Radical Polytheists or Happy Fucking New Year to You Too

Polytheism is the reverence for and belief in many Deities as independent, sentient Powers. It often goes hand in hand with veneration of one’s ancestors and reverence for the living world, a sacred locus full of its own type of spirits. I have often said in past writing that the moment one realizes that the world really is full of Gods, that everything is alive reflecting and reverencing Them, and that it is fully possible to experience the Powers directly, it changes everything. It cracks the lens through which we’ve been patterned to see the world. It disrupts the mental machinery that dictates what is ‘normal’ and ‘right.’ It rips us out of our pre-patterned mediocrity and demands that we wake up, stand up, open up and become *more*.

I had a student once, a polytheist who was taking one of my ancestor workshops and after several weeks in the course he emailed me privately saying (and I’m paraphrasing as I did not retain the email after responding), “Am I correct in thinking that to do this work well — ancestor work, polytheism, restoring traditions–I have to take a firm stand against the dominant culture in our world.” I responded with one word “absolutely” and that was enough for this student because he got it. He understood something that I think makes the mainstream very uncomfortable: to do this work well, to truly hold the space the Gods are asking us to hold, we are tasked, charged with being radical, hard edged motherfuckers.

There are no civilians in this fight. The moment we commit, truly slide our asses off the theological fence and commit to tearing open the poison windows of our world for the Gods to enter and work Their transformation, the moment we commit to not just restoring our traditions but to resacralizing our world, to bringing the sacred back into our minds and hearts and spirits we have become radicals. We have moved inch by inch, sometimes unwillingly, sometimes unknowingly into a mindspace that will challenge everything we have been taught to believe is ‘good.’ Instead, we become — and the more consciously we can do this the better- agents of change, agents of immolation and destruction, agents of restoration. We become those that little by little will tear down the corporations, tear down the mechanization of our spirituality, tear down the values and dubious virtues of a culture infected by the worst modernity has to offer: contempt for the sacred, pathologization of devotion, homogenization of our spirits, that dehumanizes and uses without care for the welfare of our world, our children, our children’s children. We become revolutionaries.

The first, greatest, and most difficult battle, the first place immolation must occur is in our minds. We must ferret out and attack with all the avid, keen-eyed skill of a predator the hooks and battlements the Filter has built in our own minds. We must challenge everything upon which we have been taught to build our lives — especially those things designed to make us safe, comfortable, and complacent. We must burn it all , fill ourselves with purifying fire until the Gods can come through and move the axis of the world. We must refuse to compromise in any way with the integrity of our tradition, our practices, our Gods. It’s an avenue for poison to enter and there’s already enough of that within us, having been imbibed like mother’s milk from the moment we drew breath and began to wade through the propaganda that would tell us we are evolved, we are better, we have no need of the Gods and the breaking-blessings They bring. Veneration should never be an afterthought dependent on one’s convenience. The Gods should never be an afterthought either.

There’s a reason the Gods snap up the poor, the odd, the outcasts, the deviants as Their servants, Their spiritworkers. We have nothing to lose. We won’t cling to the comforts of our lives using them as shields to thrust the Gods away. We have fewer excuses, fewer luxuries behind which we can hide. We have already seen the horror this world holds, the injustice, the spiritual desolation. We’ve gazed into its maw because the Filter deemed us too powerless to justify hiding its true face. We’ve seen first hand how egregiously fucked the world truly is and often why. It’s not that hard to connect the dots. It is hard to pick yourself up and commit to fighting. But those on the outside of a society are far better placed to see the claws in which that society is held, and we’ve lost the fear of being strange, weird, of not belonging. Oh, there are very good reasons the Gods call the outcasts as Their shamans, spiritworkers, and mystics. We do not give a shit about maintaining and supporting the structures designed only for oppression. Moreover, we recognize the mental and spiritual oppression as those in its favor do not.

We need to do this work by any means necessary. I believe each of us is tasked with considering carefully how we are placed in this world, how we move through it, and the legacy we leave. I think that we are each tasked with reweaving, restoring our traditions, and most of all with bringing the sacred back to our sick and dying world. We are tasked with contaminating the world with our Gods and all that They bring. In all ways big and small we are tasked with committed action. The odds are against us. The Filter is massive, ancient, and entwined and rooted in our world more deeply than can safely be imagined for long, our resources are limited and even those who should be standing with us are more interested in attacking, homogenizing, and pursuing their own self-serving agendas than doing this work well (far less threatening I suppose) yet we must carry on. Like guerilla warfare, the smallest and most committed can with time overcome the majority.

In specifics, we do not all have the same work. But we can all find ways of resistance. We can all find ways to further the restoration. I have said before and I say again that even pouring out a committed ancestor offering can be a powerful and radical act. Find where you can make a difference, beginning in your mind, your home, your world. Find where you can make a difference and don’t let anyone sway you from it. You too can be a radical motherfucker. Have courage.

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on January 5, 2015, in Fighting the Filter, Polytheism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Sky on her Isle

    I love this post! It’s like a little light bulb in my head that made sense of so much on this path. Thank you!

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  2. This is beautiful. 🙂

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  3. On many levels, “YES! THIS!” But I would also like to throw out there that for some people, the way to seeing the world is full of Gods, and many other Beings and spirits is through their fight with the Filter.

    Instead of realizing that to do this work well, I have to take a stance against the dominant culture, I realized it in the reverse order. Having to take a stance against the dominant culture, I discovered this work. I fell into the world of spirits, of animism and polytheism because of fighting against the toxic paradigms I was (and am) surrounded by. So, basically the same as what you said Galina, but with the twist that resistance can lead people to the Gods as well as the Gods leading people to resistance.

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  4. Thank you. I needed this. Timely.

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  5. Reblogged this on All Their Voices and commented:
    Reblogging not for any readers I have, because I have none, but so that I will be able to come back and easily find it in the future.

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  6. While this is always an important message to get out there more widely, I’d be interested in hearing (if you’d be interested in sharing) what, if anything specific, prompted this particular blog post now.

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  7. Reblogged this on soulfountain and commented:
    READ THIS blog post by Galina Krasskova, a woman who is the single most terrifying and awe-inspiring person I’ve the honour to stalk, er, follow on a blog. She talks a lot about how the newest generation of pagans– referring to our generation, basically– lacks a certain steel to their spines when it comes to the immense sacrifice required to really dedicate one’s life to the Gods. It always hits a little hard for me, because my spiritual practice is certainly hampered by a great deal of ‘ahhhhmmmtooootiiirrreeeddd, can’tmakeme’. Not something I’m proud of, but self-discipline isn’t really a strong suit of mine. Little too indulgent.
    But man, this post. Talking about how people who are intensely marginalized and parts of very minor minorities being pulled so strongly to the Gods because they have the least to lose. Really has me thinking about how MUCH I have to lose, a lot of it mainstream-culture comforts that I take for granted because I am in such a position of privilege. White, middle class, pretty female, physically healthy, young, educated, single && childless…
    There is so much in my life that I just take for granted, so many comforts and safety nets and protections, that a great deal of people just don’t have. I risk nothing in my life because even if I screw everything up, both of my parents are willing and able to have me live with them or support me in my own living space. I whine a lot on this blog about being so misunderstood, so isolated, my various mental healthy issues, but really. -spreadhands- I live in decadence, no requirement of growth or improvement save what I desire to improve, no consequences to not facing up to my past. I have everything many do not, I am the spineless new-pagan generation Krasskova despairs over.
    Which.
    Kind of uncomfortable? There’s no reason for me not to do so many things that I just don’t do. And, you know, I don’t necessarily want to say ‘oh, I will change and be more disciplined && stronger’ because I’ve been saying that for like ten years without acting on it. So maybe just, I’m aware that this is a problem I have and it shames me. I’ll go out from there. This year is so new, and I am anticipating life changes one way or another.

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  8. I would like to add a suggestion on how to be a truly hardcore radical motherfucker. Raise your kids in your religion and don’t pull any punches either. Teach them about the filter and the way revisionist history is a tool of the filter (Thanksgiving is a great example of this) Raise them to believe that the fay, unicorns and magick aren’t pure fantasy just a different way of experiencing “reality”. Hell teach them what a situational (and might I add useless) term reality is. But most of all let them see YOU doing the work and fighting the good fight! Now to be honest I sometimes slip up on this one by not doing the work myself and there is NO excuse for it other then I am a lazy fuck sometimes and need a good kick in the ass to get me moving.

    That said my kids have all been exposed to my families religious practices from their first breaths. All three of them have been attending family rituals, seen me at prayer, helping with various of my spiritual practices when they can and just seeing and learning from myself, my wife and the rest of my extended clan. I don’t force them to take part in any of this. All three have a genuine interest in learning about it and I hope it stays that way as they get older.

    Teach them that YOU see “reality” differently then the general population and tell them that this is not only a good thing but a necessary one!When my nine year old daughter tells me that it is silly to believe in unicorns because people tell her that they are ONLY mythical creatures I tell her that they are as real as you and me just in a different way. My 5 year old son refers to thunder as “Loki Thor and Odin bowling” and asks if he can play with them and I say sure if they have room for one more. Heck the boy has been seeing the Old Man in his dreams for two years now and that started before he had any exposure to Norse myth!

    One last thing to tech them that would be a truly radical act is personal accountability. Teach them that if they mess up they have to not only accept the consequences but try to make it right somehow. Not a vary popular practice in the general population these days and down right anathema in the pagan community but then look at how both are acting. Both communities could do with some time in the woodshed if you ask me.

    There it is. Teach your kids ( or when and if possible the children around you) to be radical hard polytheist warriors. True warriors who can show compassion, love, generosity of spirit, humility, and devotion to the Ancestors Gods and Spirits.

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  9. That first paragraph – YES! Exactly what I have been trying to articulate for some time and you state it so simply and perfectly – at least for me. The best description of Polytheism, the utter truth of it.

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