They/Them and Paganism

I’ve accepted that I’m agender for about a year now. Just recently this semester after meeting a very out and wonderful human, I’ve been inspired to go through the social transition of letting everyone else (excluding my parents) that I’m trans.

It’s been a bitch of a struggle, I won’t doubt that. My self confidence took quite the blow the last few years and I’m just now getting it back, but still, the remaining habit of internalizing every negative comment instantly and brushing off the positive lingers. Every time some bigoted asshole insists that there’s “only two genders” or that “they/them pronouns are grammatically incorrect” (which is bullshit) it hurts, of course. To finally find a label that explains everything that I’ve been feeling my entire life and knowing that I’m not alone was exciting! But then listening to crowds of assholes scream at me that I’m just trying to be special, or that it’s all fake, can really fuck someone up. On top of all that, the body dysphoria that came my first semester of sophomore year was unbearable. I used a makeshift binder (two too small sports bras) for the first time and the feeling of comfort was indescribable, like finally dropping a hundred pound weight. The thoughts in the back of me head that none of this was real and I was just faking it were constant though. It brought up a frustrating question with an answer that seemed permanently out of reach.

Until one day when I was neck deep in my studies, I found a solid reason as to why I never felt connected to gender. Now, this might only apply to me, but I have a firm and unwavering belief in reincarnation and the residue that can spill over from past lives. Gender being one of those residues. In my past lives there’s no telling what kind of being I was. A female plant, a grumpy cis man, a trans woman. All I know is the variety is there and it explains the why I even felt a connection to nonbinary gender in the first place, or why I couldn’t shake the feeling after I learned that there was in fact a label for what I’d been feeling my entire life.

Now, the kicker is, even though I found a word for how I felt, the pagansphere was just as unaccepting of it as nonpagans. Dianic terf wiccans, heterocentric mythos and equating binary sex organs with all my craft tools was everywhere. It seemed escaping transphobia was even harder in paganism than it was in the normal world. It made sense. The earth runs on fertility. Seed to bloom to seed to bloom. But this ideology morphs with the times. Humans don’t need fertility stories anymore. In fact, we need the opposite. Overpopulation is a thing and we are killing our earth because of it. Those I’ve seen that insist that the Maiden Mother Crone cycle specifically applies to cis women and nothing else make me want to yank my skin off. The maiden can be a sprout. The mother can be a tree dropping acorns. The Crone can be the skeleton of a plant shivering in a winter storm. Everything on this planet has a life cycle. This planet itself has one. To pretend that cycles are exclusive to cis humans is foolish at the very least.

This is where I focus my practice. On the cycles of the earth. My Wheel of the Year doesn’t celebrate a woman giving birth, but a tree giving life. And with what the climate is going through, nature deserves more love than us humans do.

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And We’re Back

There ya have it folks, I’m once again considering going back to Wicca.

These past few years have been outrageous in my religion aspect. I’ve been bouncing. Wicca to Luciferian to Wicca to Eclectic to Wicca to Hellenic Polytheism and now the cycle returns once again. Wicca is the only place I’ve felt at home. I respect the Hellenic pantheon immensely, but I don’t feel at home with them. I feel overwhelmed.

One thing I loved about Wicca was the simplicity, yet complexity of the whole thing. Unless I get on medication, I don’t believe I’ll ever have the spoons to be a successful Hellenic practitioner. Wicca was low maintenance. I felt close to the Goddess and God. I truly did. I’ve never felt that kind of connection with any deities before, no matter how hard I searched. I found a professor/student sort of relationship with Lucifer and I love him dearly as well, but it was never as deep as with the Wiccan deities. They embedded themselves into an untouchable, unfathomable part of myself that I’ll never be able to truly understand on this plane of existence.

My biggest issue with this religion is it seems that its cons morally outweigh its pros. The transphobia/homophobia/heteronormativity that has poisoned the very basis of Wicca will never go away. Gerald Gardner will never not be a homophobic pervert and (a disappointing amount and possible majority)Dianic Wiccans will never not be transphobic bigots. My question and the one thing holding me back from going back to Wicca is; If I were to indulge in the spiritual aspect of this religion, even with a liberal and inclusive re-imagining of it, would I be subconsciously enforcing/supporting these dated and bigoted ideals?

It would be wise to acknowledge the reason I keep turning away from Wicca. It’s the dialogue that is brought up that sheds light on Wicca’s issues. The only pagan community I have is on tumblr and some pretty thorough and intense cases have been made against Wicca. There’s things about this religion that I can’t apologize for nor ignore without being a hypocrite. How could I, being agender queer afab person myself, expose myself to a religion that’s entire theology can possibly be interpreted (and was most likely originally established as) a heterocentric procreation based love story that implies that women are only valuable when they create life?

But the thing I valued was I never saw the story of the Wheel of the Year that way. I saw it as the harvest of the earth and the cycle of nature itself. A bean plant will begin as a seed (the maiden) then sprout into a flourishing plant that can create it’s own seeds (the mother) and then expire in the winter, knowing that the seeds it created will be used to continue the speceis (the crone.) To me, this story never exactly applied to the complexity of humanity itself. The Goddess was not just a human woman, She was the beauty that is nature itself. But the problem is, I’m only one person. My inclusive interpretation of Wicca won’t fix the fact that Wicca wasn’t made for people like me. Gardner had no intentions of his religion being adopted by a black liberal American feminist. So the question is, is Wicca salvagable? Is it possible that if there are enough Wiccans like me, then the foundation of Wicca can be overshadowed by it’s open arms?

I’m going to be doing some soul searching on this. I’m going to step back from Hellenismos for a while, examine my political stances and how they may effect my religious ones. It’s all about balance, I suppose.

 

 

A Summer of Changes

It never occurred to me to consider why I never really fully lost myself in a ritual or spell while I was at home, but I easily could at college. It might have something to do with the energy of this house. It’s never felt like a home to me. My dorm back in Missouri does. How sad?

It might also have to do with the humidity of the state. Texas is gross and sticky all the time and I’m humble enough to admit that I hate bugs. My environment adds a lot to my practice and if I’m somewhere that’s buggy and dirty and humid then I’m just not going to be as into it as I should be. I’m going to try my hardest to push past this and try to find a place here that doesn’t spiritually disgust me, but until then my rituals are going to be minimalistic. Rituals of gesture or quiet prayer is going to replace my full on tasks.

In other news, I’ve come into contact with Hellenic Reconstruction and I’m very much converting to it. I have a problem, I think. I’ve been bouncing from religion to religion every year since I found Wicca.

I went from Wiccan to Norse Pagan to Luciferian to Ecletic Wiccan to Ecletic Pagan and now to Orphic Hellenic.

I’ve been reading more and more into the religion and it’s very complex. It’s old. It’s going to have to start with me simply opening up my heart and soul to the Theoi and focus on those gods. One thing that bothered me about my Ecletic time was that I was pulling gods from three different religions (Norse, Luciferian and Hellenic) so now I think everything will be much simpler and more solid. I didn’t like being so spread so thinly, but now my love and focus will be in one belief system

I’m not sure how I’m going to let Lucifer truly go. Honestly, I don’t think I ever will. He did so much for me in high school, I could never just forget about him, but I am going to graciously shake Thor’s hand, be pulled into a bear hug and be released into the arms of Zeus.

I’m going to worship all the Theoi, but my focus will continue to be Persephone, Demeter and Hekate. I’m also very much interested in the Nymphs and their role. (If I wasn’t so opposed to the idea of “kin” I’d definitely identify as a river or meadow nymph).

It’s going to be a process. A slow one. But I think I found a solid religion. Now the only issue will be figuring out holidays. I feel that I need to let the Wiccan holidays go. The lore behind them is connected to gods I’ve never had a connection with and I don’t doubt that there’s Hellenic holidays so.

Wish me luck!

Doing For Others

I’ve made the decision that I’m not going to be making spells for anyone ever again. There’s something fundamentally draining when you put so much effort and dedication into a spell and the person you give it to couldn’t give less of a shit about it.

The tea:

I made a confidence spell for this girl that needed it. She was dragging her weight around and showing signs that I used to. So I asked her if I could try and help. She said yes, then I did it. I put 100% into my spells every time, but especially if I’m creating something for someone else. It’s hard. It’s a million times harder than doing something for myself. She knows this, I talk about my craft like people talk about their children, she knows what it means to me and even if she doesn’t necessarily believe in witchcraft, it’s the sentiment. She herself has been upset because one of her friends gave away their birthday flowers. How hypocritical.

It was just such a giant slap in the face that I’ve truly been discouraged from doing anything like this ever again. Maybe that’s immature, or maybe it was a one time thing, but I think I’ll only do spells for other witches from now on. They understand the weight of a spell. Even casual magic can take a lot of energy, physical and metaphysical alike. It’s just a feeling… they’d be more grateful.

This is such a whiny, “young witch” post, but it’s just how I feel right now. That was just so hurtful. It’s like if an artist spent hours working on a free painting for a friend, and the friend just shoved it in the back of their closet to collect dust and rot. The time and energy put into that art was wasted. Hell, I have  a feeling it would’ve done more good if I’d kept it myself.

This is the first time I truly put effort and time into creating something like this for someone else. Never again.

Nevermind!

The universe works in mysterious and sometimes overwhelming ways.

Turns out, I’m not going to do that beautifully crafted curse that I wrote last post. The person I was going to curse and I worked everything out. I don’t want to cause them pain. I was reminded of the reality of our situation. They are my best friend, first and foremost. Maybe we did some bad things to one another and put one another through a lot of shit, but I do love them. I could never curse them.

This is a bitter sweet thought.

I really do like that curse, and I know I have some pretty deep wounds from the relationship that I need address, but I just can’t curse them. We’ve worked things out so well I feel no need or want to. It’s such a good curse, though and I was excited to do it. Not to harm anyone, but to get some really violent energy out of myself. To be perfectly honest, my intention was never to cause my target real harm. I just wanted to get out the negative energy that the relationship pumped into my system. Now I feel as if it’s gone. Honestly. It all ended so well. There’s no hard feelings, we just aren’t what one another needs right now. Maybe in the future we’ll reconnect and our suspicions that we were made for one another will be solidified, but we both need to grow. We were holding one another bad. I was keeping him immature and coddled, letting him get away with anything and everything like a bad mother. He was pushing me too hard and disrespecting me, taking for granted that I did indeed have severe self esteem problems that meant that he could do whatever whenever and I was too scared to stick up for myself. We talked everything through, though. He’s still my best friend. I’d do anything for him still, but we aren’t going to force ourselves to suffer like this any longer.

So! Instead of that curse, for Beltane I’m going to be doing a bottle spell. After a fun night with some friends quite a few adorable beer bottles have come into my possession and I’m so excited to make them beautiful.

So instead of a violent curse, I’m going to be making self love bottles for myself and a friend of mine.

Needs:

  • A bottle
  • Pink/White candle
  • White/Pink thread/yarn
  • Rose petals
  • lavender
  • amethyst
  • cinnamon
  • salt
  • Basil/Bay leaf
  • Orange essential oil
  • Onyx
  • Citrine
  • Rose quarts
  • Self love sigil
  • Something associated with the target (In this case, a picture of Audrey Hepburn)
  • A hand written note

Put it all in the bottle (Picture, sigil and note first) then fill in the space with the ingredients. Seal it all off with the yarn and some wax. Give it away! (Charge in sunlight.)

Identity

No religion post today. Instead, it’s getting very personal and very sad.

So, last night I was reminded, once again, how isolated and friendless I am. Now, to some that would sound like just another teenage complaint and shit, but it’s not. I’ve got no “tribe.”

There was a study done that tried to explain how women dealt with stress and their go-to, almost across the board, was to go to someone for help. Women have groups, squads, tribes. Other female mammals do this too. I can’t. I never got the opportunity.

Growing up, I was taught to be a people pleaser. I never learned how to do anything for myself. That’s the reason I do everything I do. I dress how people want to see me, I act like people want me to act, I’ve lost 50 lbs just to make my partner happy. I now realize how detrimental to my development this is. I now have no personality.

I read once that people pick their friends by attraction, not in a sexual way, but just aesthetics. See, I’m not a beautiful person. I’m covered in self harm scars, I’ve got acne, I’m fat, black and nothing worth looking twice at. (Or even once for that matter.) When people are like me, they make up for it by having an amazing personality, right? They’re supposed to. I don’t.

I have no personality. No identity. There is no internal me that I don’t show anyone. What people see is all there is. I’m a book cover with no story on the inside. This is a jarring, unsettling realization. It makes me cold. I no longer care about myself. I cannot ever love myself because there is nothing there to love. That explains why I have no tribe, as well. How can people become attached to a blank space?

Because of this detachment and isolation, I’ve begun to relapse and not just a physical way. Everything has gone wrong. How can my gods love me if there’s nothing to love? Why stay alive if I’ll be forgotten in an hour? What’s the point of taking up vital resources and space if I’m not worth anything?

From being bullied from day one and trying my damnest to try and be what people would want me to be, I became a walking shell. I didn’t lose myself. You can’t lose something you never had in the first place.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not supposed to be here. That’s why my destined tribe will never show up, because I was never even supposed to be here. My partner is stuck with someone who they aren’t meant to be with, because I was never meant to make it this far. I was supposed to kill myself four years ago.

Butterfly effect, I suppose. How can I complain when it’s my fault that I’m miserable? I have the power to pull the plug. It’s just a matter of will.

A Break

Spring break is coming up quickly for me and I’ll be going back to Texas for the next few days. I’ve decided to leave my basic spell supplies behind and instead spend the week strengthening my roots in ways that I don’t usually do. Even though I’m not supposed to have candles in my dorm, I do, as well as a wax melt (which is allowed) so my fire element is strong. Earth is the element that’s closest to my heart and I have jars of dirt almost everywhere in my dorm. Air and water have become disconnected from me. Feathers and incense were my closest connection to air and I’ve never learned how to swim or had a natural water source near me. My goal these next few days of freedom is to fix this disconnect and build a stronger relationship with these.

I’ll finally have incense back, and I’m going to utilize that like crazy. One will be lit at almost all times. The weather app says that it’s going to rain four of the five days I’ll be home, so I’m going to spend as much time as I can standing outside in the rain, letting it wash away the bullshit and negativity I’ve been harboring. I’m not going to stress, I’m not going to think about anything weighing me down, I’m going to use this time to detox. I might do some sigil practice too.

Sidetrack, I also desperately need to get a massage. Not just for luxury purposes, but my shoulder has been on a downhill slope as of late. Not only do I sleep weird, but no shit 100% of all the work I do usually requires me to sit in an uncomfortable chair, hunched over either a notebook or computer. My joints are starting to feel it.

Craft wise, I’m only bringing home the incense cones that I accidentally brought with me to college (that have been sitting in my dorm for the past few months), some herbs to keep my offerings up, my tarot cards and my lighters.  It’s going to be a light craft week in some aspects and a heavy one in others. I just need to decompress.

This week will be good for me.