Start Your Week Off Right: A Round-Up

On Dieselpunk Encyclopaedia, Gotham City Revisited focuses on Toronto —gorgeous! Also check out Our Gallery: The Fantastic Art of 600v

For those who share my aesthetic and cinematic tastes:
Slow Motion Angel (Derek Jarman fansite)
Silent Hollywood: The Silent Film Database
Brand Upon the Brain: a Film by Guy Maddin (promotional site)
My Winnipeg: A Docu-Fantasia from Director Guy Maddin (promotional site)
Guy Maddin Blogathon: Confessions of a Maddin Newbie (23 Sept 2011 blog)

…and how about some gorgeous 1920s film posters.

…and some free-to-download recording from Annette Henshaw.

…and how ’bout a Roaring Twenties Tumblog?

…and while I’m on a Jazz Age / Art Deco sort of kick, have you ever heard of Gerda Wegener? She was a Danish illustrator and painter, and apparently seemed to have done a lot of lesbian-themed stuff —not my cup of tea for eroticism, but gorgeous illustrations, nonetheless. The reason she came to my attention was, oddly, not as an Art Deco illustrator, but because her first marriage (of nineteen years) was to to “Einar Wegener”, the assigned-at-birth name of the first-ever documented male-to-female transsexual Lili Elbe. Elbe lived as a woman through most of the 1920s (possibly the whole decade, the biographical info I’m finding is sparse) and started “dressing full-time” in 1912/13, after the couple moved to Paris. Elbe also modelled for Wegener’s paintings at some time prior to the move to Paris, and in 1913 Wegener’s audience was shocked to learn that her favourite petite femme fatale model was legally her “husband”. Elbe is commonly believed amongst TS/TG history circles to have technically been intersexed, possibly a form of Kleinfelter’s syndrome (though this specific is mainly believed because it’s the most common IS syndrome affecting those determined to have a “male” physiology at birth), because one of the known documents of her surgeries describes rudimentary ovaries or possibly ovotestes; at this point in medical knowledge, it’s uncertain to say much with such certainty about some-one who died eighty years ago. Elbe died within a week after a final, far more experimental surgery, implanting a uterus; her body rejected the organ and went septic, but she reportedly died happily. Gerda was reportedly completely supportive of Elbe’s transition, some contemporary accounts even suggest that she’s the one who encouraged Elbe’s transition. A year or so prior to Elbe’s death, their marriage was annulled by the King of Denmark, and soon after Elbe’s death, Wegener remarried despite her lesbian preferences. Her career as an illustrator and painter soon faded into obscurity, but what she did do in the few years afer Elbe’s death suggest that Elbe’s memory continued to be Wegener’s muse for some time later.

Wait, what? Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Ghost of Gary Coleman?

Oh, that’s right, this is a polytheism blog —how dare I forget?

You’ve all seen Myths Retold, right? Since I’ve posted about one of England’s national treasures over the past week, I just though some of you might want to check out the OLDE ENGLISH tag on Myths Retold.

Patch could use some books on Hellenic death.

As a bit of a mini follow-up to my post about the heart symbol, those of you who are into creative “pubescaping” and are bad at freehanding might be delighted to know that there’s an analogue app for that.

Dver reminds us how to get the most out of local libraries, acknowledging, as I do, that this may all be completely new information to some people (I’m still amazed at this phenomenon, myself, and I’m a little younger than her, even).

ALSO:
Cara Schulz quoted and linked to a post of mine. Hijinks ensue. I lose respect for pagans who comment on blogs. (Apparently, some-one who admits that they are more able of body, and rank higher on income and “straightness” than I do is experienced enough with disenfranchisement to tell me I don’t know disenfranchisement. Gotta love the SuperAlly™!)

And just in case you were curious:
I finally passed 200 hits in a single day this past week! Took long enough, too.


Shit You’ve Probably Read Already:
* 23 Reasons Why Dionysians are the Best Friends
* Star Foster Surprises No-one by Saying Something Over-Generalising; Gets Rather Articulately Pwnd by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus.


Your New Old Word for the Week:
Acritition: sexual intercourse without orgasm.
Some believe the orgasm is the only climax in love-making, but I can tell you of times of acritition that have been far more passionate than most times including ejaculate.

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.

Well, colour me late-to-the-party…

…but it seems the misandrist, gender-essentialist transphobe, Mary Daly has finally kicked it. At the risk of appearing in really bad taste, I have only one word to say:

Good.

Maybe now LBTQ Women’s spirituality can make some real progress now? Seriously now, the difference between Mary Daly and Valarie Solanas is, later in life, Solanas insisted that her apparently anti-man writings were never meant to be taken seriously while, as recently as 1999, Mary Daly consented to retirement after refusing to admit male students into her Women’s Studies course. Daly, in no uncertain terms, was always explicitly clear that she believed women superior to men.

She also has been cited by critics as “homogenising” women’s history, ignoring (and thereby marginalising) “women of colour”, and has been explicitly transphobic, stating “transsexualism” is a “male condition” and “Frankensteinian” and post-operative TS women live in a “contrived and artifactual condition”.

I will shed no tears for this woman’s death. Not only is one of my best friends a woman of transsexual history (as in, “male-to-female transsexual”), but her basic gender essentialism (which reduces all the psychological, neurological, and socially-encouraged aspects of gender down to what one’s genitals appear most like at birth) and dismissal of the TS experience as “a male condition” is one of the more ignorant forms of hate-speech as it outright denies the possibility of [female-to-male] transsexual men and renders the TS man’s experiences little more than non-existent. I would say “was” if not for the fact that this harmful gender-essentialism still permeates both feminist and pagan/polytheist discourse to an extent that is near-impossible to escape. (Follow this link for more boring crap!)

Now obviously the idea that how one “is supposed to” dress and behave and think because is what they have between the legs is at least as old as Hesiod, though most likely older, but saying that “it’s the right way to believe because it’s a traditional way to believe” is logically unsound. By that logic, well, it’s traditional to hold women as chattel so therefore we “should”.

The fact of the matter is, while undeniable that Mary Daly’s own thoughts on the subjects of ecofeminism and feminist spirituality helped bring these topics into discourse as we know it, she used this position as a pioneer to push her own essentialist and anti-male, anti-man, anti-masculine agenda, which many people now feel has no place in progressive discourse. She painted spirituality and gender in terms of black-and-white when what truly exists are varying greys and even colours. She was a casual racist who ignored the voices of non-“white” women — and a kook who truly believed that humanity’s, and indeed the entire planet Earth’s only true salvation was in phasing out the male sex.

Progress will not mourn Mary Daly, and Progress will eventually learn to pity her memory and those who cling to her now-useless and all-too-often counter-productive ideals. I’m convinced that her time and place was to be nothing more than the “squeaky wheel” that called attention to certain progresses by being an educated kook, and so once that spotlight shifted into position and lingered, her time had passed.

Edited to add:
I just wanted to add a link here to this awesome post on Daly and feminism from the Genderbitch blog on WordPress.com. She and those she quotes sum up the perspective of TS women on Mary Daly better than I could. Even a trans guy is quoted.

I’m also going to say that a lot of my Daly research is fairly recent; before this last few days, most of what i knew about her was second-hand from two TS women pagans I know who seem to hold Daly personally responsible for the gender essentialism that continues to permeate pagan and polytheist circles — and the “uterine supremacy” that seems to outright deny sacred masculine, sacred androgyny, or anything else in-between. Some of the most pious polytheists I know are TS/TG, genderqueer and/or “genderfucked” (I use both of these terms pretty loosely and broadly, for the sake of keeping this edit shorter), or completely devoid of any internal sense of gender identity. Many polytheistic recons I know are women especially devoted to masculine Deities or men especially devoted to feminine deities. Furthermore, Hellenic polytheism specifically has no shortage of “androgynous” deities (Athene is often considered “hard Butch” and Adonis is practically “bishounen” — just as two ready examples), and the ancient cults of Kybele, Hermaphroditos and, less well-known, Aphroditos (— or “The Bearded Aphrodite” who is “masculine above the waist and feminine below” [link to source later -- trust me, google is your friend]) have mythologies that rely heavily on a transformation from one apparent sex to another. Personally, I feel that gender-essentialist ideals such as those spouted by and inspired by the words of Mary Daly have no place within this beautiful religion.

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.

Messenger Bag

I was actually inspired to make this post after reading this post from the LJ community pimp_my_altarPimp My Altar. My messenger bag began life as, well, and ordinary messenger/Israeli paratrooper bag that I purchased at Harry’s Army Surplus before their Ann Arbor location went out-of-business (due largely to gentrification and the sudden raise in rent for businesses on that block):

Mine was purchased for under $10 on a 50% off clearance, and I also got a fishtail parka for just under $20, on a 75% off clearance, and an extra-tall “walking stick”-sized umbrella for about $10 even (the latter is no longer a usable umbrella, due in part to Chicago winds, and in part to living with three cats).

This is how mine looks today:

It wasn’t a huge task to transform the paratrooper symbol into a Caduceus, which has been historically used as a printer’s mark. Regardless, as a symbol of Hermes, it seems an entirely appropriate thing to paint onto a bag that I primarily use for carrying notebooks, my agenda, important papers, my chequebook (which has the simpler Caduceus [sans wings] painted on the front), and a few other things that I’m in the habit of carrying with me, including my lyrics book, sheet music, drawing pencils and sketch diary, mp3 player or Walkman, personal phone book, cigarette tin and lighter, and gum. It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from Derek Jarman’s film Caravaggio: “It was through an act of theft that Mercury created the Arts.” I recall that quote not because of theft (though I am frequently reminded of how the push for gentrification has essentially robbed this poor town of its culture before it could truly come into its own, and how the closing of Harry’s and several other down-town stores really solidified Ann Arbor’s gentrification in my mind), but because of Hermes’ long-held associations with the Arts and how I carry in this bag my simplest means of creativity.

All the pin-back buttons on the bag (with the exception of “The Amino Acids – Warning: Tangy Reverb” one) are also one’s that I’ve created. I had a few more on there before I took these two photos just now, but they either fell off or were removed by me at some time or another. [Well, except for a Dionysos button that I'm pretty sure some kid on the Amtrak stole while I was in the on-train restroom; it's one of those things that I just know, even though I couldn't prove it. Of course, I didn't even notice it was gone until I had already reached Chicago. There was just something about the way that kid kept looking at the button when he and his mother boarded the bus, kept looking at me after I came back from the restroom, and the fact that his mother was dead-asleep before and after I went to the restroom.]

Here’s a close-up (albeit, a dark one) of the buttons. I took it without flash to eliminate glare that would have made them unviewable:


left-to-right are: Top – Satyr & Nymphe (from a Roman mosaic), Narkissos (19thC CE illustration)
Bottom – Apollon & Muse, Hyakinthos & Zephyros, Apollon & laurel branch
(gone missing or out-of-commission: Dionysos, Hermes, Adonis, Eros, Caravaggio’s Narcissus, Hermaphroditos, Neokoroi flame, Hellenion flame)

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.

Transgender Day of Rememberance

[This was originally cross-posted to the Hellenion_Chat and Neokoroi e-mail lists, and it just occurred to me that I didn't get around to posting this here, like I said that I would, because the latest FireFox update is total crap and keeps freezing up and the only way to fix it is to reboot this eight-years-old eMachines piece of poopie.]

For those not in-the-know, 20 November is the Transgender Day of Rememberance for TS/TG persons who have died as victims of hate-crimes and is an important day for TS/TG persons (MTF and FTM) and their friends, families, and allies.

As one whose gender has often been debated by others (even though it’s been clear to me for the last two decades and some [note: I consider my condition one of many states of being a "biological eunuch", in that I did not go through a normal boy puberty; but just for the record, I'm male-identified and making several hormonal and surgical "corrections"]), I plan to just simply offer libation, a small portion of lavender, and some music by Jayne County (who is awesome), recite my version of the Story of Hermaphroditos [note: to be posted later, currently in Iss#17 of He Epistole, ask me for a PDF or printed copy], and give this small prayer:

O Kybele, O Hermaphroditos,
Theoi of changed forms,
All I ask of you on this sacred day to those of similar fate
And of form andro-gynos by birth or by hand,
Is to seek justice for those whose time was cut short,
And to aid and protect those who remain in a world less understanding.
May Persephone and Adonis lead those passed safely to the Fields of Elysium,
May those who brought them to You too soon be dealt their due justice in this world,
And by Those Who Judge the Dead.
May Athene and Zeus guide the judges of the living to seek mercy on the deceased,
As you, O Andro-Gynos Theoi, give comfort and confidence to the living.

My rituals are usually very simple, consisting of little more than offering of food and/or herb and libation.

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.

Bulgarian Temple of Kybele For Sale!

News Link

I’m rather torn about this (as I said in the comments on The Wild Hunt‘s post:

On one hand, if it were bought by a private group of polytheists (or even just one insanely wealthy polytheist), then there would be a much higher chance of this temple being restored to its former purpose — and how amazing that would be! On the other, I’d rather see it turned into a state-run museum (or some such “historical site”) than have some fat-cat buy it up for the land and sell everything on it to other museums.

According to Hellenised Phygrian mythos, Kybele was originally born Agdistis, an hermaphroditic being who the Gods then castrated out of fear. The God/dess was then renamed Kybele, and was worshipped by some Greeks as Rhea, though Walter Burkert’s Greek Religion gives (pp177-179) reason to believe that the name “Kybele” was common in Hellenic worship and that “Meter Kybele” was often-enough worshipped alongside Dionysian worship. It’s also of note that Kybele’s son Attis is mentioned in the Orphic Hymns (Athanakasis translation: Orpheus to Mousaios; line40 “And I invoke Mother of the immortals, Attis and Men”, and line 20 of the same hymn references the Korybantes) and Orphic Hymn 27 “To the Mother of the Gods”, is clearly about Kybele (line 13: “all-taming, saviour of Phygria,…”; and line 14, “child of Ouranos,…”, Ouranos being the Hellenic God of the Sky, though Theoi.com relays the Phygrian Sky God counterpart in the Hellenic pantheon as being Zeus); the fact that the ancient Greeks worshipped Kybele is not a “might have”, “maybe”, or “if they did” matter, She very obviously was revered by them and Her cult was as thoroughly Hellenised as that of Adonis by the time of Homer.

In modern times, at least in the circles I’ve run in, Kybele seems most-revered by Pagans in Transgender/Transsexual, Intersexed, and “gender queer” (a uniquely modern Western take on the “third sex” concept) circles, most likely because of Her origin mythos stating that she was born Intersexed but then castrated to appear more typically “female” (thus the few genuinely Intersexed-born people I know feel a sense of relation, as such is typically the fate of Intersexed-born children), and the practise amongst Her order of priests, known as the Gallos, Galli or Gallai, to become voluntarily ceremonially castrated during an ecstatic rite and, by some sources, then adopted a “woman’s role” by taking on feminine dress and identity (thus securing Her reverence among many Transgendered, especially Trans Woman [Male-to-Female] pagans and polytheists).

The cult of Attis is an interesting one. On one hand, He’s technically the son of Kybele, in the mythos, but in a similar way that Aphrodite is the son of Oraunos: When the Gods castrated Agdistis, They cast off the male organs and from where it fell grew an almond tree. When the nuts ripened (hee hee), one was picked by the nymphe Nana and laid in Her bosom, where it was forgotten about. The almond then somehow burrowed into Her womb, and ta-daa! Attis was born! So perhaps then Kybele is technically His father, biologically speaking? Nana then abandoned the child and He was cared for by a billy goat (or adopted by Agdistis, now renamed Kybele, depending on the version), and later Kybele fell in love with the long-haired youth, who was driven mad by Kybele’s True Form, inspiring Attis to castrate and emasculate himself. Attis was then taken on as Her lover and servant, and according to some existing mythos, when Attis died, His body became the evergreen pine.

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.