I don’t have the greatest voice in the polytheist community and often I don’t get involved in the latest community squabbles because… I have more constructive work to do. But I do read and watch what is going on and have a number of friends that I communicate regularly via email and chat who are more involved in the polytheist community. This gives me an unusual position of an outsider witness with certain insights not otherwise granted to the community at large.
I have also been an active reader and fan of Rhyd’s work for years, I’ve supported him in the community, even donated money to his adventures. At one point I was seriously considering becoming a writer for the Gods and Radicals [G&R], (I decided to not join because of my apoliticism). So please don’t assume I don’t know the diversity, purpose and intentions of the G&R.
Now, as I’ve already stated I’m an outsider with connections and have some advantage other than the public community. Of course I respect the privacy of all parties and will not share these correspondences. So the reader alone has to go by my word: I am aware that Rhyd has judged for himself many of the major players in the polytheist community and deemed them “unworthy” by his own standards. In recent months he has gone after a number of devotional polytheists over their views, traditions and practices.
I strongly suspect the banning of Sannion from the Many Gods West [MGW] and the cancellation of the Bakcheion ritual is one result of this. It happened because Sannion satirised Rhyd. Both Rhyd and Niki Whiting (The main MGW organiser and friend of Rhyd) claim they were not responsible for the banning and censorship… but it’s very easy to draw the dots, especially when Niki posted gloating remarks on facebook the same day she told Sannion he was banned… Niki has unfriended me over this, as I dare call her out, but I managed to get some screens beforehand. She claims she was being vague and I cannot link her remarks to Sannion, but in the comments she also explains it was over “poor satire”…
I’m also aware that Niki threatened to call the FBI on Sannion over his satire of Rhyd. Does that sound like a person who should be hosting a polytheist conference? Or someone who is in no way responsible for banning a known member of the polytheist community from said conference?
At first I thought the idea was ridiculous, but now I seriously suspect that Rhyd and his cronies have a deliberate plan to destroy what they believe to be “the inherent authority within the polytheist community”. With motives to systematically and personally attack each “head” of the various polytheist groups. Rhyd cannot do this straight out because he is aware he’d lose his whole readership overnight, so instead he has developed a new battle ground.
Rhyd is a very smart and well-read man, far more than myself. I’ve been a fan of his writing because he is one of the most beautiful and talented writers within the polytheist community. With this skill however he knows how to manipulate words. He knows how to write something without writing it. This is a very intelligent form of rhetoric that is being used in “The New Right” statement on G&R, some may see this statement as an agreeable good thing, but I see what it is.
This kind of statement is dangerous because it creates a new form of scapegoating language, it’s vague enough to not direct attacks at whole groups, while also being inclusive of all groups. It also utilises tactics that make it difficult to criticise without associating oneself with the “New Right”. Lastly I find it hubris. I have made that accusation against Rhyd before and I’m damn serious.
I identify as an Apolitical Devotional Polytheist, I have ‘traditionalist’ inclinations but am not a reconstructionist. The only time I am ever involved in politics is when my practices are under threat and I see this as a threat, I’m highly critical of the intention of this statement and have publically pointed out the hypocrisy of the statement.
I therefore fit within the categories of Rhyd’s “New Right”.
The “New Right” Statement enables groups of people to label me, to define me as something I’m not. It gives people the power and justification to bully, to harass, to intimidate, to censor, to ban ANYONE that fits within the broad definitions of “New Right”. These tactics have been already utilised to attack polytheists, not just online. It has serious real world consequences, as proven by the Bakcheion debacle that not only cost the members but also local business real financial consequences.
If folks can’t see what this is, then the Polytheist community is totally broken and lost.
Below is a list of related reading, I’ll try to update this list when I can and if I see them. I will include all sides, feel free to post replies and links in the comments. I will not and do not censor anyone.