As I write I’m more than halfway through Dancing Rabbit’s ‘The Horned God’ and reading a blog written by “Faune” on GWN, I’m struck by a common trend in modern paganism and witchcraft.
One of the things I find fascinating in terms of modern pagan expression is the tendency to still view the sacred in the system of binary sexuality. For me modern paganism ought to be an expression of one’s observations about life and the world around us. For me and many other neopagans life is not clearly defined into gender based paradigms. In most Western societies and even a few non-Western ones gender identity has four primary expressions; male, female, transgender and intersexed.
Most modern pagans seem to obtain their fixation of binary genders from the Hermetic Principle of Polarity, in one way or another. For many the presence of this principle is so ingrained in their core beliefs that it is represented in the dynamics of their gods. Everyone remember the Goddess and Horned God of many “Wiccan” books? Yep, this is the same idea. I know sometimes I come off as anti-Wicca on here and believe me thats simply not the case. My main issue is that of any religion or belief system of magic is the lack of progression. One needn’t change their core beliefs in order to develop the understanding surrounding them. Indeed for Iniatory or Traditional Wiccans I wouldn’t expect them to because they are initiated into a priesthood.
I’ve little doubt of the virtues of this principle but its a principle not a spiritual doctrine and is most certainly in need of further exploration. I gay Witch I know recently brought his partner to an open Circle, naturally he explained his intentions beforehand because his partner is not religious or spiritual in the strictest sense of the words. The High Priestess (to be honest not sure if this was an initiated system or one of communal presence but the Officiating Officer in any case) turned around and explained “so long as he’s okay sharing in the ceremony” i.e. basically that he and you know that there will be a girl between you as this conducts energy better than two blokes who bonk on a daily basis. The problem being that the partner of my friend was extremely uncomfortable with kissing strangers of any gender, so how is this conducive to the raising of energies? I’m also friends with another well known Alexandrian Wiccan who while officiating at a Naming Ceremony for some non-religious pagans (yes they do exist and its not contradictory!) decided the only way the Circle would work was boy-girl-boy-girl. Perhaps its my subversive tendencies resurfacing but I was delighted to hear how two of the lads identifying as bi-sexual responded by snogging ferociously. That was the end of that anyway.
Other spiritual paradigms practice the same sort of conditioning without fully understanding matters. Maybe its because I’ve never been privy to the initiatory teachings of Wicca or formal paganism that my understanding is gleamed solely from reading materials but the Wicca 101 books of my early days (which still feature on my bookstand) refer to this from a Hermetic perspective, meaning that the dual polarities of masculinity and femininity exist within us all. Just because I’m a gay man doesn’t mean that my sense of femininity or masculinity is more developed than others, especially if the social marker is down to societal markers. Since when has spiritual and personal development in magic been marked exclusively by societal norms?
I’m all for practical paganism which one can use in everyday life so this version of polarity which tells me not to hold hands with a guy because it’s spiritually ‘bad for me’ really doesn’t cut it for me. While Wicca may not be homophobic there is a distinct measure of bias within the movement/religion which pervades other aspects to the pagan community.
So to round-up, please don’t assume that your spiritual doctrine if mine even if we both on occasion use the label pagan/witch. Also if an LGBTQ person comes to you for initiation don’t judge from preconceived ideas of what it is sexuality/gender identity means in terms of their spiritual progression, I happen to know a few gay/bi lads who has terrible woman-issues and perhaps assuming that because they are gay/bisexual means they are perfectly identified with the feminine energies. Just because I’m a man doesn’t mean I can’t engage the creative forces of the Divine Feminine like any woman. Creativity is something different from fertility but now that someone’s brought it up to the best of my knowledge gay/bi men are capable and often do have babies. Since sexuality is largely considered to be fluid many people (men and women) have heterosexual experiences resulting in children. Same goes for transgendered people.
I’d love to hear from those more experienced than I on the issue of the Great Rite and same-sex unions within it? Anybody practicing sexual alchemy maybe?