Okay, so this is completely off the topic from what I usually post in this blog, but I am a proud Canadian, and like all Canadians, I watch when our team is at the gold medal hockey final. It's kind of like Americans and the Superbowl. I think it's a Canadian law or something.
Now, I admit that for a good deal of the game I was shaking my head in dismay. The Americans played a much better game than we did for most of it. They were much more aggressive and energetic and were just overall handling the puck better. The Americans almost won the game when, with a minute and fifteen seconds left, Canada pulled the goalie for an extra attacker, and an inexperienced linesman interfered with one of her teammates, freeing up an American shot on goal into an empty net. Perhaps it was an example of the manifestation of collective Will as thirty percent of Canada's population screamed, "No no NO!" and miraculously, the puck bounced off the post and the goal was averted. But our ladies tied it up in the last five minutes, and then stole the gold in sudden death overtime! I would hardly be considered a hockey expert, but I am Canadian, and so you learn about it whether you want to or not, and overall, this was one of the most exciting and tense games I've ever watched. Here's the link if you want to see it....
I’ve often read that is it due to a male-dominated, patriarchal culture that the world is in such a mess, with war, power games, aggressiveness and other such “male” attributes to blame. I would posit, with respect and a little humour, that these people have never introduced two new female cats to each other…...
Here in the Deep South, it's been a rough few months for women's health. The passage of a draconian anti-abortion law -- despite the courageous efforts of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis and her allies -- has led to the closing of several women's health clinics, and will lead to the closing of many more. In Arkansas, one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country was signed over the summer, banning the procedure in most instances later than 6 weeks. At no other time in American history since Roe v. Wade have women's reproductive rights been so under attack.
A large portion of the work I do as a Feminist Witch centers on securing social justice for women, including the right to bodily autonomy and self-determination. I see my pro-choice politics as a logical extension of my spirituality. Part of what draws me to Feminist Craft is the idea of empowerment through ritual and magick, and my feminist politics hold that we can never be truly empowered until we have control over our fertility -- from having the ability to prevent or terminate a pregnancy, up to and including the ability to make our own choices about how, when and whether we will birth and raise children. Although I am committedly child-free, I am passionate about reproductive justice for all -- not just choice but justice in terms of access to resources that allow us to make choices.
October marks an annual campaign called 40 Days of Prayer to End Abortion, led by many conservative Christian groups. These groups hold prayer circles in their homes and outside women's health clinics and pray for an end to abortion. Pro-choice Christian groups have formed a counter campaign, 40 Days of Prayer to Keep Abortion Legal. Given the number of pro-choice Pagans out there, I have launched my own event this year: 40 Days of Ritual to Keep Abortion Legal....
Covering and modest/plain dressing can be an act of subversive feminism. Hear me out, because I'm sure some people's knee jerk reaction to this is gonna be "I didn't come this far to get sl*t shamed and told to cover up." I'm a feminist myself and I'm not a fan of sl*t shaming either; people that do that can f right off as far as I'm concerned. So for me, the right to veil or engage in modest dressing has nothing to do with the body being impure, or other such puritanical BS; it has everything to do with a person's prerogative to show as much or as little of their body as they want. I'm using "they" here because men can be feminists too, and I know a gentleman who is participating in veiling as a protest against laws restricting a woman's right to cover.
The Second Annual Covered In Light Dayis tomorrow, Friday, September 20th. I personally cover for ritual, but tomorrow I'll cover all day in support of those who choose veil and dress modestly, because bodily autonomy is a feminist principle, and because I am the sole arbiter of how much or how little of my body you see, no matter where or when.
If you'd like to join in, but you aren't sure where to start, here's a video on tying a tichel-style veil, which is how I usually veil when I'm covering....
Admittedly, most of the time, when someone refers to me as a feminist, the word they follow it up with is not “Witch” (though the word they choose does rhyme with Witch). In fact, I find that people are somewhat confused when I refer to myself as a “Feminist Witch.” This confusion is probably best summed up in the question I got from a young woman in a college class I had been speaking to about Witchcraft and Paganism. Her voice full of sincerity and clear perplexity, she asked, “So you're a feminist? What's the difference between you and a man-hater?”
Well then. I guess that's better than the “What's the difference between you and a Satanist?” bit I usually get at these public lectures, I thought to myself. Then I took a deep breath and gave her my standard answer: “Feminism is the radical idea that women are people. Feminism is the idea that there is no such thing as a lesser person, and that all people deserve dignity and equality, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, class, or anything else.”
She didn't look convinced....
Peter Dybing gave Sunday's keynote speech, "Stirring the Cauldron of Pagan Sensibilities." A worthy pursuit to my mind. In an animated talk, Peter emphasized that Paganism was not a monolithic institution. He also spoke of the need for boundaries, avoiding what he called "the 2 a.m. crisis." During feedback, I reminded folks that one of the required courses for degree-seeking students at Cherry Hill Seminary is Boundaries & Ethics. I took the proto-class from Cat Chapin-Bishop back around 2000 and found it one of the most valuable classes I've ever taken.
He itemized several issues and then compared the attitudes about them of older Pagans and to those of younger generations. He said that older Pagans generally held tightly to beliefs whereas younger ones welcomed debate. I think this is true of any social phenomenon when it achieves some years; however, I don't think it's universal. I count many Pagans, myself among them, as being open-minded, adaptable, and willing to engage on current issues, far from being hidebound.
It was helpful for me to hear, even though it's obvious, that we bring with us the cultural attitudes of our times. I know that the feminism that underlies my being, religious and otherwise, has informed my views and practices. I know that my experience pre-Second Wave Feminism is very unlike the experience of women who, for instance, grew up in a world where reproductive choice is a given. And that's just on one issue. I know that the zeitgeist of my formative years differs from the zeitgeist of subsequent generations. Sometimes hearing something stated clearly from another person gives the fact a more crystalline ring. Thank you, Peter.
I’m not usually a big fan of “rotating power.”
Power is not a object that I can wrap up and pass along to the next person in line. Power shifts when someone takes it....
I have put a more complete argument for why I think Pagans should vote 100% democratic up on my personal blog. Here at Witches and Pagans I compress it only to the issue of women and the feminine. In reality that should be enough. My basic point is not that the Democrats are awesomely good. In almost every case they are not. It is that their opponents are awesomely bad, in every case.
The War on Women and the Feminine
Pagan spirituality in almost all its forms praises feminine values, usually in through a Goddess. The Republican Party has demonstrated over and over again that even during times of high unemployment, attacking anything that empowers women takes precedence over all other issues with the possible exception of increasing the wealth of the 1%. Most of my readers will know of the recent comments by Todd Akin that women when raped cannot get pregnant along with Richard Mourdock’s ‘insight’ that when they do get pregnant from rape, it’s God’s gift. (Theological coherence is not a right wing trait.)
The Republican and right wing attack on a woman’s right to choose whether to be a mother when she finds herself pregnant is of long standing. But this past year it has broadened enormously and ominously to assault anything that empowers women except as obedient servants to right wing values.
As I do twice a month, I got together today with some magical women from Columbia's District and did some political magic. What's political magic? Well, I think that we all know what magic is, but a good working definition is <a href=http://hecatedemetersdatter.blogspot.com/2006/02/ability-to-change-consciousness-at.html>the ability to change consciousness at will</a>. And politics? Well, Oxford Dictionaries on line defines politics as: