So Sannion, Galina Krasskova, and John Halstead walk into a bar, and the bartender says …

“‘… no matter what, you will not get in my way. But now that we been face to face, I would not feel good about that.” — Heat (1995)

You thought it wasn’t possible.  You thought it couldn’t be done.  But I have lived to tell the story!

I’m here to tell you that you can sit down with that person from the Internet who you think hates you and have a civil, even friendly, conversation.  Tonight, I had Pagan Tea Time over Skype with Sannion and Galina Krasskova … yes, that Sannion and that Galina.  We even talked about polytheism and Paganism.  In fact, that’s pretty much all we talked about.  No bloodshed.  No epithets.  Just a nice chat with two interesting people.

I don’t want to get into too much detail about our conversation for fear I might misrepresent something one of them said.  But I will share that Galina told me that she actually is okay with polytheists who are agnostic about the nature of the gods, that praxis matters more to her than belief, and that all this talk about theology on the Internet is a distraction from practice — which is also what I have been hearing a lot of other Pagans and polytheists saying.  I’m sure we still have plenty to disagree about, but we managed to talk for about an hour about religion without any conflict.  And Sannion, well, he was kind of quiet and reserved.  Yes, you heard me right, Sannion was reserved.  Not what I expected either.  Galina even told me that he’s organized!  What was I expecting?  I don’t know, maybe the incarnation of Dionysian pandemonium.  Actually, they’re both nice people that I wouldn’t mind having tea with again.

I’ve been really enjoying having virtual tea with other Pagans and polytheists.  Earlier this week, I Skyped with Xander Folmer.  Xander is a polytheist who blogs at Wyrd Wiles and at Patheos about Pagan interfaith.  Xander is a good person to talk to about Pagan interfaith.  He is a second generation Pagan, raised by a Christian and a Pagan.  And his wife is studying to become a rabbi.  Xander firmly believes that we don’t have to all believe the same thing in order to support each other.  He was relaxed, interesting, fun to talk to, and passionate about community building.

And you know what, at least in the hour I spent with them, Galina and Sannion were the same.

So, reach out to any of them if you’d like to talk to them.  They’re all very approachable.  I hope I am too, for that matter.  I’d love to have tea with you.  Just shoot me an email (allergicpagan[at]gmail), Facebook me, or comment here on my blog.

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  • http://endlesserring.wordpress.com/ Treeshrew

    Wow! Just goes to show the difference that a face-to-face conversation can make. The anonymity of the internet makes it all too easy to descend into slanging matches instead of dialogue.

  • http://dashifen.com/ dashifen

    You wrote : “that all this talk about theology on the Internet is a distraction from practice”

    That’s always an interesting point of view to me since I have no practice to speak of and, for me, it’s all about the theology. In a lot of ways, I’m an Intellectual Polytheist, i.e. I choose to adopt that world view because there are too many people that I respect who’ve had experiences that are explained by it that, despite my lack of such experiences, I can’t see any other way to be.

    Perhaps that’s why Christine’s book on Pagan Theologies was one of the best things I’ve read in a while; it speaks to my intellectual side while a lot of other publications seek to speak to a more mystical or applicative side.

    I’d love a chance to chat with you sometime. Track me down on FB, here, or at dashifen[at]dashifen[dot]com and we can set up a time.

    • Scott Oden

      “Intellectual Pagan” would describe me, as well. No practice to speak of, but great interest in learning theologies, origins, and the like. Creates a great atmosphere of “not sure where I fit in” where other Pagans are concerned . . .

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

        Scott, same question for you: Do you intentionally avoid practice in general or is it a matter of not having found the right practice?

        • Scott Oden

          Ultimately, I don’t see the need for it, John. My belief is that the Gods are metaphors, and I’ve not discovered a good reason to sacrifice to or propitiate a metaphor. I’ve tried praxis, related to Hellenism, but found it stilted and lacking. I must confess, too, that though I’ve tried I’ve never found any evidence of the Gods existing in the physical world, in such a way that I felt the need to pray to them or sacrifice or make any sort of offertory gesture. I’ve heard others speak of their close connections to spirits and to the Divine, but it’s something I’ve never experienced. When I’ve admitted this, the stock response is, “well, you’re not doing it right!”

          So, now, most of what I’d call my “practice” involves research into the afterlife, reading ancient religious texts and philosophy and history, and trying to figure out my place in the Cosmos.

          I failed miserably at being a Hellenist and retreated back into agnosticism. But, I’m not an agnostic, per se, either. I believe in *something* . . . I just don’t know what, and I’m fairly convinced no human being, ever, has been able to figure that out, either. Thanks to Ken Apple, I found this site and it had a measure of resonance with me. Enough that I would tentatively classify myself as a Naturalistic or Humanistic Pagan.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

            Thanks for sharing Scott! I’m glad you found this site. I’m sure you would enjoy HumanisticPaganism.com as well if you haven’t already been over there.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

      I definitely will!

      Do you intentionally avoid practice in general or is it a matter of not having found the right practice?

      • http://dashifen.com/ dashifen

        Unlike Scott’s response below, I choose to believe in gods that are both real, transcendent, and worth of devotion, but I don’t feel like I have any relationship with them. As such, when I do try to forge some sort of devotional, practical routine, it ends up feeling as if it’s merely a performance or a mimicry of what I’ve read about or heard about from others and that ends up falling a little flat.

  • http://b.rox.com/ Editor B

    Cool. Glad to hear this.

  • http://www.patheos.com/Pagan Christine Kraemer

    This is awesome. :)

  • JasonMankey

    Why am I not surprised that it went well? When we actually talk to one another it’s easy to find common ground.

  • Alyxander M Folmer

    Love it! I think this whole “Tea Time” idea was brilliant!


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