Recently I was sitting with my best friend and we were having a discussion that led to her speaking about her beliefs. And they sounded so very familiar – something I used to believe, or at least used to espouse believing because it was what I thought I was supposed to say. But since Manannan, Brighid, and Lir have come into my life, my outlook on the Gods and the nature of Godhead has changed so drastically.For my new followers (hello my darlings from Tumblr) or those who just don’t feel like scanning back through six years worth of posts, let me explain. I used to hold with the belief of all Gods are the same God or the same God and Goddess. It is a pretty Wiccan/eclectic pan-Pagan ideal that works really well to bring religions and people together and it gives an air of respectability when you’re trying to win over Christians to accept you and your faith. It can even be stretched into a kind of soft polytheism that I clung to for many years. And in the beginning, it was truly what I believed with all my heart.
And then I met the rest of my Gods. I encountered other Gods and heroes, some of whom I honor but don’t have the relationship with that I have with my Gods. I grew into my polytheism. This doesn’t mean to imply that my previous beliefs – and thus, those who still believe them, or even monotheism are juvenile beliefs. They are simply different beliefs and in my maturation, I have become more of a polytheist in my mindset.
I’m not a granite polytheist – I don’t believe that every single name we have was an individual deity, or even that each subset of deities are completely individual (for example, the Greeks and Romans). And my discovery that the Goddess I have always known as Danu (and whom I still refer to as such often when speaking with Her because of long habit) is actually the Goddess Boann weighs heavily on my thoughts on this. I’ve had a few other interactions that have led me to believe this as well, but, as in most everything, this is UPG (unverified personal gnosis – in other words, what my experiences tell me is truth).
But as much as I want to say I hold a unified view that we’re all worshiping the same higher power, I can’t. And looking back, I should have recognized this sooner. Ever ritual where we called different “faces” of “the God and Goddess”, I felt so many different deities come forward. That doesn’t jibe with same face, different name concept for me.
But you know what? That doesn’t mean that we cannot be unified. We don’t have to worship the same God(s) to be united. We don’t have the believe the same ways to be united. We don’t have to be the same to be worthy. And this is something that the Pagan community needs to embrace. Because then there wouldn’t need to be a divide between polytheist and atheist Pagans. And these two groups wouldn’t need to feel like they have no place under the Pagan banner. Because it shouldn’t have to be sameness that connects us. It should be okay that it is our differentness that connects us. That’s the community that I thought I had joined in the late 90s online. It’s the community I did join in the early 2000s in Hattiesburg. People who were so very different from one another, where people discussed the differences of their beliefs to better understand one another rather than find ways to make themselves more homogeneous.
So I stand to say that I am a jello polytheist who doesn’t believe that all Gods are one God. Who doesn’t believe that the universe is a God and a Goddess to balance and break the world down. I don’t believe there is a universal truth to the Gods. The only universal truths are the governing of the universe and I don’t believe that we know for sure what those are. If the universe is the ultimate God, then it is an agender, uncaring, distant God that doesn’t actually care about the lives of the creatures on some tiny fringe planet in one of their multitude of galaxies. And you know what? That’s fucking beautiful to me. My Gods are beings who ripped Themselves from the very fabric of reality and it is that which makes Them great. And They have shown that They have a care about my life, and that’s what makes Them worthy of my honor and worship.
Your individual beliefs don’t have to be squashed to fit into some existing box, even a “non-box” like modern Pagan boxes are touted as. I think it’s great that Pagans are still trying to band together today. I’m glad that even those who can’t bring themselves to call themselves Pagans are still trying to band together to find their place. But, you guys, you can find a place without forcing your beliefs to looking like someone else’s. You’re still worthy. Your faith is still worthy.