I decided to go back to school to finish my BA. And I decided that taking an Ab Psych course and a Religions course, assuming that my obsession with religion would allow me to ease back into the educational environment with dignity and finesse. Well, that came crashing down on me with one class of the religions course.
As my husband pointed out, professors are limited by their education and knowledge. The weight we give to the degree seems to grant false legitimacy to their words. So when the professor stands in front of the class and says this (in a discussion of the origin of myth), I cringe inside and slide a little farther into my seat:
“Demeter and Persephone were the stories that the ancient Greeks used to explain why the land seemed to die for four months. But then science came along and we understood about weather patterns and the movement of the earth. We could set those myths aside. No one really believes that Persephone is kidnapped and that Demeter causes winter anymore…“
Emphasis is mine. Now, I understand the use of myth in ancient civilizations and I understand the myths we have created today around science. I am not arguing that one is better or worse than the other. What got my hackles raised was the off-hand assumption that because science can explain the natural phenomena that myths used to explain, that because we have traded one faith for another, the logical assumption is that we discard the ancient Gods as just stories.
I get mad at the assumption that there are no more hard polytheists anymore.
This idea is so tethered to modern Christianity that it would take a month of thinking to untangle it. Lets take a look at some of the ideas tied to this:
There is the idea of polytheism being unevolved and naive, of the superiority and imperialism of monotheism, of the racism of discounting entire histories like Santeria and Voudou and Hoodoo.
And in that one sentence, that one breath, I was completely written off before I ever had the chance to make a stand.
These are not stories I tell myself to keep the dark away. These are living breathing beings I interact with on a daily basis. They influence my choices and decisions, unfold the shape of my life. My life is intertwined with theirs and I am proud of it.
No more hiding behind language.
I am a Shaman and my Gods are real.
Deal with it.