Tag Archives: genderqueer

G is for Gender Essentialism

Our father who art in heaven; mother earth; Lord and Lady; Odin all-father…

It’s familiar language, but it doesn’t really apply or appeal to me for a couple of reasons. I am not keen on the gender binary, so the mother/father divide does not fit me well. Personally I had a father, mother and stepfather. I don’t know about the concept of deities as parents, either.

Firstly, the gender divide. Most people I know (including me!) don’t fit neatly into the gender binary, and I don’t know what to make of deities’ genders, if any. I know that genders can be fluid, changeable, across lifetimes and across afternoons. I call Brigid ‘my lady’, though this is just habit. I sincerely dislike the ?Wiccan concept of two deities, male and female (but what about all the other genders?) who epitomise masculine and feminine respectively, in a completely-defined-by-their-biology kind of way. It’s not my experience – male as masculine, female as feminine: gods, how boring. I have been masculine and feminine and neither, all in the space of a hour or a fleeting moment.

Second, deities as parents. Not too sure about that, either. Parents aren’t concepts or archetypes; they’re individuals and can’t be generalised. I was brought up by a depressive alcoholic – but with love and affection. My childhood cannot even be compared with that of my siblings, not really, let alone others. The concept of parents is archetypal (biology again!), but your actual parents aren’t archetypes. My mum isn’t defined by the fact she is a mother, though she is my mother. I don’t think I want a deity to be my mother when I already have a mother – not even if the deity is flawless and your archetypal mother, not a real human person with flaws and differences.

 

It’s all just pondering, really. I know lots of others will have written about this with far more expertise than me, but I like getting my thoughts down in writing. Also, I realise I’ve been writing a lot about things I don’t believe. I find it helpful to be able to outline what I don’t believe in order to work out what I do believe. Paganism is absolutely bloody massive, as many different beliefs as different people, and it can be hard to get a handle on where you want to focus.

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PBP: Reading others’ posts

I’m thoroughly enjoying the Pagan Blog Project so far. I’ve learned the fantastic word awen which resonates with me really strongly: it seems to encompass that feeling of delight in creation that I have been waxing lyrical about. I’ve also seen others’ altars and learned about why they create and sustain them; I’ve had it reaffirmed to me that people adore metaphors (they are awesome); and I’ve learned about new deities I’d not heard of before.

I’ve also noticed, through reading ‘About’ pages and sidebars, that quite a large proportion of us taking part in PBP are queer and/or genderqueer. I wonder if that’s quite a pattern in Paganism, since it might appeal to those following different paths from the traditional ones assigned. I am queer and not-quite-sure-about-my-gender, and it is very reassuring to see so many others in the Pagan community.

I’m really glad I decided to take part, since it is helping me to feel less isolated. I’m not just a tiny!Pagan waving a little ‘faith’ flag from a misty valley somewhere in south west Britain; I’m actually part of this creative wave of faith and spirituality, and that feels amazing.

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