Contemplation: My Polytheism

I’ve been struggling to figure out what the subject of my first contemplation should be. I think to start off with I’d like to address the nature of my polytheism. As a core part of my belief system, it separates my from my Christian neighbors and, in some regards, makes it distinct from other Pagan faiths. I’ve always had a hard time explaining it to others. Of course, I think this has more to do with my fear of being seen as ‘insane’ than it does with my lack of words.

So, here goes.

The first thing that I feel my readers need to understand is that I do have interaction with the beings I talk about. While the specific ways in which we communicate may vary, I do feel, hear and see them. The meaning of this is literal, not figurative.

When I profess this, I always find it interesting that many Christians, especially those that claim to have a ‘personal’ relationship with Christ, look at me cockeyed. I mean, really guys, if you’ve never really interacted with Christ outside of reading about him, if you’ve never discussed anything with him, then how can you call that a ‘personal’ relationship? If that’s what it takes to have a personal relationship, then Sandra Bullock and I have a personal relationship because I’ve read what the tabloids say about her. (Not that I would complain. She is rather cute.)

This sort of interaction means that I’m not prone to try to understand a deity solely based on scripture, myths, legends, etc. which mention them. Sure, there are times when this comes in handy, especially when you want to understand the type of personality that just walked in, but it is by no means fool proof. As Athena told me during our first meeting, “Don’t believe everything you read.” I’ve come to realize the benefit of keeping an open mind and letting my understandings of a god’s personality grow through experience.

I don’t consider myself Neo-Pagan for this very reason. I don’t see the need to try and recreate the historic religious practices surrounding a specific deity. In many cases, I’m sure that this endeavor would be interesting and worthwhile academically but I’m well aware that I’m ill equipped for the task. To the point, if I have a deity right here to discuss such matters, I’m pretty sure she’ll guide me.

Since I have relationships with specific deities, I see them as distinct entities. This causes me to take issue with some of my Pagan brethren who wish to put all goddesses and/or gods under some sort of Ultimate Goddess/God. To me this makes about as much sense as claiming that all Matts contribute to some Ultimate Matt and that to know one means to know us all. Not to mention, I wouldn’t want to be in the same room as someone who has decided that Athena is the same as Hera.

I don’t mean to berate this point. I can totally understand that if one saw the gods as symbolic of ultimate forms, be the forms feminine, masculine, etc, than it would make sense to categories them along such lines. I see no harm in one trying to emulate a specific philosophical ideal and building one’s life around that goal. However, given the context of my experience, this simply isn’t an option.

For me, acknowledging the existence of a god or goddess does not mean that one needs to worship or honor them. I’ve found that my relationships with deities can be just as varied as those between people. Sometimes one comes into your life just to say ‘hi’, to point out something you’ve missed, to beat the crap outta you for no good reason (not all are benevolent) or to become a lifelong friend. There are more ways to interact with the divine than the ‘Master-Slave’ type so poplar these days. (And, while I say this with Christianity in mind, I know that this causes Yahweh to grieve. I bear him no ill will. I humbly submit that this type is not a necessity for him.)

If my interactions have taught me anything, it’s that I should never claim to know whether a deity exists without first having an interaction with the one in question. Seriously, I have made the claim before and had the deity show up just to show my ignorance. As such, I see myself as agnostic in regards to the existence of others.

Yep, this has a tendency to make my religious perspective a little broken up. One would think that it would make sense to say that if Athena exists then, by extension Zeus must also. I can understand that perspective but, I’d rather remain agnostic than make a claim I’d later regret. I have no clear understanding of what has gone on behind the veil of time or beyond my experience. I’ve learned never to claim to know whether a deity exists without first having an interaction with the one in question. Seriously, I have made the claim before and had the deity show up just to show my ignorance. As such, I see myself as agnostic in regards to the existence of others.

Wow… That’s quite the jumble of stuff up there. I’ll let it be for now. Those of you with eyestrain may thank me later.

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One Response to “Contemplation: My Polytheism”

  1. like_a_god Says:

    Just a quick note: Post edited for grammatical errors.. 😛 August 18th, 2010

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