Polytheistic Values – a Words Mean Things response

Every time I read a blog post that sticks in my craw, I want to run around and tear things open with my bare hands.  However, Raging Sadist and I have agreed to channel the feels into something readable rather than something sticky, and so I am going to respond to something I read recently with the application of my favorite tool – words mean things.

Once again, Galina Krasskova is trying to make herself the arbiter of all things polytheist and, in doing so, has managed to piss off actual polytheists that don’t agree with her.  (Let’s all gasp together now, shall we?) That fact would seem odd when you consider that Krasskova writes what she considers to be gospel truth and the one true way things should be done…except that, of course, there is no ONE TRUE WAY for all polytheists.

Let me say that again: there is no ONE TRUE WAY to be a polytheist.   There are as many ways to be a polytheist as there are people who practice polytheism and that will never change, no matter how many people make self-important pronouncements about how to do it.  Even if we were all dragged into some alternate universe where things were all polytheism all the time, there would still be differences in how it was practiced.  This is because people are not the same.

I know – you’re shocked and awed by this, aren’t you?

So, here we go – I’m rolling up the sleeves and diving in:

  1. Using the words ‘every’ and ‘all’ when one cannot possibly be familiar with ‘every’ culture or ‘all’ polytheists isn’t appropriate.  If what one means is ‘all polytheistic groups with which I am familiar’, then that is the language to use.  Otherwise, one runs the risk of sounding like one knows everything.  Of course, if that was the intent I say, “Brownie, you’re doing a helluva job!”
  2. While ancestor veneration is certainly common among those who practice polytheism, it is also occurs on other paths and isn’t always done ‘before anything else’.  I even know some polytheists who don’t do anything for their ancestors.  *gasp*
  3. Values, like morality, are not static and not universal.  I believe there’s a fluidity to morality (blog title, people) just like there’s a fluidity to gender and to sexual orientation.  In fact, I might go so far as to say that I believe anything involving human beings must be fluid because we ourselves are not static, unchanging creatures.  Even if no one else agrees with me, it still means that whatever universal values are being written about cannot be universal…because there’s at least one person ranting in disagreement.
  4. Painting monotheism as ‘soul-butchering’ and having ‘pseudo-moralities’ indicates bigotry.
  5. Stating that those who do not practice like you are following “…religions without discipline, religions where one can do anything that one wants, behave with unthinking abandon, ignore obligations to the gods and spirits, abrogate all boundaries or good sense, or twerk until one’s heart is content, etc. etc. ” also indicates bigotry.  See number 4.
  6. The list of five values includes four that fit into my own polytheism.  I venerate my ancestors, I approach the gods as separate and individual unless they tell me otherwise, I am pious, and I have the courage not to violate my own moral code.  However, I am pretty sure my ancestor veneration is not like every other polytheist, the way I approach my gods is not like every other polytheist, my expressions of piety are not like every other polytheist, and my morality is definitely not like every other polytheist.  There are no universal values in polytheism – see number 3.
  7. The only type of modesty that applies to my polytheism is my own.  The definitions and judgements of others are invalid to my practice.  Oh, and I’d like to offer congratulations on the slut-shaming!  Nice touch, like a cherry on a Madonna/whore sundae.

The problem, as I’m sure any readers have guessed by now, is that words mean things and when someone writes on behalf of ALL, well, some of that ALL might just stand up and let people know that, maybe, the writer isn’t such a good representative of what is actually going on in anyone’s practice but her own.

(And for those in my own religious community who are laughing now, yes, I know.  But I had to respond – someone was wrong on the Internet!)

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9 responses to “Polytheistic Values – a Words Mean Things response

  1. “Moral Absolutes” probably come from that evil monotheism influence. 😄

    It’s been a vicious silly season from many of the Big Name Pagans lately- actively attacking monotheists. I think it would be a lot more useful to identify what thought-habits we pick up from monotheisms, consciously or unconsciously, because we were raised in one of those religions, or because the attitudes permeate our culture. Identify them, and if possible, laugh them out the door.

    • You know, in my going back and forth with this BNP in particular, she makes no secret about wanting to destroy monotheism. The most I can say for her admission is, “Well, at least she is honest in her bigotry…” and then I want to wash out my mouth with natron because, IMO, there’s no excuse for bigotry, period.

  2. I am going to read your post as an “I’m so glad I don’t normally read her posts” warning.

    …and having just gone and read them anyway, I should have heeded that, lol.

    But…(in response to your #6) the point I want to make here (not being a polytheist), is ( were someone that isn’t a polytheist to tell you “yes, but the gods HAVE told me they are not separate and individuals”), you seem like the sort of person that would be like “okay, that’s good for you then, even though its not my experience”, where she’s the sort of person that would be like “then you aren’t listening right!!!!”.

    Which really, at the end of the day, says nothing about the gods…but everything about the person making their views be heard. Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that she gets off on creating this sort of drama, and I wonder if perhaps her opinions have tilted towards the controversy they cause (being a charitable person, I tend to think that this subconscious rather than calculated).

    (and, for a woman that claims to be a classicist of sorts, you’d think she’d realize that the idea that “search for ‘unity’ is a holdover from the infection of monotheism, and a comfortable way of concealing its poison under pleasantly new age language” isn’t entirely historically accurate–alternate views of the gods were not exactly unheard of, particularly in ancient Greece, and I’m willing to bet, quietly held by a number of individuals in every polytheistic society that has existed)

    (and…oh, gods, I’ll stop now, or this might go on forever…)

    • If you want to keep going, feel free!

      I believe that deity should be approached as requested, which means that I address all deities as individual and separate until told not to. It sometimes gets hairy with the netjeru because syncretization is a Thing and if I call out for Sekhmet and get Sekhmet-Mut responding, who am I to ignore the duality happening? I call myself an over-hard polytheist, like the egg dish. 🙂

    • Here I go again with the “at least she’s an honest slut-shamer”…WHY IS THAT A VIRTUE???

      I think I’m going to have to write a post about being a slut now. Hint – I see it as a positive thing.

  3. “a cherry on a Madonna/whore sundae” made me lol heartily.
    I’m glad people picked up on that and it wasn’t just me.
    I really wish that she didn’t have such a large following. She does the polytheist movement more harm than good, imo.

  4. I suppose there is some value to being stuck in a narcissistic loop, which your description of the blogger seems to indicate. If she can come through the process and absorb the lesson, the resultant evolution of character would make the irritation worthwhile, I hope (I am not going to read her blog).

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