Sunday, October 21, 2012

Divine Sex and Labels

Freyja and the Dwarves
Recently there came across my Facebook page via Coven Avalon (I recommend liking the page, by the way. Really good info there) a very interesting point that I had not seen in the Pagan community before that was discussed on another page I frequent (also a good place to hang around). Apparently, some pagans call some Gods "horny buggers," "bums," or "alcoholic" while they call Goddesses "sluts" and "hookers" that have "nice tits." It was noted that Christians don't do this with Jesus or Mary. Of course, some of these labels are true in their core, but is there a line?

First and foremost, Paganism (the broad range of nature religions) is a sex based religion. We openly state that fertility centers around the majority of our teachings, beliefs, rituals, and life. The stories of all the Gods and Goddesses various sexual adventures are well k
nown, from Aphrodite's promiscuity behind Hephaestus' back to Freyja's payment to four dwarves for a gold necklace to Zeus' many, many consorts to Loki's many children. 

However, that doesn't mean that we should disrespect those deities by calling them sluts or whore mongers. Even the gods themselves demanded respect. Remember: no matter what, even the least powerful deity can still whip your ass.

Don't get me wrong, however. I totally agree that we should be able to pal around with the Gods and give them a "good rubbing" every now and then. I didn't sign up for snobbish deities who can't take jokes, but there are some jokes that you just don't tell. Considering that a good bit of our faith emphasizes honor -- cultivating it and respecting it-- it seems disingenuous to insult our Gods and Goddesses like that.

Secondly, I think that a good bit of this kind of thinking stems from our society that views sex as a bad thing or something for reproduction that should only be preformed by two couples (typically one male and one female). When a counterculture like ours meets the mainstream culture, there will always be friction until either the counterculture disintegrates or the mainstream accepts the different thought process. Already we are seeing a different attitude about sex than there was in the 1960s, abet the attitude towards women is just a different type of objectification but more on that in a sec.

Meanwhile, many Pagans believe that sex isn't some sinful thing, that everyone deserves to have it and enjoy it, that it isn't only for procreation, and it isn't something to be afraid of. (Some even believe that everyone should have equal access to birth control and planned parenthood and equal marriage of consenting adults of any gender or number.......) Sex is something that even our Deities participate in with relish. In ancient Rome, sex and sexuality was viewed way differently than we see it today. While Ancient Rome is not an exact model we should use today, what with our matriarchal/egalitarian religion and their strict patriarchal system, it is worthy to note that there is no Latin word for the concepts of homosexuality and heterosexuality and that many ideas of sexuality are starting to crop up again in our society.

To specifically address the issue of slut shaming our Deities; if it is acceptable for one of our own community members to slut shame our own Goddess, what do you think that says about the way women in our community are thought of? Do you think that person gives two shits or even thinks about how his/her words affect the attitudes and views of women in general? Does he/she recognize the damage that is being continued by relegating a supposedly Divine being to being something like a second class citizen which therefore puts women "in their place?" What about the objectification of women that is so rampant in our society?

From the SlutWalks
Then again, if we want to see the flip side of this, by labeling a powerful Divine being a slut who has also been known to reject the negativity of that word and revels in Her own Sexuality freely regardless, we (women) in essence reclaim the word "slut" and our own sexuality. We take the word and construct a new meaning that doesn't involve shame, sadness or bitterness but evokes power, happiness with ourselves, and acceptance of others.

Which then do we as Pagans want? Do we want to empower the Feminine or do we want to tear her down and disgrace her? Do we want to degrade the Goddesses that Christianity has for so long done already?

Do we cave to the patriarchy and dissolve our egalitarian religion or do we push back with unyielding resolve?

What do we want for our daughters and sons?

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