Patreon Topic 6: New Generations and Rising Gods

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From my first Raiðo supporter comes this topic:

“Topic idea would be about the rise of the old religions, and the increase in activity from the Old Gods, especially among Millenials and Zoomers. What’s your take on why the Gods have chosen this time to rise again? Do you think something is going to happen in the future?”

Before digging into the question, it’s important to note that the Gods have been around and receiving active cultus for longer than just the 60s. It is just that the 60s was when a large chunk of modern revival occured. 

When it comes to why the Gods have chosen this time to rise again? I do not think the Gods waste an opportunity. So many folks are open to the very idea of the Gods, let alone worshiping Them, and resources are easier than ever to access. When I first made a Wiccan friend my first year of high school there was very little on Paganism online, and to find anything useful I had to wade through a lot of bullshit to find it. Fast forward a few years to when I became a Pagan in 2004 and books were easier to access than ever before, while reputable sources were coming online and engaging in ongoing blogging. Livejournal was in full swing, and Blogger and WordPress were being developed and would unleash the next generation of polytheist and Pagan writing. To be sure, there is still bullshit to wade through, but it is far easier to have open dialogue with our coreligionists on what is ice cream, what is bullshit, and how to separate one from the other.

I think in part there is a new surge of interest from our side and the Gods are hopping on that with both proverbial feet. I also think that there are times of upheaval we are in the middle of, plain to see now, but years ago if you posited something, eg that the Just in Time (JIT) logistics/delivery systems were incredibly vulnerable and all it would take would be a trade war, disease, or a small series of disruptions to see major disruption in economic and supply markets, you would have been laughed at, called a doomer, or (Gods forfend with pearls a-clutched) against Progress.

Right now a lot of folks are looking to the Gods. Some are looking to Them because something about a Marvel movie hit just the right way, but a little off. Some are looking to Them because they were looking into their ancestry and found something powerful there. Some are taken up by the Gods. Others find the Gods because they find Them fascinating, mysterious, powerful. Others are found by the Gods and rather than deny the relationship, choose to engage in it wholeheartedly.

I do not think that it is so much that ‘something is going to happen’, but that something is always happening and that it is up to people to listen to their Holy Powers and to one another, to think, and then to act. There is always a war over the horizon. Indeed, the United States of America has been embroiled in an official war for the last 20 years coming up this September in 2021. Out of the 244 years it has been around we have been at war or at conflict for around 219. Do I think larger global occurrences are going to occur? Of course. The COVID-19 virus is a major global pandemic. It will not be the last. I think we have the opportunity now to decide the course of how generations will live by how we, individually and communally choose to live now. This decision is made from each person, each community, each State/province, each country, and globally by the outcomes, the consequences, of all these choices. Each moment we make a choice to live well we have a choice to live as well as we can within the interconnected web of Being, Úrðr. It is up to us to live well within the life that we have, to live well with our Holy Powers, to live well within our communities, and to encourage those communities to good action that they may ripple outwards.

Hope is a Tough Choice

Hope is hard.  Hope is hard because it asks us to look at the ugliness around us and to dream of more than what we see.  It demands we reach beyond the abyss we see when we look upon violence and hate that grips so much around us, in us, through us.  Hope is the hard road, the rough road, the road that says “Stand up”.

It is hard to hope.  It is hard to hope when so many are arrayed against it.  Yet hope is not delusion, is not a honeyed tongue, or a fever-dream.  It is reachable and doable, even if only through steep odds.  Yet hope, like many roads, begins with steps, and keeps on with determination.  It must be chosen. Yes, the skies are poisoned, the seas are choked with plastic, the world roils under the heat we produce.  Yes, massacre and genocide sweeps across the world and eats, a furious glutton on the entrails of all who feed it.  Even in that there is hope. There are the small steps; the person who seeks alternatives to their consumption, the person who uses less and saves more.  There is the person who opens their home to refugees, who squirrels away the children so they will not become child soldiers; it will not stop the war, but one more will not need to suffer.   There are the small steps of a person who plants a garden and eats from their own yard, or the person who drives less or is more efficient in their energy use.  There are the small steps of a person who stands up and says ‘No, no more’.  These are not just gestures but points of hope put into action.  That we can and are changing.

Do we need big steps?  Yes, of course we do, but these are steps we can take as individuals, then communities. When our resolve becomes to stand before the problems we face, from climate change to genocide, from ecological disaster to the gutting of our communities, hope is there because we stand in our place and claim what power we have.  We cede it far too much.  No, a changed lightbulb or car route will not halt global warming, but it can inspire change through its demonstration of what action begins to look like.  Will a single child saved stop a civil war?  No, but it saves that child’s life for something more, one less killer, one less victim, inch by inch building up the hope that there can be a better tomorrow.  Hope is generated by action seen through to its conclusion, is shaped by the hearts of those who seed it.  So wherever you can, however you can, sow and grow hope.