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A Polytheist Manifesto

By Julian Betkowski

Simply stated, Polytheism is the belief in the existence of multiple Gods. However, recent conversations have shown that Polytheism can be, in fact, quite a complex and subtle system of belief. I feel that Polytheism represents an incredibly useful and open-ended way of understanding our relationships not only with the Divine, but also with each other, other beings, and the world at large.

However, before Polytheism can extend to the recognition of the Gods as discrete beings, it must first have a foundation in personal understanding and exploration. Indeed, I assert that Polytheism first arises out of the practice of self examination and personal spiritual development. This is not to say that all who engage in personal spiritual reflection will discover a Polytheistic world view, or that Polytheism is the necessary outcome of such reflection, simply that this is the first necessary step along the path of Polytheistic belief.

Just as a child, in coming to understand itself, comes to understand the distinctions between it and the world, and gradually to distinguish between its own thoughts, needs, desires, and emotions from those of its mother, so do we, through a process of spiritual reflection, come to know ourselves and gain the capacity to distinguish between our own spiritual presence and the presence of other spiritual beings. This is not necessarily an easy process, and, as with all developmental processes, it is quite possible for pathologies to develop. Spiritual development is a complex and difficult process for which there is little guidance or support in the modern world, and so it is fraught with difficulties and confusions. Regardless of whether or not this spiritual development leads one to Polytheism or some other sort of spiritual understanding, it is a difficult and necessary journey for the spiritual adventurer to take.

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