A few thoughts on Polyamoury & its Community

How Polyamoury is supposed to work:
“Hi, I’m Terry, and I love Chris. I also love Pat. We also fuck, sometimes all together, but usually not. We’re all cool with that, and it would be nice if you were, too. Maybe it’s neurological, or maybe just idealogical, but this is how our relationship works. If monogamy works for you and your relationships, that’s cool, too, even if I don’t personally understand.”

How Polyamoury usually works:
“Hi, I’m Terry, and I love Chris. I also really like Pat. I have sex with both Chris and Pat, but never together, even though they know about each-other and are cool with it.”

-or-

“Hi, I’m Terry, and this is my lover/spouse Pat. To me, sex is like a handshake, it’s just another level of physical intimacy I engage in with all or most of my friends, or that I may eventually. When I feel super-close to people, ideally, my preference is that it lead to sex, though I kinda-sorta understand that’s not always how it works out. Some people just have so many hang-ups about sex/their bodies/being totally intimate!1

-or-

“Hi, I’m Terry, and I’m married to Chris. Ten years after Chris and I got married, I fell in love with Pat. I still really like Chris, though I’m not really in love with him, or all that sexually attracted to him anymore, but he and I see no reason to divorce; we’re still best friends, and then there’s the kid, and really, in this economy, who wants to lose those benefits? Chris and Terry both know about each-other, and they’re cool with that, and Terry’s even moving in with us. Chris is also seeing Lindsay, and both Lindsay and I know and are cool with that, and Linday might eventually move in.”

-or-

“Hi, I’m Terry, and I’m in love with Chris we are engaged to be married, but I also fuck Pat. To absolve myself of guilty feelings, cos I’m a pagan, not a Catholic, I suggested to Chris that we open our relationship and be polyamorous. Chris wasn’t down with that at first, but eventually, I wore them down. In theory, I’m cool with Chris ‘loving’ (by which I mean ‘fucking’) other people, but I try not to think about it, cos I’m the most important person in this relationship.”

-or-

“Hi, I’m Terry, and I love Chris. And Lindsay. And Pat. No, it’s not just about sex, it’s POLY-AMOURY, not POLY-FUCKERY2. Sex is amoral unless you’re in love, and since I never really outgrew my Christian upbringing, I’m very militant about the idea that I am IN LOVE with everybody I sleep with. I also might start ranting at you about how polyamoury is morally superior to monogamy, because it’s about TRUE LOVE, not SLAVERY! I conflate the Free Love movement, which was simply a Victorian-era First Wave feminist anti-marriage movement, with having all the lovers I want, and mistakenly believe that marriage in the ancient Upper Classes was about love, rather than politics, and use that as ‘historical evidence’ that polyamoury works. I might also say really bizarre things like ‘there really is only one kind of love’3, unaware of how sick and abusive that makes me and my family sound.”

-or-

“Hi, I’m PJ, and this is my partner, Stevie.”
“Hi, I’m Terry, and these are my partners, Chris, Pat, and Lindsay.”
“Oh, you’re seeing three people? And they’re all cool with that? I’m only asking cos it’s unusual, if they do, and I somehow didn’t/couldn’t discern from the context that they probably are cool with that.”
“STOP OPPRESSING ME!!!!!!”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend (by which I probably mean ‘my mistake’, but I have trouble admitting my own mistakes to myself, much less some-one I just met).”
“This is JUST LIKE NAZI GERMANY!!!”

-or-

“Hi, I’m Terry, and I will fuck anything that moves. I’m polyamorous!”

-or-

“Hi, I’m Terry. Have you read The Ethical Slut? You haven’t? Why not? That’s the ultimate guide to life! It’s the most perfect philosophy on love and sex, ever!”


1: Yes, this is something that people actually say.
2: Also something that people actually say.
3: Thankfully, I’ve only heard one person say that, but really now….

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Remind me, again, the name of the God of Beefcake?

modus-vivendi-briefs

Underwear model Mihalis Thomaidis has teamed up with underclothiers, Christos Bibitsos under their Modus Vivendi label, for a new underwear advert campaign celebrating the traditional working class of ancient Hellas.

I dub Modus Vivendi the official pants of Hellenic reconstruction, and if you don’t wear them, you’re a filthy Neopagan trying to sully the purity of The One True Hellenismos™ with your False Hellenism.

So it is written!

[resumes looking at gay porn underwear photos]

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

[begging] I am here to get you laid!

So, in going through a bunch of crap in my room, I’ve found a bunch of surplus condoms I can’t use any more due to latex allergy. Because I hate throwing out otherwise perfectly good items, I’d rather these rubber johnnies go to a good home than in the garbage.

I have two brands: Durex and ONE

Durex is the brand I’ve bought my entire adult life (no matter how much their costume adverts amuse me, I will never buy Trojans; an old friend who was a part of ACT UP during his uni days in the early 1990s has given me some very good reasons not to —reasons I’m having the hardest time sourcing, but he was there at the time, so I trust him), they’re the most popular brand in the Anglosphere and they’re a UK-based brand, but ONE amuse me because of their “designer” foils, and I picked up a bunch with their “pride foils” last year, when I still didn’t realise I was allergic to latex.

I’m selling all of these with the “extra protection” ONE branded tin for $7 plus $3 shipping. The expiration dates vary between March 2013 (three of the Durex) and March 2015 (at least seven of the ONE), so you’d have a minimum of about one year to use them.

I’ll also bless each condom prior to packaging and shipping, which I’m doing just as a complimentary religious service. 🙂

First come, first served. I’m selling these as a batch, photo is just included to show off the ONE foils and box. The box looks like it’s aluminium and it can comfortably hold 12 or 13 condoms, 15 or 16 if you squeeze ’em in (or you can put in ten condoms or fewer and one or two of those little mini-sachets of lube) —great for dorm room, messenger bag, or large purse storage.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

New TS/TG pagan book out now

Here’s a press release for All-Soul, All-Body, All-Love, All-Power: A TransMythology by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

And don’t forget Gender and Transgender in Modern Paganism, or Hermaphrodeities: A Transgender Spirituality Workbook by Raven Kaldera.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

A Note of Self-Defence

It never fails. Every time this TS/TG bullshit comes up over Pantheacon or whatever else in the greater umbrella community, there’s always aging second-wave feminists, too caught up in their own identity as the victims to see the actual progress that’s happened in the last thirty-five years, at the very least, who have nothing better to say but going on and on about The Plight of Wombynnes Everywhere, and how simply having a uterus is like walking about with a target on your back.

And my gut instinct is to defend myself.

But I don’t, at least not in the comments on other people’s blogs, because well, on the ultimate hand, I’m very secure in my gender and very secure in my knowledge of my perceived opponent’s ignorance. On the lesser hand, I really don’t have the time or patience to waste on such ridiculous people, especially not one-at-a-time. Last year, I had several urges to make a post similar to this one, explaining some of my experiences as a man of TS history and why, contrary to what some very ignorant and prejudiced people may believe, is not simply some perverse “ultimate manifestation of a woman’s self-hatred” (as one such person I can’t be bothered to remember to source once described men of my condition), but something I struggled with for years. Part of this struggle was because of a somewhat feminist upbringing, and part of this was because, being sexually oriented toward other men (and overwhelmingly cissexual men, but that’s simply because of my penis obsession), it’s honestly a helluva lot easier, in many ways, to live with an outward form more apparently female than it is to do so with an apparently male form.

My parents were probably rather unusual for people their age (mother thirty-five and father forty, at the time of my birth —and I was the second offspring of each, my mother having her first child thirteen years before me, and my father having his first seven years earlier) to have the idea to pretty much let my younger sister and I pick out our own toys and cartoons, within reason. My younger sister was actually more of a tomboy than I ever could have been, as I was “that weird bookworm kid” who spent all my spare time at the library or, after library hours, watching old movies, usually with my mother or maternal grandparents. I never saw a film, outside of anything nominally “for children”, made after 1969 until I was maybe eleven years old. I’d put on a lot of my own little versions of Broadway musicals with soundtracks either from my father’s record collection or copied onto compact audio cassette from the library. At the same time, though, I rejected anything pink, loudly protested the notion that my stuffed animals or “playing Barbies” with my sister meant that I “played with dolls”, and after coming home from school, I couldn’t wait to get out of my uniform dirndl and into a pair of jeans because I simply wouldn’t stand for the notion that I did anything “for girls”; eventually, this protest morphed into “doing anything [my younger sister] does” because my mother was seriously becoming distraught with this apparent gender confusion, so I changed it to please my mother —after all, it was only fair that I did so, because when I was six, I overheard my parents in an argument over whether or not to enrol me in this school for the gifted, my mother in favour of this, my father stubbornly against it because my younger sister (who everybody knew was his favourite) “would feel bad”, and my mother eventually blurted out (believing I was asleep and not at the top of the stairs eavesdropping) “That kid is smarter than the two of us combined and deserves this..”, and in spite of my advanced cognitive abilities, I was also clearly six, and since I knew my score, I interpreted this very literally and looked up something at the library the next day, after which, I had concluded that my parents were both borderline retarded, so clearly they just weren’t going to understand a lot of things.

I’m dead serious, too. I believed my parents were mentally handicapped until I was nine years old and it just suddenly clicked with me that it was highly improbable for my mother, a registered nurse, to be mentally retarded, nor was it probable for my father to be so, either (while my father was basically a rag-and-bones man, or as a family friend once put it, “the white Fred Sanford“, I can attest that at least somewhat-higher-than-average intelligence is needed for that work, and he also occasionally worked construction and other manual labour that would be unkind to those who weren’t quick-enough in thinking —I’d hesitate to wager that my father was as high-functioning as my mother was, but he was no Peggy Hill, either, much less a Corky Thatcher ).

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About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Parallel Closets

It isn’t impossible to hide one’s sexuality or gender identity, nearly eighteen years of DATD showed us that. And of course trans* service people still have to conceal their deepest selves even today.

What is impossible is having whole and meaningful connections with the world outside your closet doors.

So, I’m reading this post on Bilerico, and I can’t help but remember why I stand firm in my belief that being out is not “privilege” as the shamers amongst the Bourgeoisie want us to believe, it’s defiance —maybe the privilege of a loving family is a hollow one for the price of closeting, but the notion that being “out” is a privilege is a Bourgeoisie lie, designed to create an artificial rift between those enslaved to their closets and those who paid a hard price to be free of theirs. And the whole notion of being closeted “for love” is for only the the most empty kind of love you can get from a person; I mean, what kind of love demands that you keep a heavy door between you, never letting the two of you really see each-other, much less really touch and be touched by?

When Psykhe took the lamp into the bedroom of Eros’ crystal castle in the sky high above Helikon, and the tiniest bit of oil singed the beautiful God’s skin, He ran. He didn’t run from the pain, or simply the surprise of being woken up in such a way. He ran from the lack of trust. But at the same time, can She really be blamed? When we truly love some-one, any-one, we want to know them as much as we trust them. We don’t have to know everything, but we have this burning desire to know them, or as Genesis P-Orridge put it, to completely consume them and be a part of them and have them be a part of you. We cannot love from behind doors, we can only admire. Trust, knowledge… Love needs that vulnerability to exist, and until such openness is allowed, there exists little more than fondness.

From the trials of Psykhe, after breaking open Eros’ own closet of darkness, we learn that true love overcomes, making us more willing and indeed able to take in the whole person, love them even more, as with the more we learn, the more we have to fall in love with —be is romantic or familial.

Some might want us to believe the Capitalist lie, that love is a privilege to be earned, but indeed, it’s what makes the world turn —for Gaia so passionately loves Ouranos, that she twirls about in His arms forever as They dance the dance of Eternity around Helios’ shining orb, for even after that blazing ball consumes Them, they and Their love will live on. It was created freely in the womb of eternal night, and is given freely at alarming rates, often with neither rhyme nor reason. Some actions can cause love to end, but this is the most mortal form of love, and being mortal, we can’t help it when that happens —but the less mortal, more pure the love, the more willing it is to see that which sets us apart and love us all the same, or even all the more.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

A No-Nonsense TS/TG 101 For Pagans

So!

This year’s brouhaha courtesy of Pantheacon (or, as I call it: Dianics vs Transies1 2: Electric Boogaloo) reminded me exactly how ignorant a lot of pagans and polytheists are about TS/TG issues, even though we’re E~V~E~Y~W~H~E~R~E!!!! O~o~O~oO~o~h!!!!

No, serious. Trans people? Yeah, we’re pretty much everywhere. Even in the pagan community. Can’t escape us, so do yourself a favour and try to learn something.

Ruadhán, first off: What are all these WORDS? I’m confused by new words! What does it all mean!?!?
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About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

The Pandrogyne

I find Genesis Breyer P-Orridge a fascinating creature.

S/he not really “transgender” in the traditional sense, as h/ir transformation seems more philosophical in nature, rather than a matter of personal identity. Born of the belief that he and his lover1, “Lady Jaye” Breyer (who was equally obsessed with him) are both part of and exist separately from a third “pandrogynous” entity that is not only equally male and female but also transcendent of traditional genders, an entity they called Breyer P-Orridge, and so they set about to bring this entity to form, surgically.

When Lady Jaye died in 2007, Genesis continued the project they began, not merely as a means of keeping Jaye always with him, but seeing this “pandrogyne” they sought to become as heir child, a third person or soul they’ve given form to. Ultimately, it’s a testament to love.

There’s been a recent documentary about Breyer P-Orridge, The Balad of Genesis and Lady Jaye; apparently, it’ll have a screening in Detroit on 25 May, so I’m hoping to make arrangements to go see it. I admit, I can’t help but be in love with the tag-line for the tag-line for the film:

Love is dedication. Love is creation. Love is forever.

If ever there was a case for soul mates, I’d say those two were it.


1: though legally married, I choose “lover” not for the potential gender confusion and androgyny, but merely because it conveys so much more than a mere synonym for “spouse”.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Gender and Transgender in Modern Paganism available from Circle of Cerridwen

I just noticed T. Thorn Coyle’s blog mentioning this, and so I thought I’d post a link here, cos it might be of interest to some of the people reading this blog:

Gender and Transgender in Modern Paganism

It’s a free PDF, or available in hardcopy via Lulu for $8.88. I intend to get a hardcopy, eventually, but for now the PDF will do me fine.

It’s pretty much a collection of informal essays written in the wake of last year’s Pcon/CAYA Coven Amazons “women only —except those yucky ‘transies1‘” shitstorm, which was quickly (or rather slowly, in Internet terms) followed by Z Budapest proving what a total embarrassment she is (it’s in the un-linkable comments.


1: I really have no idea where Ms. Budapest got that one; that was the first I’d heard or seen that rather than “tranny” or “he/she/it” or similar.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Start Your Week Off Right: A Round-Up

Here are a bunch of urban homesteader links I found, and will probably sidebar:
http://urbanhomestead.org/
http://urbanhomesteader.wordpress.com/
http://theurbanhomesteader.blogspot.com/

I now seriously believe that very few self-identified “pagans” are as committed to “sustainable living” as they want others to think they are. Oh, you and your hubbie made cheese in your basement that you shared with your “poly family” while you spend oodles of cash at the local No We’re Not Whole Foods But We’re Not a Farmer’s Market, Either? These people are living on 1/3 of an acre or less, and are producing a majority of their own diet.

I also suspect Jane Jacobs had an urban-focused spirituality. Too bad she’s no longer around for me to ask.


What?! It’s a puppy!

Sannion gave a beautiful biography of Plutarch:

in the first few generations after Octavian cemented his sole rule of Rome there was very little for a politically minded Greek to do. You got nowhere without extensive social contacts in Rome – and the wealth to travel in such circles – and even then there were limits on how high one could aspire. Many Romans looked down their noses at their Greek subjects, except when it came to the arts and philosophy where they were grudgingly accepted as their superiors. Thus many cities such as Athens, Alexandria and Antioch became little more than college towns where wealthy Romans sent their sons for proper education, deeming them worthy of little else.

This is the era into which Plutarch was born. At one point he even moved to Rome seeking a promising career. Though he made many close friends and met with modest success he eventually bumped into the glass ceiling and grew frustrated with the realization that he could progress no further. So he returned to his hometown, once the shining star of Boiotia but now a pitiful backwater, and spent the remainder of his days active in small-time local politics, serving as a priest at Delphi and pursuing antiquarian and philosophical studies.

Dver suggests to others to balance discernment with certain realities of the spiritual world some of us might not be as ready to admit as we think we are:

While discernment is extremely important, and certainly some things that appear to be messages are just random coincidences, I think we often err too heavily on the side of skepticism because of our preconceptions. That face we saw in the pattern of leaves on a tree must just be our imagination, even though it looked so much like a familiar god, even though we had prayed for a sign, because a real vision of a deity will manifest out of nothing before us, undeniable and life-altering. But why do we expect that the gods and spirits would use, as the medium of Their communication, anything other than the elements of our own physical world, when those elements are ready at-hand (and, as a bonus, easily processed by our sensory organs and brains)?

Normally, I’d put this follow-up interview of Ronald Hutton in the “Shit You’ve Probably Read Already” sub-heading, but I wanted to include a quote that actually got me interested in reading Hutton’s book:

Will you publish on the history of modern Paganism again?

Probably not. I wrote Triumph to suggest an answer to one specific question: why Wicca appeared in England, of all the places in the world, and in the mid twentieth century, as opposed to any other time. To put it another way, I wanted to show why it was that one of the most industrialised, urbanised and densely populated countries on earth happened to be the one to produce a religion drawing on ancient pagan roots and centred on nature deities, at the threshold of late modernity? In providing my answer, I also believe that I achieved three other objectives. One was to explain the national and international success of the religion concerned, and another to reassure those who knew little or nothing of it of its essentially benevolent character. The third was to show that, far from deriving from ideas and impulses which were the preserve of a fringe element in society, they drew on several which were mainstream to modern British culture, and involved some of its most familiar and admired figures. In particular, its deities, although present in the ancient world, were not those who were most central to that world’s religions but those who had become most important to the modern British in general, in a way which has not been adequately appreciated and honoured.

Oh, and did you know that Sannion hates women who get abortions? Oh, wait…:

At any rate I do not want to see people going around saying that Sannion believes Dionysos hates women who get abortions, because that is so not the point of this post.

The Barking Shaman has some words about that HuffPo article from the mother of a 7-year-old who came out as gay:

The Huffington Post ran a piece a few days ago from a mother whose 7yr old son recently declared that he was gay. It was a lovely essay about love and acceptance, with a bit of parental concern in there too. The parents are being supportive of his identity, while at the same time, understanding that what he feels at seven may or may not be how he feels in the months and years to come. They seem quite content to take him at his word and see what does or doesn’t change with time.

There have been quite a lot of people on internet message boards saying that this is ridiculous, that this child can’t know at such a young age that he is gay. I’ve seen this particularly on LGBT message boards, where people are holding up their own coming out at older ages as proof that seven is “too young.”

I’ll probably say something about this, myself (assuming I haven’t already, and then forgot to come back here and edit appropriately).

And I also found Hêrakleion, a Herakles blogger. It’s a relatively new one, but so full of good posts already!

ALSO:
Shen Hart at Ink-Stained Pawprints asked Atheists to be a bit more tolerant. I may have arrived late, but I think I “totes pwnd” a troll.

I’m glad to see some-one I don’t believe I know (on-line or off) who enjoyed my post on urban spirituality facts and the pagan community.

Just in case you were curious:
This has been the first week (to my knowledge) that this blog has had a minimum of 100 views a day.

I also learned the hard way that ReBlogging does not work with privately hosted WordPress blogs, no matter how much you’ve hooked up said blog to your WP.com account.

Shit You’ve Probably Read Already:
* Survey on Pagan Prayer
* Galina Krasskova: C is for Cultural Misappropriation
* Hark! A Vagrant – Greek Couples sketches
* Something Positive: Seasonal Spirit (I really wish those things existed)
* Oglaf: Obligation Day (NSFW)
* ETA! Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell: Valentine Pin-Up Boys! (sorry about the last minute add, but I had to)

Your New Old Word for the Week:
Rhathymia (ruh-THY-mee-uh): n. from Greek rhathymos (light-hearted, easy-tempered, carefree): the state of being carefree; lightheartedness.
The modern person often mistakenly sees Aphrodite as a Goddess of Peace and rhathymia, but that role belongs to Eirene.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.