After five years dormant, ‘Dalliances with Deities’ will once again be active here at Patheos! I began blogging here around six years ago, just before I turned 20. Back then my life and my religious practice were in a very different place. Nowadays, I’m married and living in a new country. I feel more secure in my own practice. I’ve experienced a bit more of the wide variety Pagan communities have to offer, good and bad. And after living a bit more quietly (blogging less on my own personal sites) and contemplating, I decided to return here to Patheos Pagan. I’m very excited and humbled to be here along with authors and writers I look up to, and I’m looking forward to writing again regularly and getting to know all of you.
As it has been so long, an introduction is no doubt necessary. My name is Aine Llewellyn. (My pronouns are he/him and they/them.) I’m a polytheist. More specifically, as devotion is one of the main foci of my practice, a ‘devotional polytheist’. In the past I used to identify as a hard polytheist, but I find the division between hard/soft polytheism rather uninformative. I believe we can develop relationships with the gods, not just strict devotional ones, but devotional activity (prayer, ritual focused on the gods, active worship of Them) is what I love best.
I am also a huge nerd. I love scifi and fantasy (books and movies), anime, horror, cartoons, and video games with a passion. My partner and I regularly attend nerdy conventions. The art up on our walls is almost exclusively fanart (the room I’m writing this in has large posters for YuGiOh, Homestuck, and a defunct mobile game, to name just a few). Our house is decorated with dozens of statues and figurines from series we’ve enjoyed. And some of those figurines are up in my altar room, nestled in the corners of my altar.
I’ve been incorporating elements of pop and nerd culture in my religious practice for years, even before I began blogging on Patheos originally. Part of the reason for this is because of my main religious practice, which I call the Otherfaith. I ‘founded’ the Otherfaith about a decade ago, after having a revelatory experience with a deity. This deity wasn’t one I recognized from history nor belonging to any known pantheon. The members of His divine family that I met also seemed different from the other deities I had worshiped previously. Figuring that I had encountered a group of new deities, I set about trying to learn Their stories and discover the best ways to interact with Them. These stories and practices would eventually develop into the Otherfaith today, which is a small (very small) polytheist tradition revering what we call the Four Gods. (You can read a bit more about it on the Otherfaith page here on the blog.)
Because these deities often don’t line up as well with older iconography or symbols, it can be difficult to find appropriate statuary or icons for Them. This resulted in my using the anime figures; the figures worked for the Gods they represent. A lot of the art we buy at conventions does double duty as fannish artwork and imagery I can put on the altar for certain holy days.
Despite this, I don’t often identify as a pop culture Pagan. I incorporate elements of such into my practice very willingly, yoinking imagery or ideas that resonate or help me express religious experiences I’ve had, but I don’t often worship the characters themselves. It would be misleading to label myself as one. (I don’t, for example, develop spells or rituals based on events from series I’ve enjoyed, a very common practice among pop culture Pagans. I should note that I don’t think there is anything wrong or bad about pop culture Paganism. It would be rather hypocritical of me if I did.)
All this said, my blog here at Patheos will not focus on the Otherfaith (as it often did in the past). I have a specific Otherfaith blog for those topics. My religious practice is not limited to the Otherfaith but extends to more generalized spirit work and worship of other pantheons, such as the Greek and Roman. So at this blog, I will be writing about topics relating to greater Paganism and polytheism that interest me. I’m an avid reader of Pagan, polytheist, and witchcraft books, and I hope to share many book reviews with you in the future. I will also be exploring many aspects of devotion.
I am very happy to return to Patheos Pagan, and I look forward to meeting new and old friends alike!