European polytheism: a personal look

Having spent my life on one side of the Atlantic or the other, I feel like I’m able to walk between both ‘worlds’ of Paganism and Polytheism, when it comes to American and European perspectives. Although I do not agree entirely with either perspective (nor do I disagree entirely – I prefer to adopt what I feel represents the best of both in my own perspective and practice), I feel like this post by Helio is as well thought-out as it is well written; and deserves to be read and considered by Pagans and Polytheists regardless of geography. I think the ‘divide’ that many, not just Helio, observe is to some extent necessary – as Helio wisely points out, cultural, political, and other circumstances simply tend to be different, depending on which side of the Atlantic one resides in. Neither perspective is better than the other, both fit and serve the cultures in which they are found as best they can – and both are in a process of growing and evolving. The mistake that I see is in assuming that the divide makes one side better than the other – this is not the case, and this assumption makes it difficult for both sides to benefit from one another.

Golden Trail

Following recent discussions with other polytheists, which made obvious a divide in attitudes and perspectives between the two sides of the Atlantic, I’ve been considering the topic more extensively, taking into account the idiosyncrasies of the United States, western Europe in general and my country in particular. Things like History, politics, social dynamics and attitudes towards the State. And the more I thought about it, the more I kept going back to three points. So in order to clarify things, I wrote this post explaining where I stand as a European polytheist and in contrast with what comes across as a significant trend in US American polytheism. Keep in mind that I don’t claim to speak for all Europeans with an identical or similar religion, if nothing else because Europe, like the United States, is not monolithic. Furthermore, my views reflect mainly my experience as a native Portuguese living in…

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2 responses to “European polytheism: a personal look

  1. I agree with you that both sides have much to offer, but as someone who has lived in the UK all their life I must admit I find it difficult sometimes to relate to the cultural identity that some American writers express as part of their beliefs about polytheism.
    I think in some way I’ve been spoilt, growing up in the lands of my ancestors and having that cultural identity so deeply ingrained in me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think as long as you don’t make the mistake of feeling like you have to relate to someone else’s way of approaching the gods and spirits, you’re pretty much okay.

      It could be said that Americans are just as spoiled … most are living in lands shared with ancestors, too – in lands where you don’t have to travel too far to find vast tracts of wilderness, where it looks like the gods just finished putting the finishing touches in place the day before. America also has another advantage, albeit a very complicated one, in that it hasn’t been 1500 years since the demise of the last truly Pagan civilization to live there.

      As you say, there is much that each side of the Atlantic divide has to offer … this is why I’m reluctant to simply turn my back or tune out what American Polytheists have to say – especially since American Polytheism is not defined by its vocal minority. I feel like I would be deliberately cutting myself off from a source of experience and wisdom that could in some ways enhance my own experiences here in Europe, as it has already done for decades.

      Liked by 1 person

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