Are They Real? Can They, and do They, ever suffer? This is where I’m at odds with things like “Pop culture paganism” or the so-called “Jungian polytheism”, which really isn’t polytheism, because if it were, the gods would be seen as something alive as you and I and our cats and the trees out back and the planet are all alive —maybe not in literally the same way (perhaps not unless your religion has a mythology where the gods can and do and will die, and even then, the nature of Their life surely is inherently different to our own), but in a way far more real than, say, Luke Skywalker, or Batman, or Homer Simpson.
Thinking about my own beliefs in the Gods, especially those I feel called to devotion to — no, I don’t believe that one can literally strap down Hedone or Adonis or Nyx or Eros to a chair and flay their skin with fishhooks while playing “My Heart Will Go On” on a loop, or at least make them watch Boogie Nights, but the gods can and sometimes do literally suffer. As independent entities with their own agency in the world, the events of the world can pain them in the same ways that it pains humans.
I believe that They were born, some sexually, some asexually, some parthenogenically, and the oldest among Them formed independently, and completely by chance, from the self-existing and everlasting Kosmos, and Khaos is merely the hypothetical state of Kosmos as it might have been before the Theoi formed. I believe that, on some plane of reality, They are corporeal, but not on this one where we are, and I believe that the nature of Their realm versus our own puts Them in constant contact with us, and we need only listen for them, meditate on them, or other techniques that have been used for literally thousands of years, and They will be receptive. As a result of this constant contact, They can suffer from world events, personal issues of Their devotees, or simply knowing that the descendents of those who loved Them for centuries have since been taught to hate them. They can become happy and excited and amorous and jealous and lonely and pained.
Is Their suffering LITERALLY the same as ours? No, but it’s felt just as much, if not more strongly. I guess maybe some people might believe that maybe the suffering of the gods isn’t quite on par with ours; I don’t get it, but it seems reasonable if one genuinely believes that the gods are really real. It is genuinely contradictory, though, to believe that gods don’t suffer AND maintain a belief in Their reality, at least as something alive, rather than as a character in the cultural consciousness.