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#1 of 27 Old 05-28-2009, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK... Deep breath... I just *know* this is going to ruffle feathers, and I really don't want it to. But I have to ask.

I received tonight an email from Cherry Hill Seminary (as far as I know, they're the only reputable pagan seminary, correct me if I'm wrong please). The title of the email was "C.H.S. responds to the same sex marriage debate" and included the following quote:

"As Pagans, we embrace all forms of consensual adult sexual expression and relationships. We recognize sexuality as a sacred and spiritual force and, therefore, support legal, social and spiritual recognition of these relationships."


OK, I agree with the fact that sexuality is sacred and spiritual. I also agree with the fact that I think same sex marriages should be *legally* allowed.

However, I am a little teensy weensy bit upset about the fact that it is assumed that all pagans... oh boy. How can I phrase this? Basically, that all pagans believe that every expression of sexuality is considered equally sacred. Because, in my path, it's not. There's a whole spectrum of sex, and the "most sacred" is a committed, male-female, perfectly in love couple joining in perfect harmony to conceive new life. Now, how often does that happen, anyway?? But it's the sort of "holiest of holies" - an ideal to aim for. Then you have various other forms of sex (basically every other act of sex ever) which are great but not as "Perfect." And then you have at the complete other end of the spectrum, sex which is non-consensual and hurtful and abusive and all the like. In the middle you have sex which is NOT open to conception (birth control or homosexual)... sex which would like to conceive but it doesn't happen... sex where it's ONLY about conception but there's no love... or recreational one-night-stand sex... etc. So clearly not ALL sex is equally sacred. SO many shades of gray everywhere.

So I have to ask... I'm pagan and I have my views. You can call me bigoted or judgmental or any number of things. (Despite the fact that my "bigotry" is pretty much purely theoretical - I know no one ever really achieves the ideal form of sacred sexuality, but I'm not about to tell everyone in the world to stop having sex! - My beliefs are most certainly NOT directed at gay relationships but rather on all "not-quite-perfect" relations - i.e. all of them.) But does this make me less of a pagan? And am I wrong to get a teensy bit offended when I disagree with the "as pagans we believe" blanket statement?

Alright, flames may start now.
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#2 of 27 Old 05-28-2009, 01:39 AM
 
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I'm confused.
Are you saying that the quote says all pagans believe that every sexual act is considered equally sacred.
Because that's not what I get from that quote at all, especially in the context of responding to the Prop 8 situation.

Your descriptions of your beliefs about the spectrum of sexuality sounded very influenced by conservative Christianity to me - not that it is a bad thing - but I have to say I was a bit surprised to read that you are Pagan after that description. Sexuality can be/is valued for more than procreation and can be sacred outside that parameter, assuming it is free from coercion, guilt, shame etc. and is freely shared and fully experienced, in a consensual way.

I don't think that your differing views on this topic makes you "less Pagan" - that phrase when applied to religion always seems odd to me. But I would venture to guess they may not line up with the majority of Pagans. I think that in all religions there is divergence from the idea that "All followers believe this".

I'm not Pagan - I'm UU fwiw - but I thought your question was interesting.

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#3 of 27 Old 05-28-2009, 01:59 AM
 
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I am pagan, and I'm confused by what you think CHS' statement means too. It says they support all types of consensual adult sex. That doesn't mean they're saying all types are equally wonderful to all people, or equally sacred to all pagan paths, or that everyone should do all of them. But they're all valid. They should all be legal. They should all be respected. "If the people involved are consenting adults, do what you will." in essence. Some people do get a great deal more out of one type of sexual experience than others. Some get different things from different types of sexual experiences. Some paths are more oriented towards certain types sex.

Also, it says "As pagans, we (at CHS) believe," not "All pagans anywhere on Earth believe." I don't think they're trying to speak for all pagans, just that the idea of sexual freedom for consenting adults is a common pagan concern.

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#4 of 27 Old 05-28-2009, 03:50 AM
 
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*shakes head*

I've never heard anything that Truly-In-Love, Het, Procreative Sexxors was More Sacred than any other kind. At least not in Pagan groups...

"All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals," ne? It might be sacred in a different way, or to a different one of Her Aspects, but I've never heard of any sort of pyramid of sexual sanctity.
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#5 of 27 Old 05-28-2009, 03:58 AM
 
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ive had pretty sacred, spiritual sex with people I hardly knew-male and female.... long ago.... pre-marriage & children.... as a pagan

I think any time two spiritual bodies engage in a sensual way it has the potential of being sacred. JMHO.

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#6 of 27 Old 05-28-2009, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a feeling it would come to this. But thanks for responding everyone.

Actually I'm less influenced by conservative Christianity than I am by reason. I view the deity as a sacred because of the fact that he/she/it is the Creator. As the Deity is a male and female essences joined together, he/she/it was able to create the universe, to create life. The polarity of the Goddess and the God, the yin and yang. The opposite of light and dark, merge, to create. So the act of "creation" is the highest good. (And in that, destruction as well, as the inverse of creation, but that's another topic for another day.) And other attributes of God are perfect love, perfect goodness - perfection. If you want to say I get that from "classic theology" fine. When does a person come the closest to this ideal? When male and female joins together (as god and goddess, if you will) and imitates the original act of creation, by creating new life. And if you add perfect love and trust to that, well there you have it. (And again I stress, I don't think that whole "perfect" thing can ever happen, anyway. We just can't be perfect.) I don't see where Christianity comes into play at all. As far as I know, Christianity (and the other Abrahamic faiths) value the procreative act under a somewhat different reason base.

I don't have any text in my view that says "all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals" - that's Wiccan? I'm not Wiccan, and as far as I know, that doesn't apply to all pagans.

Basically if the CHS statement had been worded as:

"As pagans we believe that everyone is a child of the Mother and deserves equal respect, compassion, and representation under the law, regardless of their sexuality or who they choose to partner with," I would have been 10,000% behind that.

And for the record I have also had some pretty sacred experiences of the gift of pleasure otuside of the whole married-procreating thing. I'm not dissing sex outside of those boundaries.

But you guys (and thanks for responding!) have hit on the problem exactly. In other religions it's pretty much a given that homosexual sex is forbidden or whatever. Which I don't exactly agree with. But as pagans are we headed towards a direction where a pagan *has* to think that all acts of sexuality are equal? You guys have pointed out that the statement didn't say they were *equally* sacred, just sacred, and I can see how that's different. That's fine. What I think is a little scary is that paganism embraces a LOT of different beliefs, but sometimes I think that it's only... that it's only OK to embrace those beliefs that are non-traditional. And if someone expresses a more conservative belief (regarding morality, for example) for whatever reason, then that's somehow suspicious...
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#7 of 27 Old 05-28-2009, 12:00 PM
 
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I had a feeling it would come to this. But thanks for responding everyone.

Actually I'm less influenced by conservative Christianity than I am by reason. I view the deity as a sacred because of the fact that he/she/it is the Creator. As the Deity is a male and female essences joined together, he/she/it was able to create the universe, to create life. The polarity of the Goddess and the God, the yin and yang. The opposite of light and dark, merge, to create. So the act of "creation" is the highest good. (And in that, destruction as well, as the inverse of creation, but that's another topic for another day.) And other attributes of God are perfect love, perfect goodness - perfection. If you want to say I get that from "classic theology" fine. When does a person come the closest to this ideal? When male and female joins together (as god and goddess, if you will) and imitates the original act of creation, by creating new life. And if you add perfect love and trust to that, well there you have it. (And again I stress, I don't think that whole "perfect" thing can ever happen, anyway. We just can't be perfect.) I don't see where Christianity comes into play at all. As far as I know, Christianity (and the other Abrahamic faiths) value the procreative act under a somewhat different reason base.

I don't have any text in my view that says "all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals" - that's Wiccan? I'm not Wiccan, and as far as I know, that doesn't apply to all pagans.

Basically if the CHS statement had been worded as:

"As pagans we believe that everyone is a child of the Mother and deserves equal respect, compassion, and representation under the law, regardless of their sexuality or who they choose to partner with," I would have been 10,000% behind that.

And for the record I have also had some pretty sacred experiences of the gift of pleasure otuside of the whole married-procreating thing. I'm not dissing sex outside of those boundaries.

But you guys (and thanks for responding!) have hit on the problem exactly. In other religions it's pretty much a given that homosexual sex is forbidden or whatever. Which I don't exactly agree with. But as pagans are we headed towards a direction where a pagan *has* to think that all acts of sexuality are equal? You guys have pointed out that the statement didn't say they were *equally* sacred, just sacred, and I can see how that's different. That's fine. What I think is a little scary is that paganism embraces a LOT of different beliefs, but sometimes I think that it's only... that it's only OK to embrace those beliefs that are non-traditional. And if someone expresses a more conservative belief (regarding morality, for example) for whatever reason, then that's somehow suspicious...
As an outsider to modern paganism, I've noted that it often tends to have a poetic structure, rather than a primarily rationalistic one. But you might be interested in looking at what some of the classical pagan writers said on this topic - certainly they wouldn't have all agreed with "all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals." Plato in particular comes to my mind as someone who writes about homosexuality, although I always felt he was influenced by the state of women in his day - their education and lives were so different from those of men, real friendship between the sexes was probably very difficult.

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#8 of 27 Old 05-28-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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So I'm curious, Champagne Blossom, do you follow a named specific path or a personal non-traditionally-defined one? I've heard some beliefs similar to what you're saying from an Asatru. And I know a few Diannic pagans who frown upon male-female sex. Hmmm... some Radical Faeries too, that seems to be all gay men or bi-men celebrating homosexual male sex.

I thought that "all acts of love and pleasure are her rituals" went along hand in hand with "perfect love and perfect trust." (I thought they were both Wiccan actually). I didn't realize there were paths that follow one of those and not the other?

Again, I don't think they mean to say either that they speak for all pagans everywhere. And I don't think they mean to say that all pagans consider all forms of sex equally sacred.

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#9 of 27 Old 05-28-2009, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm Onycan. It's a path I've worked on with others, so it's sort of personal and sort of not. Does that make sense? It's influenced by more than just neo-pagan traditions; Abrahamic faiths influence it as well.

As far as the perfect love and perfect trust go, I was over-simplifying that a bit and figured pagans would know what I meant when pairing them. Perfect love goes without saying, as love is one of the main attributes of God. As far as perfect trust goes, I would say that it would be more trust of stability; God is permanent and unchanging and all-knowing, thus creating a certain trust. I'm totally not getting that across well. I'll have to think of a better way of phrasing it. But while "perfect love and perfect trust" does not feature as such in our path it's umm... convenient shorthand for some complicated theology.

I love the fact that you guys brought up Plato and Dianic and Faerie traditions, because that's kind of exactly what I mean. I can't claim I know a lot about the ins and outs of Dianic and Faerie sexual teachings (if anyone does, PLEASE point me towards some good reading material!) but obviously some paths place more value on certain sexual acts vs on other ones. That's kind of what I'm getting at, and not really just about the CHS statement, which spurred my thinking a bit, but I wasn't really *centered* on that. Basically, I guess, pagans (as a whole) do view sex as sacred but some view all [consensual] sexual acts as equal whereas other paths elevate one or more forms.

The other thing is that as soon as a view is expressed that's not quite as liberal as most "mainstream" paganism, the whole "this smacks of Christianity" is thrown out there. (I'm not picking on you, Karenwith4!!! Sorry to single your post out.) Whether this is regarding views on the importance of marriage, modesty, whatever. Christianity didn't have dibs on a lot of those conservative values. And I think sometimes there is an assumption that pagans who aren't quite liberal "enough" are just not fully able to leave their Christian roots behind. When that might not be the case...
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#10 of 27 Old 05-29-2009, 10:23 AM
 
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I'm Onycan. It's a path I've worked on with others, so it's sort of personal and sort of not. Does that make sense? It's influenced by more than just neo-pagan traditions; Abrahamic faiths influence it as well.

As far as the perfect love and perfect trust go, I was over-simplifying that a bit and figured pagans would know what I meant when pairing them. Perfect love goes without saying, as love is one of the main attributes of God. As far as perfect trust goes, I would say that it would be more trust of stability; God is permanent and unchanging and all-knowing, thus creating a certain trust. I'm totally not getting that across well. I'll have to think of a better way of phrasing it. But while "perfect love and perfect trust" does not feature as such in our path it's umm... convenient shorthand for some complicated theology.

I love the fact that you guys brought up Plato and Dianic and Faerie traditions, because that's kind of exactly what I mean. I can't claim I know a lot about the ins and outs of Dianic and Faerie sexual teachings (if anyone does, PLEASE point me towards some good reading material!) but obviously some paths place more value on certain sexual acts vs on other ones. That's kind of what I'm getting at, and not really just about the CHS statement, which spurred my thinking a bit, but I wasn't really *centered* on that. Basically, I guess, pagans (as a whole) do view sex as sacred but some view all [consensual] sexual acts as equal whereas other paths elevate one or more forms.

The other thing is that as soon as a view is expressed that's not quite as liberal as most "mainstream" paganism, the whole "this smacks of Christianity" is thrown out there. (I'm not picking on you, Karenwith4!!! Sorry to single your post out.) Whether this is regarding views on the importance of marriage, modesty, whatever. Christianity didn't have dibs on a lot of those conservative values. And I think sometimes there is an assumption that pagans who aren't quite liberal "enough" are just not fully able to leave their Christian roots behind. When that might not be the case...
Certainly, there are lost of historical instances of paganism having some very very conservative values, about sex, about gender roles, about violence and racial issues... I find modern paganism actually quite different in this respect - ie in tending to reject those values as un-pagan.

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#11 of 27 Old 05-30-2009, 03:41 AM
 
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As the Deity is a male and female essences joined together, he/she/it was able to create the universe, to create life. The polarity of the Goddess and the God, the yin and yang. The opposite of light and dark, merge, to create.....When does a person come the closest to this ideal? When male and female joins together (as god and goddess, if you will) and imitates the original act of creation, by creating new life.
I get what you're saying...I think. Maybe in the sense of a "sacred rite" kind of view? I'm not familiar with your path, so bear with me, I'm just musing more than anything. Obviously there are many many different paths of paganism: hard core polytheists, Wicca (which is also about balance that you talked about), Goddess worshippers, etc. So, I'm not going to say, "well, what about this path?"

My thought when I read the above quotes was that really aren't we just being anthropocentric when we label our deities as male and female in the first place? I tend to worship the goddess, but just because that is my need for a label, not because I think the deities look like humankind or that they have specific sex organs. I view them more as energy that we're not sure of the appearance, so they appear to us as familiar images of male or female, depending on their traits. So, wouldn't the union of any energy of humans be considered sacred? At least, as long as you were considering it so?

Not really debating/arguing/whatever, just my rambling thoughts...

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#12 of 27 Old 05-30-2009, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe in the sense of a "sacred rite" kind of view?
Very much so.

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My thought when I read the above quotes was that really aren't we just being anthropocentric when we label our deities as male and female in the first place?
Yeah, the thought has crossed my mind. In one sense, there are many creatures that reproduce through male-female couplings. I know there are ALL sorts of exceptions, but it seems to be pretty common in animals at least, and I'm no botanist, but I know that many plants do come in male-female varieties. Some don't? Geesh, I know we covered this in middle school, wish I could remember more statistics. Anyway, not ALL creation is male-female, certainly. Heck, a volcano erupting "creates" as well, maybe not life but the opportunity for life. But safe to say that it is interesting that so many organisms need a male and a female union to create baby lifeforms. If you believe that the material world echoes the spirit world, then it might follow that the original spirit form needed a male and female energy to create. Maybe not male and female sex organs, but something like the union of yin and yang, or darkness or light, or whatever. The line in the middle, where they meet, is where creation happens. Maybe?

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I tend to worship the goddess, but just because that is my need for a label, not because I think the deities look like humankind or that they have specific sex organs. I view them more as energy that we're not sure of the appearance, so they appear to us as familiar images of male or female, depending on their traits. So, wouldn't the union of any energy of humans be considered sacred? At least, as long as you were considering it so?
Well, yup! Sacred, sure. But if it isn't creating life it isn't echoing that first act of creation, right? Like I said, if you have two heterosexuals who are practicing birth control deeply in love and committed, they are still not "open to life". So they are not echoing the creative act. Am I going to say that their intimate acts are not sacred? Heck no. It might be absolutely amazing and loving and sacred. But it's still not "the" sacred rite thing. And again, if you have a couple who are not deeply in love, who are just going along with the motions, "lying back and thinking of England" to conceive a child... I mean that's conceiving life but is that more sacred? I highly doubt it, because they lack the other dimensions of love and such. There are infinite combinations for sex. Maybe they're all equal in the sense that they're never perfect, never the ideal. But I suppose you have various acts that fall further or less from the ideal? Hmm.

It's interesting to ponder, no matter what your opinions are. I'm sure even if one thinks all sexual acts are sacred, they will find some forms of sex that they agree are "less" good than others. So it's one thing to say "all sex is sacred" and another to actually practice what you preach when you factor in rapes, affairs, prostitution... etc.
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#13 of 27 Old 06-03-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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I honestly don't have time to write out a thorough response and really join the conversation, sadly, but I just wanted to tell ChampagneBlossom -- you aren't alone. I had very similar feelings when I identified as Pagan (now a searching agnostic), and was taken aback by how quickly any viewpoints similar to yours (or mine) were labeled "patriarchal," "homophobic," "Abrahamic," etc. You are brave to even bring it up for discussion!

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#14 of 27 Old 06-03-2009, 07:55 PM
 
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I think this conversation is really interesting, but I guess I'm in the group that doesn't see exactly how the conversation relates to the CHS statement?

Quote:
"As Pagans, we embrace all forms of consensual adult sexual expression and relationships. We recognize sexuality as a sacred and spiritual force and, therefore, support legal, social and spiritual recognition of these relationships."
As far as I can see from a straight reading of the text, there is no mention of specific sex acts, relationship types, behavioral or social norms, etc. Certainly no statement about any specific relationship/act being of more or less worth than any other. Just that
Quote:
We recognize sexuality as a sacred and spiritual force and, therefore, support legal, social and spiritual recognition of these relationships.
and that
Quote:
we embrace all forms of consensual adult sexual expression and relationships.
Is it the use of the word "embrace" that is causing the discomfort? Because I don't see anything specific to this statement that actually conflicts with your description of sexual acts/relationship types as falling on a spectrum. If anything, the CHS wording is very careful to avoid making the statement "specific"... which is as it should be since the pagan umbrella covers such a wide range of paths that to try and craft a two sentence statement that covered every single one of them would be insane! (for instance, I can think of pagan groups who would find the term "child of the Mother" totally unacceptable)

Obviously, given the social norms of modern North America and the current debate over the legal status of certain types of relationships, it's easy to make assumptions about what "sort" of sexuality they are talking about. But it's just an assumption (unless they get more explicit elsewhere and bring up questions of reproduction/committment/etc). What they actually say is that they, as a pagan organization, support all forms of consensual adult sexual expression... not that one form of expression is better than another.

But this goes back to the question set in the OP and not the discussion as it's progressed from there... I guess I'm just curious about how the CHS statement is being read, and what about it gives people pause in terms of feeling that the statement is judgemental or painting with too broad a brush.

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#15 of 27 Old 06-04-2009, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know this might be a bit confusing, but I have to go back to my original post and clarify the intention. The CHS statement was more a catalyst for my thinking about pagan sexual morals altogether, and my... issues... were not directed at CHS particularly. Or the statement. WTG, self, for starting off my posts with it. I shouldn't even have brought it into the discussion.

Sexual ethics in paganism has been a topic on my mind for several years now. A few years ago I was doing some (academic) research into pagan morality. The general sentiments written about pagan sexual ethics in many of the books I went into, was basically that any sexual act is sacred, and as pagans we embrace all forms of sexuality equally. I mean, that was the gist of the writings, at least what I got out of it. One book especially springs to mind, Rites of Pleasure: Sexuality in Wicca and Neo-Paganism.
(I forgot the title, and while I was trying to find it on Amazon, I typed in "pagan sexuality" and I got other books brought up such as "Pagan Polyamory: Becoming a Tribe of Hearts" by Raven Kaldera. I haven't read that yet; has anyone? I'd be interested in what that has to say.)

Rites of Pleasure was an interesting read because it basically stated (again, in gist) that as pagans we embrace all sorts of sexual activities and reject any notion of categorizing sexual acts whatsoever. And if you go to the Amazon listing for it and read the reviews, it's telling how many people review it. I actually wish I still had the book on hand, I wonder how my reading of it would be now vs when I first read it. Perhaps I would see it in a different light now. It's been a while since I read it, but from the bits and pieces I recall right now it was almost setting up a juxtaposition of "pagans vs. conservatives" - which is a weird set up anyway. It's an issue that runs through a lot of pagan culture actually.

I guess it's the whole quote from above,

"[After reading] your descriptions of your beliefs [snip] I have to say I was a bit surprised to read that you are Pagan after that description."

I think that hit the nail right in the head and that's really what was my biggest issue, which incidentally has very little indeed to do with the quote from CHS, and possibly not even with the role of sexuality in paganism. It has to do with... well... The whole herding cat issue; how can you get a group as diverse as current neo-pagans to agree on much? If to all the "basic definitions" we can come up with exceptions for some people - what is the common thread? Self-identification, I guess. So, if I self-identify as pagan (and I do) why do I often feel like an outsider? There's something very intangible in the pagan community where people are very embracing of different beliefs, but sometimes that acceptance doesn't run towards the more conservative ends of the spectrum. I was part of a yahoo group a few years back that was named conservative pagans or something like that. I eventually ended up leaving the group because of the fact that it was very pro-Republican, which I didn't jive with, but there were lots if interesting ideas expressed about how those pagans who have more... "mainstream" (?) values (modesty, monogamy, etc. etc.) are viewed with suspicion and are treated as... not one of the group. Not liberated enough.

I have so much more to say, really, but I'm not sure where my rambling is going actually. I should probably go back and edit parts of this out because I'm sure I'm not really getting my point across.
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#16 of 27 Old 06-13-2009, 11:31 PM
 
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Actually I'm less influenced by conservative Christianity than I am by reason.
Jeepers. I don't know if you meant it this way, but as someone who's committedly non-monogamous, that feels very judgmental. My exploration has led me to believe that monogamy is not for me, and I'm spiritually okay with that decision. I will say, though, that though I think the premise of what you're saying re: sexuality being sacred sounds "Christian," but the hierarchy doesn't sound like Christianity at all, at least not the more conservative strands.

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#17 of 27 Old 06-13-2009, 11:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ChampagneBlossom View Post
The whole herding cat issue; how can you get a group as diverse as current neo-pagans to agree on much? If to all the "basic definitions" we can come up with exceptions for some people - what is the common thread? Self-identification, I guess. So, if I self-identify as pagan (and I do) why do I often feel like an outsider?
FWIW, I'm a UU, but I identify as a Unitarian Christian. We face the same issues. The herding cats...egads, that's our entire faith premise. Imagine adding Buddhists, Christians, agnostics, atheists, and others as well as a large and active pagan community.

As a Christian at a UU church, I also get the self-identification but feeling like an outsider thing, too. Though UU is Judeo-Christian in its roots, being Christian in a modern UU church can feel weird because Christianity often is the butt of jokes.

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#18 of 27 Old 06-13-2009, 11:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tallulahma View Post
ive had pretty sacred, spiritual sex with people I hardly knew-male and female.... long ago.... pre-marriage & children.... as a pagan

I think any time two spiritual bodies engage in a sensual way it has the potential of being sacred. JMHO.
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I have had these experiences too. I would not say they were any less scared. In fact, I think they can be more so (although infrequent in the "more so" category).

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#19 of 27 Old 06-15-2009, 12:55 AM
 
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I can certainly sympathize. When I first started practicing, it was with an eclectic semi-Wiccan group in the Midwest. While there was acceptance of homosexuality and even some theoretical acceptance of polyamory, most of the relationships I saw were heterosexual, and if they weren't monogamous then certainly not in-your-face about being "open".

Then I moved, and the closest group I could find was a CAW nest, with perspectives much further from the mainstream.

I think there are several elements to it. One being the tradition (CAW is based upon Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land", a novel in which polyamory is practiced). A second that the latter group was more urban, while the former was more rural. Third would be regional influences.

In my experience, the Midwestern United States tends to have conservative values. Not always Conservative politically, sometimes it's financially conservative, socially conservative, or such. The coasts tend to be more liberal, but the East coast expresses that liberalism differently from the West.

For example, I have been told that the UU churches on the East coast have generally retained the Christian heritage of Unitarian Universalism. Liberal Christianity, to be sure, and often combined with liberal politics, but more Christian than the Humanist, Buddhist, or Pagan clusters that might be seen in other UUA churches.

The summer I spent in California, I noticed that the Catholic church there was FAR more casual than what I grew up with in the Midwest. That was probably the first time I saw shorts and flip-flops commonly worn to Mass. The social norms were simply different.

So the third thing I think that influenced my experience with the CAW group vs. my earlier Pagan group was that several members were from California, and had been raised by swinger (at least, if not outright polyamorous) parents.

And this difference in social values was one of the reasons I felt much more comfortable with my UU community than the non-UU Pagan community there. I do not believe the way ChampagneBlossom has described, but I do favor monogamy. I'm not particular on the genders involved, but I favor lasting two-person relationships.

I personally am not comfortable with an open relationship, but I'm not going to interfere with open, honest, consensual (and non-coerced) agreements made between/among adults.

I haven't seen polyamory work. I have heard from a friend who says they knew a functional, stable, happy polyamorous family. I think if I saw it work, I might support it, but I haven't seen it work yet. It seems like that would take SO much more communication, effort, self-knowledge and maturity.

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#20 of 27 Old 06-23-2009, 04:27 PM
 
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I can see how in your work you chose to structure things in a "priority" list as it were, since this is not uncommon in religion and in life. I do not mean this to sound rude, but I am very curious, if only procreation sex equates the highest point of sex magick how do you ever use this in practice? You can't tell when you might get procreation, until well after sex has taken place. In this way it would be very hard to actually use this type of magick to gain the full potenital some would want to achieve with a "Great Rite Ritual" and in fact most likely you would have conception take place in a mundane situation, possibly ruining intent of the ritual (though still creating life which is great). I think unless you stayed in ritual until you tested positive you might lose the magick. Again this is just the practial pagan in me.

I also wonder if using this type of magick would you be able to make IVF as high of a magick using this system if you timed sex to coincide with conception?

Overall I think it's a very interesting thought but for me I work in a more simplistic Kitchen Witch manner which takes on balance to include the idea that some parts of the divine are in fact sexless or both sexes. In some ways as odd as this might sound I would say that conception by a plant or divinity with both sexes might actually be the highest sex magick based on the fact that it could be the perfect union. But again this is me just thinking out loud.

Kcstar- I wanted to say I do believe and have seen poly work. I think the issue much like in any relationship is the reasons behind why some people participate in these relationships. I have seen some people create relationships for all the wrong reasons (straight, gay, bi, poly) and those relationships never work. Sadly some of the poly community go in for all the wrong reasons which is why failure may seem the norm. But if you see the one's were people were in for the right reasons it can work.

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#21 of 27 Old 06-25-2009, 09:52 AM
 
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hmmm. i find pagans that value male-female reproductive relations over other ones puzzling. i am glad to be in a trad that is not so limiting in my theology or experience.

the goddess/creator that you talk about, champagneblossom, created all kinds of people and is responsible for sex in all its forms. i don't think procreative sex is any more sacred than pleasure sex. sex is sacred, regardless of if it creates a child, or who is involved. if anything, sex for its own sake could be considered more sacred in a pagan context, at least my pagan context!

sex is the connective tissue that binds us all. love in all its forms is sacred and should be valued and cherished. and any religion that states or implies otherwise (pagan, christian, what have you) is preaching morals (external code we must obey) over ethics (people being adults and determining what is right in context) and is controlling and not worthy of following, imho. i searched long and hard to find a tradition that values sex and love, period.

i value my body's ability to procreate. after all, i lovingly concieved a child on Beltane with a male partner. but i have had and will have female partners again. and i am very religious. kudos to cherry hill for taking a stand on prop 8.

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#22 of 27 Old 06-25-2009, 09:58 AM
 
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ooh, one more thing. the gods/goddesses have no gender as we know it. we assign them these things so we can wrap our brains around them better.

but the whole polarity thing is a limitation - a human limitation - and is NOT how the universe is set up or works at all. it makes things easier for a human to understand, at least for a while. but then you run into roadblocks to understanding. it limits your worldview and closes you off to all of creation.

ooh- and one more thing- just fyi to one of the posters, not all Radical Faeries are male, nor are they all homosexual/bisexual males. i enjoyed a genderful sexualityful Beltane at Nomenus sanctuary this year, and concieved a baby there! i identify as female and was born that way. lol! lotsa people of all ages, genders, and sexualities were in attendance.

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#23 of 27 Old 12-17-2011, 04:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Shabbers View Post

*shakes head*

I've never heard anything that Truly-In-Love, Het, Procreative Sexxors was More Sacred than any other kind. At least not in Pagan groups...

"All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals," ne? It might be sacred in a different way, or to a different one of Her Aspects, but I've never heard of any sort of pyramid of sexual sanctity.


This is probably both irreverent and irrelevant but I can't help but get a mental picture now of a food pyramid of sex, you know, like the food pyramid posters they put up in elementary schools, only for grown ups lol.

 


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#24 of 27 Old 12-18-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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I think -- and it will be controversial, and it may anger a lot of people, including the OP, but I'm not meaning it as an insult, just a statement of fact, so to speak -- I think that the idea that many Pagans have of the hetero-sexual, God & Goddess, creating life sex is a carry-over from the puritanical Christian concepts that dominate our world.

 

Now that is NOT to say that only Christians believe this, or that all Christians believe this, or that Christians were the first (or last) to believe in such a manner. In fact, there is strong historical argument that the Christian church actually picked it up from Pagan Rome. I only call it a puritanical Christian concept because that is what most people will understand.

 

I do, however, find it very interesting that the OP got the idea of a homogenous, non-hetero-erotic belief system from a notice merely stating the acceptance of sacred sexuality in all forms. But then, what people read between the lines usually says a lot more about THEIR own person then it does about the one making statements.

 

And, if I have to make a stand, my stand is this: ALL acts of love and pleasure are Her ritual.


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#25 of 27 Old 12-22-2011, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Wolfcat View Post

I think -- and it will be controversial, and it may anger a lot of people, including the OP, but I'm not meaning it as an insult, just a statement of fact, so to speak -- I think that the idea that many Pagans have of the hetero-sexual, God & Goddess, creating life sex is a carry-over from the puritanical Christian concepts that dominate our world.

 

Now that is NOT to say that only Christians believe this, or that all Christians believe this, or that Christians were the first (or last) to believe in such a manner. In fact, there is strong historical argument that the Christian church actually picked it up from Pagan Rome. I only call it a puritanical Christian concept because that is what most people will understand.



As a Christian, I'm surprised by this statement.  Christians do not believe at all that life was created by sex between anyone besides the parents of the individual conceived.  Christians believe in one God, neither male nor female though generally referred to in the masculine, who created life from nothing.  The Biblical description involves forming Adam from the dust of the Earth.  The continuing creation of new lives comes generally from sex between a man and a woman and the power of God, but God is not a sexual being in the way that the Pagan gods and goddesses are often viewed as being.  The closest thing to Christianity with this idea that I am aware of is in the LDS (Mormon) faith, which believes in a Heavenly Father and Mother who conceived us all sexually as spirit children before we were conceived bodily from our Earthly parents.  This is, however, a point of divergence from traditional Christianity and part of what causes many Christians to view the LDS faith as not monotheistic.

 

Then my question is, what does define a Pagan?  It seems to me that Paganism incorporates a whole lot, and where do the boundaries lie for those who consider themselves Pagan?  Traditional Christianity seems to define it as anyone who is not Christian (or Jewish).  Reading and listening to history, it seems to refer to the traditional religion of any culture that believed in polytheism.  It seems that historically speaking, this polytheism (and/or ancestor worship in some considerations) seems to be the defining characteristic of Paganism, and to the credit of Christians at the time of the founding of Christianity, Christianity and Judaism were the only belief systems around that were not polytheistic, so if you weren't Christian or Jewish, you were probably Pagan.  Besides this polytheism, is there anything that defines Paganism in general, as opposed to specific groups within paganism?  It seems that there would be a huge range of beliefs that an individual person could hold and still be Pagan, including the set of beliefs defined by the OP.

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#26 of 27 Old 12-25-2011, 01:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JMJ View Post

As a Christian, I'm surprised by this statement.  Christians do not believe at all that life was created by sex between anyone besides the parents of the individual conceived.  Christians believe in one God, neither male nor female though generally referred to in the masculine, who created life from nothing.


I was not saying the creation of the world was by sex. I'm saying that Christians put emphasis on the kind of sex that creates life (ie, heterosex).  It is the whole sex is for procreation idea. I also specified that not all Christians believe in this.
 

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Then my question is, what does define a Pagan?  It seems to me that Paganism incorporates a whole lot, and where do the boundaries lie for those who consider themselves Pagan?  Traditional Christianity seems to define it as anyone who is not Christian (or Jewish).  Reading and listening to history, it seems to refer to the traditional religion of any culture that believed in polytheism.  It seems that historically speaking, this polytheism (and/or ancestor worship in some considerations) seems to be the defining characteristic of Paganism, and to the credit of Christians at the time of the founding of Christianity, Christianity and Judaism were the only belief systems around that were not polytheistic, so if you weren't Christian or Jewish, you were probably Pagan.  Besides this polytheism, is there anything that defines Paganism in general, as opposed to specific groups within paganism?  It seems that there would be a huge range of beliefs that an individual person could hold and still be Pagan, including the set of beliefs defined by the OP.

 

Yes, "Pagan" is an umbrella term that is frequently a different definition from person to person. Most Pagans agree that it covers all religions, not including the "Big Five" (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu), though the last of those is often thrown into Paganism. Buddhism is sometimes thrown in. Some Pagans do not consider themselves to be Pagans. It's kinda like Catholics and Christianity. Some say it is, some say it ain't, no one is really right or wrong.

As a Pagan, I can say with all certainty that the boundaries are defined by each individual. We don't really have a great big defining thing. That is really our defining thing... orngbiggrin.gif This includes polytheism... not all Pagans are polytheists.

Oh, and make no mistake, Judeo-Christian beliefs were NOT the first or only religion to believe in only one deity. There were the Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians...


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#27 of 27 Old 12-30-2011, 12:58 PM
 
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While I do think that the God and Goddess are viewed as sacred masculine and feminine, as polarities that create the universe, and revered in a sacred marriage union (Great Rite/ dagger/cup). That is still all very symbolic.

 

I do think that most pagan traditions and beliefs also honor the idea that the sacred masculine and feminine live equally in both/all genders. In Thelemic traditions it is prominently mentioned and symbolized in a yin/yang way using black (with a bit of white) and white (with a bit of black) pillars in their rituals.

 

It is no shock that we live in a hetero centric world and hetero relationships are valued and supported. Hetero sex physically creates life. But I think when taking it to the spiritual plane, there is great value in recognizing the polarity lives in each person and sacred rites can be expressed by all forms of love, by all people.

 

Also, taking it literally that only a male/female in a commited relationship, engaging in sexual intercourse for procreation as the highest form of sacred sexuality… also leaves out those who cannot procreate due to infertility issues. Taking the symbolic to a literal level, where spirituality is concerned; tends to narrow the field of who is worthy of worship. I think it is awesome to believe and practice what you want on a personal level. If I am enjoying procreational sex with my husband and having a physical and spiritual experience of it – more power to me. But that does not mean the gay couple down the street cannot do the same.

 

Regarding the message sent by CHS. I think they are being fairly broad in their message (especially since usng the word Pagan is really broad), hoping to show acceptance in all expressions of sexuality. That is what I think they meant by “embrace” and they were certainly representing their own group, not every person or group who identifies as Pagan.

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