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?