Pagan at Heart

At peace with myself and the world… or at least headed that way

Archive for the tag “gender”

Female Empowerment – Don’t be Afraid

I had a dream about my ex last night. Don’t like when that happens, because there a lot of bad memories associated with our time together. He was not a good guy. Anyway. I had a thought this morning: he wasn’t comfortable with an empowered woman. Because of his parents’ odd ideas about stuff, he had very little personal interaction with the outside world. I think this is one reason he was so close to his mother – she was his whole world. She was smart and capable, but her husband treated her with tender subservience. He meant well, but he treated her like an incompetent child (he treated most everyone else that way, particularly if they weren’t white males). So my ex treated her that way as well. I believe she was once a fiery person who wouldn’t have put up with that, but years of familiarity had left her believing the men and second-guessing herself. Then I came into the picture. I upset the balance and brought new ideas. My ex’s mom and I bonded together and she was no longer the only female. She seemed happier; we became fast friends and chatted all the time. She liked my spunk and new ideas, and together we made plans and pushed forward for change (nothing drastic). The men did not like what was happening… not at all. 

Enter into the story my discovery of Paganism. I started reading up on what Paganism was, talked about it with my ex – he thought it was cool and encouraged me to pursue it further. I began using Tarot cards (they were his) almost daily. He bought me books and incense. I grew more and more excited about my new path – I had found what my heart needed. Paganism, as you may know, is arguably the most empowering religion a woman may become involved in. I found that empowerment and embraced it. The happier and more confident I grew, though, the more nervous and nit-picky he became. Eventually he told me my Pagnism was scary and that I should stop. He took back his Tarot cards and sold a video game I had been playing that had elements of Paganism in it. It all came very unexpectedly and was very hurtful, but I did as he wished and abandoned the pursuit of Paganism. About a month later we split up and never saw each other again. His mother knew what was happening, knew her son was throwing away the relationship, and spent several mornings sorrowfully telling me how sorry she was about the whole thing. She told me that, even if he had the moon, her son would never be happy with it. Once I had been gone a few weeks, though, she changed her tune (convinced by her dominating menfolk, no doubt) and began blaming me for everything that had gone wrong, even pointing to my interest in Paganism as proof of my fault. I was hurt and upset, but I mostly felt sorry for her. I made my escape, but she would never make hers.

Now, here I am embracing Paganism and finding that excitement I once had… with the full support of my partner. The more empowered I become the more his love for me grows. He’s not afraid of me and my path. For this I am deeply thankful. He and I have both seen how patriarchy degrades women, and we both know it’s not right. Women are not lesser beings, weak, subservient, or any number of things patriarchy says. Women have the power to grow, carry, and bring forth new life into the world. Women have the power of the Goddess, the power of the Moon. Embrace the power – speak beautifully of it – but do not fear it.

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Reclaiming the Divine

While meditating yesterday, I was drawn to focus on the image of a woman – the Goddess. She was smiling; I sensed that she was extending her hands to me she might teach me. As I took her hand, I saw the image of a man – the God – standing in the shadows. He too had a warm smile on his face, but he did not make any movement toward me. He nodded at me and seemed to tell me that he was content to wait until I was ready to seek him out. And then the vision was gone.

My background is dominated by patriarchal religious fundamentalism of the Baptist flavor. Men are venerated over women in the Bible, which is a reflection of the people who wrote it. This way of life – patriarchy – was taught to me at church, at the school I attended from K-4 through 12th grade, and at the Baptist college I attended. The god of the Bible is male, and boy does he have a temper! He was to be feared and obeyed, lest he choose to strike you down.  His son, Jesus, was a much nicer fellow, whom I always viewed as the kind-hearted ambassador who kept his father from smashing us like bugs. In short, my previous experiences with male divinity and masculinity have not been positive. As a result, I struggle with approaching the male side of the divine right now. It will take time for me to learn how to reclaim the divine masculine.

Conversely, the female side of divinity is completely new to me. The notion that women may have divine status as well is incredibly empowering and has already had a huge impact on me. Instead of being stuck as the gender which led Adam astray (and, as a result, cast the whole world into sin), we may see ourselves as the beautiful, good beings that we are. The Goddess has always appears as a mother-figure to me. She offers warmth, love, nourishment, and protection like a good mother does for her children. This aspect of the divine is what I need to heal my hurts and help me as I change and grow into who I am meant to be. I find great joy in discovering the divine feminine.

I am a huge fan of balance. I find it is very important in my own life; I’ve seen the damage caused by imbalance in my life and the lives of others. At some point in the future, I will embrace a more balanced approach to the divine – embracing both the female and male aspects equally – but I’m not ready for that yet. And the divines know that and understand, as my vision so kindly reminded me. The God is waiting for me, patiently, knowing that I will one day find and reclaim him in my life.

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