ETYMOLOGY: WHAT IS IT?
Etymology is the study of the origin of words.
Etymology is interested in language and its history. Etymology involves researching translations, artefacts, written documents and cultural lore. The study tracks connections between words, meanings and their evolution over time and across languages.
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ETYMOLOGY OF GOD
God is a popular concept in thought and conversation. The word "God" has humble, architectural roots.
Below is an etymology chart provided by EtymologyGeek with a map of the common uses of "God" and their definitions over time periods and regions. The website provides visual flow charts and related terms.
If you can't find a term you're looking for on EtymologyGeek, check out Oxford English Dictionary (oed.com), etymonline.com, scholar.google.com, wordandphrase.info and also Reddit forums. There's surprisingly tons of academic links and citations on Reddit.
The English word 'God' comes from Proto-Indian-European *gʰadʰ-, Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰw-, Proto-Indo-European - -tós, and later Proto-Germanic *gōdaz meaning "Good."
|*gʰadʰ-||Proto-Indo-European (ine-pro)||to gather, align, match|
|- -tós||Proto-Indo-European (ine-pro)|
|*ǵʰutós||Proto-Indo-European (ine-pro)||Invoked. Poured.|
|gōd||Old English (ang)|
|*gudą||Proto-Germanic (gem-pro)||God, deity.|
|god||Old English (ang)||Good, appropriate, pleasing God, the Christian god. God Good; goodness, benefit, well-being.|
|good||Middle English (enm)||Good (morally right).. Good (of good quality).|
|god||English (eng)||(very, rare) To deify.. To idolize. (Internet) The person who owns and runs a multi-user dungeon.. (colloquial) An exceedingly handsome man.. (metaphor) A person in a high position of authority, importance or influence.. (metaphor) A powerful ruler or tyrant.. .. A deity.. A male deity.. A representation of a deity, especially a statue or statuette.. A supernatural, typically immortal, being [...]|
GOD WASN'T ALWAYS A DEITY
The early Proto-Indian-European (PIE) translation of God gʰadʰ- means "to gather, align, match." This is a reference to design and the interaction of parts. It is the observation of patterns and geometric unity. Gʰadʰ was a way of conceptualizing natural arrangement and the relationships of forms and phenomena.
Old Germanic references of gōdaz illustrate a more sentient quality of "God" that equates God to goodness and moral judgments. In this regard, God is knowledge of right and wrong or a sense of fairness and equilibrium. God becomes personal and directly concerned with human behavior in this definition.
A related PIE term ǵʰutós meant "Invoked, poured." Libations were given in the assumption that transcendental aspects of natural design have an ability to know and guide gōdaz (goodness) and are aware of human activity and suffering. Libations were most common in funeral rites in which death was seen as a passing from one realm to the next with gods and deities serving as the intermediaries or spiritual gatekeepers.
THE DEIFICATION OF DESIGN
Not every design has a function of self-awareness. All things do have design and function, but not every function writes poems or feels remorse.
Early Pagan gods were deifications of cosmic events and human-related effects of consciousness. Animism is a common philosophy in Paganism and Shamanic beliefs that views all existence as life essence. Energetically, this makes sense as everything is information and energy. Not even death is destruction — only change, and many of our ancestors hunched this and did their best to explain decomposition and tragedy.
Humanity's grandcestors are more apelike, and we cannot speak to them like religions claim we can speak to gods. It seems like there should at least be a greater predator than the human species, and this biological vigilance may have something to do with our preoccupation with the gods to the point of making sacrifices to and worshipping them.
Given the traumatic nature of existence, it's likely that many of our ancestors experienced dissociation, anxiety, depression and suicidality. How are humans supposed to respond to spontaneously emerging as consciousness and not be suspicious of it? We're biologically reliant on instructions and help we receive from our parents, but where are humanity's parents?
Image Description: A Sparkling GIF of an Ancient Egyptian Goddess Sitting with a Hairless Cat
THE FOUR GODS
Joscha Bach is a cognitive scientist and artificial intelligence architect. He wrote an article in 2015 on "the Four Gods" after tracking discussions between atheists and Catholics and realizing that people have a lot of different ways of describing God. Bach outlines four common meanings of the use of "God" and its application across populations.
1. The Institutional Narrative
This is the personified version of God that provides rewards and punishments. This God is moral and interested in politics and humanity's development.
2. The Spiritual Experience
This is the benevolent and conscious principle of the universe that makes intentional and personal contact with an individual regardless of their religious affiliation.
3. The Transcendental Meaning
This is the reason why there is something instead of nothing. It means that the universe has an inherent purpose such as with the god of Thomas of Aquinas.
4. The Prime Mover
This is the god of Aristotle. It represents the "first uncaused cause." It is the reason why things move along.
GODHOOD IN OCCULT MAGICK
Left Hand Path magick, Thelema, Satanism and many witchcraft traditions respect mortality as a form of godhood. Studying these beliefs requires an investigation of the magickian's perception of godhood. Since God could be a consensus awareness of design and function, it's absolutely possible to connect with gods atheistically.
Theism is specifically the belief in gods as self-actualized rulers and divine creators, whereas atheism is the lack of such belief.
It is up to magickians whether or not to use the term "God" in any of the contexts described by Bach. God as design can effectively be discarded since there are already other words to model nature's geometric unity. God as deity, however, is a different reality that typically calls for specific human actions such as praying, ministering and following rules.
The cyber hub is atheist in structure and replaces God with secular magick that seeks freedom from ideologies, not the development of new ones. The scope of Spookywood's project is interested in cognitive science and art which cannot be limited to one specific sect of people, beliefs or ways of living, so religion remains an active subject for research and discussion. Studying words, languages and the context of human thinking and behavior is useful for us making sense of who we are and what this experience is about.
Bach, Joscha. (2015). Four gods. Joscha Bach. http://bach.ai/four-gods/
Blackman, Aylward M. (1912). The Significance of incense and libations in funerary and temple ritual. Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, 50(1-2), 69-75. https://doi.org/10.1524/zaes.19184.108.40.206
Etymologygeek. (2022). God etymology. Linas. https://etymologeek.com/ang/god/18589288