Good day, all. Recently, as some of you might know, I’ve been on clergy sabbatical from my responsibilities at Deeply Rooted Church. Every so often, a member of clergy needs some time for themselves to reevaluate their role in the community, get a fresh perspective from some peers, and also perform some very much needed self-care in their own lives. I’m a polyamorous, gender-queer, Pagan mother of five little girls. I am also involved in an open marriage with a wonderfully supportive nesting partner. I have a lot on my plate outside of my calling at Deeply Rooted. I was beginning to feel a sense of being overwhelmed and I took the necessary time to recharge myself. After all of the introspection and contemplation of the whole of my situation, I’m sitting here in a clearer state of mind and the need to contribute more to Paganism. I’ve got some new ideas and a panoramic view of my place in not only my church – but also my place in humanity.
Today I want to talk about something that is affecting everyone in the Pagan community. Without getting political, I can safely say, it’s a scary time to be a woman in modern American culture. If you are unaware of what I am eluding to in this article, please do some research via a reputable news source or talk to some one who is well-versed in the current political climate. As Pagan women progress into this new age, we are changing. We are casting off the bonds of “fragile femininity” and finding a balance for ourselves that actually works. Taking ownership of our bodies, relationships, and thoughts, as well as our emotional states, helps us stand out against sisters who are still brainwashed into subservient bondage. None of us are slaves and none of us are property that can be emotionally blackmailed into serving ideals that don’t serve us. The fault and blame can’t easily be compartmentalized, summed up into a simple sentence or passed in a law. Those who identify as one gender or another can’t be the sole cause either since that would be a terrible generalization of events.
It is the entire conditioning of our society that leads us down the path of modern culture and the chaotic mural of the human plight. The impact this has on our culture is staggering and sends shockwaves of terror and action throughout the Pagan community. Check out a couple of articles on Patheos if you doubt me. I’m not a political genius, and I can tell you that there are writers, reporters, and leaders out there who have a much better understanding of the bureaucratic condition of this country than I do – I can tell you what I see spiritually and where I think we need to concentrate our efforts so we can protect our Tribe.
It boils down to a simple word. Support.
If we are going to redefine ourselves as a culture, we need to support each other. This article isn’t just written for those who identify as a woman or those who have a uterus inside them. This is for every single member of Pagan society that is tired of the shame, indoctrination, and misinformation that is repeatedly crammed down our throat by the rest of society. An article for the high school Goth kid who is picked on because of the Baphomet he wears or the lesbian Dianic witch who comes out of the broom closet to her family. It all goes back to supporting each other in our community and knowing when to say “enough is enough.”
Fragile masculinity is a word thrown around a lot on Facebook via memes and angry rants. It is true that there are some folks who identify as masculine that ruin it for the rest of the folks of that gender by acting like toddlers. That’s not every masculine character in the story and I wouldn’t begin to generalize the entire gender by stating that here. The same goes for those who identify as female and perform hateful and destructive acts to each other in the name of ego. Fragile and toxic femininity destroys us as a culture. When priestesses from different communities come together and bash on each other because of different ritual styles or views on deities, it takes away from us. Members of a Tribe, who spend their time working to alienate and gossip about one another behind the back of a Sister, take away from Paganism being a valid spiritual Path of open-mindedness and consideration. And it darn sure takes away from us when strong, stubborn, beautiful, type-A women rip each other apart not because of differences, but because of their similarities.
And guess what…? Who is this person lecturing you on how you should behave in Pagan society? What evidence do I have? Well, I can tell you that once upon a time, I was a hypocrite. I preached about Kali and anti-egoism very well, and like any good preacher, I did exactly the opposite of what I was saying. My self-importance and worth exploded with arrogance, ignorance, and insensitity. You know it well, “Do as I say, not as I do.” That mentality does not belong in Paganism. We are a people that can’t be herded and take things at face value just because some priestess gets on a blog and tells us so. I can provide you with the truth of my experiences at my church and let you evaluate it for yourself.
I did it myself a few years ago. And I paid for that mistake by reflecting on my own decisions during a dark period and changing all that I could about the way I perceived myself and those strong, stubborn, beautiful type-A women. I wrote about it endlessly on my own blog over the years and kept chiseling away at who I was until I found out that simply regurgitating every one else’s views was a hollow action. It took painstaking practice and often very confusing and hurtful interactions to discover the truth of myself and my value to the community. That’s what this sabbatical was all about.
My fragile femininity (and masculinity, humanity, etc) and the experiences in my church are not isolated cases. There are many Pagan organizations that broke up over a fight. And surely, there are those that can not lead with and those that should be removed from our society. Predators and those unwilling to consider the thoughts and feelings of others (you know them as Narcissists) should be exiled until they can reincarnate themselves into a higher life form. It is possible that there is no help for these individuals, however, there’s a lot of Sisters out there who stumbled, made poor life decisions, and have taken the time to reflect and change their Path.
As a dynamic, strong people that we are in Paganism, I am calling for us to show support to our Sisters (brothers, humans, fae-folk, unicorns, dragons, whatever you identify as) who struggle. We are all undergoing the deprogramming of lifelong indoctrination of a society that is not sustainable nor sensitive to the needs of those who struggle. We are all equally at fault for every action and reaction that has caused us to be less than our very best self and also contributed to the detriment of some other poor life form’s condition. There’s no finger to point at a single individual. There is just accepting responsibility, reflecting on what we’ve done, and moving forward as a whole.
This isn’t a tale with a sad ending, though. I want to end this blog on a happier note because this is a story of evolution towards the path of succession. I had the blessing of attending the Flower Blue Moon rite at Circle Sanctuary this past weekend near Madison. I and three other Tribe mates went for the first time and we were delightfully surprised at the outcome. We were warmly greeted by another community and took part in a ritual that left us with more experience and perspective than we had before attending the event. Meeting with Selena Fox and seeing this small yet booming woman chanting in a Circle at the top of her lungs stuck with me. To be fair, I didn’t go into it thinking I would be as impressed as I was because Deeply Rooted is the kind of experience that leaves a girl pretty spoiled. Seeing Selena’s gentle motions in the ritual and hearing the genuine Magick in the tone of her voice as it crept up like the spring ephemerals that Selena educated us about pre-ritual was pretty mind-blowing and changed a part of me forever.
I got to hold hands with a pioneer of Pagan history, and it inspired me. That’s it, folks. We support each other, whether we believe in the same Gods or none at all, whether or not our communities agree about what Sabbats to celebrate, or if that one priestess calls herself a unicorn and the other one calls herself a dragon. It doesn’t matter. We’re Pagans and we thrive via empowered humanity that works together to manifest our dreams via hard work and action. Selena and the community of Circle Sanctuary, thank you for the experience. I look forward to attending more events.
Thank you for reading along and if any Sisters or Brothers have a different viewpoint, I encourage you to comment on the website or message via FaceBook. Let’s debate and get some ideas going. How do you think we can accomplish being more supportive in our community and also how can we grow empowered humanity? Blessed Be! – Shining Quill the Unicorn