From the Oak: Let’s hear it for the God!

Many are those that focus on female divinities, leaving male divinities in the shadows if they get mentioned at all. This is a shame. Here I will share my thoughts, stories and prayers on male divinities.

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Melia Brokaw

Melia Brokaw

I am a Hellenic Pagan, dedicated to Zeus, living in the Colorado mountains with my husband, our son, two cats and a yellow lab.  In the little bit of free time that I have, I enjoy reading and crafting.

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Leshy (Lesiy Lesiye, Lyeshy, Lesovik) is a Slavic forest divinity or spirits, depending on the source.  He is the protector of forest animals and often seen in the company of wolves or bears.  This divinity regulates and assigns prey to hunters.  In later times it is said that he has also become the protector of flocks and flocks.  He is number 13 on my gods of the “graveyard” series.  (I’m very surprised at the number of Slavic divinities that are on this list, but as my maternal ancestors come from this region, I’ve enjoyed learning about them.)

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The next deity that I’m honoring from the atheist graveyard is Veles (#12) of the Slavic Pantheon.  Now I’ve written several posts about deities from this pantheon under different names and every time I write about them, I grow a little more in knowledge.  There is a lot of variety in names but with similar roles.  Before I’ve described this divinity as the bad guy, but he reminds me a little bit of Loki in that he isn’t necessarily the bad guy but he does take on the adversarial or trickster role.  It seems Christian influence made him appear worse than he really is.

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  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    Thanks for commenting! I admit I've had a hard time wading through all the information I've read about the Slavic Pantheon so I a
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thanks for writing about one of the Slavic Gods! Veles has not been viewed remotely as evil by any Rodnovery I have yet encounter

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Uni is the supreme goddess of the Etruscan pantheon.  She is part of a ruling triad together with her husband, Tinia, and the goddess Menrva.  The Etruscans were distinct culture that occupied a region north of Rome.  They were most likely an aboriginal people conquered by a Near Eastern culture which was then influenced by Greek traders (as I understand it any way).  Originally they overshadowed their Roman neighbors who took on a lot of the Etruscan culture, especially religiously.   Eventually the Etruscans became subordinate to the Romans and essentially disappeared into the Roman Empire.

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Ok...don't fall out of your chairs.  Your eyes are not deceiving you...two posts in one day!  When I saw who the next divinity on my list was...inspiration struck.  #10 on the devotions on the gods from the "graveyard".  

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Today’s blog is on the di Penates or Penates.  Blog number 9 of my gods of the “graveyard” series.  This one was extremely difficult to write because…well no one really agrees on who the Penates are.  The concept for the Penates and Lares comes from the ancient Roman domestic cultus and were at some point included as part of civil or state rituals.  They remind me a lot of the ancient Greek agathos daimons, which are good spirits/gods of home, family and/or individual.  Everything I’ve read on Penates and Lares boils down to the individual.  I’m including the Lares in this blog because they are often honored with the Penates and very hard for the researcher to tell apart.

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This week, I write on Odin to fulfill my promise to write about each god (#8) placed in the atheists’ “god graveyard”.  I’ve only had one personal experience with Odin which I wrote previously about here.  So I’ve spent time this week researching him, trying to figure out what to write.  Nothing came to mind specifically just an overwhelming awe over the role he has chosen for himself.  

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This week’s tribute (#7) is to the goddess, Laverna, the Roman goddess of thieves, frauds, plagiarists, hypocrites and ne’er-do-wells.

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The next deity (#6) from the “god graveyard” is Loki.  Loki interests me unlike a very large part of the Norse Pantheon, even more so than Odin and Thor.  Maybe it is his association with fire (fire sign here [grin]) or the devotion of Sigyn.  More likely it is the fact that he doesn’t fit in anywhere (as I often feel that way).  Yet it could e my tendency to cheer on the underdog or maybe his similarities to Hermes.  Any way he incites a cautious curiosity in me. 

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Next up in my tributes to the Gods placed in the atheist graveyard, I honor Janus, Divine Doorkeeper.  Yet I've already written about him once as Janus, God of Libraries, so below I leave you with an interesting excerpt of Ovid's Fasti (Book 1):  

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The tale of Tiamat could be seen as a creation story.  It could be seen as patriarchy overwhelming matriarchy.  If there are those that honor this creatrix, this goddess of chaos, I did not find them.  I did however find a tale of her fate.  A tale of a wounded heart:   first by the patriarch’s threat to her children, then by the death of her consort before a final death claimed her.  Yet if she lives on in memory, is she truly dead?  I don't know.  Mayhap, her inclusion in the god “graveyard” was deserved though not in the fashion the atheists intended.

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Tiamat’s fate

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  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    Interesting! Thanks for commenting!
  • Fritz Muntean
    Fritz Muntean says #
    In the Enuma Elish, a Sumerian creation myth of the 13th to 11th century BCE, the chaotic state of the world -- before Creation to

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The next divinity in my tribute to the deities in the “god graveyard” is the Northern European Eostre (Eastre, Ostara) goddess of the dawn and of spring.

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A Modern Hellenic Tale of Winter Solstice Eve

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A servant peers upon the dinner party with trepidation.  He fidgets in place as he tries to figure out the best way to interrupt his Lord and Lady, deliver his important news without letting the guests know that there is a problem in the realm.  He looks over the assembly noting that tonight it is a small party, just his dark-clad lord, his lovely bride in brown and burgundy and their guest who is rather painful to look upon.

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I love this time of year...though I could do without the single to negative digit temperatures.  A lot of my traditions haven't changed from what I did as a child in a Roman Catholic household but I do have some additions.  Below, in random order, I list some of my holiday traditions.

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The next divinity from the “God Graveyard” list is the very well documented Lithuanian Perkunas.  He is very similar to Zeus and Jupiter.  One website described him as a cross between Odin and Thor. 

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The next divinities from the “God Graveyard" list are the Slavic divinities Belbog and Chernobog.  They interest me because I have Slovenian (Bohjon) ancestry.  I’ve been a bit intimidated in researching these divinities because I want to get it right.  Unlike many other pantheons there are no firsthand accounts for this pantheon.  There is no irrefutable evidence that the Slavs had any system of writing so all their beliefs and traditions were passed down orally.  This creates or enables many individual characteristics within that belief system (a fancy way of saying that there are as many differences as similarities in the details of their belief system).  While there are many archeological remains, there is no contextual understanding to be had.  The only time anything was written down was by Christian missionaries who were not always interested in accuracy in depicted Pagan beliefs.  Fragments of the old beliefs are found in folk customs, songs and tales.  This is not to say that this pantheon is not still honored, for it is, but I imagine Slavic rely heavily upon similarities in other belief systems and on unsubstantiated personal knosis (aka UPG).

The existences of both of these deities, Belbog especially, are heavily contested.  So let me tell you what I have found out about them and then offer an interesting possible conclusion that I stumbled across.  Belbog and Chernobog are twins and, one could say, the mirror images of the other.  One website stated that they were honored by the priestly class. 

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  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    I recently was given a helpful link that discusses the twin. Wish I had this before I posted the blog. http://ofepicproportion

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So while the Pagan blogosphere is reacting to the God Graveyard fiasco, I figured it would be more interesting to learn about some of the deities that were on the list.  I found a short list on Sannion’s blog.  If anyone finds a longer list or a complete list, I’d love to have it.

So the first god I’m starting with is Shezmu (Shesmu, Shesemu, Shezmou, Shesmou, Sezmu, Sesmu, Schesmu, Schezemu), an ancient Egyptian god of the underworld. 

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Pagans are human too.  Sometimes I have to remind myself of this.  The latest kerfuffle in the wider Pagan community leaves me surprised and yet not surprised all at the same time.  I like to think that Pagans, as a group, are better than this but obviously we are not.

When a person, prominent in another religion, leaves that religion to become Pagan, do you cheer?  Do you proclaim it loudly from your blog, twitter or other social media outlets?  Do you feel satisfaction? Do you cheer them on because obviously they made the right choice? Do you discuss it continually, stewing over it, celebrating it, etc?  I don’t and I hope you don’t either.  Such changes are hard enough without the hype of unknown others.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Brokaw, Whilst I don't feel that a website devoted to Pagan community issues is necessarily an appropriate venue for a de fac

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As you carve those pumpkins,
as you dress in costume,
as you trick or treating go,
as you seek entertainment,
as you avoid the wild shades,
do not forget to raise a glass
to the departed Persephone.
Tonight at the witching hour,
the gates of the Underworld
clang loudly shut with dread finality.
Closing securely within not only her
but also the restless dead.
Do not forget to raise a glass
to the patiently brooding Hades.
For his love has returned to his arms
after a lengthy, lonely separation.
Do not forget to raise a glass
to Demeter the mourning mother.
May her lament be not too harsh
upon her mortal children.
Do not forget to raise a glass
to your beloved dead.
May they rest peacefully
until their time of return.
Raise a glass and be thankful
that you are not with them
in the dark realm of below.
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I’m told that I have a thing for the “bad boys” of the Greek pantheon and maybe that is true.  Yet it is because I see past their “popular” labeling to someone worthy of my attention and respect.  So let me tell you about the bad boy that seems to surpass even Ares.  He is the ultimate freak out for some people.  Haides, God of the Underworld.

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The thought of ancestor worship makes me flinch.  It is not that I do not respect my ancestors or think that they are not deserving of honor, because they do.  It is the phrase “worship” that gives me pause.  The only ones deserving of worship are the gods. 

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