The Golden Bough: Pantheons & Godforms
“The whole universe is subject to the gods; the gods are subject to the spells; the spells to the Brahmins; therefore the Brahmins are our gods” The Golden Bough, 1890
Frazer discusses a number of god forms, from a variety of pantheons. More specifically, the Egyptian god forms are mentioned, and the Frazer is careful to acknowledge the difficultly many present day men have in understanding this particular pantheon. This gap in understanding seems to be on account of the notable multitude in god form roles and names as well as as their relevance to a variety of seasonal celebrations. Further, Frazer notes the flexibility of the Egyptian calendar, which caused the celebrated seasonal festivals to vary from season to season. Interestingly, this characteristic of the Egyptian calendar, seemed to reflect the fluidity of the heavens above, and thus, one might propose, was a much more accurate calendar. Further, the priests of old changed to a fixed (Gregorian) calendar which over time resulted in such described festivals and celebrations being conducted at times of the year in which were not the time in which they were intended to be celebrated. Particular mention is made of the god form Osiris and his proposed role as a god of the crop and harvest. The reasoning behind the proposal semmed to be that crops and indeed nature, flourishes, dies and then returns to flourish again. This being reminiscent of the resurrection cycle of the god form Osiris as well as that of IAO.
Thus, over time, the god form of Osiris; as well as other god form such as Isis, became more and more complex with the number of attributes they were documented to have. However, both Osiris and Isis became known as deities of nature, harvest and the crop, with later speculation of Osiris representing the Sun; the Sun dying and returning each day. So particular focus was given to the importance of the god form Osiris, and Frazer draws further attention to the merging of the god form with the later coming god forms of Adonis and Dionysus; Frazer is clear that Osiris was not known for only one attribute alone. Rather Osiris was known to rule over nature, man’s sustenance and the harvest, the afterlife and of course reproduction. Any Thelemite too, would recognise the corresponding affiliations between Osiris and Asar-un-Nefer. Baldur, was also of particular mention by Frazer. Baldur was an immortal deity who one day dreams he will die. In response, the gods make all the natural world swear not to harm Baldur, to protect him; only the mistletoe does not take this oath. On learning this, Loki tricks Baldur's brother into shooting a twig of mistletoe at Baldur, and it kills him. His body is burned in a funeral pyre. Frazer proposes too that the story of Baldur is what inspired the many fire festivals across Europe. Baldur too, was considered a god of multiple facets. Baldur was not only considered a god of Light, but was also considered a tree spirit and god of vegetation too. So then, one might speculate that since mistletoe corresponds to the Sun and the Sun corresponds to the Self, that the myth of Baldur is akin to a warning perhaps pertaining to the Self. A warning that the Self can thwart the Light perhaps, but then the Light returns by way of the Fire, as represented by the pyre in which Baldur is burned. Or indeed, that as much as one may try to thwart and protect from Chaos, that this remains a futile feat to undertake. Further, such an endeavour, when one thinks has been succesful, finds it simply not so. Further still, it is in such moments where one thinks onself to have succeeded that one becomes succeptible to complacency. The point at which Chaos creeps in. This ongoing cycle whereby the Self and Spirit must curtail Chaos, seems to be in accord to the flourishing, dying and re-flourishing cycles of nature and vegetation; this perhaps being why Baldur was also seen as a god of such.
Frazer draws a further distinction between magick and religion, by way of highlighting the flaws of focusing upon one god form alone; even if not a god representing an absence. Namely, Frazer describes the practise of the sole worship of Isis, and the folly which soon followed in the psyche of such worshipers. Indeed, all god forms can be used for good or bad ends, and can be nurturing or corrupting. But when worshipped in isolation, one might propose that if one is not fully informed of the traits of the said god form, then one might exentuate manifestations of the god form, which are wholly undesired. Frazer continues, and stated fully that a significant amount of religious practises are drawn directly from magickal practises which preceded the given religion; in this instance and context, he then discussed Christianity. Further, Frazer brings emphasis to the corruption and folly which lies embedded in the religious doctrines. Although such doctrines were taken from magickal doctrines and god forms, Frazer postulates that they have been twisted to another means and ends; which lost the original key essence of the original magickal doctrine and god forms.
The dichotomy of pantheism and monotheism seems apparent. Further, the practise of sympathetic magick seems only permissible through use of a pantheon. As it is the identifiable and known characteristics of each specific god form; of which there are many, which enabled magicians ancient and present day, to conduct sympathetic magickal work effectively. Further still, religion and its submissive worship to one single god alone, by the reasoning of sympathetic magickal practise, would thus bring effects in accord only to that one god alone. Something, which if one does not know the associated traits of the god in question, can be wholly perilous, if not wholly imbalanced endeavour.
The pantheistic mindset toward divinity too, seems the only method in accordance to the promotion of one’s own development and spiritual evolution, and indeed the strengthening of one’s Will. It seems too that the means by which one may draw upon the power of a specific god or gods within the parameters of a ritual or working, are largely variant too. Frazer notes the use of a plethora of items, charms, songs, colours even animals as a means by which to bring forth certain aspects of a specific god or gods for ones use. Indeed, there seems to again have been particular focus given to deities of nature and vegetation; which if one places one thoughts to what the lives of ancient folk might have been like, one realises this adoration of nature and vegetation gods makes much sense indeed.
If one might draw comparison to the means and methods of the magician and the priest, one might realise more so, why this particular focus on such god forms, was so. Using the means of the magician to ensure a plentiful harvest, one might orientate ones work toward one or more god forms, which yield the essence of nature and vegetation. Then one would adapt one’s thoughts and actions in accordance to this, but with integration of ritual practise, songs, charms and even use of correspondences and workings. This would be done all in accordance with one’s chosen outcome; a greater crop yield when harvest comes. One example of such a practise would be the sacrifice of animals of which were believed to be a representation of a particular harvest god, at the time of year where the harvest would be taken, or replanted. In constrast, the priest would offer himself in prayer to a generic single god of no particular essence, and therefore, drawing no particular effect in doing so. Then, the priest would adopt an approach of plead and hope; undertaking no sympathertic practise soever. Needless to say which practise proved more effective.
Particular focus was given in the ancient world, to the pig and the bull, whereby the former would only be eaten after sacrifice, once a year. Particular focus was also given to the god forms of Osiris, Isis, Demeter, Persephone, Attis, and Adonis and were adorned through certain animals, through which, sympathetic correspondences were drawn. Again, in comparison, using the means of the religious priest, one would pray and affirm, but rather unbeknownst to the priest, he does so essentially to no god at all. The priest, in conducting such a practise in the first place, short circuits his own Will, and thus his power, force and volition to ever bring an outcome into effect. One might then postulate, that this is the case, because outcome depends heavily upon the power upon which the priest submits, and that even if a man was to plead with a god to bring something to pass, that a god may have no interest in doing so. The bottom line is that the method of the religious priest seems holly flawed and ineffective, whilst the method of the magician seems to focus and adjust himself in accordance to a specific criteria and set of parameters of which aim to bring forth a specific outcome. Thus, it seems so that the latter method could be much more effective, and this later method, makes use of a pantheistic framework and not a monotheistic, religious framework; more importantly.
“Know thy legion, know it well indeed” The House Thēvdos – 4 - Frater LHT – V5
So then, the present day aspirant may take heed of all such focuses described above. Moreover, the most notable message to take from the above, one might propose to be the folly of religion; or rather of monotheistic religion. Further, one might acknowledge the effectiveness of pantheism, when it comes to magick. Thus, should the present day aspirant remain mindful of the subtle ways in which religion may influence and infiltrate his psyche and the notable detrimental effects thereupon. The present day aspirant may too, find himself drawing upon his knowledge of both magick and religion, so that he may perhaps move from religious practices and methods, toward magickal practises and methods; depending on his desired ends. For example, if the present day aspirant was to employ methods in accord to monotheistic religions; of which many of today’s religions are, both in his workings and in aid of his own development. the aspirant might find himself making slow, if any progress at all. Further, the aspirant would know only of submission and pleasing of a one-size fits all single god of absence, and this one god alone. That, of course assuming that the aspirants Will has not been wholly thwarted, and his psyche not poisoned with a perspective akin to his own disempowerment and stifled spiritual development. Thus, does the montheistic man know not himself well, nor truly of divinity; indeed, the longer he clings to such a mindset, the worse his condition becomes. One might posit that it is through pantheism and knowledge of the many multitudes of god forms, that one may better know oneself, and the interplay between himself and the god forms. Moreover, one may too, know the better intimate intricacies of divinity through one's chosen pantheon/s.
In short, a man, through use of a pantheistic framework, will know himself in all his own multitude of dimensions increasingly more so. Further, such a man will know too, again in all its multitude of dimensions, his legion. Something to know well indeed.
V:5 ☉ in ♑︎