Around the Blogosphere: A Pagan Cat, Multiple Souls, and Idolatry

¶ “I don’t want to be rude, but what religion are you?” A Pagan pet’s name produces confusion at the veterinary clinic.

¶   “The Three/Four Souls and Their Afterlives.” Heather at Eaarth Animist looks at different traditional accounts to learn what might explain her own experiences: “It has baffled many Western anthropologists how a studied people can talk about a dead person being reincarnated in a child and also being an ancestor. The problem comes from the anthropologist’s own Christian idea of one soul.”

¶ Added to the blogroll under “Classics”:  Roman Times: An online magazine about current archaeology and classical research into the lives of inhabitants of the Roman Empire and Byzantium.

¶ Scholar of esotericism Wouter Hanegraaf from the University of Amstersdam discovers a solid book on idolatry as a category within monotheistic religions: “One searches practically in vain for authoritative monographs about the notion of idolatry and its significance in monotheist religions generally.” There are some contemporary scholars of Paganism working on that area too, but maybe not enough.

7 thoughts on “Around the Blogosphere: A Pagan Cat, Multiple Souls, and Idolatry

  1. Medeina Ragana

    🙁 The link to 3-4 souls is “not found”. In Sarangerel’s two books on Buryat “Shamanism” (misnomer. According to her, this means “worship of the shaman”. The religion should be called “Tengerism” or “worship of the spirits.) entitled Riding Windhorses and Chosen by the Spirits, she outlines the world view and specifically discusses the three “souls” that most humans have and the fourth “soul” that a shaman acquires.

    There is more information here:

  2. Medeina Ragana

    With regard to the Hanegraaf item, I find this comment “If Jan Assmann is right, as I think he is, then monotheism defines its very identity not so much by its focus on One God … but by its radical and uncompromising rejection of pagan “idolatry” – the worship of gods incarnated in images or statues – as the unforgivable sin par excellence,” to be amusing. Why? Because in Greek and Russian Orthodox religions, the “icon” is considered to have a piece of God’s energy(?) encapsulated in the icon itself, which is why the worshipers are so reverent towards the icon and kiss it. Would this not make those religions committing the very sin they so despise?

    I back up my comment with the fact that in doing a paper on Russian icons for an Art History class a few years ago, I discovered that the Russian icons, specifically, have this whole host of ritual actions that must be done by the artist and priest *in order for the “presence of God” to be brought down into the artwork so as to make the icon “alive” (for want of a better word). After having read Sarangarel’s books noted in my previous comment, it dawned on me that what these Russian artists were doing was making what the Buryat shamans call an Ongon, or what the Western magicians would call a “talisman”.

    Anyhow, I guess a talisman by any other name is still a talisman.

    Thanks for the links.

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