Thursday, 29 December 2016

Review of Queer Paganism by Jo Green

Queer Paganism (Black and White): A Spirituality That Embraces All IdentitiesQueer Paganism: A Spirituality That Embraces All Identities by J.J. Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found myself nodding and smiling in agreement throughout most of this book. The author's sensible and down-to-earth approach to magic and Paganism was very much in tune with my way of thinking. They also have an exceptionally clear style of writing, which makes the book a pleasure to read.

The book's subtitle is "A spirituality that embraces all identities" and the author has done their best to include everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community and heterosexuals too. This book would definitely be of interest to queer Pagans and open-minded heterosexuals. It is not only about queer Paganism, but is about inclusive practice. It is very Wicca-flavoured though, so if Wicca isn't your thing, you might not like like it.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays
Merry Yule
Happy Winter Solstice  (Northern Hemisphere)
Merry Christmas
Happy Yaldā
Happy Hanukkah
Happy Chalica
Kwanzaa greetings
Happy Saturnalia
Festivus greetings
Bona Dies Natalis Sol Invictus
Blessed Alban Arthuan
Peaceful Bridge of Light (LGBT spirituality festival)  
Happy Summer Solstice (Southern Hemisphere)

Candle on a German Christmas tree.
Photo by Gerbil - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Monday, 19 December 2016

New Zazzle shop


I realised that we needed a one stop shop where you can get badges/buttons with "ASK before hugging" or "they" or T-shirts with the inclusive Wicca symbol on them. So here it is: the inclusive Wicca shop on Zazzle! Loads more badges/buttons to come, so watch this space. And feel free to post suggestions and requests for badges/buttons/T-shirts/mugs. You can post a comment here, or contact me via the shop.

All profits (5% of product prices) will be donated to Gendered Intelligence, a UK trans charity.

Monday, 12 December 2016

The two chalices ritual

Around 1995, I came up with the idea of a ritual with two chalices, to represent same-sex love. The idea of having two cups also resonates nicely with the Temperance card in the Tarot.

Later, when actually doing this ritual, we realised that the cups could be passed around the circle so that everyone can take part.

How to do it
You have person A, B, C, D, E standing in a circle.

A passes empty cup 2 to B. A pours full cup 1 into empty cup 2 & says “I fill your cup with love”.
Then A passes empty cup 1 to C. B then pours full cup 2 into empty cup 1, being held by C. And so on.
inclusive wine ritual
An inclusive wine ritual

Friday, 2 December 2016

inclusive Wicca pottery


The lovely Wyn Abbott Ceramics have decided to make pots with the inclusive Wicca logo on them.


You can place orders via their Facebook page: Wyn Abbot Ceramics. They will also make bespoke items. Here's a couple of examples of Wyn's work:


Thursday, 1 December 2016

New publication: Witches Rise

I just spotted this new publication, Witches Rise on Medium.com, and it sounds awesome!
WITCHES RISE was born from a love of all things magic + social justice. We want to connect with more people who love those things. We want to create space for stories and teachings and passion within those two things. We want to elevate the voices of those who identify as women of color, queer, genderqueer/non-binary, trans*, disabled and/or other marginalized/silenced identities, who seek to bring the spiritual and the physical worlds together in a way that serves all.
It sounds amazing, and I will defnitely be contributing and following their work.

Monday, 28 November 2016

inclusive Wicca survey

I thought it would be interesting to find out how many people are actually practicing some form of inclusive Wicca. So here's a questionnaire.

Please be aware that written responses to questions will be visible to all other survey participants, because of the way that Google forms work.

If you would like to be listed as an inclusive coven, please go to the Files section of the inclusive Wicca Facebook group and add your contact details there.



Go to the Google Form

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Witchfest 2016 - inclusive Wicca talk

Yesterday was Witchfest International 2016, in the vast Brighton Centre on Brighton seafront. I presented a talk on inclusive Wicca. Several people thanked me for creating/holding a space for LGBTQ people, so it is definitely a good thing that inclusive Wicca exists and that people are able to find out about it. I also talked about including and welcoming disabled people, people with mental health issues, and people of colour.

Here are the slides from my talk (click on the expand button to get the best effect).



Thanks to everyone who came to the talk, and to the Witchfest organisers and volunteers who put on this event.


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Resisting, Rebelling, Surviving

I have added more resources to the resisting fascism page, but I wanted to draw extra attention to this outstanding guide, Rebel Well: A Starter Survival Guide To A Trumped America from Scarleteen. It is available as a downloadable and printable PDF, and licensed under Creative Commons, so that it can be reproduced (but not modified). It will also be a helpful guide to life in Broken Brexit Britain, I am sure.

As the good people at Scarleteen say:
We've created this survival guide -- available as both an online version and a printable packet -- to provide information that can help you take some initial steps to protect yourself and others, and to cope with the bad stuff as best anyone can. Unfortunately, it's not going to magic all of the awful away. But it can help to reduce harms and, hopefully, help you and all of us get through this, and with our senses of self and humanity still intact and perhaps even improved through our own personal and political resistance.

There is little suggested in this guide that isn’t a good idea to be doing, no matter what. If more people were already doing many of these things, we may not have wound up in this spot in the first place, or would have been better equipped to more strongly reject it and resist it from the start.

In the wonderful event we’re wrong about what we're all facing, none of these things will be a waste of your time. Most of what's advised here makes it more likely, whatever the circumstance, that we and others will be okay. And some of what we suggest in this guide, particularly when it comes to supporting and helping each other, are the only ways we can keep what’s awful from getting worse and start changing things for the better, not just for now, but for the future, so we may never wind up dealing with something this epically big and bad for just about everyone again.
Here's the table of contents:

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Memories of resistance project

When all the terrible things that are happening now seem overwhelming, it is useful to reflect on past struggles and try to find what worked. It is clear that broad coalitions are needed between different groups, as happened with the UK miners’ strike and LGBT people — the miners supported same-sex marriage when it came up as a policy in the Labour Party. Solidarity is real.

I am collecting people's memories of resistance to racism and fascism in past decades, to inspire younger activists who are scared rigid by the election of Trump and the vote for Brexit. I will post the article(s) on Medium.com and Gods & Radicals.

Here are some of my memories of resistance to oppression. I have also had a great contribution to the project from Sabina Magliocco, which will be published on Gods and Radicals on 16 November.

I would be very grateful if you could share something with me for the article. Please feel free to share this link with other seasoned activists. It doesn’t have to be long, but it would be helpful if you could describe things you or your relatives and friends personally experienced, whether it’s anti-racism, feminism, or LGBT-rights related. Photos would be awesome too. And please let me know how you want to be credited — anonymously, by name, or by pseudonym (and religious affiliation, if you want). Ideas for building a network of resistance are particularly appreciated.

Please comment on this post with your contribution.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Mourn AND organise

Solidarity and love to all LGBTQIA+, disabled, Black, indigenous, Muslim, Jewish, Latino/a/x, and other minorities who are feeling terrified by the U.S. election result. 

Stay safe. Stay together.

Useful list of U.S. organisations resisting racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia:


Friday, 4 November 2016

Forthcoming book - Dark Mirror

Dark Mirror - the inner work of witchcraft

And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know that thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou knowest this mystery: that if that which thou seekest, thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.
― Doreen Valiente, The Charge of the Goddess

Inner work is a name commonly given to the inner processes that happen in ritual. However, the best kind of inner work also has an effect outside the individual and outside the circle. When rituals are focused only on self-development, they tend to be a bit too introspective. Ritual is about creating and maintaining relationships and connections - between body, mind, and spirit; with the Earth, Nature, the land, the spirit world, the community, and friends. It is also about creating, maintaining, and restoring balance. It is about making meaning. Telling our stories and reclaiming our history from the oppressors. Weaving a web of symbolism, story, mythology, meaning, community, and love to stand against the ennui and emptiness of relentless consumerism. Creating loosely held but welcoming community, a community that welcomes and celebrates diversity (of body shape, skin colour, physical ability, neurodivergence, sexual orientation, gender expression and identity, biology, cultural background, age, talkativeness or lack of it, and so on). Creating strong and authentic identity to resist the pressures of consumerism and commercialism and capitalism. Weaving relationship with other beings: humans, animals, birds, spirits, deities.
So the inner work of ritual may be intrapersonal, interpersonal, restorative, or community-building. The kinds of relationships that ritual helps to maintain may be of various different kinds - friendships, erotic relationships (including kinky ones), patron/client relationships,. Inner work might be meditation, visualisation, prayer, magic, balancing archetypes within the psyche, lucid dreaming, healing, connecting with the body, or attunement to Nature.


Table of contents

  • Introduction: the inner work

Coming to the circle

  1. The Pagan worldview
  2. Creating sacred space
  3. Raising energy - synergy, resonance and polarity
  4. Magical names
  5. Archetypes and the inner work
  6. The Mysteries
  7. Evocation and Invocation
  8. Use of symbols in ritual
  9. Spell work
  10. Magical tools

Embodied Spirituality

  1. Relationships and Consent in Wicca
  2. “Ye shall be naked in your rites”
  3. The erotic and spirituality
  4. Inner aspects of the festivals
  5. Grounding and centering
  6. Making an altar
  7. The Hearth
  8. Food in ritual
  9. Labyrinths; Meditative walking; Pilgrimage
  10. Gardening
  11. Spirits of the land
  12. Meditation, Visualisation, Contemplation
  13. Poetry, Storytelling, and Reading
  14. Cultivating the virtues

Between the worlds

  1. Modes and types of ritual
  2. Sound and silence
  3. The Moon
  4. The witch’s journey
  5. Queer Witchcraft
  6. Witchcraft and the land
  7. Witchcraft as resistance
  8. Working with ancestors
  9. The Pact - relational polytheism
  10. Madness, shamanism, witchcraft
  11. The night journey

Bringing it all back home

  1. Inclusive Wicca
  2. Group dynamics
  3. Being a coven leader
  4. Teaching and learning in a coven
  5. Egregore, lineage, upline, downline
  6. Power and authority
  7. Rites of passage
  8. Challenging oppression
  9. Evaluating your Craft
  10. Brimful of Asha

Appendices

  1. Model guidelines for group discussion
  2. Coming-out ritual
  3. Recommended reading

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Same-sex initiation

I completely support same-sex initiation for those who want it.

I have never yet seen an "argument" against same-sex initiation that was any different from the "arguments" against same sex marriage. And yet people persist in putting these tired old arguments forward as if they were new.

Some of these people even have the bare faced effrontery to have a go at bigoted Christians who oppose same sex marriage on the same "grounds" that they themselves oppose same sex initiation. And no one hesitates to call those Christians homophobic - so I'm sorry but why should anti-same-sex initiation people get a free pass?

So let's rehearse those "arguments" shall we?

(1) that only a man and a woman can make babies (therefore only male/female marriage or initiation is valid). Lots of male/female couples can't make babies because they're too old or infertile etc. but they are still married, and no-one denies the validity of their marriage. Fertility doesn't have to be literal, it's symbolic. There are lots of other ways to make polarity and fertility.

(2) that the definition of marriage is "one man, one woman" / that initiations have always been done male/female. Invalid argument because of polygamy, polyandry & ancient examples of same-sex marriage; invalid argument because of same-sex initiation in Freemasonry, other occult orders and in Wicca (father/son; mother/daughter; HPs with strap-on sword; all the people who have actually done same sex initiations, including Alex Sanders).

(3) that God, or the gods, made male & female.
Oh yeah, really, then why are there so many gay animals?

(4) "Because it's the tradition!" 
 Traditions can change / evolve / grow / be reformed. They are not set in stone.

Have I missed any? Does anyone have an argument against same-sex initiation that is substantively different from any of the above?

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Residential schools in Canada

Recently, Canada has started to examine and try to make amends for its colonial past.

There has been a truth and reconciliation process. One massive source of trauma for indigenous people was residential  schools, which were an attempt to assimilate indigenous children by force. They were taken away from their parents and were very badly treated in these places. The last one was closed in 1996.

Dodie Graham McKay writes:
Indian Residential Schools were created by the Canadian government in the late 19th century as a way to assimilate aboriginal children into the developing white Canadian society. Aboriginal children were removed, typically by force, from their families and home communities.They were taken to residential schools and forbidden to speak their own languages and were denied access to their culture. Many survivors of the residential school system report extreme cases of physical and sexual abuse, starvation and neglect at these institutions, which were co-run by the church and the state.
Now, CBC is airing a drama about a boy who escaped from one of these awful places, and has created a reading list for younger readers exploring how awful they were.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Misconceptions about cultural appropriation

I have now written several articles on cultural appropriation. When people comment on articles on this topic, I have observed several recurring themes.

Cultural silos

Frequently, people assume that talk of cultural appropriation means that no-one can ever use an idea from another culture.  This would rule out situations of cultural fusion, where two cultures which are on an equal footing come together to create a new amalgam of ideas, music, cuisine, or ritual. It would also rule out cultural exchange, where two cultures on an equal footing acquire new ideas, practices, or rituals from each other. These situations are clearly not problematic, because the two cultures are on an equal footing. The key feature here is the equality of the cultures.

People also talk as if those who are trying to draw attention to the issue of cultural approppriation are behaving as though culture is a monolith or silo, where nothing can ever be transferred from one culture to another. Obviously, this is not the case, and offering examples of cultural fusion or cultural exchange between cultures which are on an equal footing is not an argument for dismissing claims of cultural appropriation.

What makes you part of a culture?

Some people claim that what makes you part of a culture is that you are genetically related to the people who produced that culture. On the basis of this claim, the idea of cultural appropriation has been distorted by people with a racist or alt-right agenda, who want to keep people of colour out of revived European religious traditions. We should strenuously resist the idea that culture is genetically trasnmitted, as it is legitimises racism.

Culture is transmitted through acculturation, via books, films, conversation, storytelling, dance, and traditional practices. People who immerse themselves in another culture can become part of it, and can legitimately take part in its practices and rituals, though if the culture is a living culture, then they should approach living representatives of that culture in order to become part of it.

Culture is specific to time and place

Another recurring theme is the idea that culture is universal and somehow open-source. This is derived from two particularly pernicious ideologies.

The first of these is colonialism, which has taken many forms over the centuries, and consists of the dominant or hegemonic culture assuming that it is superior to the conquered culture, and therefore has a right to the goods, services, resources, lands, and ideas of the conquered culture.

The second of these ideologies seems benign, but isn't. It is sometimes called the perennial philosophy, and sometimes called universalism - the idea that there is a universal essence of every idea or practice that can be extracted from it and re-embedded in another context. This is the idea behind Michael Harner's "core shamanism" - the idea that there is a universal shamanistic practice which can be extracted from Siberian shamanism, and re-clothed in the trappings of another culture, and thereby can become the shamanism of the new culture.

However, whilst ideas from one culture can be transferred to another if proper care is taken, quite often they are transferred with little appreciation or care for the original culture from which the idea came, or cherry-picked whilst ignoring other aspects of the source culture which are too 'difficult', and become distorted in the process of transfer. The transfer of ideas becomes problematic and culturally appropriative when the appropriating culture has more power than the source culture.

Ignoring the power differential

Many people who struggle with the idea of cultural appropriation fail to see that it happens when the appropriating culture has more power than the source culture.

What does it mean to say that one culture has more power than another? When a culture is seen as normative (in the current context white, European, heterosexual, male, and cisgender are the "norm" or unmarked default), it has more power than non-normative cultures.

Cultures acquire normative status by conquering other cultures. In the ancient world, the Graeco-Roman culture was the normative culture, against which other cultures were measured and found to be barbaric or exotic. In the modern world, the Western culture of Europe and America is the normative culture against which other cultures are seen as relatively exotic or even barbaric.





Sunday, 25 September 2016

Recommended reading - Pagan & Wiccan

 This is my list of recommended reading for beginners. Many other lists are available. If you don't like my list, make your own. I have tried to keep the list fairly short, so as not to overwhelm you with a great long shopping list.

My recommendation would be to read widely and deeply, noting what you agree with, what riles you, and what attracts you. You don't have to agree with everything you read. Rather you should engage with it, see how it affects you, think about any issues it raises for you.

I have always had trouble with books that have exercises in them, because I tend to think, "Oh yes I will do that exercise later" and I either skip over it and never come back to it, or put the book down and never finish it.

Pagan books

The Art of Conversation with the Genius Loci, by Barry Patterson

I have often said to people that if they only ever read one book on Paganism, it should be this one. It is all about how to engage with the landscape you live in, and how to connect with the spirits of place. It offers practical suggestions for deepening your connection with nature.

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America by Margot Adler

A great, and classic, introduction to contemporary Paganism. Goes into the beliefs, practices and communities in some depth. Evocatively and accessibly written.

The Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates

This is one of my favourite books of all time. It is an exploration of the world of Anglo-Saxon Heathenry from the point of view of a young Christian missionary who comes to respect the Anglo-Saxon sorcerer he has been sent to learn from. It was based on the author's PhD research into the Leechbook, an Anglo-Saxon herbal.

Books on Wicca

The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft  by Ronald Hutton

A must-read for anyone who wants to know the history of Wicca, with some reflections on how and why why the Pagan revival happened. Ronald Hutton examines the historical conditions and cultural movements that gave rise to the Pagan revival and the birth of Wicca, and looks at more recent history as well.

Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca and Paganism in America by Chas S. Clifton

The story of the Pagan revival in the United States. Very well-written and researched. The US equivalent of Triumph of the Moon.

Wicca: Magickal Beginnings by Sorita d'Este and David Rankine

A textual and historical analysis of the possible origins of the rituals and practices of this modern tradition of Pagan Witchcraft. A fascinating book that I found to be really interesting and to deepen my understanding of Wicca.

Wicca: the Old Religion in the New Millennium by Vivianne Crowley

An excellent introduction to Wicca, with an exploration of the dynamics of the rituals from a Jungian perspective. First published in 1989, with a revised edition in 1997, this book is still a classic. In a recent reflection on the book, Vivianne Crowley wrote:
When I wrote Wicca, I had been in Wicca for 15 years. What I had seen in that time was how Wicca had the potential to transform people. Many of the processes that I had seen occurring as people worked their way through the initiatory systems were those that manifest through the inner journey of growth that Carl Gustav Jung called ‘individuation’. By exposing our inner world to the Gods and to those who share the spiritual journey with us, we are transformed. This is not the matter of a few years, but a lifelong process, which initiatory Wicca at its best can nurture, support and foster. The purpose of such a journey is that of the Great Work – the transformation of self as a starting point for the transformation of humankind; for if individuals do not change, then societies cannot evolve. Our aim is to grow nearer the Gods, to move from our egocentric engagement with the world for our own ends, to a re-centering that detaches us from our own preoccupations and allows us the see the world from a wider, deeper, and longer-term perspective.

Other reading lists


A Queer Pagan Reading List

Here are a bunch of books for the LGBTQ Pagan reader. I have either read these and can recommend them, or I have read another book by the same author, and can therefore recommend the ones on this list.

Collection of some Contemporary Pagan & Male Nude Sculptures created by Malcolm Lidbury
Collection of some Contemporary Pagan & Male Nude Sculptures created by Malcolm Lidbury (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Gay

Inclusive

Kink

Lesbian

LGBT

Polyamory

Queer

Transgender

Other people’s lists of recommended books

Online resources

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

"Good" people do bad things: statement on the Frosts

There is absolutely no excuse, ever, for advocating the molestation of children.

Even in the 1970s, when some people were apparently rather confused about the boundaries of what consent was, the majority view was that sex between children and adults was always wrong.

Therefore, there is no excuse for the publication of chapter 4 of the book by Gavin and Yvonne Frost which claimed to be about Wicca, which advocated for the sexual molestation of minors. If they had repudiated the chapter and apologised for its inclusion and tried to do something to make reparation for its consequences, perhaps there might be a reason to rehabilitate them, cautiously.

But they never did apologise or repudiate it or seek to make reparation for it. (They did say that it didn't apply to people under 18, but what they advocated is abusive even if it involves people over 18, and it was 40 years before they even did that, despite numerous people in the Pagan community strongly rejecting what they wrote.) So there is no reason to pretend it didn't happen, or try to claim that they did good things other than that. They may very well have done - bad people can also do good things - but unless and until they apologised for the publication of such an unethical ritual, it should neither be forgiven nor forgotten.

Many people have been put off of Wicca by reading that book, as they assumed it spoke for all of Wicca.

The Frosts were never part of either Gardnerian or Alexandrian Wicca, and their organisation is not recognised by any legitimate Gardnerian or Alexandrian, nor by most other witches and Wiccans.

Legitimate Wiccans do not and never have engaged in sexual activities with minors, and consider such actions extremely unethical.

The Frosts also advocated sexual initiations at every initiation. Legitimate Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wiccans do not include sexual intercourse as part of the first or second degree initiations, and it is optional at third degree and may be replaced with a symbolic ritual act.

Inclusive Wicca is a tendency within Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca, and we strongly condemn abuse and molestation in all its forms, and seek to firmly establish a consent culture in our covens.

In my personal opinion, sexual intercourse should not form part of the third degree unless it has been discussed a long time beforehand, and enthusiastic consent (which can be withdrawn at any time) has been established.

We also need to realise that "good people" and "nice people" do bad things. Being "nice" doesn't make someone immune from being an abuser, or a racist, or a transphobe, or a homophobe, or an exploiter of slave labour in the third world. Far too often, people deny that someone can have engaged in abusive behaviour, because they are "nice". But you only have to look at public figures who have been revealed to be serial abusers to realise that they too were previously considered "nice".

I am very disappointed that several self-styled "elders" of the Pagan community have continued to defend the Frosts and try to excuse or diminish what they did.

This is why we need the Pagan and Heathen Symposium Code of Conduct for all events. This is why we need to discuss consent culture and strive to create it in our Pagan communities. This is why "big name Pagans" need to speak out and condemn those who advocate for or commit abuse, and refuse to invite them to events, or attend events where they will be speaking.

Further reading

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

But what do you actually do?

Some people have expressed confusion about what inclusive Wicca does that is different from other Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wiccans (despite the fact that there is massive variation among covens and lineages in the rest of Wicca).

But Wicca is not just about the words we use in ritual - many covens within the Gardnerian and Alexandrian communities use different words for casting the circle, calling the quarters, consecrating and so on. The point is that we are orthopraxic - we do the same actions and we use the same techniques.

Gerald Gardner gave five different books of shadows to five different priestesses - consequently there is quite a lot of variation between and within the lineages descended from them.

There are also various different texts available for creating sacred space. Different covens will use different versions of these within Wicca as a whole. Some covens use words based on the Key of Solomon; some use other words.

What is the same as in the rest of Wicca?
  • The initiation ceremonies. These are the same as what we were handed by our initiators. You might be surprised about variations between lineages in the rest of Wicca, actually, but the basic core ceremony is the same. Some of us do same-sex initiations, but the actual ritual will be the same.
  • Casting the circle and calling the quarters. We use the same words and procedures that were given to us by our initiators. We don't tend to say "Lords of the Watchtowers..." but then lots of covens don't do that.
  • Making magic. We use the same methods of making magic that other covens use.
  • Celebrating festivals. We celebrate the Wheel of the Year, the eight Wiccan Sabbats. (Some covens in the USA use the same words for every Sabbat; most covens in the UK create new rituals for each festival using a combination of words from their BoS and newly created words. Some covens use a story about the God and Goddess that fits the festivals; some do not.)
What is different from the rest of Wicca?
  • Polarity. We believe that polarity can be made by any pair of opposites. 
  • Consecration of participants.  This can vary - but we don't divide people up by gender.
  • Invocation: any person of any gender may invoke a deity of any gender onto another person of any gender (other than that, it's the same).
  • Cakes and wine. We do the same actions, with slightly different words, which emphasise that the symbolism of the chalice and athame encompasses all acts of love and pleasure.
  • Degree of flexibility. Many covens are prepared to flex things to accommodate differences - but how far they are prepared to flex can vary widely. In inclusive Wicca, we try to accommodate disability, gender variance, sexual orientation, and so on. 
Conclusion
Given the huge variation between and within lineages in Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca, adding a bit more variation to the mix shouldn't be in the slightest bit controversial - but strangely, as soon as you mention including LGBT people, disabled people, and people of colour, it becomes controversial. I wonder why that is?

Further reading

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

We Reject Racism

In the aftermath of the UK's vote to leave the EU, there has been a horrifying upsurge of racist incidents. Tell MAMA reported a 540% increase in reported incidents. (Reported in The Independent, Huffington Post, The Guardian, Mashable, Vice News, Washington Post, and many more. Incidents are also being collated by This is what you have done, the Worrying Signs Facebook group and Twitter account, and the PostRefRacism hashtag and account on Twitter.)

It is not that every Leave vote was motivated by racism, but extreme toxic racism was expressed by the Leave campaign (which went unchallenged by the Remain campaign, which also promised to "control immigration" and boasted about how being in the EU helped us to deport hundreds of criminals - which is unjust because then they are being punished twice for the same crime).

Surveys of Leave voters have indicated that their main reason for voting Leave was to "take back control" (just so they could give it to the out-of-touch old Etonians who have bled the UK dry with their imposition of austerity). This seems xenophobic as well. The second most common reason given was that people were against immigration.

The people who are committing these vile racist atrocities seem to think that the other 17 million leave voters agree with them, as there have been a lot of racist comments along the lines of "we voted leave, so you should be packing to go home" - despite the fact that many of the people who have been targeted were born here, or have lived here for generations, and have every right to be here whether they have been here for five minutes or five generations.



Inclusive Wicca Statement on racist violence

We Reject Racism

We reject racism and want an open, inclusive, diverse, and welcoming Britain, that is open to the rest of Europe and the rest of the world, that celebrates diversity and rejects hate and racism.

We recognise that racism is systemic and structural, as well as incidents of interpersonal violence. We will work to dismantle racism in all its forms. 

We want Pagan religions to be open and welcoming to people of all ethnic backgrounds, and we utterly reject notions that you can only follow a specific religion based on who you are genetically descended from. We will work to make our spaces and rituals welcoming and inclusive to everyone, of every ethnicity, disability, gender, age, and sexuality.

We call upon all people of good will to stand up to racism and fascism wherever they are encountered, and to defend victims of harassment and attacks, and pledge to do this ourselves.

Inclusive Wicca (design by Yvonne Aburrow)

Resources

Who, if not you? Civil courage - an explanation of how to stand up to racism, and a plan for a workshop to develop skills for standing up to it when you witness it.

The safety pin campaign - wear a safety pin to show that you are a safe person and willing to help - but don't wait to be asked to step in if you witness racist abuse - do something.

Report it - if you are the witness or the victim of a hate crime, please report it to the police.
Hate crimes and incidents come in many different forms. It can be because of hatred on the grounds of your race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability.
Hate crime in any form is wrong. That is why it is important that if hate crime happens to you or someone you know, that you report it.
Pagans Against Racism (UK) - Facebook group, working to challenge racism in the UK and in Paganism.

Pagans Against Racism - US-based website with an excellent selection of articles on racism, white privilege, and how these play out in Pagan culture.
Co-signatories

Please feel free to sign up to this statement in the comments. If you want to repost it to your blog or website, feel free to do so, but please link back to it here.



Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Wands Up for Orlando

After the Orlando shooting, a small group of LGBTQIA Pagans came together to create a ritual for the dead of Orlando. The group is called Wands Up for Orlando. The founder, Salvatore Caci, wrote:
Why “wands up”? In the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, after the death of Dumbledore, all students of Hogwarts take their wands and raise them into the air to light up the sky and sweep away Voldemort's evil curse. Similarly, we want to sweep away the curses of intolerance and violence with the light that shines from our hearts and hands joined together and in support of one another.
Together, we have written a ritual to commemorate the dead of Orlando. We want to emphasise that, as many of the dead may have been Catholics or have had an ambivalent relationship with religion, we are being respectful of that. We performed divinations to check that the ritual would be welcome and needed.

The ritual is available in English, Italian, Spanish, French, and Polish (and we will shortly also have a German version). If anyone would like to translate it into other languages, that would be most welcome.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

We are rising!

The Queer Ones are rising. We are rising out of the woods, out of the ocean, out of the cracks between the concrete. Genderqueer, transgender, glorious peacock-shimmering, rising out of the darkness, the healing and sacred darkness, into the many-hued light of day. Queer deities, genderqueer deities, transgender goddesses and gods. Inari the fox god/dess; Vertumnus the changeable and ever-changing; tricksters and healers, poets and seers and shamans.
Gender is not a binary, not even a spectrum, it is a vast glittering field of possibility, many gender, many hues, many different expressions of being and love.
We are rising, out of the silence, out of the hidden places, daring to be, to shine forth our glorious queer radiance, because we are the holy ones, the liminal ones, the dreamers and the creators of possibility.
Our freedom is frightening to some who want there to be a binary, a set of limitations. We call them out of their fear and into the radiant and glittering field of stars, into the joy of expressing all that you are – joy, magic, dreams, anger at injustice, diversity in unity, unity in diversity. We call them to embrace their humanity and ours, not to cling in fear and loathing to a diminished, fearful, restrictive, and destructive vision of womanhood, that excludes the childless as much as the transgender and the non-binary.
The glorious diversity of the human body, the glorious diversity of life journeys and intersecting identities, is to be enjoyed and celebrated. Different people have different journeys. The penis is not a symbol of the patriarchy. The gun is the symbol and the weapon of patriarchy and kyriarchy. The penis is a symbol of life, celebrated and venerated as such by many ancient cultures, along with the yoni, the vulva, the vagina. Both are fountains of life and creativity. The kyriarchy wants to distort and desecrate these sacred places, by turning the penis into a weapon and the vagina into its sheath, a place to be violated. But we reject and resist the violence of the kyriarchy, and affirm the sacred beauty of transgender, gender-fluid, and genderqueer in all their gentle and fierce beauty and glory. We embrace the witchery of genderblending.
Gender essentialism and separatism is the mirror image of patriarchy. We reject the patriarchy and the kyriarchy. We reject all binaries. There are men who reject rape culture and women who excuse rape. Let’s promote consent culture and gather our beautiful diverse tribe. Let us include people in, welcoming and celebrating and affirming diversity, not sowing hate and fear and division. Let’s create spaces that are safe for everyone of every gender. Pagan traditions (both ancient and contemporary) affirm the queer as sacred, as liminal, as being touched by the gods. All magic is magic. All love is love. All people are people.
We are all images of divinity. As a polytheist, I affirm trans and queer deities among the vast range of deities. The Sun is both fierce and hot, gentle and warming. The Ocean is both gentle, rocking the cradle of dreams, and destructive, storming and raging and destroying. Neither of these moods has any essential gender. The Moon is the lover of the hidden ones, calling to us of wildness and wilderness, dreams and intuition. These experiences are available to all genders – we all carry the tides of the Moon in our blood and in our bodies, regardless of whether we menstruate.  Let us celebrate the tides of our blood with all who venerate the body, regardless of their anatomy or ours.
Let us magnify and glorify the images of divinity within ourselves and each other. Show forth love and beauty and creativity; celebrate the radiance of the many-hued multiplicity of gender expression, sexuality, and the human body.
Radical Faeries parade at London Pride, Trafalgar Square. By Fæ - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10791440
Radical Faeries in London Pride procession, Trafalgar Square.. By  – Own workCC BY-SA 3.0.

Exciting new projects

Pat Mosley is organising an anthology, Arcane Perfection, which will be a collection of essays, poetry, art, rage, love, rituals, spells, and musings by, for, and about Queer, Trans, and Intersex Witches. Sounds totally awesome.
How have you overcome discrimination? How have you encountered the Divine? What are your experiences with magic as a Queer person? How has Witchcraft empowered your life as a Queer person? Can you tell the story of your transition through the Tarot? What is your relationship to the world, to Pagan community, to Queer community? Do you have a rant that needs to be screamed into publication? How are you uprooting heterocisnormativity in the Pagan community and beyond? How have you dealt with loss, invisibility, violence, disability, racism, power, capitalism, jealousy, change, and love?
Other exciting trans-inclusive projects are being discussed and planned.

Trans charities

In the UK, Gendered IntelligenceAction for Trans Health, and Mermaids have all been recommended to me as charities doing great work.
David Salisbury’s post lists some US trans charities that he plans to support: National Center for Transgender Equality and Gender Justice Los Angeles.

(This post was originally published on Dowsing for Divinity)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

In different ways

‘Do you not know that at the dawn of manifestation the gods wove the web of creation between the poles of the pairs of opposites, active and passive, positive and negative, and that all things are these two things in different ways and upon different levels, even priests and priestesses . . . . .’
The Sea Priestess by Dion Fortunepage 172
(quoted in Jason Mankey's excellent article, A Witch's Guide to Dion Fortune)

That's right: all things have polarity - not just male and female, but many other pairs of opposites too.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

What is inclusive Wicca?

  • inclusive Wicca includes all participants regardless of sexual orientation, disability, age, ethnicity, or other differences, not by erasing or ignoring the distinctions, but by working with them creatively within initiatory Craft.
  • Tracing the development of Pagan and Wiccan ideas about gender and sexuality, authority and tradition, we can see that the Craft has evolved since the 1950s, and will continue to develop in the future.

  • inclusive Wicca is not a separate tradition from Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca. It is a tendency within Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca, just like progressive Wicca.

  • an inclusive approach to Wicca encompasses eco-spirituality, science, attitudes to truth, the sacred, sexuality, consent culture, group dynamics, coven leadership, ritual, ethics, and Wiccan theology and practice, tradition, and magic, and how these concepts can be explored as part of a liberal religious approach to Wicca. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Introduction

I was resisting the idea of creating an inclusive Wicca website, because I don't want people to think of inclusive Wicca as a separate tradition from Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca. It is a tendency within Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca, just like progressive Wicca.

But there are now so many great articles and ideas about inclusive Wicca, and many covens practising inclusive Wicca, that it seemed like a good idea to have a place to share resources.

We already have an excellent Facebook group, the Inclusive Wicca Discussion Group, but a resource website seemed like the logical next step.

Inclusive Wicca (design by Yvonne Aburrow)
Inclusive Wicca symbol (design by Yvonne Aburrow)