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Caveats

I hold a fair number of minority spiritual opinions. I disclose them here so that those disinclined to respect those particular viewpoints have the necessary information to decide whether or not it’s worthwhile for them to read this blog.


I am a hard polytheist. I am somewhat open to syncretism in cultures where it’s a traditional practice, but I don’t much care for the concept.  Functions and myths may be cross-cultural, but I don’t see that as proof of a single divine identity manifesting in multiple contexts. I treat each deity I encounter as a unique individual.

I believe in the objective existence of the deities independent of humanity. I used to have all kinds of theories to explain the metaphysical mechanics of how that might work, but have given them up as being both unprovable and beside the point for me personally. I have had experiences that have satisfied me as evidence of the reality of Their existence, and am not looking for arguments with which to convince anyone else.

I do not believe in divine omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence or omnibenevolence.

The gods, ancestors and assorted vaettir all have their own agendas. Presuming what those agendas might be – or how they might include humanity as a whole or any given person – is at best unproductive. Knowing well enough to ask doesn’t mean they’ll tell you.

I believe that some element of our being/personality continues to exist after our physical death. I think there are many, many options of what can happen then, and that I can imagine and have interesting ideas about some of them, but that I won’t know for sure until it happens. (At that point I don’t anticipate being able to blog about it, but who knows, maybe personalities will have something like upload capacity by then? . . .)

I do not come from a Wiccan or Ceremonial Magic background, and have never read Tarot, so I am not very conversant with many concepts frequently seen as points of agreement across all branches of NeoPaganism. Casual references to these in passing might be lost on me.

I find the idea of cross-cultural generic concepts such as “Mother Earth” and “Father Sky” to be overly anthropomorphic. I don’t personally experience these phenomena as gendered, and see no reason to impose that pattern upon them. I also feel that such generalizing does not respect the roles of these entities in any particular cultural matrix, or the unique characteristics of the land, sky and other natural features where the culture originated.

I believe that it’s fine to respectfully explore rituals from as many cultures as you like, but that it is best to work with beings only within their own cultural settings unless you’ve received explicit permission otherwise – and probably seek out that permission each time you intend to try.

I believe that truth is not dualistic, it is a spectrum, and many contradictory ideas can fall at the exact same point on the spectrum (that is, the ideas can be equally true and none of them true, all at the same time). Two people can each be entirely right in their way and yet never come to a shared agreement together. I think paradoxes may be the closest that we humans can approach to comprehensive truths.

I am a mystic. Per Wikipedia, that means that I pursue “communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God(s) through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight”.

I am of the opinion that as a mystic going into the Otherworld to make contact with the numinous, it’s in my best interest to interact respectfully with whatever beings choose to appear. That isn’t to say I need to enter relationships with them or accept whatever they may tell me as unconditionally true – but it’s very important to be open to what is happening rather than clinging to my pre-existing expectations.

Myths give you a very selective view of some people’s interpretations of a given being from the long distant past, with a variety of potential biases included. They’re a starting point, not a definitive description.

I feel that intense study and knowledge of the culture(s) in which one works is absolutely necessary – without it, you have many fewer tools the gods can use to establish communication, and there are a lot more opportunities for misunderstanding to arise. When between a rock and a hard place, though, I’m going to go with what my allies communicate to me over what is documented in the lore.

I generally get more satisfaction from interacting with fellow mystics from a wide range of spiritual paths than I do with people who share a specific religious path with me but who are disposed against mysticism.

I value my own UPG (unverified personal gnosis) experiences very highly, and expect that their importance to me should be respected even if the content of them does not apply or appeal to other people. I do my best to accord such respect to others in turn, so long as the source of the material is clearly stated as personal gnosis rather than being falsely presented as having a strictly historical basis.

I am very interested in learning of/helping establish PCPG (peer corroborated personal gnosis) information within the greater Pagan community. Life has changed so much since the lapse of the spiritual paths we are attempting to revive that what original documented information we possess does not always provide the most reliable guide to how we should relate to gods and spirits in a modern context.

Experience has taught me that things are often not what they seem, especially when the Otherworld is involved.  I try not to hold firm opinions on beings I haven’t met, prejudge other people for their connections to such beings, or set myself as an arbiter of the most appropriate ways for other people to express devotion.

I support people who respectfully go where they are called because they must, especially in the face of opposition:
– those who maintain alliances with spiritual beings in different cultures at the same time
– those drawn to the practices of cultures outside of their own genetic heritage
– those bound to allies who are unpopular or openly scorned
– those developing modern ways of spirit-working relevant to their own sense of identity and geographical location
–  those who find themselves walking the ordeal path
and more. . .

There are many ways that these things can go wrong, but that does not preclude the possibility of them being done appropriately and well.  I refuse to dismiss that potential, because anyone capable of genuinely making it work could certainly use support in facing the greater community’s antipathy against the idea of their way of being and what it represents.

Until and unless provoked, I choose to treat those of other religious persuasions – particularly believers of more “mainstream” faiths, agnostics and atheists – with the politeness I hope they would extend to me.


Intelligent, mature disagreement and debate on these or other relevant topics are generally welcome. Incendiary or disrespectful responses will be ignored and deleted. This blog is not a democracy; the only point of view guaranteed to be heard is mine.


Thanks to Galina Krasskova for the Disclaimer/Statement of Intent on her blog which helped inspire this page.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2011 1:45 AM

    This is a really excellent set of statements generally–what a brilliant idea! (I won’t steal it, because I suspect mine would be seven thousand pages long…but still, very well done!)

    • January 20, 2011 3:06 PM

      You know, funnily, I hadn’t thought about this in ages and when I re-read it on your comment, I was rather impressed. Go, go, 2010-me! ;p

      While this particular set of caveats is very much mine, I don’t consider the idea of publishing some to be original; thanks to your comment, I’ve since added a footer crediting Galina Krasskova for her blog planting the notion.

      I’m too much a cynic to believe that having this posted means it will be read and respected by folks who otherwise might be unpleasant; but having it means any of my reactions to unpleasantness are emphatically not arbitrary. “As I foretold you. . . “.

  2. Pan in Louisiana permalink
    September 24, 2011 1:55 PM

    I’m a reconstructionist Hellenic hard polytheist. I was very peripherally involved with the Hare Krishnas for a couple of years. One of the Hindu beliefs is that Krishna has an ultimate, specific physical appearance — specifically, male, Indian-looking (more or less), 16-20 years of age, erotically appealing, with dark blue skin. They belief he is the Supreme God, identical with the Christian Supreme God, only their beliefs concerning the Supreme god are very different from those of the Christians.

    If there is a supreme god, I don’t know anything about it. But I found it interesting that the Kindus would maintain that God (or a god, which is what I believe Krishna to be) has a definite, specific physical appearance.

    I worship the gods of ancient Greece. My UPG seems to be telling me that the Greek deities have definite physical appearances, which is, to me, a comforting thought, since it makes it easier for me to relate to them. By the way, my UPG seems to be telling me (as far as I can make out, anyway) that the Hellenic gods look pretty much like their representations in Greek art. By way of example, Apollon always seems to be depicted as stockier and even more pronouncedly well-muscled than Hermes is.

    What are your thought son this? Some people might say it’s a trivial thing to concern oneself with, however it is deeply important to me. Thanks.

    • October 28, 2011 11:32 AM

      Apologies for the delay in my reply – I haven’t been online very much of late for one reason and another.

      I personally think that the gods’ looks may fall within a general range, such as brunette vs blonde, but probably differ from follower to follower. They may formulate a mask, as it were, for each individual. Physical characteristics can be strong identifiers, and I think They likely look how They need to in order to get Their identity across (when They wish to be known, that is). For example, Lugus is considered cognate to both Mercury and Odin in different contexts. I perceive him as bearded (unlike classical depictions of Mercury) and with two intact eyes (unlike depictions of Odin).

      One of the benefits of being a non-corporeal being is fluidity of appearance based on need or whim, I think. :)

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