Monday, November 19, 2007

Are Deities Tied to Place?

An interesting point came up in another thread and I wanted to expand on it, as it has been on my mind lately. How tied to place are Gods and Goddesses?

In ancient times, Deities were often seen as existing only in certain areas, and were thought of as being Gods/Goddesses of certain lands. Often they were tied to specific landforms as well.

Sometimes they merged or were adapted to other lands but not as a rule. There are recorded cases of statues/idols being "loaned out" to other societies. And of course there were societies who usurped or replaced the Gods of others.

My personal experience with this is that I do like the ancient Egyptian Gods, but I live in the mid-western US with a totally different climate than ancient Egypt and I don't think they are a good fit environmentally. On a spiritual level I feel a connection, but they are far removed from my current climate so there is no connection in that area at all. When I lived on the west coast there was much more of a climate connection.

My feeling on this is that I don't think most ancient people (there are exceptions - Hebrews for example) toted their Gods about. When you went to a new land you encounted the Gods of that land. Is carrying a God from one land to another a recent concept, influenced by the ways of Christianity and Islam?

Native American gods were once the only Gods of where I live. Now there are people here of many faiths and churches of many denominations around every corner. Can I really bring ancient Egyptian Gods here too without my beliefs becoming an invasive religion to the spirit of the area?

To boil it down I guess my question is this, Can you really remove deities from their native lands? What is lost or gained by doing so?

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