Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article ID: 14736
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 682
Times Read: 3,127
RSS Views: 23,608
Posted: April 29th. 2012
Times Viewed: 3,127
For better or for worse, "polyamory" has become entwined in the Modern Pagan movement. For those of you not in the know, polyamory means "many loves." Those who practice the lifestyle often simplify it by stating "I'm poly." I have difficulties defining polyamory, probably because the word love throws me off. Many who are poly probably think of the lifestyle in clinical terms. For them, it's defined as ethical or responsible non-monogamy. Ethical because there's no secret girlfriend in the corner, and responsible because safe sex techniques are practiced.
To me, polyamory has to be about more than just safe and truthful sex. It has to be about "loves." Being "in love" is not something that happens easily for me. In the last fifteen years I've been in love twice, and in each of those cases it took months, sometimes years, to "fall in love." Loving and being "in love" are two different animals. Love is something we feel when we care for someone, being "in love" means that your life now suddenly revolves another individual, that their well being is more important than your own. I love a lot of people, but I'm only in love with Ari, she's everything. This is where polyamory and I hit a brick wall.
The concept of responsible non-monogomy is very appealing, and reflects the reality in which we live. Over 50% of married individuals have sex outside of marriage. Having sex outside of marriage doesn't mean that you don't love your spouse, it means you give into biological urges, or perhaps there is some need not being met in your current marriage. While sex outside of marriage is still rather taboo in our society, it's also really common, and our programmed over reaction to it is rather laughable.
I don't have a problem with sex outside of marriage or relationship, as long as that sex outside of a coupling is an agreed upon aspect of the marriage or relationship. What I don't like is calling an "open relationship" polyamory. If polyamory truly means "many loves" than being in a polyamorous relationship should mean that you truly love the people are you with, and not just love for twenty minutes, but a very deep personal connection.
I went to a polyamory workshop at the Starwood Festival a few years ago and was rather shocked at how those in attendance seemed to define polyamory. I felt like I was at a swinger’s convention (not there's anything wrong with that) , not at a class about fostering deep loving relationships. There was a statement from one girl there that stood out to me. She was talking about how she had decided to take a second (or third or fourth, I have no idea) lover and that they were now in a polyamorous relationship. They had been out two or three times, and now they were "polyamorous" together. I don't know about you, but love takes longer to take root in my heart than that. If she had simply talked about dating the guy, or her obvious attraction to him, I wouldn't have batted an eye, but by using the term polyamorous she implied being in love, and I just didn't buy it. Why was he a poly relationship and not just a "boyfriend?"
I'd probably define myself as polyamorous, but a non-practitioner. I truly believe that you can be in love with more than one person at a time, and that it's possible to make such situations work. The thought that I might be "poly" first occurred to me several years ago when I realized that I was probably in love with my best friend. At the time I was in love with Ari, but this guy (yeah a guy) , and I were pretty close, and I felt like I could tell him anything, and I was probably "giddy" half the time when we were hanging out. Now our relationship wasn't sexual in anyway (other than holding hands once in the Castro down in San Francisco) , but I felt like I'd take a bullet for him, and that his happiness was just as important, if not more so, than my own. To me, that's what polyamory should be about.
A few years later I fell in love with a girl while being in love with Ari. That period is probably my most "polyamorous" especially because said girl and I used each other for emotional support. That's the real test in some ways: how much of your emotional well-being is tied together with the other person (s) ? When it's a certain percentage, that's a real, loving relationship, not a hook up or just a girlfriend. I found the situation untenable, as did both women involved. There were more tears than moments of joy, and the "second girl" was the one who truly broke everything off. It was impossible to be a solid source of emotional support for two people, and the two women involved didn't have their own relationship, perhaps if they had been friends before me, it might have been different, but I digress.
My dip into the pool of polyamory was probably not typical. I know many polyamorous couples or groups where everyone is truly known to each other. Two guys in a polyamorous relationship with the same girl might watch football together or something. That's really possible, and over the years I've seen several people navigate the chopping seas of polyamory with some success, but I've probably seen more failure than triumph.
For those of you outside of Paganism, this post has probably make you uncomfortable or maybe you are a bit shocked, but Pagan sexuality is generally not conventional. The majority of Pagans I know in relationships are monogamous, but instead of being a very large majority, they are more a plurality. Pagans just have a very open view of sex. It's not a sin; it's not a cosmic litmus test; it's also not something 100% associated with "love." I worship Pan, he's a randy fellow, and in his world sex and love don't collide at all. "Panic sexuality" is about lust and animal attraction; it's about giving into baser instincts and celebrating the impulses that make us human. I fully feel as if those impulses are there because we are meant to act on them, and in some ways that's true.
According to biologists our DNA is not made for monogamy. We have a natural impulse to seek out other partners. In this, we are a lot like most other animals on this planet, which aren't monogamous either. It's better for the gene pool if we spread our DNA around, which is why "panic sexuality" is so hard to control and why monogamy is so hard to be successful at. That's why I'm in favor of "open relationships" and "polyamory." It's not so much a fight against nature that way, and by being open and honest, a relationship is not pissed away because of a bad decision in Vegas.
I also worship Aphrodite, who does equate love with sex. Sex with someone you love is a different experience entirely, and some of my most transcendent moments have come when Ari and I have had our clothes off. It wasn't the growling snarling sex I've had in moments of panic sexuality; it was something all together different. Modern Pagans are often capable of separating the two.
That doesn't mean we all engage in orgies or have key parties; it generally means we are just better when it comes to talking about it. I think there's a perception that polyamory or even an open relationship is about strictly having as much sex with as many different people as possible. I don't think that's the case. Those types of relationships are more about managing emotions and urges, so that relationships can grow and prosper.
On paper, polyamory sounds like a winner, but in practice I think it probably fails more often than it succeeds. I think it fails more often than not because of jealousy, and a lack of balance in relationships. I've seen too many people, both male and female, engage in polyamory where one half a couple has several outside partners, while the other partner isn't allowed any. The problem, of course, isn't in the sex, it's that one person balancing the emotional needs of three other people is going to drop the ball now and again. Someone is going to get lost in the equation, and in those moments the jealousy issues creep in. Polyamory would probably work better if everyone who engaged in it had the same amount of boyfriends and girlfriends, just to keep the distribution of the emotional luggage a bit more even.
Polyamory probably works better when the concepts of "primary" and "secondary" partners is introduced. Instead of trying to pretend that everything is even, the categorization of a relationship as "secondary" removes a lot of the expectations. I love you, but I have a husband and kid, so we can have a thing, but it will not be my priority. That's a lot more honest than having five girlfriends and telling all of them that they will get an equal amount of attention. There just isn’t that many hours in a day.
Despite how this post sounds at points, I'm generally in favor of polyamory. The idea that we can't love more than one person is ridiculous, and the idea that we all should live in a monogamous state is one I disagree with. That being said, I think polyamory needs to be more about emotions than about sex. This is where I disagree with so many people who practice it today. One of the creators of the word*, Morning Glory Zell defined polyamory this way:
The practice, state or ability of having more than one sexual loving relationship at the same time, with the full knowledge and consent of all partners involved.
For me, polyamory is more about "having more than one loving emotional relationship at the same time." To me love is about more than sex; it is about emotional connections, not what my penis rubs up against. If I'm truly going to be polyamorous, and have many loves, it's the connection where someone's life becomes more important than my own that will define the experience. Ari having sex with someone else would not make me jealous, her no longer confiding in me would. I think my wife is gorgeous, but the primary connection in our relationship has to be emotional. A love is often someone I can have sex with, but it also needs to be someone into Led Zeppelin, superhero movies, and being OK with wearing a Steeler shirt on Sundays. Those things are hard to come by.
In practical terms, I don't think I'm in a place to practice polyamory currently. Perhaps a girlfriend on the side would work, but to be "in love" with that person? Ari is just the center of my world a little bit too much, and to throw the term polyamory into things would be extremely dishonest. I believe in many loves, but right now, I only have one.
*Morning Glory helped popularize the idea of polyamory in her essay "A Bouquet of Lovers, " published in the Pagan magazine Green Egg in 1990. The term was first used a year later in a usenet group created by Jennifer Wesp. The linked to version of "Bouquet" has had the word polyamory inserted into it, but was absent in its original form. The term "poly-amorous" was used by Zell, but I'm guessing Wesp came up with polyamory, a direct result of Zell's article.
Location: Mountain View, California
Author's Profile: To learn more about jason - Click HERE
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email jason... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).