(Again, riffing on Anomalous Thracian‘s #ThisIsWhyWeNeedPolytheism )
Because at least once a month, but more like once a week, someone contacts me losing their mind over how to handle attentions from Gods or a spirit. Because of my own experiences and years of helping others through theirs, I can often help them figure out what they need to turn a nightmare into a dream and pain into growth. Because of knowing other good polytheists who act as guides and clergy, if I don’t know what to do I can send them to someone else.
(Contributing to the tag that Anomalous Thracian started. Please read his many excellent posts with this tag.)
All of my life I’ve heard voices and had seemingly random and frightening spiritual encounters. I’ve suffered from horrendous nightmares and night terrors. Medication has never helped – and I never understood how pills could help anyway. In the religions that I was raised in, the only option when creepy things happened was to reach out to their Highest Power and beg for intervention – which sometimes helped, but only rarely and often provoked more conflict and visitation. In the Ceremonial Magic tradition I moved to later, it was possible to interact with the spirits that I knew lurked around me – but only if I knew their names, only if I could create the right charts for them, only if they fit into the worldview of the practice, and only if I threatened them, again, with the might of the Highest Power of that faith. In the Wiccan-based practice, Chaos Magick, and the Western “shamanic practice” I explored afterwards I learned more about energy manipulation and journey-work, which helped slightly, but only kept things at bay, or made the relationships adversarial and dependent on my personal strength and skill.
Embracing a polytheist mindset and practice has changed this. I learned that spirits were often willing to interact with one who offered to them and was hospitable to them. Devotional and meditative practice taught me how to get to know them personally. Research (something that many polytheists value) taught me about their cultures of origin and how to relate to honor them in ways that pleased them. Working with them regularly helped to clear my vision, perceiving and understanding them more completely.
Polytheism itself taught me to treat them as their own entities, all individuals in their own right and not merely archetypes or reflections of what is within us or shards of an abstract principle. It taught me to respect them, to know them, to give to them and share with them and to listen to them as well. It taught me to build good relationships with them. Twenty-some years into my spiritual practice I no longer suffer from nightmares and terrors, and when high strangeness comes knocking I have techniques, allies and friends who can help me to deal with it. Now I look at these experiences as new experiences to learn and grow from, and polytheism has given me the tools to do so.