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Showing posts from 2016

Review of Queer Paganism by Jo Green

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Queer 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.

Happy Holidays!

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Happy Holidays Merry Yule
Happy Winter Solstice  (Northern Hemisphere) Merry Christmas Happy Yaldā Happy Hanukkah Happy Chalica Kwanzaa greetings Bob Dydd Santes Dwynwen Happy Saturnalia Festivus greetings Happy Pancha Ganapati Bona Dies Natalis Sol Invictus Gud Modranecht 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.

New Zazzle shop

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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.

inclusive Wicca badge
by inclusivewicca

The two chalices ritual

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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.
An inclusive wine ritual

inclusive Wicca pottery

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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:


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.

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.Loading...

Go to the Google Form

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.


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 …

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 lo…

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:
A list of pro-immigrant, pro-women, pro-Earth organisations

UPDATE
New resource on this website:  Resisting fascism

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, commun…

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. Fert…

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 an…

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 n…

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 booksThe 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 co…

A Queer Pagan Reading List

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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 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons GayBlossom of Bone – Reclaiming the Connections Between Homoeroticism and the Sacred – Randy P. ConnerComing Out Spiritually: The Next Step – Christian de la HuertaThe Fire in Moonlight: Stories from the Radical Faeries – Mark ThompsonGay Body: A Journey Through Shadow To Self – Mark ThompsonGay Soul – Mark ThompsonGay Spirit: Myth and Meaning – Mark ThompsonThe Path Of The Green Man: Gay Men, Wicca and Living a Magical Life – Michael Thomas Ford InclusiveAll Acts of Love & Pleasure: Inclusive Wicca – Yvonne AburrowChaos Craft by Julian Vayne and Steve DeeEros and Touch from a Pagan Perspective: Divided for Love’s Sake – Christine Hoff Krae…

"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.) S…

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 initiat…

We Reject Racism

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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 inThe 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…

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 s…

We are rising!

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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…

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.

What is inclusive Wicca?

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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. 

Introduction

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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 symbol (design by Yvonne Aburrow)