I’ve decided to weigh in on the Koran burning debacle. I’m not going to bother linking any articles–unless you’ve been living in a basement eating fish-heads, you should know what I’m talking about.
No religion or belief system is immune from criticism. This is important. I also firmly uphold the freedom of speech in the United States, where I live. I may not agree with aspects of monotheism, but the same could be said for certain polytheisms. In addition, monotheism certainly isn’t unique in the religious vandalism department. Just open a history book. In the end, however, I will firmly uphold the right of everyone to practice whatever religion–or lack thereof even–as they see fit, as long as it doesn’t harm others or interfere with the rights of others to do the same.
But the actions and words of pastor Terry Jones are contemptible. When a person or group of people go about this sort of critique in a way that destroys or attacks the human dignity (which includes living without being threatened, and the right to worship without threat or harassment) of another person or group of people, then this is not acceptable. One should be able to criticize a person, place, thing or idea without disrespect and with firm self-control. People who have no control are the first ones who will resort to extreme efforts to extinguish the rights and liberties of their fellow human beings.
Burning someone else’s cherished holy book is not proper criticism. It is nothing more than a low display of common violence–which could very well put other people such as soldiers at risk abroad (as General Petraeus pointed out), let alone Christian minorities living in various predominantly Muslim countries. This is nothing more than an elaborate tantrum made to endanger lives and incite some stupid holy war, and shows an extreme lack of control and narrow-minded view on the part of this pastor.
On the other hand, there are some, like myself, who wonder why some people out there would get enraged over the burning of a book, while these same would oppress their women and put their children to harm in tribal violence, and perform similar actions of religious vandalism. But in the end it isn’t just about a book of holy words. And it isn’t just about the extremists or the terrorists. It’s about people. It’s about Reason. Something I think many people lost sight of a long time ago.
In short, burning these holy books will do nothing more than feed the power of Isfet. And this is something I cannot agree with. Burning one’s holy book (or any book for that matter) is just one short step away from burning people. And that isn’t what this country is supposed to be about.
Go in peace, and find thy faith
Evolve thy self, and lose all hate
So a heaven you may create
In Thy Never Ending Way, Orphaned Land
This was first brought to my attention by Sannion’s post.
The Nile being polluted was not something new to me. Its shores are coated in garbage, large kitchen appliances jut out from its waters like broken teeth. This latest event shouldn’t come as a surprise–in fact, some may call it an inevitability. However, as P. Sufenas Virius Lupus noted, to become numb to and ignorant of this and related disasters, we only end up perpetuating the problem further.
I wonder if there is some sort of significance to all these oil spills happening so close to one another–or rather, if the events such as the Gulf oil disaster serve to make us more aware of such environmental threats that occur more often than one may realize. Either thought should make us stop and think next time we gas up at the pump. Effectively coping with any environmental disaster involves getting the right information in order for one to effect the right change.
Those of us, as polytheists, who are grieved by this event, must also realize that we are like a diaspora. The Nile is not only the heart and soul of Egypt, but it is also carried within our hearts. Hapi will live on and prosper, and as polytheists we can continue to honor him by being proper, intelligent stewards and caretakers of our nurturing waterways. At least, until I hear more from this disaster out of Egypt, I will continue to support Hapi as sie lives in my land, as well as lend my prayers to the healing of the Nile. I am deeply saddened by this event, but I hope to transmute this emotion into right action.
As the title says. I am currently settling myself in from a month overseas in Germany, spending time with my partner. I had been back stateside little more than a week when I had departed on a road trip, and am currently recalibrating myself. Playing catch-up is a real bitch, but I’m doing my best. I certainly have plenty to keep me busy at the moment.
I was pleased to return and find that my friend Dr. Phil has his own blog out now. Aedicula Antinoi is turning out to be a delightful read, and definitely worth taking a peek at if you’re interested in anything historic, Antinoan, polytheistic, and queer. As a genderqueer pansexual pagan transguy myself, I am quite happy at it’s existence.
Many bloggers have made comments and blog posts regarding the anniversary of 9/11. I would lend my own words into the fray, but others have already had intelligent and insightful things to add. I come from a family of government workers, soldiers and vets, so obviously this sort of thing affects me and those around me. But how it affects me largely determines my reactions, and the example that I choose to lead. In the end, regardless of any misgivings I may have about a particular thing, I am going to err on the side of reason and peace. My Divine Father is not only a war-god but a Way Opener (much like Ganesha, who’s festival in India also began on that day). We must pray for the proper pathways to be open, that of understanding and Reason. I could dedicate more time to this topic, but there is life and other matters that need attending to, and repetition and stagnation does no good by anyone.
Now that I’m settling back in, I have German to practice, essays to write, care packages to stuff, and various other devotional activities that need attending to. This blog will be getting more attention, so stay tuned!
E-mail for inquiries and submissions: aediculaantinoi (at) hotmail (dot) com; please put “Queer Magic Anthology” in your subject line.
Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press (Stafford, U.K./Portland, OR, U.S.A.) is seeking submissions for an anthology on queer magic and/or ritual.
For the purposes of this publication, “queer” is primarily defined as anything of a non-majority sexual orientation (e.g. gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, etc.), or atypical gender identity (e.g. transsexual, transgendered, intersexed, genderqueer, metagender, etc.). Other things may be part of the widest understanding of “queerness,” including relationship styles (e.g. polyamory, etc.) or sexual practices (e.g. BDSM, fetishes, kink, etc.), and indeed magic, occultism, and paganism themselves (since they are “non-normative,” which is an agreed-upon definition of “queer” within many academic circles), but the focus of this volume will be on queerness particularly as it applies to gender and sexual orientation.
This is not an anthology that is intended to be about “personal stories of the intersection of magical/occult/pagan/spiritual identity and queerness,” but instead about queer perspectives on magical, occult, and esoteric topics especially, but also possibly the impact of queerness on pagan or spiritual topics (e.g. theology). Further, where and when these topics of paganism and/or spiritual identity and affiliation might be addressed, this is not an anthology about “coming out spirituality” (e.g. the idea that it is okay to be LGBTQ and pagan/Thelemic/Santero/Hellenic/whatever/&c.; “coming out” as ritual/initiation, etc.), nor should essays primarily be about how queerness of whatever sort gives one a better perspective or understanding on energy polarity or gender wholeness within any of these magical/occult/pagan paradigms (e.g. the idea that gay men are more naturally gifted, magical, or shamanically-inclined because they are more in touch with their femininity, etc.). The latter has been done to death already; the former is an important first step in these matters, but as with all Megalithica publications, the intention with this anthology is to go beyond introductory matters whenever possible.
Personal stories that are primarily about alienation from mainstream magical/occult/pagan circles because of one’s queerness are not the focus of this volume; if discussion of such is relevant to the wider aims of one’s essay, that’s fine, but having those wider aims is a necessity. If you want to do a piece on “queer love spells,” it would be better to address theoretical issues of how they’re different or in what ways their methodology is unique and presents challenges or enrichments, rather than giving templates or sample ritual/magical texts. Essays on how to adapt “non-queer” spells/rituals/practices to a queer context, or lists of correspondences and deities for particular queer issues, are not very desirable…unless they’re extremely innovative and unique!
Some particular issues of interest might include:
How does one’s queerness suggest different viewpoints on particular aspects, methodologies, or theories of magical practice?
Just as one’s queerness may give one more useful insights on some magical or spiritual matters, are there likewise blind spots that one’s queerness may cause, and how can one address those usefully from a queer perspective?
Are there historical precedents or particularly interesting figures in relation to queerness within one’s magical or spiritual tradition?
Are there any useful practices or texts from the past (e.g. the Greek Magical Papyri; mythological tales featuring queer figures; established traditions with queer themes; historical figures who were known to be what we understand as queer; etc.) which can be used today, usefully adapted, or mined for insights for use in the very different contexts of the modern world?
What are some magical methods or procedures that one might use to creatively deal with what are viewed as queer-specific issues, like homophobia/transphobia/etc., safer sex practices and education, forming and interacting with the LGBTQ communities, legal and political activism, LGBTQ rights and equality struggles, etc.?
Are there “pop cultural” and “multi-media” magical techniques (see Taylor Ellwood’s various publications for further ideas/information!) or practices that can be employed in interesting ways for queer folks? Ideas may include: use of personals websites/Craigslist for spell casting or divination; drag performances as aspecting/invocation; uses of cruising and the entire bar/club scene for ritual work (which can be rather edgy, and not always in a good way, but nonetheless it’s a possibility); using queer-themed literature and films as bibliomancy or interactive ritual texts/sacred drama (on the latter, think The Rocky Horror Picture Show as ritual/liturgy, but with other possibilities for the film that is the subject of the interaction); use of historical figures (e.g. Harvey Milk, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein), living personalities (e.g. RuPaul, Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John), or characters (e.g. Valerie from V for Vendetta, Sterling [Patrick Stewart] from Jeffrey, Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist from Brokeback Mountain, etc.) as archetypes or spirit/deity-forms/egregores/etc. for queer magical/spiritual work; and so forth.
What are the challenges that can be encountered with the interactions of LGBTQ people and non-queer folks in magical/spiritual communities, and (most importantly) how can they be overcome creatively? What are the challenges that can be encountered with having interaction with a non-magical/non-spiritual person in one’s personal life as a lover/partner/relationship, and (most importantly) how can they be overcome creatively? (By “overcome creatively,” what is meant is anything non-manipulative, non-triumphalistic, and non-resentful that can be done to address and/or alleviate the issues in a situation—which is to say, specific actions, not adoption of attitudes or viewpoints that run the gamut of “try to be open-minded, understanding, and compassionate; deal with people on an individual and context-specific basis,” etc., as the main resolution offered. These should be things that are tried and tested, not theoretical matters. In this type of essay, of course personal experience and sharing of stories are necessary, but if the one you’re considering does not meet all of the above criteria, it will most likely not be considered for inclusion in this anthology.)
…And anything else you might think of which is innovative, interesting, different, new, unique, fascinating, scintillating, wonderful, and fabulous that involves queerness of whatever type, and its relation to and intersection with the practice and theory of magic, occultism, and paganism/spirituality!
Requirements for submission:
Citations for all quoted, paraphrased, or otherwise unoriginal material
Bibliography for works cited
Format should be “Vancouver Style” footnotes—look it up if you are not familiar with it!
Do write in your voice! If you’re academically inclined or trained, feel free to be as intelligent and technical as you like. If your work entirely speaks in the first person about your own experience, that is also permissible, but please use a more formal writing style for as much as possible in one’s piece that is not quoted speech. Unless you do so sparingly, or define your terms (either in the main text or footnotes), DO NOT use lolcat-speak, text message speak, or anything else that could be considered para-English.
Rough drafts are due August 15, 2009. These drafts will be edited in a back-and-forth process with the editor. Essays should be 1500-4000 words, although if your work falls outside those limits, do submit it – we can discuss this during the editing process. Do drop us an email if you are unsure whether your idea fits into the content. The sooner you start the communication process the better, as after the deadline we won’t be considering additional ideas.
Compensation will be ($25) (paid via twice-yearly royalties from book sales) plus a free copy of the anthology when it is published and additional copies sold at 40% off the cover price to contributors. All contributors will be provided with a contract upon final acceptance of their essays, not when they are accepted for editing. If your essay is not accepted for the anthology, we will tell you after the first round of edits.
The anthology will be edited by Phillip A. Bernhardt-House. Phillip is the author of several articles (academic and non-academic) on religion, spirituality, mythology, theology, Celtic Studies, paganism, queerness, werewolves, and a variety of other topics, as well as a published poet, and is a Celtic Reconstructionist pagan and a founding member of the Ekklesía Antínoou (queer Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheism dedicated to Antinous, the deified lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian). Phillip’s e-mail address for this anthology is aediculaantinoi (at) hotmail (dot) com.
Immanion Press is a small independent press based in the United Kingdom. Founded by author Storm Constantine in 2003, it expanded into occult nonfiction in 2004 with the publication of Taylor Ellwood’s Pop Culture Magick. Today, Immanion’s nonfiction line, under the Megalithica Books imprint, has a growing reputation for edgy, experimental texts on primarily intermediate and advanced pagan and occult topics. Find out more at http://www.immanion-press.com.
This post is mostly a collection of links and curiosities relating to this holiday season.
Mentioned by a few other sources, but this link directly from my German husband: Goat-Headed Christmas Cheer: Run Kris Kringle, Krampus Is Coming! This article gets into the tradition’s pagan roots a bit:
Depending on who you believe, Krampus is very old indeed. Some say the tradition stems back to the pre-Christian era, and that the Krampus known and feared by Austrians today is a version of an ancient god incorporated into Christian holidays.
Spiegel.de is becoming one of my favorite international news sources, and especially their Europe’s Weird Ways section makes for particularly interesting reading. Take, for example, the article on the Greek ‘Kallikantzaroi’ and their ancient pagan roots. There’s also Italy’s Christmas Witch, delivering presents on a broomstick. Somehow Kiki’s Delivery Service comes to mind.
And finally, Winter Solstice has arrived! Whatever your ‘reason for the season’ may be, I hope everyone reading this has a great holiday.
Oct. 1, 2008 — A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found a bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that, according to an expert epigrapher, could be engraved with the world’s first known reference to Christ.
If the word “Christ” refers to the Biblical Jesus Christ, as is speculated, then the discovery may provide evidence that Christianity and paganism at times intertwined in the ancient world.