Many Gods West Community Shrine
My thoughts on the overall experience of Many Gods West. To read about how I felt about the presentations and rituals, read “Programming.” To read about how I feel about Many Gods West as it has changed and will change, read “Past, Present, and Future”
The overall experience of Many Gods West 2016 was amazing. Just amazing. You have all these polytheists from different traditions and backgrounds coming together for a weekend to discuss theology, spirituality, and community. It is a beautiful thing.
The location was so ideal. Up top a hill with a view of a gorgeous lake really set the tone for me over the weekend. Many Gods West 2015 had the advantage of being near things in a city but…not much else. While I had to basically just eat at the hotel’s restaurant, the food wasn’t bad so it can be forgiven. But the view…Oh the view! Me and my friend spent a good chunk of time outside (them more than me!) because of how beautiful it was. And the weather was just perfect — not too hot, not too cold. Just so pleasant.
The people who showed up this year were wonderful as well for the most part. Alas we still had people trying to gate-keep the word polytheism show up. But, for the people who interacted with me, it was mostly civil and upbeat. I had some great conversations with people at the breakfast buffet, and the one person who had to be corrected on using someone’s pronouns (the person accidentally using “he” pronouns for a nonbinary person who uses “they” pronouns) went very smoothly — the person didn’t argue or anything like that. And that nonbinary person at the breakfast introduced me personally to the Tetra++, who I need to research more on. Also, special acknowledgment to Gwion Raven who took time to encourage me about my ritual before I began it Friday and then took time Saturday to ask me how it went, which meant so much coming from someone I respect in the wider community.
The attendee badges we wore were fantastic, as they had a place for pronouns. Most of the presenters made nods to accessibility, like how one group mentioned that their ritual space wasn’t accessible given that it was down a flight of stairs or to do a ritual in a way that reflects your ability and needs.
As I said in my first post on the Past, Present, and Future of Many Gods West: it was nice to just be around other polytheists who have the same baseline as me. I think we need to be careful about making “polytheism” mean more than belief in many gods, or else we run into elitism.
And most importantly of all, my weekend was free of the worse symptoms of my narcolepsy. As I wrote on Tumblr and Facebook, “Miracles sometimes happen in polytheism.” I spent most of the weekend alert, attentive, and awake. I had maybe two happenings where I thought I needed a nap, but those feelings were fleeting and I was able to enjoy the weekend fully. When I was traveling home, however, the fatigue began to hit me. And now that I’m back home, I’m sleeping my usual 12-16 hours. But for the conference…I was able to stay awake longer and I am so grateful for that.
So overall a really great experience, one that I hope I can have again in the future.