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More about that Polytheist Devotional Meme

Well, folks,

Firstly, happy spring. Winter is slowly starting to loosen its grip--I know it may not feel like it for those of us in the east but soon, very soon we'll be complaining about the warm weather. I for one, can't wait.

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  • Christine L Berger
    Christine L Berger says #
    I am so behind on emails and this was one that I wanted to read. Interesting, what you triggered this morning was remembering thi

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Terms of Engagement

"You know when wolves run free and alone? when they're mentally or physically diseased."

--Sannion

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  • marianne
    marianne says #
    wonderful , thank you ...
  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus
    P. Sufenas Virius Lupus says #
    Indeed--and very well stated!
1-10 of a Devotional Polytheist Meme

 

Over the past couple of weeks I've been slowly working my way through my Devotional Polytheist post. I wanted to share my answers to the first ten questions. If any of you are also participating in this meme, please feel free to share the links to your blogs in the comments. I would love to read how everyone approaches these issues and concepts. 

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  • Christine L Berger
    Christine L Berger says #
    Gallina, this is extraordinary, and such a gift. I sit here right now with the aftermath of three hours on a root canal, and this
  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova says #
    Actually, thank you. reading your comment was immensely inspiring to me. there is something that happens when we enter into the de
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I had the notion that I would bang these out once a day . . . HA! These are deep questions, and not so easy to answer. A friend
  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova says #
    *G* yes, there are 24 questions and yes, I had the runes in mind.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

We talk about “Christianity,” as if there actually were such a thing.

But of course there isn't.

You'd think that pagans, of all people, would know better.

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  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    You could say the same with the following scenario: "A Unitarian Universalist, and a Unitarian Universalist, and another Unitaria
  • Patrick
    Patrick says #
    Christian missiologist Andrew Walls once asked if the proverbial Martian came to earth and visited (I forget his exact examples, b

I wrote this blog as a contribution to recent discussions of polytheism vs. monotheism on PaganSquare when I noticed several people asserting that "most pagans" are "polytheists."  I do not call myself a polytheist because while I affirm a multiplicity of images, for me they all point to a single divine presence in the world.  I offer the below musings in a spirit of dialogue.  I am interested to hear from those who call themselves "polytheists" whether they are speaking of a plurality of images and stories pointing to a "unity of being" or whether they are also saying that there are a "plurality of (sometimes) conflicting forces" that they would call "divinities."

In Rebirth of the Goddess I noted that monotheists were the ones who defined the term polytheism and wondered if in fact there really were any polytheists in the history of the world. I posed this question because monotheists assert that polytheists not only worship or honor a "diversity of images," but also insist that polytheists believe that there are a "diversity of conflicting and competing powers" in the world.  Monotheists might even go so far as to say that polytheists deny that there is a "unity of being" underlying all of the diversity and difference in the world.

For me the notion that "the world is the body of Goddess" (or divinity) is more primary than multiply elaborated images, names, and stories about divine beings. I am less moved by myths of Goddesses and Gods than I am by images of the Goddess that incorporate plant and animal as well as human qualities. In one sense I am closer to animism than polytheism.  It is the beauty of the world that moves me to reverence.

In recent years monotheism has been attacked as a “totalizing discourse” that justifies the domination of others in the name of a universal truth. In addition, from the Bible to the present day some have used their own definitions of “exclusive monotheism” to disparage the religions of others. Moreover, feminists have come to recognize that monotheism as we know it has been a “male monotheism” that for the most part excludes female symbols and metaphors for God.  With all of this going against monotheism, who would want to affirm it?

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  • Katy Bailey
    Katy Bailey says #
    I believe every religion is right in some way, as people tend to get "results" from each one, if that makes any sense. So it's lik
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Thanks for the essay and the dialog it engendered. Forgive me if my experiences and thoughts are tangential to the discourse here
  • Natalie Reed
    Natalie Reed says #
    I must admit that I am a bit on the fence over the whole definition of Polytheist issue. I don't purport to know the answer as to
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Oh yes, I am also not a monist because I believe that individuals are real and not an illusion as some forms of Hinduism and other
  • Sam Webster
    Sam Webster says #
    An understandable critique. Can you name other monisms besides the Hindu (re maya) that consider the individual an illusion? Certa

At Pantheacon I attended a discussion about Wiccanate Privilege (See this post by Lupus for an accurate overview of the discussion). I was curious about this term because it had been applied to me in a post that Ivo Dominguez had written about the Literacy of Magic. The person who applied it, Ruadhan McElroy commented on a comment I made about how I felt the Pagan community was divorcing itself from Magic in order to achieve mainstream acceptance. He made the point that such a statement displayed a level of privilege and assumption about magic's place in a given Pagan spiritual practice. Another commenter also pointed this out in a different way and in subsequent comments I came to better understand the perspective of magic as an optional practice because its simply not central to the given spiritual practices of a particular spiritual tradition.  I'll admit that when I think of Paganism, I typically associate magic with Paganism and with anything that might fall under the rather broad umbrella of Paganism (which as I'll discuss later points to a distinct problem). I think that Ruadhan made an accurate point, though at the time it blew my mind that the practice of Magic could be perceived as a form of privilege (mainly because my own experiences in mainstream culture, but in this case Ruadahan is referring to the Pagan subculture, and in that context it makes sense).

The conversation that occurred at Pantheacon helped me further understand this aspect of privilege, and where Ruadhan is coming from. Ruadhan also wrote a post about Wiccanate Privilege and noted the following:

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  • Nova
    Nova says #
    Sorry but I suck at double checking my own post. Since there isn't an edit button... Hmm? So hard to ask? I've honestly had it w
  • Nova
    Nova says #
    I'v honestly had it with the idea of privilege. priv·i·lege ˈpriv(ə)lij/ noun 1. a special right, advantage, or immunity granted
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I have found being a member of a minority-within-a-minority very instructive. I'm a (mostly) middle-class white guy, one who has
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Well said Terence.
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    That's a good point Terence. It can be said that once the word privilege is invoked it sets the tone of the conversation. Sometime

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Devotional Polytheist Meme

While interfaith discussion with neo-pagans is valuable, I'd personally like to see more discussion of our own traditions and religious praxis. So, I came up with a bunch of questions to get the ball rolling. I'm going to answer these over the course of this month via a series of posts here and anyone else who likes them is also free to participate. 

 

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