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Are the alicorns idols or gods?


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For years, there has been a topic of interest that had been subject to heated debate among the g4 fandom. Many people in it attribute the alicorns- namely Princess Luna and Princess Celestia with the status of gods or goddesses. To a lesser extent, they do the same with Twilight and Cadance- though mainly highlighting their “immortal” longevity as ‘artificial’ or ‘transcended’ alicorns.

 

But what really makes a God or a Goddess? Opinions, naturally, may vary, but Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines it as follows:

 

1: capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: such as

a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe

b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind

 

2: a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality

  • Greek gods of love and war

3: a person or thing of supreme value

  • had photos of baseball's gods pinned to his bedroom wall

4: a powerful ruler

  • Hollywood gods that control our movies' fates

In the case of definitions 3 or 4, however, they can be best applied to the term ‘idols’. In the case of people who hold authority and prominence, we usually view them as legendary, or idols- such as superstars, actors, sports players and the like. In the case of an inanimate object, the highly regarded and worshiped item in question would be considered an idol- as is the case seen in the MLP:FIM episode “The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone”.

 

An idol is defined thusly:

 

1: a representation or symbol of an object of worship; broadly : a false god

 

2: a likeness of something

b obsolete : pretender, impostor

 

3: a form or appearance visible but without substance

  • an enchanted phantom, a lifeless idol

  • —P. B. Shelley

4: an object of extreme devotion

  • a movie idol

 

5: a false conception : fallacy

 

Looking at the first definition of ‘God’ (or goddess) would immediately disqualify the alicorns from being such. In no way are they perfect in power, wisdom, goodness, or authority. They are not the supreme or ultimate existence in Equestria. This has been shown many times throughout the series, comics, chapter books, and movie. There is more than enough evidence provided to show that in no way are the alicorns are perfect in thought and action- as many of them have their histories of follies and inadequacies. Their power, many times, fails them in the face of a threat to their kingdom, and is not infinite to where it is unable to be exhausted. And while they may appear to be the highest authority of all in Equestria, the fact remains that they were chosen and put in place by another- Starswirl, who is, in fact, much lower and less regarded in status then they (though arguably much more powerful).

 

I would, in fact, argue that the Tree of Harmony would lay claim to the role of the ‘ultimate existence’ or ‘supreme power’ (though, it’s influence only covers Equestria’s borders, so it’s still not a ‘god’ of any sorts, else its influence would span worlds and galaxies. And any sort of reverence to it is nil.) However, the alicorns themselves hold it the Tree of Harmony in rather high regard, and have followed their destines dictated by and inscribed on the tree itself, which would put it as higher ranking than they.

 

The truth is- regarding Celestia and Luna (along with Cadance and Twilight later on), that they are merely the amalgamation and embodiment of the three tribes of earth ponies, unicorns, and pegasi. The Journal of the Two sisters (which was proved canon in “Scare Master”, says that “Alicorns stood for everything Equestria was founded upon: love, harmony, and friendship. And because Alicorns are a combination of Pegasi, Unicorns, and Earth ponies, they believed that we could represent the citizens of Equestria in an unbiased manner- all ponies being equal in our eyes. So they asked us to be their princesses”.

 

In addition, in Celestia’s entry she goes on to say that “Actually, Luna and I clarified that our role in Equestria wouldn’t be as rulers, and we will not think of the ponies of Equestria as our subjects. That would be very awkward. We will be Equestria’s guardians. That sounds much friendlier. We will serve and protect, watching over Equestria’s lands and skies, keeping them peaceful and safe.”

 

So by consciously revoking the role and title of a ruler, in spite of their Princess status in name alone, Celestia and Luna would disqualify themselves as gods as well, in line with the 4th definition of it.

 

Taking a look at definition #2 of god (or goddess), as one who has powers and abilities unlike that of a human also immediately disqualifies the alicorns as such. One thing to bear in mind is that such a definition would be ineffective in a fantasy setting such as MLP:FIM. The characters all have inherent abilities that are beyond human ability, and the alicorns themselves have no inherent power that the race of unicorns couldn’t do themselves. Starswirl- a unicorn- had to teach Celestia and Luna to raise the sun, (which common unicorns had already been doing in groups since before the royal sisters’ ascension). And Cadance possesses an ability to manipulate the feelings of others through live that Twilight- as a mere unicorn- had been able to replicate, through the ‘want it, need it’ spell. Starlight Glimmer- also a unicorn, has also been shown to perform feats of magical abilities that would rival Twilight’s own and put her on par with her. So no, I don’t believe that this definition would lend credit to the alicorns being gods of any sort.

 

I strongly believe that ‘idols’ would be the appropriate term for their race. Though they don’t seem to be worshiped in a religious sense, they are held in high esteem by the populace, as definition #4 of ‘idol’ determines.

Edited by Nightmare Muffin
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They're just people who happen to live very long and have significant magical power. Ponies respect them (not worship, I don't think) because they're rare and long-lived, and for some reason custom dictates that they're given royal titles. More than that, though, I think the current princesses are given such respect due to personal reasons and official titles rather than because they're alicorns. 

  • Brohoof 4
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That's hard to say. I suppose it would depend on the view of the person you're asking. On the one hand, we know that for all intents and purposes that the alicorns are immortal. They are extremely powerful, and seem to get stronger over time as they age. All of them (sans possibly Twilight and maybe Flurry Heart as she's only an infant and we don't know what she'll come to represent) seem to represent a certain aspect that, in different cultures, have gods to represent. Celestia represents the sun, Luna represents the moon, and Cadence represents love. Greek gods exist that represent each of these: Helios for the sun, Selene for the moon, and Aphrodite for love (if I'm getting names mixed up for Greek mythology please let me know). Celestia's name is used many times where someone in the real world my say 'God' as an exclamation. Also, when the Mane 6 find out that Flurry Heart is an alicorn, I believe Rarity mentions that Twilight 'ascended' into being an alicorn, much like certain cultures have figureheads that may've ascended into godhood (think like Talos from TES5: Skyrim).

However, we've never seen any sort of places of worship in the world of Equestria. Not everyone that uses 'God' as an exclamation for something or in a sentence for one reason or another is religious in any way. It's more of a general term when used that way.

With that in mind, I believe that the alicorns are seen more as idols, albeit immortal (or perhaps long-lived if they aren't immortal, though it hasn't been confirmed), beings that are extremely powerful, once they learn to make full use of their magic (as I don't believe Twilight uses the full extent of her alicorn power or even knows how to, considering that Starlight Glimmer was matching her at every turn in the season 5 finale).

  • Brohoof 1
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I think they are more like Idols, the alicorns are not immortal to be gods.

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I'd say they are more like idols given how most ponies in Equestria worship them given their status as rulers, but they are not immortal despite Celestia and Luna both having lived for over a thousand years--this is more evident with Celestia given the whole banishing to the moon bit with Luna.

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Ah more Pony theology.

I would say, they aren't the creators  and not gods, but are extremely powerful and rule the world justly. To put it into Catholic terms: the Equestrians show hyperdulia to Celestia and dulia to the rest...high veneration but not worship.

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I don't remember anything addressing or even implying immortality, other than how very old Celestia and Luna are. That said, I don't recall anything implying the contrary either.  I know she's just a baby, but I was rather expecting more to be done with Fleury Heart than they have at this point considering her alicorn status was such a shock, I thought they were going somewhere with it. They still may, of course but no sign of a story arc thus far.

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20 hours ago, AlexanderThrond said:

They're just people who happen to live very long and have significant magical power. Ponies respect them (not worship, I don't think) because they're rare and long-lived, and for some reason custom dictates that they're given royal titles. More than that, though, I think the current princesses are given such respect due to personal reasons and official titles rather than because they're alicorns. 

Right. In none of the canon (hard or soft) it it said or implied that they are immortal and everlasting, nor considered to be god(des) -like status by the ponies they watch over. The ONLY exception that I've seen is Rarity, due to her actions on two occasions (if there are more than please inform me). From what I've seen, she is the ONLY pony, at one point, to not only prostrate herself before Celestia (though many ponies have done so in earlier seasons), but actually kiss her hooves/ feet, which is a gesture of homage and deference. Since the feet are typically the dirtiest parts of the body (back in ancient times), this is also one of the most humble acts that a lowly servant might be required to perform upon their master.  Because of human (or pony) pride (especially one such as Rarity who shies away from dirty things), no natural person would voluntarily perform such an act upon another, without first seeing themselves as a slave before their master, to whom they owe their very existence. Rarity seems to be the only one who also substitutes God's title for Celestia's name, such as in the MLP movie "oh, for Celestia's sake!", or in the episode "Sisterhooves Social" "as Celestia as my witness, I shall never be sisterless again!"

 

But other than that singular example, no one else really seems to revere her (or the other alicorns) as gods or goddesses.

Edited by Nightmare Muffin
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The idea that Alicorns are gods is outdated fan trash that is not even worth considering as of today.

While Alicorns are indeed more powerful than a typical Unicorn, Pegasus or Earth Pony, we have seen very talented Unicorns take on Alicorns and match them such as in the case of Starlight Glimmer. Even Starswirl the Bearded is confirmed to be more powerful than Twilight, however that may change in the future. In short while Alicorns are powerful they are definitely not unbeatable.

The idea that Alicorns are immortal is also just another theory and it has never been confirmed. Celestia at the very least can be considered long lived which would indicate that they are indeed blessed with long life. Curiously however Word of God claims that Twilight will not outlive her friends.

The Journal of the Two Sisters can no longer be considered as a truly valide source of information. The episode "Shadow Play" rewrote the interaction Starswirl and the Sisters had with the Tree of Harmony, however the episode "Pony Play" did confirm that Unicorns lost their magic from lifting the sun. This would indicate that while the show may use the Journal as reference material for future episode they are capable and willing to change lore to suit their desires. As such I believe Journal to merely be 'secondary' canon.

The idea that Luna and Celestia are naturally born Alicorns is highly questionable and seemingly appears to be no longer be canon. I have already explained why I cannot take the Journal at face value anymore, as such anything that it claims and that the show implied against I will ignore. The Episode "The Crystalling" explains that Alicorn status is something that must be earned and cannot be born with (something that Megan McCathy also claims) which is why Flurry Heart's birth was such a shock. Even Celestia and Luna were baffled by such an event and claimed that it was beyond their understanding and that the birth of an Alicorn is something Equestria had never seen.

Alicorns are also never treated as Gods within the show and no religious practices seem apparent.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 years later...

I checked the dictionary what an Alicorn is and it said something like this:

 
Quote

 

Definition of alicorn

: the horn of a unicorn

 

I have no idea if that is an idol or a god, but online dictionaries are weird.

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