I’ve been thinking a lot about war and the battles I’ve fought, both in the literal and figurative sense. The military and vets have been in the news lately, between the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap controversy, the VA wait-list scandals, and the unfortunate fall of cities stained red with American blood returning to enemy hands (and the inevitable probability of this happening in Afghanistan). That’s not what’s been on my mind, however. I mean, it has, and I have my own thoughts about each of those subjects, but hat I’m thinking about most is last year’s Silent July.
For those who don’t remember or weren’t involved in the pagan/polytheist/what-the-hell-ever blogosphere, the Silent July was a polytheist protest against being grouped in with folks who are the antithesis of our theological outlook. Not only were heavy theological and ethical barbs traded, so were a lot of personal attacks. For the most part, I had a lot of fun with it all. Call me a psychopath, but I enjoy the grueling, competitive, cut-throat nature of war and battle, literal or otherwise. I was a good analyst, but I wasn’t a good airman, and honestly, I was a bit undisciplined and chafed at orders (what enlisted person doesn’t, though?). Regardless, I did enjoy my job directing the fight.
The thing about battle and fighting, whether it’s with arms or words, is that s**t gets tiring. You age pretty quickly. Remember how W. (and Obama) entered office a jovial, energetic-looking man, then left looking about 20 years older? It’s hard not to become hard and jaded. Silent July was an attempt at giving the fighting a rest. Part protest, part temporary ceasefire, many polytheist bloggers took a month off to regroup, rest, and in my case, actually get to know people.
I started corresponding with other folks via good old fashioned epistolary means, and for a while, we were really good about it. Then of course, with the Internet back, that slowly trickled off. Silent July meant significant operational and strategic gains for me. I’ve always considered myself a little evangelical when it came to Ares, and I found a significant “Ares culture” building. It was nice to see more coreligionists share my particular cultic attractions. Creativity was at a high, I was building up a significant cultic material culture, I was rather involved in the greater community online, and things were looking good.
Then the cycle started up again. Inter-communal bickering. More personal attacks. Granted, I’m pleased that Ares is alive an well in our culture, but damn. A ray of hope came out when the Thessaly Temenos announced the Hellenic Revival gathering. It was a great and honest attempt, but apparently local politicking at (not within, or so I understand) the Temenos caused the group to cancel and go Internet-dark. While I was upset, I can’t say I was necessarily surprised. I mean, to say Hellenic polytheists are a cohesive group would be like saying the ancient Greeks were one big happy cohesive nation. Now, Thessaly Temenos was ahead of many of us in that they have a defined group and values as a group, but no group is going to be 100% homogeneous. I mean, my (almost militant) anti-drug stance, especially against even softer drugs like pot, is at odds with much of the Hellenic community.
Anyway, outside forces clashed with the polytheist community again, and things got kind of ugly again, and I just kind of stopped caring. I’m too busy working (another tangential result of Silent July), going to school, and reconstructing Ares’ cult for that nonsense. I’m not too sure how I’m going to go forward blogging yet; I know I still will, but I don’t expect it will be with much mind to the community. I have my own dealings with certain folks, still, but they’re as yet to remain quiet.
While I support the effort and idea, I probably will not attend any gatherings like the Polytheist Leadership Conference. I can’t attend the first, but I am donating an Ares icon for the auction; Ares comes first in this regard. But Ares is often a separatist, and so am I, and thus any personal participation in the future is predicated on how I feel as an after-the-fact, outside observer. I’m not saying what they’re doing isn’t a good thing; it just might not be good in the spirit of my particular worldview. I’m pretty obstinate, but I’m also generally very quiet about it in public, and thus don’t want to spend a weekend fuming to myself. A form of unity and solidarity are, at least in my perspective, central goals of the conference, and I’m not quite there yet, and I really don’t want to be the Grumpy Gus bringing anyone down/pissing people off in what would then become hostile territory.
For now, I must be content with my quiet cult, my study group, and my book writing. The anthology is still taking submissions through August, and I’m glad to report I’ve had about five additional submissions since I last updated, including two promised by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus. I definitely need more, though, especially rituals. The anthologies never have enough ritual.
Either way, that’s enough rambling from me. as always, Hail Ares