If Aphrodite came down to the physical plane some people would say she was too fat, and some people would say she was too skinny. Some would say that no love goddess should have body hair, and that no one who failed to shave their legs could be a love goddess. Definitely, some people would say she wasn’t blonde enough, because when they hear “golden,” they think “platinum,” and don’t realize that bronze was poetically referred to as “gold” (as in Demeter’s epithet ‘Mother of the Golden Sword’).
Some would say she was too loud, and others would say she didn’t speak up enough.
Some people would definitely call her ‘bossy.’
There would be people who believed her when she said she was Aphrodite, and there would also be people who didn’t believe it. Plenty of others just wouldn’t care.
Then there would be the people who were initially impressed, but then, when they discovered that she didn’t perfectly align with their theological or political ideologies, say that she couldn’t be the ‘real’ Aphrodite, and was, instead, a dangerous demoness who needed to be avoided for the safety of the Polytheist community.
Some of the people who began by believing would quickly demonize her once she violated their preconceived notions of how she would or should act in certain situations. She’d be put up on a pedestal and then torn down. Repeatedly.
There would be people who would only temporarily be convinced to take responsibility, or be less fascist, or to be kinder right up until she had the abject audacity to not be Apollon, by which I mean, not necessarily know every detail of the future. The moment she was wrong about anything, all of her messages of kindness and fairness and love would be discounted. Because even though we theoretically understand that deities have specialties, we’d be on the lookout for reasons to discredit her so that we didn’t have to change how we conduct ourselves in the slightest.
She’d have human enemies almost immediately. She’d be silenced, interrupted, ‘sweetheart’ed, and ‘splained to.
And people would be shocked. They’d be shocked that, after thousands of years of being in a relationship with Ares, that she knew her way around a sword and armor. Some would even be shocked to discover that she was polyamorous. And when, after being challenged, and mocked, and receiving death threats, she finally made a display of force, that would be used to dismiss and discount her, too.
And I know all this because it’s how we treat one another. Because it takes a special spiritual insight to perceive deities — when Demeter wandered the Earth, some recognized her and some didn’t. Because people are most offended by their deepest truths, and the more they are made to re-evaluate, the angrier they become. Because when a human being has made up their mind, no amount of evidence is enough.
Because no one, ever, ever wants to be corrected, and if the gods have superior wisdom to us, their wisdom will be non-identical to our present understanding, and therefore not necessarily congruent with our preconceived notions.
It’s important to recognize when “some people,” means me and you. For all the discussion of right practice, of how we know when we’ve got the really-real gods, and ritual tech, and safety, and whatever else, we seldom discuss that if a deity could manifest perfectly, there would be no less division over the authenticity of their messages.
We have a lot to fix before we can hear the right answer when it arrives.
We both hug you on that one.
this hits hard and heavy. Thank you for sharing.