Next week I will be doing a live event to spread the word that people can still enroll for my course, of which only five of thirty sessions have met at this point. The course is fully accessible to asynchronous participation, and there aren’t assignments to worry about, so it’s easy to catch up. Register at the link above.

Of course, you don’t need to wait—you can enroll for my course now: 

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On Sunday, Oct. 30th I will be hosting a live webinar with Rhyd Wildermuth at 9 AM EST, 3 PM CET and 6:30 PM IST. Rhyd and I will explore the meaning of the revival of sundered polytheist traditions, the ideas and values that it embodies, and the broader significance of this movement in the contemporary world. 

Rhyd Wildermuth is a druid, a pagan polytheist, a political theorist, and a prolific author on topics related to paganism, animism, environmentalism, and political issues. He lives in the Ardennes and is devoted to Brythonic, Germanic, Gaulish, and other gods, as well as to ancestors and local land spirits.Rhyd is also the co-founder and director of Ritona a.s.b.l., a not-for-profit publishing organisation advocating for pluralism, tolerance, and respect for indigenous and non-industrial ways of being in the world.

Among other titles, he is the author of Being Pagan: A Guide to Re-Enchant Your Life [Amazon affiliate link] and the forthcoming Here Be Monsters: How To Fight Capitalism Instead of Each Other. His writing can be found at From The Forests of Arduinna.

Register here: https://indicacademy.zoom.us/…/WN_albYBvzYRiCmMQL5HuMubA

UPDATE: The video of this event is available HERE

(Note: contains Amazon affiliate links) My new book, based on the lectures I gave for my INDICA course Introduction to Polytheism last year, is now available in paperback and Kindle editions from Amazon; the ebook edition is available as well from the Google Play store. Here’s the description:

Polytheisms may well be the world’s most undervalued cultural resource. From the dawn of history until quite recently, the default religious orientation on the planet was to recognize an open-ended plurality of unique divinities that manifest in every realm of natural and social life. By hosting a plurality of Gods, polytheistic civilizations exhibit maximum diversity in maximum solidarity – each one is a multiverse. Polytheism has been at the heart of the most ancient and resilient civilizations on Earth. Yet polytheist traditions have been stigmatized and persecuted for centuries, countless of them have been eradicated and prejudice against them and the very idea of a multiplicity of Gods continue to distort how they are perceived both by outsiders and in many cases even among their participants. This book offers an overview of continuous and revived polytheistic traditions from around the world together with critical discussions of the issues affecting them and their reception, offering a basis for further study and comparison.

Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3MdXCCB (#advertisement)

This Thursday (9/22) at 9:30 AM EST, 2:30 PM in Nigeria, 7 PM IST, don’t miss my live conversation with INDICA/CGPIT fellowship recipient Oluwo Olakunle Olawole, creator of The Ifá Priest Podcast, available on multiple platforms. Register at the link above.

UPDATE: The video of this live event is now available from INDICA’s YouTube page.

I wrote a blog post expanding a bit on some of the ideas which will be informing my upcoming course, which begins October 2nd; I hope to see many of you there. Please note that tuition assistance is also available; contact reachout@indica.courses for more information.

Registration is now open for my next class with Indica Courses, which begins October 1st and will run until May 6th.

Here is the course description:

The success of Western powers in multiple domains in the so-called ‘modern’ era has enabled the Western civilizational perspective and its self-understanding that emerged during that time to present itself to the rest of the world, not as one perspective among others, but as the universal and definitive human perspective and as the culmination of the world’s intellectual and spiritual development according to principles supposedly objective and self-evident. The hegemonic position of this civilizational perspective makes it essential that the basic elements of the Western paradigm of thought referenced by Western geopolitical power as the source of its legitimacy be grasped and critiqued. This course, using as its basis a standard, widely assigned collection of readings used to construct the ongoing and open-ended ‘Western Canon’, seeks to provide the foundation for such awareness, so that students may both appreciate the wisdom in this intensely contested tradition as well as recognizing its hazards.

Please spread the word, and I hope to see you there!

It’s always an honor to share my work with the open access journal Oscillations: Non-Standard Experiments in Anthropology, the Social Sciences, and Cosmology. (See their mission statement here.) This piece, “On Amazonian Polytheisms” is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, The Way of the Gods: Polytheism(s) Around the World, which is based on the course Introduction to Polytheism that I gave last year with INDICA Courses.

https://oscillations.one/Assets/Publications/On+Amazonian+Polytheisms

This Indica Course juxtaposes two epics, two soteriologies (accounts of salvation), and two ontologies (accounts of the nature of Being Itself).

Plato’s Republic is an epic of philosophy, supplementing Homer’s epics in the Hellenic tradition, while the Mahabharata is an epic bearing its philosophical interpretation within itself throughout, for those who have discerned its interpretative principles, but which manifest a comprehensive philosophical perspective especially in the Bhagavad Gita. Without presupposing that the accounts in these two texts, albeit from kindred cultures, should be the same, this Indica Course seeks to bring them, and the experiences of divinity that inform them, into a dialogue.

Guided by the question ‘What is justice?’ Plato, through his dramatic protagonist, his teacher Socrates, establishes that it is to be found in the well-ordered soul, but that in order to discern the order of the soul, one must look to the state, in which one finds this order writ large. Socrates soon finds that the state, and hence the soul, finds itself ineluctably at war, and traces this struggle, within and without, throughout the text, which reaches its climax on a battlefield, with a vision of the souls of every kind of creature facing their ultimate choice. The Mahabharata, too, concerns a state at war and the war within the soul, as seen from many sides and in countless forms. In its climax, also on a battlefield, Arjuna, called by duty to destroy those who are as close to him as his very soul, appeals to his God to save him with an account of dharma, of the nature and ground of right action in the world, seeking as well that knowledge which alone may guide him in the most fateful choice of his life.

I am deeply grateful to Otavio S. R. D. Maciel for translating my lecture “The Polemic Against Polytheism” into Portuguese for Anãnsi: Revista de Filosofia (ISSN 2675-8385), v. 2 n. 2 (2021), available here from the journal site, or here from Academia.edu.

On Indic Academy

November 24, 2021

I would like to speak to an issue that concerns me deeply. I am proud to be associated with Indic Academy, an organization devoted to the celebration of the ancient legacy and modern relevance of Hinduism, a world religion which stands as the largest and most powerful of the ancient polytheist traditions to have survived into the modern age, despite confronting the same forces which resulted in the elimination of other, similar traditions or their subordination and marginalization. We cannot ignore the fact that those same forces still wish to see Hinduism either eliminated altogether, or rendered incapable of that simple self-affirmation which is routinely accorded to every other tradition in the world. Any celebration of Hinduism, and every affirmation of its value and articulation of its values, is subject to attack under the elastic term ‘Hindutva’. I wish to state categorically that I find no legitimacy in attaching this term in any disparaging sense to Indic Academy. I believe in democracy, in equal treatment before the law, in equal opportunity, in the emancipation of women, in justice for marginalized and minority groups in every nation, in pluralistic societies and a multipolar, polycentric world. I find these values reflected in the work of Indic Academy, which is a non-political, educational organization, and which is no more required to answer for every wrongful tendency in contemporary Indian life, the cycle of violence, than any similar Christian or Muslim educational organization is made to answer for the worst actions or ideologies of any of their co-religionists. The only thing that Indic Academy has in common with any Hindu doing something wrong is Hinduism. But the pluralistic and tolerant history of Hinduism toward other religions on the aggregate speaks for itself, in sharp contrast to the intolerance which has been directed at it from the world’s two largest religions. I hold no hatred for Christians or Muslims, and as an ethnic Jew myself, I of course don’t hate my own people, nor do I wish to eradicate any of these traditions. Like Hindus I seek only to find a path forward in which no religion seeks the extinction of any other, either through violence or through the application of unfair social pressure or distorted representations. Indic Academy stays above politics, but constantly articulates the principles and values which would inform the most responsible and ethical participation in the public sphere. They have nothing to apologize for, and I have no apologies for my collaboration with them. In less than a year, my Center for Global Polytheist and Indigenous Traditions at Indic Academy has awarded $4,800 in grant money to worthy projects of which I am extremely proud, held an online conference participation in which was free, open and diverse, and has offered an affordable, innovative survey course on global polytheistic traditions. Our new platform, IndicaPolytheist.com, intends to be a showcase for the best in polytheist thought, and I can guarantee that everything there will reflect my own values of plurality, equality and justice, in which I know that I will have Indic Academy’s full support. I look forward to the further work that we will do together.

A coalition between revivalist polytheists and the world’s largest descriptively polytheist tradition, and which seeks alliance among all the world’s surviving Indigenous traditions, has the potential to be a sea change in the history of religious coexistence. It constitutes in itself no threat whatsoever to the world’s monotheist traditions. We who explicitly affirm the reality of everyone’s Gods should surely not be held to a more exacting standard than those who make no such concession, and who wield soft and hard power alike in advancing their faiths. It would be a foolish and costly mistake to reject this alliance on account of nothing more than slander and broad, baseless characterizations. How much easier it would have been for Indic Academy not to embrace the controversial term ‘polytheism’, so subject to misunderstanding among Hindus and everywhere else, and to disregard revivalist polytheists, a small and marginalized group. Instead they have welcomed us. This is an opportunity to shift ideas and discourses that have been as though set in stone, the kind that does not present itself every day, and it presents itself within the terms of the world as it is. The world is a complex place, especially for polytheists. Existing political polarizations don’t always fit, they were not drawn to allow space for us, and the majority traditions have no interest in allowing space for us to emerge. Let us support one another, and work together for a world in which we celebrate all of our Gods and the uniqueness and universality of all our traditions.