Once More, With Feeling

If you don’t like a deity, any deity, my advice is simple:

DON’T.

WORSHIP.

THEM.

There are no Pagan Police who are going to be on you like cheese on bread if you don’t dare worship every single deity that your ancestors worshiped, because then we’re all screwed when some unknown deity comes along and is all “Hey, YOU! Where’s my piece of the pie? I was worshiped by X people at Y time. Y U FORGET ME?!”

I know you’re probably thinking that this is about something I saw on Facebook about Loki (and it is) but this is also about people like Trixie who disparage more “mainstream” deities like Freyja. Speaking of Trixie, I thought I saw that she was considering switching to Vanatru a week ago, but I can’t find the comment, so I will assume I was having a nightmare and she’s not actually seriously considering it, because then I’d have to make popcorn.

Anyways, back to the main topic of discussion. Seriously, if you don’t like a particular figure from your mythology, don’t worship them. I don’t get along with Kemetic deities, but I don’t go around saying disparaging things about Kemetic deities, BUT ESPECIALLY not in front of people who are devoted to them. I certainly avoid constantly going on about it wherever I can find an audience willing to listen. I don’t interrupt threads with “BTW Odin sux” or something equally silly, and I try to generally avoid using EVERY (and I do mean every) opportunity to bash Odin’s followers.

You know what I do?

I. Don’t. Get. Involved.

Okay, actually, I might get involved if the topic is regarding the latest stupid thing some Asshattru is done, or in a thread called “Why don’t you honour Odin?” (or something like that) but anything else strikes me as walking into a church service and being all “Hail Satan!” and attempting to conduct an (early modern) form of the Black Mass with a naked lady you brought for the purpose. It’s rude, disrespectful, and potentially messy.

As an aside, I love it when people tell me I obviously don’t know anything about academia despite the two degrees I have on my wall.

As a further aside, I also love it when people lecture me about the meaning of the word “religion”–when I have a degree in RELIGIOUS studies, the discipline devoted to the study of RELIGION, where we defined RELIGION at the beginning of Every. Fucking. Class.

Hey Sard, if you’re reading this, how about if I define the word “Medieval” for you? It’s a period in history stretching from around 900 – 1400 CE (give or take a few decades) where people believed some really crazy shit like that the Sun revolved around the Earth, also, SATRAPS! ISN’T THIS FUN? (Those of you who are reading this can substitute your particular field and a particularly basic definition that probably gets a bunch of things wrong.)

My point is….I need to stop talking to these people. Would anyone like to give me a few strokes with a flogger so I can deal with my obvious masochistic tendencies in a healthy way?

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4 thoughts on “Once More, With Feeling

  1. OMG ALL OF THE FEELS WE SHARE. D’: I sincerely hate it when, say, a sparkie or plumber who happens to be Pagan/Polytheist tries to tell me that I don’t know shit about my own field (Medieval Studies), especially on the basis that “I’m older than you! You’re twenty-something, what would you know!? You’re a stupid college-educated Liberal elitist!”

    I don’t go around pretending to be a lawyer because I looked up NYS law on a legal website a few times, or whatever. People think they can read a couple of biased Llewellyn Publications books and be Historians. No, you need accredited training for that. At least four years to be considered *somewhat* knowledgeable, and at least six or eight to be considered fully competent, depending upon the degree and profession within any given field you’re aiming for. There’s a reason why you have to go to University to study these things. Not simply to “reed buks an’ geet all smurt,” but to acquire discernment skills, research skills, and learn the necessary languages in order to access primary and secondary sources in overly-exclusive databases (although I rather wish the Ivory Tower wouldn’t hoard knowledge like that, hurts more than helps I think). Many of the “non-initiated” can’t tell their ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to a reliable historical source, primary or secondary (i.e., all those people who glorify Snorri as a primary source and the be-all and end-all of Norse religion and mythology, despite being over 100 years past the end of the Viking Age and a very biased, prone-to-censorship Christian lawyer who was one of the worst of all Medieval chroniclers ::headdesk, HEADDESK FOREVER::).

    All that aside and somewhat related: historically, most peoples, Ancient and Medieval, didn’t worship more than a handful of Gods anyway. Just the God(s) of their town, or within the immediate area, and sometimes, Gods they picked up on their excursions to foreign lands for trade and war and such like. We look at “Mythology” far, far differently than Ancients and Medievals did, and we generalize it obscenely, to a degree that was never historically practiced. Modern Polytheists are also far more rigid, establishing firm lines between Polytheist religions where Ancients and Medievals saw very vague and fluid ones, or no lines at all. Even in highly organized, centralized societies like that of Imperial Egypt, there were too many regional variations and innumerable cults to account for in any generalized way, and a crap-ton of cultural/religious diffusion between their immediate neighbors (Assyrians, Hurrians, Canaanites, and Libyans, namely). In decentralized tribal societies, such as those of the countless tribes of Continental Europe, it’s even harder to account for all the regional variations in practice and mythological interpretation — saying nothing of the utter dearth of pre-Christian, non-Roman sources in regard to the latter; at least Egyptian society had a literacy rate of 3% or so, and an extensive textual corpus, whereas Continental European and Scandinavian tribes were essentially non-literate, unable to leave their own words, beliefs, and feelings behind for us to understand in any substantive way.

    . . . Not that we *have* to stick to History 100% of the time, depending, and not that people are STOOPID for adapting their worship to Modern living/what works for them and whatnot, but yeah, far too many regional and period discrepancies and literacy issues to shake a stick at. Some aspects of various Theologies are fairly consistent from time period to time period, from region to region, and there are definite “rights” and “wrongs” to them (particularly in regard to, say, Egyptian and Assyrian religion), but those aspects are few.

    I genuinely don’t understand why people have to besmirch others’ Gods, at all. I’ve personally never had any issues with any Gods; some I just don’t “deal with.” And, like you, I leave it at that. And if someone slanders a God that I don’t worship — especially with historically-incorrect information that I know is incorrect, and I have the legitimate sources to do it — I often cannot leave well enough alone, and “defend” that God and Hir worshipers in as objective a way as I can manage (sometimes that is difficult). I’ve had to write a lot of “correctional pieces” on Set in various places, Who happens to be one of my chief deities, and I wrote at least one piece on Melek Taus, and how He’s not “Satanic,” and went through a painful explanation of Kurdish Monotheism (which is kind of not monotheistic, but you know). How is it difficult for people to just stick to the Gods they know and like, and leave others’ Gods alone? Why can’t they at least do sound research on a deity/religion before criticizing?

    I swear, people spend more time slandering Gods and being angry than they do with genuine theological pursuit. And if people want to be angry and indignant over anything, it should be over conduct (within reason — i.e., “you’re discriminating against [race, sex, gender],” or “you’re equating materialism and consumerism with devotion,” or “you’re being anachronistic, and here’s how/why; you should probably read these books if you want to know more about the historical background of this subject,” or “wow, you’re being needlessly aggro; calm your tittychongas”), not who worships which God(s).

    OMG LONG REPLY WOW, I dunno. I wouldn’t say “don’t talk to those people,” but definitely “choose your battles carefully,” which by the sound of things, you generally do anyway, so, I’m basically preaching to the choir. 😛

    Sometimes, it’s worth having those conversations — if not for the people directly involved, for the people quietly observing who are on the fence, and more receptive to learning and understanding different points of view. In a lot of cases, it’s not worth the time or energy.

    As a general rule and a general statement: when in doubt, play Skyrim, or do the dishes, or sit in front of the shrine in prayer and meditation instead. A lot of issues suddenly don’t matter so much once we’re off the interwebs, which is full of a surprising amount of hate for little to no reason. And I say that as someone who admits to having the same problem of “getting involved in pointless discussions with people who don’t want to exchange ideas civilly and intellectually, and really ought to be better at avoiding that sort of thing.”

    1. Trixie is a person I interact with on Facebook (and elsewhere) who likes to whine about how the gods have abandoned her every other week or so. I use a pseudonym to protect the guilty. I will say you probably already know of her, it’s just not clicking yet.

      See this post of mine for one of the many “Trixie-isms” I’ve collected: https://adventuresinvanaheim.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/freyja-scorned/

      You know, it suddenly occurred to me that this might strike someone as obsessive, but Trixie is a veritable gold mine of this sort of behaviour. I don’t understand it, I should probably stop giving her attention, but I don’t get how you can positively drool over Freyr and then turn around and call His Sister some sort of disparaging name (and then turn around AGAIN and say that you’re in love with Freyja) and then turn around and whine because Freyja isn’t paying any attention to you, only to be like “Yay! Freyja’s paying attention to me!” and then “Ew, why isn’t Freyja only having sex with her husband?”

      Do you see where this is going?

      1. Ooohhhhh, I remember that Freyja incident. And I know who you’re talking about now. That changes things somewhat, ha. In “Trixie’s” case, there’s no amount of anything you could say or do for her.

        She *does* try, and I do think there’s something wrong with her in the psych department, sadly . . . but you’ve more than put the necessary tools and tidbits before her — as have many. She doesn’t often care to pick those things up and use them to her own benefit, however.

        When it comes to people like Trixie, though it is SO HARD BECAUSE ALL OF THE HEADDESK PLEASE WORK I KNOW YOU HAVE IT IN YOU OMG, there comes a point where one should just walk away. Either she’ll sink or swim. :/

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