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Switch to Forum Live View Revised post: Proposed alternative word for "gods"
7 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2011 - 2:44PM #1
Posts: 13


For persons of the monist, monotheist, pantheist, and panentheist perspectives, I seek to propose a word that can describe celestial beings (in any religion or culture) whose roles and status are very much like the devas in Hinduism and archangels. This is also intended to distinguish such celestials from the formless Ultimate Reality/Absolute/GOD and primary forms like the Saguna Brahman in Hinduism. This is not about replacing the use of "God/Goddess" for the formless Godhead or primary form(s) like the Saguna Brahman.
Specifically, I am proposing an alternative to the use of "gods" for celestials like the devas in Hinduism, the aeons in Gnosticism, and the celestials in Neoplatonism, Hermeticism, and other similar religions.

The use of capital letters for the monotheist "God" is not always practice. For instance, comic books tend to use all capital letters for the characters dialogue. Also, some online programs or mega online video games do not let you use capitals other than the first word of a sentence. The only difference between "deity" and "god" is usage where the latter implies a religious connotation. Additionally, "deity" is sometimes used in the same monotheist matter of captilization (e.g. "The Deity").The monotheist use is also done in the same matter by pantheist, panentheist, and deist contexts.
Translating "deva" from Hinduist contexts into English as "god" sometimes causes people from a strict monotheist background to think of Hinduism as polytheist, yet Hinduism is not quite that. Also, Hindu "deva" is not used as a name, like "God," for the formless Godhead or primary forms like Saguna Brahman.
Old English "os" originally referred to the Anglo-Saxon celestials. It fell out of use during Christianization and only survives as a prefix for names today (e.g. Oscar, Oswin, Osborne) and its old plural form ─ôse” is just not appealing. Nor is making "os" plural as "osses." "Aesir" only refers to the Nordic celestials. Also, “aesir" is the plural form. Singular form is "áss."
Then I looked at the Old High German & Gothic cognate, "ans" (Gothic plural form is “anses” while the Old Higher German plural form is “anseis”). They derive from Proto-Germanic "ansuz" (plural form "ansiwiz"). Ans, aesir, and Old English os also share the same root with “asura” and “ahura.” Proto-Indo-European "ansu" has also been defined as meaning either "god," "ancestrial spirit," "life," "air," or "breath."
Moreover, Gothic "ans" and “anses” sounds good. So my proposed word is “ons.” I go with this spelling due so it fits in more within Modern English spelling and pronunciation. Also, the plural form of the “an” article is ans. The word "ons" is pronounced as ONS, like "on" with the addition of an "s" ("ons" is said in just one syllable). The plural form “onses” is pronounced as ON-siz. While "ons(es)" is intended to be gender neutral I will not rule out the use of a feminine singular form  (“onsess” is pronounced as ON-sess), since I still see singular "goddess" used at times. Additionally, "ons" and "onsess" can be used like how "god" and "goddess" is used for a celestial's affinity (e.g. "ons of war," "onsess of wisdom," etc.).

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