Monday, 10 August 2015

Roots Of Paganism

I discussed a "Root of Paganism" when posting about Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword. Similar roots are to be found in Anderson's "Star Of The Sea":

"Trees of the grove were huge darknesses, formless save where boughs nearly bare tossed against heaven. Their creakings were like an unknown tongue, answers to the skirl and snarl of the wind." (Time Patrol, p. 494)

People imagine speech in the wind.

"...the wind in their treetops spoke with the voices of the darkling gods. Everard suppressed a shudder." (p. 510)

Even a time traveler from the twentieth century feels it.

"Niaerdh was in [the waves] with dread and blessing." (p. 583)

Persons naturally personify nature. A fictitious character is created by an individual author whereas a deity arises in the collective imagination.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

What I thought was that the phenomenon you described also helps to explain why paganism faded away with the rise of Christianity. That is, the pagan gods were, at best, cruel, callous, amoral, indifferent to mankind. The far different beliefs about the one God taught by Christianity would more and more appeal to pagans.

Not that the Catholic Christianity which eventually converted the Germanic and Scandinavian peoples did so quickly or always, alas, by righteous means. And cruder ideas descending from paganism no doubt lingered here and there among the more uneducated or among isolated pockets.