Non-Binary Genders “too far” for you? I say they aren’t far enough — especially in the pagan and polytheist communities!

[Much of this post was originally from a comment on Facebook about a pagan / tarot “elder” [I’d never heard of her, but I guess she’s well-known in tarot circles?] who felt that non-binary genders were “going too far”, even suggesting that this was all a new thing made up by young people to be “special snowflakes,” or something.]

Historically speaking, non-binary genders are older than “binary” trans identities. The idea of gender as a binary is largely a Christian invention, and as we live in a Christian-dominated society, it’s impossible to say how many binary-gendered trans people of today would maintain a binary identity if, hypothetically speaking, Christianity lost the battle for dominance and Western society was, essentially, still generally “pagan.” All traditional cultures that survive as non-Christian recognize anywhere between three and nine genders traditional to their society — to say that NB genders are some new-fangled “Tumblrism” is to betray a gross ignorance of gender, in general. It’s far from a new concept; at most, it’s one Western society has been in the process of reclaiming for about the last century and, thanks to the way the Internet connects people to one-another, has only been gaining in visibility over the last decade and some (anyone who’s only just now taking notice of this reclaimation over the last year or so simply hasn’t been paying attention).

It would be like saying the “menstrual mysteries” embraced by many cis women in pagan communities is somehow “new,” when the reality is that it’s very very far from a new and novel concept. Before the rise of Christianity, Western pre-Christian societies generally recognized those who existed as being between genders, and many of those societies even gave such people a place of distinction within the culture. Some of these cultures even discovered ways to alter secondary sex characteristics long before the advent of modern HRT and surgeries — but to say this was somehow a perfect cultural translation of modern trans women and trans men is an exercise in cultural chauvinism, practically Colonialism, all too prevalent in modern Western people. Similarities of experience does not mean the experiences are identical.

Gender has always existed outside the binary demanded by Christianity.

The most American thing since that painting of The Apotheosis of George Washington

Two trucks having sex
Two trucks having sex
My muscles, my muscles
Involuntarily flex

Two trucks having sex
Two trucks having sex
My muscles, my muscles
Involuntarily flex

TWO PICKUP TRUCKS
MAKING LOVE
AMERICAN MADE
BUILT FORD TOUGH
TWO BEAUTIFUL MURDER MACHINES
AMERICAN ANGELS IN THE SKY
GROWN MEN CRY

Two trucks having sex (oh yes)
Two trucks having sex (oh yes)
My muscles (UH) My muscles (UH)
Involuntarily flex

Two trucks, having sex (oh yes)
Two trucks, having sex (oh yes)
my muscles (UH) my muscles (UH)
Involuntarily flex

RIGHT BY MY SIDE
THERE’S ZZ TOP
AND ROBERT Z’DAR
FROM MANIAC COP 1, 2 and 3
THIS BARBECUE COULD BRING YOU TO YOUR KNEES
AND SO COULD THESE TWO TRUCKS

Two trucks holding hands
Two trucks holding hands
The passion, the passion
Is more than I can withstand

Two trucks holding hands
Two trucks holding hands
The passion, the passion
My big fat heart expands

TWO PICKUP TRUCKS
ONE CYLINDER BLOCK
CRUSH MY BODY LIKE A ROCK
SO BEAUTIFUL
NO STARS TONIGHT
JUST FIREWORKS AND EAGLES IN THE SKY
THE FOUNDING FATHERS CRY

Two trucks having sex (oh yes)
Two trucks having sex (oh yes)
my muscles (UH) my muscles (UH)
Involuntarily flex

Two trucks, having sex (oh yes)
Two trucks, having sex (oh yes)
my muscles (UH) my muscles (UH)
Involuntarily flex

Two trucks having sex
Two trucks having sex
My muscles, my muscles
Involuntarily flex

Two trucks having sex
Two trucks having sex
My muscles, my muscles
Involuntarily flex

Two trucks (having sex)
Two trucks (having sex)
Two trucks (having sex, having sex, having sex)
Two trucks (having sex)
Two trucks (having sex)
Two trucks (having sex, having sex, having sex)
credits
from Nature Tapes EP, track released May 3, 2013

 

 

Soft Skills Aren’t “Sexy”: Whom We Befriend and Make Our Allies Matters.

KALLISTI

At sixteen and seventeen, I took 200- and 300-level college history courses in East Asian and Russian History. I chose those classes because my high school’s treatment of world history was severely lacking. Our history teacher kept getting shipped out to Afghanistan for combat, so my sophomore year had been spent oscillating between him and a bunch of random substitute teachers who seldom knew the material well.

Rural Missouri used the Texas-approved schoolbooks that taught Old Testament history as if it were true while at the same time teaching us disparaging and often incorrect things about African, Asian, South Asian, and American indigenous practices/history. As the sole non-Christian in the class, I didn’t know the Old Testament, so I actually had to learn the names of people and memorize things for the test.

I spent a fair bit of time reading Gnostic gospels and their commentaries, occult and esoteric texts…

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In Defense of “Just Things”

I’m unusual in the scope of Millennials and Young Gen-Xers in that I don’t fetishise the “Spartan” minimalist life.  While I don’t believe that I should acquire more than I need in this life, I recognize the spirits in that which many regard as “just things – you can replace things.”  Tell me, though — can you truly replace your child, or “at least” a beloved pet when they die?

My friend Cinamon and I are both long-time antique enthusiasts, and have discussed our animistic relationship with old things:  Antiques have spirits in them, wiser and oddly protective in ways that newer things aren’t yet capable of expressing.  Hell, pressboard furniture seems to understand that it was made to be disposable within a few years, and feels very helpless when I touch it — my computer desk is possibly the oldest surviving pressboard piece I’ve met, going on twenty-five years old, and inherited from an ex who knew I needed a desk in a pinch; he’s all but fallen apart, feel weary, practically begging me to find a new desk and “pull the plug” on him — though when I do, I intend to take him apart and give his larger panels to a friend who likes pressboard panels for her mixed-media art, it just feels like the least I can do to honour him for holding together long past his life expectancy.  Antiques, though, they have stories that you can feel, wen you touch them, and if you’re especially in tune with them, they can tell you parts of their lives.

I’ve seen many people of older generations than mine, especially Americans, lament how the younger generations have little to no interest in family histories, especially heirlooms, sometimes just after going on about how our belongings are “just things” and “things can be replaced.” Well, what do you expect young people to think of family heirlooms after raising them to believe everything is just disposable, replaceable things?

This is how we lose our family histories. When our histories become intangible abstract ideas, they become lost, and our things help tell our stories as much as our words do.

While I have no intentions of having children (in fact, since my hysterectomy and metoidioplasty going on two months ago, well, bearing any is now physically impossible), I do intend to assign an heir — if only to continue the teachings of Eros — and this heir will understand the importance of what American society likes to regard as “mere things” that as disposable, replaceable, and lacking any importance to our histories. These “mere things” give our histories a tangible element that we can not only see, but touch and feel and truly understand in ways that words on a screen, or even a page, simply cannot, and can never convey.

You may say that there’s “just things,” but I say that they’re a part of my history, they say something about who I am and where I came from.

I have a ninety-plus-years-old gown – vintage 1920s, black lace; I’ve only worn it twice, but I believe with everything in me, this dress has told me that it belonged to a former incarnation of my soul. She was a performer, and she died rather young, after losing her true love; the dress was sold “back” to me at a loss to my friend who owned the shop -she told me that she felt it rightfully belonged to me- and it’s told me that we need to find our soulmate again, in this lifetime, to right the heartbreak of nearly a century ago.

My couch has told me it used to host salons with its first owner. My chair was imported from France by a wealthy woman from the area. My floorlamp has no special stories, just that it was loved for a time, until it spent many years in storage until it was purchased by the friend who owns another store where I found it, and give it the love it had missed for several decades.

You may say that they’re “just things,” but they have lives older than my own, with stories to tell and a desire to shape my own history along with me, and let me pass that legacy to my heir who will understand that they’re more than mere things, but history, souls, and capable of loving us as much as we love them.

Let’s Talk About: Rhyd Wildermuth

Rhyd has always been one of those people who I felt like, maybe I should like him more than I actually do.  He and I are far closer on the political spectrum than Galina Krasskova and myself, but in the last year or so, I have discovered problem, after problem, after problem with him.

Until a couple years ago, especially noticeable before the launch of Gods & Radicals, he wrote a lot of more mystical stuff, bardic, poetic,…  It wasn’t really my thing, for the most part, but it was inspired and original and -most importantly- interesting.  Then, whatever the hell happened, his calling got upended and he’s since been rehashing Marxism For Dummies and a Cliff’s Notes of Starhawk, and it’s been trite and boring.  If you find this “inspiring,” I highly recommend that you actually read The Communist Manifesto and Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, and pretty much any of Starhawk’s works, because they’ve both actually addressed all of the issues Rhyd’s been talking for the last couple years in a concise manner, and better-written, and they actually come closer to offering viable solutions than anything Rhyd’s said…

…but then, when someone actually tells him that he’s all theory and no solution, he just hand-waves about being a philosopher, as if that actually addresses the fairly justified critiques.  I mean, hell, can’t he just Cliff’s Notes Marx’s solutions, or Guevara’s, or Starhawk’s, and so on — or would that just make it all the more obvious that he hasn’t had an original thought in his head for the last two years?

Yeah, probably….

Then there’s his social justice problems.

Yes, he’s been regarded as “SJW” for a few years, now, but here’s the thing (aside from the fact that the term has become as meaningless as “politically correct” has been since the 1990s):  He’s about as terrible as Tumblr thinks many male film stars are, when it comes to intersectional issues.

He’s got an established record of sexism and misogyny.  I’ve been told several accounts -both first-hand and eye-witness (or at least the Internet equivalent of)- and seen many of the “receipts” of his tendencies to just outright dismiss the concerns of women so he can tell them that they should care more about how the real problem is Capitalism, as if ending Capitalism is just suddenly supposed to end sexism with Anarchist Magic — I don’t know what gender studies histories he’s read, but sexism long pre-dates Capitalism, ergo, ending Capitalism won’t end sexism, no matter what Rhyd seems to want his readers think.  (As a quick example off the top of my head:  The Cyrenaics and Cynics were regarded as fucking oddball schools of philosophy, as women were held in just as much regard as the men in those schools — and that’s just the Hellenic world.  There are countless examples of how sexism reigned long before the institution of Capitalism, and how fucking revolutionary proto-feminism has always been.)  That pretty much is just Marx verbatim, when he pulls that shit — it might make sense in print, but it betrays a gross ignorance of the history of misogyny, and since Marx was talking from a position of male privilege, it obviously didn’t occur to him that ending Capitalism won’t magically make sexism disappear.

Stemming from his misogyny is his implicit femphobia.  If you think he hasn’t committed this, I ask that you consider:

  • The fact that he has, on several occasion, gone on and on and fucking on about how he’s gone out of his way to craft a burly, especially masculine/butch physique and image.  Shit, I’ve seen him go on about his own stench with more zeal than most trans guys marvel at their own after only several months on HRT — at least with trans guys, there’s the excuse that they’re basically going through puberty again, only a biologically “male” one, this time around, and they find the difference interesting and fascinating.  With Rhyd, it’s like he’s inviting us all to read some autoerotic fetish, cos he’s older than me, and the only other guys I see go on like that as in spank-chats.  This alone isn’t necessarily damning, but he frequently takes a tone implying this is far favourable to effeminacy — this is especially clear when he goes on about the folly of “identity politics” and his rejection of a “gay” identity in the fact of his clear homosexual inclinations.
  • Oh, yeah, and he’s also made a point to remind practically everyone that he’s only interested in guys as burly and smelly as himself.  These have been public Facebook posts that, like I said, read like the text profiles of dudes looking for cybersex and hook-ups.  This is mirrored in countless “No fats, no fems” Grindr profiles and Craigslist “casual encounters” listings.  Again, in and of itself, this isn’t necessarily bad, but our preferences don’t develop in a vacuum, meaning his rejection of effeminacy and the effeminate comes from somewhere.
  • Oh, yeah, and he basically admits that “faggot,” a word that is consistently used as a slur against specifically effeminate men, and especially against gay-identified effeminate men (and remember, he rejects the idea that his homosexual inclinations necessarily make him “gay”) and we see this language of “faggot” reinforced in LGBT+ spaces, in mixed spaces, and especially in any heteronormative spaces — shit, we see this in the 1984 film Purple Rain, as Morris Day calls Prince’s The Kid character, who is as effete as Prince, himself, a “long-haired faggot,” in spite of the character being heterosexual.  This is not a word that has been used against him — but he’s going to appropriate it, anyway, cos that’s just what white cis men do, is appropriate experiences that are not theirs to reclaim.  Guess that’s what unexamined privilege does to a person.

He’s also cissplained to me on several occasions (at least one of which is in the comments on this blog), as if I’m supposed to take this seriously, because he’s the big burly manly cis Man homosexual man, and I’m just the effete trans fag (though vaguely bi-, If I’m being totally honest — like a K5) with more skirts than Eddie Izzard.  Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to eventually learn, some day in the hypothetical future, that he doesn’t actually take my male gender identity seriously for the simple fact that I embrace effeminacy while “real” trans men look like Buck Angel and Jameson Green and Chaz Bono and other masculine manly MAN men, and not like Boy George or Rozz Williams or Marc Bolan — transgressing cisnormativity is fine for cis men, but trans men gotta be Manly MAN Men, y’know?  I suspect he’d go there because I’ve heard this shit from literally every butch cis homosexual I’ve encountered, and a lot of the trans ones, for sure….  Sure, this specific thought is speculative, but it sure as hell wouldn’t surprise me, if it were true.

Now let’s get more personal for a mo’….

So, I’m not going to out this person publicly (they can do that, themself, if they wish to), but Rhyd has told at least one person, knowing full well they were going through a depressive period at the time, that you know, maybe they should just kill themself, cos there really isn’t anything else he can offer as advice.  Thankfully, this person didn’t take Rhyd’s advice, but there are just some lines a decent person never crosses, and I think that’s one of them.

The same person I also trust enough when they told me that Rhyd did, in fact, go out of his way to start shit with Galina and Sannion &co (which is probably, I suspect, what drove Galina into a knee-jerk reaction toward the AltRight — to be fair, her politics have always been fairly far to the right by anyone’s standards, but she’d been considerably more tempered in expressing this, and far less willing to turn a blind eye to some things before this last year and change) to boost hits toward the then-barely-past-inaugural Gods & Radicals e-zine.  This has been corborrated by two other people who were close-enough to the situation, at the time it was happening.  See, prior that, Rhyd was practically Galina’s golden boy, and even though she didn’t agree with his politics, she thought very highly of his work and of him personally, and often cited his mystical posts on his old blog, though I think Sannion referred to Rhyd’s blog from his own, far more often.

Now, as I said the other day, I made the choice to quietly distance myself from Galina &co over political reasons.  Though there was some misunderstanding last year when I mentioned something about it on someone else’s Facebook comments, I’ve really not gone out of my way to be a jackass about it; even my post from the other day, I spent a significant portion of the piece listing everything I still admire about Galina, even though I ultimately concluded that it’s better for myself to maintain some distance.  I never went out of my way to mischaracterize her snarky comments as an “endorsement” of Neonazi groups like the AFA and Stormfront (she and I were never all that close, but I’d certainly read her blog long enough to be able to tell when she’s being snarky and when she’s being serious).  I never decided to pick fights in public and through private emails, and then proclaim it was a “crusade against me.”

That’s another thing that seems to give away, no matter how much he plays around in Europe, how pitifully American Rhyd is:  Literally even the most constructive critiques of his words and deeds suddenly becomes, in Rhyd’s own words, a “crusade against [him],” which is painting any disagreement as an outright Holy War.  He and others may snarkily call Galina &co “the Piety Posse,” but Galina has a tendency to paint these disagreements as actions of disrespect against the gods, spirits, and revered dead — not against her person.  When someone calls out Rhyd for bad behavior, it’s not just a personal attack, it’s an all-out Crusade against him!  Even if you 100% believe that Galina’s talk about how everyone is disrespecting the gods to the point of practical atheism is all “performative” and she’s just ego-tripping, fine, but she at least has the decency to frame it as a defense of something other than herself she’s concerned about (my personal opinion?  Unlike some, I’ve met Galina, and I have witnessed the clear passion she has for her religion, which has literally brought her to tears — it’s humbling to see someone that devoted, and while I don’t like how fervently she goes after every perceived slight she sees against the Gods, I don’t for a second doubt her passionate devotion being anything less than 100% sincere.)  Rhyd makes no such pretentions — he wants you to know that any criticism will be taken as literally a “crusade against him.”

Now let’s go back to my comment about how he’s playing around Europe:  I really can’t take any of his talk about “revolution” seriously after he went expat.  At least when James Baldwin and Josephine Baker took off for France, they did so to escape the outright crippling homophobia and racism that held back their vocations.  Rhyd has a stable income through several avenues, so his ability to do what he loves has not been impeded; hell, even without taking his book money and other sources into account, he’s making enough on Patreon so as to exceed my SSDI cheque, alone, before the added Social Security Survivor’s Benefits that allow me to live on my own, and this income is, as best as I can tell, just for being Rhyd Wildermuth.

…but I digress:  He’s made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he’s written off the States as a “sinking ship,” and that’s why he’s left the country — what this translates as, to me, is “I’m privileged enough to bail after I got mine, and I know the current administration is going to literally kill people, but oh well, I got bored with my old job as a social worker, where I could have at least tried.  I’d rather get paid to buy the hype about myself and climb up Druid Mountains and then make callous remarks about how the disabled just, well, have to die, cos I’m not afraid to die, and if you got paid hundreds of dollars a month to gallivant about Europe, you too can have these spiritual epiphanies and be fine!  Ah well….  Good luck, and thanks for all the fish!”

His most recent bullshit catching him hell from a steadily increasing number of people on Facebook really reminds me of every bourgie uni student who goes on a spiritual tourism of South America or parts of Asia or Africa, and then bores you to death with stories of their exploitative “spiritual awakenings” — you know, the kinds of people he likes to snark on cos of their unexamined Colonialism, and while he doesn’t really seem to express that specific characteristic in his recent rodomontades, his arrogance and pretentions are about on-par with those kids back-packing across the slums of Southeast Asia on Daddy’s dime.

Again, he and I are mostly on the same page, politically, but I just never really liked the guy, and the more I learn about him, the more justified I feel in this.  He’s like the anti-Galina, in this sense — I never really liked him all that much, even though we’re generally in agreement on politics, while I like her on a person-to-person level, but I just ran out of spoons to deal with her politics and the toxic alliances she’s formed since this falling-out with Rhyd (which, as I’ve assessed from those who were close-enough to the situation to know more, was completely of Rhyd’s design and intent to create).  In simplest terms, to call Rhyd “a real asshole” is one of the nicer things I could say about him, and generally speaking, the more I think about him, the angrier I get — makes me glad I’m not Bruce Banner, I have too many nice clothes and irreplaceable concert t-shirts.

[This post had some typos corrected and a few relatively minor revisions for clarity on 2017-06-30 @02.07]

Anarchists Failed Philando Castile and They Have Failed Black Americans

>> These new Anarchists love to talk about privilege, don’t they? You want to know what privilege is? Privilege is having the audacity to call yourself a radical and “freedom-fighter” while a four-year old girl struggles to understand how a night out for ice cream took her father away forever. Privilege is getting to revel in just how goddamned liberated you and your general assembly are while Philando’s daughter tries to pick up the pieces of her life.<<

So… Privilege is playing around in Europe after writing off the US as a sinking ship?

NO, I'M NOT BEING SNARKY, HERE! (and yes, I realise Dr Bones is a different author, who I don't believe intended to be snarky, but you know, I couldn't help but notice how easily this could be taken.)

GODS & RADICALS

society_and_the_unicorn_by_lora_zombie-d68ll9p

When I put two rituals in my book to hex the police some people said I had gone too far. I had to talk with a team of editors about possible re-writes, had to discuss plans about what we’d do when the FBI eventually got a hold of it. I worried then. Now, with the dash cam footage released in the recent murder of Philando Castile I wish I would have wrote 40 more.An armed gang who exists only to protect the wealthy and kill people of color is running rampant and Anarchists are woefully unable to do anything about it. This needs to change immediately.

I’m not talking about more protests. I’m not talking about writing your congressman or maybe heading down to the next city council meeting to have a strong word with your mayor. I’m not talking about getting ready for another Black Bloc downtown.

None…

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