Disclaimer on Apotheosis and Ancestor Veneration

A lot of my posts have been tagged apotheosis. I write about the ascension of mortals to godhood because I find it theologically interesting, not because it is my ambition.

Ancestor veneration is the foundation of my religious practice, but I’ve avoided writing about it because it’s highly personal. Becoming an ancestral spirit in the afterlife is good enough for me though.

Ancestors must have descendants. It would be nice if my descendants did not live in a worse version of the alienated dystopia we live in today, but that is unlikely to be the case except in the event of a general “uncovering” (or in ancient Greek, ἀποκάλυψις – apocálypsis). What form that will take, only the gods know.

7 responses to “Disclaimer on Apotheosis and Ancestor Veneration

  • Sihathor

    “A lot of my posts have been tagged apotheosis. I write about the ascension of mortals to godhood because I find it theologically interesting, not because it is my ambition.”

    I’ve had to come to terms with the concept (and the hang-ups about it I used to have) because I’ve come to add a deified mortal –Emperor Julian the Philosopher– to my worship. (Never thought I’d do that). It is definitely interesting, and it’s nice that there isn’t necessarily the vast unbridgeable gulf between man and god that some religions seem to have. 🙂

    I’d also be content with being an ancestral spirit,myself. (Though apparently in Egyptian religion, the predecessor of modern Kemetism, human deification was common and seen as the object of funerary texts and the like, and there have been more deified humans than the two I had known of.)

    • heathenchinese.wordpress.com

      Thanks for commenting!

      As you may see if you continue to follow my blog, a lot of the Chinese gods are deified mortals, though many of them are pretty far from that these days (i.e. have increased greatly in stature and power).

      I went to a workshop on the “Kemetic view of human deification” at Pantheacon, presented by Richard Reidy of the Temple of Ra. It was pretty interesting! I’ll admit I don’t know a whole lot about Kemeticism, the ancestral spirits are called the akhu?

      I saw from the photos you posted of your altar that you honor the Emperor Julian, I wasn’t aware that he had been deified, though I know that wasn’t unheard of for the Roman Emperors.

      I’m guessing you’re poking fun at christianity about the gap between man and god: they’d probably say that one particular person bridging the gap is good enough for all of humanity, right? 🙂 Though the Brethren of the Free Spirit had some heretical ideas about they could attain union with god in life, and that therefore all of their earthly actions would be without sin. Not exactly the norm for that religion though.

      • Sihathor

        You’re so lucky! I was unable to attend Pantheacon and only recently listened to a recording of the workshop that Richard Reidy posted. It was fascinating, and it reminded me of how little I knew/know, even after eight years.

        Yup, the ancestral spirits are called akhu (akh for singular)

        And yup, I honor the Emperor Julian. I’ll be writing on that subject in a week or two, most likely. I’ll be catching up on my Pagan Blog Project posts (one a week for each letter of the alphabet) and “J” is in a week or two, and Julian will have that place. Roman Emperors were often deified after death. Julian seems to have been considered as such historically, and at least one modern group considers Julian a divus (The Roman term for a deified mortal) and interestingly, if appropriately, revokes the divus-status of some Christian emperors who managed to receive deification. (I doubt they ever managed to be deified other than in title, but it’s still good to be clear)

        And yup, poking fun at Christianity, though the other monotheistic religions do this too, and don’t even have a man-god to bridge their gaps. This is what led me to my own hang-up, having been reluctant to add what may have been (and actually was) a deified mortal. It might be one of my last vestiges of having grown up as a (nominal) Roman Catholic, then atheist, in a predominantly monotheist/atheist society. I HOPE it’s the last, but one never knows. It’s a problem many converts have to work with.

      • Sihathor

        Oh, I forgot to post a link to the modern list of divi (and people under the modern concept of sancti): http://scrollofpoppaeus.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/human-gods-divus-and-sanctus/

  • heathenchinese.wordpress.com

    Cool, thanks for the link, super interesting! I’m glad that the Christian emperors have been demoted. I look forward to reading your post about the divine Emperor Julian! He definitely deserves the status!

    You might remember this from the audio of Reidy’s presentation, I think it was a speculation he mentioned that the reason Tuntankhamun’s tomb wasn’t hit by grave robbers until the 20th century was that he restored the worship of the gods after Akhenaten attempted to impose monotheism?

  • Human Deification: A Workshop at Pantheacon by Richard Reidy (MP3, 1.5hrs) | Sihathor's Open-Air Temple

    […] cemented my decision to honor Julian as a Divus, a deified mortal. Hat-tip to Heathen Chinese for reminding me of the workshop so I could post it […]

  • Sihathor

    I do, as a matter of fact. And you’re right about what the speculation was. Now that I think about it, Tutankhamun has also been rewarded with having his name known far and wide, beyond the renown he would have gotten even in ancient times. By the way, nice touch crossing out the name of that certain pharaoh.

    If only late Antiquity or the modern world had the same good sense the Egyptians had.

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