Lilith by Megaera Callisto Lorenz
Friday was all about getting settled in and getting my bearings. I had to do on-site registration for the 'Con, wait in a loooong line to get into my room, then we had a meeting of the Bay Area bureau of the Pagan Newswire collective to decide which stories were going to be covered by whom. My partner and I traded off watching Rowan when we were not attending things with him- and Friday was his night to carouse. So I stayed in.
Saturday morning, I went to John Michael Greer's presentation on the Picatrix, which was fantastic. He recently did a new translation and I am anxious to get a copy (I am a geek like that!). Then I attended a ritual for youth ages 8-12 and interviewed the woman who organized and proposed the event. Then I hung out in my suite for a private event where we did workings that set me abuzz.
We hosted a playdate in the Pagan Playdate suite that afternoon, and there I got to meet more pagan families, and some will be joining us for playdates beyond the 'Con! That was awesome and exciting. We are building the organization, one brick at a time.
|Lilith, once more|
To exclude certain kinds of women because of their anatomy, biology, or life experience is UNFEMINIST, and I cannot abide this kind of bigotry- especially in the guise of religion. It pains me that some people I genuinely like perpetuate this horrible transphobia and unreligious* behavior. While women have been oppressed, that does not make it okay to oppress others. And that is exactly what is happening here- make no mistake.
My patroness, Lilith, wants me to say publicly that this ritual in question was supposed to be dedicated to Her- yet She is not pleased. Lilith does not approve of this bigoted nonsense. Women- please hear her. Bigotry in Her name will not be tolerated. Organizers playing gender police that night may have some nasty life surprises waiting for them as a result. She has a way of getting her way- by hook or by crook. She has a way of making her Will known, and not always pleasantly. These organizers are obviously not familiar with my Patroness, as She is the patron of sexual and gender variance and freaks of all kinds, among other things. What were they thinking (or were they)? She is not simply the cute feminist icon of "I submit to no man!". This goddess isn't about not doing it missionary-style. No scholarly research was done here evidently- because Lilith would not abide any rite that excludes Her people.
There will be a detailed story about this for Bay Area PNC, I am glad to say- as this issue needs to be out there for the community to read about.
Oracular Seidh. I am very interested in all kinds of oracular work, and this particular tradition has a great history and lore around this form. I was very affected in the session myself, and some of the tenders felt the need to check in on me a couple times. I was fine, but entering just that trance state myself. Afterwards, even though it was my turn to carouse, I was wiped and went back to the suite to sleep!
Sunday, I was part of a panel introducing the Pagan Newswire Collective. I am hoping there were some in the audience that will become future writers for the Bay Area!
I missed the Family Blot in the next time slot, but heard about it from other attendees (Rowan was melting down and needed a nap) while in the Pagan Playdate suite. We (Rowan and myself) tried to attend the "Fairy Tea Party" for kids after his nap, but it was kind of a disaster for us. The organizers had placed a shiny sequined altar cloth (on the floor! with cookies on it!) in the center of the room, and then did not want any of the kids to touch it right away. Um, what?! That's possibly fine for a 5 or 6 year old, but toddlers? Not so much. Rowan could not wait to grab the shiny and delicious things, much to the organizer's chagrin. He is a wild thing, and it was tough reining him in. He ended up running around the space maniacally and bonked his head so badly he got a goose egg on his forehead. (Before you ask, he is fine). It was not exactly good logistical planning for kids under 2. So we left early. I was able to promote the Pagan Playdate storytime afterwards, so that is where we headed next.
Monday morning, I got up early again and went to "Passing It On: Creating Sustainable Traditions In Pagan Families" where I networked and interviewed the presenter for my PNC article. There were resources swapped and friends made.
The protesters of the Lilith ritual were given a space to hold a forum/roundtable on this day, which I attended and made my voice heard. I was happy to see that virtually all in attendance were against the discrimination, yet also believed in the integrity of women's and men's ritual space (they just believed, as I do, in self identification as the litmus test for entrance).
What pains me is that while most people I know dismiss this as a "second wave feminist problem" (meaning it is generational and when these die-hards finally pass on, so will this issue), that is not the case- at least here in this instance. Come As You Are Coven, aka CAYA (the CAYA Amazons put on this ritual and run many of their non-PantheaCon women's rituals with the same rules- no trans women) is a fairly new organization that attracts people in their twenties and thirties- many of them new to pagandom and witchcraft- and are certainly a generation or two well past the generation of "second wave feminists". They are, in essence, perpetuating this anti-trans bigotry to a new generation of pagans. This makes me both profoundly sad and incredibly angry.
As I said at the round table on this issue, If religion does not bring people closer to the earth, to each other and to the gods, it is not actually religion. The roots of the word are "to re-tie" meaning to all those three things. Bigotry disguising itself as religion acts as a force of disconnection- and therefore is not religion at all.