Impostor Syndrome

Sometimes it’s just time to scrap everything and start again…


Whenever I start to worship a deity, it’s done with the caveat that the relationship is temporary. Until that’s asked of me, it’s not something I feel I can consider. It has yet to be asked of me.


Recently, there was a piece by author Neil Gaiman going around social media on Impostor Syndrome. In it, Gaiman recounts how he was at some sort of function of ‘great minds’…thinkers, creatives, whathaveyou.


It led him to have thoughts of self-doubt. He felt like an impostor, not fit to be counted among the brilliant people there. At the event, he encountered another Neil. This other Neil seemed to be having similar feelings.

It turned out that the other Neil was Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, who tried to minimize his historic event by saying “I just went where they sent me”.


When it comes to polytheism, I often feel like an impostor. These feelings led me to apologize to my deities and dismantle my altars.


I’m absolutely intrigued by Shaktism and Shakta Tantra, but without a guru, without a background in Hindu culture, without a community, I feel like an impostor. Especially when it comes to being a white person in an Indian religion when Europeans brutally colonized India. At what point does my religion become cultural appropriation?


Then there’s the polytheism community that was a reaction to modern Neo-Paganism. I relate the most to these groups and individuals but when I do not have an ongoing relationship to a European deity or deities, I feel like I don’t really belong in that group either. Not when I’m fully focused upon or writing about Shaktism or Catholic mysticism.


I became a Neo-Pagan in 1993. I’m not sure when I stopped but I know I no longer relate to it at all. A year or so ago, I went to a local group. They called it “Pagan” but it was sort of a Wicca 101 group with a bunch of new people and casual Pagans. They did a sabbat with the quarter-calling and circle-casting…and it just felt so foreign to me. I mean, I did that for years but it’s absolutely not a place I belong anymore.


What then? What next?

I’m feeling a call to get back into Hellenic Polytheism. Perhaps back with Aphrodite and perhaps exploring other relationships with other deities. But I’m not going to jump into anything.


I think jumping into a relationship with a deity does me, and especially the gods, a disservice.


I want to go where They send me. But I’m going to be trying to discern where that is for a bit.


I’ve written often about how devotional polytheism is not about YOU…or rather, me. As such, I feel like an enormous hypocrite in stopping my worship. Due to my insecurities, I’ve failed as a devotee. I made it about me, not my gods. I’m a bad devotee. Even now, in writing this, I’m doing it.


Sri Ganapati and I have been together about 17 years at this point, on and off. I am thankful that should I return, I feel as if He would welcome my devotion. That doesn’t make it OK necessarily but it does make me feel less like shit.


This has not been easy to write. It’s not easy looking vulnerable or flawed but I felt it was important to write about this and share it with others because if I have these feelings and experiences, it’s likely other devotionally-minded folks do as well.


If so, please know that my prayers are with you.
May the Gods guide us. May we know and appreciate Their sacred presence in our lives.

Thank you.

~ by R.M. McGrath on 05/19/2017.

One Response to “Impostor Syndrome”

  1. You are not alone in feeling like this. I’ve been a Hellenic polytheist since 2010, yet I also still struggle, feeling like I am unworthy or am an impostor… which leads me to fail as a worshipper, not doing any worship on some days and then feeling like shit and letting that drag on for a few days… It sucks. I’ve also been interested in developing a relationship with Kali, but felt like I couldn’t really do that without any Hindu community around me or priests to consult. I feel steerless and helpless and don’t know where I can find reliable help.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: