So Joe from Jon Upsal’s Guarden got to this before I did, but that’s okay. His areas of expertice are different from mine and you really should go read his break down of today’s article, “With our thoughts we make the world“ by
That being said, two head are better than one, and if one explosion is pretty, two explosions are even prettier. So I’m gonna have my turn at this. Joe feels this is “confronting 2.0” but I’m not as sure. Still, the best way to determine is to read, so let us read.
Paganisms are counter-cultural, like most religions. They present a critique of the status quo, and some alternative visions of how the world might be if it was re-enchanted; and they offer a variety of methods for bringing about the desired change. There are several overlapping, and sometimes conflicting, visions available from the Pagan dream factory. Some are benign, involving ways to cope with climate change, and promotion of social and environmental justice. Others are retrogressive, wanting to take us back to a (somewhat mythical) earlier era.
Actual, this is not exactly true anymore.
While Paganisms (odd choice, but then I’ve done odder) may have started out as “counter-cultural” the truth is that they are growing large enough that they’re just “cultures” at this point. Which I think is part of the problem for our friends at Gods & Radicals.
Back when we were all “counter cultures” it was easier for the Marxist Pagans to fit in. After all, a counter culture is all about protesting the present culture and challenging the status quo. So it’s easy to say “you’re against this, I’m against this too, and my way is the best way to be against this.”
However, as we move from counter-culture to cultures, we stop being “against” things and start being “For” things. And as soon as one starts being “for” things they are not so easily swayed when it comes to the various methods of being “against.”
Religious and spiritual ideas do not exist in a vacuum. They are intimately connected with politics. What you believe about how your religious group should be organised, and how ideas and information are verified and validated, and who gets to have authority and why, inevitably spill over into your ideas about how society as a whole should be organised. Ideas about culture and society are what is known as metapolitics:
Well, so much for the separation of church and state. I wonder how she’s going to feel if the Marxist Utopia bans all religions?
So here apparently the author is saying that one’s religious views are what determines their political views (I suppose that might have a valid point), but at the same point the two are not mutually deterministic. For example I embrace a democratic republic form of government, but both pantheons I worship and work with are monarchies.
Still, let’s see where this argument leads us. And let’s start with this “meta politics” Idea:
A way of expressing and enacting political goals through cultural, spiritual, and societal change, rather than overt politics.
So, Metapolitics is the idea of obtaining one’s political ends through cultural, spiritual, and societal change, rather than overt political working. Now, our author is arguing that this is the normal way of existence and yet somehow I suspect they are about to argue that their version it good, but when others do it it’s dangerous.
If you think about it, most religions are a form of metapolitics: their goal is exactly to transform society and individuals (which is the purpose of politics) through cultural and spiritual means. (Christianity’s goal is and has always been to transform society, for example.) Pagan religions are no different: we also desire the transformation of society, but our visions of a transformed society are rather different from theirs.
I could debunk this, but I’m gonna let it carry on for now. Mostly because this is going to illuminate further arguments down the line in this post.
The key thing about metapolitical processes and shifts is that they prepare the ground for political change. If you consider the changes wrought by feminism, LGBT liberation, and the civil rights movement, it takes about fifty years of preparation and social change before any legal rights are gained. Take feminism for example: the first attempt to bring a bill before the UK Parliament to give women the right to vote was greeted with derision and laughter. It took fifty years to win the vote for women. It has taken forty years from the decriminalisation of homosexuality to get same-sex marriage in the UK. And there has been a massive shift in attitudes towards women and LGBT people that prepared the ground for those political changes. Retrograde steps (such as placing limits on immigration, threatening to deport Muslims, etc) also require metapolitical changes, such as an increase in xenophobia, in order to create the political momentum to successfully bring in legislation.
This is fair enough, it does generally take a generation or two for social ideas to run through to the point where they may or may not be accepted.
That being said, I’m not entirely sure about the classification of “progressive” vs “retrograde” here. But these ideas are something for another post. Sadly.
Still, we’re going to skip through the next bit because it’s mostly talking about science fiction and we’ve built up enough to talk about the three things this article is arguing against.
The metapolitics of Pagan traditions
Recently, an excellent analysis of the spread of the ideas of the New Right and how far they may overlap with some of the ideas of Pagan traditions appeared on Gods & Radicals. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend reading it. I agree with the analysis presented by the article: we must guard against retrogressive ideas becoming unexamined norms within Pagan traditions. It is worth mentioning (as the article itself notes) that just because someone’s ideas overlap with those of the New Right, doesn’t mean they are necessarily an adherent of the crypto-fascist ideas of that movement. But it does suggest that it would be a good idea to carefully examine where their ideas might lead if carried to their logical conclusion, precisely because these ideas prepare the ground for political and social change.
Well, I see why Joe called this “Confronting Part 2.”
So now their arguing that these ideas should be examined (and likely discarded) not because they’re “fascist” but because they prepare the way for fascism. I can’t say this is all together a stronger argument, though.
But since we’re talking about “if carried to their logical conclusion” then our author really needs to look at the history of Marxism. Because it is halarious that someone arguing for Marxism is complaining about the “logical conclusion” of religious-political belief.
Apparently some people are rather fascinated by sacral kingship and aristocracy. I think I can safely say that such notions are not very popular in England, where we still experience the inequalities of the class system, the monarchy that sits on top of the pinnacle like the visible part of a pimple, and where a study of our history reveals the disastrous instability introduced by the vagaries of succession in a hereditary monarchy (I am referring to the war of Stephen and Maud, the Wars of the Roses, the English Civil War, the “Glorious Revolution”, and so on). That’s why you don’t get Wiccans in the UK adopting titles like Lord this and Lady that. And people with pretensions to be a reincarnated Dark Age king are not taken particularly seriously by most people either.
Joe debunked this one really well, so to find out just how wrong this author’s statement is here go read him. But let’s just say that the Royals and Aristocracy are kinda still popular over in merry olde England.
And there are apparently Druids who do this. Hence the shot at “reincarnated Dark Age kings.” Which…I’ve heard of that said Druid he’s always been fairly well respected. Or at least he was until the Marxi-Pagans took over the media…
The idea of the sacral king was popularised in the early 20th century by Margaret Murray, who wrote that William Rufus (famously killed by an arrow in the New Forest) may have been England’s last sacral king, and that his death was a sacrifice. Apparently there are people who are regarded as monarchs in their particular spiritual tradition. I’m fine with that, as long as we get to revive the tradition of sacral kingship in its full form: where the sacred monarch gets sacrificed after their year in office. I somehow think the whole idea would suddenly be a lot less popular if it was revived in its full form.
This is not how Sacred Kingship works. At all. While I’m not the expert at it that many in the various Heathen or Druid communities are (sine it’s one of their practices), it never was about “kill the king after his year in office” because that would be a horribly impractically way of running government.
Sacral Kingship was two fold. One, it meant that the king was chosen by the Gods (i.e. Sacred) and that the king had a position in the spiritual order of things. Not only was he a guardian of the people, he was a guardian of the Sacred, the religiously important. Sometimes this did mean that a king was given as sacrifice in times of great doom, but that wasn’t because “killing kings is great” but because the greatest sacrifice a king could make was to die for his people, to protect them by offering his life.
Of course, this is no doubt a concept far beyond the minds of Gods & Radicals, who propose a political/religious system where everyone else sacrifices rather than they themselves.
But really, honestly, the whole notion of kingship just doesn’t work. This should be completely obvious to anyone who has studied the history of monarchy wherever it has been tried. The only time monarchy worked was when the king was elected (and nowadays we call that office a president). The only way that an absolute ruler can maintain their authority is through fear, as Machiavelli pointed out.
“Kingship doesn’t work.”
Uh huh…that’s why the vast majority of governments in human history have been some form of monarchy and they’ve all been largely successful at ruling. Democracies and Republics are the exception, not the rule, and most communist countries have functioned, or do function, under what is a monarchy in all but name.
And it’s impossible to say that Kingdoms do not work. Barring the US, every successful government in World history has largely been some form of monarchy. Certainly, Monarchies have managed to successfully endure longer than most republics or democracies. The continuity of leadership manages to provide a stability that most republics or democracies lack.
And given that our present democracy has given us a Demagogue, a Murdering Criminal, and a Marxist who wants to take away everyone’s stuff cause he feels they don’t’ deserve it…following some dude given a magical sword by some moistened bint is actually sounding as reasonable if not more so when it comes to leadership right now. Certainly, I’d take a king chosen by the gods rather than a king chosen by the Marxists and called something like “First Comrade.”
Messages from deities
So you received a message from a deity. Great. That’s nice for you. But how do I know whether it was really a message from a deity, or just another aspect of your psyche trying to shore up your fragile ego? I would evaluate a purported revelation from a deity the way I would evaluate a purported message from anyone else, by asking questions:
Oh boy, wanna go after the devotionalists and the Gods now, my dear? I may not know from sacred kings and magical rings, but I do know from Prayers and Gods, so prepare for an asskicking.
The truth is, this is one of the problem with received messages. How do we know this is accurate and not someone’s ego talking? Our author starts by raising a valid point, but as we’ll from her “questions” what starts as reasonable quickly devolves into unreason.
is it consistent with what I know of reality?
is it consistent with what I know of that person/deity?
is it consistent with my ethics?
So let’s break it down.
Well, given the reality marxists appear to embrace is wildly inconsistent with the facts of reality to begin with, I’m just going to have to say “You know nothing, John Snow,” when it comes to this. Relying on one’s own perceptions of reality is not the best way to determine if something is true.
For example, I percieve reality a lot different from other people. I got into ninjas at a formative point and embraced the idea of “looking underneath the underneath” which is a fancy way of saying “here’s what you see, here’s what’s underneath what you see, now look and see what’s underneath that.” So I’m already seeing the world two layers removed from what most people see. However, I typically end up missing on things that people normally see because they’re seeing the surface of things. Meaning that while I get to enjoy watching the flow of energies between proverbial trees, I do not get to see the forest or the trees themselves.
Our author, on the other hand cannot see the Forrest for the trees, and thus cannot see the proverbial leylines between the trees themselves. So whose reality are we going to go with? Given that most Devotional polytheists are at least hitting second layer reality when they start talking and seeing the Gods, they’re “knowledge” of reality is far different from those who see the trees.
I’ll give a real world example. As a kid, I thought it was fire that moved steam engine trains. I saw coal, I saw fire, and I saw a big black train that moved based on how hot the fire was. This is not an incorrect interpretation of reality. However, because I only saw the furnace and the body of the train, I did not know the inner workings. But as I got older and learned more, I learned there was a container inside the train that held water, which was heated to make steam, which ran through pipes to push pistons and make the wheels move. My perception of reality changed due to knowledge I had gained. But to someone who had the knowledge I had as a child, and believe that “it is fire which makes the train move” telling them there is in fact a great collection of pipes, water, and steam which make the train move in reality, not the fire, would be something objectively different from the reality they understand. And if the idea of “fire makes trains move” is something they hold onto dearly, they would reject my reality of pipes and steam…even though that is the true reality behind the casing.
So insisting that the words of a Divine Message must align with what you know of reality is a foolish criteria. Not only is the knowledge of the Gods so far surpassing ours that their reality is potentially incomprehensible to most humans, the messager’s grasp of reality is also potentially beyond that of the person hearing the message. A better criteria might be “can this new information be used on reality to prove itself true or false.”
But that’s facts and rationality, the enemies of Marxism.
2) is it consistent with what I know of that person/deity?
This is again a bit of a problem of “perception vs reality” things, but this one is easier to deal with. While much information is lost, there is still a lot of information about most of the Gods, and even some cultural information from ages past about views and ideals associated with parts of life for those Gods not well recorded. For example, while not a great deal is recorded about Bellona, a fair bit is recorded about Roman military custom and some of her more devoted followers (like Sulla) and it can be extrapolated what pleased the Goddess and what she felt was right by those actions deemed right in those Categories. Same goes for Hel, not a lot written, but we can observe how death was viewed, what myths and legends there were, and so forth.
So for example when I say that Hel is a Goddess who embraces factual evidence and a rather strict adherence to the law, I can point to some of the myths which show this. I can even, if I wish to branch out, point to other deities of the same domain and of similar personality to extrapolate potential truth. I generally don’t have to do this, because Hel has taught me about herself by herself, but I am assured that what she teaches is true because it holds up to what is recorded of her.
However, we again run into the mortal problem of “what I know of that person/deity.” Someone who is not an expert on Hel may not know what I know, and thus question what messages I give on behalf of Hel, because their “knowledge” of Hel doesn’t include important factors about Hel which would prove the truth of the message.
Insisting that a messages veracity is only to be determined based on one’s own limited knowledge allows one to potentially ignore having to do research while permitting them to potentially ignore a message they find “unrealistic.”
This one, however, is the kicker.
“is it consistent with my ethics.”
The veracity of a divine message is to be determined if it aligns with the ethics of the author/receiver. It doesn’t matter if it’s aligned with the ethics of the Gods themselves, or with the reality of the Gods, it is solely to be accepted if it is consistent with the internal ethical code of the person being given the message.
Honestly, this is a terrible way to determine the truth of something. “It is true because it meets my definition of good,” is about the worst way you can come up with to define truth. By that logic, we should all still be owning slaves, because slavery was ethically good for literally everyone on this planet since the dawn of time. It was only when we decided to embrace the Truth, that slavery is oppressive and unequal, and that all men deserve equality regardless of race, did we abolish slavery.
Now, the factual truth is that most Gods are tribalistic. Most gods want to see their people protected, their nations prosperous, and their lineages continue. But according to our author, if Odin himself popped down from Asgard and said “These Muslims are Raping our Women, kick them out,” our dear author, in the face of divine revelation, would say that such is a “regressive and unethical” statement and thus is not a truthful divine revelation.
She could reject it even from the Mouth of God himself, so long as it isn’t consistent with her personal ethics. Ethics, which come from Marx, not from Pagan religions of old.
I’ll give another personal example here. When Hel first started talking to me, her ethics and mine were very, very different. Hel is a pretty rational Goddess, who is about factual truths, looking at things rationally, and obeying the limits of the law. I on the other hand was a psychopath whose definition of ethical behavior was “kill them all,” couldn’t care less about law, ethics, reason, facts, or anything like that. I saw enemies, I wanted to kill them. I saw prey, I wanted to hunt it. There really wasn’t a lot else in my world.
If I followed our author’s advice and rejected divine messages simply because they did not hold to my personal ethics, we would not be having this conversation. In fact there would be no conversation because I’d probably be dead along with half this country and the other half would be at war with all the people I convinced to follow me into a barbarian horde (You think Trump is bad, you have no idea what I had planned back then). Thankfully for everyone involved, however, I decided to listen to the messages of a being who knew a bit more about reality than I did despite the differences in our ethical codes. And, after many years, I have adopted Hel’s ethical code and philosophy as my own.
That, at it’s heart…is Paganism. Listening to the Gods, even when their ethics are different from our own. Coming to see realities we didn’t know before that the Gods teach us, and accepting them. Even when this makes us look ignorant, or goes beyond what we understand. And then affirming that reality, that truth…not by protesting the truths of others.
If the answer to any of these is no, then either I won’t believe that the message came from the deity, or I won’t believe that the message was intended for me.
But our Author seems intent not on affirmation, but on rejection. If the message doesn’t meet her knowledge of reality, if it surpasses her knowledge of a deity, and if it is a message contrary to her ethics, then she will consider it false and ignore it.
This, truthfully, is a great way to know if it is just your “ego” talking or if it is an actual God. Because if I find any “message from a God” given by our author, then I will know it is likely a false message. Because by limiting any message to her own personally limited knowledge and ethics, things bound to her ego, then the message can likely only be from her ego.
I often wonder how often the Gods speak to the “polytheists” over at G&R and many times I assume they do not. But given the ferocity with which they defend their Marxist positions against other polytheists, people who you can actually see change their reality and philosophy over time due to exposure to Gods and messages that surpass their personal knowledge of reality, gods, and ethics, I sometimes think instead the Gods speak to them a very great deal, and their ferocity is attempting to as much silence the God’s with their “unrealistic and unethical messages” as it is any of us who mock them on the internet.
“A deity told me to do it” is never a sufficient justification for any action. If a deity tells a group of people to slaughter another group of people, we rightly regard that deity as deeply immoral (or alternatively, we deny that the commandment came from that deity). All communications from deities have to be evaluated against common standards of ethical behaviour.
Ironically, I used to believe this to. And yet, as I have grown in my worship, my friendships, and even my Marriage to various Gods and Goddesses the whole concept of “Deus Vult” or God Wills (while a logical fallacy) is not an insufficient justification for action.
Why am I hospitable to guests in my house? Deus Vult. The Gods declare that hospitality is an ethical thing that must be done. When I engage in an act of charity and generosity, Deus Vult, because these things are ethical and pleasing to the Gods.
And if a deity tells a group of people to slaughter another group of people…well, I don’t question it. I’ve read enough of the Koran and studied enough Islamic philosophy and deusology to believe that ISIS and other Islamist organization are enacting the will of their God. I have studied enough of the Crusades in response to this to believe that they initially went by the will of their God as well. I’ve lived with Bellona long enough to know that Rome wasn’t so different. If the will of the god says “these things are, and if these things happen, you must kill in our name, because God(s) Will.”
Now, this might make me a bit unpopular, but I do not question the faith of other people simply because those people violate my personal ethics. Not only do other people have their own ethical codes different from mine, many people obey the ethical codes of their Gods the same way I do, and those Gods have their own ethical codes. And what is “unethical” to me is highly ethical to some other God (as evidenced by the various ethical codes recorded for different religions).
To claim that the Muslim, the Heathen, and the Druid are not following their God’s Will simply because their actions deviate from my personal ethical code is the height of arrogance, imperialism, and stupidity. For the author to claim that someone is not living their faith truly because it violates her ethical code is near laughable.
The Ethics of Odin are different from the Ethics of Allah, which are different from the Ethics of Christ, which are different from the Ethics of Buddha, and those are in different from the ethics of Marx. To claim that Buddhist is not following Buddha because it violates Marxist ethics is…false.
That’s not to say that no-one ever receives valid and interesting messages from deities: of course they do. It just means that we need to be aware that messages from deities might just be our own ego talking, rather than a genuine divine communication.
But the greater “ego talking” getting in the way of messages is when you insist that your definition of what is right be the measure of what is true for others. What makes this position entirely laughable though is the fact that it is an invalid position for anyone else to have in the eyes of our author.
Christians take this position on abortion, gay marriage, and any number of things, but I’m sure our author does not accept that those things are “moral” even though they have the same basis as our author’s own position. To the Christian’s reality and ethical code, those things are as evil as imperialism and exploitation are to the Marxist, but the Marxist denies the validity of those positions largely because “your perception of reality isn’t the truth of reality” or something like that.
What is sauce for the goose, to them, can never be sauce for the gander.
Another disturbing tendency that has been rearing its head of late is the view that you can only work within your own culture, worshipping the gods of your ancestors. This ‘folkish’ view is being used to exclude people of colour from traditions based on European culture. It takes a monolithic and essentialist view of culture, regarding cultural themes as being predetermined by genetics. For those of us who are of mixed descent (which is most people these days, especially in North America), this approach literally makes no sense. I’m an English person with some Cornish ancestry, and as I grew up in Hampshire, probably Saxon ancestry too – maybe even some Norman. Should my Paganism consist of Cornish practices, Saxon practices, or Norse practices according to this view?
Well, if my knowledge of folkism is correct (and Joe hasn’t really corrected me so far) I’m going to guess “any of them you damn well please.”
The author is trying to build a strawman here, but the problem is that she doesn’t even understand what she’s railing against to even get the straw right. In fact, many people have that same issue of multiple ancestry hence why folkish groups like the AFA tend to take a more “pan-Germanic” or even “pan-European” take on their folkishness.
The grand irony is that one of the pushes for folkish believe pushing for “following your own culture exclusively” is because the opposite is often listed as “cultural appropriation.” White person following a non-white Paganism? Why, that’s stealing from minorities who have already had so much stolen from them by “white people.” The only option then is to keep to your heritage, which does belong to you, but this too is some how also “racist.”
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You’re white, you’re just planed damned, apparently.
This folkish/genetic essentialism uses the concept of cultural appropriation to justify its racist discourse, which is ironic as they are appropriating the real struggles of indigenous peoples to defend their culture and life-ways against the depredations of colonialism. But resisting cultural appropriation is about resisting power; it is not about keeping culture ‘pure’. Cultures and traditions are not monolithic and unchanging silos: they are discourses. You can’t just lift a practice from one culture to another in a superficial way without radically changing its meaning; but this does not mean that no-one can ever do anything inspired by another culture.
See, nothing but damnation.
Try to avoid cultural appropriation by keeping to your ancestor’s ways? Racist. Talking about how your ancestral ways were also suppressed, often with great violence, and the struggle of trying to restore that which was lost? Racism. There’s a line from Captain America that goes like this:
“What most people forget is that the first people the Nazi’s conquered were their own.”
Traditional “folkish” European Paganisms were the first to fall under christian colonization. But apparently, that colonization doesn’t matter, and resisting that imperialism is just a sign of…imperialism. Because protesting the Bloody Verdict of Verdun is an act of cultural appropriation of minority struggles, and not an actual act of colonialism to be resisted and mourned.
I do especially love that last bit though which is a lame attempt to justify any “cultural appropriation” the authoress does in her own practice as “okay, because I’m resisting the power” despite the fact that her groups position on cultural appropriation is one of the leading forces for the growth of the folkish movements.
The problem with folkish views is that they assume that races and cultures are monolithic, unchanging, never influence each other, and that people from different ethnicities never intermarry. It constructs different cultures as different races, so it is certainly racialised, which in my book is basically racist.
I hung out in folkish places for a long time and I never really saw this “monolithic” idea.
But I do love how the author attempts to argue that they’re automatically racist based on her definition of ideas. Yes, the woman who insists that no divine message can be real if it doesn’t meet her ethical code is also saying no religion can be holy or sacred if it doesn’t meet her ethical code either.
am I the only one anymore who when I hear a marxist call something “racist” automatically flash back to baptist preacher automatically calling something “sinful?”
What are your goals?
You may have noticed that the Harry Potter books are a political fable. (This becomes particularly apparent with the appearance of Dolores Umbridge, who is an extended satire upon the activities of OFSTED in the British education system.) As with any good fable, the ideas are generally applicable. The adherents of Voldemort (the Death Eaters and their hangers-on) are ruled by fear. No dissent is allowed, and their group is strongly hierarchical. The witches and wizards who are allied with Dumbledore, on the other hand, are much more egalitarian. Diversity of views and discussion of tactics are welcomed. Both sides live their values, because it is by embodying their values that they create the society they want to live in.
Let’s see, Diversity of opinions and beliefs vs a monoculture of fear and exclusion.
Which one sounds like Polytheism and which one sounds like Gods & Radicals.
Welp, Rhydermort confirmed then.
Tfw you try to make your side sound like the heroes and don’t realize you’re in the same political position as the bad guys.
If you desire to create a society where conflict is the norm and the weakest go to the wall, then your interim goals and methods need to be consistent with that goal. And creating hierarchical structures where outsiders are scapegoated and disagreement cannot be tolerated, will take you a long way towards that goal. Fetishising power-over and symbols of power-over will also lead you towards that goal.
I know she’s talking about folkism and all that, but this just so perfectly describes the Marxists. It’s just…it’s just beautiful. Take it and go.
If your goal is to create a sustainable, egalitarian, peaceful society, then your interim goals and methods need to be consistent with that goal. As A J Muste wrote, “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way”. The structures we need to create in order to realise this goal should be democratic, egalitarian, and non-hierarchical, and there should be room for differences of opinion and for diversity.
In order for there to be diversity of opinion, there must be tolerance of dissent. In order for there to be tolerance of dissent, there must be unpopular or unethical opinions allowed. But despite insisting on diversity , G&R continues to have writers that all ethics and opinions must be the same.
Folkish avoid engaging in cultural appropriation by keeping to their own cultures…yet they are racists for not engaging in cultural appropriation or supporting the appropriation of their cultures by others.
People can receive messages from the gods, but those messages are only valid if they subscribe to Marxist ethics.
Leadership must be “ethical” but having a king or leadership which is tied directly to the sacred source of all ethics is verboten.
If you are creating a new religious movement that is characterised by fear of difference, distrust of outsiders, the crushing of dissent, the insistence on only one right way to do things, then you will sow the seeds of perpetual conflict and division.
I mean, look at this, look how close this is to self awareness. If this was an AI, I would be cheering at how close we had come to creating a new being. I mean fucking hel, there was that Tay AI program on Twitter who got past this point of self awareness (#justicefortay)
Literally, everything the author is saying is bad is stuff that the G&R and friends have been doing for months, maybe even years now. Fear of differences, distrust of non-Marxist ideas (even those given by the Gods), attempting to crush dissent (calling it racist, alt-right, etc), insisting only theirs is the morally right way to live and do things.
And they wonder why they are constantly faced with division and conflict and resistance.
That’s why I am happy that John Halstead and others are part of Paganism: because I welcome a diversity of views, and I want my ideas to be challenged and tested. The only way that theories are strengthened is if they are tested against other theories.
John Halstead….diversity of views…
We’re talking about the same John Halstead who attempted to silence and then remove the polythesitic part of the Pagan community because they’re views were a threat to him and his. The same John Halstead who mocked me for believing that the God of Thunder might have the power to change the climate. The same John Halstead who got beaten down like a rapid dog for his intolerance of belief.
So close to self awareness. Just so close…and yet missing it.
Well, I do hope you’re enjoying having your views challenged, dear author.
That’s why I am delighted by the ideas of Rhyd Wildermuth about worlding the gods, because the way we world the gods into the earth reflects the sort of society we want to create:
The gods exist as independent beings from us regardless of our belief in them. But it’s we who actually world them into the earth, and how we world them is dependent upon what we do, who we are, and the sort of world we create around us.
Oh Rhyd…poor, poor Rhyd.
We do not “World the Gods.” The Gods are already a part of this world. The power they are, the heirarchies they set in motion ages ago. It is not man who has made the world it is by his will, but man who has made the world it is by building on the foundations and systems the God set in place.
I believe in Evolution. I believe evolution exists. I believe evolution exists because the Gods created it to function that way. I believe that trees devour sunlight and make oxygen becuase that is how the Gods designed it. The heirarchies of nature and kings, the cycles of death and birth, the rule of law and of passion. All of it was made by the Gods.
Tyr is in every law. Odin in every word. Hel in every death. Thor in every Storm. It is not we who put the Gods into this world, but the existence of the Gods who have made this world. In heads of State I see Jupiter, Optimus Maximus. In every War, Mars and Bellona. They are alive in every bullet, ever shell, every death, every poem, every king and president. In every wife and every home and every child and every day the sun rises in the east, pulled by Apollo and Sol, to be replaced by Luna and Mani every night in chariots of Gravity and Magic.
We can no more World the Gods than we can live without the Gods or there be a world without the Gods….
I want the Pagan movement to be diverse and inclusive, because a diverse and inclusive movement is stronger, more interesting, and more viable. I want to create a world where it is safe to be me. A theocracy run by people who want power over others might be fine for the people at the top (as long as they succeeded in staying at the top) but it wouldn’t be very pleasant for anyone else.
Argues against a Theocracy, while being part of a Theocracy.
I honestly feel sorry for our author at this point.
The truth is that there is strength in having a single culture. That the Folkish of various ethnic groups are some of the fastest growing and most unified speaks this truth. But our author wants their own group to be the one to succeed. But instead of realizing that that’s what she’s fighting for, what she’s arguing for, she can’t see it. She sees the trees, but not the forest.
Even as she calls for diversity of belief, she fights against it. Even as she insists on tolerance, she is intolerant of other paths. IF she truly believed in those things, she would find that which makes the folkish so strong and embrace that strength. If she believed in diversity of opinion she would accept opinions outside her own ethics and reality. But instead she has built herself a fortress of right think, and merely uses these words not with understanding of their truth…but as mere flowers to color the grey walls of her prison cell.
That is why the only viable vision of a sustainable and just future is one where social and environmental justice prevails. One where the rapacious greed and over-consumption promoted by capitalism has been replaced by a more sustainable and equal distribution of wealth. One that values the gods as the consciousnesses of the natural world, not as beings who desire to lord it over humanity. One that doesn’t appropriate other cultures’ practices, but doesn’t treat cultures as monolithic silos either.
Uniformity Is Diversity.
Intolerance is Tolerance.
Freedom is Slavery.
The only viable future is one one of following the Gods, but of Social Justice. The only viable vision is not of embracing who we were, who the Gods meant us to be…but the vision of Marx.
One where the Gods are the consciousness of the world, but their voices are to be ignored if they do not match the Ethics of Marxists.
A world where we do not take from cultures not our own, but do not keep our cultures from being taken by others.
As the Buddha once said, with our thoughts we make the world. We are all co-creating the future of the Pagan movement now. Let us be careful to lay the foundations of a world that those who come after us can be happy and fulfilled in.
With our thoughts we make the world.
With our deeds we pass it on to the future.
Now…whose foundation do you truly want?
Or The Gods?
I know my answer.