Tell My Story? Really?

I’m in a foul fucking mood, so there ya go.  Yes, Queens curse, too.  We’re only human, and try as I might to keep a totally refined air about me, and to be aloof in regards to useless emotional baggage, there are some instances wherein I can not disengage.  This is one of them.  Granted, I’ve tried, but once I feel myself being triggered, it’s really too late.

So, yeah, I wish Del’s post about the Loki wives had had a trigger warning.  I mean, I get that it wasn’t aimed at me, per se, as a cisgendered hetero ultra femme, but seeing as that is precisely how I identify myself in both my religious and mundane lives, it really did feel like he was taking a dig at cisgendered hetero ultra femmes, under the more blatant dig at verbal new Loki wives in particular.  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to such things, but how can I about this?

To give you a little bit of my backstory, I’ve lived for the last eight or so years within a den of patriarchy and male privelege.  Within this framework, I am literally only seen as an extension of my male spouse.  True fax.  (Yeah, and for those who would say “Just leave!”– I’ve tried.  Four times, and each was stopped by means that couldn’t rightly be called coincidence.)  So, basically I get told on the daily how inferior I am, how I need to shut up, how unimportant my problems are, etc, etc.  And yet I find solace in spiritwork, because it is, I’ve found, the only area within which I feel valued.  Or felt, rather.  As opposed to having someone tell me that “All religion is psychosis”, and that what I do for my Gods and spirits holds no value (not least of all due to questions like: “Why would a god want a *woman* to serve him?”) I felt like there was a place here for me, and those like me, to share those deep and spiritual parts of ourselves, without someone telling us how we squee too much, and how our language focuses so obtrusively on the feminine.  Whether or not that was Del’s intent, that is what I walked away with after reading the piece, and the subsequent comments.

Maybe I’m too sensitive.  All of this is my baggage, after all… except… over-sensitivity is one of those vague diagnoses lobbed against women when we start getting ‘uppity’.  So, no.  I’m not gonna accept over-sensitivity as a valid explanation.

The truth is, the post was triggering.  Not a lot of people are examining what about it might be triggering for any cisgendered hetero femmes who might have read it, but I know I’m not the only one who was.  And by that token, I can’t have been the only one who was brought to tears and/or felt physically ill while reading it.  I might be the only one with the cajones to call it out, though.

Sexism is never nice, even when it is completely unintentional, as I believe it was, in this case.  But lack of intent doesn’t make it right, and it certainly doesn’t make it go away.  It also does nothing to mitigate the damage that was done to a segment of the population that, sadly, is so conditioned by these sorts of things that most will never speak truth to their feelings.  But, as an Apollonian, I am also a Truth-teller, and this is a part of my truth in the experience of cisgenderedness.  It is a truth shared among many, and indeed, a truth that will probably be fervently denied, as it always is.  But, again, denial of a thing does not negate a thing.

And there’s my story. Take it however you will.

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30 responses to “Tell My Story? Really?

  1. I think you’re reading too much into it. Being that you are female-id’ed and see thing through that lens [which is completely normal], you miss that men, trans* people, and genderqueer individuals are pretty damned marginalized in a community full of women. The question was not and is never ‘why would a God want a woman to serve them’ but ‘how can women be inclusive of experiences that are incredibly underrepresented in the godspouse community?’ Because they are, and you can’t say that they are not. As a transmasculine person who is in a relationship with a male God, it is INCREDIBLY disheartening to continually get the message that godspouses are all women..and that was precisely the message that I got when I started. Where you feel hurt because someone has been critical, I feel hurt because people don’t examine their privilege and how that is reflected in their interactions online. And, honestly, that lack of examination of privilege and heterocentrism is damaging and ugly.

    Frankly, I think people are most upset because there is truth to what Del says–that the explosion of wives has been hurting people in a variety of ways. Go read his most recent blog post where he details an interaction with a male devotee of Loki. Hell, dig up the blogs of the male spouses and consorts who write about not knowing where to turn because female spouses and consorts look at them like they have ten heads. Yes, criticism hurts but, for me, I’d rather be criticized than exclusionary.

    • No, I missed nothing. I know trans and other people are excluded from this society. I am a black woman in America, so I know a thing or two about being marginalized, but that’s neither here nor there. Frankly, I think you missed the point, seeing as I wrote this after reading Del’s latest piece. I think it is unfortunate that some trans people are feeling left out because of the cisgendered women, but come on. When I was getting started there were a whole hell of a lot of things that confused me, and made me wonder if I could do this Work, and yet I never asked for someone to hold my hand. I just did it, and still do it. Somebody complaining about a bunch of women minding their own business is problematic for me, for the reasons I mentioned above. For the record , I never said Del asked that question (why would a god want a woman to serve him) in his post. I was highlighting a situation in my actual day to day life in which that question gets asked. My post was meant to express my story, so that people would understand why I personally took issue with much of what was said in Del’s post. It neither minimalized trans persons nor soured the rest of the post’s message. It simply highlights what many people find disconcerting to talk about. Namely, how women feel about sexism. It exists. It is not my imagination, and though some may think that our society has advanced far enough that women no longer have need to worry about sexism… it hasn’t, and yes, we still need to be vigilant. Trivialization of anyone’s experience is wrong. He and you feel that trans people are trivialized. I and many other women feel the same about our group. The correct answer is that both groups probably feel similarly about the situation.

      • Nadirah Adeye wrote a great column on allies, privilege and the Pagan community over at the Daughters of Eve blog: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daughtersofeve/2013/03/being-an-ally-versus-being-a-nice-person/ The entire piece is worth reading but for commenting purposes, her blurb at the end is a fantastic example of examining personal privilege, “Nadirah Adeye is an able bodied (privileged) pagan (non-privileged) heterosexual (privileged) woman (non-privileged) of color (non-privileged) who has been fortunate to have many wonderful educational opportunities (privileged) which have resulted in entirely too many student loans (mixed privilege and non).”

        If I apply this to myself, I get “Heather is a disabled (invisible, mixed privilege) cis (privileged) woman (non-privileged), a pan/bisexual (non-privileged), well-educated (privileged) mother (mixed priv) and pagan monastic (mixed priv)…y’all get the idea. It’s worth examining because both perceived and actual privilege are all mixed up in this debate.

        I’m white, that’s a definite privilege particularly in Paganism and heathenry. No one ever looks at me and wonders why I’m here at the blot or the ritual. No one ever says to me, “Hey, shouldn’t you worship your ancestors’ gods instead?” It’s an idiotic statement, and it should never happen, but it does. I’m not subjected to it personally, thus I have privilege.

        I’m a woman, and a (mostly) ciswoman. I don’t care if people assume all cis, because it’s close enough. That’s privilege. Gender is a construct that is very loosely related to biology, which I’m sure I don’t need to explain further for anyone who is trans, and the reason we have this construct is to use it in ways that we relate to one another. This can be used to good effect, as when people form supportive communities to express themselves and their gender and sexuality, but it can also be used to marginalize others’ experiences. As a woman, I am aware that my body is considered by many to be public property. I don’t care much for this notion, and I have a great deal of support for women who elect to veil because it places power back in the woman’s hands – she herself gets to decide who sees her and who doesn’t, and how much. Women’s abilities and power are marginalized; you can do the same damn job as a man, at the same ability level, and even if you receive the same pay (which isn’t likely) you will still receive less social power and privilege for it.

        Women’s interests are regarded as less important – as a young woman, I can’t tell you how many people said to me, “oh honey, you’re so bright, why do you want to go into education? Be an ENGINEER!” But because children and the way that they learn were what was truly of interest to me, I went to a university, paid the same amount of money for a degree, came out of and worked at a beginning level and made less money, because I worked in a “feminine” field. And if you say to me that ed isn’t feminine, I will say to you, I agree in theory, but in practice, teachers are women; admins are men, and teacher pay is crap. It’s likewise in medicine; doctors are male, but nurses are female. Nurses undoubtedly spend more time with the patients, and their skills in clinical assessment are invaluable, but they too, make crap compared with the physicians. There is a repeated, sustained pattern here that affects 50% of the population, and telling that half that their voices are unworthy of being heard is inappropriate.

      • But, again, the difference here is that women are the majority and, as such, have a responsibility to the minority. If a male-assigned person said that what women were saying was not true and religiously unimportant [which gets said ALL THE TIME by female godspouses], women would have a fit and write scathing pieces on the inherent sexism in religious and spiritual circuses. However, when a gender minority says ‘hey, this is fucked up’ and ‘your privilege is showing’, women get offended because they can’t possibly believe they have power in the situation. If anyone took half a minute and looked at it from a trans* perspective, they might have a different tale to tell.

        Also, your statement ‘ I think it is unfortunate that some trans people are feeling left out because of the cisgendered women, but come on.’ is pretty fucked up and inaccurate. Trans* people are not saying they are left out, they are saying that they are routinely told that they could not possibly be a spouse of a God because they are trans* or otherwise gender-variant. You’re not going to like this, but it is exactly the same as saying ‘I think it is unfortunate that some people of color are feeling left out because of the white people, but come on’. See the problem? It’s a statement said from a place of privilege, not a place of understanding.

        Finally, it’s good that people are upset. Perhaps, through being upset, they will examine their privilege, their practices, and how they come across to others and how that does/does not glorify and serve their Gods/Spirits.

      • Okay, here is my point, and I’ll use your ‘I think it is unfortunate that some people of color are feeling left out because of the white people, but come on’ comment to prove it. I hear things like that *all the time*. I let it wash over me like water, because I’ve been black my whole life, and I *do not* expect white people to accommodate my blackness. People have told me all kinds of outrageous things in regards to my blackness, such as: ‘You can’t possibly be Hellenic because you’re black’, ‘You can’t possibly want to shop at this store because you’re black’, ‘You can’t possibly be interested in this whateverthefuck, because you’re black’. It has always surprised me, but never fazed me. So, if trans persons are having these problems, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I really am, because I never want to see anyone excluded in such a manner. However, and you probably aren’t going to like this, but I *still* believe that they ought to stop trying to have their experiences validated by outside sources. If you want to know what kind of relationships are possible with a deity (any deity) then perhaps more time should be spent pouring over myths and lore, and ancient accounts of worship, in conjunction with (a majority of) time spent with the deity in question. Only the two of you can make the judgement of whether or not you have the relationship that you think you do. And, whoever is telling trans persons flat out that they can not have their relationship with their Gods, is totally deserving of the criticisms thrown their way. The rest of us, though, really ought not be lumped in with them, even if we do write from feminine perspectives. I can tell you right now, I do not have any obligation to alter the language on my blog. I do expect the people reading to be able to gain insight from my writing, without they themselves expecting that I should be writing from any perspective other than my own.

    • seastruckbythecrossroads

      Alex I honestly think it’s you -and Del- missing the point. The issue here is exactly that going around saying ‘ this excess of godwives online is hurting a lot of people’ is both false and offensive for those of us that are ciswomen in general, let mind godspouses. The real issue is certainly not-the excess of godwives, but the lack of online records of ‘god-husbands’ – I can understand non cispeople feeling conflicted and excluded and I wish it was different . In time, as people feel more comfortable about hearing about this sort of devotional relationship instead of sensationalizing it, I am sure non-cisgender spouses/consorts of any sexual orientment will be more represented.

      BUT… presenting the visibility of cisgendered godwives as a ‘problem’ and using that certain dismissive snarkiness to outline the concept was no hard truth. Respect and inclusiveness can be reached if BOTH parties show respect and inclusivity, which was certainly not the feeling I got from Del’s posts, however well-meaning he could have been.

      • I really hate to put it this way, but the majority does not get to say what does/does not hurt the minority. As a member of the majority, you cannot say what does/does not hurt me as the minority. You speak from a place of privilege where you haven’t been a trans* person looking for information about godspousery and haven’t faced the challenges presented therein. It IS a problem when a religious group is under represented and dismissed as frivolous and impossible to be true, which happens ALL THE TIME from female-identified godspouses towards godspouses and consorts who are not female. It IS a problem when female godspouses are not inclusive in their languages or do things like expresse shock and dismay that their Patron would engage in homosexual or gender-bending activities–and plenty of prominent female godspouses do just that. It may not be fair, but the actions of the few reflect on the actions of the many and, instead of getting angry, it would seem that the more productive solution would be to ask ‘what can I do to change that?’ and ‘how can I be more welcoming in writing my experiences and opinions?’. I think any well-meaning female godspouse would be absolutely appalled if they themselves drove someone away from the Gods, but it happens a LOT and, as a member of that minority, I hear about it. It’s sad when privilege goes unexamined, especially by people [women] who are not used to being the majority. Growing pains are hard, but worthwhile.

      • seastruckbythecrossroads

        Growing pains should go both ways, Alex and I am left with the feeling we are having two different conversations at the same time. What *I* am saying that if Del had simply further suggestions on how ciswomen godspouses could be more inclusive toward not-cisgodspouses, none would have gotten offended –I would have completely approved and supported it for one, and so probably many others. I can’t say I had experience of seeing cisgodspouses acting scandalized at the idea of their gods having same -sex relationships with humans, but I know there are many (myself included) that would even expect it (hard to know greek mythology without blinders and think differently). You are perfectly in your rights to ask cisgodspouses of considering your feelings, of explaining what makes you to feel excluded and what would make you to feel more included – in fact, that would be a very positive thing to resolve this problem. What you have no right to, is lashing out about ‘tell your story, but only if you are not a woman and only if it is not heteronormative because there’s already too many of those’ and demanding that female godspouses are less visible and quieter, because *that* comes across as sexist and I can’t say it doesn’t, regardless of how much I can empathize with your point of view.

        Secondly – Are we going really weight man privilege against cis-privilege? What a point would that accomplish? What I am trying to make you to understand here is that there’s two – minorities here and while the level of discrimination is certainly different, you can’t say it doesn’t exist and implying that one minority should shut it up and disappear so other can get more space doesn’t strike me as particularly useful. I am all in for useful suggestions to make everyone to feel equally included but they have to be real suggestions, not random attacks of backhanded snideness topped with condiscendence.

      • No one is saying anyone should shut up and disappear. What Del said quite clearly is that ALL people should tell their AUTHENTIC story and blog about their experiences ESPECIALLY if they are not a Godspouse, as the pagan blogosphere is pretty well saturated with them at this point.What I am saying is that a minority that is in this example a majority needs to start looking at their privilege and their various -isms because it’s not happening and that affects people outside of the individual.

      • seastruckbythecrossroads

        I am still waiting for the useful suggestions part because just looking at all the shiny privilege women apparently enjoy for existing in this context and being willing to talk about it will solve very little …. say, if places were reversed, how would you go about making everyone feel more included?

      • If you can’t examine your privilege and deconstruct it, what are you going to do with it?

        If I were a cisgendered woman in a relationship with a male God, I would shut the hell up about my sexual practices with my God. The ‘older’ Godspouse crew doesn’t write about them and tends to take the stance that some things are intimate. By presenting sex that appears to be heterosexual as possibly the most important part of a Godspouse relationship, I make that an impossible goal of anyone who isn’t a woman or doesn’t possess a vagina.

        I would stop assuming that a female devotee of my God needs to marry Him because, as someone brought to my attention this afternoon, it reduces a woman to only having value if they’re married.

        I would deeply examine my own biases and my own privilege and realize that what a person who is, in my community, a sexual or gender minority is saying a sovereign statement by them that shouldn’t be dismissed because I find it uncomfortable.

        I would continually re-examine my representation of my God publicly and ask myself how others perceive that and what they perceive of my relationship with Him based on what I write.

        I would spend serious time exploring how my understanding of my God is not anyone else’s understanding of my God. In fact, if I really wanted to be an ally, I would go out of my way to research and explore the gender roles my God inhabits and how they play out in my understanding of Him and how I present Him to the public.

        I would be explicitly inclusive in my language by eliminating assumptions via word choice that all Godspouses are female.

        I would examine what I write about my Godspousery and seek to lessen the heterocentric assumptions I make.

        Most of all, I would recognize that I do not have a monopoly on what my God thinks and would stop counseling others to marry or not marry because I can’t possibly know that. Instead, I would merely listen and be a sounding board without offering my biased opinions. Instead, I would refer them to someone who has more time, experience, and impartiality than I.

        Perhaps most of all, I would remember that the real world icky-ness is present in my community and I would do my damn best to fight against that. I would make sure I take out gender-centric language in my informational writings and be clear in my writings about my relationship that it is MY relationship and that it does NOT translate to anyone else’s.

      • Now, to begin, I want to thank you, wholeheartedly, for your engagement in this conversation, Alex, and especially for the above reply. Your response has made this whole endeavor much more fruitful than I could have hoped. The suggestions you have given us are exactly the types of things that I felt Del’s post lacked. Now, to be sure, he and anyone else can write exactly what they want to write, and have no obligation to feel anything at all toward my perception of their writing as “lacking” anything. I would also like to say that some of what you highlight applies to me, lots of it does not, and the parts that do, I plan on addressing in the future. I don’t know what form that is going to ultimately take, but I’ve some ideas.

        I agree that the intimate details of one’s sexual life with anyone, let alone a deity, are inherently private and mostly should remain so. I say mostly because I don’t consider tastefully romantic poetry to be in any way offensive. You will not find any blatant sexual references on my blog. However, as I do not spend large amounts of time reading and assesing newer blogs, especially blogs on tumblr, I can only imagine what you are describing. Though, I do and will always respect a woman’s (any human being’s) right to publish whatever they personally feel comfortable with sharing. Whether or not that comfort level remains the same over time, is perhaps a part of their individual lessons. Perhaps making such mistakes will assist in their learning what to publish and what not to publish.

        There’s (a lot) more I’d like to say, but I’m currently restricted to my smartphone, and this thing is not very good for long winded responses. Suffice it to say that I have never been afraid of uncomfortable conversations, especially when I perceive them to have been productive.

      • That’s already been the “norm” (forgive the pun) for me.

  2. Thank you. Thank you so very much. I understand the desire of many, including myself, to avoid accusations and further drama by not calling out the discrimination manifest in those words (against sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation), however it’s unbelievably soothing to see and hear it called what it is.

  3. Thank you so much for writing this. My own gender identity/sexual orientation is a little more complicated than “hetero ciswoman,” but I still found the sexist undertone in that post particularly appalling. (Sadly, that wasn’t the only part of it that set my teeth on edge, but if I started listing all the reasons why I find it problematic, I’d likely go on for pages, and this really isn’t the best time or venue for an extended rant.) Yes, there were points he made that do deserve some serious consideration, but in many cases it’s far too painful to wade through the rest of it to get to the valuable bits.

    It’s one thing to call for increased visibility and participation from a frequently misunderstood and marginalized minority; it’s quite another to imply that it needs to happen at the expense of another group of people who are also struggling to be heard and taken seriously.

  4. seastruckbythecrossroads

    Well said.

  5. I’m still a bit lost on the bit where it’s anyone else’s responsibility to make it okay for anyone, of any gender, to be a godspouse (for any god of any gender). I realize that my confusion (the part where it’s anyone else’s business/responsibility) comes from a few places: my confusion on applying firm labels of gender on the gods; my own inclination to keep personal-and-new things private, just to name two of them. When I gave Poseidon marriage vows, I could count with three fingers the other godspouses I knew about, one who was not at all a model to immulate, and two who they themselves were pretty new at this. My marriage looked pretty much nothing like theirs, and see, while that did affect my marriage (in bad ways, which is where I fucked up — and learned loads from it, the important bit being: your marriage is between you and Spouse, period) I never blamed other people for presenting me with an ideal I couldn’t live up to/that didn’t fit *my* Marriage. Because, it’s my own fault for not turning to Poseidon for guidance on this issue, or letting our already lengthy relationship guide me. My fault. My need to fuck up and learn from it. And I still won’t blame other people for that. My relationship is my own, and knowing that and Knowing That are two different things, and sometimes you have to go through shit to learn it.

    I feel badly, but often when gender issues come up I sort of mentally turn off, the same way I do when people start talking about privilege. I don’t *mean* to, and I’m working on it (and I realize that turning off about it is a privilege in and of itself, but I’m incredibly insular, living a semi-secluded lifestyle, and that’s something I’ve done in part so I could turn off when I needed to) but it devolves so fast into them-versus-us back and forths that I can’t help wondering what the point is. I don’t expect other people to fight my fights for me, or at least, to fight my fights while I ignore my fights, if that makes sense. The fact that folks who are not cisgendered have fights to fight does not meant that cisgender folks do not also have fights to fight, nor does it render one groups fights more or less important than another groups fights. Yes, it may be less important to *you* (generic) but that’s obvious, since one’s fights are one’s fights and not all fights can belong to all people.

  6. I think I’m gonna be blunt and add this: as a woman, every damn day you must placate and present yourself in a meek and graceful manner, or you get called a bitch for being assertive. When you write, you’re writing for a a male-dominated society. When you speak, your words are being weighed against male standards. In philosophy and moral reasoning coursework, men’s moral reasoning is considered to be “higher” and “more abstract” than women’s because men tend to base moral reasoning on laws and rules, and women tend to define things by situational relationships. You are told over and over, that to be “equal” you should be more masculine. Or at least to present yourself in a way that is suitable and pleasing to a male-identified society and audience, which is essentially what Del asked of the femme ciswoman reader. No actually, I don’t have to check with a man to make sure that my opinions are okay to have and that they are societally acceptable.

    In that light, can you understand why having a male someone tell us we’re too chatty and we should stop talking because we’re upsetting men is incredibly offensive?

    • Oh, and here’s a link in case people are unfamiliar with the moral reasoning or where I came at this information: http://www.simplypsychology.org/kohlberg.html Valid criticism of Kohlberg’s moral reasoning theories have come up and yet are rarely taught to college students in psychological coursework (here, an example of male bias in scholarship: http://web.cortland.edu/andersmd/KOHL/kidmoral.HTML ). Suny is not the only Uni guilty of it.

    • The catch is that women are being placed in a place of majority and they’re not used to that and the implications it brings. Unexamined privilege [because women DO have privilege, especially in this framework] is damaging.

      • I don’t think anyone here is actually disagreeing with you that cisgendered or heterosexual people enjoy privilege; the thing we’re taking issue with is that it has been suggested to us that the way to remedy this issue is to silence women, especially young women. This is unacceptable, on so many levels. If the shoe were on the other foot, would it be acceptable to you to be told to be silent? That your voice was unworthy of being heard?

        No. It would not. My greater point is that systemic sexism shapes how we present our speech, our appearance, and our general conduct to be pleasing to the male palate, and being told to shape our spiritual speech in said manner is disturbing to me.

        My other issue is that in talking about male spouse invisibility, people are often acting as if no one on the ciswoman spectrum has reached out, and that’s not true either – I know I’ve made a point of doing it both socially and Work wise – I was the one who asked you to please contribute to my WIP on spiritual sexuality because there IS a dearth of good examples of men in spirit relationships, and what those relationship dynamics look like. I know Beth Lynch has reached out as well; aside from encouraging people to contribute and speak up, what other things can or should be done by ciswomen?

        I can think of one that might be helpful, if people are actually open to them, and not just spoiling for a fight. Interviewing a male spouse/consort on a ciswoman’s spouse blog (I would be more than willing to do this if someone’s willing to talk) could be one way to help counter male and trans invisibility.

        I gues what I’m saying is, I don’t want to shut up, but I don’t want you to shut up either…so long as you’re not telling me to shut up. ;-)

      • The thing is, NO ONE was told to shut up. What they were told was to listen to those who have more experience and to be mindful of what they say, because that shapes other people’s experiences and people don’t want to do that because they don’t want to examine how and why they represent themselves. The Godspouse community, especially on Tumblr, does not encourage this–it in fact proposes both explicitly and implicitly the opposite. Because an enormous amount of would-be Godspouses on Tumblr are female, this is why anything was directed towards God-wives in the first place. It’s not sexism to tell someone that they need to stop talking and listen to what’s being said to them, but if someone wants to be offended, they will find a way.

  7. I’ve been a polytheist for less than a year, and the sexism I’ve seen directed at women in various circles has been increasingly getting on my nerves – especially the ways it is directed at prospective and actual consorts and spouses. So I have been really, really glad to see the responses, in comments or posts like this, from spouses with years of experience.

    • Thank you for your comment, fjothr. I too can remember some pretty awful times from long ago, but I am very hopeful about the people we have engaging in this and other important, even if disconcerting, conversations. I see people, who are each hurting or perhaps responding from places of past hurt, each trying to understand others who are coming from differing perspectives. It is not easy, and sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees, but we are all still here, and still trying. Take care, and be well.

  8. This a wonderful post, Laurel, and I thank you so much for making it. The battles you and I have had to fight are actually very similar; while I am obviously not black, I am the adopted daughter of a black man and Jewish woman, and my ex is black, so I have had the experience of having white women glare at me in the supermarket as I held my mixed-race infant. I also went through ten years of a verbally abusive mortal marriage in which I was told that I was nothing and no one, and in which my daughter was daily told that she was stupid and nothing, before Odin rescued me from that and made me His Queen. I very much understand His interest in you, in light of this; He was raised to respect women and does not sit by quietly when it comes onto His radar that they are being belittled or mistreated.

    • Thank you so much for acknowledging what I wrote in the original post. I’m sorry that you or anyone has ever had to endure those types of ridiculous biases. And, of course, your example gives me hope, so thank you, also, for sharing a bit of yourself here. :)

  9. I stumbled into this community a few months back when I followed a link from a friend of a friend. In that time I’ve been reading blogs voraciously, because, even though I consider myself Pagan, it’s from a very different tradition. Godspouses, Godphones and divination of this type were completely unknown to me before I started reading, and I only had the most basic of understanding about Loki and Odin. I am learning so much about a community I had no idea existed, and you have all blessed me with a much broader sense of the Universe and my place in it. For that I am extremely grateful.

    I read the original essay and have read the comments and follow-ups, and have to say that you each seem to have a little piece of the elephant. Lumping “Loki’s wives” together, even in frustration, does feel like misogyny to me, much like the misogyny I’ve felt in other religious communities and situations. It is interesting to wonder if “Loki’s husbands” would express the same disdain. But, nonetheless, the encouragement to speak your truth is a good one, and one I would humbly second. Each blog I’ve discovered and each voice I’ve enjoyed *is* different. Everyone is brave in their own way, and everyone has to find truth in their own way. Mistakes are part of the journey, not mere distractions.

    I have no experience with divination of this type, and so I can’t speak to the struggle between those who have been practicing for decades and those who are new. The trick of posting false details to try to catch overly enthusiastic followers in the act, as it were, felt a little mean-spirited. The encouragement to be transparent with others, though, is good. If you’ve been doing something for a short time, you should be upfront about it, whether it’s Spirit Work or accounting.

    I would love to reframe the call to action, though, in a different way. Rather than to ask people to speak their truth and then tell them they’re not doing it inclusively enough, perhaps there’s room to inform and discuss. From the point of view of someone with great amounts of experience and a deep understanding of how it feels to be trans in this space, how can others invite you in? What exactly would you change? Sometimes the best education is one that assumes nothing and starts at 0. I know how difficult and tiring offering that education every day of your life can be, but I guarantee it would be deeply appreciated. I would love to read more from diverse voices, because it expands my understanding in all spheres of life.

    These are my thoughts as an outsider who is still learning and hoping that this community continues to thrive. I respect you all deeply for the path you’ve chosen (or accepted,) and hope you continue to write and share your experiences.

    Blessed be.

    • I wanted to thank you, Roxy, for taking the time to reply. As one who is not a part of this little corner of the web, your insights are invaluable to me, and probably to others, as well. I often wonder just what some other flavors of Pagan think about us hard polytheists and our strange ways. I too hope this “community” continues to thrive, and hard conversations like this are one way to keep us engaged with one another. So, I thank you again for dropping by, for reading and staying abrest of this controversy, and most especially, for sharing your thoughts with us. Please do take care of yourself, and may you be blessed along your path.

      Blessed be :)