Gender Roles and Wicca

Gender Roles in WiccaLast Saturday, I took on the role of the High Priest for our Full Moon ritual. It was a very different experience for me, and helped expand my view of gender roles in our tradition.

I consider myself to be very connected with the Goddess. In one workshop I took, we were led through a guided meditation to meet our patron Goddess and God. I had no trouble meeting my patron Goddess. But when it was time to move on down the path to meet my patron God, I was told by my Goddess in no uncertain terms to stay put.

“But, I want to go meet my patron God!” I protested.

“Leave that to your consort. You are meant to work with the Goddess.”

Well, alrighty then.

One of the things I love about Wicca is that it honors both the feminine and masculine aspects of the Divine. I think that is part of what attracts those who experience gender and sexuality non-traditionally to this path. The gods, particularly the Greek pantheon, were well known for same-sex relationships and flings, and hey, everyone wore skirts back then. Because our beliefs about God tend to be more open-minded, our beliefs about other people tend to be as well. We are all people, no matter our looks, our beliefs, or our preferences.

I myself fall pretty solidly into traditional gender roles. I am a heterosexual in a monogamous relationship with my husband. I like to dress up now and then, and wear makeup and braid my hair. I’m open to others having different preferences, though. I have friends who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, trans-sexual, and even gender queer. That was a new one for me. If you want to learn more about gender queer, check out Innocence and Immanence, Morag Spinner’s blog. I really appreciate the opportunity to learn about someone else’s point of view and life experience.

In theory, and in reality for other people, I support the idea of non-traditional gender roles in ritual. In my own practice, however, I had some resistance. I was stuck on the idea of the High Priestess being a woman and the High Priest being a man; the Maiden is a woman and the Steward or Warden is a man. Because that is how my life is ordered.

Thankfully, I have a mentor who pointed out that there doesn’t necessarily have to be one person with bumpy bits and one person with dangly bits to have a balance of masculine and feminine energy in the circle. A person with bumpy bits can hold masculine energy, just as a person with dangly bits can hold feminine energy. And it’s ok for two people who have the same outward gender to hold different energy in the same ritual.

So last Saturday, I stepped out of my comfort zone and performed the High Priest role in our ritual. It was certainly a different energy! It was also kind of fun. I appreciate my Circle challenging me and supporting me to look outside my own frame of reference and step outside my comfort zone. It’s not something I fear anymore because it is different. And I can now better support those in my Circle who experience gender differently than I do, because I have had a small (very small, I realize) taste of that.

Blessings,

Mary

About Walks Within

High Priestess and founder of Circle of the Sacred Muse, Mary Malinski is also a life coach. You can find more of her writings and guided meditations at http://walkswithin.com
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