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Just How Many Are There?

Post  spokane89 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:35 am

I have been asked a few times just how many Deities there are in my religion; my response is usually something along the lines of "Their amount is unknowable." My curiosity was peaked however and I started to do a bit of a head count just for fun. Of the Gods and Daimons whose names are recorded I counted 333, and I do admit I may have missed a few here and there, regardless that is over three-hundred NAMED 'beings'. This count doesn't include those that would be almost impossible to count such as the Ourai and Patomai. In conclusion, there is no real point to this post just thought it was a nice fun fact for you all Razz
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Re: Just How Many Are There?

Post  Achrelus on Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:59 am

When I first started out I would pray everynight to every god and goddess I new of...when I hit 40+ I decoded that the Dodekatheon was appropriate along with who ever else I felt compelled to. tongue

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Re: Just How Many Are There?

Post  Erodius on Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:21 am

I think the best reference to this question can be found in the question to Yājñavalkya in the Upaniṣads, a set of interpretative texts from roughly the 5-6th centuries BCE interpreting the Vedas of ancient Hinduism — which I would suggest reading, they strikingly resemble the Orphic and Homeric hymns and the Vedic gods and goddesses almost entirely are parallels of the Olympian gods.

Here is the section I'm referencing:

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Just How Many Are There?

Post  J_Agathokles on Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:49 am

I just go with Thalēs of Milētos, "Everything is full of Gods".

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Re: Just How Many Are There?

Post  Lesbian Believer on Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:20 am

When asked (which is not often) I answer that I worship twelve (Main-)Gods regularly and I add that there are several more Gods I worship when I need their help and assistance in different matters.

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Re: Just How Many Are There?

Post  Callisto on Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:45 pm

It's impossible for us to know. As a modern people, so much is lost to us and even in antiquity there was no certainty. When I make an offering to all the gods, I infer foremost the known but also the unknown. I feel that if a god wants his/her specific presence known, they'll let me know.

There were altars dedicated to Agnostos Theos (unknown god), or perhaps Theoi (plural) - I don't think it was determined if they were for one or various unknown deity. The one most heard of altar was the one in Athens which St. Paul wrote of (and presumptuously told the Greeks in a speech that they were ignorant for not knowing it was his god they were honoring).

Sir James George Frazer wrote in "Pausanias' Description of Greece" that:

"It is impossible from Pausanias's expression to determine whether there was one altar or several altars of Unknown Gods at Phalerum; and, supposing there were several, we cannot tell whether each altar was dedicated to the Unknown God (in the singular), or to Unknown Gods (in the plural). At Olympia there was a single altar to Unknown Gods. St. Paul saw an altar at Athens dedicated to the Unknown God (Acts xvii. 23). The Greek commentator Oecumenius, on this passage of Acts, says that the full inscription on the altar was: "To the gods of Asia and Europe and Libya, to the Unknown and Strange God". Tertullian says that there was an altar at Athens dedicated to Unknown Gods (Ad Nationes, ii. 9). Philostratus speaks of altars of unknown divinities at Athens. There seems in fact to have been a number of such altars in Attica, and an explanation of them, which has every mark of probability, is given by Diogenes Laertius (i. 10. 110) ... [commenting after a plague in Athens in which a seer was summoned who remedied it by letting loose sheep and sacrificing them wherever they went to lay to the appropriate god.] ... "Whence," adds Diogenes, "you may find to this day nameless altars in the townships of the Athenians, a memorial of the expiation which was then accomplished."

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Re: Just How Many Are There?

Post  Erodius on Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:13 pm

I say there are infinite, thirty six, fourteen, twelve, eight, six, three, two, and one gods.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Just How Many Are There?

Post  Callisto on Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:35 pm

"42" Smile

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Re: Just How Many Are There?

Post  Erodius on Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:41 pm

Hm, thinking about it, yes, I would say that, all joking aside, there is indeed a particularly significant enumeration method in which the number of the Divine is 42.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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