I don’t quite understand those who worship gods and assert that they must be confined solely to their historical attributes and roles, like some ancient artifact as dead and dust covered as the culture they once flourished in. I don’t understand demanding that they be preserved like some fossilized relic. I don’t quite understand the notion that the gods are static and unchanging and defined solely by how they were viewed in the past, defying everything we know about nature and the universe. I don’t understand not seeing the gods as something that evolves, shifts, and changes, despite the history of the deities themselves through different ancient cultures and ancient time periods evolving, shifting, and changing. I don’t understand people who insist the gods are or aren’t a certain way dogmatically, relying solely on ancient texts to maintain a well boxed view that conforms to it.
I don’t understand those who work with gods and insist that gods are always concrete and individual and not the same as those of other cultures, when there’s overwhelming evidence that the ancients constantly compared their gods with others or said that their gods were the same as these gods of other cultures with different names. I don’t understand those who shun personal gnosis and interactions with the gods, as if everything we know about them historically wasn’t based on personal gnosis and interaction to begin with.
I don’t understand approaching and worshiping mythology based solely on ancient gnosis, as if our ancestors had access to the true nature of the gods and we are somehow vastly different. Hard Polytheists will often assert that Soft Polytheism is Christian influenced or New Age ideology, but historically I can think of only one deity and his followers who were insistent that he was not like any other gods, and in the scheme of religions he is a fairly new God. Archetypes, names, myths, depictions, descriptions, histories, and ancient practices help us to understand the gods’ past interaction with different cultures in a different time so that we may understand them as they are now. But that doesn’t make them definitive.
I don’t understand these things because every single time I have made my mind up on what the gods are or aren’t, they actively defy that belief to keep me from putting them into concrete tidy little boxes. They keep me on my toes to keep me from the poisons of fundamentalism or the hubris that I can definitively say who and what the gods are and are not. My gods are wild and alive, they are shapeshifting and paradoxical, and they will not be tamed by human perception or how we demand them to be. They are an eternal mystery. We can know them through the interactions they have with us, but I don’t think we can ever really know their true nature while upon the Earth in flesh. To state otherwise is a bold claim for anyone to make.