Originally from a comment on Patheos)
You know, after some time to sleep and think about it clearly, something else you said and hasn’t been thoroughly addressed bothers me:
As for non-Witchen Pagans, IME they don’t necessarily wait for an invitation (which I extend whenever the situation arises),…
I had previously, correctly, pointed out that you can’t invite someone who already lives here. So why would you feel us “non-Witchens” even need an invite, unless your assumption is that we’re two different communities, doing completely different things, perhaps only barely related at best?
Let’s analogise a house with university students: Jerry and Johnny want to have a house party. Tommy lives in the third bedroom, pays his part of the rent and everything. Do Jerry and Johnny invite Tommy to the house party? No, he lives there, so they ask him if he would consent to the house party as well, or if it would be best if they waited for him to be out of town to throw it –because he lives there, so he doesn’t need an invite. If they were to throw the party during a day he was there and without his consent, he would be well within his rights to find a new place to live.
When you imply that us “non-Witchens” need an invite, you’re saying we’re not a part of your community, that we are, indeed, doing something completely different, something that you may not even understand. Furthermore, if you imply that we need and invite, as you have, and then dare to speak for us, as I know Frew, diZerega, and others have, then that is an eggregious breach of etiquette, to put it politely.
Polytheists didn’t ask to be lumped in with the pagan community, but by happen-stance, here we are, a part of the community, whether you or I or others like it or not. Some of us keep our distance from the community for often personal reasons, some of us maintain a relationship with the pagan community for often political or social reasons (though it’s ultimately up to each individual polytheist why they do or do not participate in the pagan community).
If you maintain that we need to be invited, then you are maintaining that we are a completely separate community, and certain etiquette needs to be taken into consideration, should we take that invitation.
If you maintain that we need no invitation, then why not treat us with the respect to practise our own rituals as we see most fit, and maintain our own sense of piety and devotion that everyone else who lives here gets?
I now propose the following standards of etiquette for respectful relations between the Neopagan and Polytheist communities:
1) When invited to Pan-Pagan events, Polytheists are correct to assume that certain extents of hospitality are to be expected from Neopagans. Polytheists shall be allowed to present a ritual as simple as their traditions will allow, and in accordance to a ritual script belonging to that tradition. There shall be no expectations to alter the ritual any further to make it appear more closely to a Wiccanate or Neodruid or any other ritual script. This includes, and shall not be limited to, no circles cast nor quarters called unless those traditions actually require it for the type of ritual presented by the polytheist group.
2) At the end of the ritual(s) presented by the polytheist group(s), it shall be expected to refrain from accusations of “confusing” or “hard to understand” when, in reality, the ritual was only “different from Wiccanate Neopaganism or Neodruidry”. Imagine yourself starting out in Eclectic Wicca or Neodruidry, especially if you came from a very different religious background, such as more plain Christian traditions. Your first Wiccanate ritual might have seemed very strange, even if you welcomed the change. You might not have understood what you should do, until it was explained to you or you learned through observation. While you are certainly welcome to participate in certain polytheist rituals as an outsider (certainly any held in public pagan spaces), you are no more allowed to expect the ritual to conform to what you’re used to than a Catholic or newly ex-Catholic is allowed to expect a Wiccan ritual to to resemble a Catholic service.
3) Wiccanate Neopagans, Traditional Wiccans, and Neodruids shall make no attempts, in any setting public or private, to speak for traditions that one has not actually been a member of. If one is not currently a member of a certain tradition, but now a Wiccanate, etc…, then one will make every attempt to clarify that one cannot speak to the current community of that religion.
4) If a polytheist states that they have been discriminated against in pagan space, then the ethical response is to take them at their word –even if one was there and does not believe discrimination happened, but otherwise agrees with the facts of the occurrence. Discrimination that typically occurs in pagan spaces against polytheists includes, but is not limited to, being asked to modify polytheist ritual to conform to Wiccanate models of ritual, or being asked to water down their theology to be more palatable to panentheist monism. We cannot be trusted to adequately judge discrimination from a position of privilege, so logically the disempowered position is the one that is most likely to be accurate.