Once you become a polytheist, you start to notice how monotheism is everywhere. I suppose it’s like buying a yellow car; you don’t think there are a lot of yellow cars on the road until you own one yourself, and then you see them all the time, all those yellow cars that your eyes just glided over before.
As Arthur Shappey says, you’re always playing yellow car. Once you realize that monotheism is a sort of aberration in human thinking that has only existed for a couple of thousand years, give or take a few centuries, you see it in places that you never thought it existed. It’s in magical systems that invoke god-forms but don’t worship gods or even give thank-offerings for their help. It’s in forms of creativity therapy that assume Alcoholics Anonymous principles without questioning their underlay in Christianity. It’s in the head-aching convolutions of Christian theology that you’ve beaten your head against for decades, how three persons are one God and sin is intrinsic yet somehow not God’s fault and the doctrine of the Incarnation somehow leads to asceticism and mortifying the flesh.
It’s in the horrid secular “Christmas” music blaring the day after Thanksgiving, even in a small local restaurant owned by Muslims. (Good pizza, but no pork products, and you have to BYOB.) It’s in the repeated attempts of mythologists, psychologists, film makers, theologians to reduce all myths, legends, novels, deities to a single story, whether it’s the story of Jesus or the journey of the Hero or the contention of the Sun God and the Horned God for the hand of the White Goddess. It’s in all the things you don’t mention over Thanksgiving dinner, by mutual agreement among the guests that unpleasant topics should be kept out of the holiday experience.
There’s a saying in the Feri (or Faery) tradition, that all gods are Feri gods. This may mean that all gods are accessible to the Feri/Faery witch, or that all deities can be aligned with those specific to that tradition, or that both of those possibilities are true, or neither. What I am discovering is that all gods are Antinoan gods. One of Antinous’ titles is Neos Hermes, the new Hermes, and like Hermes he is a messenger, diplomat, ambassador, psychopomp, portal. Worship him, ask for his help, and there is no god from no region or pantheon to whom he may not introduce you. Deities from Ireland to Japan may show up on his holy days, bringing their stories with them. While it is possible to organize one’s cosmos metaphysically around Antinous, as I am learning slowly to do, it is not possible to fit all those gods, their customs, and their stories, into one box, even a box with cute drawers and pigeonholes. As I more and more think outside the box of monotheism, I stop trying to pigeonhole and start to enjoy the actual messy multiplicity of, well, everything. It’s rather like getting cable, only there’s something worth watching on every channel and no commercials anywhere. Commercials and advertising are things I definitely don’t want in my religion.
Once you see it, you can’t unsee. Unlike some bad fanfic I have read, I don’t want to.