labels

A Woman’s Place…

October, 2017

In present day, there are now many different paths to feminism and there are those who believe that certain things, such as women working in the sex trade, pornography, etc. are being empowered by such work.

I would put myself out there to say that I disagree, and that I know many other women who identify as feminists who are right there with me, to say nothing of the many women who have worked as prostitutes and in pornographic movies who have gone on to write about their experiences and how it was so NOT empowering, but humiliating, demeaning and degrading to them, not only as women, but as human beings.

Recently, while scrolling through my news feed on Facebook, I came across this photo:

With its’ bright colors, it immediately brought to mind that this was geared for younger girls. I posted it on the feminist page that I own/admin on Facebook. While most of the comments seemed to echo my own personal opinion, there were a couple that mentioned “taking back the word”, that it was “empowering” to wear something like this, or that the site selling these specifically mention being for “mature” adults.

Now, etymologically speaking, the origin of whore is not what is has come to mean. The following come from the site “word-ancestry.livejournal.com

“Today’s word can be traced all the way back to the prehistoric Indo-European root ka- ‘like, desire.‘ Interestingly, this word seems to have split into several different meanings. For the first, the word evolved into a younger Indo-European root karo which in turn led to Latin carus ‘dear‘ and Old Irish cara ‘friend.’ From this we get English caress, charity, and cherish, all of which have (or can be have) very wholesome and endearing definitions. The second path created another later Indo-European root, kamo, which eventually became Sanskrit kamah ‘love’ that we are all familiar with from the Kamasutra. Finally, at least for this discussion, the third route is the one in which today’s word developed. From prehistoric Indo-European ka came proto-Germanic khoraz/horaz, the feminine form of which was khoron/horon. Eventually this became Middle Dutch hoere, Old High German huora, Old Norse hora, Gothic hors, and Old English hore. As a side note, except for the Old English word which meant ‘whore, prostitute, harlot,’ the other cognates had the definition of an adulteress. Old English hore was in use prior to 1100 C.E. and continued on into Middle English. It was not until 1535 that there is record of the spelling changing to whore, and as of yet there is not much evidence as to why the change occurred.”

As can be seen, the root of the word originally meant “desire”, “dear” or “friend”, and the other root would mean an adultress, which is not necessarily what is meant by “whore” in today’s vernacular. Much like the word “virgin”, which originally meant a “free woman”, and not a woman sexually untouched, the word “whore” has come to mean something quite different. The original meanings of both words can no longer be reclaimed from patriarchy, so entrenched have their current meanings become in our society and culture, making the “taking back the word” argument, a moot point.

In looking through the site that sells these chokers, which I will not name, I have found them also to be made with the words “baby”, “baby girl”, “slut”, “daddy’s girl”, “yes, daddy”, as well a some with small pacifiers, dildos and vaginas, along with various Playboy bunnies, etc. The majority of them are made in bright pastel colors designed to attract younger girls.

Young women and girls need to be taught their worth, their value. Items such as this devalue and demean them, keep them tied to patriarchy’s idea of the only thing a woman can be……whore, slut. Words such as this are meant to bring women down, not raise them up.

It is up to older women to teach the younger what their value is, not only to the world, but to themselves. They have power, they have divinity through the Goddess, they are their own Sovereign beings, and this is what should come through in how they carry and project themselves to the world, not proclaiming themselves to be “whores” in the current sense of the word. As women reclaim their own sexuality, they should not lose their self-worth or their self-respect.

*Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are of the author only and do not represent the views or opinions of PaganPagesOrg as a whole.

 

**

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, WriterTeacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess, as well as Mago Publications She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Womens Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

For Amazon Information Click on Image

 

 

Signposts

September, 2014

Pagans and Labels

I’ve met many people from several different paths in the short time I’ve called myself Pagan. While some have been from groups of people practicing the same or similar path, most have been eclectic gatherings of Pagans from different beliefs for a meetup or to celebrate a Sabbat. At some point, if I haven’t met them before, we talk about our paths, and our beliefs, and how we got there.

Generally speaking, most Pagans I’ve met seem to have at least a basic knowledge of some of the more common belief systems such as Wicca, Druidry, or Asatru. Even if some of that knowledge is wrong much of it is probably right. We generally get our information from the same sources (again, rightly or wrongly), and this makes getting to know each other a little easier.

The difficulty for me, however, is explaining what I believe and practice. There isn’t a name or a label for it other than Eclectic Pagan, and that doesn’t explain anything at all. Although I know what my beliefs are, when I try to articulate them I find I have a hard time explaining them to others. I’m worried that I sound uninformed, I’ll offend someone, or say something wrong. How can I describe something I’m still working to understand myself, something that evolves as I learn?

Sorita d’Este gives this good advice for new Pagans in her book Towards the Wiccan Circle:

“Many newcomers to the world of modern Paganism are faced with the dilemma of what to call themselves, when they are not yet sure which path they wish to take. It can get extremely confusing when there are now so many different traditions, all offering something slightly different. For this reason our advice to newcomers is to describe themselves as someone who is ‘interested in…’ whichever tradition they are exploring, rather than as practitioners of anything.” [1]

I generally take this advice when meeting new people, and simply state that I’m still new to all of this, but have been drawn to this path and am learning my way around. I end up talking about the Deities I’ve gotten to know what I’m working on. Most people at that point are happy to answer questions I have or point me towards a resource they can share.

Many of those with similar belief systems, such as those that practice more common paths, often share a common base set of beliefs and experiences even if they practice them somewhat differently. There are times I’d like that – to be part of a smaller community of Pagans with whom I can share more of my practices. In time, maybe, as I move along my own path I’ll have it.
~

Religion is generally a shared experience. Most of the Pagans I know, however, are solitary practitioners.  In this regard, we can be paradoxical – we enjoy the shared experiences of like-minded folks but embrace and take great pride in our individuality.

The signpost for me is I’m probably making much ado about nothing. Being on too specific a path can feel just as limiting as being on a general or eclectic one. While labels help us identify more easily with one another, maybe the time it takes us to talk about our beliefs is time better spent. Even knowing this I still sometimes try to find a label that suits me, or maybe at times I’m simply looking to squeeze into one.

What do you call yourself to other Pagans? How do you describe your beliefs? Is having a label other than Pagan helpful, or do you find it limiting?

[1] Towards the Wiccan Circle by Sorita d’Este

Tink About it

June, 2013

Who am I? What am I?

 

People like to label others, probably to get things clear for themselves. It’s understandable and doesn’t have to be a problem, as long as you don’t get too rigid about it. Labels can change, because people change. The label ‘female’ is permanent (well, most of the time..), but the label ‘friend’ can turn into ‘acquaintance’ or even ‘foe’.  I know I use labels for people; it’s hard not to, but I try to keep them flexible, unprejudiced and stay open to change.

 

Pagans are just like people… 😉 Whenever I introduce myself as a witch among other pagans, there’s always someone that asks which path I walk or something of the like. My standard answer is: my own path! True of course, but not very clear to the questioner. In fact they are trying to label me. I don’t mind, but the thing is I have a hard time labelling myself too sometimes! I have been practising for quite some years now and I’ve tried and learned about different paths, traditions, etc. From all of it I incorporated things into my own cauldron so to speak. They can replace other things, just add something new, or create something completely different when added to the mix. It’s a perpetual movement, ever changing… sometimes in a subtle way, sometimes in a major sense.

 

My basis and starting point has always been witchcraft and its fundamental principles. I have been raised Roman catholic, but somehow I always missed things there, although I liked the rituals. When I was about 6 I asked my dad: ‘How do you know that god is a man? You have never seen him. Maybe it’s a woman!’ My parents always supported me in finding my own way. Discovering paganism felt like coming home, finding my true path. I feel comfortable as a witch and with the way most witches work. Of course the different ways are up to discussion too, but that’s not where I want to go now. I’m talking about the general things, not how they are individually practised. I emphasize on the similarities, not the differences. So, I’m a witch. If I can only label myself with one word, that’s it.

 

Within witchcraft I’ve explored and tried a lot. Finding out what you don’t like or want is important and rewarding too! One of the major focus points of my life is balance, in all area’s and all ways possible. My spiritual path is no different: to me both goddess and god are equally important.  It doesn’t feel right for me to just focus on one of them all the time. I have no problem working together with witches that think otherwise, I adapt easily. People have their reasons and beliefs and if it works for them, that’s fine with me! Personally though, I see goddess and god (or god and goddess) as one, they need each other, they are two halves of one whole.

 

When I was looking around, trying things, working with others, etc, I noticed that a lot of witches work with foreign deities: Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Celtic, Indian, etc. Although I’m very interested to learn about them I discovered I wanted to connect with my own heritage and that of the place where I’m living: The Netherlands! Looking for local deities, legends, spirits of the place I found a mix of Celtic, Roman and Germanic ones. The last ones appealed to me the most, they felt familiar and close. I got in touch with Asatru. They work with the Norse/Germanic pantheon and I learn a lot from them. This part is important to me, so I add something to my label: I’m a heathen witch.

 

But there’s more of course. I’ve studied and tried druidry, shamanism, traditional wicca, gnosticism, other pagan paths and all kinds of pagan-related stuff. I read, do workshops, discuss and try things out in different ways. I discovered and met my power animals. I found out shamanic journeying works better for some things than meditation, so I use both. Stirring in my cauldron…  I mix and match while doing my best to respect, honour and do justice to the individual parts. I try to get the hang of things, always learning, always wanting to know and/or do more. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this path it’s that you are never ready. The more you learn, the more you realise how little you know. Inquisitive as I am, I like that! I don’t want to be limited by one path, tradition or group though. Therefore I add one last part to the label: I’m an eclectic heathen witch.

 

So think about it: what would be your label?

 

B*B, Tink