Disenchantment and a Sense of True Polarity
Article ID: 13741
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: April 18th. 2010
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It’s no secret that Wicca focuses widely on ‘polarity’. There are also many ‘between the lines’ contradictions in Wicca surrounding homosexuality and gender roles.
I’m rapidly becoming disenchanted with the gender roles of Wicca. It’s due to a lot of things. A number of Dianic covens will only allow “natural born women” in their circles and not those who feel they were psychologically women but biologically men for some time, and certainly not those who fought through this gender-based society to be who they felt was best for them. It’s somewhat troubling to walk into the local new age shop and seeing a sculpture of Pan who looks like he’s on steroids, or a poster with Rhiannon who looks like she’s impersonating a prostitute from a bad sci-fi film– complete with a 21 inch waist and boobs roughly the size of her head. It’s also difficult to have one of your guy friends tell you some other pagan girl said the Goddess was ashamed of his sexual organs, which were, as she stated, obviously inferior to that of a female, and thus he was not allowed to hang out with them on a spiritual basis. And it’s much more.
This has always bothered me. But it’s bothering me even more now that I am getting into the local LGBT community. I’m even trying to start a GSA (gay-straight-alliance) at my high school. I’ve met lots of people who identify in ways that I had never thought of. I’ve met lots of people who are so incredibly and inspiringly sure of themselves, and stronger because of it. And I have met people like me, who really don’t know what they are, other then that it probably isn’t “normal” (whatever THAT is) , so they assume one label or another, meanwhile hoping to make a difference in the world.
I live in a fairly rich, mostly liberal, cosmopolitan area - and near a much larger and more liberal cosmopolitan area. There are more opportunities for LGBT organizations (and parades, and parties – all that fun stuff) to thrive. So a lot of homophobia here is under-the-table stuff. But I see gender and personal identity bashed every day – including but not limited to members of the LGBT community – just in the way we like to portray “normal” people to the world.
I realize that there is a lot to be said for appreciating the polarity of male and female for what they are. But society today – and pagan culture is no exception - acts as though there are only those two extremes. We like to boast that Wicca accepts gays wholeheartedly, but in reality, we project the same images that make guys excessively body-build or girls to become anorexics, all the while telling them that something is wrong with them if they don’t like the photo-shopped images we show them in magazines. We endorse the “perfect” (photo-edited and stereotyped) Male, and the “perfect” (You know what I mean) Female, and it seems we have little appreciation for all else.
A good metaphor here, over used though it may be, is the yin-yang model. There are two opposites, they mold to each other and keep themselves in balance; each mirrors the opposite in an abstract way. This balance allows for all phases between yin and yang to exist.
I feel that last part has been forgotten. Especially within LGBT Pagan communities, the God/Goddess model gets based a lot, as does the yin/yang model…because people take it very literally. There is feminine in divinity, and there is masculine in divinity, and the polarity between the two forces allows for all parts of the spectrum between ultimate feminine and ultimate masculine to exist. There is handsomeness beyond bulging muscles. There is beauty beyond large breasts. There is, what some might call, a neutral phase, there is boyish, cute, girly, or whatever else you think lies between the two.
If the yin/yang model were to be taken literally, there would only be blobs of light and dark in the universe – obviously not, because not only do yin/yang allow opposites to exist, but they allow everything in between to balance out.
We need to acknowledge, both in the ‘mundane’ world and the ‘spiritual’ (which, I suspect, are closer together than much of us believe) that we have all been the victims of such cookie cutter gender profiles. We need to understand that there exists - both physically and in the mind or heart- more than “perfect” male and “perfect” female. And I put “perfect” in quotes because once you really understand what people are doing to themselves – from bulimia in twelve year olds to plastic surgery in adults- because of the images we show them (in common advertisements, Barbie dolls, or painted on new age posters, athame handles, and tarot cards) they are not “perfect” at all.
My model for the divine is an example. When other people explain the God/Goddess model to me, I don't like it much. There is something that excites me more about the unity of two females then the unity of a male and female. But I do not worship two Goddesses or one Goddess because I feel that I would be missing the masculinity of that polarity. But I also feel that to have a supremely masculine God and supremely feminine Goddess would only be further burning into my mind the gender stereotypes of today’s world. I’m restrained enough by it in the mundane world; I don’t need it in my spiritual practice. And, furthermore, it is not very realistic.
I prefer to think of the divine as a limitless whole. So I realize that that God and Goddess model is something I use because it helps me. But, when the need arises, I have found a way to make the God and Goddess model work for me.
There is first, the mythological God I follow. He is a god of agriculture, the fertility of the land, magical creatures that dwell within it and one that would be worshipped by those who relied on his land and well being to survive. My Goddess is a goddess of love, but also wisdom and knowledge, and the way that they are both put to use – she is of good fortune, not only of the material world, but also of the mind.
My God, both physically and psychologically (as I view him) is extremely feminine. My Goddess, both psychologically and physically, is extremely masculine. Yet, they both exhibit beauty. If I could telepathically beam you an image of the two of them, there would be no mistaking that one is a God and one a Goddess – but there is a beauty in them that lies beyond having exaggerated physical characteristics like muscle tones or curves, and they are beautiful.
Furthermore, I have decided that my God and my Goddess, in the way that I view them, do not engage in the physical act of love. I’m sure that sounds like an abomination to most of you, but I find it works well for my purposes.
My divine female has masculinity, and my divine male has femininity. In terms of both what they stand for and how they spiritually affect me, there is very much a sense of polarity between them. To better explain…Back to the yin and yang model:
Yin and yang are forever in a polar balance. They allow all manners of characteristics to thrive that lie between the two extreme ’yin’ and ‘yang’ qualities.
So just in their balance, yin and yang allow for all other types of energies to survive. I feel that is what my God/Goddess model accomplishes – their polarity is symbolic of the polarity that you find in so many parts of our universe. There is no need for me to believe that they carry out the physical act of love because their non-sexual polarity is what allows the polarity between humans to make the act of love possible.
Also in same gender relationships, there is a sense of polarity between partners. And even if there are more than two partners involved, there can still be a balance between people of different gender, physical sexes, sexualities, orientations, or what have you.
My God knows the fertility of the land, and the physical act of love that happens on earth between all animals that do so. He understands reproduction of everything and the cycles of life on earth.
My Goddess knows happiness and friendship and love. She knows how to bring out the best in people; she has calmed horrific mythical creatures and brought peace in times of need. She knows the human heart and the love of all that is spiritual and emotional.
And it is the polarity between these two facets of love that allow for me to understand the importance of love and loving on earth.
Those two interpretations of love are the polar forces I’m speaking of, that allow for all humans and me to engage in any degree of love, lust, attraction, or appreciation we choose. They do not need to mimic everything between those two opposites, because everything that exists between their opposites already exists just because of their polarity. They both speak of sexuality, but they do not need to physically engage in it for me to understand what they represent (and I still recognize the idea of the true divine being a limitless, indivisible whole. I simplify it only for my needs.) .
After years of having searched, waiting to be chosen by a deity, and working out archetypes to the best that I can, I have found this. This is polarity; this is yin and yang.
I find this works for me…without being too gender constricting and/or without feeling that there is too much heterosexual undertone in the way the divine communicate love. I realize that this model doesn’t suit everyone. There are different elements that need to be emphasized for different people. But it has struck a chord with me.
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Author's Profile: To learn more about Chi - Click HERE
Bio: Chi has been practicing some odd interpretation of Paganism on and off for the past four to five years, more seriosuly for the past three. In much the same way, she has been interested in getting in touch with local LGBT communities for the past two years, but more activly working in the community for the past few months.
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