On the Evolution of Personal Polytheism

I’ve been pagan for over 20 years, and actively a polytheist for perhaps 17 of those years. My practice back then was quite a bit different from my practice now; some things have stayed the same but others really have not.

I was dual-faith from early on (Hellenic and Norse), but since I now honor gods from four different pantheons, I have amended that to “multi-faith.”

Some of the changes are purely practical. I don’t spend as much time studying because there are fewer books and sources left to study. I do still study, but I know the basics, am familiar with the lore, and am comfortable with ritual and other practices, so some of that work has simply been done already.

When my kids were little, I used my shower time to pray and do simple daily devotions, because it was often the only time during the day that I could count on being left alone with my own thoughts. I assumed that this would change eventually, but they are young adults now and guess what? I still pray in the shower. It works. I don’t only pray in the shower, but I have kept that piece of my practice.

I used to do a lot more group work than I do now (mostly because of personal and health stuff that makes it harder to do that sort of thing). But I used to attend a lot of rituals. I used to write and to lead a lot of rituals, heathen for the most part because that’s the irl group connection I’ve had. I’ve had training for it, which I undertook because our group needed someone to do it. These days, though, I am more of a resource than an active leader, which is a change.

Doing less group work has meant (for me) a lessened focus on festivals and following the calendar and a greater focus on smaller personal devotions and worship. I think I have personalized my practice more since it’s just me now, but less so than I would have expected. I’ve kept the things that (still) work and changed the things that don’t.

I used to do a lot of networking, seeking out and meeting other pagans and polytheists locally, attending Pagan Coffee Nights and so forth. I don’t do much of that anymore.

Similarly, the fact that I no longer travel well means that I no longer go to events far from home. That means a decrease in face-to-face interactions with others, which is certainly an additional change in the role community plays for me.

I do, however, still have online connections with others, which is a different sort of community but community nonetheless.

I also used to incorporate more meditation and visualization work in my practice than I do now (again mostly due to the aforementioned “stuff” and the accompanying lack of focus). It never was easy work for me but it was rewarding, and I hope at some point to be able to do it again. Until then, I have the experiences I’ve had and the knowledge I’ve gained, and that has to be enough.

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