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Home > Temple Questions > Wicca

Can you explain that polytheistic/duotheistic/pantheistic thing a bit more?

Briefly, polytheism means worshipping many deities, duotheism means worshipping two deities, and pantheism means regarding everything as divine, or as a manifestation of deity. Pantheism also has a secondary meaning, according to our dictionary, of "the worship of all gods of different creeds, cults or peoples indifferently; also: toleration of the worship of all gods". All of these concepts can be found within Wiccan theology, although there is considerable variation in how they are expressed, and the degree of importance that is attributed to the different concepts.

Wiccans regard all the gods and goddesses of all the world's mythologies as legitimate manifestations of an underlying divinity, which is generally regarded as immanent— residing primarily within the natural world, not somewhere outside it. Many Wiccans do believe in the existence of a spirit world or Otherworld, but is contiguous with this world and pervades it; in a sense, it is the soul of the land itself, just as each living thing has a soul. So the Otherworld itself is immanent within this world, just as the gods are.

That underlying divinity is also perceived as having a masculine and feminine side, personified as a God and Goddess, who are often referred to as the Lord and Lady. The many individual gods and goddesses are seen by most Wiccans as being — at least to some extent — aspects of the one god and one Goddess, who are in turn aspects of one primal divinity, sometimes referred to as the Source. A phrase you will often hear used to describe this view is this one, from the occultist Dion Fortune: "All gods are one God, and all goddesses are one Goddess, and there is one Initiator."

In practice, different Wiccan traditions, and different individuals, vary a lot in how much emphasis they place on individual deities versus the one God and Goddess. Some primarily deal with individual deities, and see "the" God and Goddess as more of an abstract theological concept, while others deal primarily with the Lord and Lady, and see the individual gods and goddesses only as archetypes or masks for them.

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