I have a list… a growing list of posts that I wish to get working on for this blog and have been meaning too for some time. Keep thinking that I’ll have more time and energy to work on them, but apparently moving into a new apartment without the assistance of movers and without taking time off from a full time job is a real pain in the neck. Yeah yeah, that should have been obvious, but it wasn’t to me. First time trying it and it really seemed like a good idea at the time.
I also wasn’t going to write on the topic at hand at all at first, but I’m starting to feel there might be a need for some of the things I have to say. About this whole God Graveyard thing. Yeah. That thing. There’s a lot of posts about it floating around the Pagan/Polytheist blogsphere right now. So far my favorite is Costel Hidlr’s post which I re-blogged earlier today, for reminding us that hey, the people who did this are people too just like us and as angry as their actions might make everyone responding with more anger and hate isn’t getting anyone anywhere.
Looking over the original post I had my own set of reactions to the display. Some of which are a little off the wall, but one in particular I think is pretty important: There really are Forgotten Gods.None of those Gods, the truly Forgotten, were represented in the graveyard. They couldn’t be even if the creators of the display wanted Them to be. Heck, just by going through the effort of collecting all those names together the creators made a pretty good show of just how remembered and easily accessible every one of those Gods are. Anyone with an internet connection can plug in and research any God they choose. Maybe not great research… and maybe someone should inform Tom Hiddleston that he’s not only a God, but dead. I hear someone was able to pick out his smiling face on one of the tombstones.
That was a big part of what I took away from reading the original post though: for all the stated fervor for the non-reality of the Gods, you couldn’t create such a thing without acknowledging Them on some level. The blog post even includes a picture of offerings someone left for Freya. They could have taken those offerings, thrown them in the trash and pretended that it never happened. That would have suited their stated mission of showing that all these Gods were dead and forgotten quite well. They didn’t and instead they acknowledged the existence of the offerings. Not with kind words, but kindness for another can not be learned before one acknowledges the other.
Back to my original point: the graveyard trying to say all these Gods were forgotten got me thinking about another very real issue for polytheists. What about Gods that really are forgotten? It occurred to me that a few years back with I was taking a college course on Russian Folklore that the professor spoke about how much of the original mythology of the region was oral in nature and so was gradually lost as the Russian Orthodox Church took hold. Those Gods are Forgotten. We don’t even know Their names, much less the first things about Them. What They loved, the lessons They shared with Their people, how They preferred to be honored. All of that is lost to us now and unless some scrap of information is out there to be found, will always be lost.
So, that would make those Gods truly dead, right? I mean, without a name they have no voice and no one to honor them.
Fuck that. They have US. Or me at least. I can’t say how many others might follow this example, but I will.
It isn’t much, but I can build a shrine. I can make offerings. I can try to give Them things that might lend them voice. There are a few things that thus far seem pretty universal to me as for what makes for good offerings the world over. Good food and clean water are a start. Alcohol I considered… but I also remembered what someone wrote (Fearlesslyownwards I think?) about how alcohol was a destructive force when introduced into some native cultures by Europeans and so might not always be appropriate. From there I want to set up things that can be used to give Voice. A blank book, a quill pen and an inkwell. A wind instrument. A drum. A collection of seeds (seeds to be planted into minds). Some materials for making the sort of substances that drive people into ecstatic and creative states, poppies maybe. I’ll have to think more on it… but the tools that inspire. My thinking is that for a God who can’t easily reach anyone through a name to reach out at all, it’ll be through the creative process. Through art, writing and music.
I wanted to get going on building this today, but budget concerns (sucks being human and needing food…) ending up coming first. Looks like over the next few weeks I should be able to start work on this shrine and it looks like at least three others. Money is tight now, but the new apartment I mentioned at the start of the post has blessed with both a low rent and an entire spare room that has been dubbed the Shrine Room. I’ll post more about what I build there as things progress.
For now… I’ll leave everyone with a prayer:
Hail to You, the Forgotten Gods
Hail to You who cared for Your people
Who taught them to tend to the land
Who taught them to love, to live, to give thanks
Your names may be forgotten
But in the children, your people live on
May Your voices yet be heard
In whispers, in dreams, in thoughts unbidden
Guiding us still, and our children after us