Reblog: Why Polytheist Spaces Are Important

Yes! This! So much this.

The core of polytheism – of all religious and spiritual practices – is relationship. Gods have relationships, with people as individuals, with people groups, with land, AND ALSO with each other. And all of these things are in relationship with each other as well! We exist in interconnected webs of relationships that move “horizontally” and “vertically,” as well as temporally. Because we as humans and peoples are not static and our lands are not static, these are relationships that change. The gods too are not static and exist in relationship with one another and the embodied world.

Maybe people would understand better if we called it “Relational Polytheism” instead of “Devotional Polytheism”, but as this article points out, sometimes we just need space where we don’t have to argue semantics all the damned time.

What I hope for us is that polytheists can remember that many people, particularly cultures and traditions outside the white Western world, might fit the Western definition of polytheist but might not view themselves as such. We need to let others define themselves as they will, but for those that want to talk about gods plural and gods as real, polytheism -broadly defined- creates that space.

If we can’t drop out of the meta conversation at least sometimes, we can’t really dig into the relationships themselves very well, eh?

Ideally our various communities in the wider Pagan umbrella can create webs of relationship too, webs that strengthen our practices, care for one another, teach and support in various ways. But sometimes its nice to be among people that share similar definitions, certain aspects of practice, and won’t call you crazy when you say that the gods are speaking.

One of the least useful things I’ve ever encountered where Religion is concerned is the tendency to jump straight to “you’re crazy” when people don’t share the same experiences. I don’t care if your experiences match mine. What I want to know is if your practices are functional, whether you end up treating people well. You can be the sanest rationalist in the world, but if you’re acting like an asshole, I’m not impressed. You can be entirely fucking delusional, and if it inspires you to compassion for everyone around you, I’m only concerned to the degree that it’s making your life harder to enjoy.

–Ember–

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About EmberVoices

Ember Cooke has been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for more than a decade, where she trained to be a Seidhkona, Galdrakona, and Gythia. She founded the Vanic Conspiracy and made ordination vows to the Vanir and her congregation in the summer of 2013. She has contributed to several publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan subjects and regularly presents rituals and workshops at festivals. Her personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead her into cross-training and service for the wider Pagan community. This has including medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for local counties. She holds a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. Ember has lived all her life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and is intimately bound to the valley of her birth.
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