So, this happened recently in Ireland.
In general, I’m a pretty easy going polytheist. There are some out there with whom I agree on many points, but whose hostility toward monotheism I don’t agree with. I have found things of beauty and inspiration within a variety of the monotheistic faiths — even if I don’t quite get the whole monotheism thing itself — and I have known beautiful people whose beauty has been in part inspired by their relationship with their god. My “beloved to those I love” part of my extended family includes Jesus, a variety of saints, and a somewhat uneasy inclusion of Jehovah. I cannot — I will not — look at the bloody past between the monotheists, especially the Christians, and our pagan ancestors, because they gave as good as they got. I do not have some idyllic view of our oppressed pagan ancestors. People are people, and people are often horrible. Religion is just an excuse.
But, it’s hard to be easy going sometimes. This didn’t happen in my country, and it wasn’t a statue of Poseidon, and it wasn’t even necessarily a religious icon. The people who did this very likely were using religion as an excuse to vandalize and be general dipshits. They’re people who are short-sighted and don’t care about things like their local economy, since the statue did boost tourism to the town. Basically, they’re idiots. Part of my reaction is to roll my eyes, shake my head, and mutter about people being people.
But there’s also anger. First: that someone’s art would be so blatantly disrespected and destroyed. Second: that we live in a world were this is basically okay. It carries with it, for me, the feel of someone walking into a holy space, and destroying it. It conjures feelings of temples-turned-to-churches. I won’t lie — I’ve had fantasies since yesterday about people breaking into churches, pulling down Christian icons, and replacing them with Pan, with Poseidon, with Zeus, with Odin, with Hera. Little fantasies, a taste of your own medicine. It won’t happen, and I don’t actually approve of defacing sacred space, anyone’s sacred space, for the record.
This hit especially hard, for some reason. In my worldview, the sea Powers are all related, a bit. The lines between Them are murky (heh). Manannan is not my God, but He is one of the names I suggested Poseidon take, when He insisted He was Poseidon. (“Are You sure, because I’m really not into the Greek gods.”) and He is a God I feel affectionate toward. He is not His statue, and this does not hurt Him.
But it’s a slap in the face, just the same. It’s a reminder that for all the talk of War against Christians, we are thought of so lowly, or so not thought of at all, that it’s taken for granted that we don’t exist, or that we’re not serious and not due the consideration that others are due.
Fuck. That. Shit.
There has been millennia of monotheistic reign across the world and we’re still here.
The temples of our ancestors have been razed to the ground. They’ve been burned. They’ve been made over into churches and we’re still here.
Our statues have been defaced. They’ve been locked up in museums, out of reach, with pieces missing, when they’ve been lucky to survive at all but we’re still here, and we’re making new art.
We’ve been burned alive. We’ve been driven out. We are still being killed for our faith, and if they are killing as many of their own as they are killing us, that does not make it okay but we’re still here.
The gods are alive, and They are engaged with this world. They do not need temples. They do not need icons. They need our open hearts — and sometimes They don’t even need that much. We sing Their praise. They are loving, and They are kind, and They are monstrous and They are bloodthirsty, and I love, love, love being a polytheist. Millennia of oppression, and here They are, and here we are. So, fuck you.
Hail Manannan. May justice be served . . . and if You feel the need to get in a little bit of revenge, too, all the better. Hail the Powers of the Deep. Hail the gods, old and new, and hail to my fellow polytheists who walk this world, worship the gods, and act as a constant ‘fuck you’ to those who would see us gone. I don’t know you all, and we don’t all see eye to eye, but the world is better for your presence, and for that alone you have my gratitude.