Not to sound too much like an arse licker but I was honoured when I was invited to contribute a monthly column to this project. Polytheism is something that is deeply important to me, but also something that I’ve been a bit of an outsider of. Given that this is my
first post I thought I’d take the opportunity to introduce myself, while also deal with some issues I face as a Hellenic polytheist.
I go by many names, most call me Mark, but I prefer Markos. I’m a professional artist that makes a living producing artwork in the streets of Melbourne, Australia. It’s a fascinating job as I’m both part of the general public, but completely outside of it – being absorbed into my own world of art.
This is similar to my experience of the ‘pagan’ community. It is difficult to pin point my obsession with ancient Greece, but I know that it opened up when I was introduced to the internet at fifteen. As a silly teen, I thought I was the only one that felt drawn to honour these deities but quickly found out that I was not. Then I found myself deeply intimidated by what was being discussed on forums, chats and groups. A diverse range of philosophies, concepts, ideals. Often people wouldn’t flame each other over these augments, they’d send fucking nukes, really – it’s ugly. I didn’t want to get involved and for the last fourteen years I have lurked.
This is strange in itself, as I have been following and reading certain people for years and even though some talk very little about their personal lives I actually know who they are by years of abstract contact. Then again they have no idea who I am… it makes me feel a little creepy…
Something that is fascinating about the recent Polytheist Leadership Conference (PLC) in New York is reading stories of people meeting for the first time in REAL life, even though they have known each other online for years. Common posts talk about how their perceptions of others were changed and how even those that engaged in hellfire flame wars online came to agreeable terms in realty. As an outsider on the other side of the world this is beautiful… and it makes me feel a bit lonely.
I live in a very large country that has a small population, in general terms Australia’s common man is middle class, suburban and sometimes a bit intellectually dim. Even with the luxury of the internet it is difficult meeting people with likeminded concepts in my area, let alone similar beliefs. I have never met a person who actually knows what polytheism is without me having to explain it to them.
So, you see, I’m a bit of a loner.
Something like the PLC is a privilege, a gift. Although you dudes went to some hotel in a town with a weird name, gave lectures to one another for a weekend and went home, it has affected people outside. Reading and hearing the fallout of this event has really set a spark in my heart that makes me *want* to be part of the community.
This is why I am honoured to be invited to write on this site and sincerely hope I contribute some insight to the beauty of polytheism into the future.