Merry Meet: A Celebration of Diversity

Just like the Maiden Warrior, Merry Meet is a series that allows us to hear from other Spokane Witches. It was created for those who are unable to attend the Quarterly Meet Ups hosted by the moderator of our Facebook page and/or allows for more intimate conversations with members of our community. The interviewees have their choice in free-write or interview/survey style and the option to remain anonymous. As the title mentions the emphasis on these conversations to celebrate diversity. Enjoy. 

Merry Meet Honored One. I have beckoned to your call.

My given name is of little importance. What is important is the experience I have through the years that brings me in front of you here as you read today. I wanted to take the time to answer some of your questions. So let us take a deep breath and center as we open our minds to something that doesn’t affect everyone. We are going to discuss and reflect on what it means to be a witch or practitioner of the old ways who also happens to be someone who is attracted to the same sex. Now take into account that my experiences are my own and it doesn’t apply to each and every person out there. I just hope that you listen and remember that these things happen.

First Question: How old am I?

Answer: I was born in the late 1980s. Which means I grew up in the 1990s through the millennium.

Next Question: How long have I lived in Spokane?

Answer: I have lived in Spokane for the better of my life. There was a time when I lived in Portland, Oregon as well as Seattle, Washington.

Question: When did you come out as a witch/pagan?

Answer: I was raised by my mother to follow the old ways from a young age. I grew up listening to Yuletide chants and carving ghouls into pumpkins that were later smashed to release the captured Fae. So a coming out for me didn’t happen until I was in high school when I finished going through the Severance.

The Severance was like an excommunication from the Catholic Church. In my home, it was more like a rite of passage that each member goes through a one time or another. (Keep in mind that a “Severance” is also a divorcing ceremony to other pagans, maybe don’t use the same term as I do. If that helps.). During the Severance, you soul search for your spirituality. I spent three years away from the faith where I tried on a few different spiritualities before returning to Paganism. I think I was fourteen at the time and had met another young man about my age who was searching for spirituality where I told him about what I had experienced thus marking my return to the old ways.

Question: Please describe what style of Witch/Pagan you are? Be that Nocturnal, eclectic, etc.

Answer: That one is a little tricky for me to answer with a short answer. I grew up as the son of a Priestess of Hecate. Which essentially marks me a Traditional Pagan. I never liked that term used to describe my faith. I prefer Traditional Eclectic. It’s closer to the truth.

I follow Hecate as my Patroness and my lord changes to fit the context of a ceremony. (It’s the Horned One. Who am I kidding?) It comes across as a fusion of traditional ceremonies and thought patterns about the Goddess being the one you answer to at the end of the day, literally, mixed with a bit of Druidry, Romanov Nomadic culture with dashes of non-denominational Wicca with a huge focus on Crystal Witchcraft and healing practices.

Question: When did you come out as Gay?

Answer: Short answer. I didn’t. I was outed.

When I was fifteen I told a sister that I was feeling like I may be leaning toward liking men more than women. She was really supportive. So much so that she felt the need to tell the drama department at our high school that I was. The next day I was greeted by strangers with hugs and “Congratulations!” I remember feeling sick to my stomach. A fear that everyone who hasn’t come out can attest to. I thought the school was going to ban me from attending. That parents weren’t going to let me hang out with their son or daughter for fear that I was trying to turn them into different models of myself.

I wasn’t even sure that I was gay. I just knew that I was attracted to the guys at my school. The day continued in this manner and I felt supported. Granted I never got the chance to say the words, “I am Gay” out loud for almost a year.

At the time I was seeing a therapist who told me that my time will come and to just be patient. Well if you know anything about me, which you don’t, I am not a patient person. Someone telling me to be patient is like telling me to watch for Spring on the day after Yule each and every day until it happens and thinking I will do so with Pride.

Question: Does being gay influence your religious practices? If so, in what ways?

Answer: Did I mention that Paganism is a Goddess religion? And that I grew up under a Priestess of Hecate?

If you are unaware of what that means, it means that ceremony or ritual or casting circle is an act done by the High Priestess and her High Priest. Growing up in a traditional household, in the pagan sense, you were taught to do things the ways the old roads taught our ancestors were taught. You have a male priest and a female priestess that represented the Goddess and Lord walking the mortal realm.

One ritual stands out in my mind when we bring these facets up. The Great Rite. A ritual designed for the High Priestess and High Priest to properly worship the creation of man through ritualistic sex in their name. So then how does a gay man participate in the Great Rite when he is of age to be called High Priest?

I would think about all the traditionalist and their conversations about being gay in a community of darkness and how that would be seen from those looking in.

“How would the circle be seen if we let your gay son be a part of circle?

What influences will he bring to the circle?

He knows he can never call the quarters, doesn’t he? You’ve told him?

How long until he tells others of how we practice and it gets twisted into more sexual perversions that we have fought too long to avoid?

How long mistress?”

I remember them all. I remember the looks and the hexes thrown in my direction. I was, in a manner of speaking, excommunicated from those around me. Traveling the roads alone once again. I recall my own Priestess asking me to practice elsewhere for the good of the circle. Which I did.

Now I practice as close to the old ways as best as I can.

Question: How has your coming out been received by other Pagans and Non-Pagans?

Answer: As I stated above; mixed. I have had some good and some bad. Nowadays my sexuality is a non-issue. Times have changed and are changing further still. I have had people welcome my insights and interjections as a member of the community as well as the opposite.

Who you know plays a huge factor in that. From peers to mentors the bunch finds ways to bicker and settle. Give it time is honestly the only thing I can say for this.

Question: Where in Spokane do you practice your religion?

Answer: Where I step is where I cast. Spokane is filled with little nooks and crannies that have an amazing dormant energy to cast in. Creating your own spiritual sacred space is ideal but if that isn’t available to you. I would recommend Mount Spokane. My husband and I practice there when we can. Finch Arboretum is a great place to connect with one of the ley lines that runs through Spokane. Lincoln Park by the pond is another great spot. Lots of brush and wildlife. Plus I tend to be attracted to mountainous terrain. Each and every bonfire or fire pit can turn into a sacred space should you burn the sacred woods and an offering to the Sidhe.

I would also recommend staying away from the river until the covens can finally discuss when they are going to do what they can to honor the river restoring some sense of dignity.

Aside from those places, there are organizations that meet and collaborate with the covens/circles in the area about different sabbats and esbats. Try reaching out to one of those organizations.

Question: What has my experience been as a gay witch?

Answer: I have been burned at the stake as it is for being gay in my community as well as in other non-pagan communities. I have also been terribly blessed through small victories and treasures found in people. My craft being focused on healing tends to make my outlook change. I see the harm people inflict due to their ignorance. I have healed that pain from many.

I have taken on those whom struggle with their identity both sexually and spiritually. I have been a guide, a student, a mentor, and a trickster. I have so much still to learn about myself as a gay witch and its impact on my peers and community but this is something I can say.

You can be a man who calls himself a High Priestess. I have called on and felt their power course through me in ways that mirror when I call the Lord. Hecate and Persephone and Kali. I can adorn my head in stars and moons should I feel that in myself needing to come through.

I can have two gods should I need. Sometimes I have needed Ares and Ull to watch my back when I’m threatened. I can worship in their image through my relationship with my husband. My Great Rite is for two men versus a man and woman. The same can be said for women who share their beds with women.

Question: Have any out authors/singers/deities/pagans inspired or influenced you in any way?

Answer: I would be lying if I said I didn’t. There are a few but I honestly want the reader, you, to discover them yourself. There is something so special about discovering someone you admire believes in things similar to you. *cough* Raven *cough* Digitalis *cough*

A deity that helped me to understand my sexuality within magick and its expression was Apollo. A god of healing and music doesn’t exactly come across as super masculine but his friend and colleague, Dionysus begs you to forget who you think you were. Those who spend some time being workers for them allow you to question a few things you might be uptight about.

Question: Do you have any Advice for closeted Pagans or witches? Places to go or things to look into?

Answer: Honestly it boils down to this: Just be who you are or at least allow yourself a chance to discover who that is when you can. I am not saying to come out or even to tell anyone you know but maybe when you are alone, let yourself be who you are. If it helps there are people you can talk to or if you cannot bring yourself to do that then ask the gods to guide you.

Final Recommendations:

This is a short list of things that helped me when I was still figuring things out:

Seeking out moments to share deeply with someone close

Finding excuses to push your limits no matter what they be

Remember every single lie you tell going forward after reading this

Think of times of vulnerability

Try to be you when you can

Lastly, remember that love can be found even if you think you’ve lost it. Cause I love you.

 

 

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