, I am of a mind that Christianity is more political that theological (and party to some very grave errors of judgment, let alone logic – but this is beside the point), and its ascendency was probably more illusory than anyone may realize. Perhaps we should resurrect the old idea of ‘The Dark Ages’, not because the medieval period was particularly uneducated but because most people – whole generations in fact – fooled themselves into thinking that the Christian paradigm was in fact an accurate model of existance. Or perhaps – and on writing the above I think this is the truer statement – the dominant paradigm maintained by the established systems of authority was inaccurate, being carried by a spirit of self-aggrandizement and laziness (I’ll have to explain this one more fully later).

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