About Ruadhán Q. McElroy

I'm Ruadhán Quentin Jarman-McElroy and I'm a musician, writer, artist, and Hellenic polytheist. I've so far penned two novels, Simple Man and New Dance, the latter being the first book in a series called The Mod Stories. I maintain a polytheist / pagan blog (linked below). I make music (choral singer since 1986, solo recitalist since 1988; viola player since 1989, experimental sounds and sound collage since 2005, harmonium since 2016). Dark Cabaret / proto-goth singer as simply Ruadhán, experimental and sound collage as This Is Where the Fish Lives.

Has it really been that long?

That means I’ve been a practising polytheist at least thirteen or fourteen years.

Golly, how the time flies!


You knew things would change if you went through with it.

But why? I’m still the same person.

It’s just different, Flower. Physical is spiritual. You’ll always belong to me, things are just different, now.

We had plans?

Plans can change. You took the time in the fork that guaranteed that they’d change.

But I had to do this. I had to.

I know, but you could have put it off.

What if I couldn’t? So much is happening, I might not have had the chance, again. I’m sorry, but I can’t be a martyr.

I understand, and now whether or not you could have put things off is irrelevant. The Sisters even warned me that’s where your thread turned, but there was a split. Even I can be stubborn with hope.

I love you.

I know, and you’ll always belong to me, but this is where you need to go, now. I can always find another just as worthy. Just keep Our cultus alive. Continue your art and music for all your gods, as you promised. It will all work for the best. I will always love you, little Flower.

We’re not breaking up, we’re just making my end more open than it was, before.

Paganism: It’s not about “Rusticity”

Hellenic Faith


Some people will try to co-opt the word Pagan and try to define it as being “Nature-Centric,” ostensibly using academia to prove the word “Paganism” has always meant “nature-centric spirituality” via etymology. Not only do these people ignore how their contemporary understanding of “nature” is itself embroiled in Romanticist-era reactionism to urbanization and Protestant overculture, but they hold a profound misunderstanding on the word’s etymology in the context that they’re trying to use it in. And to correctly understand the Latin word’s usage, we must look to the Greek language.

In the Greek New Testament, the Pagan peoples, those ascribing to pre-Christian religions, are called ta ethnē, “the nations” (Luke 24:47, Matthew 25:32, Matthew 28:19). As such, religions of “the nations” were deemed ethnikos, as pertaining to a nation, in opposition to katholikos, “catholic” or “universal,” like Christianity. In English translations of the New Testament, the…

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The punk ballet “Hail the New Puritan” is now up in its glorious entirety at Ubuweb and you can watch the whole thing right now so oh my god why are you bothering to read this when you can just click on the link in the post below and go watch it?!

A. D. Jameson's Blog


Here, right here, click right here to see this film. It’s a punk ballet. It’s 86 minutes long.

I’ve written about this magnificent film here & here.

More can also be found here & here & here. You will not find it in the history books but who cares? It’s a secret history. Like Jack Smith!

It’s the Real Art History.

Please whatever you are doing, take the time to watch this film this very second. Do not put it off another day!

Because if you do, your skin will fester and blister and fall off. And also you will be at risk of dying without having seen one of the most beautiful movies to be seen, and that will be sad.

Also,  it is my dream that everybody living on the earth will see this film. And so I want to organize a screening.

And so…

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MMWB2017 transphobia incident: Don’t you dare act surprised

There was another incident of transphobia in the Pagan community, this year, this time at the 21st Annual Michigan-Midwest Witches Ball. You can see the damage control unfold, here:




And in case you were curious about the trans position, my friend and local prominent Pagan community figure, Raven Brighid Larr-Gaetz, has said the following, publicly, so I’mma gonna share:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=124132611618268&id=100020645895248 (shared for the comments)



Her final statement is most important, in my opinion: the Pagan community has a big problem with unaddressed transphobia.

I made several comments in the MMWB posts telling people, ostensibly all cisgender or extremely new noobs, that this has been a long-standing issue in pagan paths, and even big national and international pan-pagan gatherings like Pantheacon. I really have no idea why people are surprised by this, and why so many seem reluctant to believe transgender Pagans who say this has been a persistent problem since at least Gerald Gardner –no, really, read his books. While he never explicitly mentioned trans people, his definitions of the Divine Masculine and Feminine are pretty bio-essentialist and based on procreative roles of anatomy. This insideous cissupremacist vision in modern Pagan communities has literally been there since the beginning, so why are people surprised? Even Crowley had these ideas, decades before Gardner.

You’re certainly allowed to be disappointed, even heartbroken that these notions of gender persist in the Pagan communities, where people are typically at least touting progressive social ideals, but don’t be surprised, don’t you dare act surprised.

When barely five years ago, trans people and our allies were being chastised for “burning our Elders at the stake” (as alleged by Chas Clifton), for speaking out about the transphobic language of Zsuzsanna Budapest’s Dianic ritual listing the Pantheacon schedule, don’t you dare act surprised that MMWB is still standing behind the transphobic utterances of Gerrybrete Leonard-Whitcomb, that if you “have a dangle” you’re a costume King candidate and need to use the Men’s lavvy, and if you lack said, you’re a Queen candidate and should use the Ladies.

When polytheist leaders I even have at least some respect for, like Galina Krasskova, maintain at least professional alliance with TERFs like de-transitioner Kenaz Filan (in my experiences, de-transitioners are usually amongst the most transphobic, so, again, I’m not at all surprised), don’t you dare act surprised that transphobia is still rampant in modern Paganism.

When transgender Pagans have been taken to task for grave-dancing on Mary Daly, who oversaw and influenced Janice Raymond’s infamous TERF handbook, The Transexual [sic] Empire, don’t act surprised at this.

Not even the more-distanced polytheist groups who maintain that they aren’t pagan are really off-the-hook, cos let’s face it: the airs of “traditionalism” play easily with regressivism, and a lot of more “binary”-identified trans women and trans men find the ideas of most traditional societies that we are another kind of woman and man, respectively, disheartening, to say the least. (As I’ve said before on here, that’s more in line with my own ideas about being trans, but I still acknowledge that not all modern Western trans people are going to like that designation –and it’s OK for them to be wrong, I suppose, but I digress.) Still, though, while I don’t think any one pagan or polytheist religion should dictate the rules of pagan-polytheist interfaith gatherings, such as Pcon or MMWB, I’m not at all surprised when objectively transphobic things are in policy or even simply said by people in power over those events.

If you fancy yourself an ally of transgender people in the Pagan communities, and you’re still genuinely surprised by the MMWB’s transphobic policy, the flip transphobia of MMWB chair Gerrybrete Leonard-Whitcomb, and the DOZENS of trans people in the Midwest saying that this is a long-standing issue in the Pagan community, frankly, you’re so sheltered by your own cis privilege that I find it hard to believe that you could even know a trans person — I mean, you don’t necessarily have to personally know any trans people to be an ally, but it’s certainly helpful in getting some perspective on the situation.

This is not at all surprising to trans people in the Pagan community, so if you want to be an ally to us, I have five words for you, when the next such incident happens (and it will):

Don’t you dare be surprised.

As I’m finishing this up, MMWB has issued a statement announcing the resignation of Gerrybrete, stating the MMWB governing body does not believe that her words were born of transphobia, but simply a lapse in judgement, following that “her heart will be known in her deeds” — which is kind of proving the point that trans people are all saying: her actions were transphobic. She literally said that trans women and trans men have to, respectively, use the Men’s lavvy and Ladies, by sole virtue of genetalia. This is not a mere err in judgement, this is a statement of transphobic violence. Don’t be fooled by this half-hearted attempt at damage control.

(Written from my phone app, on the bus. I might clean shit up later and add more links.)

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.