Here is an excellent piece by P.S.V.L. who really points out how the current “your religious space must be political” is inherently ill thought out and obsessively anti-theistic (among other things). This is a long, thoughtful piece. Stick with it folks. It’s gold.
We are so very fortunate to be polytheists, to be awake and aware of the many and varied Holy Powers, to be aware of the rightness of veneration and respect for Them. We are so incredibly lucky to be able to take part in the restoration of our traditions here and now, and to be setting our feet once again on the path of devotion and piety to our Gods and ancestors. That is no small thing. It is the most important work we will ever do.
I feel very sorry for people who find putting devotion to the Gods first within religions complicated, people who would rather spend their time attacking devotion, attacking polytheistic traditions, pushing an anti-theistic, humanist, and political agenda. Since the advent of monotheism, polytheisms have been under ongoing attack by the polluted, the impious, and the ignorant or by people too full of themselves to leave any room for devotion to the Gods, people with a clear agenda: corrupt what they cannot destroy; destroy what they themselves cannot corrupt. Nothing has changed except now we’re being told that if we don’t prioritize some political agenda, or social justice agenda, we’re “privileged.” Yes we are. It is both a privilege and an honor to be pious.
Let me repeat that.
It is both a privilege and an honor to be pious.
When people try to tell you otherwise, shame you into supporting their political agendas or social fixations over the Gods (and do this specifically in religious space most of all), understand that they are walking miasma. Purify yourself and get on with the business of venerating the Gods.
Anything good and sacred will always attract bottom feeders. It is our task to ensure that our traditions are clean enough, solid enough, focused enough on the Gods to resist any attempts to tear us down. Understand: it is our privilege and honor to be pious. It is this that elevates us and this to which our lives should be given.
Our polytheistic ancestors knew this well.
“My good man, the evil force that now moves you and prompts you to steal from the holy is neither of human origin nor of divine, but it is some impulse bred of old in men from ancient wrongs unexpiated, which courses round wreaking ruin; and it you must guard against with all your strength. How you must thus guard, now learn. When there comes upon you any such intention, betake yourself to the rites of guilt-averting, betake yourself as suppliant to the shrines of the curse-lifting deities, betake yourself to the company of the men who are reputed virtuous; and thus learn, partly from others, partly by self-instruction, that every man is bound to honor what is noble and just; but the company of evil men shun wholly, and turn not back. And if it be so that by thus acting your disease grows less, well; but if not, then deem death the more noble way, and quit yourself of life.” (Plato, Laws 854ac)
So Halstead has written another post, attempting to justify his forced incursions into polytheism (which neither wants nor needs his anti-theistic agenda) by postulating that the very fact that we see our Gods as individuals means that polytheisms are more prone to fracturing and fragmentation because we have all these hard edges–you know, boundaries, standards within our traditions, individual Gods, devotion.
Bullshit, Halstead. Utter Bullshit.
Polytheisms fracture when external force (colonization, appropriation, extermination, or just forced ideological incursion) is repeatedly applied. There is nothing inherent in polytheism that causes any type of fragmentation (as any brief exploration of history would show).
Every group with every conceivable interest in every period of history has experienced schism. You want to see real schism? Go into a fandom group and watch them disagree. It is a normal part of human nature to have this type of conflict, especially on the internet where so much of our discourse is disembodied. Is Halstead positing that his atheist and agonistic (whoops, that was a slip, but i may just leave that. i meant agnostic) groups never argue? If they don’t, that’s terrifying. It means there’s no free-thinking going on and they’re all just robots.
Halstead has an agenda. That agenda is to make polytheism look unreasonable, unenlightened, divisive, and intolerant. The only intolerance happening here, is on him. Polytheists have repeatedly repudiated his attempts to define our Gods out of existence and to promulgate the erasure of our traditions. He equally repeatedly refuses to leave us in peace. Why does he keep this up? What does he hope to gain? Who persistently butts their head into a place where they are not wanted? There’s an agenda here and people should be wondering who benefits. Hell, I’m wondering who benefits. It’s certainly not the Gods and certainly not polytheism.