Thursday, February 13, 2014

my complex non gendered deities

This post is in response to this article on feminism and the Goddess.

I'm Wiccan and ascribe to pretty much none of the modes of thinking that this author assumes are held by Wiccans. 

I cannot stand the triple goddess imagery as I find it ridiculously reductive. I am far more than a breeding machine. And for anyone who has ever studied gender theory, knows that the idea that our physical gender determines our gender identity is inherently flawed as it is based on cultural mores and societal lessons regarding gender roles. If you don't know the difference between the 3 gender terms I just threw out there, find yourself a Psych 101 textbook. It'll explain them to you better than I can in this space. 

I have had heated conversations, debates, almost arguments about this idea that the Goddess is this reductive passive vessel. 

Fuck that shit. 

Yeah, you read that right. I am more than that, so why wouldn't my Goddess be more complex than that. I don't buy into the tropes of gender that are implied by the triple goddess imagery and take issue with it when they are put upon me.

Which brings me back to the article's point. I agree with the author's stance. I just feel the need to clarify that as a Wiccan, I don't fall into the belief paradigm that she assumes of Wiccans. Do the majority of Wiccans believe in it the same way? I'm not sure. I know I've had a rather long drawn out conversation with a fellow pagan friend about this very topic and we never managed to come to an agreement on it. So I know that that belief paradigm is out there and I do think that the author makes good points about the way the goddess is often understood in pop paganism.  

Let the flogging begin now.

What do I mean by pop paganism? The very surface understanding of deity and paganism. The one in which the Great Rite is all about the God and Goddess having sex to fertilize the land as being a literal act that must be recreated every year, even symbolically. The traditions where the Goddess is some pretty nubile young thing, wearing her crowns and flowing gowns. (Don't get me wrong, I like the sparkle just fine... but...).

I think that many seekers get caught up in the imagery that seems to dominate the 101 books. Hell, even the 201 or 301 esque literature. But then again, I think that pop paganism clings to closely to the personification of deity, which is, in and of itself, in my opinion, hugely reductive and problematic. My deities are far more complex than a simple reproductive couple.

We're taught from a very young age to personify things. From pets and teapots to our deities. While it's lovely to learn to relate to the Goddess as Brighid or Isis, or the God as Odin or Apollo, I think we do our deities a huge disservice by trying to reduce them into archetypes and human like personalities. I know that we tend to do this so that we can better understand deity, but those pretty pictures we have on our altars or computer screens or during guided meditations are tools, not absolutes.

So in my opinion, when we try to reduce the Goddess into the triple goddess archetype, or some highly gendered role, we are missing the point. I follow a path that plays a lot with polarities: male/female, dark/light, above/below, etc. But here's the crux of it: as above, so below... in the end they are all one divided into infinite pieces of a whole. You and I are pieces of the whole, thus, just as you are more complex as a female/male, so to are your deities because you are them.

Look to yourself, your partner, your friend, your neighbour, etc. Those are your deities incarnated, seeking to remember and understand their full nature and potentiality. Subdivided into a multiplicity of identities, all seeking to experience themselves and remember how they fit into the whole.

I don't know about you, but I am more than the triple goddess. More than my gender. So to are my deities.


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