I have twelve main gods: the Trickster, the Mad God, the Huntress, the Lover, the Lord of the Deeps, the Mother of Monsters, the Lightbringer, the Dragon, the Lady of the Ways, the Good Land, the Raven Queen and the Phantom Queen.
The way I see my gods is a bit weird. It’s not hard polytheism, but it’s not exactly soft polytheism, either.
I relate first and foremost to them as Archetypal Beings, whom I refer to with titles, then as individual cultural deities after that. I say I’m married to Loki and Morpheus, but it’s a kind of a convenient shorthand. I’m married to the Trickster and the Mad God. Loki and Morpheus are names they will respond to. There are other names they’ll respond to, as well, but each name brings a different facet to the forefront.
via I’m really not a hard polytheist. | Mud and Lightning.
This is a post by a member of my kindred, and while I’ll admit bias because they’re a friend, I think their whole entry is worth reading. It does elicit the thinky thoughts in me; some of my adventures in hard polytheism aren’t as hard as you might think, and of course, I wondered why? I’m undecided but I have a couple trains of thought (and I reserve the right to change my mind given new information…or whatever else Loki throws at me).
Loki answers to Loki; it’s what He calls Himself and so that’s the name I use for Him. That’s a simple, pragmatic thing – if He wanted to be named Someone Else I’d flail but I’d brain it and deal with it, eventually.
But, and there’s always a but – there’s a lot of Loki. There’s the Loki known in the Lore, but we all know that the Lore that was canonized left out a LOT – not just about Himself but about many of our Gods, and most especially our Goddesses, many of Whom all we have left are names and not what They did. Is Frigga, Whose name means “Beloved” really a name or a title? We have no Lore to answer that. And refusing to venture out side of the written Lore is to deny Them a seat at the table, and to treat Them as if They are unworthy of worship.
Deities change and grow over time, and it’s my doxa that you can run into a Deity in various states because for Them, time is not linear, and so the Loki Who just met Odin is a very different Loki than the One trapped in the cave. I’m gonna get a little more woo now and say that I’ve met a Loki who is/was whatever the Vanir and Jotuns were back before They split (yeah I know, not in the Lore, no fucks givens because Vanatruar PCPG) – I didn’t get a name for the people, they were just The People. That’s doubly fascinating to me because there are a crapton of depictions of Himself with pointed ears; when we see Him that way, is it because He wants show that this is where He is in mythic time? Maybe. And because of timey wimey things like this, that may be why sometimes we Someone Who is very archetypal.
Because I also know this: there’s a lot of Loki. More than I can perceive and understand, and so if someone’s perception of Him is dramatically different than mine, it’s just as valid. I get hard polytheist Loki, most of the time, but the more archetypal form of Him that I do see, I’d say isn’t even Trickster, it’s more Wild God. And if that’s not brain breaky enough, I’ve seen Freyr be the Wild God too, but Freyr’s Wild God feels different than Loki’s, so maybe even in the archetypal, there’s still something individualist. Maybe.
So, does that mean that the Wild God is an aspect of Loki or that Loki’s a particular version of the Wild God? Is it a mask that They wear to teach or teach us?
No clue, y’all. And yanno what?
TL;DR Soft polytheism turns hard when you touch it, at least if you’re me.