So Halstead wants to fight. To win this fight he has quoted “rapists,” “transphobes,” and at least one war criminal. He has violated the definitions in the dictionary of what Pagans, Atheists, and Polytheists are in part 1, and in part two he’s going to try an argue that Polytheists are not Pagans and in fact are responsible for everything bad. Also, I think we killed his dog, or something.
Let us Laugh
Non-Pagan Capital-P Polytheists
On the other hand, we have the issue of the relationship of Paganism and capital-P Polytheism. At the same time that there are polytheistic Pagans who are attempting to exclude non-polytheists from the Pagan community, there are also Polytheists who want to separate themselves from the Pagan community. In effect, they want to create a Polytheist movement apart from the rest of Paganism. PSVL compares the separatist Polytheist movement to a divorce. I think it’s an apt comparison. For some, it is an amicable separation, for others a litigious battle. But in any case, the two groups have to work out the new boundaries of their relationship. Why? Because we have a shared vocabulary and a shared constituency. Think of it as marital property and children. And like any divorcing couple, we need to work out these issues.
If you want to see the dictionary definitions, they’re in part 1, but I can’t help but laugh as he tries to claim that Polytheists are not Pagans, after just trying to get “small p” polytheists in paganism to admit that Atheists could be. Halstead it seems, is getting desperate and forgetting what he just wrote.
I have not heard of Polytheists wanting to leave the Pagan “Tent.” I have heard of them starting a movement inside Paganism to bring greater focus to the gods, and to define themselves from people like Halstead who only do rituals and use symbols to get an emotional high. If I am wrong about this, I ask that some polytheists please provide me with the information, because frankly Halstead has no credibility.
But okay, let’s see how daddy is the one in the wrong here.
First, there is a dispute over “marital property” — the gods. There are those within the emerging Polytheist movement who want to appropriate to themselves the whole meaning of the words “gods,” “deities,” and “polytheism.” They want “sole custody” of the gods, so to speak. The recent argument over my so-called “appropriation” of the images of the gods in the header for this blog (here and here) is just the most recent example of this presumption.
I love how the Gods are marital property. Fuck you people, on both sides. No one owns the Gods. No Halstead and his “Atheists” although why they would want the Gods they do not believe in, I have no idea. Perhaps in this metaphor, Halstead’s side is the vindictive wife who wants everything she can get from her Husband who built up the whole of this Pagan business.
Actually, I think that’s exactly how it is. Polytheism and Paganism have always been one and the same. Polytheistic Paganism. Then, in comes along all these “atheist” Pagans who find comfort and safety and support with Paganism. And we let them in because it was nice to have the company and most of them seemed pretty sweet. The two join together, because why not, we’re all non-Abrahamists. Then, after she’s had her wants and needs fulfilled, and is asked to give back to Paganism, she starts screaming, talking about how she has a right to all this stuff, and that Polytheism is just a big abusive brute making demands of her that are unfair, after all she’s done for him, because he wants her to respect the Gods the way he does. So, Polytheism, deciding that living with a horrible bitch isn’t worth it, decides to just kick out Atheist, but now she’s got his last name, is claiming to own 2/3 of the tent, has rights to all the property, and that it is Polytheism that should leave the Pagan home because, fuck him and his patriarchal misogyny of putting Duty to Gods before Her Emotional Needs. I mean sure, Polytheism spent a lifetime building all this stuff, but damn it they were married for a few years and that entitles her to practically everything because she had to put up with his religious shit.
Wow…that actually explained so much right there.
Second, there is a dispute over custody of the “children” — our shared constituencies. Of course, in this case, the “children” are adults and can make up their own minds. But that does not keep one side or the other from trying to claiming them. For example, I frequently hear those in the separatist Polytheist movement presume to speak for all polytheists (PSVL has done this). But the fact is that there are polytheists who still want to be a part of the Pagan community. And there are polytheist Pagans who do not want to be a part of the separatist Polytheist movement. And I’m not even talking about “archetypal polytheists” (to borrow W.D. Wilkerson’s term from Walking With the Gods) here. I’m talking about polytheists who believe in deities as individual, distinct beings existing outside of the human mind. Not all polytheists want to secede from Paganism. Some of them want the freedom to hang with both groups. So the hope of ever having any clear line of demarcation between the Pagan and Polytheist communities is just wishful thinking. Like it or not, Pagans and Polytheists are going to have to continue to deal with each other.
No, not all Polytheists want to “leave Paganism.” That’s because Paganism has always been polytheistic and why should we have to give up our home simply because “Mommy Atheist” is being a bitch wanting to kick out Daddy Polytheism from his own House!?
And like far too many Mothers in a divorce, Halstead is carefully hinting that anyone who doesn’t agree with him is a terrible person and a bad child, for wanting to follow in their Daddy’s footsteps as Polytheists. Oh sure, you can be a polytheist, but be a little-p polytheist who respects and obeys mommy Atheist Pagan, and don’t you dare stand up for your daddy’s rights or say he’s a good person who knows what he’s talking about, you little shit. Now agree or I throw you on the street with your father.
My wife is a marriage and family therapist, and she frequently encounters divorcing couples who believe that they will never have to talk to each other after the divorce is finalized, despite the fact they have children together. The fact is, whether they like it or not, they will likely have to settle for a shared custody arrangement, and they will have to learn how to co-parent their children. They will continue still see each other during visitations and at birthdays, family reunions, weddings, funerals, and so on. Not talking to each other is not an option.
You’re right, we can’t ignore this. Fuck it, Crusade. Let’s just Crusade, and whoever is still live gets to win. Because trust me, killing each other is going to be a hell of a lot more pleasant than this divorce. Because Polythiesm will always remember how we were “kicked out” of Paganism because we put the Gods first, and Atheists will always feel they were justified because they had “Emotional needs” to all this Pagan shit.
And the same goes for Pagans and Polytheists. There will never be a clean separation between us. There will always be people who move back and forth between the two communities, like children of a joint custody arrangement. And we will continue to use much of the same vocabulary, albeit using many of the same words to mean different things. We will continue to bump up against each other in online and IRL forums.
Gods damn it, I hate reading this. There is no split between Paganism and Polytheism. Paganism is by definition Polytheism. Halstead wants to claim you can be an Atheist Pagan, but that’s like claiming to be a vegetarian lion. Could it happen? Yes. Is it against every fundamental natural order in the world? Also yes.
Hel, for the first real time I am understanding why so many of my fellow Pagans hate Halstead. Gods, reading this article of his is making me want to go all “kill the non-believers” because frankly, he’s drawing a line in the stone and saying “we can’t simply co-exist and not make a big deal about it, we gotta fight it out till I win!”
And he will never “win.”
So silence is not an option in this case either. We need more conversation, not less.
That being said, we can learn to speak to and about each other more respectfully — for our own sake and for the sake of “the kids.” I just returned from the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Gathered in one place were Catholics and Protestants, Buddhists and Jains, Muslims and Sikhs, Hindus and Pagans, members of various indigenous faiths and others. You might think that all the talk at the Parliament was about what we have in common. While there was plenty of talk about oneness and harmony, there was an equal amount talk about our diversity and our uniqueness. For five days members of these diverse religions not only co-existed, but created community together. They did this, not by ignoring each other, not by being silent, but by continuing the conversation. They sought first to understand before they sought to be understood. They asked questions. They were genuinely curious. They spoke with the goal, not of ending the conversation, but continuing it. And we must do the same.
Good, you can start Halstead by no longer insisting that Polytheists are not Pagans. You can abide by the Definition in the Dictionary which shows Paganism is Polytheistic religion and that we Polytheists are in fact Honestly Pagan. I will consider that the bare minimum of respect. No more of this Pagans vs Polytheists bullshit. No more dividing us out until we obey you, Mommy Halstead.
You admit exactly what this is. Atheists Vs Theists. No God against Every God. Pagan vs Pagan.
You don’t get to claim the title of Pagan, you don’t even get to claim the title of Humanist, because I responded to other humanists and the only ones who stood up were Theists. So this can take place inside the “Big Tent of Paganism” but you don’t get to own shit except being an atheist. Because being an Atheist is the only honest claim you have made and the only definition you haven’t violated.
And in turn, I will respect you when you actually do something worth respecting, like not warping words, “othering” polytheists, and so forth.
Because otherwise, if you keep this up, this discussion will become a war, and I got no problems spanking you repeatedly. I’m from the Germanics and the Romans. We made war our bitch.
So now seems a good time to announce that we are testing the World Table comment system here on this blog. It’s easy to use. If you already have a Facebook, Google, or Twitter account, you’re ready to go. The goal of the system is to encourage accountability in commenting. This will largely eliminate anonymous trolls and remind the rest of us that online conversations are not exempt from the rules of etiquette. So try it out below, and let me know whether you like it or not, and why.
Ohhohohooh. “Accountability in commenting” huh? Frankly, that just sounds like an easier way for you to get the info of people you don’t like and harra– I mean educate them.
But you know what, fuck it. I’m right here, Halstead. No anonymity for this “troll!” I stand before you, open and honest. I have shown thy words to the world and am likely to continue to do so. Because I warned you what would happen if you kept on this path of trying to kick out Polytheists, to denigrate and demean us. You refused the truce and you doubled down, so here comes the drums.