Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...



Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]


Views: 17,484,229


October 20th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits

A Microcosmic View of Ma'at


October 5th. 2014 ...

The History of the Sacred Circle

Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots


September 28th. 2014 ...

Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials

Creating a Healing Temple


September 20th. 2014 ...

GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)


September 7th. 2014 ...

Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery

Web Oh-oh

The All


August 31st. 2014 ...

Coven vs. Solitary

A Strange Waking Dream

Faith


August 24th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation

The Pagan Cleric

A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)


August 17th. 2014 ...

To Know, to Will, to Dare...

On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows

The Darkness


August 10th. 2014 ...

As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?

The Power of the Gorgon


August 3rd. 2014 ...

Are You a Natural Witch?

You Have to Believe We Are Magic...


July 27th. 2014 ...

Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?

Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle

The New Jersey Finishing School for Would-Be Glamour Girls and Boys


July 20th. 2014 ...

Being an Underage Wiccan

Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition

Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of the Witches

Thoughts on Ghost Hunting


July 13th. 2014 ...

A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...

From Christian to Pagan (Part III)

Being Wiccan

My Wiccan Ways...


July 6th. 2014 ...

Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds

The Lore of the Door

Leaves of Love


June 29th. 2014 ...

What Does the Bible Say About Witches and Pagans?

Are You My Familiar ?

Invocations of the God and Goddess

Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene

Results Magic and the Moral Compass


June 22nd. 2014 ...

Witchcraft vs. Religion

Christianity and Paganism: Why All Of the Fighting?

Norse Mythology


June 15th. 2014 ...

Becoming Your Own Wise One

Canine Familiars: Role of the Alpha


June 8th. 2014 ...

Moral Relativism and Wicca

Paganism in Cebu, Philippines

Color Infusion

Soul Strings


June 1st. 2014 ...

Rediscovering My Pagan Faith

13 Keys: The Wisdom of Chokmah


May 25th. 2014 ...

Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials

Awakening to our Celestial Nature (A Free 8-Day Course)

How to Work With Your Muse

10 Things I Love about my Sacred Work as a Public Witch


May 18th. 2014 ...

Finding the God (From Christian to Pagan -Part II)

The Medea Within Us All

Visits from the Departed


May 11th. 2014 ...

Breaking the Law of Return

Mental and Emotional Balance- I CAN Have it!

Karma and Sin

The Sin Concept


May 4th. 2014 ...

Embracing my Inner Goddess through Belly Dance

When to Let Go...When to Hold On

Goddessy: Sorceress Speaks On Beauty


April 27th. 2014 ...

Mental Illness in the Pagan Community

Being Pagan, Being Bipolar

World Crisis: Awaken Witches and Take Action

"Earth Day" Is A Pagan Conspiracy!


April 20th. 2014 ...

Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide

Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus

Morality and Controversy in the Craft

A Pagan Perspective on Easter

The Star Child


April 13th. 2014 ...

Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils

Being a Worrisome Witch

Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!

What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops


NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.










Article Specs

Article ID: 14978

VoxAcct: 398166

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 957

Times Read: 5,380

RSS Views: 22,657
On Gender Roles and Witchcraft

Author: SonneillonV
Posted: May 6th. 2012
Times Viewed: 5,380

I want to talk about something that's been bothering me.

When we talk about neopaganism, the giant in the room is generally Wicca - it's the most well known religion under the neopagan umbrella, the one that gets the most positive press, and it dominates the bookshelves in the 'alternative religions' section. Thankfully, Wicca and Wiccans tend to be inclusive and welcoming toward other religious traditions such as Asatru, Druidism, Hellenic Polytheism, and so on, so I (loosely a Hellenic Polytheist) have never had a reason to feel marginalized within my own religious community. That's one of the things I love about being pagan, that I am included even if my beliefs don't mesh with others' in the community, that we can meet and agree that the important things - love for deity, love for each other, love for the earth, love for ourselves - are the same between us.

I do tend to sway heavily toward the Goddess side of the equation as many do, but like most Wiccans, I believe that the balance of God and Goddess is important, and that it does not do to overlook the other half of my personal coin. Thus, I worship Hecate and Hermes. Thus, I pray to Dionysus and Ariadne. Thus I revere Persephone and Hades. And if I skew toward the goddesses in my personal invocations, I trust that the gods understand my reasons.

But when we speak of duality in paganism, when we speak of The God and The Goddess as two sides of the same coin (as I just did) , we may be unconsciously participating in a social construction that actually does not suit us.

You see, there are people in the world who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. There are people who do not identify with either gender. There are people who identify with a third gender. There are people who are born with the sex organs of one sex and the chromosomes of another sex, or of both sexes. There are people who are born with the sex organs of both sexes, or with no sex organs at all. There are men who love men, women who love women, aromantic asexuals who feel that breed of love for no one. The world is a many-splendored place, and humanity is a diverse collection of individuals who are cisgender, transgender, genderqueer, intersexed, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, asexual... and unlike the patriarchal religions which we pagans sometimes try to distance ourselves from, partially due to their insistence on cisgender male supremacy, our myths and our history acknowledge, include, and even revere these individuals.

Unlike the Bible, which says "Male and Female he created them", a phrase which has been spun into a thousand rules and regulations that dominate our society and dictate how each gender ought to perform, pagans have the legend of Inanna's descent into the Underworld, in which the god Enki, who is prevailed upon to rescue the goddess, takes the dirt from under his fingernails and creates two people: Galaturra, who is neither male nor female, and Kurgarra, who is neither female nor male. These two have the ability to descend into the Underworld and return, and with trickery and cleverness they win back Inanna's corpse and the goddess is resurrected. These two may be the mythological source of the Greco-Roman Galli, and are similar to the Native American berdache or Two-Spirit people, who played an important part in their rituals and have been documented in over 130 tribes all over North America.

Without going into an exhaustive listing and group of descriptions, I want to point out that the ideals of masculinity and femininity are not constant across cultures, centuries, and pantheons. Even things we take for granted are not necessarily true in myth - for instance, that only women can bear children, and only when impregnated by men. There are several myths that turn even these biological roles on their heads. Gender and gender-characteristics are much more fluid in ancient myth than they are in our current culture, yet we as modern pagans have chosen to focus on a strict gender binary, to create exclusion even when our history and our wealth of stories and mythos should steer us toward inclusion. We use the words 'male and female' to describe a strict duality when no such duality exists. We focus on black and white and forget about all the shades of gray in between. And it feels fairly arbitrary to me. There's no reason for this. We should know better.

Similarly, I think we should know better than to pigeonhole women and men into culturally-constructed gender roles. Just the terms 'Maiden, Mother, Crone' make me squirm, because motherhood is not a definitive quality of womanhood. There are plenty of women who choose not to have children and are happy that way. Giving birth is also not a definitive quality of motherhood - there are mothers who are infertile, mothers who were born with a penis, mothers who were born without a womb. Mothers who adopt. There are even gay men who take on the descriptor of 'mommy', whether seriously or in playful jest. When we treat the role of 'Mother' as though it is an intrinsic facet of womanhood, and womanhood as if it is defined by motherhood, we are excluding all of these people.

There are those who will say that 'Mother' is a term describing a symbolic role, but I really think that the imagery that goes along with that role is telling. "This is a woman in the fullness of her fertility." "She gives birth to the God, her consort." "She gives birth to the animals, the plants, and the trees." Motherhood is synonymous with creation, and creation is NOT an exclusively female domain. Similarly, we associate the God with masculine energies, with war and heat and light and industry. Women have historically been excluded from these domains, but that doesn't mean they are intrinsically masculine - just that we PERCEIVE them that way. And why do we perceive them that way? Because softness, nurturing, emotion, intuition, creativity, the arts, and healing are 'soft' arts, women's arts, and hardness, dominating, rationality, logic, industry, the sciences, and engineering are 'hard' arts, men's arts.

But the deities are not that clearly delineated. The deities, in their vast and diverse history and manifestation, are not so easily pigeonholed. The deities are not exclusively male and female, hard and soft, light and dark. There is interplay between all of these extremes. There are deities who change genders, deities who are transgender, deities who have no gender, deities who are genderqueer. There are homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, and asexual deities. And we do not have to look particularly hard to find them; they exist, waiting for queer, genderqueer, intersex, and trans* pagans to uncover and claim them.

In practice, pagan traditions tend to be accepting of 'alternative' gender expressions, lifestyles, and sexuality, but the language we use and the traditional roles we revere are still the property of a culture that enforces a gender binary that is neither inclusive nor necessarily healthy. Regardless of how we treat these rolls in practice, the language we use is just as important, because language is evocative of ideas, institutions, and traditions - language is part of a greater narrative. It can support that narrative or it can undermine it, but it does not exist independently from it, because nothing exists in a void. When we use the language of the gender binary, of coded misogyny, of institutionalized prejudice, we are maintaining those narratives in our lives and in our faith. And to be very honest, as paganism continues into the 21st century, I'd like to see us evolve out of that. I'd like to see a change. I'd like to see us recognize and include the totality of human diversity in our faith, in our covens, and in our traditions. I'd like to see there be room for a man to be recognized as a mother, and for a woman to be recognized as a warrior, not just on a small-scale basis, but at the forefront of our faiths.




Copyright: Copywrite Sonneillon V., Creative Commons, feel free to quote or distribute



ABOUT...

SonneillonV


Location: Columbus, Ohio

Website: http://sonneillonv.dreamwidth.org/




Other Articles: SonneillonV has posted 1 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE




Email SonneillonV... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to SonneillonV ...



Pagan Essays
1996-2014





Pagan Web
8,000 Links





Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.





Pagan/Witch
80,000 Profiles














Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops



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, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ 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.
Witches, Pagans
of The World




Search Articles
1996-2014










 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide


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).