Posted: July 16, 2014 in Uncategorized


And now, for a special announcement.

Stay tuned later this Summer for the full release of a new community offering, brought to you by a whole fuckton of gods, more than a little bit of whiskey, and a slew of talented contributors, writers, lay leaders, theologians, clergy and devoted followers of Polytheistic traditions from far and wide.

  1. none says:

    I really really like Polytheist.com, and look forward to reading more posts on it. Great articles, great design, very timely project. Good to have in-depth exploration of polytheism.

    Just one teensy thing… the strapline. “Gods” is not a gender-neutral word, for me. I keep thinking, “what about the goddesses?” (and the genderqueer deities, obviously)

    Could you make the strapline “honoring many deities”?

    • Glad to hear that you are liking the site, and its team of columnists!

      While I completely understand where you are coming from (and have made VERY clear the gender-inclusive stances of the site, both in private and public), the linguistic element here is not in alignment: “Gods” is commonly considered linguistically applicable and appropriate as feminine, masculine, *or* neuter in virtually all contexts, (except in monotheistic practices which assert (erroneously) both a singular and masculine concept, wounds which many of us are seeking to move beyond in our religious developments). For many polytheist religionists, the reclaiming of the word “god” is of fundamental identity-level importance: it was a genocidal monotheistic murder machine which robbed the world and its religions of the many-ness of pantheonic platforms and relations. While use of the word “goddess” is common as well, many from a diverse set of educated, professional platforms — including importance voices in women’s religion, gender-variant/gender-queer, and more — find and use the word “gods” as acceptable in multiple gendered contexts.

      In this there are two sets of awkward, and imperfect collisions: a linguistic collision, and a social justice collision. From a linguistic standpoint the confusion comes from the many ways that words have evolved and changed over time, with translations not always working out: “gods” is of ultimately Germanic origin, while “polytheism” (and related) are of Greek origin, and the translations between these is not always perfect. Similarly, for many in the primarily religious social justice front, the reclaiming of religious identity and language from oppressive and militant cultural regimes is of the upmost importance, and rebranding “god” to an appropriately multi-gender role depending on context is a part of this. However, this aim can be seen as being in contest with gender-focused social justice front, the monotheistic masculinity seen in the word is a challenge to their gender-related aims.

      Unfortunately there is no way to appease every movement, even while supporting them both. In addition to the above, the other variations of “god” (such as goddess, or even “deity” in this context) are cumbersome and badly paired with the phrasing of the “rally call” under discussion.

      In common polytheist practice and usage, the phrase “Many Gods” is inclusive of deities across the gender spectrum and has become an important “rallying call” for polytheists in a global platform. While I have gone to great lengths to create a space that is comfortable, safe, and appealing to as wide a population of people as possible in our modern ultra-connected cross-cultural world, I also know that I cannot please everyone, no matter how much I’d love to.

      All of that said, I encourage you to use the words that are comfortable to you in your own religious identity. Similarly, I encourage you to find ways of seeing the value in the pursuits of others to reclaim the word from a monotheistic misuse; most of those involved in said pursuits are also adamantly and centrally involved in congruent movements around women’s rights, gender-variance activism, and religious inclusivity for both and all of the above, as members of those groups themselves or associated allies.

      Navigating the cross-cultural and cross-language international network that internet-based connectivity and communication is requires a certain “standing down” from time to time in order to find the common-ground to meet upon and collectively build forward into the future, for everyone. This common-ground will not meet everybody’s individual needs completely, but it is also not required to be the ONLY ground that they stand upon; this is why it is important to have regional movements, issue-specific or demographic-specific spaces for safe shared-experience dialog, networking, and peer-supporting, as all of the facets of our communities and polytheisms continue to grow, develop, and emerge into a tomorrow populated by many, many types of beings, each differentiated and honored.

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