Oftentimes in the greater polytheistic discussions, outsiders to both specific polytheistic religious practice and Polytheist identity feel that THEY are the target audience of the dialogs, and that they have equal space within the conversations. While the discussions are often inclusive so as to include those who are exploring their religious experiences and identities and affiliations (for example with a specific cult tradition), they are NOT generally intended for the mainstream public community’s entitled curation. In most cases these conversations are happening — often at great investment of time and energy on behalf of the writers, priests, scholars, devotees and leaders — in an approachable and accessible manner specifically as a mode of outreach in order to be readily available to those for whom they could be potentially life-saving (or religiously serving) in nature: other Polytheists, or people who are having experiences which cannot be categorized within the “box” of another social and cultural movement more readily and obviously available to them, who are looking for answers (in the efforts of self-preservation, devotion, and sanity).
Those who “meddle” in these discussions from inside or out of them — magicians who don’t think these distinctions are important, political theorists and radicals who are anti-religious and think that the hashing out of language is totalitarian power-grabbing imperialism, atheists and anti-theists and humanist atheopathic missionaries from way the fuck outside the scope of these dialogs — are doing potentially GREAT AND LASTING HARM to the many of the intended audience, for whom these discussions are potentially life-and-identity-saving structures in the storm-tossed and crushing seas of the unknowably intense experiences of many, many gods. And spirits. And dead people. And ancestors. And -enemies-, who can breed madness inside even the most devoted of minds.
These conversations could be more easily had exclusively and exclusionarily in private between parties who do not need to be constantly reminded what words mean and how to use them. IT WOULD BE SO MUCH EASIER IF WE WERE ONLY WRITING IN ORDER TO TALK TO ONE ANOTHER. And we do that, too, the private dialogs and the debriefs and the professional conferencing in order to top-shelf the shit out of our own understandings and credible critical regards. But we’re not “here” for that, in terms of the public spaces. Here we are about outreach and preservation and trust and demonstrating constancy that newcomers to experiences and paradigms that they may not have asked for or sought can -survive- them. These are done as public service to and for a people who would otherwise have no resources, which is known because when many of us WERE those people, we had no resources to turn to: the structures, paradigms, programs, platforms and prodigious magical or spiritual nuances available FAILED because what was happening was DIFFERENT than what they were intended for.
This is outreach. This is life-saving intervention. This is religion. This is real work. This is real life. This is religious rights work. This is human rights work. This is intervention. This is education.
Another take-away from this: those of us leading these specific sets of discussions are not “in it” for ourselves. We’re not hashing out language and doing outreach for our own benefit or to inflate our numbers or to engorge our… egos.
We’re desperately trying to create a resource platform available to others, not for increased readership or click-through traffic, but to increase their likelihood of surviving through the night.
If we seem passionate about it, it’s because we’re dealing with issues at THAT level, not passing hobbyist regard for neat spiritual niches or clever words we learned in a comic book: we’re doing real-life real-world resource propagation for real-and-true demographics of at-risk persons. Many but certainly not all of these are young persons. All of these face potential marginalization and stigma and harm both socially and internally (because of their own process of enculturation through societies and cultures and movements which not only fail to provide adequate space and distinction for these experiences and identities, but instead leverage at them HEAVY stigma, misunderstanding, and even hatred, which can lead to self-loathing and suicidal hopelessness).
In other words?
IF WE SEEM PASSIONATE ABOUT SERVING OUR GODS AND SAVING PEOPLE’S LIVES, maybe it’s because we are passionate about these things, rather than because you managed to “find a sore spot” while flailing at us and our religious rights movement in your blind ignorance. #ThisIsWhyWeNeedPolytheism