The first thing I found was a lot of resources such as books, blogs, websites and videos of trans people talking about how paganism, Wicca or some branch of witchcraft had helped them to deal with many of the problems that already it does cause them to be transgender in society. Unfortunately I kept reading and I found that some traditions, some groups and some public figures of great weight within paganism transmit ideas of hatred, micro-aggression and contempt in one way or another towards the trans community.
In all these years that I have been in paganism I have been learning and evolving and I do not find any reason to exclude anyone or deny them the right to be considered as who they really are. Wicca may offer a vision that is very polarized and binary at first sight, but when you go deeper into experience, when you are able to experience divinity, you discover that it is something much more than feminine and masculine, reduced to sex, to the genitals.
We delve into ancient cults, traditions and create new ones, all to have a freedom that brings us closer to fully experience the divinity of which we are part. Sadly some groups consider that being a woman only has to do with anatomy. If you do not have a uterus, if you do not bleed, if you do not give birth or you can not have menopause, are you less of a woman? The same could apply in the case of men. We learn to free ourselves from bondage, to work with our shadow but suddenly it seems that we can not get rid of the social bonds tied to the body, now we have to be defined by what our body socially implies instead of working to heal that wound that we it prevents us from developing.
In an article on one of the great discussions on transgender in paganism a few years ago Star Foster said: “Polarity is easiest to explain as male/female, dark/light or wet/dry, but I’m beginning to suspect that in essence it’s about the “Familiar” and the “Other”. ” And it is that we may understand that it is we who take the divinity and transform it, we look at it through our own optics to try to understand something that is ungraspable, inaccessible and infinite for our limited mind.
The philosopher Xenophanes of Colophon (who lived between 570 and 475 before our era) said: “The Ethiops say that their gods are flat-nosed and black, while the Thracians say that theirs have blue eyes and red hair. Yet if cattle or horses or lions had hands and could draw, snd could sculpt like men, then the horses would draw their gods like horses, and cattle like cattle; and each they would shape bodies of gods in the likeness, each kind, of their own.” We resort to sexual differentiation to talk about the gods, at least in Wicca, because it is easier and more compressible than managing obstructions and complex thoughts about duality and because they are much easier to handle symbolically in a ritual.
It is something completely anachronistic that we are still worrying about whether someone has a chromosome or not and if that chromosome is going to make them more apt to have a certain type of spiritual experiences. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways and traditions within paganism where all these things are not more important than specifying (if you are in a transitional moment) how you want to be called.
For me, the myth of creation that Starhawk describes in The Spiral Dance, which is a reproduction of part of the tradition, Feri also speaks of all those intermediate states between the feminine and the masculine. The Goddess is reflected, falls in love with her reflection and calls her Miria. Miria is feminine but was dragged into the movement of creation and as she moved away she became the Blue God, the Green God and the Horned God. But He tried to return to Her again and again becoming more feminine in His approach. And although it does not exactly describe those intermediate states of the genre if we can find a second reading that speaks of them and that tells us that they are equally sacred.
In the last lines where he exposes that myth Starhawk says: “Everything began with love, everything seeks to return to love, Love is the Law, Love is the teacher of wisdom and the great revealer of mysteries.” If we abandon hatred, discrimination and our desire to seek differences and exclusions we would live in a better world, and this is not only limited to paganism.
3 thoughts on “Transsexuality and paganism”
one would think, with there being more than a few gods that often switch genders or switch sexes, and some gods that are hermaphrodites, and some gods that are quite androgynous as all heck;
that modern day pagan/neo pagans would be generally open-minded about trangender,bigender, and genderfluid persons.
But people will be people and there always prejudiced or bigoted persons here and there among some groups or traditions of pagans/neo-pagans….
Although in certain circles the pagans are usually more open-minded, there is a large part that is still quite transphobic, after all religious beliefs do not remove stupidity. But although many pagans are open, what is there is not inclusion.
A trans woman told me that she felt many times tolerated rather than included, although we are open minded, we are still governed by very rigid patterns that conform to a binary and heteronormative system that leaves no room for other gender or sexual expressions from the divine Although there are transgender or intersex gods, they are still a minority and when they are cultured in paganism, that part is often minimized or ignored.