Gatekeeper Gods are another thing I've come up against in ADF, and had a flash of - yes, that's so right
But... in context.
From the one time I was at a Vodoun ceremony, Papa Legba - Yes, he is a gatekeeper, he opens the door, it is he who waits at the crossroads. Of course
he is invited/asked/welcomed first. It would be all manner of impolite not too, and just wouldn't make sense within the context of Voudou.
From Hinduism, Ganesha, also a gatekeeper god. He is invited first, in every ritual. Being a gatekeeper is not a description of top-most rank or hierarchy, but a respected position, and necessary within the scheme of things.
Janus, again, is very obviously a gatekeeper -
"The Romans named Janus first in any list of gods invoked in prayer."http://www.answers.com/topic/janus?cat=technology
"It was indeed Jupiter who by augury sanctioned every undertaking, but its beginning depended on the blessing of Janus; hence these two divinities were invoked first in every undertaking, and in all prayers their names were mentioned first. The fact of the name of Janus being pronounced even before that of Jupiter, and that according to tradition Janus was in Italy before any of the other gods, and that he dedicated temples to them (Macrob. l. c.; Ov. Fast. i. 70; L. Lydus, de Mens. iv. 2; Aur. Vict. de Orig. Gent. Rom. 3), is perfectly in accordance with the idea of the god, he being the beginning of every thing; but it does not follow that on this account he was considered superior or more powerful than all the other gods."http://mythindex.com/roman-mythology/J/Janus.html
So, I'm damn convinced that there are
gatekeeper Gods, and that they perform a specific function in that culture. What I'm less convinced of, is picking a gatekeeper deity if it's not completely obvious. And they seem like they are in the examples above.
If they're not the first worshipped, are they really a Gatekeeper?
I'm a little confused by the role of Manannan Mac Lir. I don't think that a psychopomp is necessarily the
gatekeeper in the sense that the above deities are.
Are there other traits they have in common? Guardian of the crossroads?
Ah - I think I'm onto something with this link:
Papa Gede is a Psychopomp - the connector with the dead:http://www.gede.org/lwas/gede.html
"If Legba was the sun, at first young, then growing old, Ghede is the master of that abyss into which the sun descnends. If Legba was time, Ghede is that eternal figure in black, posted at the timeless cross-roads at which all men and even the sun one day arrive. The cross upon a tomb is his symbol. But the sun is each year rebord. If Carrefour is the night death which attends each day, then Ghede is the night sun, the life which is eternally present, even in darkness. The cosmic abyss is both tomb and womb. In a sense, Ghede is the Legba who has crossed the cosmic threshold to the underworld, for Ghede is now everything that Legba once was in the promise and the prime of his life. [...] Ghede is, today, the phallic deity also. If Legba was once Lord of Life, Ghede is now Lord of Resurrection; and the difference between them is Death, which is Ghede." [Deren 1953]
"Baron Samedi is one of the Guédés, related to and intertwined with Baron Cemetière and Baron La Croix. He is a Guédé of the Americas, bridging the Guédés and Legba. Both are guardians of the crossroads, the place where spirits cross over into our world. If the intercessions desired are with the loa, then Legba is saluted and asked to allow the loa to participate. If the intercessions are with the dead, then Guédé (Ghede) is the intercessor."
That, now that's really making a lot of sense to me.
The role of psychopomp, and the role of... what's a good word?
Theiopomp? Are separate, but tied.
One is beginnings, one is endings.
Mannan Mac Lir, as a sea god, seems very tied to the idea of a psychopomp for me - the sea with death, but Sea gods don't seem to leave the sea very often.
Yawn, nope, now I'm all confused again. Ellegua seems to be from Eshu, who seems to be gatekeeper in both senses according to some of what I read, but maybe not, as Oddua is orisha(?) of the dead.
Janus is the God of beginnings, but Hermes still seems to be a messenger of the gods as well as a psychopompos.
This is unrelated, but more points about crossroads/gateway gods:http://www.angelfire.com/journal/saadaya/Ianus.html
I'm still feeling like it's very much something to do with crossroads, and that in the end, a gateway god is the one you might find when you're walking one night, maybe at
By that marker, I do see Wodan/Odin as a crossroads god.
Possibly I just shouldn't be looking for cross-cultural similarities when there aren't any, and I'm back to thinking there don't have
to be gatekeeper/crossroads gods for every culture.
Just... if Hermes is a gatekeeper/crossroads god, and Mercury is a crossroads god, and Lugh is Mercury in Religio Romana, then...
Does Lugh make more sense as a Gatekeeper than Manannan?
I don't know, but I kind of feel like this:
"When he looked back on leaving, Lugh saw "his foster-father's noble figure standing on the beach. Manannan was wrapped in his magic cloak of colours, changing like the sun from blue-green to silver, and again to the purple of evening. He waved his hand to Lugh, and cried: 'Victory and blessing with thee!' So Lugh, glorious in his youth and strength, left his Island home."
Is almost looping back to my thoughts and readings on Papa Legba and Papa Ghede.
One as the morning, the other as the evening.
I wonder if gatekeeper Gods might be somehow more... brittle in being remembered/historical record? They perform such a useful function, but it's not a glamorous one, and so if people start to worship less, or stop worshipping, they might not remember them as well as the really 'big name' gods, because they're important in the proper order or conduct of ritual, and so if ritual isn't being done, that connection is lost. And that overall connection between divinity and humankind is lost a little because of the lack of the gatekeeper.
Janus, Hermes - they're not the most remembered Gods. Possibly Papa Legba wouldn't be either if it wasn't a living tradition.
I'd love to know which Celtic or other Indo-European gods, had their names or symbols carved on gateways, doorways, bridges, and crossroads. That'd be a good hint, if they were there.
Thinking about other ways to relate to deities, it's a relief to think about deities associated with fire.
My ideas on that are, that you don't need a gatekeeper for fire related gods like Agni, or Brighid, they are present in the flame itself, or flame itself, and the scent of offerings or incense acts as the conduit.
So maybe I should just go home and offer some butter in my diya, and see how that goes. :)