Thursday, 8 June 2017

Wanderer

We have followed Odin through the works of Poul Anderson and Neil Gaiman. (He is Mr Wednesday in American Gods.) Now Rudi Makenzie meets "Wanderer" in SM Stirling's The Scourge Of God, Chapter Ten, pp. 265-273.

Wanderer explains history, legend, myth and time. Need I say more? I feel that we have reached a timeless peak where we should rest and contemplate before returning to time. Rudi wakes from his dream (the realm of Morpheus) to hear Father Ignatius invoking Mary, the saints and the Trinity.

"All things are full of gods." (Thales)

9 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And as we both know from Anderson's works, gifts and advice from the Wanderer tends to be ambiguous, even treacherous and double edged!

    Sean

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  2. Kaor, Paul!

    I should have added to my first comment that I HROLF KRAKI'S SAGA and THE BROKEN SWORD in mind. The Wanderer we see in those books was certainly ambiguous, double edged, even treacherous.

    Sean

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    Replies
    1. Sean,
      Indeed. Stirling's Wanderer seems like a straighter guy but does talk in what Rudi regards as riddles. You never can tell with gods. If, as I suspect, we project them, that is not surprising.
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Since I don't believe pagan gods are REAL, I can see how some who believe in them can be projecting. But that leads to one point I disagree with in Stirling's Emververse books. The pagan religions in them don't seem quite historically accurate.

      I have wondered if neo-pagans, whether they like it or not, are influenced by Christian ideas. Esp. in matters of ethics. If so, that would help shape their views of their gods. Some neo-pagans might try to make their "gods" better than what the actual, historical record says of them.

      The Classical gods were absurd, amoral, and called "children" by a Roman in THE GOLDEN SLAVE. Poul Anderon, rightly proud as he was of his Scandinavian heritage, also had no illusions about their pagan religion: describing it as "heathen rites obscene or bloody" (from his Introduction to HROLF KRAKI'S SAGA). Which makes me wonder again if contact with Christianity is what keeping the neo-pagans of the Emberverse books from relapsing into dark ways.

      Sean

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    3. Sean,
      All religions interact.
      Paul.

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  3. Oh, neo-Pagans ARE different from the "original article" -- which was always changing too.

    Eg., Norse "Tyr" is the "same deity" as Indo-European Sky Father, Roman Jupiter or Greek Zeus or Indo-Aryan Dyaus Pitar (the linguistics make that clear) but was a different type of figure.

    Late Norse paganism was probably also heavily influenced by Christian concepts too.

    Modern neo-pagans are not only influenced by the higher religions deliberately, but there's an unconscious "osmosis" effect, even with strict Reconstructionists.

    Wiccans, of course, have a theology that's as much Buddhist/Hindu as anything, or rather based on concepts from those religions filtered through early-20th-century Western esotericism, itself influenced by both Christian and Jewish mysticism and by neo-Platonism.

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  4. In the context of the book, when the Powers speak to Rudi or Juniper (or Ignatius) they're telling them the truth -- but they can only tell them as much as they comprehend.

    A big part of the problem is that the concepts involved are simply beyond human understanding.

    "How can a man reveal all his mind to a child, or a God to a man?"

    (Or a man to a dog, I'm afraid.)

    So the "riddle" element is an attempt at approaching the truths metaphorically, because it's the only way to get some of the meanings across even partially.

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  5. Ethical monotheism changed the moral reflexes of humankind. As Nietzsche pointed out, "morality" in our sense is an offshoot of them; the genuine ancient polytheisms simply didn't operate in that sphere.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Mr. Stirling,

      Many thanks for your interesting comments. And they do help to clarify how you used neo-paganism in your Emberverse books. Yes, what you said about now neo-paganism was shaped by early 20th century esotericism and then Hindu/Buddhist concepts absorbed by "osmosis" helps to explain why it differed from ancient paganism.

      So perhaps the "gods" Rudi thought he spoke with was actually the true God, appearing to Artos/Rudi in a form he could understand?

      Thanks for your patience with how I criticized your use of paganism!

      Sean

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