Essay: Why I Changed My Religious Label

This is the first essay here on DD.

Words and labels are important to me. A lot of pagans I know and love hate labels and do anything to avoid talking about what words mean and what they don’t mean.

Me, on the other hand, love labels.

I like them because they allow me to understand what someone does or is. Yes, in modern paganism, words can mean a lot of things so people end up explaining what the words mean to them, but it only makes me fall in love with words more.

Call me crazy.

I realize that most pagans nowadays want to avoid modern normalcy such as labels and compartmentalization, but it is so hard not to compartmentalize. Humans love to categorize and take apart. That’s what we do so to understand a person. A person can sum up in a few words who they are.

For me: Dodekatheist. Queer. Married.

I am also: a vegetarian, blogger, and a student.

I had no idea that I could use Dodekatheist to describe my religion until recently. I came across an article on Tumblr a month ago talking about why the blogger did not want to change his or her label. The discussion came up because a few well-known people from my religion discussed in Discord Server.

I became immediately intrigued after learning this. I wanted to know what the argument was for this.

As it turns out, a person from Greece who spoke the language asked a well-known Tumblr author to change her label from Hellenic Polytheist to Dodekatheist because in his or her language, Greek and Hellenic are the same words.

I don’t know his or her exact words, but I needn’t put them here anyway.

Out of respect for everyone involved, I changed my religious label. I also changed it because I liked the term. I don’t mind using it because to me, it means the same thing as Hellenic polytheism.

Other people, however, do not define Dodekatheism as I do. Some of these people say that the “dodeka” part is too confining to mean only the Olympians. That’s fair. Others say that Dodekatheism is a part of Hellenic polytheism. I can see that too.

Other people say that nationalists want us to change our label because they think that people who are not Greek can’t worship the Greek Gods. I don’t see this. I see a person asking another person not to use a label — not worship a specific pantheon of Gods.

I honestly can’t come up with a better argument to make them change their label and I don’t want to.  To each of their own. If you want to keep the label Hellenic polytheist. That’s OK. I am not here to change your mind.

I am here to express myself though.

To me Dodekatheism means: one who must worship the 12 Olympians. Can and should worship the other Greek Gods, Titans, heroes, and nymphs.