2 Questions about Pagan Statue Worship

Discussion in 'Paganism' started by aspirine, May 23, 2007.

  1. aspirine

    aspirine Member

    1) Is the quoted statement an accurate statement of what you are doing when you worship statues or pictures?

    "The honor which is paid to the image passes on to that which the image represents, and he who reveres the image reveres in it the subject represented".

    2) Is it correct to assert that when you worship a statue or picture of a god, you are not worshiping the statue directly in front of you, but rather you are worshiping the entity or concept of the god who is elsewhere or everywhere?

    I am doing research into belief systems and practices. I do not want to get into a Paganism vs Islam or Paganism vs Christianity debate here.
  2. Anachronism

    Anachronism Member

    Speaking for myself, and only myself, I do not worship statues or pictures. In fact, I do not have any statues of the God and Goddess I worship, nor do I have any pictures of them. But I suppose that if one were to offer praise to such an item, it should be no different from a Christian kneeling at a cross to offer prayer to his or her God. That is to say, the worship is not for the image, but for what it represents, so yes, your statement could be correct.

    As for your second question, I personally do not have experience, as I have said that I own neither statue nor picture of God nor Goddess, but I believe that you are correct again, that one is not worshiping the image before oneself but in fact the being that the image represents. Again I use the analogy of the Christian and the cross.
  3. Enlil6

    Enlil6 Member

    That would be correct. Neo-Paganism, Wicca and New Age has a lot of revisionism going on, but that isn't one of them.

    Cicero in his 1st century book "On Divinity" said something to that effect, and I am paraphrasing here: "even the most uneducated person can tell the difference between a god and a statue." He goes on to say that when people worship a statue or image, they are in fact worshipping the spirit that is associated with it - not the actual form itself.
  4. aspirine

    aspirine Member

    Thank you.
  5. Zadria

    Zadria Member

    Simply put it is symbolic, Just as wearing a religious piece of jewelry.
  6. kitty fabulous

    kitty fabulous smoked tofu

    i know a lot of Pagans who don't use images at all. We do not "worship statues" any more than Catholics "worshiup" a Crucifix or Saint's icon. Statues used on altars are symbolic.
  7. Enlil6

    Enlil6 Member

    It's more than symbolilsm, although that is not to say pagans worship the material itself.

    There are rituals going back to the beginning of religion where a spirit is installed in the image. The most famous is the opening of the mouth ritual of Egypt. My teacher performed the entire ritual regualrly once a week for years on a particular Isis statue, and I can say there was something there that was beyond symbolism.

    In Santeria/Lukumi, a spirit is installed in stones, shells, and other materials. I have also seen dramatic results here. In traditional magic, this is exactly what a talilsman is. It is not simply a piece of metal with a symbol on it.

    What all of these have in common is an understanding of how divininty works. The basic idea is to use certain stones, plants, incense, animals, in ceratin combinations with other acts. This is also discussed in the Hermetica.

    Monotheists have a disconnect with the concept of having an inanimate object, and yet have life within it. If the object is destroyed, the spirit is not. Again one is not worshipping the object. This goes beyond mere symbolism, which is how many people today see all religion.

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