Greetings, and welcome to My Polytheism! This is a new, updated introduction; you can find the old below this one. (Why? Because I’m all for transparency, and I intend to keep the older drafts of pages public for as long as I have the room to do so. Look, this is new to me. I’m stumbling along, and hey, I have no problem with you seeing me stumble)
What is My Polytheism? How did it come to be? What’s the point of it? What are its long term goals?
My Polytheism is a website I created less than a month ago, because one day I was fed up, and wrote a post on my blog. That post inspired others to do the same, and I wanted a place to gather links to those posts so I wouldn’t forget them. Reblogging was fine, but I wanted something more permanent. I wanted a space I could point others to the next time someone emailed me about feeling silenced or marginalized within the online polytheist social media spaces — which happens more often than you’d imagine. I mean, I’m not super popular; I’m not involved with my local community; I’m not a tradition builder. I don’t present myself as a leader, as a teacher, as a mentor; I just share my experiences, worship my gods, enjoy time with my family, and write my stories. Having people reach out to me because I’ve helped them feel less alone, less like they don’t belong, less like they have no voice, is equal parts heartbreaking and humbling.
Let me say that again: My Polytheism was first and foremost created by me to serve as a database for me. No altruism here, no ulterior motive, pure selfishness. I had no idea so many would be interested in this space, or this project. I didn’t know it was going to be a project.
Heh. Shows what I know.
What My Polytheism is
My Polytheism aims to be a safe space where ideas and experiences can be exchanged, without the need to defend one’s practice, one’s experiences, or one’s approach. My Polytheism is to be rooted in the concept of Sacred Hospitality — this is the common ground our communities need to be built around. Not same-ness. Not dogma. Not gate-keeping. Hospitality. What good is the hospitality we extend to our Spirits, Gods, and assorted Powers, if we are utter shit to our fellow humans? We have to build up. We have to be approachable. At least, I want us to be approachable. And, if you’re here, I’m assuming you do, as well.
My second idea for this space, after wanting a database of the #mypolytheism contributions that were popping up, was something akin to the Kemetic Round Table Project: essays about various topics relevant to our paths and experiences, that might provide insight, inspiration, or encouragement to others. Not every topic is going to be relevant to every person or every path, but so what? Talk about what you want to talk about; share what you want to share; read what you want to read.
This is a place to build up, to support and share. I’m taking a page from the Vlogbrothers here: we’re here to increase the awesome. We will decrease religious suck, even if we can’t do anything about world suck. Be respectful. Be kind. Asshole behavior will not be tolerated.
What My Polytheism is not
My Polytheism is not meant to be an example of one tradition, one approach to a spiritual path, or one way of being religious. Polytheism is none of these things. Polytheism is a theological approach to understanding and interacting with the world(s); as such, a wide diversity in experience is expected.
My Polytheism is not a space for debate. Discussion and debate have their place (one might argue they have far too many places in our communities). If you want to discuss topics, you’re welcome to 1) click through to the places in question and engage the author directly; 2) post to the FB group; 3) create your own place to discuss or debate as you see fit.
Not everyone is up for debating, not everyone wants to have to explain themselves to people who don’t know them from Adam. Some of us have seen the perennial arguments cycle through the pagan social media spaces more times than we care to count, and are interested instead on moving beyond that. Some of us want to share without having to fight to be heard.
My Polytheism is not for everyone, and it’s not trying to be. There are many sound reasons I could make for why comments are not allowed: I know how mulish some can be when it comes to debate (this isn’t my first rodeo, people.); I’ve seen the vitriol, the personal attacks, the abuse that’s heaped on people, and yes, I’ve had enough; I’ve received emails regularly from people I don’t always know, during the history of my own blog, thanking me for ‘not being an asshole.’; so far, the overwhelming majority has been in favor of this no comments policy; I work two jobs and don’t have the time to spend moderating the comments here, etc. As good as these reasons are, they’re not the actual reason.
The actual reason?
Because I said so. It’s that simple.
(Fair warning: private messages, email, or other communication sent my way should be considered submission for publication, because the will see the light of day. Do not assume the privilege of privacy. If you’re an asshole, the community/ies will know about it.)
Original Intro/about this site/etc.:
Welcome to My Polytheism! What’s the point of this place, and what will you find here?
Originally this started as a place to gather all the awesome ‘my polytheism’ essays that you’ve been writing recently. Originally it was selfish and self-serving: I wanted those all in one easy to access place at my disposal so that, should it come up, I could just point people to this site. Almost immediately, I realized, no, this could be so much more.
Over the last number of years, conversations have been happening, both online and off, about what some refer to as the Polytheist Movement. Some conversations have been focused on building up, expressing and celebrating diversity, sharing of ourselves with others, wanting to be seen and wanting to see. Some conversations have been centered around gate-keeping. You know: “You’re not really a polytheist if [fill in the blank here]. *I realize that for some, the push to differentiate polytheism from other types of theisms was because non-Wiccan pagans were tired of getting lumped in with Wiccan type pagans. Assumptions were made, and I respect that, because I’m also a non-Wiccan who would have assumptions made about what my being a pagan looked like, and it gets frustrating. Telling people they are not part of one’s tradition because one doesn’t agree that said person meets requirements for said tradition is one thing; telling people they are not polytheist when they identify as such, because they don’t match one’s idea of polytheism is something else, entirely.*
Frankly? I’m fed up with this. If I’m fed up with this, others have to be, as well. Mind you, I’m not speaking of disagreeing with others; debate and conversation is important. It’s important to challenge our beliefs, assumptions, and comfort zones, as we are called to. I don’t want this place to be one giant echo-chamber. I do want this space to be a place of Sacred Hospitality. This is the common ground our communities need to be built around. Not same-ness. Not dogma. Not gate-keeping. Hospitality. What good is the hospitality we extend to our Spirits, Gods, and assorted Powers, if we are utter shit to our fellow humans? We have to build up. We have to be approachable. At least, I want us to be approachable. And, if you’re here, I’m assuming you do, as well.
How can you help?
Short answer: Contribute!
Longer answer: I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m not good at organizing. I’m an introvert, damn it. I’m awash in ideas of what I’d like to see here, but it’s a bit formless. Right now, I’d love to share more #mypolytheism sorts of posts.
I’ve reblogged some and linked to others, but I wouldn’t hate republishing them on this site with links back to the authors’ own sites. Kidding! I’m making a separate page for them, and linking back to blogs! Will use this blog here for something else. Dunno what yet. We’ll see as we go, yes?
I’m looking to get some topics posted (let me give a nod of acknoweldegment to The Kemetic Round Table here) for potential contributors to respond to. I want this to be a collaboration, and I want this to be organic (or as organic as a collaboration can be), but I also want it to be manageable. For the time being, I’m going to focus on said topics, and ask that those wishing to contribute to email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will post it to the site, with links back to your blog or website.
Like I said, I’ve never done this before, so I fully expect some bumbling as I go along. I ask for you patience and understanding, and I welcome any and all feedback. I can’t wait to see where we can take this!
*transparency rocks! I added the bit between the astericks on 8/17/2016, two days after writing the rest, because hey, work in progress, clarity, all that.