Originally posted on The Allergic Pagan:
In my last post, I used Jason Mankey’s interview of self-described atheist Pagan Amy B. as an opportunity to introduce you to three other non-theistic Pagans, bloggers who described themselves variously as naturalistic, atheistic, non-deistic, and pantheistic, all of whom express a deep sense of reverence toward Pagan ritual. I was already thinking I should write a companion post highlighting some hard polytheists and deity-centered Pagans. Then I saw that Jason had written another post, entitled “Holier Than Thou Paganism”, in which he takes issue with the ideological exclusivism of a certain hard polytheist and I knew I needed to write this post.
There is an unfortunate social phenomenon which causes the most outspoken, and sometimes the most outrageous, individuals in a group to draw more attention to themselves and thereby come to be seen as more representative of the group than they really are. For example, recently there has been some attention given to Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial candidate and pastor E.W. Jackson’s statements about yoga being Satanic. (He has since tried to soften that position.) In my early years as reactionary Pagan, just after having left Christianity myself, it might have been tempting to take statements like this as representative of all Christians. But Jackson is not representative of even a majority of Christians, and it’s irresponsible to suggest that he is. I’m glad to say that I have at least come far enough that, when I read Jackson’s statement, I just felt sorry for all the Christians are embarrassed to be associated in any way with Jackson.
Now, nothing Jason wrote suggests that that one polytheist is representative of hard polytheists. But, at one point, not too long ago I’m embarrassed to say, I would have been tempted to take Jason’s post about one hard polytheist as evidence that all hard polytheists are ideological exclusivists. I am fortunate enough now to have had enough exposure to a variety of polytheistic perspectives to know better. So, allow me to introduce you to the recent writings of three bloggers who might be described as hard polytheists or deity-centered Pagans, each of whom has written compellingly about the need for “Big Tent” Paganism (or “Big Sandbox” Paganism, if you prefer).