I had 3 hours of sleep last night, and I checked the election results at 4:30 AM. I got out of bed at 6:17 AM because my alarm would go off in 13 minutes. I showered and put on water for coffee. I went to my shrine to pray.
Today was the 9th of Maimakterion, according to HMEPA, when the Mousai, Rhea, and Helios have the highest honors, and I honor Mnemosyne alongside the Mousai. I tried to clear my head to pray.
I prayed to Helios first, but when I reached Rhea — the mother of the gods, she who runs through the mountains with cymbals in the company of lions — I choked up in the middle of the invocation and nearly started crying. I apologized and explained to her how I felt. I thought that I would collapse into a fit of tears, but my eyes remained dry, just as they have for the past few hours. I’ve never been so numb before that I couldn’t even cry. I read from the Orphic Hymn to Rhea and moved on to the Mousai and Mnemosyne.
Halfway through my walk to work, I realized that I have never been so livid in my life. I have spent months having panic attacks over this election because I grew up in the Midwest and know who they’re voting for and I actually anticipated this happening. I have spent all of the time since marriage equality feeling happy and relatively safe in a blue state, pepping myself up because I’m one of the only queer Millennials I know at work, and being one of the only queer Millennials one knows in person is isolating.
41.7% of Connecticut voted for Donald Trump. This means that 2/5 of the people around me might have a problem with my queerness, or who I date within that queer category, or that my niece is half-Latinx, or that I’m a woman, or that I’m a woman whose personality is 2/3 masculine on personality tests. It makes me feel sick inside. I walked around my office wondering which other white people voted for Trump. It’s like a game of Paranoia.
I am demographically Millennial, and I have a Tumblr. My alma mater’s science fiction and fantasy con this spring had space on all of its badges for pronouns. My generation is queer as fuck, and the younger generation is even queerer (and even less white).
I am also a bitter, aging Millennial troll who has spent the past year and change watching Generation X implode in on itself in the polytheist blogosphere. I’m sick of that, too, and I’m a Hellenic traditionalist who keeps to the Athenian lunar calendar of sacrifices and uses the LABRYS documentation for my multiple household worship shrines. I am orthopraxically conservative and think that I am being racy because I use Japanese incense sticks for offerings, have a close patron relationship with several deities, and participate in Kyklos Apollon.
There are really only four basic points I want to make, and you might notice that they’re at the intersection of these two very exhausting things:
- Anti-colonialism is the key for (indigenous and reconstructionist) polytheisms’ survival, and it involves (a) reducing the stigma of pre-colonization belief systems and (b) education about these systems (within a polytheism’s adherents) so one can hold one’s own against others. Anti-colonialism comes with its sister antiracism to ensure that no one is demeaned or exploited and that everyone is afforded full human dignity.
- Within this system, fascism is a corruption caused by colonialism and power imbalances that alienates and isolates a group because that group thinks it is special, destroying it and perverting it from the inside out like a predatory fungus eats an ant’s brain. That never ends well, and it never benefits our gods. Fascism is also a toxic perversion of healthy attitudes towards one’s ancestors and culture.
- Violence is always, always, always failure. I am going to pull an Apollonius of Tyana here and say that I am perfectly fine with others worshipping Ares, but I don’t. (And if you don’t get that reference, he said an analogous thing about Dionysus and why he didn’t imbibe any alcoholic beverages.)
- I believe that any violence is a failure of some system of communication or compassion or support. As a Type A person, there is nothing I hate more than failure. This extends to revolutionary violence. If a reign begins in blood, it will end in the same way. (That’s a phrase from a movie I watched as a kid.)
- Everyone deserves basic respect. The reason so many of us Millennials are angry is that we’re adults now. Those of us who are more moderate saw what the radical left was doing with intersectional privilege, and we realized that we also wanted respect because that’s what everyone wants. In other words, not everyone who demands that you check privilege is going to break out into “One Day More!” like it’s the June Days.
- Some of us are actually people who have been catcalled while walking to the pharmacy to get meds for our 104˚F fevers because no one else will do it for us, and we’re tired of bullshit.
- And by “everyone deserves respect,” do I mean everyone? This doesn’t mean that you can’t revoke respect if le turns out to be an asshole. I have no respect for child molesters, for example.
- Part of building worship of the gods is ensuring that we are building good scaffolding for the next generation. We need to show up for our gods to stand up for our religions. We need to light incense because it’s a radical act. We also need to greet those (generationally) younger than us with compassion and endeavor to understand the very real issues they face because part of dealing with the next generation is mentoring them into badass devotees and leaders.
I matured on Rousseau and Lenin and Marx, but I am not a socialist. I am a member of the intelligentsia and an anti-consumerist. I believe in strong government, an informed citizenry, and the social contract between the two. I am not an anarchist or a fan of revolutions because I hate seeing kids die. I am a strong critic of imperialism, colonialism, and evangelism.
These are thoughts I have withheld for some time, and admittedly, I have spent a lot of time playing respectability politics. I have downplayed how demographically young I am, how religious and polytheistic I am, (and until marriage equality happened) how queer I am because I am a femme lesbian extrovert — and I have done this pretty much everywhere. After praying today, my anger just built and built.
I think the wake-up call for me today is that doing so is not a viable option. Some of you know that I worship the Erinyes/Eumenides and that I have a devotional shrine to them. I will be making many offerings there over the next few years. If anyone wants to join me, let me know.