*The Way of a Woman*

To be a Woman in today's World
is to be Confused
About Gender roles, Identity,
and Placement in Society
 We are not alone as the Men are there too..
Gender Identity and the Pagan Path in the USA
a short collection of thoughts on Pagans and gender/sexual roles

Given the current year to be talking about the role of women
seems a bit out of place.. Especially from me : >)
But in reality there is very good reason to do so...
as both genders are undergoing some of the most confusing times in history
In the 60s when I was still underage, the movement to toss gender roles began..
it continues today. It really started long before that
but I will skip the history lesson
Make no mistake I feel that the whole concept of any role in life
belonging to one gender or another to be nothing short
of  ( I will be polite ) silliness carried over from another time.
A time when It at least made some sense.
But in the current day world it has no place.
So what am I talking about then? On the Pagan Path there is little difference
between one gender and the next... or should be..
But why does this need to be said at all..? Read on if you will :)

When the rules for gender ID, got tossed out the window it was not done cleanly
or with everybody's consent. So there was much confusion, Many births
of new ways to replace the old where tried.. and failed for the most part.
The old insistence that certain traits where female and others male, persist even now.
Only now they are underground, unspoken of, but used,
quietly, as it is not PC to say out loud, that such and such behavior
is Feminine or Masculine.
Like this page.. its very colorful, flowery, in a word fem ... or is it?
In point in fact, if you where speaking to a Samurai he would look at you
like you had lost it. As he would be proud to have a Kimono
with such a wonderful pattern, the flowers would please his senses
The Chalice he would be proud to drink from.
Now the Samurai were far from feminine, so where does that fit in?
Simple, it fits because they understood the beauty of a fine blade and the beauty of a tea ceremony
or poetry and were considered MORE of a man,
not less for such knowledge.

This pattern of cross over, of what we consider male and female traits,
is common to many other places/times on Earth as well.
A quick glance at social history will prove my point.
Our current beliefs, in my opinion, are more modern in origin
than we would like to think.. they are Mostly European
and became, by extension American.
Think about that one for a moment
and you will see what I am getting at
And where does a great deal
of the current day lore for Paganism come from...? Europe
( mind, I said the whole of Europe not just England )
Agree with that or not as you will, but if you back track
most of the current day texts available ( other than those written
in the last twenty years and they are based on them too, loosely,
as the writers studied the European texts,
they almost had to, check the references
In most modern texts, then go find the book it refers to) you will find
their point of origin to be somewhere in Europe.
And  therefore, where did we adopt our current concept of gender roles.. ?
Same place.. as much as we Americans like to think of ourselves
as something different, we are, in our beginnings at least, Europeans.
( Unless one is a Native American :) The influx of immigrants
from around the world adds to this mix of culture and confusion
with regard to Gender Identity.
Leaving aside the effects on our day to day thinking
This has left us with some very biased thinking with regard
to gender and sexuality on the Pagan paths. We relate certain rites to women,
others to Men. Our practices of gender roles in the mundane world has become codified
during our practice of the path. Like the term Witch,
the first thing that comes to mind is a woman.. the term Witch is a title,
not a gender identity.. it applies to both men and women who practice the Craft.
I am a woman, I am a Witch, I am a High Priestess, see even there we do it
but we have not come up with a genderless word yet or think we haven't,
priest is an occupation title not a gender role too, but people would REALLY
look at me funny, if I called myself a Pagan Priest
I'm an ordained minister too and that's another one
that calls to mind a gender in that case, Male.
I don't even think there is such a word as ministeress ?
I am a Mother, A wife, A daughter, A grandmother,
A Mother in Law, An Aunt etc. etc. etc.. all of these things have expectations.
And I don't fit most of them. They are like a shoe that's too tight.
I was raised in the 60s by a Mother who was
and still is one of the most independent women I know,
Long before it was cool. :) She set the tone,
that has played for the rest of my life. With a few sour notes here and there
but they are MY doing.
I am more at home, at Home Depot than the Mall, and think getting a skill saw
for my Birthday is wonderful. All this and more has made me something
of a freak of nature to many people for most of my life.
Add to this, the fact I am Bi-Sexual and it evens things out for most people
and they are not so confused.  Why? Because they figure
that's why I have so many so-called Male traits,
which is utter Horse Pucky, but it makes some people happy.:)
In practice of my Faith, my role would be considered feminine,
I describe myself as the Mothers servant. Proud to be so :)
But a submissive role is expected of a woman is it not ?
Ha Ha.. Yeah Right..
Only for the Great Mother of us all do I bow my head or bend knee
This was not always so, but one must learn to serve..
if one is to lead. So such lessons must be learned.
But the Mother of us all expects us Man and Woman to be self reliant.
So were does the idea come from, as has often been said to me,
that to be a Priestess I must follow the path of the nurturing Mother.
The Great Mother is also Kali, the Warrior with the kiss of the blade, Freya
the Free who chose her way as she willed it, Bridget who was both
Smith and poet, and on and on and on..

Each Face of the Goddess and the God you see
shows yet another possible aspect of the self.
All are valid
We pagans as a group tend to favor the Mother more,
only out of rebellion in many ways as "God" the father image given us
of hell fire and brimstone is not our image of God
Where is the God?
The God, which again is a job title not a gender Identity ...
is a more kind 'Father', image and more realistic to my way of thinking. However...
 Yin and Yang
Male and Female in all of the world
nearly each and everything has two sides.
To cleave to one and ignore the other
is to cut yourself off from half of the experience.
Before I came to it and after I had to move and left it,
my Coven was run by two men. Both quite Gay and proud of it.
And who was attracted to our Coven ? Other Gays and Bi-sexual's of course,
and we welcomed them. But where were all the "normals" ?

Not afraid of us, thankfully, but feared they would not fit in.
So did not ask or seek admittance. So sad that our brothers and sisters
should deprive themselves of the company of others on account of
an assigned role that didn't exist, then or now.
We are androgynous, all of us, the divine force is androgynous
but we humans can't think very well in those terms
so we break it down into manageable parts.

But does this assign a Gender to the Divine?
What arrogance to even try to assume that they are locked into a role by birth,
that's our issue, not theirs. It's easier on us to think of the divine as Mother
and Father, but we must not make the mistake of assigning our limitations
of sexual gender, to the aspects of divine force.
I will Hail the Great Mother and Father all my days,
but in my heart I know that it is all one and only MY limitations
won't allow me to look at it as "ALL", the ONE , the Way, :)
Another work ..
Embracing the Feminine.. but what of the God ?

What happened to the Feminine of God

Thank you for your kind attention :)


Some graphics by
Diamondeve's Pagoda Inn

Which is no more, but I give them their due anyway