I’ve made more progress in reading through the DP manual — I should have the finished tonight/tomorrow, and I’ll move on to supplemental material. I want to make it perfectly clear: I am already finding much of value in the material, and I’m not knocking anyone’s approach. I’ve interacted with people in the ADF before now, and I really have nothing to complain about. This, so far, is proving to be a useful exercise in re-evaluating where I am.
I hit the section dealing with hearth cultures last night, and I read some more of their sample rituals. I found the later ones to be better in that they seem a bit less ‘here, I’m giving to you so now gimme!!’, and there was fewer instances of problematic-for-me language when it came to dealing with the Deep and what its treasures are. I still think that, as a primer for new-to-paganism in general, more time could be spent on why we might interact with the Powers, and why relationships being maintained for their own good might be useful and desirable. Maybe it’s my background. Maybe it’s my retail history. Maybe it’s my aversion to the way we are consumers in the world, but I really want more substance on this topic. I can get behind people being in need of help and having nowhere else to turn — Poseidon came into my life when I needed the help, and He gave that to me before anything else was exchanged; I’m not knocking that we gain from Them and that They seem willing to give. I just . . . want more substance about how relationships can be, in a primer that is for new-to-paganism folks.
I also want citations. When I reached the part dealing with the Proto-Indo-European hearth culture, I stumbled. So, I’m all for being inspired by the past, and I’m all for creating anew upon the bones of the past, and so I’m not knocking that. But the manual asserts that ‘Spring was a very busy time for the Proto-Indo-Europeans. It began with the Spring Equinox, which was the New Year (the beginning of the year, not the end). Associated with Xáusōs and Diwós Sunú (“Sons of the God”). The return of Light.’ Citations for the curious, please? Because if they don’t exist, that’s fine, but say so, and stop this need to root *everything* in the past like this. And if they do exist, gimme because I want to see the source material for myself, because context matters to me and I need to see it for myself. (Context matters. It’s why I don’t understand how the bit about Poseidon Asphaleios wound up being about Him holding the earth steady, when the reference in Pausanias is all about commerce and the marketplace. I want to know how Burkhert made that jump; I want to know what he knew that I don’t.)
Perusing the Hellenic hearth culture and their High Days, I had to walk away. The two suggestions for the Winter Solstice were Dionysos festivals, and while I get it, Dionysos is the shit, it grated. I understand that we build our own tradition within the ADF format, and so obviously mine will be heavily slanted toward Poseidon — but come on. THE MONTH WAS NAMED FOR POSEIDON in Athens. There is historical evidence of His festival falling on or near the Solstice in various parts of the Hellenic world. /rant. That’s my own peeve, and I admit that.
I’m still sitting with the IE focus. Groups can decide how they want to be, and I won’t be a poor guest by demanding otherwise. I’m finding it interesting how much my time within the heathen community and having Poseidon worship excluded solidified within me a reluctance toward similar exclusion, in general. It was formative, for sure. “Come worship with us, honor the gods, stand with us in community and frith — but we don’t want this very central part of who you are, it has no place with us.” It gives me the smallest insight into how people who fall outside our expected norms of various issues — religious, race, gender, sexuality, ways of being in and experiencing the world, might maybe feel when they are excluded, and it makes me extremely reluctant to be a person who endorses that exclusion. Yes, both Poseidon and Odin fall under the umbrella . . . but I also feel a bit disingenuous, being someone living in a land that is not European, and seeking to find my gods is this place. I do seek out Others — the landspirits here have run the gamut between being flexible with whatever form I use to approach them to being outright demanding in dictating how it will be, based on Their established preferences, and I will not do anything other than stay open to Their input. I honor Poseidon when the rains return, but I honor Poseidon and the Rainmakers; I’m inclusive to those Who are here, and I think we need to be, and I think, with those of us on occupied land, that’s going to be tricky, and important.
I realize, as I study, and ponder, what I want is modern polytheism to be inclusive. I want space at the table for all sorts of polytheists with all sorts of cultural influences. I want the uniting factor to be respect, to be hospitality given and received. I want us to be good hosts and good guests. I want that to be the common ground, and maybe not what our rituals and worship look like.
A need to have our praxis look the same, or even similar, is a hold-over from monotheism, and it’s a need that has to go.
These are my thoughts this morning.
Now for chores!