Sunday, January 16, 2005

Kissing Frogs - Feminism & Pagan Spirituality

Interesting article at TWV today. She did a nice job articulating the best arguments of the last 30 years. It never hurts to say this stuff again.

I wrote to her, and cc'd the folks over at the Witches' Voice as well as some old time organizers here.

My main points are in the last three paragraphs of my letter to her. I hope she takes note of these. It's one thing to talk, but (and I asked this kindly) what is she actually doing?


Greetings, this is Sia with Full Circle.

I am writing to say that I enjoyed reading your article on Feminist Paganism at The Witches' Voice today. I think you did a wonderful job articulating the forces of Feminism within Paganism. This is something that needs saying again and again.

I, too, am concerned when I see Feminism used as the "F Word"; especially among the younger ones, who might not know our history and who therefore don't know the way to a wonderful, rich place they can go to for empowerment and inspiration.

Out here in California we are lucky because we've had such a strong tradition of Feminist Spirituality. Most of the groups, Circles, Covens, and organizations out here were founded and are led by women. The college courses have also been strongly supportive of Women's History, Women's Spirituality, and Feminism since the 1970's and this has been a gift.

To be fair, some of the "old guard" Pagan Feminists are stuck in their ways, and the movement has since grown organically, as is natural. New groups have grown up to meet the needs of the community as it stands now, and those of us with Highest Good in mind all do our best to work together and to celebrate the gifts each group offers to the world. (Take a look at our Community Calendar and our website and you'll see what I mean).

I've been working within the Feminist community since 1973. I've been active in the Goddess community since 1983 and in the Neo-Pagan community since 1993. I've heard an awful lot of rhetoric in that time. I no longer listen to the talkers, but I choose to work with those who walk the walk. Happily, there are a lot of Organizers who are doing a great deal to make these changes you describe a reality. They have always had this vision, and they do the hard slogging, daily work without much praise. To them, the regard of those they respect is (and has to be) enough.

As for me, I've learned to take the emails we get and the silly notes you see at places like Wren's Nest with a ton of salt. An over-abundance of whiners, complainers, and critics write in to these things. Those who are thoughtful and are doing the work at hand usually don't have the time or the interest to be posting at such places. When they do, they do so thoughtfully, and they are worth listening to, but you have to kiss a lot of frogs, before you find these folk; acting as quiet forces for good out on their lonely lily pads.

So, I cherish the occasional voice of reason, but overall, I read these forums only as a way to diagnose the disease we encounter daily in this work. They help me to marshal my arguments, both Pro and Con, for what we do here, and they act as what the Buddhists call a "difficult gift".

I tell people who are frustrated with these forums, not to blame the Hosts for what one see's there. As much as I hate the whining and stupidity I read at Wren's Nest, I think she provides a valuable service by letting us air our dirty laundry in public - how else will we know what needs cleaning? So, I'm glad that that these posts inspired you to take your anger and use it to write an article stating what you believe. I am hoping that they don't get to you.

In closing, I would like to say again that you've made some points that we've all been making for a long time now and that you've done a splendid job. As you've seen, there is still a great need for articulate voices like yours on these subjects, and I'm glad that you stood up in a public forum and said this. Brava.

One thing I would like to see in your articles in future is a Bio at the end. I checked your listings at The Witches' Voice and saw nothing there nor did I see anything in the article. So, I came away from your writing knowing what you thought, and read and what influenced you, but I didn't know what it is that you actually do. I think a list of your work within the local, Pagan and Feminist communities might inspire others and I would encourage you to note that for the benefit of others who might want to follow your example.

Hang in there & Blessed Be,


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