One of my atheist friends asked me a question a few months back:
What do Paganism and Polytheism do for you? Why do you need more than one imaginary friend in the sky?
Yeah, it is a snarky comment and the kind that I have come to expect from this individual. Ninety-nine times out of one-hundred, I ignore these and just move along. I have learned a few things about trying to debate this person on any theological or spiritual issue – there is no debate. Nothing except pure argument coupled with snarky and snotty commentary meant to demean you as an individual. After all, a belief in superstition is several steps below the basic intelligence of any “logical” human being. Yeah. I have definitely heard all of that. And far be it from me to try and dissuade anyone from their own belief and understanding of the world around me. In fact, I would not even tread into the arena of demeaning someone over holding such a perspective. Beating me over the head with it, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. But that is a post for another time and topic…maybe.
In a manner of speaking, the direction of the two questions does come around to a “what have you done for me lately” concept. So, what has Paganism done for me lately? What about polytheism? Same question. For me, my spiritual beliefs drive my every day. My mornings tend to find me either standing outside at the rising of the Sun, greeting my old friend at the start of another period of daylight. My evenings are spent in the same fashion at sunset, saying goodnight to the Sun, as the twilight is quickly consumed by the darkness of its absence. My late nights may find me at the stone circle in my backyard offering a shot of whiskey to Crow, Coyote, Flidais, or any other God or Goddess from Whom I may seek some type of favor. And that is just a type of the devotional aspect of my Daily Path. What does all of this do for me?
Well, in the simplest sense, it provides a focal point in the direction I take in my life. In service to Crow, I try to remember that communications are a prime part of what I do. I write blog posts to inform, or in a far more crude form, to hold a one-way conversation. My devotional aspect of my Daily Path is meant to remind me, refocus my effort, and place Crow’s intentions above my own. That is, after all, one of the aspects of being a Priest to Crow – to carry out His intentions over my own.
Perhaps deeper than my connection to the Gods and Goddesses and the Spirits of Place and Ancestor is my own practice of Druidry. I would love to remove Druidry from the entire equation, but I cannot. I am a Druid, this is my Path, it is who I am. Part of that is connecting and protecting my environment. Another aspect of that is service to my community, which I consider my blogging and podcasting (yes, it will be coming back online in the very near future) efforts to be. In so many ways, these are severely intertwined with my Paganism and Polytheism, enough so that I cannot tell much difference where each ends and begins within me.
What does all of this do for me today? Well, in today’s rough and tumble environment where politics and butt-hurt snowflakes seem to reign supreme, all of this reminds me that there is something further past all of that. Past the rampant consumerism, the chase for money, fame, and riches, the desire to get power over others….there is something more to what Life is about. Helping one another when a need arises. Communing with others and connecting on levels far deeper than what we do or do not own. Much like the planet is a living organism, the human race is one living organism – as a collective whole – as well. An organism that works with itself to heal, to war, to learn, to shun, to love, to hate – a lumbering, stumbling pile of connection and contradiction. I am dismayed and frustrated at the level of discord that we all manage to achieve in the echo chamber of the online environments. I am heartened and relieved when we listen, communicate and find solutions in face-to-face communications. As hard as it is to explain, my Druidry, my Paganism, my Polytheism, my Spirituality all explain this to me. All of this, which encompasses who I am as a Priest, as a Pagan, as a Polytheist, as a Druid, as a human being, helps me to comprehend why the world is not something to be cynical about. “That,” as Samwise Gamgee remarks in the Lord of the Rings films, “there is some good in this world, and that is worth fighting for.”
So what has my Paganism done for me? I find comfort from it that this world can be saved – even from the hand of those that should have the intelligence, and compassion to be caretakers and not abusers. My Polytheism reminds me that there is more beyond our simple comprehension and that I am comforted to find a manner in which I may commune with Them. My atheist friends can turn up their noses at me and tell me that I am dealing with things that are just in my head. To turn another phrase from a movie, As Headmaster Dumbledore tells Harry Potter in the last film of that franchise: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” I am thrilled that they find meaning in their own perspective, but I will happily keep my own because….well, it is what Paganism and Polytheism and Druidry have done for me. And that is why it is important and a relevant part of my life – it IS a definite part of me.
PS: I have a new place that I am blogging…over at Moon Books. Most of what I will be blogging about there are things that I find within the many Moon Books titles that I have. Join me over there. I will be blogging on a Wednesday/Sunday time frame. You can find it here: http://moon-books.net/blogs/moonbooks/author/tommyvh/ See you there, too!! –T /|\