Hitting the Nail on the Head Perfectly

In our previous discussion, Neptunesdolphins hit the nail on the head perfectly, so perfectly, that I am pulling her comment out to highlight it here: 

“Sigh, once more modernity and Monotheism strikes again. I know lots of Pentacostals and Catholics who take exception. How else are you slain in the Holy Spirit or see the Mother Mary, unless you engage with God?

Problem is that living in monotheistic culture is that all Gods are false except for the “One True God.” If the Gods and other Divines are treated as fiction, then engaging with fictional characters is considered mental illness. Unless it is pop culture Deities.

The other is that monotheistic thinking flattens the world into human, and only human. Since there is a singularity of life, people cannot imagine engaging with a plurality of Beings. It is beyond their imaginings.

The other thing about tumblr which highlights problems in Paganism – the Deities are smaller than people. People are the Deity. There is no Other, there is only them and themselves.

And of course, Progressivism as it is practiced is a religion. What is happening in Paganism is that everything is being homogenized by Progressivism. So we have the preoccupation with who is a Nazi and who should be thrown out for impolitic thoughts. Monotheism in action – thought crimes and the flattening of thought.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. I would also emphasize that the attitude expressed on the tumblr page I was discussing yesterday is not limited to Polytheisms. I know plenty of devout Catholics, Orthodox, etc. who have run up against it too. Thing is, their traditions’ structures are able to support and deflect this nonsense far better than ours. We have people taking it in wholesale and building a hollow practice around it and wondering why they’re getting nowhere. 

 

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on November 26, 2019, in hellenic things, Lived Polytheism, theology, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. We’re battling against the long standing assumption that Polytheism is primitive. Too many people want to distance themselves from and belittle those of us who actually believe in multiple Powers, who engage in spirit work, who respect our diviners, who revere our ancestors, and actually take our religion seriously. So many pagans are willing to shun true devotion because they don’t want to be considered primitive. “We don’t do that anymore, because we’re modern day enlightened Western White people who know better than our stinky ignorant ancestors” they say, thinking it will gain them brownie points from the Monotheists and secular moderns.

    The truth is that it won’t. Both Monotheists and secular moderns are by their very nature scornful of anything other than their own beliefs, so there is no point in trying to please or placate them. If I’m going to try to get brownie points from anyone, it’s going to be the Holy Powers, because at least then I know who really matters. I want the guidance and blessings that come from at least attempting to be in right relationship with the Gods. When compared to that desire, I could not care less for the opinions of spiritually diseased humans who sneer at me for not being infected with their filth.

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  2. I actually have no idea why there is a “Primitive is bad” sentiment. Wasn’t the whole point of reviving Polytheism to go back to ideas and practices we felt were better than the ones being espoused today? The two deities foremost in my heart are Hermes (a big-dicked shepherd who hangs out in the mountains with goat people and nymphs and who was taught how to read the casting of pebbles by cave bees) and Dionysos (a big-dicked mystic who is believed to be literally a bull / plant / fruit / fermented fruit juice who is worshipped in orgiastic rituals by people covered in ash, foliage, and animal skins where sometimes animals embodying the deity are torn apart so He can be consumed by His worshippers). I have never once in any moment of worship of these two (or really any deity) ever thought “This is SO modern!” It’s just not a thought that occurs to me. I wouldn’t want it to. I didn’t convert to this religion for modernity. I converted because I was tired of modernity. I want the world to be re-enchanted. I want fully embodied experiences. I want there to be meaning. I want there to be more to life than just being a number in the consumerist machine. Was the past perfect? No. But if it was all bad then why do we want it back so badly? I don’t know about everyone else but I want to go back.

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  3. Many thanks. What started this line of thinking was reading academic papers on Babylon and Sumer. I am researching for a short story on Uruk. I was reading discussions of rituals, Gods, the calendar, and demons. What came across was bemusement that the Babylonians and Sumerians were so religious and devout. They simply could not understand why these people, who were so advanced, would have whole cities dedicated to Gods. That they supported their temples, and ensured the best for the Gods. The religious mind was beyond them. One paper discussed when rituals went wrong as if it was business as usual. The sense of the holy and sacred was missing from these papers.

    That is when I realized that many people are trained not to engage with the holy. That the sacred has to be placed in a box and stashed somewhere. The sacred is a thing, not a living entity. Their thinking is that everything is materialistic. Therefore if you engage with the Gods, you are insane.

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  4. I think the obsession with being “modern” and that seeming primitive is bad comes with a certain level of comfort and “civilization”. Especially when you have a snobbish intellectual culture develop in big cities. Similar sentiments can be found in Roman writers of the imperial period about their quaint and primitive ancestors(in Ovid for example). Or in many Roman and Greek writers of that period about the superstitious country folk or common city rabble and their silliness(Seneca, Diodorus, Lucian, Cicero, Plato). It looks almost identical to what sophisticated Protestants of the 17th-19th centuries said about Papists and their mummery and idolatry, or what Catholics say about everyone else,or what atheists say about all religious practice. It also looks very much like what Confucian thinkers(among others in China) said about the folk religion of the peasants and about the traditional shamans(wu). Same thing happened to much of folk religion in 19th century Japan, in an attempt to look modern.

    Christianity in particular lends itself well to dismissing all spiritual experience. The Christians often dismiss such experiences as fraud, delusion, or devilry. Especially those of rival Christian sects, look at what Christians say about each other. I heard plenty of times that Catholics are of the devil and the Pope is the antichrist. If you believe every form of piety is one or all of those things except your own, it become very easy to take the next step and dismiss all “religious experience”. It comes off as strange that a bishop would mock farmers for believing in Frau Hulda or the Good Ladies(they bring fortune if you leave food offerings for them at particular times), when the bishop himself worships a magic rabbi and believes in things like ritually transmuting wine into the blood of a sacrificed god, or that a man once commanded the Sun to stop so he would have light to slaughter his enemies, or that a man once killed a thousand others with a donkey’s jawbone, or that giants once roamed the earth. Christians eventually did turn that kind of thought inward, it was inevitable. If you believe that every form of human religiosity ever, except for Judaism, was/is fraud or delusion, atheism is very close by.

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