A Reason to Be Happy: Both Sides of the Divine
Article ID: 13008
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: November 30th. 2008
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I suppose you could call this is a queer treatise on the divine. Yet it’s too much of the normal as well. It looks to the Union of the God and Goddess as a source of inspiration. This source of inspiration is clarified by contemplating the God and Goddess in four forms, two Gods and two Goddesses. I realize this is not a new idea among queer Pagans, but in this instance I see this quartet of deities as representing all the relational possibilities between the two visible genders. I see this Entity as a four-faced, four-bodied group of deities overlooking the four directions.
He is the Golden God, the color of the quickening wind at dawn. He is the Red God, the passionate rays of noon. She is the Blue Goddess, the power of dusk and serene waters. She is the Green Goddess, she who lives from Earth’s terrestrial stillness. These are the traditional elemental colors, which have been associated with masculine and feminine. Now, these traditional associations have been challenged by many Neo-pagans renovating the field of gender theory.
However, I use these, as any other system would be equally arbitrary. We see here that Air and Fire are defined as male and masculine. Water and Earth are pictured as female and feminine. This example even arrogantly begins with the God in the East - as many Wiccans do - mirroring the rituals of Ceremonial Magick. (This decision is often chosen because Air represents rational knowledge, and the speech that allows one to call quarters. In Ceremonial Magick, it is often because East is the direction of Jerusalem although it is also the direction of the approaching heavens.)
Also to approach this particular treatise, it begins with a God. I myself am a man. My sex and gender I define as my physical anatomy and the personality traits that do or do not reflect that anatomy. Some may find placing God or Goddess or Goddess or God first or in whatever order conflicting. This is exactly the problem I which to tackle with this essay.
That is to say, I wish for the reader to know an experience of Goddess and/or God. One of the downfalls of modern feminist Paganism is that while it provides necessary balance, it occasionally swings too far in one direction canceling out the good produced by past patriarchies. I think any -archy eventually loses at healing the gender gap, but that there is good produced by both matriarchies and patriarchies that are worth studying and replicating.
What is Goddess and/or God and how does It differ from traditional Wiccan understanding of the God and Goddess or even feminist ideas as Goddess and Gods?
When I speak to Deity, it is a gut decision. The One who I approach eventually takes on a Name and form. Yet I’ve found that while I’m capable of saying “the God” in ritual and even on occasioning praying to “the God.” Sometimes we dispense of the formalities, and lose the “The.” I say, (Goddess forbid, ) God. Dear God, how do I tackle today? God, how do I do this or that?
Certain Pagans feels that saying Goddess includes both genders while saying God implies a transcendent-only head of the universe perspective. In fact, I write this essay, interestingly enough, after having read both a collection of Rumi’s works called Light upon Light and while reading through Starhawk’s work Dreaming the Dark. (They are both quite good.)
But I do not feel that way. That is not what “God” represents to me nor is it what “the God” is. God is the God. But God is the Goddess. The Goddess is God.
There is a Goddess-only birth of the Universe. The original female cell that gave birth to daughters and sons. There is a God-only birth of the Universe. The god Ra masturbating life into existence. There is a God-Goddess birth of the Universe. The Wiccan Great Rite as conceived of by Scott Cunningham.
These all attempt to juxtapose biology over the physical and spiritual birth of the Universe in a magickal story-telling transformation. Yet none of them speak to the actual Big Bang that gave rise to hydrogen atoms that have evolved into yours truly, typing words into a computer, speaking for all of us. They may only be understood through paradox. There is no getting around that when accepting One alone it envelops or negates the Other on a fundamental level.
I can say God and in my mind mean Goddess. While a listener may interpret a different prejudice and take offense, the fact is, I don’t care. I cannot control the prejudices of others. I can only speak my mind. So now when visiting a church, and I pray, “God this” “Lord that” “Father this” and “King that, ” I am hearing the Name of the Goddess and the God, the whatever you want to call it.
Some Wiccans are particularly anal in splitting the world into all female, male, masculine, feminine and making all problems bridges between the two genders and/or sexes. I actually had been bothered when my own coven had members pair into men and women around the circle. Yet I take no offense to those covens with a High Priest and High Priestess that enact the great rite (On a symbolic level, I cannot speak for the actual having never properly seen it.) Now, I no longer take offense to the pairing of the physical sexes. I have a remote perspective, and I choose to see a balanced equality.
You see, it’s all about choice. What you want to see. If you look at God and want to see fear as distrust, you will see it. If you look at Goddess and want to see reverse sexism, you will see it. If you look at One and want to see the Other, you will see it.
I remember growing up with another male who eventually became quite gay. He was interested in Wicca in his earlier years, but later came to me with a same problem and intuition I had, “I really like focusing on the One more than one side or another.”
Does everything evenly divide into physical sexes? Yes, with the exception of intersexed individuals, asexually reproducing organisms, and matter itself, which can only be personified in its different phases as a particular gender. But when I date, I do not like to think of the gender of my partner.
I tried forever, without success, determining which mythological role in Goddess or God pairings I would play with person x. Am I like Aradia or Lucifer of Leland’s mythos? Am I like Krishna or Radha of Hindu cosmology? Or am I too different to be discerned as one or the other? Yes.
I like dating those who don’t make me think. If there’s too much femme or butch, it hangs out awkwardly in all conversations. Yet with the right persuasion, a lisp is natural. A date that involves fishing or fashion is equally acceptable. So trying to look at my lover as a Goddess or God sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.
I’m tired of those who think men in Witchcraft must be gay. It’s just not true. Whatever any so-called study could produce, I have seen mostly straight men, living out their masculine prime in Wicca. They are indeed male and masculine, but seem more balanced.
Just because a man doesn’t talk with a lisp, do not miss the Goddess when she is present. The emotions are hidden behind the eyes. The most heroic Herculean figure and face are touched by femininity and yet is the face of God Himself.
My first girlfriend was like my first boyfriend. Men and women are so similar in many ways, and it is missing the similarity, the one-ness, that is usually the source of the conflicts we interpret to be based on gender.
I look at the great God Jehovah of J.C.I. and see a wrathful Father that is testing and trying his children. I see a plot device used to explain the past troubles of a nation. And I see a Mother, a She-Who-Lives, as a hidden Shekinah. I see Aima, the Qabalistic principle of Understanding in all mothers, the face of God Herself.
To put it bluntly. Give me your unifying principle. Your void. Your God. I see my Deity in it.
The God and Goddess is a term I like to use often. Is it heterocentric? How should a queer individual like myself interpret it?
However you want. Deity as I see is a symbol of the infinite. Anything that mirrors the infinite can be considered a Deity or may symbolize a Deity. A rock can be God and God Alone.
Yet, God and Goddess and the gender notions it implies are worth considering. Indeed it has been interpreted that “God” alone may be sexist. I feel if I were to separate the two possible sexual relationships in the Quartet into heterosexual and homosexual we would see how they both serve vital functions.
Heterosexuality, no matter what happens in the future, will be seen as the origin of the physical genders. Like it or not, two women or two men may not in this day, produce a child. Other species on this planet work differently, but we are not talking about an asexual mother cell or sea slugs at the bottom of the ocean when we use God and Goddess to refer to us. Queer individuals may look to heterosexuality as something positive and necessary that when it exists in others is to be praised. We don’t have to scuttle off when “vaginas” are mentioned or freak out at the sight of anatomy x.
And while God and Goddess may have freaked out my fellow student in his path toward the One, it doesn't bother me. It in fact, describes the One perfectly, saying "You may be This, but you are also That!" It doesn't necessitate a sexual relationship in the grammar. It is like two titles of the same Being.
Yet homosexuality provides a bond that is necessary. After the original mitosis of Goddess and God from One, the God began to see Himself as a unique individual, and saw the original split within Himself. He alone may heal this split with an image of Himself and a male representation of the divine Other. Whether He chooses to see his relationship with Other as erotic or platonic is entirely up to Him.
Most of all, what religion should be is simple. Everything else is complex. God is simple. Goddess is in fact the origin of the complexity. Any Deity is a plot device that accounts for all of history and places You in the moment in your divine-most.
Choose to see love and not fear where love is warranted. Embrace your darkest dark and shine forth your brightest light. You have the full capacity to understand It.
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Location: Madison, Wisconsin
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