Category Archives: Pagan

Open SF; I’m available to check out at Poly Speed Dating!

So, as part of Open SF‘s events for that weekend, there is a Poly Speed Dating set up for Saturday!

I am enjoying the people I have met so far in SF but, like most good hedonistic types, more is awesome!

Please click the link above and check out the Poly Speed Dating!  Register for that, or for the entirety of the conference as well (come and see me!) and we can cruise each other during the Poly Speed Dating!  😉

On the Front Burners

1.  Raising funds for the Pagans of Color hospitality suite at Pantheacon next year.  Goal is 1000$USD through WePay.  Click here to donate.

2.  Intersectionality.  As a person of color, from a low-mid to low working class, female presenting, able-bodied presenting, nonheteronormative, nongendernormative, non-Abrahamic religion practitioner, and in a relationship with a female, there are many things that I know aren’t counted in my favor.  However, I can enjoy the intersections and the work inherent in each, strive to make injustice a thing of our collective pasts, and live an authentic life.  That doesn’t mean that there aren’t days when I feel like crap and want to give up and crawl under a rock and wait for it all to be over. . . I have plenty of those days.  Some days though, much better than others.

3.  There have been days here in the Bay Area lately that have been cold and despite the sun the warmth just doesn’t sink into my bones.  On those days, I grit my teeth and move as best I can, my joints are swollen and stiff, sometimes they lock up and won’t move.  On those days, I’m grateful for tea and my wonderful cats (how great to use the plural again) and I am glad to not have to be at a job where I would be required to move much more swiftly than I am able to.  But then I remember that I have expenses and I have bills (like we all do) and it hurts to not be able to pay them as quickly as I wish I could.   On those days, I try to remember to have compassion for myself.  Compassion for myself then emanates and becomes compassion for all who are job-searching, and for those who have jobs, and for those who work at finding others jobs, or manage the job market. . .the world.

Sometimes, this job, this being that coalesces sex and Spirit, it isn’t sexy in the way we’re conditioned to see sexy. But it can be highly charged and motivating, and make our breath quicken, our lips purse, and our sex throb a bit.  Why?

Because, better to eat of the forbidden fruit of knowledge then watch it rot from ignorance.

At least, that’s what my morning meditation showed me.  What might you see?

I do it all! Easter/Eostre/Ostara/Passover, did I miss any?

This year, I celebrated the return of Spring, marked the feast of the first Passover by attending two Seders, and went to two very different Easter services.

However, this is still my favorite way of marking the occasion.

Happy insert-your-holiday-of-choice!!!

About time, I say.

This article* has opened up a lot of my misgivings in talking about my sexwork as another service I offer.

In talking about sexwork, the first thing people imagine is something like Pretty Woman, the next thing people imagine, almost simultaneously is a woman on the corner who is doing it to feed some sort of drug or alcohol habit.  I am neither of these things.  If anything, I am a person who is more closely tied to a courtesan of the Medieval Ages.  I know and learn many different skills (besides bedroom or sexual skills) and have a broad range of knowledge in a variety of topics, because I want to be a companion for the time I am asked to share with someone.

If I could get more people to understand this work by seeing past the Julia Roberts or the innumerable faces arrested for doing these acts on public streets, I would want them to think of it more along the lines of Inara Serra of Firefly; but we diverge into fantasy so seldom in real life.  Where her clients were mostly affluent, rich, upper class, I am interested in the working man, the ones who are working day-in, day-out and do all the usual day to day grind and need a respite.  For an hour, for a night, for as long as they have need of me.

Can I be those other two examples?  Sure.  That goes without saying.  Part of the work entails becoming a blank canvas, something the other person can draw on, can imagine what they need onto me, without touching into that core sense of who I really am, because they don’t need to see that part of me, they need to see what they WANT to see.  Sometimes that isn’t pretty, or even appealing to me.  But it’s not about me.  It’s about the intimacy that is created with a fictive person, with someone who isn’t really there.

A therapist is someone who is there, but it’s like the trope of the disembodied voice that parrots back to us what we say, because sometimes we need to hear it from something outside ourselves in order to really get at whatever it is that’s troubling us.  So much of that ability to just give back and gently prod more from a client revolves around remembering that who you are isn’t more important than who is before you, that takes a willingness to look deep into yourself, to see that part of you that you don’t like at all, and still be okay with who you are.  There is so much power to be gained from that process. . .

I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface of this topic, and I will definitely be exploring and expounding on it, as I continue to talk things out and tease out the ideas in my head.  Right now, it’s one very large ball of knots and twists, but I’m a patient sort and I like unraveling, in so many ways.

*The original author of the article, Stanley Siegel has been summarily fired from his column (after inexplicable censoring of this article and others), and would appreciate your support.

Finding My Voice in Giving It to Others

I want to write about the gender issues that have been talked about almost ad nauseum since last year’s SNAFU with CAYA’s Amazons and Z Budapest’s vitriolic and hateful words, and how that all came to light and what a change that wound has become to the greater community.  But I am doing it from the place where I can.  Last year, I jumped into that fray as a witness to the Rite of Lillith, the aftermath, the planned and unplanned actions and I spoke often, long and LOUD about the need for civility in our words and language because spewing more hate and vitriol wasn’t going to get us as a community very far, if anywhere at all.

I wrote the following in the PantheaCon Facebook page, which can easily be found by going onto FB from your own acct and searching for PantheaCon.  At this moment, there appears to be an issue and I don’t know if my words will make it to the discussion or not on there, but they will live here.

(These words are written as a direct comment and thus have the bit in the beginning and reference earlier comments in that discussion.)

I realize that Thalassa and many other staff members have jumped in here and spoken and asked for this to be moved to a place where it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the other ideas surrounding Pantheacons for years to come. But, someone pointed out the PoC Caucus and that was mine (as in I put in the paperwork for it, and will continue to do so as long as there is a need for it) and I want to speak to what someone said about it and the larger things surrounding events like mine and Z’s and the trans issue because I was there last year, right in the middle of it all, and I remember very clearly the aftermath (and am still struggling to regain myself from all that, you have no idea how much vitriol was spewed on both sides of that fence).

Yes, the PoC Caucus was listed as PoC and allies; but really in the end, the only voices that were really heard, were from Pagans of Color. Allies who attended listened respectfully to our tales and our issues and our grievances and our triumphs, because as allies, they recognized that their main job isn’t to be the torch bearer for Pagans of Color, but to be BETTER allies.

When cisgendered people refuse to use terminology that isn’t vindictively attacking transgendered people, it doesn’t make for good allies. When cisgendered people ‘hate’ the term cisgendered, it doesn’t make for good allies. It makes for allies who refuse to see that transgendered people have to fight EVERYDAY for the right to use the correct gender pronoun. That is a matter of import, survival, and acknowledgement of who a transgendered person feels they truly are. Yes, some of us will just want to say you are male or female because you say you are, and that should be all that matters. Sadly, there are some who don’t see it that way.

Earlier, someone said that what the PoC Caucus was doing was self-segregating. In a way, that’s true. In another way, I have to ask: why wasn’t my room packed with allies? What fear did you have at coming into the room and listening to Pagans of Color? I didn’t say you couldn’t come in, hell, that’s the opposite effect I wanted SPECIFICALLY because I asked for allies.

As a genderqueer individual, who has struggled with being female-bodied and the minor privilege that gives me, it pains me to read Z’s words about my trans sisters and brothers, it also pains me to read people defending her hate speech and vitriol. She has the right to say, believe, and call to worship whomever she wants. But her history doesn’t make her immune to criticism for the hate speech she uses to get her point across. I did my Blood Mystery work, many years ago. I found that while it may hold some power and be evident to others, because I am a body that menstruates, there is more there that can be mined, and new treasures abound. There are many women who no longer menstruate (whether age, medical reasons, etc.) who would love to create a Mystery cycle in ‘mourning the loss of that blood’, I think that having trans Dianics and allies come together to create this Mystery cycle would be a new direction for Dianics that takes into consideration the great work done early on in the Dianic movement but also acknowledges the new direction it COULD branch into.

I struggle to remember, on a daily basis, that all sides in this issue deserve compassion, because we all are born into a world that has very little compassion to offer, but I do try. I recognize that Z is a person deserving of compassion, that the trans women and men she has insulted are also deserving of compassion, that the people who sit on the sides of this issue and don’t understand WHY it’s an issue, also deserve compassion. I fight to hold onto my compassion, when the insults are great, the pain is palpable, and the confusion abounds.

In discussing this topic, or any other topic that brings up strong emotions, I beg of my greater community, let civility carry the day.  /endcomment

This is the only voice I have to give, my own, colored by the brush of those who have no voice left, who have shouted themselves hoarse into pillows, against walls, in rage at not being heard.  I found that my voice has strength because I am a Pagan of Color, genderqueer, female-bodied individual.  I am capable of using this voice to speak compassion, because I need to speak to greater injustices amongst these groups I belong to.  This is what my work looks like, when it isn’t about me covered in blood and crying out for my Deities.  My work looks like others work in social justice, and that’s what it’s about at the end of the day.  Feel free to join your voice to mine, or not.

Wherein, I do admit. . .

I want to thank the people who showed up at Pantheacon this weekend for attending.  I want to thank you for carving that block of time from an amazing schedule line-up of over 200 different choices and coming to my lil ol’ things.

I hope I provided you with food for thought and consumption, opportunities to explore new avenues, or at the very least, a place to get off your feet for at least 90 minutes.

There was a lot of willingness to be bare and to open up to the others around us, a dropping of the shields as it were and in that moment, I saw Beauty.

I hope that if you have any questions or if there was something that you wanted to talk to me more about that you will drop me a line at Xochiquetzal.Duti@sacredprofanity.com, I enjoy hearing from people about the most random things but please be sure to use subject line: Pantheacon and then the presentation you were at so that I know where I have met you.  I work in a lot of different groups and remembering that much information, isn’t a skill I have.

Now, here is where I apologize if you didn’t receive what you thought you were going to when you read the program description, I can only do so much with the time allotted me.

I will be back next year, for one of the presentations: we will have a bigger room, and more time, and quite possibly (if I can play the cards and the Fates smile on me with the Norn’s blessings) a hospitality suite.  I am excited to start these new ventures!

Hope to see you again, next year!

Back from Pantheacon, the work continues.

I am sad to report that there is still no Olivia-cat.  I have amazing neighbors who are offering great ideas and lots of help to search for her and that luckily, there has been no deceased animal pick-up matching her description!  She hasn’t been brought in to the local shelters, but our hope is that she will be found soon.

I also want to take a moment to say that I have developed the infamously dreaded ‘con crud.  😦  Fighting for my health while looking for her has been a struggle but these things must be done.

I will be posting a big thank you in a few days for everyone who attended my workshops last week, along with the google group invite for the specific one that requested it.

I will say thank you! to all who attended.

Defining my practice in terms of my culture, or not.

So, as I prepare to moderate (at least, I hope it’s me moderating as opposed to presenting, though I’m prepared for that possibility) the People of Color Caucus at Pantheacon, I recognize that it is forcing me to look at my own practice and how I work within the contexts of the cultures I am, and cultures I am working with.

My Fearsome Foursome™ are Aztec, Celtic, Hindu, and Norse (why yes, I put them in alphabetical order, not order of importance) and I have been made aware (more than once, by each of them in turn) that I can’t hide behind the argument that I get a pass because I am a PoC (Pagan of Color).  If anything, I am compelled to work harder because I can’t be lazy about my practice and about recognizing its origins in my own work and the work of those who belong to the cultures I am drawing from.

Even the fact that I am Mexican (with Indian, Italian, and Spanish heritages feeding it) doesn’t let me slack off on the Aztec side.  I am pushed (and currently gathering resources) to learn Nahuatl, to study what my Matron wants me to study, to research and correct the erroneous information about Aztec practices that perpetuates the New Age talk out there.  I’m the gnashing of teeth you hear miles away whenever someone starts talking about the “Mayan Apocalypse” because first: they ran out of room on the stone, if you look at it, you can tell, there’s an end to how many days they would be able to fit on it.  Second, why would an ancient civilization attach itself to Christian terminology?  Yes, in Mayan, Aztec, and Incan mythos there is talk of ending the worlds, but not leaving them obliterated, but to recreate them.  The end of the Mayan Sun Calendar is the assumed destruction of the current world and the recognized beginning of a new one, one they assumed would be an attempt by the g*ds of their pantheon to make something better.  /endrant

No, really, it was an issue with space.  Think about it, someone had to lug that thing!

And this truth was costing you 300$ two years ago at some cheap Hilton conference room!

 

In working the Hindu pantheon, and my being in Sharanya as an initiate means I have to make sure that I work closely with current organizations that are working on issues like the AIDS epidemic amongst sex workers, freedoms for trans/alternate gender expressing people (which some worshippers are, as part of their worship) because it is part of my path as a genderqueer Spirit sexworker.

Working with the Celt and Norse though; that creates a kettle of fish I have to try and fry sometimes.   It makes it difficult for me to feel like I connect sometimes, despite what Odin and the Morrighan tell me (which is that I’m doing just fine) but this ties into my feeling of not achieving enough and thus overachieving to make up for the self-doubt.  So when it comes to these, I tend to take the path of an academic, I read a lot of reconstructionist works, because I have friends who are big in recon and because that academia is important to learning about civilizations, not necessarily to do their rites as they’ve been discovered (except when requested, I have a format, it works for me) but to acknowledge the work being done there.  To support it when I can by buying a book on a part of it that interests me (runes, ogam, and cultural/historical findings), and collecting all these tiny facts and resources for when someone might have need of them.

But I still feel like I don’t do enough.   I think of all my issues, this one ties into my cultural background the most.  I don’t feel I do enough, I’m a workhorse (my maternal family were ranch hands, it’s in the blood to work hard is what my Mama would say when I was up late studying) and sometimes, I push too far or too hard and wonder why I’ve been knocked on my ass. . . it’s still hard for me to deal with knowing that I do enough.  One of these days, I will know that I have.  This is part of that learning.

Research, so hard! (Not.)

I am currently sitting with a copy of Modern Primitives that was dedicated to a Claudine from an Emma and Jim, Christmas of ’93.  I kinda wish I’d been old enough to know Emma and Jim at that time, if these are the kind of Yuletide gifts they’re giving out!

But in all seriousness, in opening the pages one can feel the energy (if one is of the kind) that they invested into the book and felt compelled to pass on to someone who they were sure were kindred spirits to the feelings they shared in this book.

I love that this is my job (my calling, my passion); sharing with the world the rituals of profanity and unearthing their sacred origins, aspects, attributes, and ability to make sacred the mundane to those who go through them.

Sigh, that all days were like this.

On Sacred Art, Body Mods, and Self-Image

Growing up, I was told that the idea of getting a modification on my body was a sacrilege.  That tattoos, piercings, etc. marred the body g*d had given me and made me imperfect for the afterlife.  I was told all this after having my ears pierced at an age I couldn’t object to, and what I later found out was against my mother’s wishes.  *shrug*  I can’t hold that against her, she shouldn’t either.

However, as I grew up, I learned to see a certain fearlessness in people who would go and get these things done.  That fascination turned into a bit of an objectification for me as I enjoyed meeting with, dating, and getting to be very close to people who had artwork that fascinated and captivated me.

As I grew older and made my forays into the kink communities I chanced upon a class on branding, a new and emerging body modification that was happening in the community at large and decided (against maybe my better thinking) to try it.  I got up and in less than 15 seconds, had a crescent moon branded onto a shoulder blade.  The pain was minimal to nonexistent and there was no bleeding.  The cautery pen (the same kind used in vasectomies) had done it’s job well.  I played around a bit with the healing process and have a smooth scar with very little indentation and marring.  The skin inside didn’t die or nectrotize or any other horror story that’s out there.  It’s been a fairly good mark on me.

As I worked and learned about my spiritual path, the brand took on a life of its own and worked as my very own caller ID, if you will.  If I was in deep meditation and focused on the intent I’d decided on, I would feel the brand light up and burn under the skin, an uncomfortable itch that I would leave alone as this feeling of peace and joy came over me.  It is a way to know that Spirit is close, that I am being listened to, or that I need to pay attention.  It has gone off at the weirdest moments; moments when I’m not paying attention, when I need to be reminded to stop, drop into myself, and check-in on how I’m feeling, moments of trepidation to remind me that I’m uplifted and supported.  And during Ordeal work, it lets me know that one of my Fearsome Foursome™ is around, helping me, guiding me, or pushing me through the working.

It’s also become a marker for my real-life relationship.  I am My Beloved’s Shadow Prince. The Moon and the Stars was one of the first songs I heard from My Beloved’s lips, and the moon on my shoulder warmed in response.  My Beloved also enjoys the imagery and the concept of the spiral and has incorporated it into two complementary pieces of jewelry we wear.

In the here and now, I am currently researching and in consideration of five pieces of body art.  Four for my Fearsome Foursome™ and one for My Beloved.

The one for My Beloved is probably going to be the first one I do and its details aren’t necessary here.  The other four, need to be written down to reference them.  This is also a way to provide some insight into who They are.

The first is a butterfly adapted from Paul Borda’s Butterfly for Xochiquetzal (Head Matron), I’m not sure what I want to change yet, or even if I’m ‘supposed’ to make changes, but we’ll see.

The second is Kali’s yantra.  I am an initiate in the Daughters of Kali through Sharanya and received the name of Duti at my initiation.  It means She Who Is Ambassador.  Quite fitting.

The third is for the Morrighan.  There is a piece of poetry that speaks of her cloaking us in her mantle of red, black, and white feathers.  I am invoking that imagery and a crow into the piece I have created for her.

The fourth is for Odin.  His two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory, one holding a Valknut (as befits a dottir of Odin) and the other holding my bindrune.

The first part of all this is getting past the part where I remember that my flesh is no longer my own.  I am reminded of this on a daily basis as I go through my day to day functions because that’s all I know to do.  I walk in the beauty They provide.  I walk in the mire of life because that is the path laid before me, and the one I consciously choose to walk for Them.

The second part is time and cost.  That is on me, finding the artist who can do this for me, finding the time to get it done, finding the strength to survive the time in the chair, that’s where this all must have focus for me.

This may be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do; harder than inserting hooks into my flesh, harder than standing still while a flogger went after my back, harder than letting myself be tossed around and nearly drowned.  This requires not shying away from myself and where my mind will travel, as the tattoo is placed on my flesh.

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