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Author Topic: Pagan guy talk  (Read 4213 times)


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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2017, 03:48:48 pm »
So no, it's not been my experience that Wicca, in general, is against "super-male male-ness" or however you want to put it. It has been my experience that Wicca, in general, is pretty gender essentialist and unfriendly to those of us who are non-binary, but also I have been in Wiccan ceremonies where I've been actively welcomed as non-binary, so obviously it's not a one-size-fits-all thing.

This gives me a good point to hang a thing I've been mulling over. I think the more gender-essentialist parts tend to come out of the parts of Wiccanesque practice that is more about archetypal practice or "All gods are one god, all goddesses are one goddess" (which is a limited view of what Dion Fortune actually said, but that's a whole different thread.)

More trad Wicca has some strongly essentialist bits in parts (though as people in those trads have noted, this is not actually essential: Yvonne Aburrow just had a useful blog post on this) but I think a lot of the nastier essentialism comes from a layer out.

Because, see, there's also a larger question of 'people who are focusing on the mythos of specific deities who have specific gender identities, it makes sense that those things predominate'. They may or may not be the things one is personally interested in themselves, but just as individual humans have relationships and identities and interests, deities definitely seem to as well, and some of those are more gender-in-society focused than others (or focused on specific physical experiences, or relationship models, or whatever else.)

Where it gets tricky is expanding that to pushing all deities or experiences to fit in a fairly limited model, and that's a lot more predominate in Neo-Wicca/Wiccanesque practices, the idea that not only are these deities like that, but that all deities fit into the model. And that's just not true, historically or currently.

(And I *am* cis and het and female, but I'm also childfree by choice and because medical stuff means I'd be a lousy parent by the standards of parenting I'd want to live by, and I've known that since I was 19 or so. So MMC also leaves me out, in ways that sometimes particularly rough, because those same medical issues mean that if this is the most actively creative stage of my life, on an absolute level of creativity, that's rather upsetting.)

So, where are those kinds of structures sometimes useful? In doing some initial grouping of things so you can talk about them further, or get a better sense of transitions and balances between different aspects and roles. That's true whether it's MMC, or the elements, or zodiac houses (or for that matter, Hogwarts houses) They give us ways to talk about things without long extended discussions.

Or, as I sometimes refer to it, this kind of thing is like the Dewey Decimal system in libraries: heavily imperfect, but sometimes you need a 'this thing needs to go on a shelf so I can bloody find it again later'. Or a place to start talking about complex sets of relationships and possible interactions, while recognising you're talking about a slice of what's going on, not the whole picture.

It is, however, not good to let the sorting system get in the way of the actual relationships and interactions with real people (or real deities, for those of us who think those are a thing), all of whom are immensely more complex than that. The fact this is also significantly more welcoming to a wider range of experiences is a definite plus.
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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2017, 04:45:52 pm »
That's a very short summary; if you (or anyone else) wants to continue this particular aspect of the discussion, I'm going to make a thread (in Cauldron Community, for the extra bit of privacy for people sharing personal experience) so that it doesn't take over this thread, which it could easily do.

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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2017, 05:32:08 pm »
The modern neopagan movement is diverse to say the least, but a number of its religions offer clear archetypes for women. For example, the maid-mother-crone trinity walks a woman through the stages of life.

Men, I think, have less to go on in today's paganism. (Maybe because much of neopaganism evolved in response to centuries of patriarchal religion.) What male archetypes have you found meaningful in paganism? Do you think there's anything especially male that gets addressed or needs addressing in a pagan spiritual context?

Reading over this thread there are several things that come to mind. First is that never have I encountered a male maiden/mother/crone cycle that went youth/warrior/sage. The one I encountered was youth/father/sage. Also the father is not about fertility or literal fatherhood it's about ones state of being and the sort of role they take on at a certain phase of their life. It may have associations with it,  but it is more about cycles of personal development. In a few years I will be at the father phase of my life even if I do not have children by then. I would like to be a literal father one day but that will not in and of itself make me akin to the father. The same is true of the Mother as I have been taught it. These things are not bound by common gender essentialist notions either. However, I do believe that there should be a non-binary equivalent.

It is also true that there are a number of groups or traditions that are overly essentialist in how they discuss gender. However there are people who these things speak deeply to and they feel it reflects their personality and experience quite clearly. However there's one key pet peeve I have with images of maleness I've found in many traditions as a man. You see, though I am a cisgender male my expression actually leans toward what most would describe as feminine. There are a number of male Deities and other Divinities  that could be described as "effeminate" or to be possessed of traits many might consider "feminine" and that's one of the reasons I love pagan traditions, because even in traditions that emerged from patriarchal cultures there's this sort of understanding that gender can be expressed in a variety of ways. However, there is one thing that kind of bugs me. Most traditions, books, or other such things that I've seen in the modern era relating to expressions of maleness that lean toward the "feminine" are often geared toward LGBTQIA+ people and I don't fit under that umbrella. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome that these exist. I consider it to be a wonderful thing. These traditions and works of spiritual knowledge contribute to creating a more inclusive world and expand our knowledge of the spiritual world. They are a necessity. However, I live in a world that when it isn't mocking men whose gender expression leans "feminine", seems to pretend we don't exist.

When they do acknowledge our existence, we're frequently the butt of a joke, treated as creepy/wicked, and when we're not being portrayed as lacking sexuality, we're assumed gay/bi/pan. Now, once again, "fem" guys who are LGBTQIA+ do deserve representation and much better representation than they've gotten. This is sort of fed by my gripes with broader society. People want to see themselves in things such as the media they consume, the movements they support, and a number of other places and I haven't often felt that I've been able to do that. Sure there's an abundance of archetypes, traditions, and books that speak to the experiences of heterosexual men out there, but many of these seem to be blatantly patriarchal. When they aren't blatantly patriarchal they either seem to speak to the experiences of more "masculine" men or are so neutral on the matter that they could speak to any man. However I've had an irritatingly difficult time finding archetypes/Deities that are both of "feminine" expression and unambiguously heterosexual or traditions that speak very directly to that particular experience. It's not that I don't find any value in Divinities that are not or traditions that speak to the experiences of LGBTQIA+ men who are of "feminine" expression, but these do not speak as directly to my personal experience as I would like. I just want to feel as if someone out there remembers that guys like me exist.

The closest things I've found are the God Lugh and Ptah's relationship with Sekhmet. Lugh is the God I would consider my patron as he's a God of many things I value. The arts, magic, knowledge, and justice. From what I've been able to find seems to suggest he's also a storm God instead of a sun God. The way's he's described in many regards to me often reads as more "feminine" than many people envision him to be. Ptah is married to Sekhmet and he's a God of artisans sometimes referred to as "Ptah of the beautiful face". In a sense he reads as a more sensitive artistic type as opposed to Sekhmet's raw aggression and domain as a Goddess of destruction. I do not view these Deities as mere archetypes, but they offer me a clearer sense of where I fit in things than many others.  While the youth/father/sage does speak to me on some level, other archetypes such as the sacred poet, the sorcerer, the jusiticiar, and the Sky Father also speak to me.

Many people envision the sky father as this more "masculine" bearded guy, but I see him as a younger man and beardless with long billowing hair whose voice goes between soft and booming. He wears many bright plumes like the males of the avian species who are his chosen animal host. His clothes are colorful and fabulous and he changes them many times a day. In day he wears grey or bright blue with long white hair or grey locks. In the dusk wears numerous shades with multicolored hair. At night he wears a garb sequined with the stars themselves colored black and dark purple and dark black hair. He's imaginative and loves music and poetry. He's thoughtful and wise and swift to deliver justice. That is how I see him. The element of air itself has given me something to look to. As it's ruler that is how I see him. Perhaps he has many forms for he is a God. Gods have many aspects and many shapes.
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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2017, 11:33:58 pm »
The modern neopagan movement is diverse to say the least, but a number of its religions offer clear archetypes for women. For example, the maid-mother-crone trinity walks a woman through the stages of life.

Men, I think, have less to go on in today's paganism. (Maybe because much of neopaganism evolved in response to centuries of patriarchal religion.) What male archetypes have you found meaningful in paganism? Do you think there's anything especially male that gets addressed or needs addressing in a pagan spiritual context?

I’m female and so I will continue to follow this thread with quiet interest. However, I thought I might make note of a book recommended to me by a pagan mentor when I was asking for resources for raising a male child apart from toxic masculine constructs. I’m part way through “The Trickster, Magician, and Grieving Man: Reconnecting men with earth” by Glen Mazis and have found it to be a fascinating work on the subject of male archetypes.

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Re: Pagan guy talk
« Reply #34 on: January 07, 2018, 05:00:53 am »
Just re-reading through the thread, and figured I'd zoom in on this:

One place I'd suggest is worth further exploration are the different kinds of roles modeled by the various fraternal organizations (the Freemasons, the Oddfellows, etc.) over time - many of these groups are still around <snip>

I can help a bit with Freemasonry. It uses craftsman's tools to represent moral teachings, and you can probably say the builders's trades are generally regarded as male's work. (Although, many operative and speculative Masons were, and are, female.)

The three chief offers in a Masonic lodge-- the Master and both Wardens-- are said to be its three pillars: Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. In Masonic tradition the pillars represent King Solomon, King Hiram of Tyre, and a second Hiram, the master craftsman, boss of the work crew, and hero/martyr of the legend. (The Masonic legend is... well... muy macho.)

Metaphorically, the Mason is supposed to be the 2nd Hiram, who really turns out to be an amalgam of all three virtues. (From one version of the ceremonies, we need "Wisdom to conduct us in all our undertakings, Strength to support us under all our difficulties, and Beauty to adorn the inward man.)
He's really kind of an ideal Renaissance man figure: a master of his workman's craft, well-educated in the arts & sciences, deeply pious, and of unimpeachable character. That's a whole lotta archetype.

Anywho, just thought I'd throw all that into the mix.
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