This would have been written New Years Day were it not for the extreme hangover I had suffered. Regardless, I consulted the Druid Animal Oracle for my yearly focus.
Of dragons and potential
Last year’s card signified 2016 as being a year for discovering my inner potential power, it was not wrong! Last year I had:
Successfully auditioned for the part of Watson in a comedy version of Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles.
Performed two theatre plays back to back.
Provided the voice for the ‘Where Witchcraft Lives’ exhibit in Brighton.
Learned a great deal of my strengths and weaknesses.
Found my place in my day-job and I’m fine with it!
Became a member of a brand new theatrical events group.
Completed my Bardic course and review.
Completed my Ovate initiation just in time for Yuletide.
Learned what my acting type is.
Discovered where I went wrong in my marriage.
Cut my long hair off in the name of charity.
So yes, quite a lot, really!
Eyes in the night
And where does my focus lie for 2017? The card drawn for this year is Owl, or Cailleach Oidhche . The card for detachment, wisdom and change. It speaks of turning a disadvantage into an advantage, also it signifies a call to explain the Otherworld with studying esoteric lore and clairvoyancy. Not sure about speaking with the dead, but seeming as I will be beginning my journey into the world of the Ovate (mystic, seer, healer) this is apt indeed.
I am aware of the Owl being named as one of the oldest creatures of the Earth, according to one of the tales of the Mabinogion. In another tale, it is the final form inflicted upon Blodeuedd by the sorcerer Gwydion. Owl is also associated with the Cailleach, although which specific one, I am not sure. Either way, both Owl, the Cailleach and studying esoteric lore are to be treated with respect.
Sorry folks, had a bit of an unplanned hiatus. Turns out I’d burned the candle at both ends a bit too long and have been utterly, totally exhausted.
So on with the post!
All of us who practice magic or any of the spiritual derivatives will be aware of balance. You might have come across the usual forms of masculine and feminine, night and day, Yin and Yang, yadda, yadda, yadda…. These are the twin concepts that are behind the principles of Western Magical Tradition (the wand and the cup being metaphors for male/female genitalia) and nature follows the law of male and female procreation. Aspects of our psyche are split into masculine and feminine principles, it is perfectly ok to say that a woman who is driven, ambitious, career-minded is in touch with her masculine qualities. The night is said to be feminine as it allows our subconscious to enter into dream state (a feminine quality), the Moon is a symbol of hidden lore and feminine power (actually, the last is true, Luna does affect the menstrual cycle). On the flip side of the coin: directness and aggression are considered masculine traits, as is logical thinking, philosophical thought, The Sun. Especially when we consider the Mother Earth and Father Sky concepts.
At least, this is what we are led to believe.
I am generalising, of course. This is all very… Black and white isn’t it? Day and night, light and dark; so very…. (and I love this use of the word) binary.
And yet. Yet, there are shades of grey as well as dawn and twilight.
The supposed gender qualities of magical practice, as well as Pagan worship are now being questioned. The first time I heard about this was in an interview on thispodcast. The bit that really struck a chord with me was the part when Mara Freeman talks about a man who is congratulated by a woman on his dancing. She compliments him on being in touch with his feminine side. He then questions why dancing is seen as feminine. I love to dance! despite resembling some crazy Leprechaun (or as a friend of mine puts it so succinctly “… dance like twats…“) doing it. Anyway, feel free to listen to the podcast or play it and go to 21:02 where Philip Carr-Gomm asks Freeman about the archetypes of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine, this is where things get really interesting as it recognises the catching on of questioning gender in spiritual exploration. Later on at 51:18 Penny Billington starts talking about God and Goddess forms and gender as a descriptor.
The points made in those interviews floated around in my mind for a couple of months. My housemate, Artemis (she’s great, she stands up for LGBT and equal rights in her workplace. Not just feminism but racial equality too! I admire her for this), explained to me that gender isn’t limited to just male and female. I’m what is known as cisgender (I identify as the gender to the sex I was born with). There are Transgender (people who who identify with gender that is opposite to the sex to which they are born), this linkhere will take you to a site with more gender breakdowns and definitions complete with resource notes. You don’t have to follow the author’s Tumblr account just keep scrolling down.
Leithin Cluan, a very good friend of mine wrote thispiece which got my brain ticking all over again, which led onto inspiring me to write this very post!
As a cisgen, heterosexual male, I like dancing, creative arts in whatever the form and medium, dancing (like a leprechaun) to music that gets me excited, looking at sunsets and sunrises, reading, folklore, Earth Mysteries, magic and divination… things normally classed as “feminine”. I’m pretty sure these apply to ALL Human beings, whatever the gender (if any), why do they have to be “feminine” only qualities? Even Odin himself broke the taboo of his people by learning magic and divination (these were considered the arts of women) in his quest for knowledge. He transcended that gender imposed barrier by learning and doing it all anyway. And as for directness, determination and ambition supposedly being ‘masculine’ I know plenty of women who embody these traits with fiery passion. Again, something that applies to ALL people, not just a sex or gender.
I’ve even seen forums with arguments over the Sun being represented by either a God or Goddess… IT’S A STAR! Water is often seen as feminine yet there are water and sea gods (male), when water is…. Water. I’m pretty sure fire doesn’t give a shit if you have a gender or not, it will BURN you if you act irresponsibly with it. There are many who call our very Earth ‘Mother’ yet there are those who see Nature as the Green Man.
In short, we Human Beings have assigned things gender and sex to where there isn’t (though I suppose you could argue that the Earth as a whole, with her- yes I did that, my blog, my rules!- many species, especially in the plant realms, could be classed as multi-gendered) because it is how we as a species identify with the world around us.
Does magic work only for the Sis-Gendered? Nonesense! Magic is a force that is asexual. It flows through, within and around all.
We, as people, can choose who we are, but in terms of gender and sexuality (or neither) we are what we are.
Afterthought just before pressing ‘publish’… Say that the New Age is indeed coming or that the after effects of the Mayan Calendar running out are now taking place….. Could it be that the great spiritual revolution could be the rethinking of how we see the world, starting with the questioning of gender and sexual polarity?