Roman Virtues and Principles

ndfidesRomans are guided by three principles in their Polytheism. First, Do ut des (I give that you may give) focuses on the reciprocity between the people and their Gods. Second, Ius divinus (sacred law) governs the right relations between humans and Gods. Finally, Pax deorum (peace of the Gods) stresses maintaining harmony between people and the Gods. These principles are rooted in pietas (piety). For Romans, this includes devotion to their families, the Gods, and their communities.

Added to that are the many public and private virtues that every Roman aspires to. Of the list of private virtues relevant to political action would be dignitas (a sense of self-worth), firmitas (tenacity), gravitas (a sense of the importance of the matter), prudentia (personal discretion), severitas (self-control) and finally veritas (honesty). These particular virtues both guide the conduct of the Roman Polytheist in politics, as well as define how to be an effective advocate. Following these virtues ensures that one does not degrade those for whom they advocate nor the Gods Themselves.

Meanwhile public Roman virtues provide a structure on what to advocate for. Abundantia is enough food for all. Aequitas is fair dealing between the government and the people. When conducting affairs let concordia (harmony between nations and between people) and fides (good faith in contracts) be the guides. Iustitia points to having sensible laws, and salus, the concern for public welfare. In the throes of advocacy, bonus eventus (remembering positive events) and fortuna (acknowledging positive events) should not be forgotten.

Virtues who are Gods:
Abundantia: With her cornucopia, this Goddess distributes grain and money to all.
Aequitas: Aequitas is the God of Equity.
Bonus Eventus: Depicted with a patera (cup) in his right hand and a wheat shaft in the left, this God ensures good harvests and successful enterprises.
Concordia: This important Goddess has a festival on July 22.
Felicitas (Prosperity): This Goddess represents the best aspects of communities.
Fides: This Goddess oversees oral contracts between people.
Libertas (Liberty): This Goddess personifies liberty in all its aspects – personal and political.
Pax (Peace): When Augustus re-established peace after the Roman Civil War, he made Pax a Goddess.
Pietas: This Goddess is usually portrayed with a stork, a symbol of filial duty.
Pudicita (Modesty): This Goddess, once represented the modesty of women, but later oversaw the moral uprightness of citizens.
Salus: This ancient Goddess also preserves public health.
Spes (Hope): Depicted about to depart, this Goddess holds an opening flower.
Virtus (Virtue) and Honos (Honor): These two Gods are usually worshipped together. They are also Gods of Military Courage and Honor.

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Gods of the Month: October

This is Part Two of October festivals and other important days that I follow. Part One is Gods of the Month: October 2016.

October is a month to focus on the affairs of the state and of the community. Fides (Good Faith), Felicitas (Good Fortune) and Venus Victrix (Venus Victorious) are honored for the protection of the people and the continuing favor of the Gods. Di Penates (the Gods of the Pantry) are also given sacrifices for protecting the food stores.

Also, October is a month of transitions. The campaign season is over and soldiers return home. They and their weapons need to be purified before they can rejoin the civilian population.

For me in my personal devotions, I honor Hekate and Anubis (Gods of the Dead) who helped me in adjusting to life after my traumatic brain injury. October is also the beginning of the Wild Hunt by Odin, the All-Father of the Norse. I also honor Ba’al, Whose temples have been destroyed by religious fanatics.

FIDES PUBLICA
The Goddess of Good Faith and Trust, Fides Publica has sacrifices made to Her on October 1. This Goddess presides over oral contracts both political and social. Roman priests make offerings to Fides with gloved hands, to show their absolute trust in Her.

FAUSTA FELICITAS
On October 9, a festival is held for Fausta Felicitas, the Goddess of Good Fortune. As Felicitas Publica, She is the Divine Force of the State. People pray to Her in both aspects to keep the commonwealth prosperious and successful.

VENUS VICTRIX
The Roman Goddess Venus has many aspects. One of them is Venus Victrix (Venus Victorious), who protects the State. As Venus Genetrix, She is considered to be the Ancestress of the Roman People. As the Evening Star, Venus led her son Aeneas to Latium to settle.

DI PENATES
On October 14, Romans honor Di Penates, the Gods of the Pantry. Along with the Lars, Di Penates protect the household. Since They guard the food stores, Di Penates can be considered the Gods of the Food Banks. Taking canned goods to a food bank is one way to honor Di Penates.

Other Festivals and Observations:

MARS: In October, the Roman armies came home from the wars. The Armilustrium is the purification of the weapons and trumpets (tubae) on October 18. Gods of the Month: Mars

MANIA and DII MANES:  The Opening of the Mundus (the Well to the Underworld) is conducted for the second time in the year on October 5. The Mundus, Well to the Underworld

MEDITRINA: The Meditrinalia, the Festival of First Wine, is held on October 11.
FONS: Fons, the God of Springs, is honored at the Fontinalia on October 13. God of the Month: Meditrina

ODIN: Because my Anglo-Saxon Ancestors have an altar to their Gods, I make observances for these Gods also. The Norse Winternights, the beginning of the winter is From October 29 to November 2. The Wild Hunt starts at this time and continues through the winter. Ghost Riders in the Sky or the Wild Hunt

The Descent of Inanna

In The Descent of Inanna (c 1900-1600 BCE), Inanna journeys to the Underworld to visit her recently widowed Sister, Ereshkigal, Queen of the Great Below. As Inanna descends, She is forced to give up her royal power and is stripped naked. Leaving the Seven Gates behind, She enters the throne room. There, She finds Ereshkigal in labor with her late husband’s child. The Annuna, who are the Judges of the Underworld, surround Inanna and pass their judgement of death on Her. Ereshkigal then kills her Sister and hangs the corpse on a hook.

Meanwhile, Ninshubur, who is Inanna’s chief minister, seeks help from the Great Gods. Enki, Inanna’s Father, sends two Galla help rescue Inanna. They help Ereshkigal give birth, who then allows then to Inanna’s Corpse. Once Inanna is restored to life, She must find someone to take cher place. Eventually, She chooses her consort Dumuzi, who did not mourn Her. However, Dumuzi’s sister, Geshtinanna volunteers to take his place for six months each year.

Modern readings of the Descent of Inanna have Inanna shedding her old self, confronting her shadow, and emerging again whole. Read in conjunction with the Epic of Gilgamesh (c 2150-1400 BCE), the Descent of Inanna presents a different meaning. Inanna is instrumental in having Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven murdered. He is Ereshkigal’s husband and father of her unborn child. She wanted justice for the death of her husband, and leaving her unborn child fatherless.

However, Inanna avoided the consequences of her actions. She was able to convince Enki to return Her to life. Dumuzi and Geshtinanna paid for her decision to attain more mes (power) by going to Gugalanna’s funeral in the Underworld. The Descent of Inanna then becomes a story of one God seeking justice and being thwarted, since Inanna escapes punishment for her deed.

In The Descent of Inanna (c 1900-1600 BCE), Inanna journeys to the Underworld to visit her recently widowed Sister, Ereshkigal, Queen of the Great Below. As Inanna descends, She is forced to give up her royal power and is stripped naked. Leaving the Seven Gates behind, She enters the throne room. There, She finds Ereshkigal in labor with her late husband’s child. The Annuna, who are the Judges of the Underworld, surround Inanna and pass their judgement of death on Her. Ereshkigal then kills her Sister and hangs the corpse on a hook.

Meanwhile, Ninshubur, who is Inanna’s chief minister, seeks help from the Great Gods. Enki, Inanna’s Father, sends two Galla help rescue Inanna. They help Ereshkigal give birth, who then allows then to Inanna’s Corpse. Once Inanna is restored to life, She must find someone to take cher place. Eventually, She chooses her consort Dumuzi, who did not mourn Her. However, Dumuzi’s sister, Geshtinanna volunteers to take his place for six months each year.

Modern readings of the Descent of Inanna have Inanna shedding her old self, confronting her shadow, and emerging again whole. Read in conjunction with the Epic of Gilgamesh (c 2150-1400 BCE), the Descent of Inanna presents a different meaning. Inanna is instrumental in having Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven murdered. He is Ereshkigal’s husband and father of her unborn child. She wanted justice for the death of her husband, and leaving her unborn child fatherless.

However, Inanna avoided the consequences of her actions. She was able to convince Enki to return Her to life. Dumuzi and Geshtinanna paid for her decision to attain more mes (power) by going to Gugalanna’s funeral in the Underworld. The Descent of Inanna then becomes a story of one God seeking justice and being thwarted, since Inanna escapes punishment for her deed.

Gods and Archetypes: Archetypes and Postmodern Spirituality

The term “Archetypes” came into common use from Carl Jung’s work. He hypothesized that there is a deeper layer “under” the unconscious of the individual. According to Jung, the “Collective Unconscious” is universal to humankind. The Archetypes (Note 1) who are the organizing principles of Time, Space, and Matter are created by “Collective Unconscious.” Jung added that religious experiences are linked to the experiences of the Archetypes.

Since Jung’s theories are ingrained in popular culture, many people have added on their own concepts of Archetypes. In “The Fire of the Goddess,” Reiki Master Katlin Koda, who believes in the Sacred Feminine, defines Archetypes as “An energetic imprint that lives with in the collective unconscious and carries specific qualities, such as priestess, mother, and teacher.” (Note 2)

Meanwhile, Caroline Myss, noted medical mystic, has a different point of view. She writes that Archetypes are not “entities with which we have some sort of interactive relationship… They are impersonal patterns of consciousness that forms the essence of human nature. However, archetypes are an active part of our consciousness.” (Note 3)

In devising their Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator (PMAI) for psychologists to use (Note 4), Carol Pearson and Hugh Marr, both Jungian psychologists, interpret Archetypes to be the original patterns of roles and stories of humans. They write, “Archetypes are the psychological structures reflected in symbols, images, and themes common to all cultures and all times…. The PMAI is devised to help people to better decode the underlying logic of their life.” Therefore, each person can revise their story to attain their special gifts.

Neo-Shaman Linda Star-Wolf speaks of Archetypes as cosmic energy. According to her, the Akashic Records (Note 5) hold the Archetypes in the sacred archives. Since humans vibrate at a different energy than the Archetypes, They feed people their stories. Reflecting Pearson and Marr’s ideas, she says that people then rework the stories and upload them back to the Akashic Records. For example, Star-Wolf claims that she and her late husband lived the Archetypal Story of Osiris and Isis, in a cosmic dance between the Transmuter and the Mother, respectively.

Core-Shamanist Hank Wesselman writes, “The goal of the authentic mystic … is to access the true transpersonal archetypes – the ‘lights beyond the form.’” He says that the “collective unconscious is a field that contains within itself the Akashic Records, the collective wisdom and experience of all humanity in our long journey across time.” (Note 6)

If it seems that Jung’s Archetypes have become the basis for religious beliefs, it is because he, himself, was an occultist. After receiving visions of the coming World War, He had a near-psychotic breakdown in 1913. Retreating into mysticism, Jung created his own cosmology with God being reborn in the human psyche. Some of his ideas do reflect Theosophy (Note 7), since Jung knew prominent Theosophists such as Alice Bailey. Although, Jung did have his differences with this system of religious-science or science religion, he did agree with its concept of divinity within humans.

(Previous post in this series: Gods and Archetypes: Jung and Postmodern Spirituality

Notes:
Note 1: “Archetype” is an explanatory paraphrase of the Platonic eidos. For our purposes this term is apposite and helpful, because it tells us that so far as the collective unconscious contents are concerned we are dealing with archaic or- I would say- primordial types, that is, with universal images that have existed since the remotest times. The term “representations collectives,” used by Levy-Bruhl to denote the symbolic figures in the primitive view of the world, could easily be applied to unconscious contents as well, since it means practically the same thing.

Another well-known expression of the archetypes is myth and fairytale. But here too we are dealing with forms that have received a specific stamp and have been handed down through long periods of time. The term “archetype” thus applies only indirectly to the “representations collectives,” since it designates only those psychic contents which have not yet been submitted to conscious elaboration and are therefore an immediate datum of psychic experience. From Carl Jung, “Archetypes of Collective Unconscious.”

Note 2: Katlin Koda, “Fire of the Goddess.” P. 189
Note 3: Caroline Myss, “Archetypes.” P. 18
Note 4: Carol Pearson and Hugh Marr, “What Story Are You Living?” P. 14-15. They developed the PMAI based on Jung’s Archetypes and Joseph Campbell’s work, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949).”
Note 5: A concept from Theosophy, the Akashic records are the records of every soul, past, present, and future. Theosophists believe that they exist in a plane of existence called the etheric plane. These records can be accessed through deep meditation.
Note 6: Hank Wesselman and Sandra Ingerman, “Awakening to the Spirit World.” P. 172-3.
Note 7: For more information on Theosophy: http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/gdpmanu/ryan-wh/wit-hp.htm “What is Theosophy” from The Theosophical Society.

Works Used:
Raven Kaldera, “Dealing with Deities.”
Katlin Koda, “Fire of the Goddess.”
Caroline Myss, “Archetypes.”
Carol Pearson and Hugh Marr, “What Story Are You Living?”
Romanian Association for Psychoanalysis Promotion (AROPA), Resources for Carl Jung. http://carl-jung.net/index.html
Linda Star-Wolf, “Soul Whispering.”
Hank Wesselman and Sandra Ingerman, “Awakening to the Spirit World.”

Gods and Archetypes: Jung and Postmodern Spirituality

I am writing a series of posts that focus on Archetypes and Gods. As a Polytheist, I am often told that the Gods are Archetypes and vice versa. As I explore this topic, I want to state that I do not subscribe the notion that Gods are Archetypes.

Margot Adler in her book, “Drawing Down the Moon,” asserted that the theoretical basis for a modern defense of polytheism came from Jungian psychologists. (Note 1) The basis for her statement was Carl Jung’s theories about Archetypes, (Note 2) which he regarded to be the Gods and Goddesses of mythology and religion. From studying Jung, I perceive that he strove to merge psychology and spirituality. By declaring that spiritual forces arose from and were empowered by humanity, Jung could weld psychology and spirituality into one belief system. This became the basis for Postmodern Spirituality (Note 3).

When the West became Monotheist, the center of focus for religion moved from the home to the church. Instead of devotions by individuals, God was worshipped by a congregation. Therefore, punishments for missing services were codified in the Monotheistic religions. The God of the congregation was placed on a throne in heaven. Following the availability of printed copies of “The Bible,” individuals could do personal devotions. However, they had to adhere to the official versions and interpretations of Scriptures by centralized religious authorities.

During the Scientific Revolution, God became the Divine Watchmaker or the First Cause, and was further removed from humanity. Moreover, the rise of Humanism focused on the individual determining “The Truth” through reason and science. Furthermore, the Romantic Movement of the 1800s challenged the divine power of God.

Modernity, in the form of the World Wars, brought about the fragmentation of communities which led to less participation in group religious activities. Society placed the emphasis on the individual instead of the community, thereby sidelining religion. Thus in the various “Star Trek” series, the Gods were always depicted as space aliens.

In today’s postmodern society, the individual focuses on their own religious impulses. Religion is now something that is created by humans for their own uses. People are “spiritual but not religious.” Their spirituality is now centered on obtaining transcendental experiences to achieve an “enlightened consciousness.” Therefore, Atheism can be combined with Neo-Paganism to form a distinctive religion. In Atheo-Paganism, the individual strives for a spiritual transformation that is solely grounded in empirical rationality (i.e. science).

Jung’s blend of spirituality and psychology is a major basis for Postmodern Spirituality. He hypothesized that the ultimate Archetype within the human psyche is the Higher Self. (Note 4) Jung add that God was the Archetypical Light (i.e. the Higher Self (or the Christ Archetype according to Joseph Campbell)). He believed that addiction was the spiritual hunger for this Higher Self.

Because the Higher Self is rooted within each person, Jung said that belief in the Gods was the primitive view of the world. This is the common meme in Western intellectual thought about religion. Belief progresses from primordial superstition to Monotheism to Atheism, the highest form of intelligence and civilization. Raven Kaldera, Northern Tradition Shaman, calls this as Urdummheit, the idea that everyone who lived in “…ancient-historic times was less intelligent than modern man, and that the progression of culture has been a progression of IQ.” (Note 5)

Jung’s bias formed the widespread belief that Archetypes are Gods, which arise from human unconsciousness. This belief promotes an “I-Higher I” relationship instead of an “I-Not I” or “I-Other.” Religion in the West is now centered in each individual and their needs.

Notes:
Note 1. As a Polytheist, I do object to Adler’s assertion.

Note 2:  Archetype. “Primary structural element of human psyche. The archetype is a predisposition for specific human experiences such as birth, motherhood, death, love etc. It is on the psychic level the correspondence of the pattern of behavour of biologists.”

Archetypal image. “The form or representation taken by the archetype in dreams, fantasies, cultural and religious (mythical) products.” From Carl-Jung Net

Note 3: Postmodern Spirituality can be described as people are “spiritual but not religious.” It includes the New Age religions, Neo-Paganism, and Neo-Shamanism.

Note 4: Jung called it “the Archetype of the Center,” where The Center is the unity of the Unconscious and the Conscious of the person. “Enlightened Consciousness” is the awakening of the Higher Self.

Note 5:Raven Kaldera, “Dealing with Deities,” Page 2.

Works Used:
Dino Felluga, “General Introduction to Postmodernism,” Introductory Guide to Critical Theory. http://www.purdue.edu/guidetotheory/postmodernism/modules/introduction.html
Raven Kaldera, “Dealing with Deities.”
Romanian Association for Psychoanalysis Promotion (AROPA), Resources for Carl Jung. carl-jung.net/index.html
Ken Wilbur, “Postmodern spirituality by Roland Benedikter: A dialogue in five parts.” http://www.integralworld.net/benedikter1a.html

PSA: Submissions for the Sobek Devotionation.

Originally posted on Per Sebek: We’re a month in and I’ve had some submissions so far, but I would love to have more. If anyone’s thinking of submitting something, please send it in! This devotional can’t happen without your submissions, so please get in touch. sobekdevotionalATgmail.com

PSA: Send me things for the Sobek Devotional! — A Polytheist’s Ramblings

Sobek was the Egyptian god of the Nile which was believed to have been created from his sweat. As Sobek possessed the strength and nature of a crocodile, which the Egyptians both feared and respected, he became a symbol of the Pharaoh’s power. The Nile, which was full of crocodiles, was important to the livelihood of the Egyptians.  It therefore made good sense to have a god like Sobek who could appease these ferocious beasts. From: http://www.artyfactory.com/egyptian_art/egyptian_gods/sobek.htm

 

 

A Roman Polytheist Looks At Core Shamanism

My experiences with Core Shamanism (Note 1) started with people I met, who had studied under Michael Harner and Sandra Ingerman. They opened their own schools of shamanism and added their own “twists” to the basic teachings. I also encountered it in various books published by New Age and Alternative Publishers such as Inner Journeys/Bear Company and Sounds True, whose authors included neo-shamanists (Note 2) such as Itzhak Berry, Evelyn Rysdyk, and Linda Star Wolf. Finally, I read articles from the Foundation of Shamanic Studies, founded by Michael Harner. (Note 3)

Core Shamanism began to bother me, but I could not figure out why. Then I heard about the attendance of Ereshkigal, the Babylonian Goddess of the Underworld, at a ritual to call upon the Goddesses to end the patriarchy. I could not believe that Ereshkigal, Who demands that the other Gods have to come to Her, had left her domain. Not only that but She also attended a ritual given by humans, who believed that the Gods are archetypes created by humans. What was reason for Her doing this? Why did this Great Goddess respond to these Core Shamans’ requests to attend their ritual? They neither had offerings nor did divination for Her or the other Goddesses.

In “Wyrdwalkers,” Raven Kaldera, Northern Tradition Shaman, compares and contrasts Core Shamanism and Classic Shamanism. He notes that Core Shamanism will downplay the “literal existence” of spirits. Moreover, it will encourage an equal relationship or total mastery over the spirits. Because Gods are not a part of Core Shamanism, practitioners can devise their own Gods. They usually “create” Gods, which are archetypes arising from the collective unconscious of humanity.

Kaldera discusses Classic Shamanism in terms of suffering a “traumatic death and rebirth experience” which results in being dismembered and rebuilt. In contrast, Core Shamanism is something that a lay person can dabble in. Sandra Ingerman says, “The purpose of initiation is to carve away what is on the surface of our ego and personality, so that the depth of spirit can shine through.” (Note 4).

Without any structure and with emphasis on helpful spirits and animals, Core Shamanism encourages people to construct moralistic therapeutic deities (Note 5). These deities look out for people but do not require anything such as offerings from them. They are the “nice guy Gods.” In addition, Nature becomes a helpful ally that teaches people how to heal and live a healthy life.

With all this power at their fingertips, why did the people, who held the Goddess ritual, still feel that they were victims of the patriarchy? One answer is that Core Shamanism itself is rooted in the ego or self. Rather than being a structured belief system, Core Shamanism stresses “here are some tools to help you in this friendly universe.” I think that rather than empower people to overcome their fears, it enables them to remain where they are. They can believe themselves to be powerful and victims at the same time i.e. “heroic victims.”

Instead of confronting the shadow self, Core Shamanism allows for spiritual by-passing. (Note 6). It encourages people to find spiritual solutions to physical and mental difficulties, rather working in concert with the physical world. After all we are physical beings rooted in this world. Meanwhile, Core Shamanism allows people to continue having spiritual activities without penetrating the darkness.

Acceptance of the darker side of human behavior is required for emotional maturity. It entails rigorous and honest self-awareness. I found a prejudice amongst these Core Shamans against seeking mental health professionals, claiming that they only reinforce society’s norms. My experience with mental illness is that the physical aspects of a malfunctioning brain have to be addressed. Without doing that, there can be no spiritual nor mental solutions.

Core Shamanism is safe because a person does not have to change their lives in any concrete way. A person can experience the fire without feeling the heat, since they remain in control. They do not have to face their true shadows.

As for the people who conducted the ritual, I believe that the Ereshkigal who did attend was not the Babylonian Goddess. Perhaps She was a construct of their hopes and desires. Perhaps, She was an archetype of the “Dark Goddess.”

Notes:
Note 1: According to the Foundation for Shamanic Studies: https://www.shamanism.org/workshops/coreshamanism.html
“Core shamanism consists of the universal, near-universal, and common features of shamanism, together with journeys to other worlds, a distinguishing feature of shamanism. As originated, researched, and developed by Michael Harner, the principles of core shamanism are not bound to any specific cultural group or perspective.”

Note 2: Neo-shamanism dilutes Classic Shamanism into a set of techniques for Westerners. The difference from Core Shamanism, is that they have a particular focus from what they learned from an “indigenous” shaman.

Note 3: The Foundation for Shamanic Studies, https://www.shamanism.org/articles/index.html

Note 4. Sandra Ingerman, “Walking in the Light,” page 90.

Note 5: Sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Denton coined this term in 2005 to describe the beliefs of American teenagers. They define Moralistic Therapeutic Deism as:
1. A God exists who created, ordered the world, and watches over human life on earth.
2. The God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in The Bible and by most world religions.
3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
4. The God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life, except when this God is needed to resolve a problem.
5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

Note 6: Psychologist John Welwood first coined this term to describe what he saw occurring amongst American Buddhists in the 1980s. Welwood said that the people whom he observed were using spiritual practices to avoid confronting their wounds. Psychologist Robert August Masters refined Welwood’s concept by adding that it disconnects people from their authentic spiritual-emotive selves.

Works Used:
Foundation for Shamanic Studies. https://www.shamanism.org/index.php. 2017.

Ingerman, Sandra, “Walking in Light.” Boulder (CO): Sounds True. 2014.

Kaldera, Raven, “Wyrdwalkers.” Hubbardston (MA): Asphodel Press. 2007.

Masters, Robert August, “Spiritual Bypassing.” Website. http://robertmasters.com/writings/spiritual-bypassing/. 2013.