September 13, 2016

My Polytheism

My polytheism is my own damn business. Your polytheism is your own damn business.

#mypolytheism is a thing now, apparently. Polytheists speaking up about what polytheism means to them. That's cool.

I went and read a bunch of the entries off this list. Some of them were really interesting. Some of them were really irritating. All of them were totally valid takes on polytheism.

A common thread in several of the ones I read boiled down to this: Fuck Gatekeeping. That is, people don't get to say "This is Polytheism, but that is Not." Other than, y'know, the basic definition of believing that many gods are real. And I'm completely with that, and you can take all of that as read. Fuck Gatekeeping. I have no interest in defining polytheism. You identify as a polytheist, that's good enough for me. I don't necessarily want to hang out with you, but then I don't want to hang out with very many people. It's not personal.

But here's what my polytheism is, rather than what it isn't.

My polytheism is my practice and my belief. And where that overlaps with yours, that's exciting and let's talk about it, and where it's totally foreign, that can be really interesting, too, or on the other hand it might make me want to be elsewhere, but it doesn't really matter what I think, because your polytheism is yours. Don't let anybody take it away from you. And I'll do the same.

My polytheism is dedication to my gods, but not necessarily putting them first all the time. Because they don't ask that of me. There have been times when they were essential to my life, even essential to my survival, but there have also been time when they were... not unimportant, but not immediately vital. Times when I didn't keep up a regular practice, but kept believing and loving them.

My polytheism, right now and right here, is a daily practice, as much as I can keep it up, and not so much with the festivals and big rituals. I pray in the morning and I pray at night, or else I miss it and am sorry that I did. But right now, that's the core of my polytheism, my practice.

My polytheism is worshiping a subset of the gods of ancient Hellas, because I can't manage to worship all of them, and neither can you, but I can worship the ones who matter most to me. My polytheism is my relationships with my gods, and fuck anybody who thinks I ought to have different ones.

My polytheism says to help people, is the ways that are given to me to do. Some of them are just put casually in my way, and I try to help. Some of them I have to go find and work actively to do, and I try to help then, too. Because people have equal significance, even if they're not all significant to me, and they all deserve help as much as the people I care about do, even if I can't help them all.

My polytheism plus your polytheism plus everybody else's polytheism adds up to not one big polytheism, but to a whole lot of different but overlapping polytheisms. This is what's wrong with the notion of one, singular Polytheist Movement, just as there's not one, singular LGBT Community. Instead, there's a set of polytheist movements, some of them with congruent or at least overlapping goals, but some of them very different. And that's ok, too. We should all follow our own polytheism, find our own fellow travelers, and build our own communities with them.