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The morning sun rising in the east calls to the Bright Youth in me, and the Bright Youth responds. The full moon calls to the Muse, and the waning and dark moon to the Dark Maiden who is a part of me. The earth I touch with my fingers calls to the Mother, in both her guises, Nurturing and Devouring. The bright green shoots rising from the earth and the green leaves on the trees on my street in the spring, these call to the Stag King, while the red leaves fallen to the earth in the autumn call to the Dying God. The spring storm that rises up suddenly in the west calls to the Storm King. The night sky, the dark space between the stars, calls to Mother Night, my death come to make peace. The gods-without call and the gods-within respond.

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A Conversation Between an Archetypalist and a Hard Polytheist, Part 3

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Over at the blog Son of Hel, Lucius Svartwulf Helsen has written a 3-part response to my post, "The Disenchantment of Hard Polytheism".  Helsen's series is entitled "Let's Disenchant the World".  Here I will respond to Part 3 of Helsen's series.

We'll just skip over the stupid memes and the monkey poo flinging and get the substance of a Helsen's post.  He implies that I am exceptional in in that I need to be "forced to care" about something that I don't feel a connection to.  But I think this is the nature of modern humanity.  Genocide, war, rape, racism, sexism, environmental desecration, etc. etc. -- all of these are evidence that we human beings need to be forced to treat others well, unless we first feel a connection to them.  (In fact, the sheer nastiness of Helsen's post is also evidence of this.)

Helsen refers to what he calls "spiritual capitalism" and says he might write more about this later.  I hope he does, because I don't know what it is, but it doesn't sound good.  He next takes issue with the idea that we should sometimes place the needs of our neighbors (human and other) before our own.  Conflict, he says, has to do with "limited resources."  This is an interesting statement, because the "other-than-human neighbor" I was referring to is the very "resource" that Helsen is talking about.  It's not a failure to get along with neighbors that is the problem, as much as it is the failure to even recognize who our neighbors are, to recognize that they are not just "resources" for us to use.

Next, Helsen says that the river spirit can take care of itself.  I don't know about the river spirit, but I'm pretty sure the river cannot take care of itself.  The biosphere as a whole can take care of itself.  The earth will survive whatever we do to it (although we will not).  But in the meantime, we are altering the shape of the landscape -- including rivers -- beyond recognition.  We are destroying biodiversity at the rate of about five species a day.  It does not look to me like they can take care of themselves in the face of the human onslaught.

Again and again, Helsen makes references to his fear of collectivism, referring to the "hive mind" and the "Borg" that I supposedly represent.  This is probably tied up in some way with his commitment to capitalism.  Ultimately, this appears to be just another example of what I have called "ego-Paganism", the central tenet of which is "I am a special little snowflake and how dare you try to infringe on my special snow flakiness."  I have to say, I was hoping for more substance from Helsen's response.  The series started out promising, but degenerated into vitriolic rhetoric and poorly executed analogies.  I hope to see more substance from Helsen's post on capitalism.

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John Halstead also writes at (Patheos),,,,, and The Huffington Post. He was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment” (, and the editor of the anthology, Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Pagans. John is also a Shaper of the fledgling Earthseed community ( To speak with John, contact him on Facebook.


  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener Monday, 07 September 2015

    "the stupid memes and the mud slinging"
    "the sheer nastiness of Helsen's post"
    ""I am a special little snowflake and how dare you try to infringe on my special snow flakiness.""

    So your response to his perceived mud-slinging is to... hurl insults. Wonderful.

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