I read a post recently that another blogger did entitled The Marginalization of Polytheists in the Public Sphere of Paganism and I agree with the writer’s points. Pagans, in general, are considered to be a “fringe group” by many people in Western (read European) societies. Polytheists are considered to be a “fringe group within a fringe group” by that standard. Even other Pagans consider Polytheists a “fringe group” when the “Pagan Umbrella” metaphor is used.
I personally hate that because of Protestant-background societal norms, that this has become a reality. Polytheists exist in the world as a reality. It is not because we are somehow backwards in our thinking. Many very successful scientists both in the ancient and modern world were and are polytheists.
I prefer to think of the modern Pagan “movement” in terms of a campground instead of an umbrella or tent. Each “flavor” of Pagan thought is its own tent and there are trails between them. There may even be a central bonfire area where the denizens of the different tents can congregate to discuss our similarities and differences. No tent will have trails leading directly to all of the others, and the denizens of one tent might even decide to not associated with a different one because they are too different.
In this paradigm, Polytheists have our own “cluster” of tents; the Wiccans have their own cluster; the Pagans who view the Gods as Archetypes or are “Nature-focused” have still another. While this view would not eliminate conflicts between groups or individuals, it may provide a more accurate model of what Paganism COULD BECOME as it matures and becomes more accepted in the “secular” world.