This blog started out as solely focused on food. cooking and spirituality are incredibly co-mingled for me, and now I'm adding to the focus by making the blog more about my spiritual life in general. I hope the result is something readable!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day Nine: Deity and Gender

Okay. OKAY. It is a little bit ridiculous that I have let this blog project languish so much and it is maybe a LOT ridiculous that the post that’s been tripping me up is the one about gender. GOSH.
The plus side of writing and hating it and re-writing and hating that too and letting it sit for months while I observe and engage in tumblr-based outrage about the kyriarchy is that I think I’ve finally got some of my thoughts about gender figured out, and I can therefore articulate how those thoughts intersect with my thoughts about Deity.

I have had a lot of problems with goddesses in the past, or, rather, the idea of THE Goddess. To be honest that was probably the chief theological reason I drifted from Wiccish to Something Else, I just could not get behind the oft-touted great Divine Feminine. (The chief actual reason was that I grew out of being an arrogant smartass with a persecution complex)
Here’s the thing. I LOVE Femme. There are days when nothing will make me feel comfortable except my pink skirt with flower print and lace on the edges, when I want to channel Joan from Mad Men, when I need to wear red lipstick and have my hair fall in waves over one side of my face like a film noir starlet. (also there are days when I feel nothing like that at all and I feel deeply uncomfortable in my body but that is a tangent I’m not gonna go down today.)
But it’s only recently that I came to terms with those feelings, and I never found, in my spiritual wanderings, that the Divine Feminine resonated with those feelings at all. Or maybe that just never resonated with me. And part of the problem is I think when people talk about the Divine Feminine or the Great Goddess they are talking about a female deity whose domain lies in traditionally-constructed ideas of What Being Female Entails. Which is most of the time reproduction. And I just don’t connect with that at all.

All this time I’ve been sort of arguing with myself in increasingly anxious mental circles about whether it’s “wrong” somehow to be a (cis)woman and not feel any connection to a Goddess of Womanhood, whether I should feel guilty for connecting to two deities who are male, whether I should make room for a Divine Mother figure in there even though I never got much of a response, whether this makes me less of a woman, etc.
I could go on for a bit.

Long story short, I think I need to re-frame my views of goddesses, which have been up to this point really quite narrow. Female deities aren’t necessarily ABOUT Being Female. There are a bunch of them, and they are about a bunch of different things. And some of those things are, I think, things that I am also about, and I’m reasonably certain that in the future I might be able to build a spiritual relationship with one (or more) of them.
But right now I probably need to focus with the two dieties who have pesternudged their way into my life, as opposed to tacking on more Others like I’m some sort of deity pokemon collector.

They have domains, things that they’re about, and they happen to be male in...presentation. I say that with a sort of dubious trailing off ellipsis because B is not anthopomorphic to me most of the time anyway, and I get the sense that Liminal God does not give a shit about gender and finds all my anxious hand-wringing just hilarious.

And this brings up something that has always, ALWAYS bugged me about gender inequity in, say, the arts: the old “if a man paints a flower it’s a flower, if a woman paints a flower it’s a vagina” thing. The way society is structured, men can be about Stuff and women can be about Being Women. It is so, so easy to slip into analysis where a female creator’s work just automatically represents The State Of All Women, and LO AND BEHOLD I have been unwittingly been applying that flawed framework to my view of the gods.

That is some bullshit, right there. And it is going to stop. 

waking myself up again

So lately I've been feeling spiritually dead inside, which is not a good feeling to have, and it tends to contribute to a general feeling of mild depression. which I'm already prone to. So.

These periods of disconnect are surprisingly common among those of a Pagan persuasion, so much so that a term has been coined: Fallow Times. On some level just knowing that I'm not alone in going through this helps the climb out of the hole become a little easier.

This was a time of letting the stagnant, devouring pattern of everyday life just sap my interest in things. I know it wasn't a complete disconnect from the gods because I kept getting little nudges in really indirect ways, even as I was wailing and gnashing teeth about not getting any responses to the rote prayers and halfhearted offerings. I heard about mindfulness meditation for the first time ever, and got interested to the point of buying a really nice book that I'm not finished with yet, and it reminded me of the joyful way I used to look at the world.

Everywhere I went on the internet I seemed to keep running into articles and quotes about self-care and personal sovereignty, and how these things are often just at odds with the western ideal of productivity. This type of productivity eats up my energy and good feelings like nothing else. :c

I also haven't been cooking much, lately, and the things I have been making are not inventive, engaging things but basic quick things. One of the funny things about being unemployed was that (thankfully) I had enough resources to cook, and I really deeply enjoyed doing that, as a way of managing my environment and taking care of myself and those around me. It was a job, and I enjoyed it. But now that I'm employed cooking has become just another damn thing I have to do if I want to eat, and I'm already tired from standing on my feet all day or evening. It does not contribute to fun and engaging cookery. I think what I'm going to have to do is just plan my weeks out more thoroughly, and save big cooking projects for my days off. That's what it's going to have to be.

As for crafts stuff: I've had lingering, horrible guilt over the fact that the ram I was knitting for LG's shrine still did not have horns, and that's definitely contributed to a slowing-down of knitting fun. Well. That and the fact that we've had INSANE DEADLY HEAT for like three weeks running now and I haven't really wanted to touch yarn and have anything big and wooly on my lap. (Oddly enough I HAVE gotten the spinning bug during this time, but that involves less actual smothering contact with heat-trapping fiber)

Well that silliness STOPPED TONIGHT. News flash everyone: Reese the Ram has horns, dammit. And they look super cute as he is sitting on my nightstand, all big fat sheep belly and tiny cartoonish legs. This is a good first step, I think, to getting back on track.

Next Steps: doing things on a weekly (or daily, but I don't want to take on more than I can handle while I'm still finding my feet again) basis, and continuing the now laughably extended 30 Days blog posts.

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