Viva la Revolution

I hate identity politics. I find them utterly inane and it appalls me to see how much they’re seeping into the fabric of our communities. I was thinking about this today as I was studying and contemplating our communities and the Gods. Identity as anything other than a servus or serva deorum (to borrow and slightly amend a term from late antiquity) is, to my mind, both short sighted and sad. 

The only identity that should consume us, drive us, define us, envelop us is as a devotee of our Gods. Anything else is irrelevant, limiting, shallow. What does it matter what gender, orientation, race, size, etc. someone is? These things are variable in comparison with the soul. These things can change. These are things of man. The only identity that matters is whether or not we’re in clean service to our Gods. Be one laity or clergy or somewhere in between, we carry our Gods and Their mysteries with us. We are carriers of Their Mysteries. We carry Them and it’s incumbent upon us to do it well. 

I support indigenous cultures, and the right of each of us to participate in the restoration of our indigenous polytheisms because those are specific expressions of the Mysteries of the Gods. They are containers, sacred and beautiful for those things the Gods may give. Maintaining them is part of being in right relationship with our Gods. They are important but to obsess over genitalia or with whom someone might choose to partner…not so much. Those things are fluid. What do you do then if the Gods tell you to change those things? The flesh is beautiful, pleasurable, sacred, and sometimes even holy but all things of the flesh are transient. It is the Gods that are eternal and immortal. 

Our society, our world more and more is becoming narcissistic, shallow, secular, and soul-warping. Why? Perhaps because when people are like that, they’re easily manipulated. Obsession with identity politics is part and parcel of that. If you have no grounding in anything else other than your ‘identity,’ you can be sold products, you can be divided into opposing camps, you can be rendered irrelevant. Having a grounding in nothing else makes it that much easier to spit on the sacred.

I’ll give you a perfect example. A few days ago Wild Hunt posted an article about the suicide of Pagan artist and shaman Seb Barnett. A “regular commenter,” some foul piece of shit by the name Damiana decided to use this memorial piece as the venue to attack Barnett’s memory. Why? Identity politics (and apparently lack of compassion, piety, sense, and the ability to form a critical argument) to violate this memorial space. It was disgusting to read and very sad. Instead of remembering this poor kid’s death, someone desecrated and dismissed it. Their priorities were not the sacred, not remembrance, not propriety but mindlessly chanting their identity politics to the world (while challenging the opinions of those who are actually of the identity Damiana purported to be defending, at one point even questioning whether or not a commenter was actually Native…because they disagreed). THIS shows exactly what happens when you prioritize identity politics, human nonsense, anything not only above the sacred but also above common decency. One shouldn’t have to be told to respect the dead and the space in which others remember and grieve. If you do, I not only question your identity but your right to call yourself a human being.

The only thing worth one iota of our fervor is the Gods. There’s a wonderful quote by Catherine of Siena, which I’m slightly pluralizing for obvious reasons: “Be what your Gods meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” This world of products, prefabricated identities, and gross irreverence needs to burn. Putting the Gods first would be the truly revolutionary act.

 

 

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Posted on October 12, 2016, in community, Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. First:
    May Anapu guide the Ka of Seb Barnett safely to the West, Mu’at justify them before Usuri, and Djahuty record their name as Worthy and True of Voice. An invocation offering of things good, pure, and all upon which a God lives and the sweet breath of Life for the Ka of Seb Barnett, Justified.

    Second:
    Those posts are really vile and carry the characteristics of those of a true troll. Since WH cuts off comments so quickly, nothing more can be said there and I fear this evil speech would just continue if it were. Thank you for raising some awareness of it here and providing a space for discussion and honor for Seb Barnett, Justified.

    Your comments on focus on the Gods and Goddesses and Their service is so needed.
    And, as I’m sure you know, the Egyptian word for priest is ‘Servant of the God/Goddess’ too. It should always be taken to heart and never forgotten.

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  2. “If you have no grounding in anything else other than your ‘identity,’ you can be sold products, you can be divided into opposing camps, you can be rendered irrelevant.”

    THIS. This really hits the nail on the head as to why I am so repelled by this increasing focus on identity. People are pretty much lining up to be manipulated. It also seems like a correlation of the selfie craze and everybody needing a social media presence too – it’s completely, insistently self-focused. Even when people are defending others, there’s often a smack of “activist identity” there – they have even re-branded themselves as “social justice warriors”, just another label to preen over. You also see this obsession with labels and identities in the shallowest corners of paganism – people who spend more time changing what they call themselves or uploading new properly ‘witchy’ photos of themselves than actually doing any spiritual practice.

    Also, by reducing everything to these discrete categories of identity, they remove any need for critical thinking or nuanced approaches. So a person who, for instance, has a complex set of beliefs which fall over a broad range of the political spectrum will just be pigeonholed as whatever the bogeyman of the day is (right now, “fascist”) because they refuse to adhere to the agreed-upon group identity. You have, ironically and confusingly, so-called “anarchists” telling people to toe the party line, because it’s more important to identify as anarchists than to actually be anarchists.

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  3. I don’t read TWH any longer…Seb Barnett was at the first MGW, and I attended their presentation (the first one of the conference, in fact)…I’m very saddened to hear this. I will pray for Seb and bring them before the Tetrad++, with whom Seb was acquainted…

    On the general thrust of your post (which is taking place on International Coming Out Day, incidentally…!?!), I do think you’re right generally speaking, but I also do think there is an element of identity even in polytheism…the key being that we’re not identified as a “market” yet except by a few people who want to get fame and/or money from that, and you know the ones I mean, I think (they have a site called Goods and Radials, or something like that…!). There are some folks who have been given their spiritual identities by their Deities, and sometimes those have gender and/or sexual orientation and/or other things attached to them, e.g. various Two Spirit peoples in indigenous North America, the Galli, the Megabyzoi, the Enarees, metagender people (!?!), etc. But, again, there aren’t people trying to sell us stuff based on those identities, either, which is both good and bad…it would be nice if there were a section of the clothing stores that wasn’t for Men or Women, on the one hand, but that there isn’t means we have to work things out for ourselves.

    In any case, I don’t disagree, it’s just as so often, there isn’t an “or,” there’s an “and,” if that makes any sense. 😉

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    • yes, there are people who have been given their identities by their deities (I work with some of them) but in such situations, when it’s done well and cleanly, the focus isn’t on the identity but that again, identity subsumed into the Work, into the Gods, into Their service. it’s all a matter of focus.

      I didn’t realize this was the 11th. LOL. posting on coming out day was accidental. I’ve had my nose in books for the past few days and little else.

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      • Ah well–these things, they happen! 😉

        Yes, that’s the big difference: there are some people who are queer, and then look for a religion that fits it; there are some people who are religious, and their queerness happens to flow from that. (Sort of…maybe…?!?–you know what I mean, in any case!)

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  4. PSVL, i think the thing that’s important is whether one would give up their queerness or straightness or gender or anything else if the Gods required it (and i know several who were placed in that position). we should be willing to strip ourselves bare, to become hollow bones, to immolate in the fire of the Gods everything that we think we are and then some. the only self definition that matters is that we are Theirs. Anything that stands between us and that reality, anything that we come to hold to more fully than to Them, anything we come to define ourselves by more fully than Them…well that’s a problem.

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    • Yes…and there is a difference between “willing to” (which I think many of us would be) and “have to,” which some of the identity-first crowd seem to think is implied or even required by “willing to,” unfortunately…but, reading things as they are has rarely been one of their strong suits.

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  5. I am so tired of identity politics. I have been accused of being ableist, since I believe that people need to be as independent as possible. Then I have trot out all of my identities to insure that I can be listened to.

    That is the problem – if you label people, then you decide who is worthy of your attention and time. Therefore, someone who have an alternative point of view is never heard.

    The identity politics is a manner to control people and to shut them up.

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    • “Then I have trot out all of my identities to insure that I can be listened to.”

      Yes, it’s amusing what people will assume about you if you don’t spend all your time loudly blaring your “identities” in that way. Which to me is a sign that they aren’t really that inclusive or tolerant by nature. I actually fit into several popular “marginalized” identity categories, but because I don’t put much emphasis on that personally or publicly, most people don’t know.

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  6. There is also an identity politics problem in Polytheism – with people catagorising people as “devotional” “relational” etc. I think the splitting is so that certain folks can say they are a part of a minority and can shine at the same time. Look at me, I am a ‘devotional’ polytheist, and I say we all have to be political. Look at me, I am a ‘relational’ polytheist and I know that atheists are polytheists. It is a trick to diminish the meaning, rebrand it, and then rule it.

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    • that garbage isn’t coming from polytheists committed to their traditions though. It’s coming from people like Rhyd and Aburrow and Halstead…it’s a strategy to dissect and destroy our traditions from the inside out. It’s to be shunned. Polytheism is polytheism and if you don’t believe in and venerate the many Gods, you’re not a polytheist. When people start parsing it out, breaking it down into categories like that, one has to take a good long look at their agenda and ask cui bono?
      the answer: certainly not the Gods.

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    • It should only matter what the spirits call us – this obsession over labels is (like the obsession with politics) completely anthropocentric. Wrote about that three years ago here and it’s still a large problem: https://forestdoor.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/what-the-spirits-call-you/

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  7. You assume my identity is somehow separable from my being; it isn’t. I wouldn’t be willing to give up queerness because it isn’t possible for me to; it is a facet of my existence that I could not change. We live in the mortal world, surrounded by mortal concerns that need our attention as much as the gods do purely and simply because they affect our lives. Who I am beyond just as a worshiper of my gods is important and impacts every part of my life, and nothing I do can ever change that fact, and it is disingenuous to ignore that.

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    • i disagree with you. Being a worshipper of our Gods should consume every aspect of our lives, if it doesn’t, it’s motivation to go deeper. Anything else is irrelevant. Focusing on anything else as indispensable binds us to the vagaries of human existence, the lowest common denominator of human existence when we have the capacity to be so much more, and to bring our Gods through so much more clearly. Who you are beyond being a worshipper of the Gods is utterly irrelevant. Same with me. It’s a question of what takes the central position in your priorities. Everything else could be stripped from us and what would it matter?

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      • Why would the gods expect me to be anything else but human? Who I am beyond being a worshiper of the gods is 100% relevant because religions don’t exist in vacuums; they exist within the framework of national societies and other communities, and there is no way to block out the interactions and intersections thereof.

        Furthermore, how does the idea that my identity is important prevent me from fully devoting myself to the gods, exactly? Why not view one’s identity as a work of the gods, and celebrate and take pride in who you are?

        Yes, absolutely strive to be the best person you can be in society and in the eyes of the gods, but what is so awful about accepting identity as part of human existence, and recognizing that I am only a mortal?

        I would also love to hear you try to explain to me exactly how someone could “give up their queerness or straightness, or gender”.

        You suggest that the only identity that truly matters is that of being a worshiper of the gods, but to my ears that echoes the sentiment of phrases like “sexuality/gender doesn’t matter!” “I don’t care what your gender/sexuality is”, which are usually used as code phrases to mean “Be silent; I do not care about the issues of individual minority communities, but I don’t want to sound overtly bigoted.”

        I have no choice but to be concerned about my queerness, because of the danger that comes along with it; it is the same way for other social minorities, too. Isn’t it more revolutionary to take pride in that existence against all odds, when the oppressive forces want you to be silent?

        In my eyes, it would be irreverent not to reify my queerness, and other parts of my identity and my existence, as essential to my soul. I would hope that when my soul departs from my body, it is simply my identity, the sum of my existence as a human being, leaving a physical shell.

        I exist on the mortal plane; it is impossible for me to ignore mortal and physical threats to my existence, such as hunger, or the need to breath, or my mental well-being, or people who try strip me of my identity and erase who I am.

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      • @tala

        In my eyes, it would be irreverent not to reify my queerness, and other parts of my identity and my existence, as essential to my soul. I would hope that when my soul departs from my body, it is simply my identity, the sum of my existence as a human being, leaving a physical shell.

        You derive your sense of self from your sexuality. Other people are going to find it further down or higher up. How does that stop you from fulfilling the work of your life? You do not need Galina’s approval to do you. And unless you believe that the ideas she’s advocating are harmful, I don’t see why you’re letting yourself get so worked up over this. I also think you’re conflating what Galina wrote her with ghosts of conversations from your past. Perhaps you should use this as a call to deeper reflection and exploration?

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      • I am suggesting that what she is saying is harmful, actually, @thehouseofvines.
        The idea that one can just “give up queerness”, for example, is an idea that has been used as a weapon against us time and time again to delegitimize who we are.

        My queerness is not a choice that I can make.

        I pointed out the similarities between what was said in the article and common silencing tactics used against us, and how Galina’s words indicate an insensitivity to the problems minorities face here on the mortal plane.

        “Gender/sexuality doesn’t matter” is eerily close to “We should get rid of gender”, which, even when said by someone who means well, is a line of logic that would only serve to make it difficult for those of us of minority genders to accurately and concisely discuss and talk about our problems and issues.

        Those are the reasons why I focused so much on my gender and sexuality in what I wrote in response, since those are the minority communities (besides my religion) that I exist in.

        And I want to point out that in the quote you chose, I did indicate that I meant more than just my sexuality.

        What Galina wrote comes from a position of relative privilege, and it shows; I can’t ignore the fact that I am not cis or straight because the rest of the world doesn’t give me a choice. And because there are many genders that I am not, it is important for me to distinguish between what I face because of my gender, and what others face because of theirs; there is some overlap, but there are differences in the issues that are important, too.

        The same holds true for sexuality and race, and that is what Galina is failing to consider here, likely because she writes from the position of being a white cis woman.

        That is part of why I think that ignoring those parts of my identity and saying they are irrelevant with respects to religious worship is disingenuous and potentially harmful; it would serve to strip me of the language I require to speak out against the problems that I face.

        And I found the quote Galina used to be an interesting choice, given that St. Catherine’s quote “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire” sounds more like a case for taking pride in your identity to me.

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      • I fear that your and my reading of this article substantially differ from each other. Can you show me where she said the things you are claiming she said?

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      • “Anything else is irrelevant, limiting, shallow. What does it matter what gender, orientation, race, size, etc. someone is? These things are variable in comparison with the soul. These things can change.”

        “i think the thing that’s important is whether one would give up their queerness or straightness or gender or anything else if the Gods required it ” This one is admittedly from the comment section, but they are as much her words as the article itself.

        The first quote skirts the edges of dismissal of minority problems, as I explained in a previous comment.

        I absolutely have trouble reading the second quote to imply anything other than “I think gender/sexuality is a choice”.

        Again, as I explained in previous comments.

        Still waiting to hear how one could change their gender, sexuality, or race, btw.
        Or why it is reasonable to suggest I be willing to change something that I know I cannot change.

        My identity is part of my human experience, so once again I have to ask; why would the gods expect me to be anything but human?

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  8. it is also ultimately about the lens through which we choose to see the world and what takes priority within it.

    there’s being LGBTQI, or this race or that race, or male or female or trans etc. or heavy or slender or physically impaired or healthy…and we have to deal with that both good and bad in our daily lives yes, but that’s different from reifying it as an essential condition of our souls.

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  9. It pains me that you feel being our true selves is somehow making us lesser devotees. It pains me that you think my being a lesbian is optional and somehow a detractor from my faith, when it is in fact a core part of me and actually helps to further my devotion to my goddesses. This all or nothing approach to our lives as pagans and Heathens does not work when you ignore the lives of those around you as well as yourself. You speak from a place a privilege, I’d gather, hence why you seem to think social issues can be so readily dismissed.

    I don’t know which is worse, the idea that my sexuality is optional, or that you think being a good devotee to our gods means ignoring the suffering of our fellow human beings. I find it insulting to those gods that you imply they don’t have a grounded interest in our lives.

    You are disgusting, but I’m sure you can gloss over my opinion as just one of those unsightly Tumblr pagans. We don’t really matter, right?

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    • #yourtumblrpaganlifematters

      But it’s kind of sad that you question that the second you encounter someone who is not affirming, validating and celebrating every nuance of your being. Does your lesbidentity suddenly stop existing if someone instead primarily sees you as a worshiper of the Gods? Because my sexual identity remains firmly rooted regardless of whether others are waving flags for me, and I suspect that’s true of most people. But if it’s not for you, then find people who can give you that, because everyone should feel their life matters.

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      • I don’t need Krasskova to validate my being, but I do wish she had a more open and aware perspective on life and being a devotee to the gods. Is it so hard to grasp that being a whole person and a good devotee do not exclude personal identity? Instead personal identity adds to the richness of worship and makes a more well rounded devotee. The overlap from deity to human is so varied and nuanced, that the exclusion of “social” identity, as having a real valid place in the relationship, is laughable.

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      • Are you saying that there’s no level of your being that is untouched by your social, sexual identity? No part of you that was you before you had a face – and will remain you after you no longer have one?

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    • And no, it’s not hard to grasp what you’re saying – I just don’t see how it necessarily conflicts with what Galina’s saying. My tradition, for instance, does a pretty good job juggling both.

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  10. Allow me to give my two cents here.

    To the person annoyed at Galina claiming that she is calling your sexuality a choice. Did you actually read what she said? I understand that in a society where people like the religious right claim sexuality is a choice (often such people are in the closet themselves, I might add) she is saying no such thing. Stop jumping to that conclusion automatically just because you’re automatically in attack/defense mode because of people like the religious right. I get being defensive, but you do yourself no favors attacking people like Galina who are actually, from what I’ve seen, your allies.

    I believe what she is saying is that she is saying that in days of old and in sometimes now, there are times when a devotional relationship with a deity might have bonds that go so deeply that an individual might be asked if they are willing to give up all of themselves to that deity, to serve. All of themselves being everything including their identity and all aspects. That being said, being willing to give up all of oneself to a deity and ACTUALLY BEING REQUIRED TO, are NOT the same thing. Not once did Galina say that a deity would actually demand that you give up your sexuality.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but my understanding is rather that they (depending on the deity in question) might see if a person is willing to give up all of themselves in service. And if the person isn’t, then they aren’t.

    I see a lot of people claiming Galina to be racist, prejudiced etc, because of words that are taken extremely out of context. For instance, supporting the right of a group to choose their own members does not equal racism, She has said she does not support those views herself. Saying that she chooses to put the gods before other human concerns does not mean that she dismisses sexuality or claims it is a choice. It astounds me that someone can be so easily vilified and taken out of context because people only read the buzz words and don’t bother to understand the whole thing.

    It’s also funny that a post intended to call to light a post about tragic loss being hijacked by people with a social justice agenda has ONCE AGAIN been hijacked by people with a social justice agenda.

    Don’t these people have anything better to do with their lives? If they don’t like your blog, Galina, they should just stop reading it. And if they do read it they should at least try and actually read what you say.

    Sincerely,

    Annoyed Anon.

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    • “Anything else is irrelevant, limiting, shallow. What does it matter what gender, orientation, race, size, etc. someone is? These things are variable in comparison with the soul. These things can change.”

      “i think the thing that’s important is whether one would give up their queerness or straightness or gender or anything else if the Gods required it ”

      I did in fact read what was written; what I don’t see is any suggestion that she is talking about willingness.

      I don’t suppose you would be able to explain to me how one would strip themselves of their gender or sexuality? I haven’t heard from anyone else about that.

      “These things can change.”
      She directly suggested that one could change their race or gender or sexuality.

      Also, why is the idea of devoting all of my being to the gods at odds with the idea of describing the facets of my existence?

      The idea of “if you don’t like it, then don’t look” doesn’t actually solve issues, either; it just sweeps them under the rug and allows them to continue on, and doesn’t disrupt your comfort levels by challenging the way you view the world.

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  11. Tala, I was not implying that gender/sexuality is a choice. however, I know several spiritworkers and at least one shaman who were flat out asked by their Gods to change gender (and they did). and believing in reincarnation as I and many polytheists do, I certainly don’t believe we maintain the same gender/sexuality/race/etc. in every lifetime. these things are not immutable vis a vis the soul.

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    • I have yet to hear from you exactly HOW one changes their gender.

      So, you think that someone can change their gender, but you also maintain that you don’t think one can choose their gender? I hope I don’t need to explain further why that is harmful and rather illogical.

      Ah, of course, reincarnation. Tell me, if we assume that those things aren’t the same between reincarnations, then what about your soul identifies you as you?

      What defines your “self” in that case?

      Of course, I’ve explained why what you said is harmful, especially with the connotation of “people who can do these things are more pious than those who cannot”, in two or three rather long comments, so I don’t think I need to repeat it here.

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      • Well, I guess it is time for a mini segue into theology then.

        In Heathenry, the soul is formed of many parts. One of those parts is the current, physical body. That is the part sloughed off at death. It is mutable, finite. It is, in some ways, yoked to temporality in that how and if we are able to access our maegen and hamingja is tied strongly into our current orlog and any ancestral debt that we’ve inherited (and explaining that will give me a headache right now but I may touch on it in upcoming articles). But there is overarching wyrd, that which is bigger than one lifetime, one personality, one physical being. You want to define your eternal essence by physicality alone and I”m telling you that it is so much more. The very things you seek to define yourself by are the things left behind when we die. I can’t conceive of defining personality by who i like to fuck. I can’t conceive of it by what’s between my legs. I find that absolutely incomprehensible.

        As to how someone changes gender, in the two spiritworkers i know who did it, they went under the knife and started hormone therapy though I’m not sure in which order.

        I don’t think gender or sexuality or race or class or physical appearance or anything else is important. The only thing that is important imo, is whether or not we are in right relationship with our Gods and how well we’re serving Them, how well we’re fulfilling our wyrd, how well we’re carrying Their mysteries into our world. Standing in the presence of a Deity strips away everything else but the awareness of and connection to that Deity and in the end, that and how well we carry that forward into working our traditions is the only thing that matters.

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      • Question, Tala:

        I wonder if there isn’t a difference between identity and actuality that is at stake here.

        Let’s take something very real and very true as a hypothetical. Let’s say there’s a gay man who is devoted to Hermes, and as that guy’s devotion deepens, Hermes says “Would you like to progress further in your relationship to me?” The guy says “Yes!” Hermes then says, “How important is this to you?” The guy replies, “More than anything!” Hermes says, “Really?” The guy says “Yes!” Then Hermes says, “Would you be willing to give up considering yourself gay to be in a deeper relationship with me?” “Well, wait,” the guy says, “Does that mean I have to stop falling in love with and having sex with guys, and *shudder shudder* start having sex with women?” Hermes replies, “Of course not! Do what you like. I didn’t say stop being gay, I said stop considering yourself gay.”

        (And, there might be all kinds of good reasons for this–the gay communities can be very toxic environments for many folks involved in them, all sorts of things occur that could very easily fall under the realms of “sexual assault” for any other community, and yet if any of it is criticized one is accused of prudishness and so forth…)

        So, I think it can be observed that there is a difference between actually being something–no matter what it is–and the identity politics that often occur with and accompany it. For example, being gay has nothing to do with what clothes one wears, what music one listens to, what clubs and bars one visits (if any), etc., it has to do with erotic orientations, and many things that are presented as being “essentials” of “the gay identity” (as if there is only one!) have very little to do with it. There are many gay people who are not particularly invested in gay identity, who are also not closeted, etc. When things become questions of identity politics, they often get away from what is actually being talked about into irrelevant things, and often only for the purposes of creating oppositions, fostering triumphalism, and other things which often take up a lot of time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere.

        It might not mean giving up one’s identifiers, but it might mean being non-attached to the terminology and social discourse around those specific identities. (It’s a slightly Zen-like idea, but it’s also found in Dionysian contexts, e.g. yes, there is a “real you,” but it’s not what one often thinks, and it only appears when all of the masks, the personae [literally], the identities, are all taken off and one stands there naked before the Deities.)

        As for those folks who underwent a gender transition by the direction of their Deities: in the cases Galina is referring to (if I am thinking of the same ones), it was not “You better be a man, dammit, even if you don’t want to be one!” it was more like “This is something you’ve wanted to do but have wondered about and have had reservations over, but now I’m making it your holy duty to transition so you can serve us [Deities] properly as the gender you’re meant to be this time around.”

        Anyway, that’s as I read it…I may be wrong, Galina might not entirely agree, but we’re not all here to agree, we’re here to have discussions with one another that are reasonable and respectful…I hope. 😉

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      • Very well said, PSVL.

        I’ll also point out that there’s a difference between gods just suddenly telling someone to somehow intentionally force a change in something fundamental like their actual sexuality or gender, and the gods slowly making those changes to a person for whatever Their reasons, and how that person reacts to it. To use the example above, Hermes might not tell that gay male devotee that he has to start sleeping with women, but Hermes might slowly change that man’s actual sexual orientation to encompass women (for any number of reasons), and then the issue is, does the man fight against it or is he willing to go along with the transformations that come from divine contact, even if that shakes up his *sense* of identity up to that point, and the way he identifies among other people (like in the “gay community”). This is especially crucial for those who are mystics and serve the gods more intensively, as they need to be open to being molded by those gods. Initiations, for instance, change you on a fundamental level – it’s not about having to pretend you’re something you’re not, it’s about letting go of everything you were and being willing to be transformed.

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  12. In the identity world, there is the group ethos and the groupthink. If you think differently, then the group will define you or make you a pariah. If you strongly identify with one part of yourself, and that is threatened, then you cry “privilege.”

    I doubt that Galina is toxic but the groupthink in certain places believe that, and will bring up all sorts of things. I would like to think that their ego-strength would be strong enough to ignore her, and continue on with their lives without doing battle with someone they consider to be toxic.

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    • I followed the thread on tmblr – there are several who have a following who have zeroed in on Galina as “all things toxic.” Few people actually read the posting in question here. Instead they read what was quoted and rifted on as toxic, get into a tizzy, and come here to slay the mighty dragon. I do believe that such focus means something deeper than a dislike of Galina – it seems to be more personal and more binary – either/or. I do believe I am seeing a one-way grudge match, which is sad. I am being to see tumblr as reactive, more than discussion. A place where you gather followers, who then do your dirty work, whilst you keep your hands clean.

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  13. Dver, PSVL, exactly so.

    (and while people are talking about LGBTQI identity, I included in my own initial thoughts, het. identity too). it’s about the lens not just through which we view the world but through which we allow ourselves to experience and carry forward the gods.

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