It is the recognition of a diversity of the sacred, diversity of the Divine that does not depend on a common, universal source.
It is the proper veneration of the Gods and ancestors.
If this doesn't describe your religious identity, and yet you insist on using the term "polytheist," doggedly and perversely, you are committing a form of misappropriation. Cultural and religious misappropriation as any Native American might tell you, is indeed a form of erasure.
The reason so many polytheists feel embattled is that for the longest time we were pushed out of the Pagan community so we decided to concede that and define ---more accurately--as polytheists but that wasn't enough. Now we have people like John Halstead attempting to push us out of polytheism as well, attempting to take over the term that defines our religious identity, water it down and by extension poison the intra-community discourse slowly taking place between actual polytheists.
Halstead recently writes:
" I believe that you don’t own the word “polytheist”.
And neither do I. And neither does Webster’s. The same goes for the word “Pagan” and “Neo-Pagan” and lots of other words.
There’s good precedent for using the word “polytheistic” in a psychologized and naturalized senses in which I have in this blog, from contemporary authors like Margot Adler and David Miller, to Joseph Campbell and Jung, to ancient writers like Plutarch, Cicero, and the Stoics. And there’s better precedent for using the word to mean a belief in gods as literal, independent, sentient beings. But I’m going to continue to use the word the way that makes sense to me."
This isn't a label. It's a precise religious identity containing within it precise cultural and spiritual markers, depending on the polytheism in question. Even in talking about polytheism however, Halstead doesn't bother actually quoting polytheists. Our voices are nowhere present in his narrative.* Of course I suppose we shouldn't feel bad. As you'll note from the quote above, even the dictionary definition of polytheism doesn't really seem to matter to him. He is going to twist this word however he likes.
People bemoan the hostility of the community but there won't be peace as long as the very right to define our faith is interfered with. This is about building our traditions, serving our Gods, and honoring our dead and that takes precedence over all of us getting along.
*(on the rare occasions when we are quoted, it's facile, disingenuous, and solely to undermine our position).