T is for Trans Acceptance - Pagan Blog Project 2012

T is for Trans Acceptance

Back in February I wrote a post regarding Trans Acceptance in the Pagan Community.  The article contained stats like the following:

GLAAD (http://www.glaad.org) lists the following statistics:
  • At least one transgender person is murdered every month; and several more are assaulted
  • 55% of transgender youth report being physically attacked
  • Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt
  • More than half of transgender and gender non conforming people who were bullied, harassed or assaulted in school because of their gender identity have attempted suicide.
Even though Pagans are know for being open minded when it comes to sexual identity and does include LGB members, it would seem some of us have issue with the T.

For example, some followers of Dianic Wicca generally welcome lesbian pagans but close their doors to Trans women.  My understanding behind this rule is that there is a need for a sacred safe space where “female bodied” women to join together and conduct rituals for the Goddess.  This “safe space” needs to be free of any “male” energy that may make the members feel threatened.

This assumes that trans women, are "like" men or to push to the fullest extent "ARE" men.  I would like to think that others would let me live as I wish to live.  I know in my brain that I am female, if someone came along and said, you know, you don't wear makeup and you don't get your nails done.  Therefore you are not a girl.  That would be a huge deal to me.  Someone outside my brain cannot tell me what's in my brain.  And out of respect, please don't call me Sir!

I completely understand the need for a safe space.  I understand the need to protect a group from an attack. But to assume that only "males" attack or only "testosterone" causes attacks is in my humble opinion ignorant.  A woman can kill just as easily as a man.

I believe that we should treat others with respect and understanding.  We should reach out to those in need and we should take others as they present themselves until we are shown different.

Namaste & Blessed Be

S is for Sexuality - Pagan Blog Project 2012

[sek-shoo-al-i-tee or, especially Brit., seks-yoo-]

1. Sexual character; possession of the structural and functional traits of sex.
2. Recognition of or emphasis upon sexual matters.
3. Involvement in sexual activity.
4. An organism's preparedness for engaging in sexual  activity.

So this week I’ve had an eye opening experience.  I’ve always known that pagan people are very open sexually.  We accept all sexual variants speaking very generally.  And of course we all know about “Beltane”.  The Great Rite is one of the hallmarks of Wicca.  For those that may not be familiar this is where the Maiden and the Male God are joined together usually symbolically by the use of an Athame and a Chalice in a fertility ritual.

I am a very open sexual being.  I have no issue discussing sex. I was introduced to Wicca via Tantric magic or Sex Magic and Tantric Yoga. 

I am monogamous.  My partner and I have been together ten years.  We have been faithful to each other for those same years.  Up until this past year I’ve been a solitary.  I did not venture outside my own walls as it relates to my spiritual practices, however I recently became involved with a local group and have had my eyes opened!

Through email questions and learning about events outside our group, I’ve learned that some consider the word Pagan to also mean “Free Love”.  Now at first, when someone asked me if I supported free love, I was like, sure love is good.  Everyone love.  I even checked it out on the old faithful Wikipedia to make sure I wasn’t agreeing to something I didn’t want to.  For example, I am completely accepting of any sexual activity that is between consenting adults.  I am NOT however, supportive of groups like NAMBLA.

Now that being said, I’m not one to bash anyone sexual appetite but can I just make a wee little suggestion here.  I’ve come up with a few things that may help ease tensions in a group setting.  Just because I’m pagan, specifically Hecatean, it does not mean that I’m automagically a sex maniac.  Please observe the following:

  1. I came out of the broom closet for spirituality, not sexuality.
  2. I am not interested in talking about your penis.
  3.  Openly diverse group is not code for swingers.
  4. I do not want to know what or WHO you did last night.
  5. Please do not touch me, a hug every now and then is fine, but unless you have a medical degree, I don’t want an exam.
  6. You are not twelve or Bevis and Butthead – you do not need to make crude innuendo.

There!  Easy breezy. 

Whips and Chains – Great! - Safe Sane & Consensual
Group Sex – Whatever floats your boat 
Talking to me?  Keep it clean please!
I am a wife, a mother and a lady, and if you can’t respect that, please leave me alone.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project 2012 - S is for Sin

SIN:  sin

Noun:   An immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.
Verb:     Commit a sin.

Synonyms:          noun:  trespass - guilt - offense - transgression - offence
                                Verb:  transgress - err - trespass – offend

The concept of sin has always fascinated me.  Logically when we think about what sins actually are and what they’ve been turned into it astounding.  When we look at sin from a legal prospective we see something very similar to the Code of Hammurabi, an ancient Babylonia law code that some say is the ancestor of what we today call Common Law.   Sin is in essence a “God’s Law” code.  A set of rules created to ensure the security of the tribe in question.

I can completely understand why in antiquity a group of people would want a set of rules to govern people.  My issue comes in when those rules are written by human beings and are claimed to be of divine origin.  One group claims that another group cannot possibly be “righteous” because “God said don’t eat pork” and they eat pork.  Here I am referencing of course the Law of Moses

This law, according to the Old Testament, governs everything from moral laws through laws of what to eat and when to eat it.  If we look at this set of laws from the prospective of the people of the time, we can see that some of them make pretty good sense for people living in a desert without access to proper cleaning materials.  It’s a pretty good idea not to eat pork that’s been lying about in a hot desert for a week.  I get that.  We also cannot pick and choose what we want to keep and what we want to toss out.  On one hand we have “don’t eat or touch pork, it is unclean” and then we have Football.  I think you see where I’m going here.  This particular set of laws, if I give the benefit of the doubt and say, yes, your book is true, was intended to govern a group, a LARGE group of people that had been living as slaves their entire lives, for generation after generation.  They NEEDED strict rules until they could learn to think and govern themselves again.   I think that by now, these “laws” are obsolete.

The next “sin” I want to talk about is the idea of “Original Sin”.   This is a Christian doctrine, which says everyone is born of sin.  Because of the sins of our fathers we inherited that sin and must be forgiven in order to move in to the Kingdom of Heaven.  Many religious groups support this and have way to “cleanse” newborns by baptisms and so on to help remove the sin.   To me, this concept was nothing more than a way to control the masses.  How else do you get a group of people to do what you say? Tell them they are doomed from the beginning and the ONLY WAY to salvation is via your church.  I just shake my head at this thought process.  When we look at this from a legal prospective, to tell a person because their father was a thief, they must serve time is ludicrous.  We would never, arrest the child of a rapist and toss them in jail.  We would never require restitution from the offspring of an embezzler.  Each person is accountable for their own actions.  Not the actions of their fathers, grandfathers or great grandfathers. 

If that were the case, I’d not be sitting here now writing this blog.  I’d be locked away in a jail somewhere, because I have parents who were indeed criminals.  The concept that I am a sinner because “YOUR” book quotes a God that “YOU” follow and that means I’m doomed is a bit much. 

Over my lifetime I’ve studied many things, one of which is law.  I am a Paralegal.  I have taken classes and studied the law in three states.  One thing that I learned very quickly was a concept called the “Spirit of the Law vs. Letter of the Law”.  When one follows the letter of the law, it is taking the words or the “letters” directly from the statute and applying them to a particular incident.  The “spirit” of the law is where we look at the situation, and understand that even though by the letter of the law this person may be guilty, this was not what the spirit of the law, fairness… justice..  Those two “spirits” would not be rewarded and actually be damaged by applying the letter of the law.  This “spirit” is even mentioned in the Christian bible in the book of Romans.  An example of this might be someone who is driving 67 miles per hour in a 65 zone.   By the letter of the law they are speeding, however this speed limit was not intended to stop people from driving 67, it was intended to stop people from driving 80. 

I think that when we look at sin we need to stop looking at the “letter of the law”.  Those “letters” were written a very long time ago, by who?  Men.  Not a God. Men that wanted your obedience.  Today we can look around us and think about what does sin really mean.  What is the “spirit” of the law?

In my opinion, the spirit of the law or what should be the spirit of the law of sin is one thing.  Don’t be an ass.  Yup that’s it.  Don’t be an ass.  Don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, and don’t blow people up.  Live and let live.  One commandment, the word according to Sosanna.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Sharing a New Blog

Good Morning Everyone!!! Happy Saturday!  Pagan Pride Day is just around the corner and I am jam packed with work to do to get ready for it on Sept 15 & 16.  Sosanna's Closet will be there as well as GPS, so it's going to be a really busy weekend. Looking forward to seeing everyone at Pagan Pride!

I had a chance this morning to find a new blog.  Musings of a Magical Mom is hosting a giveaway for their one year blogoversary.  Head over there and check out what she's got going on.  It's worth the trip!

Namaste & Blessed Be

The Three R's - Pagan Blog Project

Religion, Research & Respect

This week for the letter “R” I decided to take on three words.  A bit much I know but I really was looking up videos on Native People’s religious practices for a page I support on Facebook called “Golden Phoenix Society” Page.  This is for the group I belong to.  We are a collection of individuals on very different paths.  As part of my job as “Web Presence” I try to post articles, videos and information around the different earth based religions out there.   This is where my first “R” comes in.

Noun:   The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
Details of belief as taught or discussed.

As an eclectic group we have various religions represented.  For example we have BrahmanSpiritualism, a religion focused on balance by using meditation to bring one’s self into that balance.  We also have followers of the Native American Traditions, Solitary & Eclectic Wicca as well as Kemetic Orthodoxy.  I am a devotee of Hecate, who is a Greco-Roman Goddess, sometimes adopted by modern Wiccans as the Queen of the Witches.  So we have a wide variety in our group.  Taking the time to learn about our members and making each feel welcome led me to my next “R”.

Noun:   The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.
Verb:     Investigate systematically.

I spend many hours looking at videos on YouTube and reading articles on each path.  I try to discover new paths and post those on the page.  I also try to find different takes on each path so that we can do what we intended with this group, share knowledge and information with each other.  While searching through all the videos trying to find good educational ones to share, I made a horrible mistake.  I read the comments.   Which led me directly to my final “R”.

Noun:   A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
Verb:     Admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

Having respect for someone is a two way street.  Looking into the world of another culture and learning about that culture with honor and respect is what I strive to do.  I am not looking to steal your culture, only learn from it because I value it.  I see the comments from both sides people involved in the culture and those outside.  In this instance, I was looking up information around the “Native Medicine Wheel”.  In these videos and I’m amazed at how when learning about connecting to others using all four aspects of the Medicine Wheel, I see words thrown at each other, hate filled speech from a broken spirit.  Words filled with anger and hatred for someone who is trying to understand and deliver the beauty of this wonderful culture to the world with words like “Another stupid White Man” or “They just need Jesus” listed in the comments.  Really?

I have a very interesting prospective here.  When my maternal ancestors came to the country and traveled down from Virginia to North Carolina the wagon train was attacked by Native People and only one person survived.   But for that one survivor my entire family would not be here.  On the other side, my Paternal side, we have a common Native ancestor however when doing my family tree I was greeted with bigotry and hatred with comments like “No one here f*cked no injun”.    Honestly, I was really told that.  Unbelievable!!

 I started on my daughter’s paternal side and found out that her Great Grandfather was ½ Native from Alabama, however his mother passed away.  When the “new” mother, a white women came into the family she kicked him out at 13 years old.  She called him ½ breed and destroyed every picture and document around his mother’s true identity.  His tribe, culture and heritage lost forever by ignorance.

In order to avoid repeating history we as a people must learn from it.  We must understand that we have the power to change the world.  We can open doors and we can close them.  Taking the time to comment on something with a negative is just reinforcing the negative aspects of the event.  I’m not saying that we should approve of Thanksgiving or think that Billy Jack is a great representation of the Native Culture, however I am saying that just because I’m a mixed breed chick with German, Irish, Scottish and yes, even Native blood, doesn’t mean I’m disrespecting you because I want to learn about your culture.

My grandmother told me years ago and it still holds true.  If you can't say something nice, don’t say anything at all.  It goes back to my core belief. 

“I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Religion, Research & Respect my three “R’s” for the Pagan Blog Project, if you take nothing from this post take one thing, I honor that place in you, and when you are in that place and I am in mine, we are one.  

Namaste & Blessed Be

Sleeping in Moonbeams

Today is Sept 1, 2012.  Last night was a blue moon.  Not really anything too extraordinary however, it did give me a chance to commune with the Goddess under a gorgeous moon twice in one month.

Before I headed off to bed I snapped a few photos of her with my camera.  They are not the best photos but they are mine.

This one shows the moon just above the tree line across the road.

This second was a super zoom of her.

Then I went to bed and through the black out shades I could see the beams coming into my bedroom.  With Canyon Storm playing I laid on the bed and glanced across hubby as the moonbeams peeked out.  He said to me....  "Honey do you want to sleep in the moonbeams?"   Startled at first that something so simple was so very obvious to my husband of ten years.  I whispered yes.  After being away since 3 am, he got up and moved to the other side of the bed so I could open the curtain and bask in the beauty of the full moon.

Our house faces east and our headboard as well, so the full moon bathed me in moonbeams all night.  I dreamed of art work and sculpture pieces that I wanted to complete.  I was filled with love and creation much like a mother ready to give birth to something beautiful.  

At 5:40 this morning the dogs woke me.  I stumbled out into the living room to see them and from the west, the back of our house there she was.  That wonderful full moon calling to me.  I grabbed my camera and took a few shots before she slowly set behind the trees.  

I sit typing this full of hope and encouragement.  I sit here, covered in moonbeams, looking towards the future.

Take a moment to enjoy what is around you.  Working too hard makes you miss that time to play.

Namaste & Blessed Be