Quick Updates

I’ve been a busy bee lately! Here’s what you need to know:

I recently updated my About page to reflect my religious life as it stands. I’ve joined the Otherfaith in the past year and started blogging for them, so that’s great! However, I’ve decided to take away indications that I identify as Kemetic. My life is full up right now and I don’t have enough of an interest to make space for the Netjer. I still have my ancestor altar and I think I’m still doing ma’at in the world – ask me another time how Brighid’s Work and ma’at are intertwined – but I can’t justify using that label anymore. Not for the moment, at least.

I’ve also changed the pronouns listed on my About page from both she/her and they/them to only they/them. There are a few reasons for this. I want to make it very clear that I’m transgender and since none of you can see the way I try to gender myself through clothes and hairstyles, that leaves pronouns. I am getting less and less comfortable at the idea of my gender not being at the forefront of my life. I’m also continually heartbroken by the deaths of Leelah Alcorn and Aubrey Mariko Shine (may they rest in power), as well as all other trans people driven to suicide. I’m not a trans woman like Leelah and Aubrey and cannot understand the full weight of transmisogyny, but I can dedicate myself to raising awareness and championing for a better world for our too-young Beloved Dead. I can’t entirely be open about my gender in my professional and family life, but I can present myself as best I can online as trans, and remind myself and others what that means.

There are further updates on The Devotional Lifestyle page (namely, linking to my Otherfaith essays about Devotion). I want to keep exploring devotionalism and linking to others’ essays and posts about having a devotional relationship with their gods or spirits. If there’s any post you think I should read, or anything you want me to blog about, don’t be shy in letting me know. :)

Finally, I’m going to restart the very short, very sporadic series Better Know A Celt, and possibly rewrite the two entries already posted. I want to make accessible introductions to a variety of Celtic gods and use resources that others can easily find for free on the internet. This obviously limits the sources I can pull from – there are a lot of Wikipedia links the first two essays – but I’m thinking in terms of accessibility and practical use rather than exhaustivity or even scholarship. I’ve already got a short list of deities to work on, but Who do you, gentle readers, want to know more about? Do you worship a Celtic god or goddess Who doesn’t get enough love? Let me know and I’ll try to work up some sort of schedule of posts.

Happy March one and all!

[Friday] D is for Devotion, Pt. 2

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Originally posted on of the Other People:

Friday posts are written by Sage of the blog Sage and Starshine. Every week or so they explore a different aspect of the Otherfaith through the letters of the alphabet.

This week I want to build on the previous essay about devotion to look at practical ways to start, rekindle, or strengthen a divine relationship in your life. We’ve established that all of us – human, spirit, and deity – are individuals with our own strengths and weaknesses. We all have personhood, which means consent and autonomy play key roles in these relationships. We all have preferences on what kind of relationships we want, and how we want to approach or be approached by our Beloveds. Let’s say you’ve decided all that and you know who you are (right now, at least!) and what sort of relationship you’d like to pursue. Our next question is… how do you decide…

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Anti-Gay Harrassment at Southern Virginia University Drives Away Student

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Sage:

A follow up about my friend from yesterday. I continue to be proud of him, celebrate his courage, and recommit myself to justice.

Originally posted on Approaching Justice:

The Roanoke Times recently published an article about Nic Jensen and his battle with Southern Virginia University over allegations of sexual harassment from the school’s provost Madison Sowell.

There has been discussion about Nic’s supposed activism in some conservative Mormon circles, where critics are basically calling Nic a whiny child pushing an agenda to undermine the religious convictions of a god-fearing administrator at a private LDS school.

Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that.

In the Roanoke Times article it comes across as if there is no way to know what really happened between Nic Jensen, a good friend of mine, and Madison Sowell. But there was a third person in the room. And I happen to be married to her.

Nic Jensen Nic Jensen

Sara and I met Nic during his freshmen year at Southern Virginia University. I immediately recognized that he was sharp, friendly, and open-minded. Later that year we sat next to…

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Homophobia and the Mormon Blogosphere

An irl friend of mine is being raked over the coals on a Mormon blog on Patheos. TL;DR his Mormon college treated him like shit for being gay and he filed a Title IX complaint. The newspaper article came out a few days ago and now the Mormon blogosphere has found it and is calling into question my friend’s religion and character. It’s horrendous – it’s awful – and I’m so angry I can barely type.

If you feel like wading into the fray, you can find the blog post in question here. The horrendous shit is happening in the comments section.

Nicolas is a good person and any religious or academic organization should be bending over backwards to protect his, and every other LGBTQ+ person’s, rights and safety. Instead he’s been stabbed in the back by red tape and dogma.

An idea about divine relationships

Sage:

A look at different manifestations of deity relationships… and look! it has a GRAPH!!

Originally posted on Magick From Scratch:

This post will be brief. I am thinking of the various ways that I have heard practitioners describe their relationships to God, Goddess, Gods, or sacred figures across trads. I notice that there are two basic axises… at least as far as I can tell.

One spectrum runs from Self to Distant Other, with Other somewhere in the middle. On one end of that spectrum, you have people who see deity as shaping their identity in some way. They want to emulate that deity, live up to their ideals, dress in their sacred symbols, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, you have practitioners who see deities as abstract forces of nature.

The other spectrum runs from Independence to Servitude, with Dependency of some kind in the middle. On the one end of the spectrum, you have witches who relate to deities like the postman, those who relate to deity…

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A Short Retrospective

Next month I will turn 25 and be a quarter of a century old. I’ll also be celebrating my eighth year as a Pagan of some description or another. I think of the young girl – who didn’t know she wasn’t quite a girl at the time – secretly researching Wicca, Asatru, and other paths on school computers, buying Pagan and New Age books in secret only to store them in a sympathetic teacher’s classroom to avoid parental detection, and awkwardly but joyfully stumbling through a first ritual.

I’d had no idea what I was doing at the time but I loved it. And I loved what this religious exploration and experimentation brought me: a sense of wonder and curiosity, a way to look at my world a little differently than the Baptist household that had raised me. Paganism (as a whole) didn’t re-enchant the world for me, but it gave me the tools to re-enchant it myself.

The Pagan Community (TM) has changed a lot since I first got involved in 2007. The podcast that helped me through my earliest questions, Deo’s Shadow, is no longer online. Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon is no longer timely, and will never be updated again – at least not by Margot, may her soul be blessed. Witchvox isn’t what it used to be. Twitter was just getting started and Tumblr had yet to happen, which opened new ways to communicate with each other. The various PantheaCon debacles happened, and happened again.

At times I’ve felt intimately connected with The Pagan Community and at other times completely excluded. I’ve struggled with the label “Pagan” more times than I can count and tend to stick with it out of sheer stubbornness. My forays into local, physical Pagan communities have been uniformly boring or disastrous. My online life had been my life for a long while though, so I turned again and again to virtual communities to fill my need for fellowship.

This year I sail forth with Clann Bhride, with the Otherfaith, and with a better sense of myself and what I want out of my religion. Here’s to another eight years.

“Identifies As…”

Sage:

A good example of “words mean things” as PSVL explores the issues with “identifies as.”

Originally posted on Aedicula Antinoi: A Small Shrine of Antinous:

I was going to put this post off for at least a day, but circumstances have made it all the more important to discuss now, not only in general, but also in relation to some of our upcoming events.

Yesterday, I posted about the Sanctification of several trans* individuals, which will be taking place tomorrow. I also mentioned that there was one person who seemed to be gender-variant, who was killed by their father, whose name I gave as “Bri Golec.” It turns out Brian Golec was Wiccan, and while he may have been gender-variant of some variety, he identified as male at the time of his death, though he did experiment with female pronouns and presentation, going by “Bri” instead of “Brian,” did HRT, and was part of a trans* support group several years back. The misgendering of someone in their death is a really horrible thing…

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