Tag Archives: GLBT

GLBT Pagan

One of the reasons I didn’t get into Wicca, was the whole issue of gender and gender identity. I started exploring paganism in my teens, and there were a lot more Wiccans than Druids about in those days. Wicca would, perhaps, have been an easier option, and in many ways I felt myself to be ‘witchy’. However, reading up, I ran headlong into the masculine-feminine polarity that seemed to me to be a very core concept, and I beat a retreat.

Many Wiccans worship The God and The Goddess, and what I’ve seen of ritual descriptions (and my one personal experience) involved some symbolic recreation of heterosexual sex and utilisation of male/female pairings. To me, Wiccan practice seemed very heterosexual, and I didn’t know how to relate to that. I‘ve always been more complex both in my preferences and my gender identification (especially in my teens) and I don’t feel easy about not seeing where GLBT folk fit in. I particularly can’t see how it works for gay guys, or people whose identity is either not about their gender at all, or more of a mingling of male and female.

My experience of Druidry is that the same gender polarity doesn’t exist within it. Yes, Druids honour Gods and Goddesses, and also entities of no gender. There’s no prioritising of heterosexual contact and fertility – we honour fertility, but it’s not the only, or even main focus. Inspiration and creativity, in a broader sense are very much more the emphasis. It would be also fair to say that I’ve encountered far more gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual Druids than I have Witches. (In fairness, I’ve encountered more Druids so I have a bigger sample population, but even so, there’s a marked difference in percentages.) I feel far more at ease being in a conceptual space that evidently has room for everyone. It’s a big, complex tribe. I like the diversity, the different kinds of energies it creates, and the different ways of doing that grow from it.

I also feel very strongly that human fertility, in a biological sense, is not an unequivocally good thing. We could, as a planet, do with a bit less of it. I’m very much in favour of children and reproduction (I have a child after all) but unbridled fertility is about the last thing we need. Channelling energy into other forms of creativity too has to be a good thing. This isn’t meant to be a dig at Wicca – it’s a faith I have great respect for – but it also isn’t for me, and I thought it worth picking over some of the whys of that.

I’d be very interested in hearing from any GLBT Wiccans – how does it work for you?

Visions of Faerie

It didn’t take me long, as a child, to realise that the cutesy creatures with wings weren’t the real deal. With access to folklore, I discovered a world of faerie folk and spirits of place that was neither safe nor cute. The Lords and Ladies, The Good Neighbours, The Little Folk. Offend them at your peril. Whether you think they are real or not, they act as representation of our relationship with nature, conveying the message that anything less than care and politeness could cost us dear.

For me, there are certain books that encapsulate my sense of what faerie is. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norris is a fine case in point. Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market and Yeats’ Stolen Child capture both the allure and danger. The suggestion of faerie will cause me to pick up a book and read the blurb. So many times I’ve put those books down again, able to tell that the author just doesn’t get it. More often than not, it’s the sheer otherness that isn’t conveyed. Faeries are not just humans with pointy ears and better costumes. In folklore, they are a race apart, with radically different attitudes and rules.

I came to Giselle Renarde’s ‘Secrets of the Solstice Sacrifice’ as an editor not a reader. (Just so you know I have biases). Renarde’s faeries are not part of some uncanny otherworld, but instead exist in our world, just beyond human perception but occasionally impinging on it. She makes them very much a part of nature, as a significant portion of faeries are (kelpies, piskies, pookas, boccans and so forth are very much in the world). However, she gives them a social structure more suggestive of the Shinning Hordes style faerie who troop between their mounds at Samhain and Beltain. It raises some interesting questions about how we designate an entity as spirit of place, or as fey. I suspect these are rather arbitrary, human ways of looking that don’t reflect the actualities all that well, but we are stuck with our human perceptions, language and understanding when it comes to dealing with that which is other.

The usual way of handling faeries in fiction is to send in a mortal character we can relate to – be that Janet of Carterhaugh in Tam Lin, or Thomas the Rhymer encountering the Queen of Elfland. These two tales pitch mortals against faeries, Janet rescuing the human Tam from captivity amongst the Fair Folk, Thomas enchanted by the Faerie Queen, but eventually returning to the world. It is, in many ways, the easiest way of exploring otherness in fiction – looking through the eyes of someone we can readily relate to. It helps to make the Shinning ones accessible, without bringing them too close.

Renarde takes the bold move of telling her tale from an entirely faerie set of perspectives. There are no human characters to engage with. She runs with two perspectives, characters who are both sympathetic, and very clearly not human. Part of the success of this stems, I think, from her very careful language use, having elements that take her characters away from human experience without making them unreadable. No mean feat, I would say. There’s also a dash of magic. Renarde isn’t a pagan, but she handles ritual and sex magic with a deft touch, creating scenarios I think the majority of pagans would find resonant (and sexy).

The language of faerie, of fey is used by, and about glbt folk. For a while ‘fairy’ meant camp, and probably gay, certainly if used in relation to a man. It doesn’t seem so prevalent as a term at the moment, but it’s out there, and I’ve known glbt folk who adopted fey names as an expression of self. To be fey, and other, may be to be gender-queer, and not part of the mainstream. Which means that it works on many levels to set a transgender tale in the context of faerie folk. Renarde’s faeries can wish themselves into being whatever they desire, so for most, gender change would be an easy option should they seek it. Renarde crafts some startling challenges for her characters. Even in a culture rooted in otherness, it is still possible not to be able to fit, and the journey to becoming who you are, is still a tricky one. This is a story that works well on a metaphorical level as well as being a good piece of folklore rooted fantasy.

Here’s the opening…

Y Tylwyth Teg, the fair folk, have lived on this mount since before there was a country to speak of. After a skirmish with y gwragedd annwn, the wee folk of the lakes and streams, our great-mothers and fathers, settled in these hills and became the gwyllion, good folk of the mountain. There were no human creatures in that time—only the fair folk, existing unhindered in our ways and travels. We used to ride the wild horses over hill and dale. These days, they’ve all been tamed and we’ve taken to riding wild pigs, errant dogs, and even ducks, if we must.

It’s out today from loveyoudivine, and well worth a look. http://www.loveyoudivine.com/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&cPath=6_61&products_id=677 – and there’s another excerpt over there too.

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR JUNE 2010

We have loads of new stuff coming your way at The Pagan and the Pen. First, let’s get the regular goodies out of the way, shall we?

I am very excited to announce that we have an interview today called:

The BDSM Lifestyle: An Interview With Author Dena Celeste by Rie McGaha

This concerns a Lifestyle that is very controversial because many people write or say they live it, representing it wrongly. So, as we took on a new writer sometime ago who actually lives the Lifestyle of BDSM, I was very happy when she decided to correct the wrongs, throw us some rights, and even a little glossary by allowing our FABULOUS Rie McGaha to interview her.

BIG BIG NEWS–Dena has agreed to do a monthly column with Pagan and Pen. Think Taboo with Dena C.

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If you dig the (Free) Desktop Wallpapers, then June’s is ready!

Free Desktop Wallpaper Calendar June 2010

AND AND AND!!!!

Free Desktop Wallpaper by Tom Brown

Don’t miss June’s Pagan Artist of the Month either that Brandi Auset did the interview for. I am thinking Brandi has a true talent for this…

June: Pagan Artist of the Month: Willow Arleana

Now, some announcements & free stuff from our Authors:

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Angela Brown has a new release HERE. The title is Forever and it’s a Paranormal erotic, not erotica, romance short story.

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Ancient Blood releases on May 31, and there’s still time to get in on the contest and win copies of Blood Line, Ancient Blood, an Ancient Blood T-shirt, and poster signed by the author! Go to Rie McGaha’s Website for an excerpt, contest rules, and how to enter!

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Lost Bards and Dreamers s

Brynneth has a poetry collection coming out – very druidy in tone – Lost Bards and Dreamers. Cover art by Tom Brown, and it’s coming out very shortly with Alpheratz as an ebook first, and then on paper.

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Noble Wyntress Nyght 200x300

C.H. Scarlett’s book Wyntress Nyght’s Supernatural Crack: Exes & Hexes (Book One)is set to be released on June 14th, 2010 by Noble Romance Publishing. The book is a zany, supernatural shot for those who need their Paranormal fix. If you adored shows and characters like The Addams Family, Munsters, Elvira, Buffy the Vampire Slayer– then this series may just be for you. I warn you, though, no two bones about it…Wyntress Nyght can be a handful…and she knows it!  For more information click the title or check out C.H. Scarlett’s Website!

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Now, for some more good stuff concerning the blog!!!!!

Because so many readers have contacted us or have posted , we now have COLUMNS!!!! BASED ON THE SUBJECTS YOU WANT!!!!

Writers have set out to bring you the articles you crave, concerning the issues you desire, and hopefully, in the end, we will leave you happily stuffed!.

  • Daily Columns

    

  • Bi-Monthly Columns

  • Monthly Columns

  • Click on the links above to discover what to expect from those Columns. We are trying to cover all of the issues–Ancient celebrations, Women, GLBT, Pagan, Druid, Divination (Dear Spirit), Movies, Religious, Abuse, Controversial, the life experiences of William Maltese (who can entertain the masses easily), Men and Women relationships/differences, etc–  that you find interesting. If we are missing one, then please, by all means, let us know and we will see if we can find an Author to cover it.