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Author Topic: Finding a path without the male/female binary  (Read 3767 times)

PetitAlbert

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Re: Finding a path without the male/female binary...
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2012, 06:14:41 am »
Quote from: Nachtigall;65776
Have you looked at any hard-polytheistic, recon based path? Those actually worship the gods as individuals, instead of treating them as a symbol for "all things feminine or masculine".
You mention that you've already found the deities that you would like to revere; see, how they are/were worshiped in their culture before going to new-age concepts.

 
That's a good idea :) I think I've stayed away from recons thus far because, in truth, they are more hard work - but I like history, so that could be fun too.
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PetitAlbert

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Re: Finding a path without the male/female binary...
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2012, 06:41:01 am »
Quote from: wadjet;65903
Any type of basic animism works fine here: working directly with the spirits of nature: animals, plants, rivers, etc. Gender is pretty irrelevant there. Indeed in many cultures, those most "attuned" with shamanistic paths were those of the "third sex", or had other neutral gendered qualities.


 
That's a good thought - and I've considered animism before. I've made a mind-map of all the concepts that are important to me and which aren't, and animism is one of the stronger ideas in there. Again, the problem with animism is it's not half so neatly-packaged as mainstream Wicca. Cheers :)
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PetitAlbert

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Re: Finding a path without the male/female binary...
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2012, 06:46:56 am »
Quote from: Morag;65910
OP, I don't really have an answer to your question, but I feel the same frustration, and so am in the process of constructing a path of genderqueer paganism that I can hopefully share with the world someday. It's still in its infancy, however. I have three main gods, my Sacred Triad, and each of Them represent a different gender with Their energies. While I don't really believe that human notions of gender can apply, fully, to deities, I do frequently refer to m'Lady as a genderqueer goddess; She just has that energy to Her, if that makes sense.


Yeah, that makes sense to me. You can get a gender energy off things, even when thinking "...but this probably doesn't make sense". It's perhaps the closest human way of understanding something inexplicable - by using our terms and frames of reference, like dumbing down you explanations when talking to kids and using concepts they will understand.

If you ever finish it, it'd be an amazing thing :)
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PetitAlbert

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Re: Finding a path without the male/female binary...
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2012, 06:55:46 am »
Quote from: Shine;65855
You could also identify those deities that you're drawn to, and then research how they were worshipped in their home cultures. Then you could construct your own religion around those deities.

Also realize that you're almost always going to find things in belief systems that you don't support. You can choose to ignore those things, reinterpret them slightly, or you can avoid that system entirely. Take the idea of God and Goddess, for example. At a social level, this binary is too simplified. At a very basic level, there's some truth to it. How much influence should the basic level have on the social level? That's for individual believers to decide. :)


You might be right about constructing a religious practice of my own. I just feel like I need my starter-wheels, if that makes sense? Like I shouldn't start trying to change things until I understand how the things work in the first place. But I'll look into Kemeticism - I was big on Egypt when I was a small person, so lots of the knowledge is tucked away in strange parts of my brain.

Thank you for your other comment - it's definitely important to realise that no path will be a perfect fit, and that's wise advice for me in particular. I just suspect that this bit is totally anathema to me.

I can almost think of it - almost - as God/Male and Goddess/Female are recepticles for centuries of strong ideas about Masculinity and Femininity, and have power because they are so strongly believed in. Less things with an innate power, and more like a correspondance chart: "Femininity is associated with Motherhood and Innocence and X, Y, Z, and therefore we can use those powerful associations in stuff". But these ideas, tropes and cliches are still used in the real world to deny women services and rights, and more generally to box men and women into their own little boxes, both politically and socially. They're very real, but also very damaging. I spend too many hours of my day worrying about the latter to be able to do the former, without it also setting my teeth on edge.
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Re: Finding a path without the male/female binary...
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2012, 07:13:02 am »
Quote from: cymrudraco;66058
I've just put up my draft Wheel here, if you or anyone else wants to check it out and comment on it. I'm starting from the more traditional Wiccan base with the eight Sabbats, if only because that's what I know, and trying to build out from there with the possibility of new festivals if the old ones can't work. I also had a thought that maybe we could start a group here on TC to chat about or collaborate on the queer paganism paths we're working on, but I don't know if there's enough interest in that.


A group would be an *amazing* idea. There's a few people on this thread who'd be interested, and it might be useful even to non-queer people as a repositary of info for looking at paths with a new perspective. The resources simply aren't out there, so it'd be awesome if us like-minded folk could get together. Let's start a group :D

I think your wheel does have a strong and, perhaps most importantly, generic narrative to it, one that could be put to use by anyone. It'd be possible to slot it into whatever framework someone was working with. I'd love a story and a range of gods, but something like that would almost reduce it's usage - short of creating a whole new pagan path to go with it. Does that make sense? I mean, I think an explicitly queer myth to go with it would be fun and wonderful, but I also think a genderlessness wheel will have the most universal use for queers of any stripe. I also agree that asexual people are sorely ignored by the wheel as it stands.

Two queer cliches, barely-formed sketches, for a more detailed wheel:

a Coming Out wheel
Although I can't help but see not-out as anything but a dark time, you could align Out with the summer months and about community, self-expression, being bold and honest, and In with the winter months - about hidden things, secrets and introspection. I think one could write In more clearly as being about the occult, and self-development, and away from lies and deception.

a Transition wheel

This is even less fully formed and, I am certain, would exclude a *lot* of people unless this fitted in with your conception of gender. And possibly offend a number of people too. Something like having Male and Female as poles at two festivals of the year, and the others of they year representing genders in-between. Male and Female wouldn't need to be the two important festivals, and other festivals would at logical intervals represent slightly gendercomplex notions such as butch, and moving towards blended bi-gender or agender representations in the middle of the wheel. The narrative would be of a god or a person or a sage - Tireseas, perhaps - moving constantly between different gender expressions. I think this would necessarily have to include the kind of gender-cliches I dislike. It'd also exclude a lot of Trans* people depending on how exactly they saw both their trans-ness and their gender. But there's a good idea in here somewhere.
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Jenett

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Re: Finding a path without the male/female binary...
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2012, 07:25:07 am »
Quote from: Unmutual;66073
A group would be an *amazing* idea. There's a few people on this thread who'd be interested, and it might be useful even to non-queer people as a repositary of info for looking at paths with a new perspective. The resources simply aren't out there, so it'd be awesome if us like-minded folk could get together. Let's start a group :D

I think your wheel does have a strong and, perhaps most importantly, generic narrative to it, one that could be put to use by anyone. It'd be possible to slot it into whatever framework someone was working with. I'd love a story and a range of gods, but something like that would almost reduce it's usage - short of creating a whole new pagan path to go with it. Does that make sense? I mean, I think an explicitly queer myth to go with it would be fun and wonderful, but I also think a genderlessness wheel will have the most universal use for queers of any stripe. I also agree that asexual people are sorely ignored by the wheel as it stands.

Two queer cliches, barely-formed sketches, for a more detailed wheel:


The problem with wheels with that kind of tight focus, though, is that they become not at all useful for most people for most years of their life. Which is tricky.

My trad - as part of the step away from the overt fertility cycle - does a wheel based on self-transformation. (Select a seed idea, develop/nuture/harvest it over the summer, reflect on it and what needs to happen next in the fallow time.) That's a cycle that's a lot more useful year after year.

One year, someone could easily pick coming out, or transitioning, or building a meaningful romantic partnership, or whatever. But the next year, they could use the framework to support a focus in a different area of their life, and it wouldn't need a whole new framework.

Sustained ritual practices need to be things we can do now. But that will also make sense to us in 20 years, or in 50, in a wide range of states of health, interest, life, and everything else.

There is the model that Reclaiming uses (and incidentally, that's another place that I'd look at for Queer work, and if you'd like, I can put you in touch with someone who's a senior teacher in Reclaiming and very interested in Queer witchcraft) is picking a particular story and working with it for a period of time (a week, for the Witchcamps, sometimes a year for ongoing group or individual work.)

That can reflect into things like seasonal celebrations, but because it's a "this year, we're focusing on X" story, it's also flexible to respond to the needs of a changing individual or a changing community. (The book _Twelve Wild Swans_ by Starhawk and Hilary Valentine uses that approach, and is also a resource I'd suggest in general.)
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PetitAlbert

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Re: Finding a path without the male/female binary...
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2012, 07:26:19 am »
Quote from: cymrudraco;66058
I also had a thought that maybe we could start a group here on TC to chat about or collaborate on the queer paganism paths we're working on, but I don't know if there's enough interest in that.

 
Any interested parties, I've set up a group:
http://www.ecauldron.com/forum/group.php?groupid=47
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Sobekemiti

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Re: Finding a path without the male/female binary...
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2012, 07:58:47 am »
Quote from: Jenett;66075
My trad - as part of the step away from the overt fertility cycle - does a wheel based on self-transformation. (Select a seed idea, develop/nuture/harvest it over the summer, reflect on it and what needs to happen next in the fallow time.) That's a cycle that's a lot more useful year after year.


That was more what I was aiming for, actually, when I was trying to sketch out themes for each Sabbat. I thought that might be a better focus for the Wheel, in being able to follow something from initiation to fruition, and having it open enough to tailor or change from year to year if necessary.
 
Quote from: Unmutual;66073
I think your wheel does have a strong and, perhaps most importantly, generic narrative to it, one that could be put to use by anyone. It'd be possible to slot it into whatever framework someone was working with. I'd love a story and a range of gods, but something like that would almost reduce it's usage - short of creating a whole new pagan path to go with it. Does that make sense? I mean, I think an explicitly queer myth to go with it would be fun and wonderful, but I also think a genderlessness wheel will have the most universal use for queers of any stripe. I also agree that asexual people are sorely ignored by the wheel as it stands.


Yeah, it's a pretty generic Wheel based on the traditional Sabbats and their themes. And while I like that, and it works for someone who doesn't mind reinterpreting the same Sabbats, I worry that it could end up too generic, and that it wouldn't have enough of a queer focus to make it valuable to us. Which is why I like it as a place to start, but I'd like to expand it to give it some sort of queer focus or queer angle. Otherwise, why bother with a new Wheel if a generic 'one size fits all' would do? But I don't know how to balance those things.

I like your two ideas for queer Wheels too, as ways of exploring trans* and queer issues throughout the year. I think if you wanted them as more wide-ranging Wheels, that you'd have to write them in such a way that they aren't so specific in their experiences that most can't relate to it. Again, I'm not sure how you'd do that either.
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Re: Finding a path without the male/female binary...
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2012, 09:46:23 am »
Quote from: cymrudraco;66058
I also had a thought that maybe we could start a group here on TC to chat about or collaborate on the queer paganism paths we're working on, but I don't know if there's enough interest in that.

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Re: Finding a path without the male/female binary...
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2012, 03:11:36 pm »
Quote from: Unmutual;66072
You might be right about constructing a religious practice of my own. I just feel like I need my starter-wheels, if that makes sense? Like I shouldn't start trying to change things until I understand how the things work in the first place. But I'll look into Kemeticism - I was big on Egypt when I was a small person, so lots of the knowledge is tucked away in strange parts of my brain.


Understanding a system before changing it up is definitely a good idea. Once you learn why something is done or believed and how that's expressed, you can start shuffling things around. You don't have to have a library's worth of knowledge tucked into your brain, either. Just knowing the basic symbolism, practices, and beliefs is enough to begin, though obviously you'll want to learn more along the way.

Kemeticism is vast, but it's fairly easy to get started. But that's true about most Recon paths.

Quote from: Unmutual

But these ideas, tropes and cliches are still used in the real world to deny women services and rights, and more generally to box men and women into their own little boxes, both politically and socially. They're very real, but also very damaging. I spend too many hours of my day worrying about the latter to be able to do the former, without it also setting my teeth on edge.

 
I understand where you're coming from. It's so sad that such a powerful idea has been used as a basis to suppress and discriminate.
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PetitAlbert

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Re: Finding a path without the male/female binary...
« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2012, 05:06:15 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;66075
The problem with wheels with that kind of tight focus, though, is that they become not at all useful for most people for most years of their life. Which is tricky.

 
I meant more that Coming Out or Transition would be used as a generic, metaphorical story, the way that Pregnancy is in the traditional wheel of the year. You're right that, if one was to use it only for those times, it'd be limited indeed. But you could take those central bits of queer life as symbols for development and cycling, and then build around that. Does that make more sense? "Now is the time when Tiresias takes on female form" instead of "Now is the time that the Mother embraces the Hunter". Following a different story every year sounds wonderful, though - I have a short attention span, so lots of stories appeals.

Cheers for the book and path recommendations - I have a lot of homweork it seems...
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Re: Finding a path without the male/female binary...
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2012, 06:11:44 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;66082
A Reminder:
Social Groups aren't necessarily the best format for a Pagan-oriented discussion like this as they tend to be limited to folks who first discover the Social Group and then remember to check it regularly -- as Social group discussion do not show up on the "new posts" page. Discussions on the main board are always visible and therefore much more likely to attract discussion from a wide range of members. Social Groups are best for "focused discussion among a small group". Note: this is not to say you shouldn't start a Social group for this, just that you need to weigh the benefits/liabilities of a Social Group vs threads on the main board.

 
I'll note, also, that there's a lot of overlap with the GLBT+ social group.  Again, not to say you shouldn't have the new QPP group, but it's a factor to consider.

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« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 06:12:17 pm by SunflowerP »
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