In Nature, we experience multiplicity: Nature is the face from which our pluralism flows. Things can be one, but they are also many, varied and beautiful.
We are starting a new year, ready to embrace the adventures the world has in store for us. Last year we had the chance to truly see, that not everything is as we thought it was. There are unholy alliances gaining power, hostile ideologies gaining traction and fear has made it into the hearts of many.
This is a crucial time for us to lead by example. It is upon us to extend our love and our blessings not only to those we hold dear and close to our hearts, but also to all those that are being alienated by fear-blinded individuals, all those that suffer the hatred of misguided souls. All those that are cast aside for deviating from the norm imposed upon us by fascist structures are to be welcomed into our extended families if we are to conquer these troublesome times.
In order to break the curse that haunts society, we need to counter fear with love, and rejection of the other with a welcoming embrace. We need to find ways to enable those that are deprived of the fullness of live by societal conventions to gain access to all those things we (in our privilege) take for granted. Be it in our day-to-day lifes or in our sacred places of worship.
Yvonne Aburrow called out in her Facebook Group, asking people to blog about how they make their rituals more inclusive.
This is something I find difficult to answer. Not because I do not ascribe to the way inclusive covens are described on her homepage , but rather because a really big portion of my rituals are conducted as a solitary practitioner. Naturally I have adjusted my rituals to fit the way I experience reality and life.
As an example, while I absolutely no problem with the common identification of the ritual blade as male and the cup as female during the “cakes and wine” part in rituals I forgo those associations during –my– rituals often opting for different polar pairings (self/other, lover/beloved, “that which is sought”/”that which seeks”). I
I can see the beauty in heterosexual union and procreation, but is not something I (as a gay man) am actively involved with. Yes, I am the result of such a union. But I also am the result of so many other unions that have and had to occur in order for me to be the person I am.
A big part of being inclusive is knowing who you are dealing with. We are the officiating priesthood within our circles. Let us adjust them to be accepting of all those that are being welcomed into them. Know your participants, know their needs. Find working alternatives and be ready to adjust. Nobody should ever have to say “I am sorry, I cant do that” in the middle of your rites.
Be aware of dietary restrictions as well as of physical or cognitive disabilities. And for the Gods sake, get to know the Divine well enough to be able to describe and interact with it in as many ways as possible.
If your gods are being held hostage by able-bodied, cis-gendered, hetero-centric chains, break them free! If the gender-binary has enslaved them, release them!
They are so much more than what you consider possible as of this moment. Get to know them.
Yvonne also asks why inclusiveness is important? This one is easy to answer.
Feeling “left out” is a hurtful experience. Sometimes we can brush it off easily. Other times the pain can reach our cores. Sometimes it lingers deep within us whispering lies to us. Sometimes we start believing those lies. We start believing that we are not “worth enough” or that we are “damaged goods”.
And any space where somebody is subject to such alienation is not worth to be called “sacred space”. Victor Anderson said “God is self and self is God and God is a person like myself”. And this holds true for every single one of us.