09 May 2008
I have recently come to the realization, as is obvious from my updated profile, that I am a hard polytheist and have been for some time. Now we all know that poly = many and theo = god. But there's more to it than that; there are hard and soft polytheists. Soft polytheists are of the opinion that all gods are either manifestations of each other or that all gods are different aspects of the same single god. Hard polytheists, like me, view the gods as unique, separate individuals. When I first began studying and reflecting upon the gods back in my teens I was only interested in the myths as fascinating stories with perhaps some wisdom to impart (and this is how I feel about the Holy Bible of the Abrahamic folks). When I moved further into neopaganism and Wicca I was a soft polytheist, feeling that all gods were one and all religions were one and we are all one and all is one and all that happy horseshit. Now, don't get me wrong. If you are a soft polytheist and it works for you and your magic then that's great. But I see all of that "all are one" stuff that I was bombarded with in my early studies as trite oversimplification that limited my perception and worship of the gods. For me, it was happy horseshit because it was easy; it was simple because if all gods are one then there's no need to study, meditate or worship as much. I've since moved on from those early days and now, more than 11 years after I first dedicated myself to the Lord and Lady of Wicca I've come to the opposite extreme. Now that I've got a few years of study and practice under my belt I see that my past soft polytheism was really a hangover from my knowledge and experience of monotheism. I think soft polytheism made the transition from Christianity to neopaganism easier: one god, to one goddess, to a goddess and a god and now to many distinct deities. I no longer call myself Wiccan, and haven't for years and no longer see all goddesses as aspects of one superior goddess nor do I see all gods as different aspects of the Horned God. And I'm actually pretty glad about that fact. I feel that I've grown and am no longer in need of what's easy and simple. I see all gods as unique and distinct beings who are each worthy of study, reflection and worship. Hard polytheism isn't easy for me like soft polytheism was; I have to work harder, study more and think more. And I wouldn't have it any other way.