Homosexuality and Wicca

It has recently come to my attention that there continue to be certain sects of Wicca which discourage or even prohibit Homosexuality. To me this is not only shocking but disturbing. I understand that each branch of Wicca, as each branch of Paganism, is going to have it's own rules, teachings and specific beliefs, but it's difficult for me to understand how any branch could expect someone to deny their true self.

Many Wiccan covens do stress an equal balance of male & female members as a way to balance the male & female energies. However, ones sexuality is rarely a factor even in these covens. Of course there are covens which don't have an equal balance and will take any worthy initiates regardless of gender or sexuality. There are also an increasing number of Pagan Groups founded by or for gay members, and these groups may take only initiates of one gender rather than looking for a balance.

Overall, you'll find sexuality to be a non-issue in the Pagan Community. Most Pagans have the simple belief that as long as you're happy in your relationship, the gender of your partner simply doesn't matter. What matters is that you are loved and that you love. 

There are of course those who come in to the Pagan community tightly clinging to more conservative views based on their previous understandings of religion & spirituality. And in times when homosexuality was still culturally unacceptable this was even more common. Unfortunately these beliefs have bled in to some traditions, writings and teachings. However, this trend is coming to an end and you'll tend to find a larger portion of Open Gays and Lesbians at Pagan gatherings than you will in the general population.

For those who buy in to the need for gender equality within working circles or covens I say this: "We are all half male & female from birth, the genitalia which we physically possess has no bearing on spirituality." The majority of the Pagan world buys in to the live and let live rule. For those who are Wiccan, there is the ever present "An It Harm None, Do What Thou Wilt" rule as well. Since Homophobia and Intolerance are very harmful, it's hard to defend such attitudes while living the Wiccan life.

A Pagan Pledge

* I am a Pagan and I dedicate Myself to channeling the Spiritual Energy of my Inner Self to help and to heal myself and others.

* I know that I am a part of the Whole of Nature. May I grow in understanding of the Unity of all  Nature. May I always walk in Balance.

* May I always be mindful of the diversity of Nature as well as its Unity and may I always be tolerant of those whose race, appearance, sex, sexual preference, culture, and other ways differ from my own.

* May I use the Force/Power wisely and never use it for aggression nor for malevolent
purposes. May I never direct it to curtail the free will of another.

* May I always be mindful that I create my own reality and that I have the power within me to create
positivity in my life.

* May I always act in honorable ways: being honest with myself and others, keeping my word
whenever I have given it, fulfilling all responsibilities and commitments I have taken on to the best of
my ability.

* May I always remember that whatever is sent out always returns magnified to the sender. May the
Forces of Karma move swiftly to remind me of these spiritual commitments when I have begin to falter from them, and may I use this Karmic feedback to help myself grow and be more attuned to my Inner Pagan Spirit.

* May I always remain strong and committed to my Spiritual ideals in the face of adversity and negativity. May the Force of my Inner Spirit ground out all malevolence directed my way and  transform it into positivity. May my Inner Light shine so strongly that malevolent forces can not even approach my sphere of existence.

* May I always grow in Inner Wisdom & Understanding. May I see every problem that I face as an
opportunity to develop myself spiritually in solving it.

* May I always act out of Love to all other beings on this Planet -- to other humans, to plants, to
animals, to minerals, to elementals, to spirits, and to other entities.

* May I always be mindful that the Goddess and God in all their forms dwell within me and that this
divinity is reflected through my own Inner Self, my Pagan Spirit.

* May I always channel Love and Light from my being. May my Inner Spirit, rather than my ego self,
guide all my thoughts, feelings, and actions.

SO MOTE IT BE!

Cold Moon

In January, the nights are long and dark, and many of us are trying to stay warm under a blanket of snow as the Cold Moon approaches. The native tribes of North America called this time the Wolf Moon, because this was when the wolves were howling, hungry, outside lodges where people stayed warm within. This time of year, we're all feeling a bit slow and "off" as our bodies adjust to chillier temperatures.

Correspondences:
  • Colors: Black and white, silver
  • Gemstones: Hematite
  • Trees: Birch, Hazel
  • Gods: Inanna, Freyja
  • Herbs: Thistle, nuts and seeds, marjoram
  • Element: Air
This is a good time to work on magic related to protection, both physical and spiritual. Use this time to develop your inner self, and advance spiritually, becoming closer to the higher aspects of your deities.

Also Known As: Wolf Moon, Chaste Moon

But you look so normal...

I have heard these words more than once when announcing my faith to new friends, family or coworkers. For some reason Hollywood has convinced people that Pagans or Witches all "look the part." Like our hair, clothes or jewelry has to announce our faith at first glance. And when you try to tell people differently they look at you like you just grew a second head. But the truth of the matter is that each and every one of us looks different, and most of us look like your every day person. It's rare beyond seeing a pentacle necklace that I am able to look at someone and recognize that they are a Pagan or Witch, and even then it's not always the case.

Hair, Clothing and Jewelry styles vary from place to place and person to person. And while SOME faiths have clothing styles which they endorse Paganism generally isn't one of them. Obviously if you see a "Proud Pagan" shirt you can feel free to assume, but short of that you really never know. I've met a few that felt like they had to dress "gothy" or in a certain color to signify their beliefs or show them off. To me, any Pagan that feels the need to show off their beliefs, is in it more for the "shock factor" than anything and isn't terribly serious about their faith. Of course, that's not always the case either, but generally, it's what I've found to be true.



Now, does that mean you won't ever find a "Goth" Pagan? No, of course not, many of those who choose to dress "Gothy" are Pagans, but not all are. And you may also find certain other styles that are more popular among Pagans than others, but to assume someones faith based on the color of their hair or how they dress simply doesn't make sense. Unfortunately it's something that people tend to do a good bit, and not usually in a good way either.

So how do we react when someone assumes we are or aren't something based on our appearance alone? My gut reaction is always to set the record straight. When I hear the infamous "But you look normal" line, I tend to go way out of my way to make sure they not only know the truth about me, but about their assumption. And I'll be the first to tell you not everyone is a fan of that, but I'm not in the market for friends who will judge me based on my clothing anyways.

For your BOS: African Gods & Goddesses List

ANANASI (Various tribes) The spider. A trickster. A creator god. Something of a scoundrel, but quite well liked. Many amusing and fanciful stories are told of him.

ANYIEWO (Ewe) The Great Serpent who comes out to graze after the rain. The rainbowis his reflection.

BUKU (Various West African peoples) A sky god sometimes worshiped as a goddess. Buku created everything, even the other gods.

DANH also DAN AYIDO HWEDO (Dahomey) Snake god. The Haitians know him as Dan Petro. The Rainbow Snake who encircles the world, Danh is often portrayed with his tail in his mouth as a symbol of unity and wholeness.

DXUI
(Bushman; to the Hottentots, TSUI; to the Xhosa and Ponda, THIXO) A creator god. In the beginning, Dxui took the form of a different flower or plant every day, becoming himself at night, until he had created all the plants and flowers that exist.

ESHU (Yoruba) A trickster. A shape-shifter, Eshu can change his form at will, and can even seem to be both huge and small at the same time. Eshu confuses men and drives them to madness. But Eshu also knows all human tongues and acts as a go-between for mortals and the gods.

GUNAB (Hottentot) The enemy of Tsui-Goab, Gunab lived under a pile of stones. Gunab kept overpowering Tsui-Goab, but the god grew stronger after each battle. Because he killed so many, Gunab is sometimes identified with death. Creator of the rainbow.

GUA (Ga tribe of West Africa) God of thunder, blacksmiths and farmers. Gua's temples are often found at blacksmith's forges.

KIBUKA (Baganda) A war god sent to save the Baganda people. The king of the Baganda asked heaven for assistance in war, and Kibuka was sent to aid them. Warned not to have anything to do with the enemy's women, Kibuka neverthelessm made love to a woman prisoner. Unwisely, Kibuka confided in her, and after escaping she told the enemy how Kibuka could be killed, by firing arrows into the cloud where he was hiding. Kibuka flew off to a tall tree to die, and a temple was built at the place where his body was found.

LEZA (Central Africa) "The One Who Besets." Known to a number of peoples, Leza is the Supreme God who rules the sky and send wind and rain. Leza sits on the backs of all people, and no one ever breaks free of him. Leza is said to be growing old and so does not hear prayers as well as he once did.

MAWU-LISA (Ewe) The great god and goddess of the sun and moon. Lisa is the sun and Mawu is the moon.

MULUNGU (East Africa) God, the Supreme Being.
The concept of a supreme being and creator is nearly universal in Africa, although there are few temples to him. The titles which Africans have given God are wondrous in their variety. A few of these are: Creator, Moulder, Giver of Rain and Sunshine, he Who Brings the Seasons, He Who Thunders, Ancient of Days, the First, the Limitless, the One. Who Bends Even Kings, the One You Meeet Everywhere, the Firelighter, Great Mother, Greatest of Friends, the Kindly One, the Providence Who Watches All Like the Sun, the Great Pool Contemporary of Everything, the Great Spider, the One Beyond All Thanks, the Bow in the Sky, the Angry One, the Inexplicable.

NANAN-BOUCLOU (Ewe) The original god of the Ewe tribe, both male and female, Nanan-Bouclou is much too remote for worship. In Haiti Nanan-Bouclou is remembered as the god of herbs and medicines.

'NGAI (Masai) Creator god. At birth, 'Ngai gives each man a guardian spirit to ward off danger and carry him away at the moment of death. The evil are carried off to a desert, while the good go to a land of rich pastures and many cattle.

NYAME (Ashanti) Supreme God of Heaven, both the sun god and the moon goddess. Nyame created the three realms, the sky, the earth and the underworld. Before being born, souls are taken to Nyame and washed in a golden bath, Nyame gives the soul its destiny and places some of the water of life in the soul's mouth. The soul is then fit to be born.

NYASAYE (Maragoli, Kenya) Cheif god of the Maragoli. Spirits aid Maragoli's work, and they are represented by round stones circling a pole which represents the god.

NZAME (Fan people of the Congo) A vague and shadowy god whose likeness can't be captured in wood, stone or metal. Nzame lived on earth with his three sons, Whiteman, Blackman and Gorilla. Blackman, Gorilla and all their kinfolk sinned against Nzame, and so Nzame took all his wealth and went to live with his son Whiteman in the west. Gorilla and his kin went to live in the jungle. Without he wealth, power and knowledge of Nzame, Blackman and his kin live a hard life of poverty and ignorance, ever dreaming of the western land where dwells Nzame and his favored son, Whiteman.

SAGBATA (Dahomey; to the Yoruba, SHAGPONA) God of smallpox. Sagbata's shrines were painted with a design of small spots. Sagbata's priests fought small pox with both prayers and medical knowledge, and wielded great power over the people because they had learned how to use dried scabs both to immunize themselves against the disease and to spread it. Smallpox was considered a great disgrace and its victims were ostracized.

TANO
(Ashanti) The second oldest son of God, and god of the river of the same name. The gods of the other rivers and families in the same region are all his family. Long ago Tano lost a singing match with Death. Tano and Death sang defiance to each other for over a month, but neither could win so they had to compromise. When someone is injured or falls ill, whichever god arrives first will claim him. If Tano arrives first, the person will live, but if Death arrives first the patient is lost.

TSUI' GOAB
(Hottentots) "Wounded Knee," "Father of Our Fathers." A rain god who lives in the clouds, a great chief and magician. Tsui' Goab made the first man and woman from rocks. Several times Tsui' Goab died and rose again, to great joy and feasting. Men invoke Tsui' Goab with the first rays of dawn and give oaths in his name.

UNKULUNKULU
(Zulu) "Old, Old One." Unkulunkulu was both the first man and the creator, a god of the earth who had no traffic with the heavens. Unkulunkulu showed men how to live together and gave them knowledge of the world in which they lived. 

YO (Dahomey) A trickster, neither god nor human. Yo's greed constantly gets him in trouble. Mawu created him for no good reason. Yo is everywhere. You can't kill him, you can't eat him, you can't get rid of him at all. Yo is the only one of his kind. One is enough.

2011 Pagan Calendar of Events

January

    * 1: Birthday of folkorist Sir James Frazier, 1854
    * 4: New Moon
    * 4: Partial solar eclipse
    * 13: Last of Austria's witchcraft laws repealed in 1787
    * 19: Full moon -- Cold Moon at 9:22 pm
    * 19: Birthday of Dorothy Clutterbuck
    * 25: Birthday of poet Robert Burns, 1759
    * 25: Up Helly Aa celebration, Shetland Islands, Scotland
    * 30: Birthday of Z Budapest, founder of Dianic Wicca
    * 30 - Feb. 2: Roman celebration of Februalia

February

    * 2: Imbolc
    * 2: Lammas or Lughnasadh (Southern Hemisphere)
    * 3: New moon
    * 12: Death of Gerald Gardner in 1964
    * 14: Valentine's Day
    * 15: Lupercalia
    * 18: Full moon -- Quickening Moon at 8:36 am
    * 18 - 21: PantheaCon (San Jose, CA)
    * 21: Birthday of author Patricia Telesco

March

    * 1: Matronalia, the Festival of Women
    * 4: New moon
    * 6: Birthday of "official witch of Salem" Laurie Cabot in 1933
    * 19: Full moon Storm Moon at 6:10 pm
    * 20: Ostara
    * 20: Mabon (Southern Hemisphere)
    * 26: Birthday of author and folklorist Joseph Campbell
    * 28: Death of author Scott Cunningham in 1993

April

    * 3: New moon
    * 6: National Tartan Day
    * 16: Birthday of author Margot Adler
    * 18: Full moon -- Wind Moon at 2:43 am
    * 22: Earth Day
    * 23: Wiccan pentacle is officially added to the list of VA-approved emblems for gravestones, 2007
    * 30: Walpurgisnacht celebrated by German witches

May

    * 1: Beltane
    * 1: Samhain (Southern Hemisphere)
    * 3: New moon
    * 5: Cinco de Mayo
    * 8: Mother's Day
    * 17: Full moon -- Flower Moon at 11:07 am

June

    * 1: New moon
    * 1: Partial solar eclipse
    * 1: England's Witchcraft Act of 1563 goes into effect
    * 10: Hanging of Bridget Bishop, first victim in the Salem Witch Trials
    * 13: Birthday of Gerald Gardner in 1884
    * 15: Full moon -- Strong Sun Moon at 8:12 pm
    * 15: Total lunar eclipse
    * 17: Birthday of Wiccan author Starhawk
    * 19: Father's Day
    * 21: Litha
    * 21: Yule (Southern Hemisphere)
    * 22: England's last Witchcraft Law is repealed in 1951
    * 27: Birthday of author Scott Cunningham in 1956

July

    * 1: New moon
    * 1: Partial solar eclipse
    * 4: Independence Day
    * 13: Birthday of Dr. John Dee in 1527
    * 19: Rebecca Nurse is hanged in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692
    * 15: Full moon -- Blessing Moon at 6:38 am
    * 30: New moon
    * 31: Birthday of author JK Rowling

August

    * 1: Lammas or Lughnasadh
    * 1: Imbolc (Southern Hemisphere)
    * 1: Birthday of medium Edward Kelley, 1555
    * 5 - 7: Dublin Irish Festival (Dublin, OH)
    * 13: Full Moon -- Corn Moon at 6:57 pm
    * 15: Birthday of Charles Leland, folklorist and author, 1824
    * 20: Birthday of author Ann Moura in 1947
    * 29: New moon
    * 31: Birthday of author Raymond Buckland

September

    * 10: Birthday of Carl Llewellyn Weschcke
    * 12: Full Moon -- Harvest Moon at 9:26 am
    * 14: Birthday of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa in 1486
    * 16 - 19: CWPN Harvest Gathering (Marlborough, CT)
    * 17: Television welcomes Bewitched in 1964
    * 21: International Day of Peace
    * 23: Fall Equinox or Mabon
    * 23: Ostara (Southern Hemisphere)
    * 27: New moon

October

    * 1: Birthday of Isaac Bonewits, founder of Ár nDraíocht Féin
    * 12: Full moon -- Blood Moon at 2:06 pm
    * 12: Birthday of occultist Aleister Crowley
    * 18: Birthday of Nicholas Culpeper, noted herbalist, in 1616
    * 20: Birthday of Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary
    * 26: New moon
    * 31: Samhain
    * 31: Beltane (Southern Hemisphere)
    * 31: Covenant of the Goddess formed in 1975

November

    * 2: Birthday of Wiccan author Sirona Knight
    * 10: Full moon -- Mourning Moon at 8:17 pm
    * 11: Veteran's Day
    * 24: Thanksgiving day (United States)
    * 25: New moon
    * 25: Partial solar eclipse
    * 30: Birthday of Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, founder of Church of All Worlds
    * 30: Festival of Hecate Trivia

December

    * 6: Krampusnacht
    * 10: Full moon -- Long Nights Moon at 2:37 pm
    * 10: Total lunar eclipse
    * 17: Beginning of Saturnalia
    * 22: Winter Solstice or Yule
    * 22: Litha (Southern Hemisphere)
    * 24: New moon
    * 25: Christmas Day
    * 25: Feast of Frau Halle, Germanic goddess
    * 31: Festival of Hogmanay

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