Magical Religions and Spiritual Paths

What is Polytheism: Soft & Hard

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By Morningbird

Polytheism is any religious doctrine that embraces the idea of more than one God.

This term has been further subdivided by the Pagan community with the terms Hard Polytheism which indicates the belief that all Gods are separate individuals and Soft Polytheism which indicates the belief that all Gods are different aspects or personalities of one, or of a few, or, in some cases, of the practitioner his or herself.

Some forms of polytheism include monolatry and henotheism and soft polytheistic views are often found in forms of pantheism and panenthiesm.

Soft Polytheistic

Soft polytheistic views are found in many forms of Wicca, in the religions of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt and its modern counterparts, the Smartha tradition within Hinduism and the Trinity of some forms of Christianity.

It is widespread among new aged religions and is summed up by a quote from Dion Fortune’s The Sea Priestess: "All Gods are one God, All Goddess are One Goddess and there is one Initiator.".

This attitude has been given the name Pantheism by some, though many would disagree with that definition.

The Sea Priestess
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The Sea Priestess
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Hard Polytheistic

Hard polytheistic views are seen in classical myth and in the philosophy of Euhemerism. Many Reconstructionist Pagans hold to the hard polytheistic view and some monotheists and hard polytheists may see the soft polytheistic view as somewhat insulting to the individual Gods.

There is some variation on both themes with many believing that while all Gods are separate individuals, they are known by different names in different places.

That is, not all Gods are one God, but some Gods are one God and some other Gods are another God, etc.

This position seems to be very widespread and was expounded upon by Ian Corrigan in a 2015 blog post entitled Squishy Polytheism

Written by Morningbird & Witchipedia Team

I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years. As a founder and lead writer on Witchipedia, I’ve been publishing articles since 2006.

It is our mission to provide the most accurate Pagan, occult and magical information.

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