I’ve always been interested in getting to the bottom of things. My search now leads me down the path of the gods. Which one came when, which ones are the same but have different names and which ones are just really famous drunks. This week I’ve decided to highlight three of my favorites so far.
But first, before I get down to the lightning bolt slinging and heavenly meddling in human affairs I’d like to discuss the concepts of deism and theism. While both involve the belief in one or many god(s) they are semantically very different. Theism is the belief that one or many god(s) created the universe and are actively involved in its functions. Deists too believe in god(s) but they do so through reason instead of revelation. I wonder if there are adeists as well? A basic difference between the two schools is that one centers around the religion of the gods and the other is centered around the natural evidence of the gods.
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Whichever way you’d like to look at it is fine by me. For the sake of clarity, I’ll be speaking about these figures as though they are real. 100% fact. That way my imagination is free to roam and your scoffs will likely ensue! Today’s list of gods starts with the wonderfully disheveled Eris!
Eris, or the Roman Discorida, is the goddess of chaos. Perhaps the most common account of this famous trickster is the tale of Eris’ golden apple. Basically, Eris wasn’t invited to a party. This is most likely because she had this incredible ability to make mince meat of any social gathering. While the rest of the gods and goddesses were having a ball, Eris inscribed “to the most beautiful” on a golden apple. She then took the apple to the ball and threw it among the denizens. The story goes that this created such a great fuss which went on to cause the epic Trojan war. Madness.
Eris also has an awesome “religious” text dedicated to her circa 1968. The Principia Discordia contains so many elements of chaos that it is likely the textual embodiment of Eris, herself. Definitely worth a read if you are into criticizing any sort of religious institution.
Eris, much to her displeasure, is small potatoes when compared to the great Indra.
According to the Indra entry in the Encyclopedia Mythica:
In Vedic times, Indra was the supreme ruler of the gods. He was the leader of the Devas, the god of war, the god of thunder and storms, the greatest of all warriors, the strongest of all beings. He was the defender of gods and mankind against the forces of evil. He had early aspects of a sun-god, riding in a golden chariot across the heavens, but he is more often known as the god of thunder, wielding the celestial weapon Vajra, the lightening bolt. He also employs the bow, a net, and a hook in battle. He shows aspects of being a creater god, having set order to the cosmos, and since he was the one who brought water to earth, he was a fertility god as well. He also had the power to revive slain warriors who had fallen in battle.
… and I heard through the grapevine that he also hosted the greatest potlucks. Depicted as the human form of the word awesome, Indra basically could do anything. Heck, he set order to the universe. Unfortunately for Indra, his might waned and other gods, such as Shiva, came to rule. In his late age Indra went into retirement but he still is considered the leader of the lessor gods. Perhaps, assuming that all gods live in various neighborhoods of heaven, Indra has met Aiwendil.
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Aiwendil a lessor god of modern times comes from the mythology created by Tolkien. Being a lover of beasts and birds, Aiwendil was from the court of Yavanna, the giver of fruits. Aiwendil was one of the lessor gods commissioned to help defeat Sauron. Known in middle earth as Radagast the Brown, Aiwendil is most famous for helping the other gods in his order (such as Olórin and Curumo) destroy Sauron’s ring of power. Which, you know, needed to be done.
Holy all of the gods, batman! This is where I’ll end the nerdiness! Ever since I read Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods, I’ve adopted a new policy on deities. Instead of accepting one God or not accepting any gods, I’ve decided that the only course of action is to accept all of the gods. Perhaps this stance is a bit controversial, heretical, or even blasphemous but frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn–mostly because gods do the damning, and I haven’t passed any of my 7LGCs (Seven-lifetime god certifications) … yet.