Intended Audience

When I speak on matters here at my blog, I am speaking from a perspective as a polytheist and a practitioner of Natib Qadish, a Canaanite polytheistic religion. First and foremost, I’m speaking to an audience of polytheists, and I am also speaking to an audience who is interested in Canaanite polytheism.

I am speaking to an audience of polytheists, of people who practice polytheism (polytheism being the religious regard for many individual deities). If you are reading my blog, and you are not the intended audience, that’s great, I hope you will find my posts informative and thought-provoking, but keep in mind that the conversations here are not intended to be inclusive of your needs, opinions, or comforts. Even as a conversation of the concerns woodworkers is not required nor expected, generally speaking, to take into consideration the needs of astronauts, geologists, cheese makers, or zebras, a conversation by a polytheist for polytheists need not be inclusive of non-polytheistic concerns.

Although some polytheists are Pagans, not all polytheists are Pagans, and this is not a Pagan blog. This blog is not about Paganism and/or NeoPaganism. This is also not an atheist blog. This is not a Jewish blog, either. This is not a blog dedicated to Ceremonial Magic. This is not a blog about Wicca. This is not a blog about eco-feminism. This is not a blog about matriarchy. This is not a blog about aliens from other planets. This is not a blog about social justice. This is not a blog about politics. It is not a blog about engineering. It is not a blog about cheeses of the world. All of these things need their own venues too, to speak about their concerns, this just doesn’t have to be a corner of the internet which includes all of these things and more because this is a polytheist blog, and more specifically it is a Canaanite polytheist blog. It is not all things to all people, and that’s ok because that’s what makes it possible for it to be a polytheist and a Canaanite polytheist blog.

When a non-polytheist bursts in on important conversations polytheists are trying to have with other polytheists and in polytheist spaces, with no thought or concern for the intended audience and then demands that his own non-polytheistic concerns be met, the conversation gets dragged down lower than a remedial level 99 class and useful, necessary discussion is not possible beyond that point. We end up trying to reinvent the wheel instead of moving on to more important matters which are worthy of discussion. If you're showing up to a conversation on polytheism by polytheists in polytheist spaces, and you're not a polytheist, realize that you're not the intended audience here and that polytheists should not have to, and do not have to, cater to your needs, wants, and opinions. Polytheists also shouldn't have to comfort you when our conversations  are uncomfortable to you (when the conversation isn't even about you or for you), and we polytheists shouldn't have to comfort you at the expense of our own wellbeing, safety, and/or sanity.

We're struggling to find our voices here, and a person can do active damage to a deeply disadvantaged group by showing up in our spaces and hijacking our conversations. If you actually want to be respectful and helpful, if you actually want to be an ally, refrain from engaging in disrespectful behavior.

Some of my topics venture into foundational polytheism, and some of them stay centered more towards practices of Canaanite polytheistic religion, and some of my topics bridge both foundational polytheism as well as Canaanite polytheism. When I speak of matters which are more foundational and broader in concern, I am not issuing some edict that every polytheist should absolutely conform to, so please read this in good faith and take into consideration nuance, shifting audiences, and shifting intentions. If I’ve said something (from either a qadish perspective, or from a foundational polytheistic perspective, or both) which does not apply to your specific polytheistic religion or context, then it doesn’t apply. Foundational polytheist matters are pertinent to beginners who have no idea where to start and who do not have the benefit of a specific tradition or polytheistic religion, or context of that sort to rely on. If you are a polytheist and I’ve said something at a foundational level which does not apply to your specific polytheistic religion, then it doesn’t apply and I’m not issuing orders or telling you what to do.

I realize that it may seem a bit too basic to talk forthrightly about “who is my intended audience,” but it needs to be done. Usually, I would assume that a person can make a quick assessment of the context (I am referring here to my blog) and realize "Hey this pertains to me," or "No, this does not pertain to me," and then figure out from there how to operate on a level of "thoughtful human being", but sometimes that’s a challenge. It's a challenge because operating as a thoughtful human being requires that a person be aware of things they're thinking of...which is tricky when sometimes they may not be entirely conscious of those thoughts that they bring with them as they sit down to read a post. I take a look around at my blog and the blogs of other polytheists and I realize that this understanding, this clarity I present here about “who is the intended audience” is sometimes lacking in the audiences who read polytheist blogs and who might assume that the conversations are about their needs or practices when this may not be the case.

I think that some of the problem is that as polytheists we are trying to differentiate ourselves and come into our own as a group of diverse voices and diverse religions which have polytheism in common.  Among our own, we struggle to understand what that is and what that means. Among others who are not polytheists, people who are not aware of our struggle towards differentiation, they often do not see the differentiation and therefore they assume--if they even bother to make a quick context-assessment at all--that matters which are being talked about here pertain to themselves or to a much broader audience / community than it actually does. It’s difficult to function at a level of “thoughtful human being” when there are assumptions a person engages in before reading, and the person isn’t aware that he or she is having those assumptions. I hope that by addressing the issue here in an open manner, I’ve helped readers engage more consciously with the question “Am I the intended audience here?" and to take this question, and these matters, into consideration.

It is my hope that this will clarify some matters which often get overlooked, unaddressed, and unacknowledged. I do this so that we can have a better foundation with which to move forward into more constructive conversations.


[Addendum: There have been some potential misunderstandings floating around about how I view the intersection of politics and polytheism that I would like to clarify. This seems like an awkward subject to bring up on a post about the intended audience for this blog, but it, too, must be covered because the intersection of politics and polytheism is a hot-button topic right now.  What I find particularly awkward about this topic is that I realize there are some folks who may well stop reading if I do not, as a polytheist, automatically champion their particular political ideology: this is problematic because it demonstrates a failure to understand that polytheism and politics are individual things which can function individually, and could also  function in relationship to one another. A failure of understanding this matter actually diminishes the diversity and individual voices of polytheists and of different polytheistic religions. If you would like to know more about where I stand in regards to the intersection of politics and polytheism, see my post on Politics and Polytheism and on Politics and Religion Again...Briefly.]



Image Credits: Butaques del Gran Teatre by Joanbanjo. Used through Creative Commons license.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this! We have spent enough time explaining our faiths, justifying our choices and exposing our Gods and traditions to people who return our kindness with contempt. We can and should have sacred cyberspace -- blogs, forums and other virtual venues where the Gods are discussed by people who love and respect Them -- in addition to real-world sacred spaces. And as with meatspace we need to defend sacred cyberspaces by drawing boundaries, setting rules and keeping the place clean.

    I have noted an overweening air of entitlement among many commenters. You are expected to answer their questions in excruciating detail; to respond to their snide attitude with unfailing kindness; to understand their "triggers" and avoid saying anything that might hurt their precious fee-fees. And while I am in eternal debt to my Gods and ancestors, I owe those bozos nothing.

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  2. Hi Kenaz, thanks for reading.

    I don’t consider my blog sacred cyberspace, and it doesn’t need to be in order to do what you suggest—so that people who love the deities who can discuss Them with love and respect. I think that rather than being sacred space, holding cyberspace for these kinds of conversations is a base-level requirement of our polytheistic cyberspaces so that we can have the discourse that we as polytheists need to have. Sacred space would be elevated a step above that. And yes, it does require conscientiousness and maintenance of boundaries to have a cyberspace where people can indeed do such a thing.

    As far as folks’ feelings: those are important things to consider, and I do take them into consideration. Let’s be specific here, the problems more often lie in the matter of the feelings of people from a dominant group when they are uncomfortable with the conversations we’re having. The feelings of people from a dominant group about the conversations we, in a minority group, are having, add nothing to the conversation. There are priorities to consider. When folks (especially of a dominant group) use their feelings as a means to police people (such as folks in a minority group) out of their own spaces (spaces for that minority group), it’s a problem and needs addressing. When folks from a more dominant group use their feelings as a silencing tactic for people who are actually experiencing oppression and who need space so that they may come into their own as a people, that’s where others’ safety and sanity take precedence over the feelings of people from the dominant / larger group(s).

    The idea of “safe spaces” is being misused, the idea of triggers and trigger-warnings are being misused, and the ideas of being compassionate and sensitive to other folks’ feelings is also being misused. When dominant groups co-opt the language and the tools meant to aid troubled and at-risk demographics, the at-risk people who were originally aided by these tools are now finding dominant groups using those very helpful tools as weapons against them.

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