Gods Which Are "Unbeing"

Gods as beings, or gods as forces. Written over a period of months.

I love the Kemetic worldview, the Kemetic gods and the way their stories are told. That mythology uplifts me, upholds a lot of the values I believe in, is generally beautiful and concrete and suits me. Whether or not it is "real" is irrelevant, because it contains truth beyond "Do these gods exist in real life?"

I don't honestly know whether I believe in gods beyond the thought that they are personifications: ancient personifications of ideas like protection or ma'at, which have lasted and become ever more intricate for thousands of years. Many thousands of people have worshiped Bast, who is my patron; there are layers and layers of rich history behind Her. I don't know if it'd worth it to worship a concept that has not acquired that patina of age. The older a story gets, the more corrupted and twisty and shape-shifting and beautiful it can become. That's the way I think of deity—a story that is so old and honored and intense that, in a sense, it becomes real. Human ways to express respect for different parts of the universe.

It's not a bad thing to personify those parts of the universe, even if it does mean going into "theism" and losing the cold hard rationality. Because when you have theism to draw on, you can draw on all the mythology and ritual as well, and that can be an incredible lens to look at the world through.

But I don't need gods which are big men in the sky; I don't need abstract big men, or animal-shaped big men, or anything along those lines. I need to see and understand the instinct of protection, the instinct of defense or the instinct of breathing. A god-form acknowledges and respects the way people think of defense; people acknowledge and respect it in turn. It's far from being a "being," or a "thing" or even a "person". It doesn't exist in the same way people do, solidly, definitely. It's not on that plane of reality. It's a sort of unbeing, not opposite from reality, just different.

At that point a personification can become something deeper and even go beyond archetypes: it becomes beautiful, multi-layered, and the idea of it works its way through your life in whichever form you hold closest. It's natural and real and insistent and unselfish and it comes from somewhere beyond one person's brain. Even if it's not a big man sitting in the sky, it's a god. My logical brain insists that there is no good reason for believing in any god, but the other brain goes ahead and sings a prayer. Why the hell not?

Really, why not? There's a sense of joy in it, it rocks me to sleep and the smell of the incense is sweet, and the candlelight is beautiful on my Bast statue. When I'm in between sleep and waking I imagine Her kneading Her paws on the blanket. The meat of the ritual is a few words, and libations, and offerings. It's hard to believe that this is the same Big Bad Corrupted Institution of Religion. The opiate of the people, as Marx said.

Maybe I'm expressing theological na´vetÚ—and religion certainly isn't harmless. But, whether or not I "believe," I can respect and practice and try to know.

That's what I'm going to do.

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