So this one time I was writing about human rights and religious rights online, and an older reader who had been a part of the early formative Neopagan scene from the 1970s on challenged the merit of Polytheists utilizing a differentiated religious identity for themselves, because in their day, polytheism was considered the default in Neopaganism. This is a common sentiment which is reiterated by a demographic of people whose religious identity meshed comfortably with their Western Occult background of a magical identity which meshed comfortably with their social identities as founders of a spooky new movement forty-five years ago, and yet as a brief perusal of a site like Witches&Pagans or Patheos or any theme-appropriate bookcase in a retail bookstore today will demonstrate, is hardly the default position of today.
Sometimes people have spontaneous experiences with the gods, unsought and often even unwanted, unpleasant or ecstatic or traumatic of inspiring or all of the above and more, and these people are not somehow required to have first been members of the Neopagan movement beforehand, nor (rationally speaking) do those experiences (or whatever convictions or affirmations they may find moving forth from them) magically bestow upon them mandatory inclusion in the Neopagan culture clique thenceforth.
And yet many prominent voices within the circles and spheres thus identified will describe all polytheism — event ancient polytheisms predating the modern era — “subordinate stratum” to the Neopagan machine, which by this rationale are expected to bend knee to circles and philosophies and credal vantages to which they may bear no relation. When they try to identify as separate or distinct from this group that they may have no relationship to at all, they are simultaneously condemned and disallowed from departure, even if they never opted into such relation in the first place.
It turns out that one’s encounters with the many, many gods may not be at all dependent upon who they eat lunch with in the cafeteria before the recess bell rings.