Blog Archives

Good article by Tess Dawson


Here is a very good post by Tess Dawson on why we might want to rethink naming pets after Gods. (I’ve always loathed the trend personally). She also brings up the idea of ‘reading in good faith,’ in other words, not assuming that the writer is out to rain on your personal parade, but actually reading as though there might be something worth sharing here. Good thoughts both. 

A good article by Tess Dawson

Here is a really good article by Tess Dawson on specificity, respect, and the Gods. It’s a good and thought-provoking read. 

“Full deity-names are sacred and important. When used in their entirety, full names denote a specific deity in a specific set of relationships. This is important information to keep at the forefront of our minds, so let’s start using these full names more often. Names often reference relationships including connections with a locale, associations with animals or plants, or activities, or roles, or offices, or particular groups of people, or many other relationships and complex layered relationships.

Note that I said deity-names when used in their entirety. The problem is that we often do not use divine names in their entirety, and thus we’re missing some of the context. There’s a deep-seated omission that many of us engage in, even though we usually don’t know we’re doing it. It is a bad habit, a behavioral holdover, from living in cultures that reduce the deities out of existence—to two gods, one god, or no god. When we don’t use full names which detail these contexts and relationships, we’re missing information and we run the risk of not knowing exactly who it is we’re working with—even though we know we’re not working with two, one, or no gods, we end up still accidentally reducing to a few what are really many more.”

I’m really, really glad to see this being discussed. 

Condolences to the Gods…

A Powerful article by Tess Dawson on the destruction of Palmyria that reminds us of the need not only for mourning but for commitment and renewal in our own polytheistic practices. Let the Gods be hailed and remembered. Praise to Ba’al Shamin. Praise to Bel.

Really Disappointed with Wild Hunt Piece

I’m really not happy with the Wild Hunt’s reporting today. I just read this article on “Canaanite Religion.” After reading it and almost throwing up at the reference to all gods being emanations of yahweh (not so polytheistic there, I think), I just had to sit back and ponder. There is so much wrong with this piece I”m not even sure where to begin.

Firstly, let’s call a spade a spade, as a colleague of mine with whom I discussed this quipped. This article isn’t about the practice of Canaanite polytheism, it’s really about “Israelite Revivalist Monist-Panentheism.” Let’s not pretend otherwise. I”m deeply disturbed that this is allowed to pass for polytheism unquestioned. Monism is deeply destructive to any polytheistic tradition. It’s a slow, corrosive poison that reduces veneration of our Gods to a type of weak monotheism. We see it way too much and while it’s something to guard against in and of itself in any polytheistic tradition, I think it’s even more important to do so with Canaanite religion. Our monotheisms sprang from the same soil and co opted and corrupted many of the original practices of this tradition. To be clean at the very least, one should be vigilant.

Secondly, and what I actually find more disturbing is that the author of this piece effectively does her best to excise the work of Canaanite polytheist Tess Dawson from the religious landscape. Tess has been working toward the restoration of this tradition for well over a decade and has single-handedly been responsible for jump starting the veneration of these Deities in modern cultus. If one is going to talk about Canaanite polytheism, her not inconsequential contributions should at least be mentioned (all the more so since she’s actually a polytheist unlike the person interviewed). Her books can be found here and here. Her blog may be found here.

As with any of our polytheistic traditions, presenting Canaanite religion as a monolithic entity is both inaccurate and misleading. Anything claiming ‘all is one,” or that “all gods are emanations of another’ is not polytheism. While i’m told that this is a series highlighting Pagan and Polytheistic practices in the south, I expect better research and a more accurate distinction of what is and is not polytheistic.

Polytheist Day of Protest and Remembrance – July 31

finalvector

When: July 31, 2015

Why:

In remembrance of the over three hundred ancient and in many cases holy sites destroyed by Daesh.

In grief and terror over the damage to and potential destruction of the UNESCO city of Palmyra, and the Temple of Ba’al Shamin.

In silent protest against the attack and forced eradication of even the vestiges of polytheism across the world.

This is not a Syrian issue. This is not a Muslim issue. This is a world issue. It is a human issue. Daesh is purposely targeting memory. They’re targeting their history, and their own *physical* connection with their polytheistic ancestors. It is done to demoralize, terrorize, and desecrate.

We polytheists who have the freedom to practice our religions without fear of our lives (regardless of how much Christian hatred we may experience) have the opportunity to unite ritually, magically, spiritually in mind and will, with hearts and spirits in a cross-community day of ancestral reverence and remembrance.

Over sixty Deities were venerated at Palmyra alone, from multiple traditions: Canaanite, Mesopotamian, Arab, Greek, Phoenician, and Roman, as well as local and ancestral gods. Deities given cultus there included Bol/Bel, Yarhibol (god of justice), Malakbel (god of the Sun), Aglibol (god of the moon), Astarte (Phoenician Goddess of love and power), Ba’al Hamon, Ba’al Shamin, Ba’al Hadad, Atargatis, the Sumerian Nabu and Nirgal, the Arab Azizos, Shams, and Al – Allat, the native Gods Gad Taimi and Arsu, and even Dionysos.

What to do? :

Print out this graphic or copy it onto a piece of paper.
Meditate for a few moments, focusing on all the destruction, desecration, and damage, on the sacred places that have been destroyed, on the erasure of these ancient polytheistic spaces, and all the other horrors Daesh have committed.

Offer this prayer:

“May the holy places of the Many Gods remain inviolate for all time.

May the hands of the enemies of the Many Gods of be smashed and their efforts come to naught.

May the worship of the Many Gods flourish in many lands once again.

May those who hold true to the Many Gods be preserved and strengthened.”

Burn the paper in offering.
5.make whatever other offerings you wish.

If possible, do this NINE times throughout the Day.

Feel free to share about this experience on facebook, blogs, twitter – this is an act of evocation of all those Gods Whose sacred places have been destroyed and Whose people are being violated. The internet is a perfect way to keep this evocation going.

This is a way of holding space for polytheism, ancient and modern, it is a way of drawing a line in the sand and declaring to the world that we stand in solidarity with those whose voices once rang out in praise to a plenitude of Gods and Goddesses. It is a statement that for every stone of every temple destroyed, we will restore that cultus a thousand fold. It is an act of evocation, execration, and magic. We’re still here.

(art by M. Gage. The logo is one of the symbols of Ba’al, heavily stylized. It seems particularly appropriate with Palmyra. Divination was done to ensure that it was ok to use the image for this purpose).

A POLYTHEISTIC DAY OF PROTEST & REMEMBRANCE

finalvector

When: July 31, 2015

Why:

  • in remembrance of the over three hundred ancient and in many cases holy sites destroyed by Daesh.
  • In grief and terror over the damage to and potential destruction of the UNESCO city of Palmyra, and the Temple of Ba’al Shamin.
  • In silent protest against the attack and forced eradication of even the vestiges of polytheism across the world.

This is not a Syrian issue. This is not a Muslim issue. This is a world issue. It is a human issue. Daesh is purposely targeting memory. They’re targeting their history, and their own *physical* connection with their polytheistic ancestors. It is done to demoralize, terrorize, and desecrate.

We polytheists who have the freedom to practice our religions without fear of our lives (regardless of how much Christian hatred we may experience) have the opportunity to unite ritually, magically, spiritually in mind and will, with hearts and spirits in a cross-community day of ancestral reverence and remembrance.

Over sixty Deities were venerated at Palmyra alone, from multiple traditions: Canaanite, Mesopotamian, Arab, Greek, Phoenician, and Roman, as well as local and ancestral gods. Deities given cultus there included Bol/Bel, Yarhibol (god of justice), Malakbel (god of the Sun), Aglibol (god of the moon), Astarte (Phoenician Goddess of love and power), Ba’al Hamon, Ba’al Shamin, Ba’al Hadad, Atargatis, the Sumerian Nabu and Nirgal, the Arab Azizos, Shams, and Al – Allat, the native Gods Gad Taimi and Arsu, and even Dionysos.

What to do? :

  1. Print out this graphic or copy it onto a piece of paper.
  1. Meditate for a few moments, focusing on all the destruction, desecration, and damage, on the sacred places that have been destroyed, on the erasure of these ancient polytheistic spaces, and all the other horrors Daesh have committed.
  1. Offer this prayer:

“May the holy places of the Many Gods remain inviolate for all time.

May the hands of the enemies of the Many Gods of be smashed and their efforts come to naught.   

May the worship of the Many Gods flourish in many lands once again.

May those who hold true to the Many Gods be preserved and strengthened.”

  1. Burn the paper in offering.

5.make whatever other offerings you wish.

If possible, do this NINE times throughout the Day.

Feel free to share about this experience on facebook, blogs, twitter – this is an act of evocation of all those Gods Whose sacred places have been destroyed and Whose people are being violated. The internet is a perfect way to keep this evocation going.

This is a way of holding space for polytheism, ancient and modern, it is a way of drawing a line in the sand and declaring to the world that we stand in solidarity with those whose voices once rang out in praise to a plenitude of Gods and Goddesses. It is a statement that for every stone of every temple destroyed, we will restore that cultus a thousand fold. It is an act of evocation, execration, and magic. We’re still here.

(art by M. Gage. The logo is one of the symbols of Ba’al, heavily stylized. It seems particularly appropriate with Palmyra. Divination was done to ensure that it was ok to use the image for this purpose).