Many Gods, No Rock Stars

In my recent article, Winter Skadi posted the following comment:

“Thinking of privilege and entitlement, along with divide…

I reposted an updated article regarding the Icelandic temple, and how they have decided that they weren’t going to deal with the stupidity of people, so they were not going to let it be open to everyone as first planned (I am paraphrasing obviously), despite the support that they did begin to get from around the world. They gave reasons, they are a small organization, run with volunteers, they cut ties with other world organizations decades ago because they didn’t want to be in the political arena, and they feel a responsibility to their own people before foreigners. Now, while I thought it was kind of them to acknowledge other support, and to address that they felt they needed to close the temple to the public, I didn’t think they owed an explanation, and certainly they didn’t owe anyone to make it open.

I was taken off guard by the number of people who responded with some version of “Oh poor me, I wanted to see it, and the temple is over reacting.” Um. No, you entitled, spoiled brat. Instead of being outraged at the biggoted asshats who caused the issue people were mad at the temple for wanting to not welcome openly people that they have no connection to. I was seemingly ineffectual at trying to defend their choice because people had an entitled and pumped up view of themselves.

While I do think that there are times when a celebration of people, and community are important, they should not be the center of a polytheistic spiritual world view. If we are gathering to honor the Gods, we should make damn sure They are honored and happy with it, instead of sitting around and congratulating ourselves for how great of a human we are because we did something. There is too much “Look at me and the thing I did” and not nearly enough “let’s shut up and listen to what the Gods are saying.””

THIS. (emphasis mine) This is precisely the point and until we get this through our heads as a community, we’re getting nowhere. Gods first, Gods last, Gods always. (…except when it’s heroes, or ancestors, or land spirits…..)

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Posted on August 8, 2015, in Polytheism and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This is the thing I was thinking about earlier today…

    The people I most admire at MGW (and elsewhere in polytheism) are awesome people, but 90% of their awesomeness comes from their devotion to their Deities, and thus the bulk of their awesomeness comes from their Deities. Sannion’s awesomeness comes from his relationship with Dionysos; Morpheus’ from The Morrígan; the Thracian’s from Sabazios; and so forth…and each of them would hear that and take it as a compliment, not to their detriment or diminishment.

    A certain presenter whose name is one letter off from “monkey” has very awesome Deities as well )Pan, Dionysos, Aphrodite…!?!)…but, I think he’s largely standing in the way of that awesomeness a good bit of the time, and I don’t think he even realizes it. That he has “Pan” in quotes between his first name and surname as a nickname, as if it is his epithet rather than the name of a Deity to whom he is devoted, is a bit of a clue in that direction…

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  2. I guess some folks can’t get their heads around that temple building and Polytheistic worship is about the gods, not about community sharing or social politics. If a temple chooses not to be open to foreigners then that is their business that is based on the welfare and integrity of their gods’ space. It is not about an over-reaching “community”. The priority is in the right place there. People who want to place the priority on the social sharing of a larger international “pagan community” seem to often fail to understand. Bottom line it is not about people.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ganglerisgrove

      exactly Lykeia. This is the same reason that when we call out crap, or stand up for our traditions we’re called “mean”: people can’t get it through their heads that this is about the Gods, not us.

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  3. The Icelanders can do anything they want. We don’t have to be a part of it. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

    As for entitlement, I am not sure that it is a part of the American culture to be catered to, and to be singled out. I do know that in the culture wars that are raging, various people are moaning about someone else getting one up on them. People in Wise, Virginia were detailed on “60 Minutes” about the annual health check-ups that happen yearly. The doctors and dentists go there and offer treatment for free for the people. These people are very poor, but they are Republican, and dislike Obama Care, and Welfare. However, they first get unemployment benefits until that runs out, then SSI until they reach 65, then they get Social Security. Moreover, they have organised their society around this annual health clinic. They feel entitled to it.

    As for Pagans, I believe that this idea of boundaries is foreign. I have been at festivals where a guy would make a come-on of “well you’re Pagan, why don’t you want sex with me? Aren’t Pagans beyond being prudes.” Still happens, I believe. Saying no to something whether it is sex or participating in a ritual, etc, is frowned upon because it breaks up the community as some see it.

    Polytheists have firm boundaries, and are constantly being challenged on that. I think that it goes beyond entitlement and into “why are you not joining the community” or “why are you separating yourself from us.”

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    • ganglerisgrove

      yep and your initial response here applies: why are we not joining your community? not our circus, not our monkeys.

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  4. Similar reasons why I’m a solitary practitioner. They want to keep their temple a safe place for visitors and worshippers who truly hobo the Gods and Spirits. Too many people don’t respect privacy. This is something I’ve also noticed with closed traditions as well, people want to go anywhere they want with no respect for Mystery.

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