Thursday, 9 March 2017

Carved Log Walls

More gods carved in Juniper's place (SM Stirling, The Protector's War, p. 199):

the Green Man
the four Quarters
the four Elements

Jack-in-the-Green prances through.

On p. 201, there is a reference to the Gae Bulg of the Sedanta.

I knew of Cuchulain but not that he was called "Sedanta." These texts need to be not read but studied.


David Birr said...

In *Silverlock* by John Myers Myers (Poul Anderson was a big fan), major character Golias speaks of "Cuchullain" and also uses "Setanta" for him.

Golias would know, given that he's EVERY great poet and singer of history and literature....

Paul Shackley said...

Thank you. I do not always have occasion to reply but please keep commenting.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID and Paul!

David: sometimes I have felt a bit discouraged at how many SF books you have read that I have NOT perused! But, Myers's SILVERLOCK is one I have perused!

Paul: one thing I noticed about the neo-paganism we see in Stirling's Emberverse is how new this "old Religion" is. It does not really seem to "fit in" with what little we know of Celtic paganism. I have sometimes wondered why most neo-pagans haven't tried harder to revive worship of either the Greco-Roman or Scandinavian Eddaic gods.

But anyone who seriously examines these pantheons soon finds the answer to that question. When all is said and done, the Olympians were callous, amoral, and childish. By about 100 BC, the period where Poul Anderson set his THE GOLDEN SLAVE, educated Romans were dismissing the Olympians as "children" (to use the word by one character).

We also know a lot about the Scandinavian Eddaic gods. In fact, too much for the comfort of most neo-pagans. And, fond as he was of his ancestors Scandinavian heritage, Poul Anderson had no illusions about them. This is what he said Eddaic religion in his Foreword to HROLF KRAKI'S SAGA (1973): "...Hrolf Kraki lived in the midnight of the Dark Ages. Slaughter, slavery, robbery, rape, torture, heathen rites bloody or obscene, were parts of daily life." And those heathen rites included human sacrifices!

So, the rootless, "unhistorical" feeling of neo-paganism is no surprise. Any reasonably thoughtful or intelligent person contemplating belief in paganism can't help but find real, historical pagan pantheons philosophically and morally unsatisfactory. Plus, like it or not, I get the impression that neo-paganism is affected or influenced by Christianity, esp. in ethical matters.


Anonymous said...

Kaor, Sean!

Well said.

Best Regards,
Nicholas D. Rosen, catching up on the blog

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Nicholas!

Many thanks! And I hope you more comments of your own here! You ARE ftee to disagree with me, you know! (Smiles)

I forgot to add to my commens about Celtic paganism that its devotees also practiced human sacrifices. It seems to me that real pagan religions begin as first being cruel and ruthless and end up merely as childish as the Olympians.

I used "real" in the preceding paragraph to distinguish ancient paganism from the modern neo pagan variety. I can't help but wonder, if any modern cults of the Eddaic or Celtic gods could exist without the pressure of disapproving Christians, how long it would take before horrors like human sacrifices started. Or before pagan pater familias started discarding unwanted girl babies by exposure or abortion. And many in India and mainland China do practice sex selective abortions!