There are some interesting reactions to my recent piece on Worlding. I won’t quote them here–they can be found pretty easily otherwise. I’m apparently the new John Halstead, and there’s even some fun accusations of racism thrown in. But suffice to say, many of them assert impiety, an ability to understand the true nature of things because of my Marxism, and a stubborn refusal to submit to the sovereignty of the gods.
I think they might just be now noticing I’m an anarchist.
Thing is, these discussions are hardly about gods at all, but about Authority.
As was pointed out to me by a dear druid friend:
if your relationship to a god is one where you ‘must’ do something for them or else, or you must do so because a priest told you that is what you must do, you are confusing a god with the government, Capitalism, or your parents.
It’s from Authority that you learn ‘obedience,’ not from the gods. And there have been plenty of parents, and plenty of governments, and plenty of rich people who have claimed they have Authority because of the gods.
And also, plenty of priests.
Perhaps there are indeed gods telling people to listen to their priests, telling people that the only true way to be in relationship to them is through the prescriptions and doctrines set out by their chosen ones. But it seems to me this is precisely the process by which the belief of a people becomes channeled into power for a handful of the ‘Elect.’ And woe betide the heretic or the witch who dare approach the divine by any other gate but the one they guard.
Enclosure can happen for meaning, too. In fact, that’s always been the trick of Authority; convince people they have no other access to meaning except through their prescribed doctrines, just as Capital convinces us we have no access to exchange except through property and the market or the State convinces us we’ll die without it.
Isn’t this really what the witch has always been so hated, though? The witch asserts that we need nothing to approach the Other, and that there is nothing we can truly offer anyone except our being.
As a friend pointed out the other day:
“Some want to be possessed by a god. Some want to possess a god.”
And I added, “and both are much easier than self-possession.”