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clear picture The realms of the gods

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beginnings

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purpose

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imagination

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uncertainty

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river

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generosity

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blessings

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abortion

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yahweh

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Different groups of gods are to be distinguished in different realms of experience or perception.

In the highest and most distant realm, beyond all mortal experience and never to be perceived, I have distinguished the eternal three and named them: Uncertainty, Purpose, Imagination.

In the realm of this universe, as far as we can see out and back, there is Matter and Light and Gravity -- great gods all, generating in their complex dance still others, chief among them Time and Space, still vast and terrible.

Closer, in the slight distortion of the universe that we must know as our home realm, we are creatures of god Earth, informed by the multitude of gods we can perceive from our upright stance on the planet's surface: the star-flecked overarching Sky, with its wandering Planets, brilliant Sun, close and constant Moon; closer still, Wind and Water and Rock in all their varied classes -- Storm and spring Breeze, River and Ocean and Pool, Mountain and Desert, Oasis, Shore, Cloud, Surf, Marsh.

Here, everywhere, embracing Earth, enmeshed with all that Earth brings forth, the realm of Life, god most improbable and unanticipated. The great gods Breath and Food sustain all beings within Life's realm; other great gods -- Sex, Evolution, Youth and Age and Death itself -- inform the particular marvelous transformations that distinguish living beings.

Among the realms of beings informed by Life, and deeper within the realm of beings informed by Sentience, the realm of the wilful beasts is ours, with its great god Self, and all the gods that Self brings in its train: Will, Instinct, Intelligence, Pleasure and Pain, Affection and Fear.

Alone among the beasts, we make our lives in the realm of Humankind, and each person's truest destiny and best chance to know divinity must come through a boon from god Humanity. Of other gods informing Humankind, Speech and Craft and purest Reason are most essential, though many conspire to bless our human lives: Friendship and Family, Art and Song, Generosity and Laughter, Patience and Caring and Hope.

Others, more terrible, would lead us into sin and diminish the richness of our lives: these -- Pride and Anger, Envy and Greed, Gluttony and Lust and Laziness chief among them -- though they are human gods distinctly, inform most clearly and deceptively those whose lives are still informed most powerfully by bestial Self. While we remain aware of our Humanity, we may be informed by Pride or Anger without surrendering the place in our lives where our Humanity resides; we may be better persons to know that we are prideful or quick to anger, and we still will not, because the gods of human blessing tell us how we will lose otherwise, behave, informed by Pride and Anger, like beasts in over-reaching Selfhood.

The grandest achievement of humankind, to many minds, is Civilization. Within the civil realm, defined by Law and Culture, and within the realm of Culture more precisely, men and women of spirit, informed by Faith and Ritual and strengthened through Sacrifice and Love, have distinguished gods most subtle and complex and wide-ranging, powerful gods whose informing of a life can grant boons, resolve perplexities, and punish unrepenting sin. They have given these gods more names than I can count, and built temples and founded churches to contain their worship.

It is to that realm of the named gods that Yahweh belongs, with myriad others. Some among the Hindus, who have known enough gods to know that one is not enough, put the number of named gods at thirty-three million, three hundred and thirty-three thousand, three hundred and thirty-three, with thirty-three at the top to represent all, and Indra as their king. Perhaps.

Every human culture, every tribe and church and nation, has discovered its particular named gods and through them the subtle understandings of the world and all eternity, of the nature of divinity and humanity, of the responsibilities of one to another and each to all, that shape the culture and all realms within it -- realms of commerce and governance, power and play.

And each of those realms has its gods, and realms within it, with their gods, and so down and in. The realms of the gods are fractal realms, existing in partial dimensions; for practical human purposes, the realms of the gods are inexhaustible and boundless.


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