Archive for December, 2015

Posting Well with Others

There are certain things that I think of as Standard Internet Social Protocol, but as more people have joined in (especially with the increased access that mobile devices provide) I suspect some of these norms have gotten a bit lost in the shuffle.

FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions– Read them. Especially important in any field of specialized knowledge- if someone asks questions that are in the FAQ, politely direct them toward it. If they keep ignoring this, moderate. If you don’t have a FAQ for a social media nexus, create one. You can also include questions that aren’t actually frequently asked, but you wish they were. Links to other communities that people commonly mix you up with are also often appreciated, and will save everyone headaches.

Common Internet Abbreviations & Group-specific terminology should be listed.

Rules of Behavior– They should exist! Consequences for violating said behavior- they should also exist and be enforced! Like real life- because yes, the internet is an extension of real life- there are consequences. Social norms that seem pretty obvious to you should still be in there, it needs to be written in the clearest language. Keep in mind cultural differences, as people can be posting from any part of the world. What ages does this forum include, and even if it is adults only, what behavior is included? Plagiarism, over-quoting, derailing topics, (including nitpicking over punctuation, spelling, grammar) Bashing people rather than ideas- sometimes even people who aren’t present. All Bad Things. You can also suggest Good Ways of moving along conversations, solving conflicts before they happen and other fun stuff.

Banning People– Moderators- You can do it! It does not make you evil. Reduce worldsuck by not tolerating trolls, predators and bigots. You are not banishing someone from the entire geek/GLBT/Pagan or whatever community. There are other places they can interact both online and in person. (See Geek Social Fallacies) Know them and resist them!

Constructive Criticism is a Thing– figure it out. If your idea or project is being criticized, that does not mean *you* are being attacked. (If ad hominems are happening- report them!) If you just want to share your idea or project for warm fuzzies, make that clear in a thread title.

Why Am I Joining this Online Community/Forum?

Am I truly interested in this subject? If this community focuses on a population that I don’t belong to, is it welcome and appropriate for me to join? How should my role and behavior differ from other members?  Is there a different way to learn about this group outside of their space? Such as Allies/Friends etc. of Group X. Do I share the values of this group?  What are your assumptions and preconceived notions of this group?

If you are a journalist, researcher, or other professional are there rules governing your behavior? If not, please reveal your status and ask how to proceed. If you are an academic entering a discussion with non-academics interested in your area of study, please keep in mind differences in what information you have access to. If you are an professional who studies a group that you do not belong to, please keep differences of power and privilege in mind.


December 15, 2015 at 5:08 am Leave a comment

Links on Hinduism and Daoism

Also added- Big list of People of Color Tumblogs on  Angry Asian Girls United

Link assortment that just thought I’d share before forgetting about them.

Books, Lies & Videotapes- Wendy Doniger’s Misrepresentation about Hindu History

This is something I am concerned about as there are some people in ADF who recommend Wendy Doniger’s other books (or even in general recommend things by British or American authors and discourage Indian authors) It’s possible these suggestions have changed however, so don’t quote me. I also get the impression that many Western white feminist/women’s spirituality types tend to like Doniger’s stuff, so keep that in mind if you run in those circles as well.

Related article-

Invading the Sacred: An Analysis of Hindu Studies in America

I often encounter Pagans with an interest in Daoism/Taoism- often combining it with other paths- Taoist Heathen, Taoist Druid yada yada. Professor Komathy explains the differences between traditional Daoism in China and the Chinese diaspora and how it has been changed by Westerners.

Daoism in America: Fact and Fiction by Louis Komathy

See also the excellent blog, Heathen Chinese, for more on traditional Chinese religion. I believe he is also a Daoist, but I’m rather unclear on the dividing lines between different Chinese philosophies and religions as they tend to be rather syncretic.

Feel free to let me know if I’m getting anything wrong, not my areas of expertise- I enjoy learning more about different faiths.

December 3, 2015 at 3:05 am Leave a comment

To Speak and to Keep Silent

Next entry on Way of the Sacred Fool- To Speak and to Keep Silent

Thoughts on getting along at the Thanksgiving table, and how we might learn from that in broader community settings.

December 2, 2015 at 11:20 pm Leave a comment

More Local Cultus Resources

Walking the Worlds: Journal of Polytheism & Spiritwork- Vol 1, No.2: Building Regional Cultus (international)

Heathen cultus (international) You can add content on tumblr with the tag #heathencultus, check it out for more specific tags

American in general-

Intro to Modern American Polytheism– Janet Callahan

Philosophy of Modern American Polytheism

U.S./American Pantheon

American Cities/Regions

Michigan- Detroit Writings on American Gods from a Gaulish polytheist 

Pennsylvania- Philadelphia- Book of Bell and Key (this blog is interested in contributors)

Public Statues, Pagan Shrines

Witch in the City: 7 Tips for Adapting Polytheism to Urban Environments

I could make a giant list of doom, but what I’d really like to see is collaboration between folks in various regions- and perhaps specific people can “adopt” their region or city, and work on compiling lists. Then I’d be happy to link to them to help refer others. That already is happening of course, I’ve seen a lot about the Cascadia/Pacific Northwest region, and across the seas in Australia, up north in Canada, etc.
I know lots of Pagans locally, but not their blog presences necessarily. So Upper Midwest folks, come out, come out wherever you are.

I also want to point out that this project, at least as far as my involvement in it is concerned, is inclusive in theology and practice. So long as you are respectful of others, it doesn’t matter to me if you’re a cultural polytheist like myself, a Reclaiming witch, a pantheist, animist, Hindu, or naturalistic pagan that talks about the “spirits of place” more symbolically. Folk Catholic practitioners who are Pagan/magic friendly are also welcome, otherwise if you’re not sure, you can always ask! It also would be cool to link up with local art devotional or “spirit of place” art projects and environmental and charity projects.

December 1, 2015 at 7:44 am Leave a comment

Pagan Thoughts on Unitarian Sources

In a comment on her blog, my blogging colleague Trellia asked me what UUism is like- how does it fit for a polytheist when it tends to be based in monotheism?

Here’s a short answer from a UU joke-

After the secular humanists came along, we said that UUs believe in One God – at Most.
Now, what with the 6th Source and the pagans, we say that UUs believe in One God – More or Less.

I made a comment about the generic Divinity of UUism being rather like that in Alcoholics Anonymous- what I meant by that is that in AA there is this concept of a “Higher Power”, and while it tends to skew towards evangelical Christianity in its “default setting theology” officially they emphasize that the Higher Power can be whatever works for you and helps you in your recovery, the point is just to believe in Something.

Traditional Unitarianism was a Deist style of Christian theology- God was there, but very transcendent. Jesus was a wise teacher with moral teachings, and we should follow in his footsteps- but not the son of God or savior. Humans are born with an “original blessing” so to speak, and redeem the world themselves- the world isn’t seen as “fallen” so much as imperfect, our mission as our Jewish friends would say is tikkun olam- to repair the world. Transylvanian Unitarianism still holds this theology, and it is one of the sources of our tradition.


  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;

(To me this kind of implies a “there is one God/Force/Divine Source, and many paths to God” which is a recurring motif in many UU sermons and teachings, but it also says “an openness to the forces (plural) which create and uphold life” This second part can be seen as fitting with animism and polytheism.

  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;

This includes both religious and non-religious prophets- in Celtic/Druid traditions this overlaps a lot with the role of the bard or fili

  • Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;

We do encourage mindful & respectful cultural exchange/interaction, not cherry-picking and pirating!

  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;

Note that as with the Abrahamic religions, most polytheistic religions place an emphasis on hospitality- gods wandering around disguised as beggars motif pops up in many mythologies

  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;

Worth mentioning that many humanist teachings have their roots in Greco-Roman philosophy, as did the beginnings of scientific thought. To me the idolatries of the mind and spirit part warns about becoming so stuck on a certain idea, ideology, practice or belief that you miss the bigger picture, and possibly neglect other areas of your life.

  • Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

This is the sixth source mentioned above, as women’s spirituality and environmentalism became influences in UUism, Paganism made its way into the UU tent. I will add though, that I often see an oversimplified Paganism = Nature is Sacred mentality promoting both within greater Neo-Pagandom and UUism. Earth-based or Earth-centered is a common self-identifier for many UUs, and this overlaps with, but is not the same as Pagan.

I would say that UUism gives me an ethical & spiritual philosophy that deals more with humans in a modern pluralist society while polytheism gives me a practice, a mythic cosmology, older but timeless virtue ethics and cultural roots.

December 1, 2015 at 4:05 am Leave a comment


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