A few months ago, someone said something that started wheels turning in my head about the nature of my blogging and my writing. It doesn’t matter who said it (although, for attribution’s sake, perhaps I should actually figure out who), but it came down to the problem of writers speaking vocally for polytheism on the Internet and very few other people.
Due to my full-time job, I have stopped posting as much, but that does not mean that I have stopped praying and giving the appropriate devotions to our gods. Time prioritization has meant that my evening attention online has been devoted to other pursuits.
I have started reading a lot of web sites about minimalism and the art of owning and living with less. Many of the concepts stand in line with Stoic philosophy. Minimalism, across all of the blogs I have read, is really about the joy that comes from detaching from possessions to become more aware of what one truly owns. It is quite similar to one of the core Stoic statements about how we can react to things within and without of our controls.
People say many things on the Internet about minimalism. There are people who try to live without trash or with 33 different articles of clothing. They try to only live out of a backpack, or to deliberately downscale, and many take pride in owning very little.
When I think about having that few possessions, it does seem to fly in the face of some religious things I hold dear. The gods of the storeroom delight in having things to watch over (i.e., food, blankets), and the shrines and religious props I own are not frivolous pursuits. It seems perfectly fine to subject human things to such utilitarian discretion, especially members of my generation who move so often and have few roots, but books about the gods and the varieties of incense I burn have become as dear to me as the floor beneath my feet.
I know that I could get away with frankincense, an incense burner, lighter, and the names of the gods etched into sticks. I have done so before.
There is a difference, though, between austere minimalism and Stoic joy. Stoicism is the art of understanding that you may have the world, but that you own nothing but the chaos between your ears. It is very different from minimalist living.
So, to come back to the beginning, many of my musings and much of my devotion has moved offline. I am still thinking about religion online, though, especially because it offers such a wonderful opportunity for hard polytheists like me to discuss our ideas with people completely unlike ourselves.