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Switch to Forum Live View Eschatology in non-Abrahamaic mythical narratives
3 years ago  ::  Oct 02, 2011 - 7:09PM #1
gorm-sionnach
Posts: 1,663
We've obviously talked, imo ad nauseum, about the predominantly Christian (and sometimes Jewish or Muslim) eschatological narrative, but have not discussed such narratives from other religious or cultural groups.

I have tried to get a discussion about Ragnarok going, but perhaps broadening the field so to speak, will drum up some discussion.

Personally, I think eschatological narratives to embody the core values and beliefs of a given culture, especially since they very commonly also act as inverse versions of the cosmogenic narrative. I think the value in understanding them, is not in their prophetic nature which seems to be the main aspect people focus on. I find such notions fruitless, because treating mythology or allegory as future history, betrays a very obvious ignorance of a given source material.

Still through the observation of people discussing their respective end time scenarios, we do gain a profound understanding of how they understand the world, their perspective on the role/nature of humanity, morality and the nature of the divine.

So while I have no doubt that this thread will either dissolve into yet another discussion of the Christian book of revelations, or more likely be ignored; I would like to provide an arena for people to discuss other eschatological narratives.

-Gorm.
Truth in our hearts, Strength in our arms, Fulfillment in our tongues.
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 02, 2011 - 7:39PM #2
G.flower
Posts: 3,598

Alas, my religion has no end time myth. I am interested in the myths that other non-Abrahamics have though and hope there will be posts here.

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. Marcus Aurelius
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 02, 2011 - 11:24PM #3
Annie_alive
Posts: 310

Gorm, reading your post sent me scurrying to your profile.  :)


I'd be fascinated to hear what you have to say about your own tradition, and hopefully it will inspire the  discussion that you are asking for.


I'm sure a Seanchaí has a lot to offer, and I won't mind having my ears 'talked' off.   ;)


I don't have a 'tradition' or religion I follow, I just allow what I learn and discover to become part of me when it fits.    And I am eager for discovery ....

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3 years ago  ::  Oct 03, 2011 - 11:32AM #4
gorm-sionnach
Posts: 1,663

Oct 2, 2011 -- 11:24PM, Annie_alive wrote:


Gorm, reading your post sent me scurrying to your profile.  :)


I'd be fascinated to hear what you have to say about your own tradition, and hopefully it will inspire the  discussion that you are asking for.


I'm sure a Seanchaí has a lot to offer, and I won't mind having my ears 'talked' off.   ;)


I don't have a 'tradition' or religion I follow, I just allow what I learn and discover to become part of me when it fits.    And I am eager for discovery ....





First I'd like to thank you Annie, I hadn't looked at my profile for a while and it was rather out of date. I used the term Seanachaí, because at the time I had different professional aspirations. So, if nothing else, this thread has got me to update my profile.


Unfortunately, Celtic myth has a great deal of meat, but no bread; there are no intact, pre-Christian cosmogenic or eschatological narratives. There are certainly threads extant in a few contemporary sources and in the medieval literature, and cross cultural comparisons can yield some probable features or framework to base what they may have looked like.


I can think of two more overt instances of eschatological threads. One comes from a quote attributed to Strabo, quoted by Caesar, that the Druids believed that souls were immortal, and so to was the world itself. However, fire and water could prevail from time to time. The role of fire and water, in extant IE (that is Indo-European) cosmogenic myths is well attested to, so the probability that similar forces would be present in an eschatological narrative seem quite likely. The other comes from a medieval Irish text called "The Second Battle of Moytura", where at the end, An Morrigan (or in some versions, Badb) prophesied the "end of the world". A quote from CMT, translation by Elizabeth Gray:


]167. She also prophesied the end of the world, foretelling every evil  wrote:

167. She also prophesied the end of the world, foretelling every evil  that would occur then, and every disease and every vengeance; and she  chanted the following poem:


"I shall not see a world
Which will be dear to me:
Summer without blossoms,
Cattle will be without milk,
Women without modesty,
Men without valor.
Conquests without a king . . .
Woods without mast.
Sea without produce. . . .
False judgements of old men.
False precedents of lawyers,
Every man a betrayer.
Every son a reaver.
The son will go to the bed of his father,
The father will go to the bed of his son.
Each his brother's brother-in-law.
He will not seek any woman outside his house. . . .
An evil time,
Son will deceive his father,
Daughter will deceive . . ."



Now, the immediate problem with taking this as a pre-Christian eschatological account, is that the text was recorded well into the period of Christianization. This is actually the predominant issue with the medieval Irish texts, there is always a Christian veneer to them. It is also why there is no pre-Christian cosmogenic account, Genesis replaced them in the larger narratives, and the myths were tweaked, rewritten or wholly created, to fit within the narrative of the new religion.


But, and there is a but, looking at the themes of this text, we see a state of affairs which is inverse of the cosmic order. The world ends, thus, when the order maintained by the gods is subverted and actually turned on its head. The universality of such a narrative (as much as it would have been widely held across the whole of Ireland) is of course very questionable. To say nothing of its vagueness, or that it is a prophecy, as opposed to a narrative. There are very good indications that time would have been perceived having a cyclical nature, as opposed to a linear one, by the pre-Christian Gaels, but this does not show itself in this text. However, inferences can be made which posit that any eschatological narrative would have some aspects which would present the cosmogenic narrative in reverse, and through the abolition of the natural order present in this snippet we certainly see the significance of that reversal.

Truth in our hearts, Strength in our arms, Fulfillment in our tongues.
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 03, 2011 - 2:56PM #5
allthegoodnamesweretaken
Posts: 11,634

Well, we have done the ragnarok thing, so for right now, I'll just be listening. 

Yesterday, in America, 100 million gun owners did nothing.
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 03, 2011 - 3:31PM #6
wohali
Posts: 10,227

The traditional ways that I was taught have no "end-times" stories.


We perform sacred ways to help insure that the world keeps on turning for all peoples.

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3 years ago  ::  Oct 03, 2011 - 11:40PM #7
gorm-sionnach
Posts: 1,663

Oct 3, 2011 -- 3:31PM, wohali wrote:


The traditional ways that I was taught have no "end-times" stories.


We perform sacred ways to help insure that the world keeps on turning for all peoples.





That is quite interesting, and I would say to a large degree a similar sentiment can be found in what we know of Celtic cosmogony/ anthropogny. The cycle of whole-dismembered-reconstituted-dismembered-remade whole, is the purposes of sacrificial offerings; a microcosmic reenactment of a macro-cosmic cycle


It was written that the Druids, when asked "who made the world?", replied that they did. Reflecting upon the cosmogenic nature of sacrifice, the statement makes a great deal of sense.

Truth in our hearts, Strength in our arms, Fulfillment in our tongues.
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2011 - 2:47AM #8
Namchuck
Posts: 11,707

I particularly love the closing lines of the 'Creation Hymn' in the Tenth Book of the Rig Veda which read:


'Who verily knows and who can declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation?


The Gods are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it came into being?


He, the first origin of this creation.., he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not'.


Aside from having a resounding ring of truth to it, it is also a wallop on the nose for those who claim that ancient India had no philosophers, especially one's capable of thinking outside of the prevailing paradigm.

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3 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2011 - 7:28AM #9
G.flower
Posts: 3,598

Oct 3, 2011 -- 11:40PM, gorm-sionnach wrote:


Oct 3, 2011 -- 3:31PM, wohali wrote:


The traditional ways that I was taught have no "end-times" stories.


We perform sacred ways to help insure that the world keeps on turning for all peoples.





That is quite interesting, and I would say to a large degree a similar sentiment can be found in what we know of Celtic cosmogony/ anthropogny. The cycle of whole-dismembered-reconstituted-dismembered-remade whole, is the purposes of sacrificial offerings; a microcosmic reenactment of a macro-cosmic cycle


It was written that the Druids, when asked "who made the world?", replied that they did. Reflecting upon the cosmogenic nature of sacrifice, the statement makes a great deal of sense.





Some early thought in Wicca was that the practices were necessary to help sort out the problems of the world and keep everything running smoothly. Since it developed in the WW II era (before, during and after) it is pretty understandable. It evolved into the belief that the practices were of more of a celebatory nature. 

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. Marcus Aurelius
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 06, 2012 - 5:02PM #10
gnosticlight
Posts: 319

What a pity this thread never expanded beyond a half dozen posts or so. This particular genre on the Multifaith board is so overwhelmingly saturated with Christo-centric palabra that this thread would have been a welcome relief. Then again, anything "non-Abrahamic" would be.

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