Polytheism simply means “Many Gods.” The term encompasses the belief and worship of many Gods and spirits, something which was quite common with our ancestors (and with many contemporary indigenous societies). But this belief implies much more than the simple matter of how we view the Divine, because belief is something that is rooted with our emotional center. It is anchored in the central nervous system, thus dictating how we view and interact with the world around us. Polytheism is plurality: the way we appreciate the diversity of color, race, ethnicity, philosophy, and the Gods. People these days try to say “I see no color,” hoping such rhetoric will make them as non-racist as possible. But by not seeing color, we are robbing people of who they are and trying to create a comfortable umbrella – a facade – of what they are not. we are attempting to pigeonhole all of us into a monochrome vision that overlooks our uniqueness, our worth as an individual, and what we mean to the world around us.
Polytheism is a return to seeing the color and luster of each person, and creating a paradigm whereby they are seen for WHO they are, and WHAT they are. We may have things in common, but we are who we are without allowing those similarities overshadowing that our DNA has worked in making sure that no two humans are completely alike. Even twins have some differences, however subtle.
The Gods, in our approach, are beautiful. They are awesome, and They are terrifying. They are beyond our comprehension, and yet even in Their sphere They are limited. I understand that my Gods are NOT omnipotent, NOT omniscient, NOT omnibenevolent, and NOT omnipresent. I also understand that my Gods are NOT the same, but unique and different. How dare I rob Them of who They are?
Hekate is NOT Diana.
Apollo is NOT Lugh.
Epona is NOT Rhiannon.
Cerridwen is NOT Ishtar.
Aphrodite is NOT Inanna.
Zeus is NOT Thor.
Poseidon is NOT Manannan Mac Lir.
But what They are is for each person to experience themselves. And herein is where my approach to ritual is quite different from other peoples.
Ritual is Love
When I was eclectic, ritual was a pain in the gluteus maximus. I had no idea what I was doing or why. Sure, some books tried to tell me about the intricacies of circle casting, calling the quarters, and invoking Deity. Some more “advanced” books tried telling me about the Occult energies that streamed through and why the circle was cast the way it did. But no one told me WHY we did ritual. What was the purpose? “Walk Between the Worlds?” What the fuck did that mean? I’m sure it has merit for someone somewhere to do ritual mechanically like that, and to make sure the altars have every correspondence that you need so we know what Sabbat we’re celebrating and why. Such is what I all the “Neo-Wiccan” approach to ritual, or even “eclectic Pagan.” Although, to be fair, I think everyone is eclectic in some form.
But as I have personally grown and changed in my faith, I have become a polytheist: a believer in the Gods of my own Temple, and those of others. While I might not necessarily serve cultus to other Gods, I have my own that I have fallen in love with (even if They don’t love me back, which I’ll explain in a later blog post). So my rituals are my love letter to my Gods.
Yes, my love letter. Every symbol in the center of my Temple is meant to convey a reminder of Who THEY are, and what I can offer to Them in return for Their awesomeness. I have no shame in my love letters: the perfume of my incense rising, the burning of the offerings which I have painstakingly taken time to create, the ikon on our shrines being just a flirtatious image of the unparalleled beauty which They behold, but can somehow tease something from me: a point of connection between the two of us.
My Gods are alive, They are real, and They are more than I can ever say. In my desperation to feel a glimpse of Their daimon, I will often starve, deprive myself, cry, bleed, sweat, and cry guttural tones of ekstasis. I want to go back to the Time of my Sacred Ancestors, and dance for Them. I want my joy to overflow like intoxicating wine, and I want Them to be pleased with what I have before me for Their unrivaled Glory. The auguries and oracular possessions are Their mercies poured out so I can but taste Their whispers in my ear.
In my love letters, I ain’t stirring, summoning and calling up shit. I am asking, offering, asking, flattering, offering and worshiping. I worship because They are worthy of worship. I have no issue groveling on the ground before Them, because They are mightier than I. They have rulership over spheres I can scarcely imagine. They are my passion and my yearning.
Eirene kai Hugieia!
(Peace and Health!)