Does that make me an atheist? Maybe. I certainly classify myself as an animist and lean away from theism. This is because I view the beings and entities many Pagans classify as gods as simply other life forms, just like me. In a sense, I believe all things are gods; as everything is divine. I just don’t have the notion of deity, in the monotheistic sense, as a creature that is omniscient, omnipresent, etc. I wish we had names for these disembodied or non-corporeal species; like, the Zadicks of genus RaVero. (ok, that was just made-up)
Take for instance, the aes Sidhe. Many folks now call these beings … f&$ry (ya know, the F word…I feel strong taboos around using that word in relation to Them). It’s more than unhelpful to use this modern f word, and I think it muddies the water of relationship because we can’t possibly know who or what we are talking to if we’re calling a dolphin a cat sometimes and other times a penguin!
aos sí means “people of the mounds”
daoine sídhe means “people of peace”
sídhe means “mound” – which incidentally, if we say The Sidhe we are just saying The Mound.
bean sídhe, which means “woman of the mound”
sluagh sídhe – “the host of the mound”
Anyway, the point I’m making is that these were descriptive words. They let us know where these beings came from and locations they were associated with, but they say nothing of WHAT or WHO they are. There are other Irish words that are function words, that describe what a being might be known to DO, but again, it doesn’t define WHO or WHAT they are, except of course that they are clearly People of the Mound. 🙂
For the curious, here are some examples:
Abarta just means “doer of deeds”
bean nighe means “washer woman”
fear dearg means “red man”
pishogue means “enchantment or witchcraft” ; incidentally, the Red Man is known for his skill at enchantment.
siog means “the F word, in modern Irish”
break that down… og means “young” and si means “herself” – but really…. Si is the modern form of Sidhe, which we know means Mound, and if Og means Young, then SiOg means a young person of the mound. yes?
Ah, but let me stop here. I’m liable to ramble on and chase this rabbit down many holes. Perhaps this is where the great puzzle and lesson of names and naming found in most Folk Tales comes from.
As a Hedge Witch I try to use my human senses, and any additional help I can get, to perceive the beings around me. Some beings feel similar to me, while others do not. For instance, Bríd, to me, is an expansive and luminous being whose size is much larger than mine. Whereas Mongfind is denser and human sized, and like her, the entity of Barton Springs is also human sized and dense, though more effuse, while the people of Liosnabroc are denser still.
These are the things I ponder today, and while I may know very little, I do know assuredly;
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
For a tiny bit more word and practice nerd fest…. In Quimbanda the exus, which as I understand are the main spirits worked with, are called povo da rua which means “People of the Streets”. They are worked with at the crossroads. In ancient Rome the Lares were guardian spirits of hearth, field, boundary, etc and were also worked with at the crossroads.