Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Handwriting of the Gods?

There are a lot of paths out there for which very little is written down. Most of their lore is either passed on orally or lost in the mists of time, and UPG and archeology are the main ways people build their beliefs.

Other paths, though, have reams and reams of original sources and learned commentary. The original writings can be from many different time periods, and the interpretations change according to who is doing it and what has been discovered through other means (again, archeology is a major changer-of-perspective) Often there are contradictory things said about how a god behaves or relates to people, or its fundamental nature even.

How do you decide what to include in your practice? Do you pick a certain time period, or a particular interpreter? If part of a god's history is distasteful or feels wrong to you, how do you justify ignoring or re-interpreting that part, or do you just accept that everybody, including gods, will occasionally earn your disapproval? If you feel that some of the gods' baggage is just the weight of the original culture or the interpretation of politically minded leaders, where do you find the bits that aren't?

In other words, how do you identify what is 'truly' an aspect of your god, and what is put upon it by humans? Do you feel that some ancient writers were more faithful than others, have more of a clear view, or that you can trace a myth back to pre-political interpretations, or does the god speak to you and tell you 'He's got the truth.' 'He's just a hack.' 'That view is degenerate, but that one is me'. 'That is just the way I dictated it, but that one takes liberties'.

How do you decide which sources are reliable and which are not when they contradict each other? Is there a repeating clue, an identifier, that you look for, like authentic handwriting vs clever forgery?

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