Hail to the Forgotton Gods

I have a list… a growing list of posts that I wish to get working on for this blog and have been meaning too for some time. Keep thinking that I’ll have more time and energy to work on them, but apparently moving into a new apartment without the assistance of movers and without taking time off from a full time job is a real pain in the neck. Yeah yeah, that should have been obvious, but it wasn’t to me. First time trying it and it really seemed like a good idea at the time.

I also wasn’t going to write on the topic at hand at all at first, but I’m starting to feel there might be a need for some of the things I have to say. About this whole God Graveyard thing. Yeah. That thing. There’s a lot of posts about it floating around the Pagan/Polytheist blogsphere right now. So far my favorite is Costel Hidlr’s post which I re-blogged earlier today, for reminding us that hey, the people who did this are people too just like us and as angry as their actions might make everyone responding with more anger and hate isn’t getting anyone anywhere.

Looking over the original post I had my own set of reactions to the display. Some of which are a little off the wall, but one in particular I think is pretty important: There really are Forgotten Gods.None of those Gods, the truly Forgotten, were represented in the graveyard. They couldn’t be even if the creators of the display wanted Them to be. Heck, just by going through the effort of collecting all those names together the creators made a pretty good show of just how remembered and easily accessible every one of those Gods are. Anyone with an internet connection can plug in and research any God they choose. Maybe not great research… and maybe someone should inform Tom Hiddleston that he’s not only a God, but dead. I hear someone was able to pick out his smiling face on one of the tombstones.

That was a big part of what I took away from reading the original post though: for all the stated fervor for the non-reality of the Gods, you couldn’t create such a thing without acknowledging Them on some level. The blog post even includes a picture of offerings someone left for Freya. They could have taken those offerings, thrown them in the trash and pretended that it never happened. That would have suited their stated mission of showing that all these Gods were dead and forgotten quite well. They didn’t and instead they acknowledged the existence of the offerings. Not with kind words, but kindness for another can not be learned before one acknowledges the other.

Back to my original point: the graveyard trying to say all these Gods were forgotten got me thinking about another very real issue for polytheists. What about Gods that really are forgotten? It occurred to me that a few years back with I was taking a college course on Russian Folklore that the professor spoke about how much of the original mythology of the region was oral in nature and so was gradually lost as the Russian Orthodox Church took hold. Those Gods are Forgotten. We don’t even know Their names, much less the first things about Them. What They loved, the lessons They shared with Their people, how They preferred to be honored. All of that is lost to us now and unless some scrap of information is out there to be found, will always be lost.

So, that would make those Gods truly dead, right? I mean, without a name they have no voice and no one to honor them.

Fuck that. They have US. Or me at least. I can’t say how many others might follow this example, but I will.

It isn’t much, but I can build a shrine. I can make offerings. I can try to give Them things that might lend them voice. There are a few things that thus far seem pretty universal to me as for what makes for good offerings the world over. Good food and clean water are a start. Alcohol I considered… but I also remembered what someone wrote (Fearlesslyownwards I think?) about how alcohol was a destructive force when introduced into some native cultures by Europeans and so might not always be appropriate. From there I want to set up things that can be used to give Voice. A blank book, a quill pen and an inkwell. A wind instrument. A drum. A collection of seeds (seeds to be planted into minds). Some materials for making the sort of substances that drive people into ecstatic and creative states, poppies maybe. I’ll have to think more on it… but the tools that inspire. My thinking is that for a God who can’t easily reach anyone through a name to reach out at all, it’ll be through the creative process. Through art, writing and music.

I wanted to get going on building this today, but budget concerns (sucks being human and needing food…) ending up coming first. Looks like over the next few weeks I should be able to start work on this shrine and it looks like at least three others. Money is tight now, but the new apartment I mentioned at the start of the post has blessed with both a low rent and an entire spare room that has been dubbed the Shrine Room. I’ll post more about what I build there as things progress.

For now… I’ll leave everyone with a prayer:

Hail to You, the Forgotten Gods

Hail to You who cared for Your people

Who taught them to tend to the land

Who taught them to love, to live, to give thanks

Your names may be forgotten

But in the children, your people live on

May Your voices yet be heard

In whispers, in dreams, in thoughts unbidden

Guiding us still, and our children after us

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17 responses to “Hail to the Forgotton Gods

  1. Yep, that was me ๐Ÿ˜€

    Great post – your prayer made me tear up. Can I use it, please? For my own practice, I mean. If you don’t mind I will save it into my ‘prayers’ folder, and whenever I have the space to make a shrine to the forgotten Gods, I’ll write it on some nice paper and pin it to the wall. What do you need in the way of physical objects for your shrine to the forgotten Ones? Maybe I can source something here and mail it to you?

    • I got the reference right! Good. I like to at least try to give credit for where I got an idea, isn’t always easy to remember though.

      Rule of thumb: if I post something like a prayer here, it is meant to be used. All I ask is that if you want to share it somewhere else, you link back here and make it clear where it came from. Personal use though just feel free and go ahead.

      And… I don’t think the one thing I really need is practical to mail: I need a small table or another such object to set the shrine on. The other items are easy enough to get together in time. You see I moved… but due to a previous emergency move where a lot was abandoned I have pretty much no furniture in the house. Thus far my wife and I have purchased a good bed (good as in we didn’t just jump at the cheapest thing, but rather got something lasting and good for our health) along with an inexpensive card table and two chairs to make do for now.

  2. This is poignant and beautiful and so many wonderful things… I’m very glad to hear voices of reason coming out more or less on top. We’ve been presented with an opportunity. I don’t condone the “graveyard” but I’m not going to respond with hatred either. Ignorance shall be met first with an attempt to educate- THEN with various negative things leading up to hatred if the ignorant refuse to learn. I’m flexible like that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Also this line: Maybe not great researchโ€ฆ and maybe someone should inform Tom Hiddleston that heโ€™s not only a God, but dead.

    Cracked me up.

    • Thanks n_n And yeah… that’s pretty much how I’ve decided to look at this. Kinda one of the lessons that I keep feeling like the Old Man (who I also sometimes like to refer to as The Game Master) keeps trying to teach me: EVERYTHING is an opportunity. The more messed up it is, the bigger the opportunity to do something really amazing in response.

      Also… I would so write Hiddleston and let him know if I could. I bet he’d laugh his ass off at that.

  3. Heeeh! I’m glad you posted this! Very excited. I’m really curious to see what you find (and I may join you on working with the Forgotten Gods when I can). This is a wonderful and heartfelt post! โค

      • I think that would be really awesome. I mean, the main thing I don’t really… Know on what to do is: how to go about it. It’s so hard. How does one find their names, or their images and stories? It’s difficult. I think I’m interested in doing it, but I’ve been thinking about that: how to do it.

        • Sometimes archeologists do it, such as with the discovery of Urigat led to the discovery of the names of Canaanite Deities.

          Other work I’ve seen a long that lines are folklorists who try to preserve the stories of what was previously oral traditions, going to the elders who still tell the stories and writing them down. That I’ve seen comes with a little controversy, as writing the stories down really is the end of the oral culture. That was another thing I recall being discussed in that Russian Folklore class, folklorists who were going to remote villages to make recordings of songs still sung about the old heroes. Sadly even there there’s bias to work through, Christian elements woven into the stories that pre-date Christianity.

          Past that… I don’t have any basis for it, but sometimes I wonder if artists and writers sometimes create something with a trace of a deities voice woven into the piece without realizing it. Pieces like… Alice In Wonderland, maybe. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that was divinely inspired somehow. Again no basis for it, but it makes for a lot of fertile ground to ponder on.

  4. Being forgotten doesn’t equal being dead. Have you ever had an experience with a god whose name you were never given or whose name didn’t make sense to you or come up in any research? Perhaps it was one of the forgotten gods. They’re still active, we just don’t have a body of history or mythology to help us relate to them. We have to listen with our own ears and our own hearts.

  5. Just discovered this post of yours before I slipped off to bed, and I’m not ashamed to say I got misty-eyed. This is beautiful, and I intend to incorporate it into my own practice from here on.

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