Characteristics of My Religious Worldview:
The following thoughts are my own religious worldview. I am an Irish Traditional Polytheist. I suppose I should define some of the terms in the above statement before I define my beliefs.
Polytheism: Polytheism from French polythéisme (16th century), formed from Greek polytheos “of many gods,” from polys “many” and theos “god”. Polytheism then is the doctrine of or belief in more than one god or in many gods.
Irish: One half of my family comes mainly from Ireland and this is the culture that I ground myself into spiritually.
Belief in Deity:
As a Traditional Polytheist I believe in**:
- Realism: I believe that gods actually exist, and have effects on the world of human experience.
- Pure descriptivism: I use the term “god” as simply a description, and I can readily conceive of gods whom, as an individual, I do not worship, serve or obey. For example I worship the Irish gods, but I also understand that there are Greek god, roman gods etc., which I do not worship but that other people do.
- Pluralism: I believe that gods are actually distinct beings, rather than one entity appearing under a series of disguises or aspects.
- Finitism: I believe that gods are not omnipotent or omniscient, but operate within significant limits and have particular areas of concern or ruler-ship.
- A common world: I believe that gods are not isolated from one another or from the ordinary world, but are capable of interacting wit each other and with other beings, in ways ranging from cooperation to conflict, and in contexts that include human social and physical environments.
**From Mavrodes’ list of concepts central to traditional polytheism.
My household deities are An Morríghan and Lugh.
I base my practice in research. I try to research the gods and the history, mythology and folklore of the Celtic people, especially the Irish. This is mainly what I try to base my spiritual path on. However, because we don’t really know HOW the Celts preformed their rituals or their daily worship practices, there will be a certain amount of interpretation of the information we do have. This is where unverified personal gnosis otherwise known as UPG comes in. Using the comparative religion method I try to look at the religions that are descended from the proto-Indo-Europeans, like Hinduism, and fill in the gaps in my path in as much as it fits in with the Celtic worldview.
Sacred Texts and Writings:
Sacred texts and writings are very easy to define in religions like Islam, where they have the Qur’an, in Christianity where they have the Bible, and in Judaism, where they have the Torah (Old Testament), but what about paganism? Sacred texts and writings can come in three forms; oral traditions, which are then written down later, artistic representations like statues, paintings, and icons, and manuscripts like the ones mentioned above or writings of the influential persons in any religion.
I think for my beliefs “Sacred Texts” is too strong a word, however, there are some writings that I do believe should be considered important to my faith. The myths of the Irish Celts that give us the stories of the gods and the heroes and the folklore that is handed down through the ages, things like the Carmina Gadelica for instance where you have prayers and blessings are all very important.
Rituals and Ceremonies:
Almost every religion has its rituals and ceremonies; these include festivals to mark the seasons and important events, sacrifice and/or offerings, sacramental rites, pilgrimages, meditation, healing rites and customary worship.
For now I’m celebrating the New Moon, Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain. I’m sure as I learn more about the subject I will be able to expand this section.
Every religion has a code of ethics and moral standards that it lives by. These codes and standards are influences by the religion and the culture the individual may come from. What is acceptable in one culture may not be so in another. And religion is most certainly influenced by the culture it lives in, just like it influences that culture.