More Conversations We Need to Be Having…

So Kenaz Filan and I are continuing our series of conversations with part six, which is available here

I’m grateful to Kenaz for starting this series and for taking it public. I know that many of us discuss the state of our communities and relevant issues and such all the time one on one, and often those discussions are thought provoking, interesting, and I think, important (even if we disagree. you’ll notice in previous conversations that Kenaz and I do not in anyway agree with each other all the time). 

In addition to these discussions, i hope that people will be motivated to engage more deeply with their polytheism, and I hope that you’ll all consider sharing not just your thoughts on these topics, but what you do devotionally, how you came to the Gods, why you honor Them, and how. One or two of us can’t build a cultus or a lasting tradition. That is something for which it truly does take a community. 

I also want to make something clear: I don’t care what someone’s political views are –not insofar as practicing religion goes. I think we should all be able to come together to honor the Gods first and foremost regardless of what our politics might be. I care very much, however, when any political cabal attempts to co-opt and distort polytheism for their own political gain. I care very much when the Gods begin to be made tangential to Their own traditions. I could say more on this, but I’ll let you go read instead. 

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Posted on August 14, 2016, in community, Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I had a funny feeling earlier today that Peter Dybing might come up in conversation soon…

    If I need a disaster response team to be organized, he’d be the first person I’d call. Security issues? Emergency medical services? Yes, he’d be the right person for the job.

    If I need an opinion on theology, community practice, cogent political commentary beyond “what’s most popular in genero-paganism,” or, really anything else, he’d be the last person I’d call.

    Not to pick on him, but this is yet another example of something we see a bit too much of in genero-paganism, and not very much of in polytheism (properly speaking the latter case): a confusion between authority or expertise in one field being mistaken for general authority or expertise, especially in things which have nothing to do with the field of expertise in question.

    “Hey, this woman is a master electrician!”

    “Great! Let’s make her the High Priestess of our group and the head of our international organization!”

    Uhh…yeah, that sounds like a recipe for disaster, in my opinion (which is a phrase I shouldn’t have to add to every thing I state publicly, especially on my own blog, but I am guessing I’m going to have to do so more now since people don’t seem to be getting that…and the accompanying assumptions that go along with it, i.e. this is mine, and I don’t care what you do, nor does my opinion on things need to have any impact on you or your actions and should not be a threat to you if your opinion differs, and especially if you have no connection to what it is I’m discussing…and in recent cases, especially if I advise ignoring what follows, and yet people choose to look anyway and then get angry…ugh!).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Virginia carper

    I am curious about the fundamental changes that the left have done in Polytheism that we reactionary people are resisting. At least what Dybing alludes to.

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    • I could make some historical comparisons of such triumphalist language, but I won’t…

      But, there is one fundamental “change” they’ve made that has also sidelined certain other views: the left in “polytheism” has made social issues (I won’t say “social conscience” or “social justice” because I think both of those things are fundamentally positive, but the way those terms are being used by those who advocate against the ability of people to choose freely, to speak freely, and to have differing opinions is entirely contrary to those principles, in my view) the center of their movement, and have sidelined the views not of the reactionary right, but instead of anyone and everyone who puts the Deities first in their polytheism, i.e. actual polytheists. If it becomes more important to make the right friends, say the right political slogans, and condemn those whom it is popular to condemn, and all those things are understood as “leading the way,” then he’s right. If, as a result, this means that people who prioritize devotion are driven underground, and that is also “leading the way,” then he’s also right.

      Tess Dawson has written some interesting things about this recently…And, I think the essential conflict is one that many of these so-called “polytheists” and many mainstream pagans can’t parse as being different. There is a monumentally gigantic difference between a parent forcing a child to do something and then punishing them for disobeying, and how that situation mirrors what the default position in monotheistic religions is, and the ways in which those devoted to particular Deities in a polytheistic context have happily and willingly accepted limitations on their lives and activities in service to their Deities in order to have better relationships with Them. It’s no different than anything else one might take an oath or a vow to do. If one is from a different country and then becomes a citizen of the U.S., there are limitations to one’s freedoms in doing so, and such an allegiance precludes retaining an allegiance to a foreign power and working as a terrorist to undermine the U.S. government, for example. Someone who enters into the vows of legal marriage and has an understanding with their partner that there is no falling in love with or having sex with other people in the context of their relationship, then those are the rules. Neither of these situations is an oppressive reality, it’s something that is freely chosen by those involved, and the benefits accruing to them due to their vows being upheld are all the more delicious (it would be hoped!) than whatever satisfaction or other enjoyments might come from breaking them. Why this is hard to understand for so many of these people is beyond me at this point, and I’m beginning to get less patient with even having to attempt explaining it to those who clearly don’t want to understand it, or understand that it is a reality for some of us that is more important than anything.

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