The Gods Do Not Vote, So Why Are You Asking Them?

Hexing in progress. (Reuters via National Review)

When I was a kid, I read some condensed version of the Iliad for young people. I did not understand the gods.

After all, I was raised to be a Christian. In the Bible, YHWH was supposed to take care of his special people, the Jews, although sometimes he expressed his care and concern . . . oddly. The Christians continued that idea with themselves as the special people, and so on with other monotheistic religions. Obviously, God favored the “good guys.”

In the Iliad, the Greeks are the “good guys,” near as, although the Trojans are not especially villainous, just the other team. But the story is told from the Greeks’ point of view. Yet some of the gods favored on side and some the other. How could that be?((You don’t really hear about the Trojans’ religion as a separate thing.))

Later in life, having changed quite a bit, I would write about the Iliad, linking to the story of a Navy SEAL killed in combat, whose mother reflected, “He was born to do this job.”

That is the polytheistic view of life. The world is a mess. The world is beautiful. The gods are eternal (or as good as). The gods work at cross-purposes, and sometimes humans are caught between them.

Meanwhile, I see some Pagans convinced that they know how the gods vote — or would vote, if they could produce a photo ID at the polling place.

Are these the same Pagans who sneer at that subset of evangelical Christians who apparently think that Jesus is a Republican?((After 2,000 years of worship, he is definitely a god. And maybe he is a Republican. Or like in the TV version of American Gods, there are multiple Jesuses and one is a Republican.))

If you are really a polytheist, then you must accept that the gods do not vote. Their values are not always aligned with our day-to-day political values. Really, what does Aphrodite care about Colorado’s proposal to change the redistricting process or about who wins the race for Pueblo County coroner? Should I consult Hekate about my congressional candidates?

In the context of discussing a Heathen theological question, Galina Kraskova puts the issue this way:

To assume, moreover, that the Gods share our political affiliations is incredibly narrow-minded and naïve. It might help motivate us to become involved politically, it might allow us to feel a certain connection to whatever Gods we venerate, it might even make us feel better but it is a terribly humanizing view of Powers that are well beyond our factiousness, or the limitations of temporality and human foolishness. It’s really a shame that we insist on bringing our Gods down to our short-sighted level (and I think we all do this at times).

On the other hand, statements such as, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” might be comforting but do represent a kind of crypto-monotheism, especially when people capitalize History and treat it as a force equivalent to the Judeo-Christian-Islamic Only God.

This “history” is apparently quasi-sentient and going somewhere other than to its own destruction. It is no coincident that the statement is attributed to a Unitarian minister.

Some Pagans I know (or know of) are working with various American archetypes ((I  use Salmon too!)) in the sense of asking protection and blessing, which is OK. It’s like always ending a spell with “Or something better.”((It is always good when you can rid yourself of annoying people by blessing them.)) That means not ordering the gods around: “[Deity], cause [Candidate] to win the election!”

In the mundane world, stories like “Witches Hex Kavanaugh” are great clickbait.((For readers outside the USA, the article refers to Judge Brett Kavanaugh, recently added to the US Supreme Court after a contentious confirmation process in the Senate.))

Here is the old-line conservative magazine National Review, suffering from a drop in circulation, taking a clickbait-ish shot at “progressive” Witches:

4 thoughts on “The Gods Do Not Vote, So Why Are You Asking Them?

  1. Pingback: The conversation continues… | Gangleri's Grove

  2. Pitch313

    Witchcraft these days incorporates (for a bunch of practitioners) media savvy and working with energies and currents of pop culture and occulture. In this avenue of endeavor, Craft is displayed more than completed to a desired outcome. Hexing becomes an enterprise of fandom–an act of in-community solidarity that excludes and mocks the non-fans.A principle of magical efficacy like To Keep Silent does not suit here.

    As for the political affiliations of the gods, we humans probably ought not to know..However, just in case, Cthulhu for President!

  3. Kalinysta

    Pitch313’s comment about “Cthulhu for President” is not a bad idea. Personally, I’d love to have either the 10th Doctor or the 12th Doctor (who actually was the President of the World at one point) be president! Hmmmm… Maybe I’ll make a button or a tee-shirt that says that.

  4. Keith McCormic

    Not to mention that most of the deities who are described as being participants in politics typically evince a VERY long view of human affairs.

    It seems perfectly within the purview of Athena (and many others) to help a terrible candidate win in an election in order to motivate other persons. Perhaps there is some action She wants them to undertake or some kind of personal growth She intends. I offer this hypothetically, of course, but She certainly has the wisdom and perspective to do so- on a scale eclipsing human or even national lifetimes!

    Indeed, I doubt those deities who do “vote” do so in a pattern that makes sense to humans. Their goals are just that far beyond our perspective and timeframe.

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