Part One of a Hypothetical Reconstruction of Pagan Monotheism
This is a comment for my regular readers/commenters. Do you guys favor the [nonexistent] moderation on this page? I tend to assume that anyone coming to "Tree of Woe" is the sort who'd rather a free speech brawl than heavy moderation for the sake of niceness, but I could be wrong.
Fascinating stuff. The central role of fire symbolism seems to me to suggest a strong influence from Zoroastrianism, rather than Judaism. Of course, Moses did see God as a burning bush, a pillar of fire by night, etc.; but it seems to me this was itself likely also of Zoroastrian origin.
What I'd really like to know is what their mythology was like. Every religion has one. Presumably it incorporated the pagan mythology, as a sort of pagan Old Testament, but there must have been something else. Did they have a prophet? Was the story of his life an important element? Was any of it written down, or was it a wholly oral tradition?
""If you happen to be fluent in Ancient Greek and would like to translate Hypsistarian inscriptions, please reach out.""
If the offer is valid a year from now & you are willing to accept someone whose Ancient Greek is at the Upper Intermediate level (as opposed to "Proficient"/Advanced), Sign me up! :-P
I amend your efforts of reconstruction, but I would be wary of the attempt to reconcile the God of modern Christianity and modern paganism. The tradition of Christianity was markedly distinct from paganism even by the time of Constantine, and this Eastern cult in particular parallels Western pagan cults such as that of Sol Invictus. Attempting to align modern paganism’s monotheistic scheme which has an intense history of its own with the God of modern Christianity reeks with Gnostic undertones and a oversimplified, anachronistic philosophy.
Excellent article, thank you.
Just a couple observations. In the ancient mystical tradition the god above god has no name, simply a notation, such aether. To name someone or something is to attempt to contain them, and source cannot be contained.
The Eagle is the universal animal of the realized human spirit. Perhaps we can recall that Agamemnon chose for his new incarnation to be an Eagle, and soar above the petty affairs of men.
Fire derives not from any abrahamic source, it is element that is highest of the true triad of elements, and is that by which all creation is fashioned. This realization is ancient.
The Ynges speak with voices of fire. From this, one can derive the term Angels, which developed at a later date.
In short, the worship is not in accordance with abrahamics, although master Dionysus did manage to place the practice within nascent Christianity until the onslaught of Aquinas.
It is important to understand the worship of the god most high is effectively a distilled praise from the mysticism which informs the praxis of religion.
Addendum: I should have said... "If the offer is valid a year from now, you are ok with an Upper Intermediate (rather than an Advanced) student of Ancient Greek AND the Demonlord is not summoned in the flesh due to mass Human sacrifice"... because there is no guarantee that there will be an October, 2024 at this rate of Doom Progression! ...
I am far from fluent in ancient Greek, but I thank you for this post. Considering that Akhenaten worshipped only Ra as a supreme god, I wonder about connections between Akhenaton and the Apollonian priests who worshipped the sun as a non-supreme god?
I listened to the YouTube "Revolt Against the Modern World - Episode 9: The Two Paths in the Afterlife" and was struck with how it echoes both Buddhist and Eastern Orthodox Christian Asceticism. It seems that what is being talked about here is a kind of "Bhakti-Yoga", where the attention is fixed and focused (samadhi) on the Highest, such that a state of union exists before death.
It just occurred to me that “worship” may be an intrinsic transcendent function of consciousness, that activates when specific conditions exist, independent of any conceptual or doctrinal formulation.
I came back here to mention that our Christian forebears grafted a Pagan afterlife (heaven and hell) onto the Yahwist universe in which the dead are destined for dark, joyless Sheol. So paganism is still with us and is not so controversial as a devout Christian might assume. And the nonexistence promised by atheism is a rebadged Yahwist belief.
In respect to your project reconciling Abrahamic and pagan monotheism, how would a future amalgam monotheism not suffer the pitfalls of existing monotheism, which is to say, depend upon mediators/priests who often act like petty dictators, who then come together to demonize anyone not of the religion?
Fascinating! Looking forward to the next instalment!
This summary is incredible. I'd never heard of pagan monotheism (apart from neoplatonistic monism) before your previous post. Thank you so much for sharing!
""God Most High is worshipped in morning and evening, specifically at sunrise and sunset. When praying, worshippers face the sun (east in the morning and west in the evening), raise their hands high, and sing hymns and offer acclamations to God.""
The Fajr & Maghrib prayers occur prior to daybreak & prior to sunset (respectively) & both have special supplications since the Lunar "Day" begins at sunset & ends at daybreak.
One of them happen to be: "اللَّهُمَّ أَجِرْنِي مِنَ النَّارِ" (Literally "Oh Allah, Protect me from the Fires of Hell")
Which transliterates to "Allahumma Ajirni Minnan Nar". Relevant Hadith:
>> Al-Harith b. Muslim al-Tamimi quoted his father Muslim b. al-Harith al-Tamimi as saying that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) told him secretly:
When you finish the sunset prayer, say: ‘O Allah, protect me from Hell” seven times; for if you say that and die that night, protection from it would be recorded for you; and when you finish the dawn prayer, say it in a similar way, for if you die that day, protection from it would be recorded for you. Abu Sa’id told me that al-Harith said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said this to us secretly, so we confine it to our brethren.
Reference: Sunan Abi Dawud 5079<<
Its an interesting thought experiment. I can't see the number of "pagan right-wing allies" being large enough that reconciling them with Christianity serves any real utility, but what you write should be interesting enough.
Since Jews worship the same God as Christians but are irreconcilable with Christianity, what makes the hypothetical Pagan monotheism any more reconcilable?
It seems incredibly cynical to incorporate "morality" from unrelated sources into the religion of Pagan Monotheism and call it a unified religion. If I'm reading correctly, you have evidence of a god that was worshiped in late antiquity. You have evidence of prayers to this god.
If I was being uncharitable I would say that this is just an attempt to construct your own religion that suits you so that you don't have to join the Christian majority, not an attempt to bring together the "Pagan alt-right" with Christianity. I fail to see how this is any different from humanism just with a god tacked on.
Could anyone really worship a god that they knew left no commandments for them? This just sounds like what the people who say they worship Odin or Thor do. LARPing.
"God Most High is an aniconic (unrepresented or “invisible”) monotheist god who is self-begotten, imperishable, and unchangeable."
This was the 'killer app' or 'competitive advantage' of the euangelion of Christ. We have at last a true icon of the Most High, who lived with us in the flesh. This is why the Acheiropoietos – the Burial Shroud of the Lord - the Icon Not Made By Human Hands, AKA the Shroud of Turin, featured so prominently in the Paschal Liturgy of Hagia Sophia and why copies where made for as many Imperial Churches as possible.