Late in 2019 (arguably in 2018), I made the decision to withdraw from nearly all social media, as well as to cease engagement with the wider Polytheistic (especially Hellenic) communities. This decision was difficult in the beginning, as I had to figure out how and where I would receive social interaction. With COVID-19 still so prevalent, my children and I remain isolated from everyone except each other. Luckily for me, this difficult stage didn’t last very long, as the situation became clearer over time.
After about four months, without a single message or communication attempt from all the folks I thought were important to me, and to whom I thought I was important (I would later receive messages from three individuals… long after the beginning of the George Floyd Rebellion, with the usual “thinking of you” platitudes– and they were not, in fact, all that I needed and hoped for), I quickly realized that my life, and the lives of my children and others of my heritage, are completely inconsequential to people who likely have zero experience being true friends and comrades with anyone Black.
The amount of times I’ve had my views and experience minimized by the very people I was so intent on keeping contact with began playing in my mind. Why am I trying so hard? I asked myself. These folks will forget about my life the very moment they are enabled to do so. And they did.
If the only reason you are being kind to, or advocating for, marginalized people is when they are whispering their humanity into your ear in sweet proximity, then you should simply stop. Your words are empty, and your activism is self-centered and nonexistent. But I digress. The point of this article is not to rehash the activism conversations happening all over the internet, but to speak directly, once again, to my Black people who are engaged with the Ancient Powers, and by extension, Their (mostly white) human communities.
The people who pretend to know you, pretend to love you and your life, pretend to give the slightest (and it always is the slightest) care for your continued free existence in this world, are consuming you. Some knowingly, some not so knowingly, yet the result is the same: they eat your time, as you carefully explain your worth, once again; they eat your traumas, as you perform them in attempts to showcase their (white) brutality; they eat your metaphorical heart, as your emotions become ever so dry and stilted by their lack of empathy or concern. [They would eat the literal beating heart out of your chest, to consume your spiritual essence, if they could.] And finally, they eat your bones, the very foundation of your living self, and your anchor to Great Gaea’s form; to absorb your strength, your power, that which they fear, even unconsciously. You become their sacrifice to colonial egregores that were created long before any of us were born.
These are the beasts to which we are fed, every day by white society. But we do not have to submit to them. If the communities in which we engage for spiritual praxis or growth are ripe with the empty skins of those like us who have gone before, we must decide to save ourselves. We are not meat. We are not food for the starving spirits of settlers. We do not need proximity to our oppressors (or wannabe oppressors, or just lazy racists… I mean leftists) in order to give proper worship and honor to the Ancient Gods. You don’t need them. You never needed them. The Powers are and always have been within your reach, without the dictates of salty spiritualists who probably do not even understand the depths of their own prejudice.
This is not a problem that we have to fix. Attempting to repair or reform the stereotypes that have constructed both their conscious and unconscious views of Black people have kept us in a perpetual state of reaction and servitude. If we are too busy re-explaining how and why we are human enough to receive the Gods’ blessings, then that is less time we are spending on worshiping Them. And if we aren’t worshiping Them, we can not be the (imagined) competition for the Gods’ favor that so many white Polytheists take us to be. Because any Black person receiving even an iota of favor or attention, even from the Gods Themselves, is too much for those who have invested their personality, or brand, or spirituality, with anti-Blackness.
We can choose to no longer engage with these suspect individuals and groups. The choice is always ours to divest from those small systems of oppression that we can escape. The local Polytheist meetup group isn’t the US Education System, and you have the ability to not engage with local pagan assholes; as opposed to the Education System, which most of us are a product of. In that same vein, online Polytheistic communities are also not of the same oppressive power, and you absolutely do not have to participate in any online debates or discussions concerning your worth, your practice, or anything else for that matter.
And you do not have to listen to bigots!
They will always build ivory towers, but we needn’t serve them our flesh and bones to fuel the construction. It is only these barbaric investments that we are forced to make, often with our very flesh, that keep us wanting to enter their spaces. To make the sacrifices “worth it”, so they won’t have been “in vain”. We keep feeding ourselves to the beast, and they build the tower higher. Perhaps it is time for us to begin building up ourselves and each other; our own systems and groups.
Building kharis with our (Hellenic) Gods doesn’t need to come within the approval of people who will never care for us in the ways we need, in the ways that we have proven, countless times, that we care for all. We are better than this, and we deserve better. And one of the most effective ways to go about ensuring that we receive better, is to stop feeding the beast that feasts on our bones.