Over the past couple of weeks, there has been an interesting bit of momentum taking place in a subset of the Pagan Blogosphere. There have been posts from folks about what their own aspect of Polytheism was. What made it interesting was that a vast majority of the statements went along the lines of “this is what my polytheism is. Its different than yours. I only ask that you honor my vision of polytheism as I am honoring yours.” There were no accusations of this person or that thought being out of line with what “polytheism is”. No one played Gatekeeper and shoved folks out into the digital alleyways for not adhering to some singular mindset of what they believed polytheism was or wasn’t. Some of the statements have culminated in some very interesting, well thought out conversations on the differences between folks’ visions. Calm, reasoned, intelligent discourse with respect for individual viewpoints. It has been a joy to (a) read, and (b) take part in some of that.
I was a little floored when a statement I made was compared to someone’s (seemingly) favorite caffeinated coffee ice beverage. As I stated in my reply, I have never had something I stated compared to a food product before, but damnit, I’ll take it. 🙂 My statement, for the record, was a touch of a monologue off of someone else’s comment. I’ll copy and paste it here….
…you (not you specifically, the generic “you”) can realize that the Gods you work with want something specifically from you…not from everyone else. But let me add on – your point about narrowing who can be a polytheist…in my opinion, that’s a power trip issue. Folks who want to be “gatekeepers” as to what is or who isn’t a polytheist are looking to make an exclusive “club” rather than letting the Gods determine what They need from individual folks, and to whom They will manifest Themselves to. In my view (which is worth less than a Starbucks Grande coffee), that’s limiting who the Gods are, by placing the Gods into a containerized view. If a polytheist is “putting the Gods first”, then they (the polytheist) should be open to the perspective that the Gods will seek those that They wish to work with – even if those that are sought are not in the polytheist’s definition of “who is and who isn’t”. That’s my two pence worth….
The overarching points that were made in this particular thread (its part of a Facebook conversation), was essentially that polytheism has certain hallmarks to it – many Gods and Goddesses – but the underlying aspect of what makes one a polytheist is defined by their own unique, personal relationship(s) to the Gods and Goddesses that call to them. No one gets to define that relationship, other than the adherent and Those that they are connecting with.
But that’s just the background to it all. What was interesting, compelling, and exciting was the degree of respect everyone provided to one another throughout the wide-ranging comments and discussion. I have known for a long time that the wider Pagan community can have conversations and discussions like this – even when there are wide and deep chasms of difference between the participants. I cannot put my finger on the exact reasoning behind the courteous manners utilized, but if I had to lay a potential direction for it – I would point to the recent Many Gods West conference. (which I didn’t get to attend because I had no vacation days left – Boo!)
I am not sure how long this little truce and kindness will last within the Pagan Blogosphere and in the online social media platforms. Not long, I would guess. But damned if I am not going to bask in it, and hope it comes around a whole lot more often than it seems to.