Excerpt from iPagan

Oct 25th, 2017 | By | Category: Articles, Books, Books for Pagans

From The Ever Changing Faces of the Gods ~ Luke Eastwood

Over the last thousand years or so there have been huge changes in religion – most notably the one god coming to replace the many  the Judeo-Christian god Yahweh, who has swept through the world at the end of a conquering sword or a gun.

However, as with all things in life, change eventually comes and now we see a resurgence of multi-religious as well as secular life, as a result of the fact that the iron grip of enforced religiosity has begun to loosen. Just as the Spanish, Portuguese and the British brought their Christianity to most of their conquered domains, I suspect that ancient conquerors did much the same in early and pre-recorded history. Certainly the Romans brought their own brand of Hellenic
paganism to their conquered territories such as Gaul and Britain. Archaeological evidence shows that Romano-Celtic gods were worshipped in the time before Christianity became the official religion of the empire.

It’s also clear that the earlier Greek forays eastwards had a significant effect on middle-eastern culture, which strangely lasted into the early renaissance period, long after Europe has lost and forgotten the religious and philosophical writings of the Greeks. Strange as it may be, the Greek corpus retained by the Persians made its way back into Europe via people from this region who had long since become monotheists (Islam) and who once again worship the same god as the Jews and Christians, albeit called a different name – Allah.

Probably there has been ebb and flow throughout known and unknown history with lone gods supplanting pantheons and vice versa along with military achievements or mass migrations of peoples. A good example of this is the reforming of Babylonian
polytheism by Zoroaster (Zarathustra) to become monotheism with various classes of lower spiritual beings (both good and bad). Zoroastrian religion was incredibly powerful in the Middle East for at least 1000 years and influenced both Judaism and Christianity. However it was gradually marginalised by Greek and Roman influence before being almost eliminated by the spread of Islam. Ironically, it has survived in India and also Iran, largely due to the protection afforded it by moderate Islam as ‘people of the book’, along with other scripture based monotheism.

From a Celtic perspective there have clearly been a multitude of changes over time, as is evidenced by the different layers of gods that exist. Unfortunately there is no exact timeline, like we’d find with the Egyptians. Their foray into monotheism under Akhenaten is well known and recorded, despite the fact that his religion and his great city barely survived a decade after his death in 1336BCE.

The early history of Western Europe was not written down, it was passed orally, despite the fact that the Druids were well able to write. In the territories of the Romans the old religions and the histories (or mythologies) were largely wiped out or absorbed by the Roman culture, with what little remained being further degraded with the arrival of the Roman church. So with a few notable exceptions, there is little known of the indigenous gods of Western Europe and not much more known of the gods that the Celts most probably brought with them.

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