And it’s awfully exciting.
I really want to compile them all at once. But I’ll miss a bunch. But it’s like everyone has decided that polytheism requires a framework and we really all ought to be talking about it and maybe we don’t have to apologise for talking about the “invisible friends” outside of our heads.
The latest–Julian Betkowski (who, may I point out, in case you haven’t noticed, has a luscious beard and a mind like a war-hammer), with his Polytheist Manifesto (I recommended “Why We’re Right” but he rejected this)
Under Polytheism, spirituality and religion extends across the realm of being to unite all individuals in a complex network. Each spiritual experience has at least two interlocking components, the experience from the self, and the experience from the other, and we must be willing to acknowledge how our experiences, practices, and beliefs impact those around us. Polytheism tells us that we are not alone, and that in itself carries profound lessons.
And very mild-mannered John Beckett‘s Patheos post, Wrestling With the Gods:
But I am concerned with two things. I’m concerned with Pagans who fail to wrestle with the questions and thus adopt a view of the gods that is weak and unhelpful. I want Paganism to be a robust religion (or if you prefer, religions) on its own, not just an environmentally friendly version of the mainstream. And I’m concerned with Pagans who profess to be polytheists but who tap out of the wrestling match and fail to consider the implications of multiple deities of limited power and scope.
Which links to Morpheus Ravenna‘s recent-ish post (if you haven’t read it, you ought to).
If I had to boil it down to a core concept, it would be this: if your Gods are real to you, treat Them like beings with agency. Agency: the capacity of an entity to act. In magical terms, agency is something like will.
If our Gods are real, They have agency. We don’t get to order Them around. We don’t command Them; instead we invite. We don’t dismiss Them when we’re ready to move on; instead we say thank you and goodbye.
And Sannion (who is always not shutting up about the gods) wrote this, a sort of beautiful fire-side story and not enough beautiful things are written in second-person:
At some point in your life you would probably travel abroad (if only to the next city over) and encounter people worshiping an entirely different group of divinities, often in ways vastly different from what you were familiar with. And when they did call them by the same names they often told stories about the gods you had never heard before. Though not the same, you respected it for it was their traditions and tradition is the lifeblood of the community. Sometimes you even worshiped them too, because one can never have enough of the divine.
And someone who kinda terrifies me because he’s actually not scary at all, pointed this piece out, by Tess Dawson
I am no doctor, so I cannot answer the question of clinical psychological delusions; if you think that this is going on, seek qualified care, and better yet try to find a professional who is open to polytheistic religion. However, I can help something in the matter of discerning divine communication from everyday healthy mental chatter. It can be a deeply shattering experience when the gods contact us. It can shake us to the foundations which make us question even our own identities. When a person does not believe in gods prior to the experience, and when a person has no context for such an experience, the feeling can extend from shattering to pulverizing. So what do you do if this happens?
which is a much better attempt, I think, than what I wrote 5 months ago, “You Are (Most Likely) Not Crazy”
In some of the monotheistic religions, a mystic or a devotee with visions may enter a cloister or a monastery where they can study and experience their insights away from the chaos and difficulties of daily life and be surrounded by others experiencing something similar We’ve mostly abolished both the monasteries and the concept of their function in our modern and advanced society with the exception, maybe, of the university. So when someone has shamanic or deific visions, sees their ancestors or faeries or land-spirits, they still have to find a way to pay their rent, hold down their job, take care of their children, and have pretty much only the internet, psychic phone-lines, or mental-health professionals to turn to.
And I’ve got another big essay coming on Pagan Identity tomorrow hopefully.
By the way, I love you all. Oh, and I think we should maybe start (per Anomalous Thracian’s suggestion) maybe compiling anthologies. So, you know, we don’t always feel like we have to fill a massive epic theological and practical gap and can actually maybe go play once in awhile. I’m actually taking a day from writing to go to St. Augustine to go see one of my favorite writers who just ran into another one of my favorite writers in Powell’s in Portland. So I guess it’s not really a day off from writing.
Be well. All of you.