Of God and Gods

God was declared dead.  God is said to be watching the personal habits of every human. God is said to be a mere shadow of Goddess.  Clockmaker.  Old Guy in the Sky.  God has worn thousands of masks in every language.  Jesus is far from the only human held up as The Divine.  The Buddha who taught there are no Gods is worshipped as a God.  The Jewish religion uses only a symbol, four letters, a reminder that the mystery the symbol points to is beyond images and words.

We have burned each other’s images of God.  We have defaced statues, tortured and murdered innocents , and wiped out entire faiths.  We have fought wars and committed atrocities in the name of teachers who taught peace.  What if every believer could choose for him or herself?

These holy symbols and sacred allegories are not literal dogma but the work of poets. William Blake said the Holy Bible was written by poets and can only be understood by poets.  Metaphor is the language of The Mysteries.  In other words, all these images of God are stepping stones to help different kinds of people find the Way of a Thousand Ways.

Many people today find their way by learning about how other times and places symbolized spirituality.  Gods and Goddesses of ancient times have found new worshippers.  Literalists, whether religious or materialist, find this ridiculous.  But poets understand.

Perhaps a day will come when spiritual education encourages human beings to survey the deities of all history in search of whichever most closely matches each individual’s personal experiences and temperament.  The idea is not to resurrect the arcane practice of a cult.  Practices that represent the idiosyncrasies of particular moments in the evolution of cultures and human history are interesting but they are not the Mystery itself.

Books which gather together the Gods and Goddesses, like the ancient Hymns of Orpheus, take this a step further.  Neophytes may benefit from imagining they are praising distinct deities or a particular form they believe to be The Deity as opposed to false ones. But like a lover each day finding some new beauty of the beloved to celebrate, deeper realization discovers that every name is one and therefore all are precious.