• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Diversity

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hate Is Not a Heathen Value

On April 13, 2014, a white supremacist perpetuated a hate crime on a Jewish Community Center. Some mass media outlets have attempted to identify the shooter as a Heathen, but I'd like to take a moment to reiterate that his values (or rather, his lack thereof) are not shared by Heathenry or Northern Tradition Paganism at large. The Troth has already issued a statement on using the Northern Tradition as a justification for hate crimes and bigotry.  And there are Heathens who feel that words are not enough, and have organized a fundraiser to help the families affected by the shooting.

Y'all know that I don't primarily identify as a Heathen, and there are some reasons for that. One is that I don't consider my practice reconstructionist in nature, and that's a large one, but truth be told, the problematic issue of hate groups claiming Heathen identity is also part of why I back away from most Heathen groups. The Troth is the ONLY  Heathen org that I've ever joined because it has explicit, defined mission statements that are committed to racial diversity, "Membership in the Troth is open to all who seek to know and honor the Gods, ancestors, and values of the pre-Christian Germanic traditions, regardless of gender, race, nationality, or sexual orientation."

...
Last modified on
7
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Amoret BriarRose
    Amoret BriarRose says #
    Well said!
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Well said, and heartily agreed. (Other than that I still identify as Heathen/Rodnova, because that's the historic and modern term
All Acts of Love & Pleasure Are Her Rituals: In Defense of Polyamory

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article from the BBC to my Facebook page about polyamory, which I thought was a very intelligent and sensitive article that portrayed how it works with honesty and authenticity.  A few of my more supportive friends re-posted it, which I appreciate, either because they are poly or poly-friendly.  One friend of mine made a reference to it and promptly took it to task on her page.  I stumbled across it and was a little hurt.  So this was my reply . . .

Hi, I'll take up your challenge! I am the original source of this article in the current community. I posted it because I am polyamorous and happy in this choice, and at a place in my life where I feel, to be authentic and genuinely loving and respectful of my partners, I need to be "out" about it. I think I'm going to take the points on individually here, and I'm going to take the time to challenge them because you can't just say, "Oh, I think that anyone who is not monogamous is cheating, lying, jealous, irresponsible, incapable of intimacy and unfulfilled in their relationships . . . but that's just my view on it" like it makes these statements anything less than they are, which are judgmental character slurs. Granted, I recognize that this appears to be what the rest of the world thinks (and notice the contradictory nature of a couple of those statements when phrased as bluntly as that, which of course means that both simply cannot be true,) so I relish this opportunity to help the enlightened people who are our mutual friends and associates understand something that may otherwise confuse them. And I hope to build understanding with you as well, since you are a loving and giving person and I am sure that this view of condemnation stems from either misconception (which is only to be expected in our compulsorily monogamous, heterosexist culture, because how would anyone have ever been shown another example other than what they've been taught?) or a bad experience (which, again, is fair, but just as one should not assume that all people of a particular group are jerks because one beat you up in high school, one should not assume that all polyamorous relationships are bad ones - though of course, some are, just like in any other relationship.) Please understand that I do not mean to say that you, or anyone else here is a judgmental person; indeed, metaphysical people tend to be refreshingly open-minded. I phrased things the way I did to point out how you may feel you have been coming from a place of love and acceptance in this, but these are not really loving and accepting statements you are making.

To start with, my husband Erin and I have never, in the twenty years of our relationship, been monogamous. We met over a Dungeons & Dragons game, and we developed a relationship in our first experience with "swinging." We made our existing relationships work for over a year, but both of them were emotionally abusive situations and we found that since we were not emotionally abusive in our relationship, it was not necessary to tolerate such things from a lover. After our existing partners forbade the experiment from continuing but continued to see each other behind our backs, and after their particularly poor treatment of us while they continued an affair, we decided to leave them both and make a go of it together.

...
Last modified on
1
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sarah Eccles
    Sarah Eccles says #
    Hi, I'm the Sarah mentioned in the BBC article you linked and I'm glad you liked it. One of the big things I didn't mention in the
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Sarah, I am delighted to see you here! Thanks for telling your story to BBC so that we can all be more out, and thanks also for y
  • Sarah Eccles
    Sarah Eccles says #
    Just added you on Twitter. I'm Limnaia.

 

 

O, Etsy. You purveyor of all that is desirable and yet sometimes dubious. I didn't appreciate Etsy (and probably still don't) until my hip daughter introduced me to Regretsy. Mothers of gods, what a hilarious mess.

...
Last modified on
3
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley says #
    A wonderful post. While my wife and I derive a significant portion of our income from Etsy, not selling the types of things mentio
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks, Peter. We talk so much about community in Pagandom and Heathenry but we sometimes don't walk our talk. I hear from too m

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A cross-post this week, if I may - between here at my first blog 'home', and the wonderfully eclectic 'Witches & Pagans' site (because if you can't 'moonlight' as a Pagan, then who can?).

I am very aware that I haven't written anything at either location for a couple of weeks. I could give excuses - ultimately, the days have flown past and life has been more important. I'm sure we all know how that goes. Instead, take a wander with me, if you will.

Regular readers know that one of my favourite places for inspiration is as I walk the dog across the hilltop where I live. This evening I wandered the streets, looking out at the fierce clouds parting after an intense rain and thunder-storm just a few hours ago, the remnants of a rainbow, and the slightly 'stunned' feeling of a normal, modern, country village after a violent and unavoidable incident of Nature. The grass is rich and green, the snails appear to have made a small bypass across the path outside one particular row of houses, and the occasional early bat is swooping overhead.

Last modified on
4

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Once upon a time, in the not so distant past, “you are not the boss of me” was muttered any time two or more of us were gathered together. Wicca had erupted into a new tradition every few days, Druids were behind every oak tree and the rise of the Recons made everyone proud and bristly with new knowledge of old matters. We ate the prolific casseroles of endless potluck feasts and we went to each other’s rituals when that was allowed.  Afterwards we’d gather with folks of our own trads and we’d compare circle castings and elemental pairings, and gossip about the size of the high priestess’s crown.

The same thing goes on still, of course. We each choose the path that is laid for us and we seek out a tradition—old or new—that seems to fit what we believe, really believe, down deep inside. We go through the Seeker stage to the Neophyte stage. We read all those simple 101 books and go to workshops and public rituals. We buy or make flowing gowns and tunics and sport a big pentacle from Spencer’s gifts. We learn to pronounce “Samhain” correctly and at some point we choose a tradition that really fits or we proudly declare ourselves Solitaries. If we are very lucky, we have a succession of good teachers. There may be a circle or coven or grove in which we learn the arts of leadership and we begin to teach the next generation of Earth-loving, opinionated folk who are not going to be bossed around.

Lately though I’ve noticed a change in our crabby and electronic world. Instead of quibbling about whether it’s proper to work within a circle or if one can stand in a lineaged Wiccan tradition while also being a Sumerian Recon, we’ve gotten awfully pissy about right and wrong and…correct.  No longer content to go our separate ways and merely gossip about those goofy (fill in the blank), we seem to expend rather a lot of electronic air in actually trying to convert each other.

...
Last modified on
7
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    I could not help laughing as I read this, thinking that anyone who tries to convert you probably doesn't try moe than once! Good p
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    You'd be surprised. :>)
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Wonderful post, Byron!

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
What Do You Call That?

This is part three of an arc of related ideas that can stand alone but would benefit from the additional context of the earlier posts. If you have not read the two previous blogs, I hope that you take time to read them. In this post I’ll explore the use of names and labels such as Pagan, Wiccan, etc.

 

Though it would be lovely to come up with some equivalent of Linnaean taxonomy (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species) when it comes to the various magico-religious streams, I do not think that it is practical. Physical living things have relatively distinct boundaries whereas systems of culture that are passed from and through individuals and communities through non-genetic means have a high degree of form complexity and overlap. Moreover the overlapping domains of the magico-religious streams are not limited to nesting hierarchies of set and subset. Also, the Traditions of the magico-religious streams are anchored in more than just the physical plane and the rules of the other planes also apply. 

...
Last modified on
6

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

One of the key foundations of modern (and ancient) Paganism is also one of the most contentious. We find it very hard to talk about, it seems, and yet it's fairly key to many people's personal practice. When I've talked about it in the past, it almost seems like I'm breaking a taboo, with the words themselves being 'dirty' or embarrassing. And yet, learning from my passionate and heartfelt Heathen friends, that embarrassment is itself disrespectful, dishonourable and, ultimately, rather foolish.

Who are your Gods and Goddesses? What does Deity mean to you, and how does it influence and affect your Paganism? From the Platonic 'ultimate Male/Female' images (tallying with 'All Gods/Goddesses are One') to the pantheistic, international eclectic transference of pretty much any deity with any other no matter where you yourself live, talking about Deity is a tricky business. Especially because ultimately, nobody can really tell you you're wrong. Or right. Except, perhaps, those Gods themselves.

The Judgement of Paris (Classical)

Last modified on
5
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Cat: Like Elani, you are articulating one of the major cutting edges of contemporary Paganism -- what *do* we believe? I, for one,
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Wonderful post. I think about the Gods in general, and my patron/matron Gods, all the time. But too often I forget to stop, liste

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Your Garden Could Use Some TLC

Some Pagans sure do like to get into everyone's business, don't they? Now that all the hubbub over who's a fat Pagan has died down (thank you any gods that will listen!), we're now onto who's a Pagan based upon which source materials they're referencing to find spiritual growth and their purpose in this world. Are you kidding me?

Last modified on
2

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Do we celebrate diversity, or do we simply tolerate it?

Mitchell stares at me intently as he asks the question.

Mitchell has helped bring trans awareness into Bay Area paganism, particularly Reclaiming events. So I had to stop and think. Do pagans really celebrate gender diversity and transgender people’s experience?

Or do we simply tolerate people who are permanently seen as “other”?

Mitchell has been part of the Spiral Dance ritual in recent years, when the “trans deity” invocation has certainly felt celebratory.

But he’s also been part of rituals that practice inclusivity by invoking “both goddess and god,” or that do gender work which recognizes only two groups, often defined by how we were labeled at birth: male and female.

Last modified on
1
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley says #
    Good post and welcome!

Additional information