The Effects of Polytheism

[Previous typos have been corrected]

Anthropomorphic deities in any religion often serve as a model by which humans shape their lives, and order their actions. Christians sometimes ask what would Jesus do? and such things as this. In the ancient Hellenic world, a warrior might ask what would Ares do? or a  ruler might ask what would Zeus do? In a strictly, perhaps fanatically monotheistic system, because there is only one unique divinity, everyone strives to have all the same virtues, often embodied in that divinity, and all the same qualities; ethics are universalized. In the enlightenment, this manifested itself in the ethics of Kant and the destruction of aristocracy; and in more modern times it is manifested through the destruction of traditional gender roles.

In a polytheistic system, however, different gods act as a  role model for certain vocations. Zeus (and similar deities such as Odin and Varuna) is a role model for judges, and people for whom wisdom and justice are necessary virtues, Ares is the role model for the warrior, Apollo for the young man, student or athlete, Rhea for the mother, and there are many others. If one takes a broader view of Indo-European religion, one will find that the various deities usually act as archetypes corresponding to the various “three estates”: the oratores, bellatores, and laboratores (priests, aristocrats, and commoners). Research Georges Dumezil’s Trifunctional Hypothesis to find out more about this. Polytheism, for our ancestors, was not just some silly idea of Zeus throwing thunderbolts at people he was angry at (you can also find many such instances of so-called ‘silliness’ coming from the monotheistic deity of the Pentateuch). For them, polytheism was a cosmic blueprint for how society was supposed to be run. Not everyone worshiped the same gods nor was everyone expected to live up to the same virtues. The hierarchy among the gods, and their various duties in keeping cosmic order was the model for a hierarchy among humans and their various roles in a complete society. The different virtues of different gods marked the virtues different virtues different people were supposed to aim for depending on who they were, whether a priest, king, warrior, or farmer. Polytheism is probably the most reliable way to avoid Kantian categorical imperative ethics because it destroys the notion that all maxims by which individuals act must become universal law. It does this through the multiplicity of archetypes, showing that there are inevitably different types of humans with different virtues to be exercised.

Catholicism and Orthodoxy kept a quasi-polytheistic tradition going through a hierarchy of saints and angels, whom devotees would look up to in iconography. A warrior might look up to St. George, a mother to St. Mary, etc. The patron deities which set the virtues for various vocations were replaced by patron saints which served the same function. However, once all vestiges of polytheism were lost through radical Protestantism, we lost our blueprint for an orderly society where each person fulfilled his or her role according to his or her inherent virtue(s); humans became ‘equivalent’ understood as interchangeable units, leading to utilitarianism, democracy, Marxism, ‘gender studies’, and globalism.

So if any religious revival is to take place in the West, polytheism, or a similar system such as the veneration of saints found in Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism, must be present in some form or another.  We cannot build a new West on the foundations of evangelicalism, Puritanism, or any other form of radical Protestantism. We must have anthropomorphic ideals and archetypes in place to encourage mothers to be caring for their young, warriors to be courageous and fierce, rulers to be just, and so forth. Otherwise, we will just end up back where we started.

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Mitra-Varuna

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The ethnocentric portion of the neoreaction seems to have taken two different strategies comparable to the means of warfare represented by the two Indo-European sovereignty deities, known from the Vedas as Mitra and Varuna, Germanic myth as Tiwaz and Wodanaz, and Roman religion as Dius Fidius and Iuppiter (Jupiter). Whereas Mitra represents the priest, jurist, and lawyer, Varuna represents a vengeful magician king, as do his counterparts Woden, and Jupiter. This distinction is explained fully in Georges Dumezil’s work Mitra-Varuna, but it can also be observed by the casual scholar of the Indic Vedas, Norse Eddas, and the ancient Roman religion. If you are unfamiliar with this theory, you can view Dumezil’s book here.

Woden/Odin, the Germanic Varuna

The nature of the Alt-Right is, and has been, a fundamentally Wodenic, or Varunian one. It is often focused on a sort of racial mysticism, combined often with an independent, Nietzschean type of irreligion and an ecstatic frenzy for warfare. It has also attracted outcasts from every corner of society under the hegemony of political correctness, which reminds one of Odin’s role as a patron of outcasts (you can read about his various attributes here). On the other hand, Propertarians represent a type of neoreaction more akin to the characters of Mitra, Dius Fidius or Tiwaz. Unlike the Varunian Alt-Right, Propertarians seek to take advantage of the concept of justice, contracts, courts, and the law to get their way, only using violence when these methods fail to produce desired outcomes. Ultimately, each approach applies itself to different circumstances, and both will likely be necessary for the neoreaction to have its intended effects.

The following videos highlight some quotes of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. I think there is a fundamentally Wodenic, or Varunian spirit in both of their philosophies, but particularly in the highly individualistic viewpoint Nietzsche.

-Update 1/3/2017-

The Mitra-Varuna dichotomy I describe above seems to mesh fairly well with the Nietzschean concepts of the Apollonian (corresponding to Mitra) and the Dionysian (corresponding to Varuna). Nietzsche, of course is very Dionysian; he is a reaction against the excessive Apollonianism which began with the Protestant Reformation and continued with Whig politics, and the Enlightenment values which still pervade to this day.

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