Words, Words, Words
Someone asked me just a few minutes ago why I was fighting over a word.
Polytheism is not just a word.
It is an identity, a community, a container of traditions.
For Halstead and his faction, polytheism is a word, nothing more, and one that he’s willing to twist and corrupt out of true. No one owns words after all and he has already expressed his willingness to relativize them. Words don’t demand integrity. They are flexible tools.
For me and many other polytheists, polytheism is not a word. It is a living thing. It is a community made up of a variety of specific traditions. It is synonymous with those traditions themselves.
It is not just a word (though if it were, I would still question his right to use it, given that despite the rantings of our post-modernist friends, words do actually mean things). It is so much more than that.
It is a group of traditions that stand together because we are stronger together than apart.
If we were to separate, to start speaking from the perspective of our individual traditions instead of polytheism as a whole, would people like Halstead suddenly start claiming to be a practitioner of cultus deorum, a Kemetic, a Heathen (heh. Have fun with that one, John), a celtic polytheist? Will the incursions stop? I don’t think so.
I don’t think polytheism registered on this faction’s radar until we began to work together and perhaps that is significant. Some atheists get their kicks attacking Christianity vociferously, so much so, that in today’s media it’s hardly worthy of note. Sometimes I wonder if Halstead isn’t trying to make a novel name for himself by doing the same thing with Polytheism.
Halstead’s literary and ideological incursions into polytheism are not attacks on a word. They’re insidious attacks on our religious identity, an identity that is the first line of defense against encroachment on and debasement of our traditions.
All polytheists must of necessity be gatekeepers of their traditions. That obligation is even stronger with our specialists: priests, spiritworkers, elders, teachers. If not us, who? If not now, when?