Quotations on Pre-Christian Spirituality

“Whatever Their Enlarged and Numerous Senses Could Perceive” (Quotations on Pre-Christian Spirituality)

William Blake - God Judging Adam
God Judging Adam (William Blake)

In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the visionary poet and painter William Blake gave a succinct and powerful statement of the changes in religious worldview that occurred in the ancient world.

“The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities nations, and whatever their enlarged and numerous senses could perceive. And particularly they studied the genius of each city and country, placing it under its mental deity. Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslaved the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood. Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales. And at length they pronounced that the Gods had ordered such things. Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.”

The poet is talking about a loss of perception: “whatever their enlarged and numerous senses could perceive.” This loss resulted from the gradually increasing emphasis, started by the Greeks and continued with Christianity, on abstract conceptions of deity rather than on the direct, sensory perception of and communication with spirits that was the norm in polytheistic animism. The exceptions are the gnostics, and mystics and clairsentient poets, who cultivated and celebrated direct perception and sensuous awareness of the sacred aliveness of creation.

– Ralph Metzner, The Well of Remembrance: Rediscovering the Earth Wisdom Myths of Northern Europe

This is a perfect illustration of why it is only through a combination of revivalism and reconstructionism that pre-Christian religions will be able to prosper again. This combination will allow us to connect the old deities with the mechanical era in which we find ourselves, and to reconnect them with the natural world that is their homeland. So, if you maintain a UPG (unverified personal gnosis) that a certain deity is connected to traffic lights or factory work, but hesitate to make the connection public without tempering it through a process of more abstract association with pre-existing correspondences, don’t. If you see a god in those traffic lights? Well, all that means is that that’s one more place in the world where they can be found.

© Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com, 2018. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

2 thoughts on ““Whatever Their Enlarged and Numerous Senses Could Perceive” (Quotations on Pre-Christian Spirituality)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s