I recently purchased Galina Krasskova’s book “Devotional Polytheism: An introduction” on kindle and read it during the first week in May when I was involved in an unanticipated cycle of devotional activities. When I finished I wrote a brief review on Amazon but I’d like to try and expand on that a bit here. My review on Amazon states:
“I found the first part of this book in particular a fascinating insight into another person’s devotional practice. I have found inspiration for further developing my own practices within these pages. The second half offers examples and if you are heathen I would think there may well be valuable insights here too, as I’m Brythonic there was less in this section of interest to me.
For the first half of the book alone I would recommend this book but I must admit I also greatly enjoyed reading the section on Beltane in the second half.”
On Amazon I gave this four out of five stars, the reasons being that I found a couple of sections were a bit repetitive. I also found the information in the second section less interesting than the first section. So while a very good read it wasn’t a completely “wow this is incredible” experience – some of it was a “wow” experience but not enough for me to give five stars.
I’d like to expand here a little on some of the things in the first half of the book I found particularly inspiring and helpful. I’m not a complete beginner to devotional polytheism but neither have I had the level of experience that Galina clearly has so I found much in this book to think about.
Of particular interest to me was chapter 6 “Clean and Clear” where Galina introduces the concept of miasma which she says she uses “for any type of spiritual contamination”. She goes onto explain that she sees this as a neutral term and later in the chapter after discussing discernment and signal clarity she explains more about what she means. From what she explains I have come away with the image of miasma being the spiritual equivalent of dust, we walk through it all the time, bits of it stick to us (if we wear glasses this is particularly noticeable), we even create some of it just by being alive as our body naturally sheds and renews our hair and skin. I had never really thought of spiritual energies this way before and I’ve found it incredibly helpful. I started to think about how I could “dust my spirit” and I have come with a few ideas which I hope will help me.
The discussions on discernment and signal clarity in that chapter are also ones I found very helpful and will almost certainly read again. These aspects are about how we hear our deities and how we know its them we are hearing. For this chapter alone I would heartily recommend reading this book!
The writing style is clear and friendly with a tendency towards bluntness in places too. Personally I really enjoyed reading some of the blunter passages, the section on Beltane and sex was a particular one I enjoyed.
The majority of the examples of ritual activities are Heathen and while not being Heathen myself I would imagine anyone on that path would find them very interesting. As I follow a Brythonic path I enjoyed reading the examples in terms of possible structures that I may be able to adapt while appreciating the insights the detail gave me into another path.
All in all, if you are at all interested in developing devotional practice I would strongly recommend reading this book. Well worth it in my opinion.
Edit: Just to add that you can find out more about Galina Krasskova’s work on her blog Gangleri’s Grove.
One thought on “A Review of Devotional Polytheism by Galina Krasskova”
I’ve also been coming across the term ‘devotional polytheism’ more and more in polytheist circles in the blogosphere. Which for me raises the question, isn’t polytheism essentially devotional? What is the difference between a polytheist and devotional polytheist? Are polytheists not all equally devoted their gods?…
I’ve read ‘Exploring the Northern Tradition.’ I like the fact Krasskova’s experiences shine through her writing, particularly her relationship with Odin. I believe ‘The Whisperings of Woden’ was ‘the first devotional written in modern Heathenry’ and has inspired alot of other devotional writing since…I like the fact Dun Brython publishes devotional writing…
I’ve come across individual devotional pieces within Druidry but nothing book length… maybe because Druidry isn’t essentially polytheistic or devotional? This may be my lack of knowledge. If you know of anything give me a shout!
Also, of interest in terms of ‘devotional polytheism’ and ‘spirit-Work’, which seem to come very close to being awenydd for me, try: https://forestdoor.wordpress.com/ (although mainly in Greek traditions)