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What is a Deity?

By Polyphanes

So, recently a friend of mine who’s getting his legs in working with the occult and spiritual worlds was talking with me and my boyfriend, and it caused a bit of a debate amongst ourselves, mostly due to semantics and differences in worldview that can complicate things when describing How Things (Can/Should) Work. Part of that was that my friend had said that me and my boyfriend “traffick in gods”, and that he himself doesn’t like working with gods but does like working with forces of nature. This caused a bit of confusion between all of us until we pegged down exactly what he meant by that generally, and also what he meant by gods. This is where my boyfriend and I disagree a bit, but then, we can attribute that to different worldviews and paths in spirituality.

As for myself, the question of what the nature of a god is can be complicated, especially when describing specific instances of spirits and how they might be or might not be gods. For instance, we can easily point to Zeus and say that he’s a god, and we can point to my little Air elemental ally and easily say that he’s nowhere near as godlike as Zeus may be, and you’d generally be right in saying that my elemental ally isn’t a god. But what about river spirits, like that of the Mississippi or Ganges? Or spirits of a forest or a mountain? Or spirits ruling over an entire element? This is where the ontology of godhood and spirithood can get tricky. I present below my understanding and use of the words “god” and “spirit”.

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