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)