genderwild mystic; diary #4

This post is dedicated to my trans friend -they know who they are- who in a Facebook conversation the other day reminded me that I need to qualify further what I wrote in my last diary extract about balancing ‘male’ and ‘female’ energies.

The other day I wrote about the idea that whatever gender (or indeed sex) we identify as, it is a healthy thing to strive for a balance in energies, in what have arbitrarily been identified or constructed in mainstream society as ‘male’ and ‘female’. In other words, to be balanced in will power and outward directed energy (traditionally ‘male’) and love or receptive -not passive- energy (traditionally ‘female’).

I accept the full range of gender and sex identities. I accept that binary (male and female as ‘opposite’) and stereotyped sex and gender identifications are limiting at best and at worst literally destructive of lives. Nevertheless, to rephrase / expand myself, I think that a balance within a person of the arbitrarily ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’, however the person identifies on the sex / gender spectrums, is ultimately strengthening for the person’s identity.

In other words, I don’t see a problem with identifying ‘male’ as ‘outward’, of focused ‘hunting’ will-power; and ‘female’ as ‘receptive’ and ‘gathering’. You may tell me I’m wrong; I am a privileged white man, afterall. For me, ‘hunting’ is only a problem when it is the malicious hunting of living beings (actually or psychologically), just as ‘gathering’ only becomes a problem when it is poison that is gathered (actually or psychologically.)

But I am aware I could be / will be accused of gender essentialism. This is what my friend alerted me to the other day. The kind of spirituality I have been hinting at could be described as ‘Pagan’ or ‘Neopagan’ so I am compelled to answer the question, ‘Is Paganism guilty of gender essentialism?’. I use the word ‘guilty’ lightly, to be understood easily by queer folk and feminists.

As a genderwild or gender rebel mystic, I explore whatever resonates with me, from whatever origin, including all historically established ‘world religions’; and certainly Paganism and so-called magic(k) have been an influence on my thinking and practice, as well as Taoism, which also has clear ideas of ‘male’ and ‘female’.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about gender essentialism:

‘Gender essentialism is the theory that there are certain universal, innate, biologically- or psychologically-based features of gender that are at the root of observed differences in the behavior of men and women’

By the above definition, it is easily arguable that Paganism tends towards gender essentialism. (Prove me wrong?)

But what if I use Paganism to discern traits of masculinity and femininity that I believe are common to all human beings, including the whole spectrums of sex and gender? What if I think that discerning between ‘male’ and ‘female’ traits within any individual, can help them become more balanced within themselves; whatever the identity of that person?

Whatever judgements you may have about these issues; can you discuss them with me? Can you inform me and help me improve? Can we improve together? Can you keep your judgements on hold? For me, balance is everything.

I am grateful for your patience. Gratitude is the second practice of this genderwild mystic. I like to identify it as a ‘female’ quality, common to all.

 

 

genderwild mystic; diary #3

The first practice is sexual restraint, but it could be any kind of restraint. The first practice is self-discipline, will-power, and the directed uncovering of Will; Will is what we move towards when we unfetter from past unloving conditioning. Will is what we move towards when we are shown Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR), or Love. We may have to rely on ourselves to show ourselves this Love. ‘Will’ is our true creative identity and purpose.

I have worried for years around setting myself disciplines of behaviour; so-called spiritual disciplines as well as disciplines of work. It’s a familiar story to many I know; the setting of a high bar; unrealistic expectations, and the self-recriminations when we fail. But more recently I have realised that the essence of discipline, of will-power, is something that is best viewed as a continual moment-to-moment practice. Self-control is not all about having a solid morning routine. It is the will-power to do the right thing, from moment to moment, in every waking moment.

My genderwild identity is strengthened by practising restraint. I see both will-power and the greater Will as ‘male’: as exactly one equal half of the divine, or put another way, one equal half of the observable universe. Since the Big Bang or whatever was before it, everything is part of the same momentum. We are all part of the same momentum. I would characterise this momentum as ‘male’. Perhaps what the universe expands into, that which potentially drew out the Big Bang, could be characterised as ‘female’ or ‘Love’?

It seems to me that the worthy cause of the exposure and destruction of patriarchy has become confused by a misunderstanding of the essential benignness and neutrality of maleness. Maleness is not patriarchy, unless you choose to construct it in that way; we all construct these concepts a little differently.

For me at least, as a gender rebel or genderqueer or genderwild person, I think that it is healthy for all people, whether male, female, both, neither, or somewhere inbetween, to strengthen whichever identity they adopt or construct, with a healthy balance of will-power and Love. Queer as well as feminist identities, I feel, would be grounded and strengthened by reclaiming a balanced ‘male’ and ‘female’ basis of personal action (you can call it spiritual or you can call it scientific, depending on whether your religion is atheism or something else.)

I understand that maleness and femaleness are ultimately constructs, so call ‘male’ female and ‘female’ male if you like. The point is, a balance between discipline, or directed action, or momentum; and Love, or UPR, or compassionate acceptance, is a healthy thing. I make a plea here for gender balance, grounded in these arbitrary concepts, for health and convenience, and in order to reclaim and disentangle what can be usefully seen as ‘male’ from what is patriarchal. Will-power is not patriarchal until it becomes will-power over someone.

Jesus against Empire

On this day of rebirth, although I am not a Christian, I resonate with the essence of Christ the rebel; Christ who came to subvert the slave-holding Roman Empire and who ultimately contributed to the end of Rome and the beginning of feudal Europe, later paving the way for the Renaissance and the birth of capitalism as we know it today. From an individual emancipatory point of view, Jesus helped the psychological and spiritual advance and autonomy of the individual, although the Church repressed this. Now that global industrial capitalism has had its day, we need new messiahs of all genders, be they entrepreneurs, community leaders, revolutionaries or others -to rebel against this patriarchal kingdom that is taking humanity to the brink of extinction, to allow the rebirth of humanity. This isn’t some vague New Age concept. I do not talk of ‘ascension’ by willing it to happen. No, preaching the coming necessary energy Descent of humanity, and engaging in the hard work to enable that to happen smoothly, requires action.

Jesus was not nice. He was not nice and he was not safe. Even in the patriarchal version of his teachings that made it into the Bible, we can see this. Jesus is purported to have said:

‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. for I have come to turn “a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household”‘ Matt. 10:34-36

To me this clearly means that speaking the truth of one’s times is to risk being alienated by dear ones, friends and family who do not have the courage or are too comfortable or brainwashed by the industrial capitalist story of ‘business as usual’, to follow suit, or to take action. Although the spirit of Jesus is also compassion and forgiveness, his sword of truth must not waver, however uncomfortable that truth is to hear. Today, millions of rebels use Facebook and Twitter; it is a peculiar evil of our times that renders these voices relatively mute. The reasons may be that firstly, ‘things haven’t gotten bad enough yet’ (but oh, they will) and also, hypocrisy is so well-designed into the modern capitalist system, it is one of its most crucial cogs. The ‘rebels’ are the antithesis to the capitalist thesis of the ‘bastards in power’, and we all hold both poles within us. Each pole defines and strengthens the other. What we haven’t seen is true synthesis, necessary for the next stage of civilization.

But until we find the synthesis, rebel we must! As the state of global civilization becomes more dire due to climate change, increasing biodiversity loss (including soil failure) and increasing fossil fuel scarcity, we can expect radical changemakers, including entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders and maybe even a few heads of state (!) to stick their necks out more and more, and take increasing personal risks in order to safeguard our collective future. They will be shot at by the ignorant, jealous and hateful. Jesus is purported to have said:

‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ Matt 5:10

Perhaps you find me too hopeful. I am not a religious person, but on this important day -this day of import- I hope that Christians and non-Christians alike can draw strength from the rebel Jesus: Jesus who stood against hypocrisy and Empire. Jesus who was a catalyst for civilizational change.

 

genderwild mystic; diary #2

The first practice of this genderwild mystic is sexual restraint. For someone like me, to be unrestrained in my thoughts and hopes is only to be frustrated and oppressed by a sexually unenlightened culture. I have lost count of the miscommunications that have occurred between myself and women in real life and on dating sites. Enough!!

The second practice is gratefulness. Despite the years of mental illness I have suffered, I am a privileged white man with access to the middleclass wealth that has been passed down from my grandparents.

The third practice is ‘letting go’, or in Theravadin Buddhist terms, ‘samatha’ meditation. I sit and feel grateful, and then I let go. I let go of thoughts. After years of practice, I can fairly quickly reach a state of no-mind; one pointedness of mind, or samadhi. This is the basis for a practice of mindfulness in my waking life, from moment to moment. It gives focus.

Sexual restraint strengthens will-power and supports mindfulness and focus. In return, mindfulness and focus aid sexual restraint. Again, I am no prude. But in a sex-negative culture I would rather abstain. At least until I can find a community of sexually liberated and more importantly, heart-liberated human beings.

 

Heroine Quest

Welcome to the Epic Futures of Earth. Heroines and heroes of all genders and none, all races and none, all sexualities and none, now is your time. Join our quest in any way you are able. Join the Epic Tribe.

The heroine quest; the mission statement; the vision:

beginning here and now;

1) To create true Permaculture, including rewilding, in Southwest England by co-developing with its inhabitants, a model of regional resource sovereignty, regional governance and a resilient post-capitalist regional economy. To network with similar movements around the world.

2) In support of and supported by the above, to dismantle the biomedical model of mental illness, at least on a regional level, in favour of a sociocultural model as standard.

3) In support of and supported by the above, to pioneer and develop an Ecopreneurial Descent economics, responding to the coming energy Descent, future global conflicts and the emergent relocalisation of global culture. eDe is ‘using capitalism to go beyond capitalism’.

4) In support of and supported by the above, to pioneer Hammerhead Activism; a super-organised form of activism which seeks to bring together disparate activist groups, including Arts activists, to pressure worst corporate offenders, (WCOs), tackling mercilessly one WCO at a time, and advancing tenfold the end of corporatism on this Earth.

5) In support of and supported by the above, to address the unconscious and conscious narratives and stories which guide modern global capitalist culture, and to facilitate the normalising of new more helpful narratives, non-patriarchal, non-oppressive and post-capitalist.

genderwild mystic; diary #1

#DefendAfrin

#FreeOcalan

Nineteen years ago, on 15th February 1999, an international conspiracy culminated in the revolutionary thought-leader and feminist Abdullah Ocalan being imprisoned in a Turkish jail, in which he still resides -if he is still alive.

Reading Ocalan’s words today contributes to my increasing realisation that, by the standards of mainstream modern civilisation, I too am a ‘radical’. I don’t necessarily like the connotations of this word, and how it might falsely separate me from some of my not-so-radical friends. Because, in the sense that I just want to live a free and balanced life, in respect of all human beings and the ecology of the planet, ‘radical’ is only normal and natural. Moreover, on these terms there is a radical inside all of us, waiting for the moment to have the courage to speak up. Surely it is in our uncorrupted Nature to wish to achieve balance in all things? Surely the global civilisation-mesh that we now live in is the most imbalanced in history?

This was supposed to be a personal diary extract, taking the pressure off from discussing wider concerns and complex social issues. But of course, I am inseparable from what is going on in the world.

One of my so-called ‘radical’ responses to the world I live in is to practice celibacy. After a few months of practice, this seems to be bearing fruit. Sometimes, there are moments where I feel I am denying myself. I may even experience physical pain as a result of this. But in other moments I feel less denied and more contained and focused. My creativity then bursts forth in writing, theatre and song.

I also contemplate how my celibacy is linked to my feminism. Wanting to be a better person, to improve my self, my male / genderwild gender and its relation to other genders, particularly women. In the past, I admit I have been a trawler of images of women, not specifically pornographic but led by porn, so that everywhere I looked, I would see women as more or less stylised images; not as themselves.

I would like to say I am free of all that but I’m not. I may be free from pornography but I am not free from the pornographication and sexualisation of culture which is everywhere around us in modern society. We categorically do not live in sexually liberated times. I know what sexual liberation is, in my body, heart and mind. I have found the beginnings of it in practice, in the communes I have visited. I am sex positive, and if society was truly liberated, I might not be celibate. Modern consumerist society, however, mistakes sexual proliferation for sexual liberation. It’s not the same.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I dedicated my love to the women of Afrin, who are right now defending the most radical women’s movement in history, in Afrin, northern Syria, against a horrific Turkish invasion. Please help me support them.