I was eclectic Pagan at one time. Ritual for me was a pain in the gluteus maximus, and I didn’t consider it my responsibility to understand the mechanics because I gave two shits about Circle Casting. Generic Pagan formulas were the way to go, and we tried to keep everyone happy and comfortable.
Except, I think we managed to piss off some Gods and spirits along the way with our ignorance.
In Polytheism, ritual isn’t about the people. It’s not about chanting and raising a cone of energy over a cauldron while you ask your Deities to give you your every wish. Fuck no. Ritual is about responsibility and duty. It’s about becoming part of a cycle of exchange between your Gods, your spirits, and your mortal community. It’s about keeping your obligations fulfilled, and understanding what each God and Goddess wants that is unique to Their tastes and likes. More than that, it’s about hearing Their Voices, and going through the bloody mess that is redoing an entire ritual if They weren’t happy to begin with. If it means chanting for hours or days, depriving yourself of food and enduring extreme blood, sweat and tears to call upon the Gods, then so fucking be it!
My Temple, the Temple of Hekate: Ordo Sacra Strix, is a Temple that blends aspects of the Western Mysteries and Classical Hellenic Polytheism. As a Polytheist Temple in a Pagan-majority area, we are struggling to find cohesion with our Pagan community when it comes to the finer aspects of ritual. There’s a planned Pagan Pride Day approaching in our area, and it seems that most of the folks are comfortable with catering to the assumed stereotypes of the masses as to what constitutes a “Pagan Ritual.” But I have disagreed vehemently. I feel that Pagan Pride is about our Community, and fuck everyone else. I mean, as a good friend of mine brought up, you don’t see Gay Pride events watered down to appease the right-wing hetero masses. Hell nah! You get asses in your face, skimpy underwear, colorful banners, drags, and the entire Dionysian Mardi Gras thrown in yo’ face! That’s right mother fuckers: you get PRIDE!!!!
And that’s exactly my problem. Originally, I wanted to volunteer my Temple to do the main ritual event in our style. My idea was to allow the people hosting the Opening Rite do it their Welsh Wiccan style, and then the main event could be done Strix Hellenic Polytheist style. Why? Because we are NOT the same! My motto is:
Unification in Diversity!
But instead, we are being told it would be “too confusing” for non-Pagans. A “general Pagan format” should be better. Why? WHY THE FUCK WHY?!?! In Polytheism, ritual is NOT ABOUT YOU! It’s about the Gods I love and serve, and I refuse to enter into a space where my Gods and the Spirits of the land are disrespected in the name of conformity. This is the problem, and why Polytheists in the Recon/Revivalist Camps are struggling to find anything similar with their Pagan kin. I understand, and I am just as frustrated as any of them. I want to be proud to be Pagan. I want to be proud to stand with them and educate everyone – Pagans and non-Pagans alike – as to what it means to be one of us. Paganism, like Hinduism, is filled with different solitary devotees, sects, Temples, organizations and cults. And while a generic format may have worked back in the 70s, 80s and 90s, this is the 21st century. We are entering a new world where diversity is who we are. We are different, but we CAN stand TOGETHER to show the world PRIDE!
Yes, we can!
Eirene kai Hugieia!
(Peace and Health!)