In these current times I feel it is important to continually shape shift the form of ritual with the needs of the community. I am a High Priestess in the San Diego area for a women only circle called Dragon Sister’s Circle, all gender full moons and several Sabbats. I produce Sacred Flame Fire Circles where all are welcome.
When I post on social media about my public women’s circle I have received questions from non gender specific individuals if they are welcome to join. This is an issue with many women’s circles. Some feel that unless a person was born with a womb and experienced blood mystery (AKA a “period”) they are not welcome to attend a women’s only event. This issue went so far as to have a long running women only music festival run its course when trans women attended and made a scene. (in another state).
In my women’s circle, I say if you identify as a female, join us. In all honesty, I struggle to understand just what makes us “female” or “male”.
I work in the performing arts as an impersonator. My character is male, I portray Michael Jackson. While this blog is not meant to glorify that job, it has allowed me a chance to experience life as the other gender. I also have a “drag” persona name “Fernando” who has “his” own personality. Really, it is Fernando not Michael that helps me relate to being in another’s skin, since he comes more from within me. Yet, when I “wear” Fernando I tend to express a more extreme caricature expression of the male gender; suave, cocky, bold, and a lady’s man. It is fun finding this other part of myself, but it is more like an acting role. Inside, I am still very much a female. So- what does it really mean to be a male or female? Aren’t we all a combination of both?
With Beltane around the corner and planning that ritual I realized how binary we are as Pagans. The Lord and The Lady. The God and The Goddess. The Horned One and the Maiden. We dance The Maypole in two directions, widdershins and deocil. Yet, there is a third gender that is recognized in Alchemy known as The Androgyny, who is neither male nor female, but a combination of both.
Now that LGBTQ issues are more openly spoken of, I felt it was fitting to address this dialogue in the upcoming Beltane ritual. Following our pot luck feast and before we celebrate with ritual and maypole dance, we will be separating into groups. Last year we had two groups, one for women, who shared with each other what it meant to embody The Divine Feminine, and the other group was the men, speaking of how they embody the Divine Masculine. This year, I am adding a third group; non gender specific people who identify as both, The Androgyny. When we dance the Maypole this third group of people will be invited to dance along with someone from either group, then swap by floating where ever they feel compelled. This is an experiment worth attempting, though I do not know how it will work out! Will they become tangled in the ribbons? Will it be confusing to be floating in this web? I also don’t know if anyone will join the third group, but I’m hoping my community will be open to explore their own non gender specific possibilities. I am asking people to wear clothing that is not their usual gender garb. We will see!
Ultimately, when we choose to leave our bodies and return to source, to God or to Goddess, perhaps we will be pleasantly surprised to find there is non specific gender in the realm of Spirit, but true unity with all that is. A combination of the realm of all possibilities. Maybe we can get a little closer to that while still inhabiting our Earth suits.
Devra Gregory is a San Diego ritual leader, Alchemist, diverse human committed to planetary awakening of consciousness.