Today, chatting with a friend, religion came out and soon after the notion that I’m a polytheist. It was a long time no one asked me directly and I, for one, always think that is so visible and clear that I behave like everyone knows. I’ve never hidden it, anyway.
After some chatters, way more agreeable than what I usually expects in such occasions, he went with the thing. Everyone always says one thing, that is either stupid, unpleasant or something equally problematic. Fortunately, this time I was spared from the most idiotic things (“Do you *really* worship Zeus?!”, “What does that even mean?”, “Oh, don’t tease me, it’s not possible to be polytheist nowadays!”), but it still made me wonder.The incriminated words were these: If I hadn’t learn better, I would’ve asked you what do you gain from believing in a religion when they’re all bullshit.
Is religion a sort of trade? I insert prayer coins in a divine machine that gives me what I want? If that was so, I would probably be the greatest atheist in the world. What I want in a relationship with my Gods is not that they solve my problems in my place. They could not do that and I suspect many of them wouldn’t even want to. Some Gods and Goddesses are more prone to help you (although the idea that every Deity should be concerned with humanity’s problems clashes a bit with my personal perspective), but that that doesn’t mean they’ll wave a magic wand and make everything right.
I’m the only one who can do things, for me, in my life. And among other things, what I do is believing. I don’t believe in blind faith, I’m not able to have that. Nor, I think, polytheism asks us to believe in the Gods just because they exist. Being neo-pagan, being polytheist, is about experiencing the Gods in Their many forms: feeling the warm Sun upon my skin makes me think of the Goddess. The moon sailing through the black, night sea reminds me of the God. Looking at the Land with my polytheistic/animistic glasses makes me think about all the things lingering in the world that we cannot see. The subtle connections. The energy manifesting themselves in a miryad of ways, different every time, every time teaching me something new.
So, what do I gain? Meaning. Not because I need someone to tell what I should do or what my life should be. I don’t need the Goddess to tell me what I have to make of my life. I have no God trying to selling me a role to fulfill. That’s not the meaning I refer to. What I mean is that all my experiences can be framed in my set of beliefs. When I encounter something new, I have a set of tools to analyse what it is. To classify it. To put it into place so that another piece of the puzzle is completed. It is not a cage, because the scheme continously evolves with me. It’s difficult to explain exactly what the idea behind it.
But I know that that is not only a Hill. It’s a fairy mound, where the creature of the Sidhe dance during years-long festivals. Sometimes a human will stumble among them and live some crazy adventures. I know that that springs are expressions of the Goddess, and it’s not merely water.
Nothing is “merely” something. Everything has a reason, a purpose, a meaning.