The Book: "God Is Red"

Currently reading God Is Red  by Vine Deloria, Jr. Goodreads is saying this update was published in 2003, but the ISBN matches the 1994 copyrighted book I have in my hand. Same 1994 Introduction

This is the book JMG references in The KEK Wars, Part 4. Scare up a copy if you wanna read along

About time: why western philosophy can only teach us so much

"One of the great unexplained wonders of human history is that written philosophy first flowered entirely separately in different parts of the globe at more or less the same time. The origins of Indian, Chinese and ancient Greek philosophy, as well as Buddhism, can all be traced back to a period of roughly 300 years, beginning in the 8th century BC.

"These early philosophies have shaped the different ways people worship, live and think about the big questions that concern us all. Most people do not consciously articulate the philosophical assumptions they have absorbed and are often not even aware that they have any, but assumptions about the nature of self, ethics, sources of knowledge and the goals of life are deeply embedded in our cultures and frame our thinking without our being aware of them."

Julian Baggini looks at the Western concept of linear time and the Eastern/Indigenous concepts of circular (or spiral) concepts of time + place.

IRL, on Monday I went to my second meeting regarding the possibilty of doing a local program with some folks from Standing Rock. We talked via Skype and ran into some very interesting differences on event planning. Our rep from the Sierra Club wanted logistics and cost analysis, and our contact person from Standing Rock wanted to talk about community.The former wanted to know how long, how many people, how much money? The latter kept saying, "Tell me what YOU want to do, what you want to include. It could be two days, it could be five days... Tell me what resources you have available. We can make do." The former, and other Western oriented people, pictured an event that would strategize and organize and give us a plan of action for protecting our water resources. The latter talked about community building, listening to each other, enlisting the plant people and not-two-legged beings, and learning how to plan by consensus.

Having just read God is Red, I was able to flip my mindset and listen, but half the group was like, "WHOA! We need to regroup here!" And it was very interesting to see who could say, "Yes, we have this, this, this! We know somebody who has, and somebody else who has..." And the others were going, "Yeah, we've been here before and we are going to get stuck with a really big bill!"

So this will most likely be put off till Spring.

David Trammel's picture

I'm currently reading Bill Hulet's (Cloud Walking Owl in the Ecosophia comment section) book "Walking the Talk" about how to get people involved, for a review on the next Green post on the 5th of next month.

Then Cathy's "Lifeline" book is something I bought during the Spring with a promise to read.

Just that will probably take me to the end of September, I'm afraid.

Hulet's book looks interesting. Unfortunately it's not in my library system. God is Red is not at all what I expected from the KEK reference. I'm hoping some folks here will pick it up.

Correction: God is Red is definitely not what I expected! The middle third of the book wanders deep into woo-woo territory, and if you are not familiar with Immanuel Velikovsky and Zacharia Sitchin, you are probably going to be wondering WTF? Actually, if you are acquainted with V and S, you are probably still going to be wondering WTF? At any rate, Kek, part IV makes even less sense. Gods aren't binary: they are tied to specific lands but they also live as archetypes in our brains. I believe we can carry them with us like seeds,and they can take root wherever they find fertile soil and congenial environment. The Wild Hunt is kinda a downgrade of Wotan, a vestige of his power in a Christian world, but he can still seize the imagination.

Jung's "Essay on Wotan" is here.

I don't connect with "Wotan;" it's not a name that sparks my synapses, but if you say "Odin", heck yes, I know him! I have a character that I've worked with for almost 50 years. When I try to describe him to other fantasy writers, I describe him as an Odin character or "Odin energy." And could I call him a ritual? Yeah, if I was freaking crazy! LOL! Talk about letting the genie out of the bottle!

But, boys and girls, he's already loose in our collective consciousness: Mel Gibson! Have you all seen Lethal Weapon? Mel Gibson has channeled Wotan in most of his greatest hits. Off the top of my head, I'd say Crocodile Dundee does a light-hearted Odin. And again. Clint Eastwood has spent a lifetime channeling Odin. And maybe Kevin Costner in Waterworld. Maybe not...  And right now we have Mr. Wednesday in American Gods.

I haven't grasped yet why Deloria thinks Wotan could not manifest here. Deloria makes the argument that the Abrahamic religions are temporal. There was a specific creation event and then a series of stories set in Time about God, his Chosen People, and the Promised Land. God promises Abraham his own land, but his people wander off to Egypt, so God has to send Moses to fetch them. It takes 40 years to get back  there. During that time God gives them a whole big set of laws. They finally reach the Land of Milk and Honey and slaughter the inhabitants. After a while the Chosen People forget the laws so they get dragged off to Babylon, where they write the Old Testament. Darius sets them free and they  get back to the Promised Land, but the Romans take over. Jesus dies and is resurrected. He promises to return in the future and end Time. (Or he doesn't, and God dictates a new set of rules to Mohammed and promised to return in the future and end Time.)

Indigneous People have spacial religions: a revelation occured in this particular spot. And that particular spot, and another particular spot. And those places are sacred to the community that received the revelation. So Changer may have revealed how he changed the animals who stood in his way once upon a time, but there is no expectation that he's going to come back and make more changes. Human People, Animal People, and Plant People all live in a community associated with this particular spot, which will change over time, but still remain This Place. Till the People of the Abrahamic Religions despoil The Place and kill or displace the Indigneous People...

I can't decide if Ragnarok counts as Temporal or not.

At any rate, white people are perfectly capable of having revelations in this spot or that spot. Children are quite capable of creating sacred space. --Though they usually forget as they get older. The challenge for Green Wizards, as I see it is: 1) recognizing sacred space when it is revealed, and 2) creating a community to honor and protect it.

Finished reading God is Red. Stray thoughts:

Wotan and the Wild Hunt...a wild,windy autumn night...dark, heavy, scudding cloud cover...the belling of Wotan's hunting dogs... I think that's the classical description of the Wild Hunt. However, we know now that these were NOT savage, slavvering, red-eyed hunting dogs, but migrating geese above the cloud cover. There are a number of books around about "re-enchanting nature," but we have decimated so many species... How likely are we to hear geese migrating above the clouds on a wild night, let alone Wotan's hounds? Never the less, it's still possible, I guess.

Sacred Native American sites...most of God is Red talks about sacred lands in the Western US and Canada with a few digressions about indigenous sites in Australia. Deloria also talks about the diaspora of the Eastern Indians. How the Cherokee and other tribes still remember their sacred lands and sneak back to perform the old rituals in their original homelands... Sounds sublime. But I've been reading up on Cahokia, the great center of the Mississippean Culture that existed on the Mississippi River around modern day St. Louis. Heyday 1050 CE-1200 CE with a slow decline into the early 15th century... About 20,000 people lived in this area, on both sides of the Mississippi. I was joking in the other thread about the SF/F convention in Collinsville being a residue of Cahokia's old power.

Um, let me say here, that Archon about as close to the old Gods of Cahokia as I wanna get... Archeological excavations in the mounds around Cahokia and St. Louis suggest cultural communication with the great Aztec-Toltec civilizations of Mesoamerica, and there's pretty indisputable evidence of human sacrifice right here in the river cities. There's a woodhenge in Cahokia, and modern Pagan Folk have been celebrating the Solitices there--but I think I'd take a pass on tapping that energy! I make no apologies for being wuss about invoking powers that are bigger than me.

And silly synchroncities...The Guest of Honor at Archon next month is Charlie Jane Anders, who I happen to follow on Goodreads. She just published a review of 1994 fantasy novel by a Pagan writer Rachel Pollack, that seems to fit with the general drift of our subject matter. I'll have to see if I can find this book.

Unquenchable Fire

PBS is doing a series Native America. Episode three Cities of the Sky is about the Mound Builders in North and South America. There's a lot on Cahokia (including Timothy Pauketat who has written several books on the site, including the one with the human sacrifices that freaked me out.). Let me repeat, these are not your Plains hunters. The Mississippians built cities to mirror astronomical events. They were farmers, they were architects, they were builders.

I've been thinking once again on this notion that the Old World Gods have no legitmate authority in the America. So where does that leave the Druids? And Green Wizards? Our original charge came directly from the Earth Path of Druidry. There are three paths that Druids have to master: the Sun Path, the Moon Path, and the Earth Path. And according to The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth, the Sun Path was concerned with the celebration of the seasons and the Celtic Gods, and the Moon Path was meditation and the Arthur Myth Cycle. So these characters are no longer have power in the New World? When he decided to answer the call of Cuthulu, did JMG drop his alliegence to Druidry?