Living Polytheism Now

Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” has as much to do with the development of devotional polytheism as “Mein Kampf” has to do with the development of humanist paganism… that is to say nothing at all. Polytheistic devotion has existed for thousands of years only you know what? It used to be what people simply considered religion. It was what mature adults did. Likewise in the contemporary communities there have been polytheists since well before Gaiman wrote his first book. I’ve been going strong for thirty years and I’m hardly the only one and there are those who’ve been in it longer than I. So let’s talk about what some of us are doing now as polytheists. What projects do we all have going on?

I’ve joined the PDG. We’re exploring ways to prepare for death and discussing our respective traditions’ funeral practices, mourning practices, all the practicalities around these things and more. We’re attempting to reevaluate for our communities the death-phobia in our mainstream cultures, so that we can die well, care for those who have lost people, and so that we can live more fully in alignment with the enlightenment our Gods offer. The PDG is just starting out, but I think it’s going to do some good and necessary work. Kudos to founder Rebecca Scott for putting this together. As soon as the school term is out, I’m going to be working on my own project within this group: looking at medieval and renaissance “Ars Memoria” books and seeing what can be adapted for us.

A little bit closer to home, I’m in the process of creating an outdoor shrine to Mani. Y’all have seen my indoor shrine (I posted pictures yesterday) but a couple of months ago, I was driving home from work and saw this …box. It was like a really old fashioned medicine cabinet, only deeper and with a window in the door. It’s about a foot and a half tall. It was by the side of the road so I stopped and knocked at the house and the owner told me anything in the pile (there were other things too) was free for the taking (I was pretty sure that would be the case, but there was construction happening in the garage and it wasn’t 100% sure what was free and what was construction stuff and materials just moved out the way). I brought that home and over the next couple of weeks, now that I have a bit of time, I’m going to refinish it, paint, and decorate it. Then I plan to attach it to one of the pillars on my porch outside. I originally thought to replicate the type of shrines I saw all over Poland: shrine boxes atop a post, but I think I can achieve the same effect by just attaching it to my porch and if not, I’ll go that other route.

My biggest conundrum is finding a Mani statue for it. I really, really want a statue and not just an icon. I love icons, but this box is perfect for a statue. There are no statues of Mani extant so we’ll see what I eventually come up with. (Any wood workers or doll makers out there willing to take a commission?). I spent most of this afternoon haunting antique stores on the hunt for a statue or a doll I can repurpose (as in strip and repaint!) but no luck.

I also had this idea today that is probably not legal but I haven’t looked into it so I don’t really know. It occurred to me how awesome it would be to purchase a cemetery plot, but instead of interring someone, buy a stone structure (something that looks like a pergola or a small house), and set up a working shrine to Hela. I’m sure there are probably really strict guidelines about what can go in a cemetery but I figure it’s worth looking into. It would be very, very cool.

I’m also planning soon (I’m working on a proper, formal announcement) of starting up the Society for the House of Mundilfari. (That would be Mani and Sunna, Their sister Sinthgunt, Their father Mundilfari, Nott, Dagr and Their retinue). I figure members can share how they are honoring Them, and slowly work on creating a shared liturgy and novenas and prayers and a thousand other things. Stay tuned, on this one, folks. It’s probably going to take me a couple of weeks to organize .

Once I post this, I’m getting offline for a bit to go organize a couple of shrines. While antiquing I found a multi-tiered cabinet that will fit perfectly in my shrine room and I’ve been needing more shelving. I’ll be working on shrines for a couple of hours.

Then it’s time for Ostara offerings.

That’s my evening. So, polytheists, what do y’all have going on?

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Posted on March 19, 2016, in Lived Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. How is the devotional internet shrine to Pietas going? I have been writing daily prayers to the “God” of the day – creating a festival tide calendar as I go along. With monthly prayers to particular Gods and the like. My Gods are Roman, BTW.

    Been writing articles on Gods for Witches and Pagans, and contributing to Walking The Worlds. These articles, because of my brain injury, take a month to two months of my time. So I see them as acts of devotions to the Gods and a form of communication.

    Still do the twice daily devotions to the Lars, Penates, and Other Gods of the Home and Ancestors. I have weekly devotions as well.

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    • ganglerisgrove

      I will email Raven and co. and find out, since they are the ones setting them up. I suspect slowly. But i’ll get on that and thank you for the reminder!

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  2. Hmm I have heaps of projects.
    -On a more casual basis there is the Dionysian Artists, a loose group that encourages devotional art.
    -I’ve been doing some minor help with your commissions.
    -Consequently we’ve decided to make a Flora street project based on your Flora commission. The Street project is 2 meter by 1.5 meter and we’ll be starting that this week.
    -We’re still working on the Toys of Dionysos street project, about to head to work very soon actually.
    – An article has been brewing in my head looking at modern folk festivals and comparing elements found in the classical Dionysian festivals. This requires a lot of research.
    – I also have some personal designs I want to do, unfortunately my computer is being occupied by my partner for his own work. So these are stalled for now.

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  3. songofscotland

    I know of one woodworker who does some incredible statues. His Facebook is here: https://www.facebook.com/studio.yarinka1/

    Tonight I’ll be writing some prayers and preparing for my Ostara ritual. Probably working on some devotional poetry to offer as well. :]

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  4. My projects are:

    1. Submitting 4 items for Hestia’s devotional First and Last. For more info. re. the devotional, check it out here:

    http://neosalexandria.org/bibliotheca-alexandrina/calls-for-submissions/first-and-last-a-devotional-for-hestia/

    2. Currently taking the Toys of Dionysos course

    3. Write 2 poems for the Bacchic Martyrs

    4. May start taking meditation courses again

    5. Look into open mic nights for poetry readings. Like your suggestion about reading our poetry for the Gods.

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  5. Been on a break from more theoretical projects, but got some exciting practical ones, like making a living shrine to the deities of life. Thankfully my wife has a green thumb!

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  6. Quick thought – instead of a statue for Mani, what about a really nice moon globe?

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    • ganglerisgrove

      ooh i never heard of these. that would be awesome, if not for the shrine box, than for my indoor shrine. *going off to google it*

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  7. Teaching the Toys of Dionysos class is my biggest devotional project right now, but I’m also (more intermittently) working on developing a more local-focus calendar out here. Which requires lots of different kinds of research into the aspects different Deities show when They’re out and about in these parts…feels like that work will never be done! I suppose that’s a good thing.

    By the way, if you’re ever out in southeastern VA, I’d love to show you around the Civil War and Revolutionary War battlegrounds and Fort Monroe in particular.

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  8. If you have any luck finding anything specific for Mani please do share. Would love to know!

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  9. I’ve been hosting worship services at my house as my group works towards a legal temple. It’s been very encouraging…the husband and I have had to start buying folding chairs, because our couches and dining table chairs filled up rapidly. The members have also been incredibly devoted and helpful. We’ve been blessed.

    We’ve been working on a website for our faith, Venacia, and that should be going up in the next week.

    Our Pagan student group at the university is also thriving…we went from having just two members (myself included) at the beginning of the year to having nine, and new faces keep showing up! One of the other universities in the city has caught wind of this, and next year they’ll also have a Pagan student group!

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  10. Selena Durante

    I just found a * perfect* spot for an outdoor shrine to Jord, literally outside my door. This is very exciting for me, as I live in apartment complex. It’s very simple, but hidden from direct sight, a rarity for this place. I’m also adding on to my indoor shrines–made a charm-shrine to Heimdall to hang beside Freya’s shrine. I’m learning new things to cook for food offerings, taking courses in Latin and Ancient Rome ( Open University, I love you!), and have started covering my hair on Wednesdays, per the Old Man’s request.

    Devotional practice here at RH is expanding at a dizzying rate–new Guests almost every week! I have a lot of lost ground to recover since I was down for over half a month with full-blown influenza, so the writing projects have piled up. (And I owe you mail…eep!)

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