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Observations placeholder

Sir James Frazer - The Golden Bough - Greek gods



Type of Spiritual Experience



One of the confusing aspects about the Greek god system is that it represents more than one thing.  A Greek god might be:

  • A personification of some function or functions of the universe as Sir James Frazier says – so rain or spring, or the sunset or dawn or similar functions
  • A hugely talented and memorable shaman of the past, who became legendary from,  principally,  his powers
  • A description of the Higher Intelligences discovered during out of body experiences

 The first and last uses are not as conflicting as they sound.

The fact that some of the gods are shamans is easy to understand and I think we can leave the explanation of that as understood.

A description of the experience

The Golden Bough – Sir James Frazer

The Greek had no need to journey into far countries to learn the vicissitudes of the seasons, to mark the fleeting beauty of the damask rose, the transient glory of the golden corn, the passing splendour of the purple grapes.

Year by year in his own beautiful land he beheld, with natural regret, the bright pomp of summer fading into the gloom and stagnation of winter, and year by year he hailed with natural delight the outburst of fresh life in spring.

Accustomed to personify the forces of nature, to tinge her cold abstractions with the warm hues of imagination, to clothe her naked realities with the gorgeous drapery of a mythic fancy, he fashioned for himself a train of gods and goddesses, of spirits and elves, out of the shifting panorama of the seasons, and followed the annual fluctuations of their fortunes with alternate emotions of cheerfulness and dejection, of gladness and sorrow, which found their natural expression in alternate rites of rejoicing and lamentation, of revelry and mourning.

The source of the experience

Scientist other

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps