Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Joseph Pearce on Paganism

Lord of the Rings - Pagan or Catholic?
27th Nov. 2021 | Brian Holdsworth

The title is somewhat misleading, it is correct about Brian's initial question, but doesn't do justice to Joseph Pearce's answer.

0:35 It is very helpful to distinguish between Norse myth about gods and Norse legends about heroes.

And Norse legends about heroes are generally very much less pagan, less concerned with gods, than for instance Greek legends about heroes.

The Norse version of Sigurd's story has Odin give him some occasional help, but there is very much less of it than the really intense abetting Athena gives Ulysses in the Odyssey.

It is significant that the one prayer Sigurd and Brynhild do to any kind of god is to the Sun and Moon for powers of healing. And in Norse myth, standard version, Sun and Moon were not gods and had no powers of healing. They were just servants of the gods, like in St. Thomas (Ia P, Q 70, A3, corpus) the angels of heavenly planets are servants of God.

It seems perfectly possible to me that Sigurd and Brynhild were worshipping Apollo and Diana, as Apollo is called Apollon Iater in one quality and Diana is associated with childbirth - very unlike the case with Sun and Moon in Norse Pagan myths about gods.

3:02 If God could put allegories of Christ into real life people (like Abraham and Isaac) in the Old Testament, it stands to reason, some of the "pictures" were real life heroes.

I take it Ulysses existed, and that his return, the fidelity of Penelope, and the punishment of the suitors, prefigures the Apocalypse. And did so before the readers of the Odyssey became Christians.

This would stand whether the spiritual entity Ulysses took for Athena was his guardian angel or a demon.

One can also mention, some of the myths of heroes insofar as they feature gods, feature gods showing they are really demons, like Iliad, song I - which I think St. John and many of his audience had in fact read. Apollo is first called Apollyon in that song by Homer.

5:16 I'll give one example which I didn't get from Lewis or Tolkien.

When my university teacher of Latin poetry (who was also my second father confessor) gave us Aeneid VI, he obviously came to the Cumaean Sibil. He made a very clear reference to the girl from who St. Paul expelled a Sibylline spirit and with mediums of Voodoo to this day.

5:50 Aristotle and Plato refused to worship in their inner conscience and their teaching before students, gods who fornicated.

It is less clear whether they withdrew worship from the Pythonic spirit who misled people to their ruin at Delphi.

Let's be clear, because Aristotle and Plato point to valuable truth doesn't mean they were necessarily clean, just as with Ulysses - a foreboding of Christ's return, but perhaps even so led by a demon. I really don't know what Athena is, if there even is one single answer.

7:14 St. Augustine certainly thinks Aeneas existed, as well as Romulus, but he likens Romulus to Cain and he considers Aeneas saving a statue of Athena was on a fool's errand.

Read City of God.

8:00 "the desire for god, we see it in Homer or in Sophocles"

In fact, Sophocles, after Aeneid VI, is to me the black book of pagan gods in general, and especially Apollo, though the villains in Hippolytus were rather Neptune and Venus.

After seeing Neptune fulfil the request of Theseus to kill his son, I think Neptune was a demon with whom Theseus had a very bad covenant. Ulmo meeting Tuor at Nevrast is less readable to me (but outside LotR!) after I saw this aspect of Neptune. His Mycenaean name being Potei Daon reminds us, he's also the false Canaanaean god Dagon, whose temple Samson overthrew.

No comments: