Polytheism and You… A common guide on what it actually represents.

“I HATE Christianity! I hate everything about it! I hate how I was baptized/confirmed against my will! That it was conversion of my ancestors by the sword! I hate that it killed my ancestral ways and trapped my Gods under black cloths of secrecy and threatened my ancestors with Death to worship what is Ours by Riiiiiiight!   RAAAAWR! THONGAR ANGRY!!!!!…..”

Etc.

…. Yeah, that’s pretty much every sumbel I’ve attended, how about you?  (I attend many sumbels).   The question is this,  “why” do you hate another person’s religion? (if you do- not saying that all readers of this blog are included in the vague generalization of the “type” who would state the first sentence.)

We are polytheists, our ancestors were the greatest traders of Europe, we interacted peacefully with a myriad of cultures the world over through epic explorations- and here I am, “Hi, I’m raised Heathen and Jesus never bothered me!”  (and I will explain why.) Even though I was shipped through the Lutheran church begrudgingly for communion and confirmation classes like every other German family ever….except for those who were shuffled through the Moravians or AnaBaptists.

However, some of his followers…?  Man, please…. we all share the common belief that the universe was created by an unfathomable intelligent process-  Please keep your Children inside. We don’t try to convert your people!

Trust me on this- if a God wants to be in someone’s life, they will make it abundantly clear….and either you end up Religious and completely encompassed by Heathenry or on a super-strong dosage of Depakote (sometimes, both, I wouldn’t rule out it falls under the whole “Wounded healers” precedent…)

In any case, as polytheistic people who practice worship of a multitude of God archetypes across all forms of Heathenry, Asatru, and even Urglaawe, the private belief systems of other people is really none of our damned business just so long as it does not interfere with our own practices of worship.   And as far as religions go, our “Requirements” can not be simpler: Grant us the same protections as other faiths regarding anti discrimination policies and  federal recognition: Then, Leave us alone to worship our Gods peacefully and grant us the ability to steward the land:  woods, farm, and/or homes

Ultimately, all of you reading this should know your roots as well as Gods who you may be drawn to of other pantheons.  May they be of similar archetype to a Heathen counterpart you have yet to have named- or if your polytheistic practice includes the occasional “Oddity” (I have an altar to Inari, for instance…. no other “Japan Connection”; just Inari) Just remind yourself: “I am a polytheist.  I believe in the existence of multiple benevolent Deities- even if it makes so sense, I am Thankful for the blessings and guidance I am given to lead a fulfilling, meaningful, and productive life where my passing through Midgard leaves a positive legacy to the world more than negative.”

I realize my posts have been a bit “dry” lately;  being a polytheist often means one’s attentions sometimes need to be directed towards other Gods/Archetypes, which, in turn, imbue those qualities (hopefully) into the worshiper.

Today, I redid some altars in preparation for our upcoming move- removing dead flowers, re-assigning offerings that seem more appropriate elsewhere, and giving Hel/Holle a much larger, cleaner, place of Her own instead of sharing a cramped shelf with her packrat Father.

My New/Improved Loki Space

My New/Improved Loki Space

This is a short shot of my Loki altar.  I do some taxidermy so you will find behind him the preserved wing of a hawk (roadkill is awesome), two raven wings, and a beaded raven claw.  This is not my favorite statue on the market, I have NEVER pictured him with a long beard and the body type is a bit Zaftig.  If anyone is willing to trade for the unbearded I’m willing to hear it.  Mostly, though- there are stones and little knick-knacks including the UPG favorite: flavored grape tootsie rolls.  He preserved the violet roses well when they were a fresh offering, and the symbol for the AFA is at his feet, knowing that he doesn’t particularly care who does or does not accept him- however, I personally believe those who worship Loki as part of their personal pantheon should continue to work towards gaining greater respect and acceptance for Loki and what he truly represents: Cunning, Intelligence, speaking the hard truths, as well as being the kind God of the broken and outcasts.  Ultimately, my Loki-altars always look a bit like the nest of crows- just bits of little shiny things that HE seems to dig. But, then again, I ended up moving a few of his items today over to Tyr.

Complicated altars are entirely optional in Heathenry- they simply serve as “focal points” to help us better with our intentions/concentration.  I posted my altar in this post since I believe I have not posted a picture of it in some time and people have asked what it looks like.   My offerings I give Him are usually either candy, strange-but relavent toys (that I usually end up giving to children eventually) and fire in both candle or incense form.  On really bad days, he gets a small shot glass of chamomile tea as does Hel/Holle’s altar.

Altar practices are found in almost every world faith, Especially Christianity whose text specifically forbids “Graven images” as they bow before their God’s murder weapon or His image either in suffering or hand extended in comfort in “fluffier” churches.

To me, it would be like Baldrsvolk worshiping their Patron by wearing mistletoe arrow necklaces!  We have a dead/not dead/eternal God too, Christians!

I find it interesting how despite most Heathens in the USA have at least a passing knowledge of Christianity in some family tradition or another, but are more willing to come to almost fistfights over which Heathen Gods are/are not worthy of our Thankfulness (The answer is ALL of them= Gods>Humans {Unless named “Bragi”, then disregard})

Anyway, the point I want to make is this.   In being called to the Heathen Gods (if you feel as such), you are accepting that there are a multitude of benevolent things in this universe that possess more knowledge than the entirety of humanity but yet STILL do not know everything…. Unless the Guningganap forms itself into a speaking entity to explain to us of how the entirety of the universe exists without exploding our puny minds, the same pretty much goes for everyone else- in every religion.

I am repetitive sometimes, I know that- but know this: No one has a monopoly on knowledge- and the only absolute in this world is that we absolutely cannot know anything with 100% conclusiveness.

Therefore, as Heathens- we are not only responsible for protecting our own traditions and the continued safe worship of our Gods, but we are also charged with the protection of other polytheistic faiths- and we strengthen each other in events such as “Pagan Pride.”

Even in dealings with monotheists who may even be loved ones- their religion offers them comfort;   you cannot prove that Jesus did/does not exist, and they cannot prove that Woten did/does not exist.

Stalemate.

So, with that in mind- I follow my grandma’s motto: “If you worry for someone, pray to their Gods because your Gods might not know them so well.”

P.S.  This is the post that was slipped out of my fingers prior to me finishing it!  Thank you for reading exactly 2 unedited paragraphs and liking me anyway random 5 people!

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18 Responses to “Polytheism and You… A common guide on what it actually represents.”

  1. Representing Loki was part of a discussion on the forum. I think one way this can be done is making our own organization. We have one organization that seems full of bigots and another that’s slowly warming up to him, but I think we can do better by Loki than grudgingly accepting him yet making his devotees ‘sit in the back of the bus’ at organization backed gatherings, campouts and/or conventions. I think there are far more Heathens out there in solitary practice than there are association Heathens. Perhaps a hospitality focused association is what’s needed; something with more flexibility that reflects how customs change over time and that recognizes that an organic religion won’t grow and flourish in a vacuum.

    • I am part of a movement with another Lokean in a clergy program at this moment. Changes are coming as fast as we can make them!

      • So forming an association alternative to AFA and The Troth is in the making/agenda?
        BTW, In a couple weeks Imma be back up in PA! I hope I get to meet you guys in person soon . Perhaps I can make a trip for one of the bigger blotts. Are there any campouts or any Heathen outdoor activities planed up there for the summer?

      • I am prefacing my response with the statement that the following is only MY opinion based on my own research of laws regarding Heathenry and the Pennsylvania Dutch/Dietsch families of faiths. Any false assumption I apologize for in advance, and this is simply my own perspective.

        With that being said….

        I do not represent the Urglaawe community in any way in saying these things

        We don’t plan on forming any alternative association whatsoever, however. We plan on being recognized and respected as formally educated, trained, tested, and recognized Brauchers (Pa Dutch Heathen Clergy)- as so recognized by the NON-reconstructionism traditions and customs under the greater umbrella of Pennsylvania Dutch/Dietsch faiths already federally recognized and protected to an extent, I believe.

        We call ourselves Heathen. They call themselves Heathen. Our federal recognition as an organization under the respect and rights stemming from the protection of the Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites, etc who interact with Braucher/Hexer/Pow Wow families has been of mutual benefit, from my research, Urglaawe technically should be in theory much more solidly under protection and more respected under a category of already federally recognized faiths depending on one’s perspective.

        Either we are an offshoot of the Amish- and recognized, and we also make up a lot of the public “voice” of American Heathenry despite our relatively small numbers. (including myself as a Pa Dutch Uglaawe-believing Loki worshiper with a blog that somehow attracts people to read it!)

        When it comes down to cases. The world can look at the Heathen Religion as it is represented in North America, and it cannot be denied that the Pennsylvania Dutch do NOT have a strong hand it it’s legitimacy both through history as well as assisting modern reconstructionism of other pagan traditions. Silver Ravenwolf (although not someone I endorse) has benefited by the rich culture of the Pa Dutch for instance, and as much as I do not care for her writing, I believe she has at very least supported legislation over the years for protection and recognition of pagan paths of all varieties.

        Therefore- If the definition of Heathenry is established partially on the backs of the Urglaawe faiths, then lack of Loki-worship would be seen from the outside as illogical since the Urglaawe are writing and seem to not have a prohibition against it. I saw this simply because MY family, which had plenty of prohibitions (such as not writing any folkcraft down, putting faces on dolls, and weird stuff with mirrors) Was perfectly fine with the Lokean archetype.

        …..and the Old Families of the Pa Dutch. who Loki-worship or not,don’t give a flying fuck about reconstructed Heathenry 🙂 I’m a Hildebrandt. To expect a Hildebrandt to NOT worship Loki under some name or form would be like expecting a Haitian mortician to not worship Baron Samedi.

    • As for meetings this summer in Pennsylvania? There are likely tons of open ones! I’m just a grumpy introvert but The Troth, Distlefink Kindred, Gladheim, and Forsetti’s Hall usually have open events in addition to East Coast Thing (ECT) and Trothmoot. There are likely other “open” groups as well.

      However, my husband and I were burned really badly by our local community about two years ago so we’ve become VERY shy about actually accepting invitations. (he also works 2nd shift and he has fallen asleep during rituals held during the daylight hours!)

      I believe the best place to start would be looking up East Coast Thing and Gladheim since they are completely open- the Troth will help you, but I would feel bad asking their help and not paying membership dues.

      I am personally trying to remain neutral and stick pretty closely to my own kindred and select events where I feel safe there will not be some sort of person freaking out about “The Lokean Poisoning the Well of Wyrd” or some non-sense.

      • ….no matter how many times and ways I have indicated that Tyr/Ziu is an equal and sometimes greater influence regarding my personal ethics, actions, and morality.

      • I wish I had a ‘kind’ to stick to. I have absolutely no experience in what that actually feels like. I’ve mentioned enough times about the cult religion I was raised up in. When you have all holidays taken from you, you automatically become estranged from your ‘non-believer’ relatives. You also grow up with no sense of familial identity. Add to that, abusive and dysfunction in the family, I have no sense of personal identity. Learning about Heathenism has been my first experience in how family and extended family traditions play a big part of forming an individual identity.

        Well, perhaps if we keep up ‘getting to know one another’ as best as possible on fb and here and the forum that you might feel less wary about hopping to Pittsburgh or having me hop over to where you are. I’m less concerned with going to big Things or what not than just making a few friends.

        As for association sponsored gatherings, I guess I’d just as soon not go to those who have a ‘back of the bus’ policy about toasting Loki. It was a huge turnoff to read that Lokeans and Rokkr [or however it’s spelled] have to go off alone to do their thing.

        I guess we’ll see.

      • Ed and I are in the process of buying a new house and we have held rituals before either in our home or local parks (usually to the Gods that get “missed” by other open events- such as Loki or Skadi). If everything goes well with purchasing the new place- I’m sure we will at very least be either the “host location” for an open event for the Urglaawe- and even without that, we usually attempt to do something public every October and April (Hel and Loki). I’ll be sure to post about it for you- it’s even easier if you remind me of your name of facebook how I know you! 🙂

      • Oh! I’m Christine Stevick (Hardwick)on facebook and Poppy on the forum. I think how I got to know you was stumbling upon this blog about a year after you retired from it having fulfilled your oath. I had emailed you about the idea of starting the forum last November or so and you gave me some pointers. I set it up, placed a link on a couple active Lokean blogs and had 13 members the first week! There’s 59 now with about 15 active. Some days up to 5 people on at once and I have a great mod. 🙂

        I haven’t. seen much in the way of outrageous, tacky and/or offensive fb statuses from you or your hubby lately. I miss them! Lol!

      • Ed needs inspiration: Feel free to send him PM’s on facebook with ideas….also, I am popping into the forums lately, I just don’t say much- I “Benevolently lurk” 🙂

  2. Also, I’d love to see a bigger version of that altar picture. 🙂 It looks lovely but the picture’s kind of small that I can’t make out the detail.

    • I would like to have a better phone camera on which to take said picture, lol! It’s the “gist” that counts. I have nothing “verbot” or secret on the altar- but I just wanted to show as far as Loki-altars go- I think I fall right in the middle of “Average Lokean Altar”. I have seen Loki altars with nothing more than a picture and a candle- and I have seen pictures of altars that take up entire rooms and could likely apply for US tax exempt status!

      • My altar is a tiny sterlite drawer that has to support 3 gods and spirits: Odin, Loki, and the house wight. Having the drawer is nice for keeping supplies and the altar sits atop a wicker basket that serves as my pagan bookshelf. I also have a history book, On Writing, by Stephen King, a Kurt Vonnegut book (he’s in heaven now) and Basic Math and Pre-Algebra for Dummies. Lol!

      • Sounds like a good, solid altar to me!

      • I really need something bigger soon. I haven’t connected to any goddesses yet so this altar is a real sausage fest. Lol. 😄

      • Neither have I-My altars are all dudes. It’s why I usually “step down” for Goddess-centered rituals and only do the blessing at the end also- I’m infertile! 🙂

        In real life, I really don’t relate well to other women well- and don’t really know how to. They completely perplex me.

      • I hear you on that one. I get along better with guys or Tomboy women. I’ve always perceived other women as ‘the enemy’ for a long time who’d hiss and bare their claws and think the world ends when they lose a fake nail. Whereas I have more fun with people of either gender who enjoy a good fart joke or dirty jokes. If it incorporates physical humor all the better. Especially if the teller messes up the joke. Then it’s open season! 😆😈

      • I’m a “Typical” Lokean blogger in the sense I don’t even really identify with gender. Seems to be a “thing” with Loki-worshiping Heathens.

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