Monday, January 26, 2015

Selma’s LBJ, A Metaphor For You And Me

The recent uproar over the portrayal of Lyndon Johnson in the movie Selma is quite enlightening.  Staffers at the LBK Presidential Library are defending the former presidents reputation as a hero of civil rights.  Their objection surrounds the movie painting LBJ as a reluctant ally at best.

If we really examine the man and his motivations we can see that he possessed great insight and vast blind spots in terms of racial justice.  He stood as the leader of this nation reflecting the values that white Americans held at the time. 

It is in this honest assessment that we can see our selves; as white Americans we have accomplished much in recognizing the abhorrent affects of racism.  Yet, this is not where we started.  Just as in this most recent portrayal, we have gradually evolved in our understanding of how insidious prejudice can be.

As we move forward we embrace an ever-expanding concept of social justice, spurred on by our exposure to the inequities in our world.  For those of us over forty, for example, can we honestly say that our views and understanding of transgender rights have remained static over the last 20 years?  For most, the answer is clearly NO. We have moved from ignorance of the issue, to acknowledgement and beyond to embracing social change via activism.

The real issue with the LBJ portrayal is that unconsciously we desire to believe the myth that a white man was a hero of the civil rights movement.  Was he? well kind of, but he did not start as a hero, he had to be confronted, informed and challenged.  There in is the rub; all of us need to be willing to confront our attitudes, ideas and actions if we are to manifest social justice in our time.

Those seeking a white wash of LBJ into an instigator of the civil rights movement are unconsciously expressing a desire to reframe history into a box that white privilege fits into.   I admire LBJ for his ability to evolve his views and take action once he understood the magnitude of the situation.  He evolved, may we all follow his example and continue to do so also.   The attempted reframing of the discussion of the movie to be about the actions of a white President instead of the bravery of the people of Selma and MKL is distasteful at best. Yet there are lessons about our own privilege to be gleaned from the conversation.

Monday, January 19, 2015

An Indictment of Covenant of the Goddess, Racism Exposed

As we remember Martin Luther King today, lets have the courage to confront racism in our own community.

A number of weeks ago the Pagan community was shocked by the official statement of the Covenant of the Goddess concerning current events and the Black Lives Matter Movement. This epic fail of the public information function of the covenant revealed how out of touch the national leadership is with social justice issues. By morphing the issue into “All Lives Matter”  the covenant managed of offend Pagans of Color across the nation.

As a result of the statement a number of long time CoG members and social justice advocates chose to resign from the organization.  These individuals deserve a great measure of respect for their actions that intensified the debate within CoG.

The result of the above action was an intensive debate on the CoG discussion list.  As this debate continued it became obvious that an individual who myself and other CoG members know to have a pattern of using the “N” word,  became a leading voice in the debate. The individuals posts all sounded very reasonable given the lack of public knowledge of her behavior.

 When the use of this word was first noticed a number of years ago it was my opinion that I disapproved and wanted little to do with the individual.  That decision was my moral failing; the language should have been confronted then.

It was alarming to witness this individual guiding the discussions on this important social justice issue and it became evident that if CoG is to evolve the membership deserved to be made aware of the individual’s views and agenda. With full knowledge of the storm of discontent it would produce I chose to confront her directly in the discussion group. Another CoG Elder confirmed having witnessed her language.

As expected the discourse on the “discussion and debate” list became heated.  It was at this point that GoG made an announcement that all discussion of race, social justice,  Black Lives Matter and police violence would be banned from the main discussion list and swept under the carpet to a new so called “social justice” discussion list where only those interested in the topic will witness the discourse.  The attempts of CoG to engage in censorship of the discussion were decried by many members; all to no avail.

It was further announced that anyone who discussed these issues on the main list are to be moderated.  In discussion with the list moderator, I was asked, “why do you want to keep talking about something that happened two weeks ago”.  It was a staggering statement, racism framed as just another trending Internet debate. The lack of insight was unbelievable!

So as I was seeking a real conversation within CoG my voice was moderated.  In my innocence I thought that that meant my posts on the subjects would be slightly delayed, I was dead wrong about that.  It became apparent that my posts were not going to be posted at all; full censorship had arrived on the GoG discussion lists.

As I observed the conversation evolve it became apparent that those seeking peace in CoG at all costs had taken control of the conversation.  Long time members engaged in personal attacks on me, statements were made reflecting extreme adverse racism, and personal attacks were made upon those who had chosen to leave CoG due to this situation.

  In one breath members were questioning the ethics of those who chose to leave, painting them lacking the courage to stay and seek change and in the next breath engaging in a campaign to discredit the statements of those who choose to stay seeking change, myself included.  The organization engaged in demonizing those who resigned and painting as  heretics those who chose to stay and seek change.

As an example of the discussion group discourse consider that members posted threads that:

A.  Explained that in an individual’s youth they were taught that there were people of all races who are (insert N word) and that that means that using the word is not necessarily racist

REALLY? It is 2015, time to let go of such stupidity.

B.  That “all lives matter” is a better term for CoG to use.

C. Posted comments that indicated that because specific  individual members had not heard the person use the “N” word it is not true!

REALLY? By that logic if you did not witness a car crash, it never happened?

These posts went uncontested as the voices that would have confronted them are now either gone or censored.

A number of days later I was notified by a number of members that a “whisper” email campaign had been started to discredit me. 

Let me be clear, whisper all you want, defending racism within CoG spells the end of the organization as an accepted part of the Pagan community.  I frankly don’t care if my efforts seeking social justice tarnish my reputation.  I knew such things were possible prior to calling out racism in the organization.

So over the past few weeks CoG has

Demonized those who left the organization due to racism

Painted an individual who stayed to seek change as a heretic

Engaged in censorship of its membership

Swept the discussion of racism under the rug.

Not publicly withdrawn their “All Lives Matter” statement

Defended a member with a history of using racist words

Engaged in a whisper campaign to discredit individuals speaking about internal racism.

Let me be clear, there are many great people in CoG that I have worked with over the years.  What this post represents is an indictment of the power structures that at all costs will engage in ensuring that the organization does not change.  When truth is spoken to power the result is oppression.  It is evident that those engaging in these behaviors have little insight into their actions, yet it remains that their actions are sheltering racism within the organization.  For instance their list moderator told me that banning discussion of racism and social justice from their main discussion list was not censorship because it was “for the good of the membership”


My current plan is to stay until my membership expires, I will ferment change, confront were I can and move on when my membership expires.

For now I want it to be known that, while CoG has many great members, the organization as a whole has chosen to protect racists in our community, demonized those who confront their behavior and stand as an example of how power systems contribute to racism in the Pagan community!  The organization had a choice, open discussion or oppression of those seeking change, I am saddened to witness their choice.

I am heartsick that this has happened within my formally beloved organization!

The Covenant of the Goddess, has chosen to organizationally become  “The Covenant of Pagan Racists”

Perhaps it is time for a new “Reformed Covenant with the Goddess”  where Pagans  who believe in social justice can honor the past accomplishments of our former organization and not support the racism that currently resides in CoG


Over the past several days there have been responses posted that question my credibility. It is not surprising that an organization responds with defend, attack and painting the one who up set the apple cart as a heretic.  Let me be clear, attacking me has no effect on this issue. If CoG wants this situation to be cleared up they can do the following.

1.  Confront the individual in the organization with a proven history of using the "N" word and make clear that such behavior is not tolerated.

2. Engage in listening to People of Color on this topic by creating an advisory group of People of Color to provide insight and call the organization to introspection.

3. Provide time at the next national meeting for a Pagan of Color to make a presentation on social justice and how organizational structure are affected by adverse racism.

Most of all LISTEN TO PEOPLE OF COLOR, CoG has local counsel First Officer, a person of color, who would be a great person to start with.

Further Update:  Just read this little gem in a comment thread from a CoG member. Having named no one I did not violate any rules.

 "Fyi, Peter, I received a phone call Monday night about your blog post. I was instructed to remove it from my public figure FB page immediately or risk loosing my coven's CoG membership. They said it was a possible breach of confidentiality. As I am not the leader of my coven this was not something I was willing to be blamed for.

I am sick with a respiratory infection, spent the whole of Monday dealing with various drs (I was scheduled to have surgery first thing Tues). I was climbing into bed as the call came in. 

Because I was tired, sick, and simply in no mood to fight I removed the post. I just wanted you to know."

Friday, January 2, 2015

#LivesMatter, JUST STOP!

So what do we do when activists usurp an incredibly effective social justice action in order to promote their own worthy causes.   How do we call out those we agree with in principle on their un intended devaluation and destruction of a historic social justice movement?

These are the questions I have been pondering over the past few days as I have observed hash tags that read:

#translivesmatter, #redlivesmatter, #alllivesmatter, #girlslivesmatter, and on and on.

There is no doubt that all the tags manifested above are intended to support great causes. Each author unaware that by appropriating the “lives matter” narrative they are contributing to diluting the important message of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

In essence this situation is manifesting competition for attention, national focus and political support.  As an activist I know well the temptation to copy an effective action in support of the causes I work for.  Yet I recognize that any attempt to start a #PaganLivesMatter statement would just be an expression of my privilege and result in further marginalizing the Black Lives Matter movement.

So my fellow progressives who have usurped the Black Lives Matter movement with your own statements, PLEASE JUST STOP!

Stop now, withdraw your posts, support real change, don’t be part of the effort to white wash this historic opportunity for real change.  Yes I agree with your causes, however your actions are eroding the possibility for real change. Please, I say again JUST STOP IT!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Confronting The Covenant Of The Goddess And Supporting Their Process Of Change

As a community interested in manifesting Social Justice we need to be able to embrace change within our own ranks.  Change causes divisive discourse, inner reflection and an embracing of new information.  If we call individuals or organizations to change their ways and internally confront their own privilege and adverse racism we must also be able to hold as valuable and laudable their efforts to do so.

In the recent blow up over the response from Covenant Of The Goddess addressing the #Black Lives Matter movement and confronting institutional racism we have an example of change being manifested in our community. 

Highly valued members of COG resigned from the organization in protest over their poorly written and frankly thinly veiled attempt to please a small minority of the COG community by not mentioning directly people of color and embracing the narrative of “All Lives Matter” which is a clear white washing of the issue at hand.

Frankly, these individuals who resigned represent the best of Social Activism. Their confrontation of the established order was the catalyst for real change.  In short order COG issued a letter of apology to the membership and committed to learn from the situation and address the process that led to their destructive statement.

While all this was going on I was participating in an internal dialogue within the organization.  It was evident that some viewed my confrontation of the statement as being disloyal to the organization.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I believed then and now that the organization is valuable and could, if pushed to do so, embrace new information and once again take its’ place among the most celebrated of Pagan organizations. 

The membership of CoG is older, its affiliates are independent, its’ process is consensus based and change comes slow to the organization, yet change did happen.

As Pagan Activists who demand change, we must stand in support of organizations that when called out, address the issue, acknowledge their mistakes and commit to a path that embraces social justice. As a Former First Officer of this organization I know well the pressures on their national board to step lightly. In this case they should have not given in to the temptation to do so.

Now is the time stand in support of the process the organization is enmeshed in.  If we simply complain about past actions and don’t applaud their efforts to manifest a new social justice ethic, we betray our most cherished principle that “change is possible”

To those who left the organization in protest I say Thank You!  Your efforts began a process that was much needed.

 To the National Board of CoG, your willingness to admit mistakes and seek a new understanding of your organizations social justice responsibilities says much about your maturity and leadership ability. I applaud your efforts.

To everyone in the community; if we seek social justice we must embrace those we call to the cause who are willing to confront their own processes and institutional resistance.

Leadership is a difficult task in our community, if our leaders never make mistakes, don’t approach the task with humility and a willingness to listen then we have chosen poor leaders.  In the case of CoG, our leaders are proving their resilience and willingness to evolve; they deserve the communities’ support.

My belief in the Goddess calls me to have compassion, to believing in manifesting Social Justice and to embracing my co religionists who are willing to learn and move the community forward. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Very Merry Christmas, Pagans Included!

In Denver the gray clouds are rolling in, there is a calm preceding the impending storm.  At my in-laws home all is draped in the festive colors of the season. Voices are seemingly hushed in deference to the holiday.  Aromas swirl around me as we prepare for the coming meal.  The faces of extended family yet to arrive manifest an inner smile.  I am comforted in my memories of holidays past.  There are a plethora of sweat emotional visions that emerge from my unconscious, I am awash in the tradition of my ancestors and I find myself in the Christmas Sprit.

Yes, I am through and through a Pagan, yet in this day,  I find a spiritual silence and inner calm that emerges at no other time of the year.  A brief trip to the gas station reminds me of the absence of the bustle of everyday life.  On empty streets the few cars move with suppressed urgency as if the occupants are moving towards the sure embrace of love, joy and peace.

If it is the energy of the Christians’ Christ that manages to urge our culture to suspend the mad rush that is life; then I am grateful to their Christ beyond words.  The sense that humanity is taking a day off from all the conflict, debate and turmoil comforts me; It enriches me with the hope that one day the blessed people of the earth will come together and evolve past the lines that divide us.

So today, I am grateful for my Christian friends who welcome me as I participate in the spirit of the day. The spiritual energy of millions focused on family, joy and love cannot be ignored.  While our beliefs differ I am in awe of the peaceful energy raised on this day.

So yes I am wishing you a merry Christmas and inviting all my Pagan friends to bathe in the spirit of your holiday, we are blessed!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Solstice Greetings To My Readers World Wide!

Happy Winter Solstice, in darkness may you cherish the light that burns inside your heart!

Glad vintersolhverv, I mørke kan du værner om lys, der brænder inde i dit hjerte!

Щасливий день зимового сонцестояння, В темряві може ви дорожите світло, яке горить у вашому серці!


Glückliche Winter-Sonnenwende, Bei Dunkelheit können Sie das Licht, das in deinem Herzen brennt schätzen!

Szczęśliwa Przesilenie zimowe, W ciemności można kochać światło, które płonie w twoim sercu!

Счастливый день зимнего солнцестояния, В темноте может вы дорожите свет, который горит в вашем сердце!

Solstice d'hiver heureux, Dans l'obscurité peut te chérir la lumière qui brûle dans votre cœur!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Firefighter Speaks To The Police

Over and over I hear my friends that are police officers lament the current “attack” on the reputations of police officers.  Each is personally offended that officers are being painted in such a bad light.  Each pointing out all the good they are doing in the word. So let me just say, yes I know that most officers are great people attempting to make a difference in the world.

Dear Police Officers,

The problems you are facing are not a public relations issue. Members of the public have viewed literally dozens of videos of police abusing citizens over the past few weeks.  Ignoring the problem only makes the public think you are somehow involved. The time has come to tear down the ”blue wall of silence” within police culture that leads officers to always defend the actions of the police.  While you may be a good cop, if you defend officers or remain silent about those who engage in violence against the population, you are also part of the problem.

The public can see from the media that there is a real problem and no amount of police PR videos showing police saving cute kittens is going to make this problem go away.  Our community needs our honorable officers to stand up and make clear that no longer will the cultural norm of supporting officers no matter what stand.  It is your job to serve and protect.

Officers all over the country have decided that the police are qualified to sit in judgment, determine guilt and dispense punishment.  Such actions are criminal; our system provides that the courts serve that role.  If you want the populace to place your profession among the honorable pursuits, then you must act with honor at all times when in uniform. You are the solution to the current crisis; your ability to return to believing that even officers are subject to our laws must be made clear.

The fact that you personally would never assault a suspect does not release you from responsibility.  You must also move forward and hold your co-workers accountable.  If you do not begin the process of removing the bricks that make up the “blue wall of silence” your efforts to have your profession once again respected will fall on deaf ears.

Act now for justice, for accountability, for building a new view of policing that honors those you are sworn to protect.

Peter Dybing
Chief Officer

Reposted from my original post on Face Book at a friends suggestion.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Civil Rights Credentials - I Am Over It

Over the last few weeks I have had many conversations with individuals proclaiming that the current manifestation of “Black Lives Matter” needs to be adjusted: white washed into a broader more inclusive theme.  They further proclaim that the violence they are seeing in the media needs to be addressed.

As I speak to these individuals they become offended when pressed on how their views, if adopted, will support the current oppressive system.  Many resort to stating something like “Don’t tell me about civil rights, I was there in 1969 when”

Well, frankly let me tell you I DON”T GIVE A @#*#% about your civil rights credentials. If you stand now with the oppressor through your calls for non-action you are part of the problem.

Have you really forgotten the narrative the national media used to suppress your actions all those years ago?

Have you really become so comfortable in your privileged lives that you cannot see that the current protests are the next step in achieving what you were seeking all those years ago?

Do you really see the current movement as something unrelated to the broader effort for equality in our nation?

Have you slipped into viewing your historic participation as being involved in the “real civil rights movement?

What is happening today is “THE REAL CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT”

Get on board or risk loosing the moral authority that you dearly covet because “you were there when”.   If you continue to seek to smooth over what makes you uncomfortable, you are no different than the very oppressors you opposed in the past.

Wake up, we need our elders to be engaged, willing to listen, able to see that the protests happening now are an expression of the values they proclaimed when they marched in their youth.



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ten Pagans Who Made A Difference in 2014

Every year this list comes out listing 10 Pagans who I highly respect for their service to the Pagan Community.  Each year as the author I strive to list those individuals who I believe have had the most impact on our community.  The list is subjective, yet I strive to not only list those who I “like” or have relationships with, but instead those whose contributions are beyond question.  So here is my annual list.  Who would be on your list? Feel free to comment!


Phaedra Bonewits

Anyone who follows Pagan social media will be aware of the voice of Phaedra Bonewits.  Over the course of this year I have seen many examples of her wisdom, grace and willingness to participate in important and sometimes divisive conversations.  She makes this list because her voice is always the voice of the wise elder, calling me to deeper contemplation and insight.  I value our Pagan elders and believe that Phaedra stands as a great example of what an elder should be in our community.


Sharon Knight

Too many years have gone by without this list featuring a Pagan musician. Music feeds an inner need for joyful expression and represents an important aspect of our developing Pagan culture.  This is music that moves me as a Pagan and I am also in deep awe of her talent and willingness to participate in the community.  Sharon Knights’ long-term contributions to our community deserve recognition and make her a Pagan who belongs on this list of top ten Pagans.


Christine Hoff Kraemer

Paganism is all about honoring diversity. Christine’s’ efforts as the Managing Editor of the Pagan Portal at Patheos are a deep reflection of this diversity.  By making room for more diverse voices at Patheos she has deeply influenced my personal awareness of Pagan diversity.  Further, her ability to do so without being drawn into the various “eruptions” in the world of Pagan blogging establishes her as an incredibly talented editor and leader within our community.  I am thrilled to have her on this years list.


Erick DuPree

Trust in a Pagan leader can often be determined via their willingness to publicly share their personal process and struggles.  If there is currently a voice in the Pagan community that best represents this principle of authenticity it is Eric.  His compassion based process has had a major impact on both my personal practice and on many other Pagans I know.  Eric’s profound, honest and compassion based insights have earned him a place among the Pagans who made a difference in 2014


Sam Webster

Sam has long been an important voice in our community. His efforts this year in providing leadership with the Pantheon Foundation are benefiting the entire community.  Suddenly significant efforts in the community have the ability to move forward with accountability, support and wise counsel.  Building Pagan infrastructure that lasts has always been challenging.  Sam’s’ efforts may well turn out to be one of the most significant developments within our community in many years.  Sam I congratulate you for your real world efforts and willingness to do the hard work within our community.


Crystal Blanton

No list of Pagans who made a difference in 2014 would be complete without the presence of Crystal Blanton.  Her contributions to the communities understanding of social justice issues cannot be overstated. She leads the hard conversations that call all of us to a deeper understanding of the experiences of people of color in our community.  While we don’t always agree, I am in awe of her passion, commitment and willingness to engage in manifesting a community where diversity is our strength.  Her tireless efforts place her squarely on this list of Pagans who made a difference in 2014.


Cara Schulz

Wow, the list is long if one intends to cover Cara’s contributions to Paganism. This year I have been most impressed with her run for City Council.  By believing that Pagans have a place in government and putting that belief into practice Cara demonstrated to all Pagans that we have arrived at the doorstep of representative government. Cara’s run for office stands as an example of a community member “walking their talk” in 2014.  In addition, her grace and wise actions in response to an individual attempting to make her beliefs an issue in the race represent the application of wisdom and compassion in the face of hatred.  Cara, frankly, you impress me!

Jason from The Wild Hunt

There is now way to measure the contributions Jason has made to our community.  This year I was impressed in how Jason handled the transitions at the Wild Hunt.  For many years the community has had concerns about succession planning for major Pagan Organizations.  Jason, to his credit, was able though skill and wisdom, to establish a road map for succession.  Pagan organizations take note, it is this kind of fore thought and planning that insures the health of our community for decades to come.  Please join me in thanking Jason for his leadership, skills and service to our community.  If there were such a thing as a Pagan Hero, I would nominate Jason for the honor!


Ivo Dominguez Jr.

In activism, it is always tempting to move from one popular cause to another as time passes.  Few individuals have the dogged determination to take on a project that many see as “undoable”.  Ivo has done just that, with his unwavering efforts in manifesting the New Alexandrian Library.  This is no small task, building real infrastructure that will last for generations.   In this library a legacy has been manifested for Pagans around the world.  It is an outstanding accomplishment that will benefit the entire community.  Let me also say that there were many people involved in these efforts, but being a list of “Ten Pagans” Ivo gets the nod for this effort.  I suspect he will share the recognition around widely.   The Pagan community will be filled with gratitude of their own for decades to come.

And at the number spot on the list of Ten Pagans Who Made a Difference in 2014 is:


Courtney Weber

Rarely is there a voice in our community that calls me to a deep place in considering the very foundations of the Paganism I believe in; Courtney Weber has such a voice. Her passionate environmental participation has deeply called me to be grounded in the earth and the need to protect that from which I sprang.  Intelligent, eloquent, focused and authentic are a few words that express how I feel when engaging with her.  Pagans would be well advised to pay attention to this voice among us.  Simply stated, I believe her to be the best of what we have to offer as a community.  It is my hope her passionate participation continues for decades.

So feel free to post your own list of Pagans you think are doing great things. We have many great community members!

In Her Service,


Saturday, December 6, 2014

I Can’t Breathe!

Activist around the country are energized.  An opportunity has arisen to affect true change in our culture that devalues and marginalizes people of color.   Inside we are all holding our collective breath and praying that this issue will stand, the American people will not once again turn away in boredom or even worse their collective need to not face the injustice that permeates our culture.

We are protesting, creating face book memes, confronting outright racism on line and calling out white privilege where it exists.  Our thoughts are dominated with the problems within our over culture and sadly in our own communities.

The potential for burn out is real, each day we face hateful comments, privilege in its grossest manifestations, yet we engage.  Emotionally the task is daunting, painful and frustrating.  The temptation is strong to disengage for our own sanity.  It is a strange world where we activists would be pleased to just have a day that we can spend, once again being amused at cute animals on face book.

Today I ask activists to set some time away for them selves, enjoy family and friends, recharge, feed your spirit with what is wonderful and compassionate in the world.  Do this not because you are tired of the conflict but because you recognize the need to disengage in order to re-engage.  Collectively this effort must continue, we must learn to engage in radical acts of self-care if we are to have the temperance to continue.

Today we have a New Civil Rights movement, led by people of color demanding justice that goes beyond individual cases and calls our nation to action in addressing systematic racism. The solutions will not emerge if we, who sound the call to action, become burned out

I urge you to play with your kids, to pray, to enjoy what is right in the world, recharge and join activists around the country in making sure that this drive for social justice is sustainable.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Well,  it has been some time since our faith system has had to choose if we are going to respond when organized Internet Trolls cast their hooks baited with lies and inflammatory statements.  Over the last few weeks the  “Disciples of the New Dawn” have posted some of the most hyperbolic insanity we have ever witnessed by individuals attempting to stir the pot of hatred and misinformation.

Let’s be clear, these posts are pure troll behavior. There is extensive research making it clear that people who engage in such behaviors have sadistic personalities. They deliberately seek to inflame and cause emotional distress.  Once they have stirred the pot they sit back can feed upon the emotional reactions that in their sick little world represents the success of their action.

Today lets share with the entire community a commitment to the below principle:

Each time a community member engages these people their twisted little minds are nourished by our revulsion.  As a community, lets starve these trolls and hope that their discomfort prompts them to get the physiological help they so desperately need.

Please share this call to unified non-action and deprive these individuals of the attention they seek. If you feel you must take action, report their posts to Face Book, but do not comment on, share or repost their dribble, when we do engage we support their twisted feeding frenzy.

May the Goddess, in her compassion heal these individuals need for causing emotional  damage.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Leaving Wicca With Warm Memories And Regrets

“Gender binary, what are you some kind of left wing hippy”

This was the response when I confronted a co-worker for telling a Trans Woman that  “you are a man, you can’t be here you have a penis”.  The entire situation saddened me and again got me to thinking about confronting the black and white thinking that is perpetuated around gender.

On many levels I often take refuge in my spiritual community, here are individuals who understand, are willing to confront old warn out ideas and behaviors.  When I thought about it, however, I was reminded of how uncomfortable I have been during the last few years when I attend a ritual and witness the gender binary on full display within a sacred context.

Dozens of conversations have been held among well meaning members of the Wicca community about this issue.  Individuals profess an understanding of gender equality, agreement is shared all around and NOTHING CHANGES!

It is a sad day when my emerging, evolving, and open hearted spiritual path becomes so tied to its’ dogma and the “we have always done it this way” ethic that in practice their actions continue to disrespect community members who identify with many of the other manifestations of gender identity.

My issue with this situation has become more than problematic; it has become a situation where I perceive my own spiritual path as an obstruction in seeking social justice.  As a result I have come to a place where I am no longer able to embrace Wicca as my spiritual home.

Yes I remain a Neo Pagan, I remain a Witch, and I continue to worship the Goddess.  What I can no longer do is support the institutional dogma of a religion that refuses to evolve even when the members acknowledge the need for change.  This is dogma that violates the precious “Do No Harm” principle that is central to my beliefs.

Over the last few years,  I have paid attention to the pain on the faces of respected community members when they encounter this narrow interpretation of gender in ritual.  They generally remain respectful, as do I in ritual.  It is time however, for me to grow, evolve, change and stop participating in sacred spaces that are stuck in the harmful dogma of the past.  I love my Wiccan friends and will always gladly invite them into the circles I participate in, I will however no longer lend my sacred energy to a belief system that as a whole refuses to evolve.

Growth is painful, this is painful, I honor my spiritual past, I will miss the profoundly moving rituals, yet I cannot refuse to acknowledge the need to move forward un encumbered with actions that harm my many friends who identify as manifestations of the wonderfully diverse pool of gender identities.

For more on this issue see this guest post from a friend: