Friday, February 02, 2007

Thwapping as Disrespect?

There's something I've been wondering about since I first began to read the Cauldron, and that is the concept of "thwapping" that is very often spoken of. It's something that seems incredibly odd to me and can occasionally come off as disrespectful to the Gods (at least in the way I see things). For example, things like a recent thread on the Morrigan where the poster wrote:

"Now she is talking directly to me and I haven't even 'officially' acknowledged her yet."

Now, my gut reaction is to wonder how a Goddess is going to hang around someone like a jilted girlfriend/boyfriend waiting for a mortal to "acknowledge" them, but I'm not interested in making value judgments on other peoples' concepts of and relations with any deities, as that really isn't any of my business. What I am interested in, however, is asking some questions about the concept.

The first thing I'm wondering is what sort of concept of Deities do people who believe in these "thwappings" hold? By that I mean, are they a part of your own mind/higher soul/etc. that is speaking to you? Are they *literal* beings communicating with you (and somehow find the time to do so a *lot* while also doing so with someone else at the same time, a sort of omnipresence?)? Are they aspects of nature that relate to you somehow? Or are they some completely different option that I haven't mentioned?

The second thing I'm wondering is why you (general "you," as in people who believe in "thwappings") believe Deities "thwap" you at all, as in what do you think their motivations are? Is it simply to gain more followers? If so, why do they need more followers enough to personally "thwap" each and every one of them? Is it because you personally have some quality that they're fond enough of that they just *have* to communicate with you on a regular basis? If so, why would they do that instead of something more important or "cosmic"? Do they "thwap" people because they want certain causes adopted or want things *done* in the world? If that's the case, why aren't there any "thwapped" followers of Gods making *substantial* changes to things like negative globalisation, hunger, etc.?

Going on the basis of someone who literally believes in the existence of the Gods (at least "my" Gods, the Germanic ones) and on the attitudes that some of the ancient peoples that these Gods are drawn from had, is it possible for such a concept to be insulting or offensive towards the Gods? I'm no expert on Greek religion, but I think I'd be referring to the concept of "hubris" which many people in Greek lore were punished by the Gods for. Even if we're speaking of devoted, solemn experience of a Deity, does anyone feel it is disrespectful or "blasphemous" (for lack of a better term) to speak of such a holy experience in frivolous terms?

Many of these questions are based on my own suppositions and reactions to this concept, so many of them may be inaccurate. I'm also not entirely able to keep out my own understanding and view of things from how I word it, but I'm genuinely wondering about this.

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