Saturday, January 03, 2004

Practical Polytheism

I am currently reading Devoted to You: Honoring Deity in Wiccan Practice. The title is a bit of a misnomer, as one contributor, Maureen Reddington-Wilde, could be more properly described as a Greek Reconstructionist. Since I was recently blogging about Aphrodite, I'm starting with Reddington-Wilde's chapter on Her.

Editor Judy Harrow contributes a section on Gaia; other constributors are Alexei Kondratiev (Brigit) and Geoffrey W. Miller (Anubis).

Harrow writes, "We are four Pagan henotheists, each of whom has a long-standing devotion to the Deity he or she has written about here. We are devoted. We respect and admire one another's devotion. . . . Since modern Paganism is a high-choice relgion, we have a wide range of choices in our basic approach to religion itself. So another thing that I would hope is that this book will show you something of the range of options available to you and help you find your own comfortable place within that range."

Vodou souls

"The Quick and the Dead: The Souls of Man in Vodou Thought" is an essay by the Berkeley, California, musicologist Richard Hodges, who writes, "In nineteenth century France, the Nancy school of hypnotism discovered a way of producing states of abandonment of the body by the personality as profound as in traditional ritual possession. This only became a minor chapter in the history of Western medical psychology. There is a deep-seated prejudice in the West against loss of control. There is such a high evaluation of the individual and his personality that it is very difficult to conceive of the possibility for the ego to relax its grip and to accept to be displaced by something higher and finer. Such relaxation is one of the fundamental states of the human psyche. The absence in the West of cultural institutions for the socialization and development of this state is one of the signs of the loss of genuine psycho-spiritual knowledge in modern times. "


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