Gods In Our Media

Recently, Galina Krasskova posted about how movies like “Wonder Woman” and TV shows such as “American Gods” that tell stories of or depict our beloved deities were impious.


My comment was as follows:


I have complex feelings about “American Gods”, the TV show.

I loved the book when it came out but I was much more of a Neo-Pagan than a polytheist back then. (I had previously loved the author’s graphic novel series “Sandman” because it had excellent storytelling and featured gods and beings from ancient religions.)

I was very excited when they announced the show. I think the casting is excellent but there’s just something about the show that I’m not liking. It’s too ‘stylistic’. Rather than presenting the story in a straightforward manner, there’s all sorts of artistic embellishes which takes away from the series a bit for me.

Additionally, I think the blood and gore is over-the-top. It’s like an artsy Peckinpah. Knowing the story, I understand that blood and sacrifice are an essential aspect of the plot. So yeah, I expect some blood. I’m not offended by blood. I just think it’s treated in an almost pornographic way here, which takes me out of the reality of the show.

Having said that, I think the beginning of Episode 3 where we first see Anubis is probably one of the best depictions of polytheism in popular culture as of yet.

As far as whether or not these pieces of media are pollutive, I think American Gods..like Wonder Woman…are intended to be interpretations of popular pieces of media (Gaiman’s book and the Wonder Woman comics, respectively).

Does it impart a respectful polytheistic attitude towards the gods? No. But I think art such as these gets one’s foot in the door, so to speak, for people to potentially seek a relationship with the gods. From there, it’s possible that people will seek more information about the gods and find modern polytheistic religions and respectful information about how to have a pious relationship. Or perhaps they’ll open the wrong door and end up on tumblr.

How do most people born into this polluted monotheistic culture end up finding our way the gods? Yes, for many of us it was because we read mythology as a kid. Or saw the classic “Clash of the Titans”. But for some people, the entry point is going to things like the Thor movies. Or American Gods. Or Wonder Woman. Or comic books.

Though maybe these pop culture versions of our gods do not impart a healthy or respectful attitude…but if it gets people interested in polytheism in the long run, I support it.

I wrote that before I saw “Wonder Woman”. But then, when I saw the movie Saturday, I audibly made a noise of disapproval near the beginning when it was revealed that Ares killed off all the gods but Zeus.

Not only is that horrible from a religious perspective, but also from a comics fan perspective. I was hoping to see the gods be more involved in Diana’s heroism.

But even after watching the movie, I still stand by the belief that such media helps to function as an entry point into the gods, which is sorely needed. Especially if it inspires children to get into mythology.

That said, there’s an awful lot of bad depictions of the gods out there. Between “Wonder Woman” and “Thor” (which again, to be fair, are depictions of the comic book characters), “American Gods” (depiction of the book), the Percy Jackson books and movies, and “Clash of the Titans”, there aren’t any GOOD depictions of the gods.

I definitely appreciate Krasskova’s perspective. I have a deep respect for her writing on devotional polytheism and on ancestor work, but rather than criticize these depictions for being impious, I think it’s more constructive to focus on a well-done depiction. I would love to see an animated series (perhaps on YouTube) of the Hellenic mythos. To keep those stories going for the generations.

If I were an artist, I would work on this myself. I’m not.

One of the advantages of the Internet and online media is that anyone can create something and post it for the world to see. My prayer is that polytheists with a love of the ancient myths and the stories of our beloved gods that have talent in art are inspired to create such projects.

~ by sacredblasphemies on 06/12/2017.

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