Polytheist Leadership Conference: So far, so good.

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A great many new friends have been made. Presentations have been excellent, even challenging. In the hallway I heard someone say “the only thing I hate about this conference is that I feel like I’m stupid. There are so many intelligent people here, making me think.”

Hard things have been discussed. Alliances have been made. Arguments have been hashed out, or tabled, or set aside in favor of attempting to work together. Sure, not everyone is ready for this or getting as much out of it as I have. But the signs are encouraging.

There’s already talk of another. I’ll be there. Will you?

Devotional Polytheism (Pagan Blog Project, Week 8)

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Galina Krasskova posted an excellent set of blog prompts around devotional polytheism on her blog yesterday. I intend to use them to direct some of my posting here, whether part of the Pagan Blog Project or not. I love the idea, and thank her for sharing it!

For this week, I’ll handle #1:
What wealth have the divinities brought into your life?

That’s a huge question. Can I attribute anything specific to my deities, in terms of wealth? How do I define wealth in the first place? Is it necessary, or even desirable, for deities to bring me wealth? Do They do it all, or am I also responsible for some of it? I could blog for a long time….

For my purposes here, I’ll define wealth as ‘an abundance of a thing,’ and leave it open-ended; and I will not get into the question of whether or not deities are obligated to bring me wealth, if I have responsibility for it or not, etc. Let’s just talk about the basic concept.

Yes. I do believe my Egypto-Thracian deities have brought me wealth. They have done so in a number of different ways, too, starting even when I was a child and continuing to today.

They brought me spiritual wealth in the sense of opening my mind and my horizons to the beautiful, diverse world of Spirit. In recent years, I realized that I was experiencing Egypto-Thracian deities long before I was practicing a strictly Kemetic religion, and that They were the ones Who introduced me to  other gods and spirits that I needed to get to know along the way. (Thank You.)

They also brought me ancestral wealth – both my father’s bloodlines and my mother’s go back to lands that are defined as Thrace (northern Thrace on my father’s side, and Macedon on my mother’s). Through getting to know these divinities, and allowing Them to be present in my life, They have connected me back to my ancestors – and vice versa. It is humbling, and something incredible, to know that my ancestors and my gods are both part of a big circle or cycle that keeps us together.

In terms of monetary or material wealth, I’m not sure They’ve done much there – but then again, I don’t think I ever put that on Them. I have never expected my deities to function as giant gumball machines in the sky that hand out goodies when I ask. (That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t accept some material assistance from the Powers, of course…)

I’ve also received a wealth of work (in getting to know Them), a wealth in friendship and family (from the people whom They have connected me with over the years), and a wealth in lots of positive things for my own life, from confidence and protection to joy and delight in Their service.

Catching up (Pagan Blog Project Week 6)

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Things have been rough for me offline, with a family death followed on instantaneously by starting a new program at my new grad school, and now preparations for a weekend of lecturing and conference/work. I am sorry to have been behind, and hope to get caught up with all of you soon.

Since my brain has no space left for a new topic, I’ll catch up by sharing links to some interesting things I’ve been reading lately, that you might want to read too. I’ll be back next week with something far better for topics beginning in “D.”

1. People are starting to meet each other in person (gasp!) with this Pagan Tea Time thing. Back in the day I was one of the progenitors of a “Pagan Tea House” on the AOL network. Loving both that people are using a similar name for the idea, AND that they’re getting to know each other as human beings and not just words on screens. Keep it up.

2. In this post, Oracle talks about ritual as a “love letter to the Gods.” I could not like this post enough.

3. The difference between purity and perfection, beautifully stated, by a Kemetic Orthodox priest.

4. Even if you don’t like rain or children, this will give you life. Or it should.

5. On conversion and appropriation, or what happens when the religion you once appropriated starts appropriating you….

6. Respect the divine weapons, even when they are aimed at you. (I love me some Hanuman!)

7. On compassion and unification (or, more blessing and less smiting)

8. Have a good week and we’ll talk soon!

Confronting the Black Hole (Pagan Blog Project Week 5)

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So, last week, I started mentioning the various drama going around the Pagan and/or Polytheist communities, and offered the advice that people ought to butt out of situations, conversations, and issues that just don’t concern them.

This week, I want to do something else. I want to confront an important thing that lies behind and perhaps even permeates the entire conversation and back-and-forth on these issues.

In astronomy, a black hole is defined as a hole in space that has such gravity, such vacuum power, that not even light can escape it. When trying to locate a black hole, scientists can’t actually point to a spot in space and say “oh look, there it is!” How do you find a vacuum inside a vacuum?

You find a black hole by looking at the things (in this case, the stars and planets and space) around it. Everything around a black hole is changed by the black hole’s proximity. The black hole affects its surroundings, even though it is not part of its surroundings, and thus it reveals its presence through the repercussions, or ripples, that its force is exerting on its environment.

It’s high time that we addressed the black hole at the center of all neo-Pagan (or contemporary Pagan, if you will) movements. This black hole also applies, to lesser or greater degree, to the reconstructionist, polytheist movement, though usually a lesser degree, depending on how well those people understand the culture/religion they are reconstructing, and how much of the ancient mindset they embrace.

This black hole is called monotheism. Even without being there – it’s still there.

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