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Thread: Queer Paganism

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    Queer Paganism

    (I hope this is the right place for this; if not, please move it to the right forum.)

    I generally believe that Deity will manifest to us in the form we will most likely recognise and relate to, whether this is Their traditional imagery or not. I ID as genderqueer and pansexual, and I find this shapes how I view Deity and form my own spirituality.

    I mostly experience Deity as agendered, bigendered, other-gendered or allgendered, and use whichever pronouns fit how They appear to me. Djehuty, for example, is both androgynous and masculine. Sobek is masculine and allgendered. Nit is bigendered. Aset is feminine and allgendered. (Well, She is a shape-shifter.) The Mousai are abstract andrognynous beings with no form or gender, at least not to me.

    This is, no doubt, a quirk of my own practice. I have, for ten years, tried to walk a fairly ordinary pagan path, following the seasonal Wheel as the sabbats turn. I like the way the Wheel matches the seasons and I find it useful for my practice as a calendar. But over the years, I have felt dissatisfied with the traditional Wheel mythology. I find the Wheel of the Year a little too heteronormative and too obsessed with reproductive organs to be meaningful to me as a genderqueer pagan. (I am not my womb, I'm not particularly keen on phalluses, etc.)

    My spirituality and worldview are not based on biological sex, or on a God/Goddess divide, so a Wheel that uses this sort of myth isn't useful to me. I'd really like to find a way of either rewriting that Wheel myth, or just writing a new one from scratch, that doesn't have that emphasis on biological sex and the gender binary that may be more inclusive for gender-diverse pagans.

    Has anyone done something similar, or has a similar view on things? Have you found a way to address these issues, if they are important to your spirituality? Are there any other ways of seeing the Wheel that I'm not aware of?

    Sobekemiti | Queer Polytheist and Sobek Devotee | My pronouns are xe/hir/xem
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    Re: Queer Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by cymrudraco View Post
    My spirituality and worldview are not based on biological sex, or on a God/Goddess divide, so a Wheel that uses this sort of myth isn't useful to me. I'd really like to find a way of either rewriting that Wheel myth, or just writing a new one from scratch, that doesn't have that emphasis on biological sex and the gender binary that may be more inclusive for gender-diverse pagans.

    Has anyone done something similar, or has a similar view on things? Have you found a way to address these issues, if they are important to your spirituality? Are there any other ways of seeing the Wheel that I'm not aware of?
    I don't think you're alone in this. Personally I have no time for anyone that reduces me to the theoretical ability to bare children etc. I think most people would/do and probably apply layers to the myth beyond the basic tenets of birth etc.

    Still. The traditional idea of the myth behind the wheel doesn't particularly resonate with me. However the rebirth of life etc does simply because that's what the seasons literally engender. So I focus on that aspect and leave the God/Goddess birth cycle out of my personal view while acknowledging its existence and importance to others.

    I've never taken the time to sit down and work out a version of the myth for myself because I've never felt the need. However, if you do and you're working with a pantheon why not focus on *their* myths and seasonal celebrations etc? There's no reason you *have* to adhere to the popular neopagan concept of the wheel, likewise you don't necessarily need to abandon the popular holidays of the wheel if you are focusing on a new or different myth cycle.

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    Re: Queer Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by cymrudraco View Post
    Has anyone done something similar, or has a similar view on things? Have you found a way to address these issues, if they are important to your spirituality? Are there any other ways of seeing the Wheel that I'm not aware of?
    This is one of the reasons that I walked away from neo-Wicca. (Of course, I had the additional issue of the Wheel doing nothing for me as a calendar system.)

    I addressed them by adopting religions that don't have heteronormative mythologies or (mostly) use the Wheel as a calendar.
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    Re: Queer Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by Asch View Post

    The traditional idea of the myth behind the wheel doesn't particularly resonate with me. However the rebirth of life etc does simply because that's what the seasons literally engender. So I focus on that aspect and leave the God/Goddess birth cycle out of my personal view while acknowledging its existence and importance to others.
    This is what I take from the wheel as well. For me it is not about the fertility of the Gods and Goddesses, or my own fertility, but about the the changing of the seasons, the cycle of the Earth. The wheel does work for me as a calendar, but only the "Lesser Sabbats". I put that in quotes because I really dislike the terminology of greater and lesser when it comes to something so important to me being described as "lesser"
    I considered myself Wiccan for many years, but it never really fit me, it was the wheel and the mythologies associated with it that walked me away from Wicca...
    Im sorry I have just rambled on about myself and have not really added anything, I tend to do that.

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    Re: Queer Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by cymrudraco View Post
    I find the Wheel of the Year a little too heteronormative and too obsessed with reproductive organs to be meaningful to me as a genderqueer pagan. (I am not my womb, I'm not particularly keen on phalluses, etc.)
    I'm sorry for what may end up sounding a little ranty, but this is a HUUUUUGE peeve of mine...

    The Wheel of the Year can be interpreted in deeper ways beyond physical reproduction, if people take the time to meditate on it and look further.

    One common non-reproductive interpretation, one I've had much success with in my personal work, is to apply the agricultural cycle of the year to a personal project, or to your personal development.

    If we take Yule as the first Sabbat of the year (utilizing the common idea that Samhain is the "new year"), then it's a great time to invite prosperity into your life. To add some winter fertilizer to your garden, so when spring comes you've got a jump on things. You could add in the idea of New Year's Resolutions and develop a list of prospective projects to focus on.

    Imbolc is commonly about birthing. It's when lambs are born, when fresh food sources are finally available after the winter. Now you could winnow down your list of projects to one or two things and start planning out how you'll execute those things over the next months.

    Ostara is the dawn of spring, when we start planting our seeds. Now you take your plans from Imbolc, gather what you need to start putting them into action, and take the first steps.

    And so on, and so forth.

    For everything in Wicca, there's a way to look at it deeper, or to reinterpret it a different way. Fertility and reproductive cycles need not only be about sex and hetero-normative concepts. Energy that fertilizes and energy that gestates need not be identified with traditional masculine or feminine concepts. If that doesn't work for you, reframe it. But don't just abandon something because the whole "male+female= babies" thing doesn't work for you, if you find other value in it.

    Karen

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfaerie View Post
    I'm sorry for what may end up sounding a little ranty, but this is a HUUUUUGE peeve of mine...

    The Wheel of the Year can be interpreted in deeper ways beyond physical reproduction, if people take the time to meditate on it and look further.

    One common non-reproductive interpretation, one I've had much success with in my personal work, is to apply the agricultural cycle of the year to a personal project, or to your personal development.

    If we take Yule as the first Sabbat of the year (utilizing the common idea that Samhain is the "new year"), then it's a great time to invite prosperity into your life. To add some winter fertilizer to your garden, so when spring comes you've got a jump on things. You could add in the idea of New Year's Resolutions and develop a list of prospective projects to focus on.

    Imbolc is commonly about birthing. It's when lambs are born, when fresh food sources are finally available after the winter. Now you could winnow down your list of projects to one or two things and start planning out how you'll execute those things over the next months.

    Ostara is the dawn of spring, when we start planting our seeds. Now you take your plans from Imbolc, gather what you need to start putting them into action, and take the first steps.

    And so on, and so forth.

    For everything in Wicca, there's a way to look at it deeper, or to reinterpret it a different way. Fertility and reproductive cycles need not only be about sex and hetero-normative concepts. Energy that fertilizes and energy that gestates need not be identified with traditional masculine or feminine concepts. If that doesn't work for you, reframe it. But don't just abandon something because the whole "male+female= babies" thing doesn't work for you, if you find other value in it.

    Karen
    I think you're reiterating the point we've already made. That is, the wheel doesn't have to be about human reproduction rather the turn of seasons.

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    Re: Queer Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by Asch View Post
    I think you're reiterating the point we've already made. That is, the wheel doesn't have to be about human reproduction rather the turn of seasons
    Actually, my point was that you can take those concepts to a more abstract level, and work them in to the celebrations of the Sabbats. The turning of the seasons provides reliable guideposts to the journey, so that you can stay attuned to the natural cycles of the year (otherwise, why bother using the 8 holiday framework?)

    Karen

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfaerie View Post
    The turning of the seasons provides reliable guideposts to the journey, so that you can stay attuned to the natural cycles of the year (otherwise, why bother using the 8 holiday framework?)

    Karen
    Because the framework works, is a neopagan cultural touchstone, and more importantly works for the worshipper?

    I'm not necessarily disagreeing w/you just saying that for me, and presumably many others, focusing on the myth of the Goddess & God regarding the wheel or emphasizing that more than the natural cycle the wheel guides us through tends to render the wheel almost irrelevant.

    An irrelevancy that should/may be false since the thrumming rhythm of the year is, to me at least, the real pulse and inertia of the wheel, not the myth.

    Of course I'm neither Wiccan nor Neo-Wiccan which naturally colors my perspective. I appreciate and respect the myth, but for me it's an interesting side or footnote to the wheel rather than the focus.

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    Re: Queer Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by Asch View Post
    Because the framework works, is a neopagan cultural touchstone, and more importantly works for the worshipper?

    I'm not necessarily disagreeing w/you just saying that for me, and presumably many others, focusing on the myth of the Goddess & God regarding the wheel or emphasizing that more than the natural cycle the wheel guides us through tends to render the wheel almost irrelevant.

    An irrelevancy that should/may be false since the thrumming rhythm of the year is, to me at least, the real pulse and inertia of the wheel, not the myth.

    Of course I'm neither Wiccan nor Neo-Wiccan which naturally colors my perspective. I appreciate and respect the myth, but for me it's an interesting side or footnote to the wheel rather than the focus.
    I completely agree with everything you've said here.

    For me, the myth of the Goddess and God doesn't really work very well in my practices because I have no relationship with any gods at all. I don't know why, I have tried, but I've never been able to make any kind of connection with any of them.

    However, that doesn't change the fact that the earth, sun and moon all do specific things. The myths grew out of those things, not the other way around. The seasons happen. There is birth, life, death... repeat. Even though the myths don't work for me, the wheel does. Especially where I live.

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    Re: Queer Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by Trillcat View Post
    This is what I take from the wheel as well. For me it is not about the fertility of the Gods and Goddesses, or my own fertility, but about the the changing of the seasons, the cycle of the Earth. The wheel does work for me as a calendar, but only the "Lesser Sabbats". I put that in quotes because I really dislike the terminology of greater and lesser when it comes to something so important to me being described as "lesser"
    You took the words right out of my mouth, Trillcat. I find the Wiccan mythology associated with the Wheel fascinating, as I do most myth, but it doesn't jibe with the mythos I follow, so for me it's not a touchstone for my belief system. And I don't view the Wheel from an agricultural perspective, because I live in the furthest thing from an agricultural society.

    For me it's all about the light and the progression of the seasons, which is why the biggies for me are the solstices and equinoxes, plus May Day and Halloween as auxiliaries because I'm aware of the seasonal changes at those points (and Halloween is just too damn fun). The February 1 and August 1 points on the Wiccan Wheel don't register on my brain at all; I don't even have names for them.

    None of the above is connected to the mythos I follow, except that some gods may be associated with a particular time of year (for example, the goddess of sleep has a connection to winter, in that it's the season when the Earth sleeps).

    Check out my Blog of Mythic Proportions for a contemporary take on myth and mythmaking

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