Pagan views of deity

What gods do pagans believe in?

Most Pagans believe in multiple deities…however, we can run the gamut of belief in deity.  For example, a pagan can have anyone of the following beliefs:

hard polytheist—-generally believes in multiple, distinct and separate deities…in my experience, hard polytheists tend to fall into one of three categories–those that believe in the existance of ALL gods and choose a specific pantheon(s) of worship (I have seen this called omnitheism, though I favor calling it “inclusive” polytheism), those that believe in the existance of THEIR gods at the exclusion of others (what I call “exclusive” polytheism), and those that fall somewhere inbetween believeing in SOME but not all gods (I call this “selevtive” polytheism).
variations of hard polytheism (or monotheism, depending on how you look at it):
*henotheism–generally, the worship of a single god, but the belief in the existance or possibility of other deities
*monolarity–generally, the belief in the existance of multiple deities, with only one chosen deity as being worthy of worship
*kanthenotheism–generally, the worship of a single god at a time while recognizing the existance/possibility of other deities
soft polytheist—-generally believes in multiple deities as separate facets/personalities of one greater divine spirit or source
variations of soft polytheism that I have encountered:
*All individual deities are literal manifestations of a single Divine (which is what most people associate it with).
*All individual deities are archetypes of a single Divine and are symbolic, rather than literal.
*Feminine deities are a part of the Goddess and masculine deities part of the God and the God and Goddess are both aspects of a greater Divine.
*Feminine deities are a part of the Goddess and masculine deities part of the God and the God and Goddess are NOT both aspects of a greater Divine
*Individual deities are manifestations of greater archetypal type deities, which are separate entities…I find this one a little confusing, but I only know a couple of people that believe it and it works for them…so, to each their own…
pantheist—-generally believes that god is the totality of the universe, can be either monotheistic, or (soft) polytheistic belief
panentheist—-generally believes that god is both immanent and transcendent…that god is within the universe, but also something apart; can be monotheist or polytheist

duotheist—-literally “2 gods”…generally believes in a female and a male deity, duotheists can believe that the male and female are separate sides of one greater divine, or that they areseparate entities, or that all gods/goddesses are facets of the god/goddess…generally, duotheists are Wiccan, as Wicca has, since its conception, an established belief in the Lord and Lady

deist—-the belief of the existence of a creator deity who does not intervene in the universe
monotheist—-belief in one god…for Pagans, this is generally a pantheistic or panentheistic belief, or a belief in one universal consciousness/divinity (henotheism can also be seen as a form of monotheism)
agnostic/atheistic—-some Pagans don’t believe in deity…or they may believe in a connecting universal force, but not see it as divine, or they might see it as not being important, or that there is no evidence for or against, or that there my be divinity, but they do not worship it, or…you get the picture.

Depending on an individual’s personal preference, they may choose to any one of a number of individual gods from a number of pantheons, or may worship the gods of a specific pantheon.  Some traditions are specific to a particular pantheon.  For example, followers of Asatru honor the Norse gods, while Hellenic pagans honor the Greek gods.  Often either a deification or at least personification of the Earth as a conscious being/entity is recognized by many (if not most—but definitively not all) Pagans.

7 thoughts on “Pagan views of deity”

  1. It took me a while to realise,
    “Pagan views on dIEty”,
    was it going to be about diet habits for pagans,
    as there are for jews, muslims, catholics, hindus etc?
    On second thoughts, I reckoned you meant dEIty.

  2. piratessa said:

    I think I got all of them fixed!!

  3. Talisman Skulls said:

    More of a Question….I ran into a group years ago that seems to an underground family tradition that invited me to a festival that had other families in it. The had a religion in which there was the worship of One God and Three Goddesses and the Idols looked really old. Looked all over. They referred to this God and Three Goddesses as “The One and Three.” There was no Orgy stuff but had some deep traditions. What is this called?

  4. piratessa said:

    It depends…

    I tend to doubt most claimed histories within paganism (short of actual reconstructive practices or those that have a known and documented lineage), but that is irrelevant for determining what type of worship is going on, definition-wise.

    If they see the three goddesses as aspects of a single goddess figure, I’d consider it a type of soft polytheistic (on part of the goddess) duotheism. If they see the three goddesses as separate entities, and are essentially observing four deities–it would be a form of (exclusive) polytheism, though hard/soft would depend on their interpretation.

  5. SmokeyElement said:

    Thank you for this! I have had a hard time describing my beliefs beyond pagan. Now can describe myself as panentheist. I’ll probably still have to explain that but hopefully it will get me out of the “Do you worship the devil/ statues/ ect.” type questions. Lol

    • thalassa said:

      Lol! Glad it helped…I’ve found that while there are nearly as many views of deity as there are Pagans, they generally fall into those broad categorizations–though most Pagans I know fall into the polytheistic or pan/panentheistic crowd.

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