American Gods and the Growth of Devotional Polytheism, Part 2: Dilution and Transcendence

American Gods reflected — and probably magnified — a dissatisfaction among many Pagans with popular forms of Paganism. And it offered one possible alternative: literal belief in the gods and devotional forms of worship. Popular Paganism was failing to produce the kind deep religious experiences that many of Pagans craved, and devotional polytheism promised to answer that craving. [Read more…]

American Gods and the Growth of Devotional Polytheism, Part 1: Fantasy and Inspiration

There has always been a close relationship between fantasy and contemporary Paganism, and for the most part, we Pagans are unashamed of it. A work of fiction may open a person up to having a very real experience to which they were not open before. For example, a person might read American Gods and develop an interest in devotional polytheism, from which they proceed to learn more and seek out a direct encounter with the gods. But saying that works of fiction played an important role in the Pagan revival does not deny that it was inspired by powers which transcend the minds of the authors of those works of fiction. [Read more…]

“How Do You Like Them Apples?” On Gods and Metaphors

I have noticed — especially recently — that rigidity of definitions tends to correspond to other forms of rigidity. As a result, hard polytheistic communities seem to be more prone to fracturing than other polytheistic communities. The gods we choose tend to be reflections of ourselves in some ways. If we see the gods as “separate” and “individual,” like billiard balls, then we may well find ourselves smashing against the hard edges of those around us. But if we see the gods as part of us and us as part of them, inseparable and interpenetrating, then we may find ourselves experiencing a deeper sense of communion with one another. [Read more…]

“The Disenchantment of Hard Polytheism”

“… Human beings have consistently demonstrated a collective unwillingness to place the needs of our other-than-human neighbors before our own.  The only way to truly protect the river is for humans to identify with the river and to see its needs as their own.  Rather than finding the source of the river’s value in it [Read More…]

In Defense of an Eclectic Pantheon

I think the prohibition against mixing pantheons has less to do with the gods and what they do or do not like and more to do with us.  When we mix pantheons it creates cognitive dissonance, at least for some of us. I think all this talk about the gods being uncomfortable with each other is us projecting our own cognitive dissonance onto them.  If the gods are more than our projections, then they must be beyond such human limitations as xenophobia.  Let’s own up to the real reason for our discomfort. [Read more…]

Varieties of Polytheism®

There are also other forms of polytheism, in addition to a Jungian “polytheism”, which don’t really fit in the narrow definition of “the belief in and veneration of multiple Deities as distinctly independent Beings external to the human mind.” [Read more…]


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