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Genderqueer Spirituality By Alex Vanguard

I was never sure quite how to start such a broad topic, but as with all good things, one must let them mull for a while until things make sense. Such is the case with this. I would describe myself as more of a spiritual person, rather than a religious one. Though I do believe in Gods and such, I've always fallen on the eclectic side of things. I would describe myself as an eclectic pagan at present. My spirituality borrows from Hinduism, Qabalah, Catholicism, Kemetic thought, and anything else that happens to turn up. It all melds together to form a workable belief system for me, though some may find my eclecticism jarring and too disparate for their tastes. In recent months, I've undergone somewhat of a major shift in the way I view the universe. I still cannot pinpoint the exact cause, though I can pick out a few things that may have contributed. For some reason, chaos now fills my universe in a way it never did before. Chaos and genderlessness, and by ‘genderlessness’, I do not mean an absence of gender. What I mean is a melding together of every diverse gender in existence. They all come together to make an inherently genderless whole, and that whole reflects the diversity of humanity. I still have a monolatrous view of divinity, where there is a formless, faceless It from which all Gods are reflections of and are separate from, if that makes sense. I think I have shifted from seeing Gods, to seeing It, and from It, all that the world and the Universe is. My perspective isn’t just to the Gods and earth anymore. I find this a fundamental shift in perspective that does alter how one sees the world. That said, I still believe in Gods. I still talk to Them, keep an altar to Them, and give Them offerings. They are the way we connect to It, to divinity Itself. They are reflections of ourselves. The faces They show us may not be Their true form; I feel They show us the face we can most relate to, whether this is the god of the Abrahamic faiths, the Hindu gods, or any of the plethora of deities from civilisations around the world. I identify as genderqueer, and this isn't an easy thing to be when faced with a plethora of gendered gods. However, I don't find this as troublesome as one might expect. I'm not one of those people who wish to destroy the binary. I don’t see how eliminating two genders makes for more gender diversity. Within myself, I do have a femme side and a masculine side, and an inherently genderless side. It's this spectrum of gender that I can draw on, different energies and strengths. I was never femme enough to be drawn to the typical forms of femininity, such as Aphrodite, Hathor, or Venus. I do not understand moon rites or the power from monthly bleeding (it just makes me feel crap; I do not feel All Mighty and Powerful, thank you very much). Then again, I’ve never seen the moon as feminine to begin with. It’s always been male. So I’ve had no reason to connect the moon to femininity. Wicca teaches balance of male and female in the reverence of the God and Goddess. I, too, don’t believe one should be worshipped at the expense of the other. All genders are sacred and should be revered. Most people today have forgotten this. I find there’s strength to draw from walking between, around and outside the binary. I feel a balance and completeness that I would not otherwise feel if I confined myself to one gender. To me, it would be like cutting off a limb. Embracing all genders within myself and in the divine completes my worldview. That said, I don’t find any inspiration in Wicca anymore. It was too Celtic for my tastes. Still, every religion and spiritual experience teaches us something about ourselves and should not be so disregarded that they are thought of as bad and wrong and not somewhere to return to if the soul desires it.

I’m surprisingly content where I am right now. I’ve settled back into eclectic paganism, which is where I started all those years ago when I first started studying paganism and Wicca. My gender has undergone a similar journey. I did spent a lot of time unaware I even had a gender, no thanks to the way my mum brought me up. I wasn’t corralled into being female as a kid, so I was let loose to be who I wanted to be. Gender wasn’t a notion I ever had about myself. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I started thinking about it, mostly due to unrelated genetics study. I started at genderqueer/gender-neutral, and as much as I tried to fit myself into male, or female, I kept slipping back to the centre, to gender-neutral territory. So here I stay, a genderqueer eclectic pagan. It works, for the most part. I feel free to practice as I please. I’ve never been one for ritual, it always seems far too pompous and unnecessary to me. It’s theatre, pomp and ceremony. I don’t need it, and it just adds clutter to my mind. All I need is myself, and the earth, maybe an icon or two, and some rum, of course. Rum is an offering rather well-received. My practice consists of reading tarot, magic, talking to the Gods, keeping an altar or two, and nurturing myself. The Gods I’ve worked with over the years have been many, and while mostly Kemetic, have also come from other pantheons. At the moment, Djehuty, Ganesha, Aset and Kwan Yin grace my altar. I’m still looking to find a small icon of Mary to keep nearby. There’s something about Catholic iconography that has always called to me, even though I wasn’t raised Catholic. Even as a kid, I was drawn to it, which I find surprising. All this has shown me is the diversity of experience and that the Divine has many faces and forms to many different people, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. My altar has changed a lot over the years. This’ll be my ninth year as a pagan, and my altar today looks very different from the Wiccan one I had when I first started. I like to think an altar should change with one’s growth and development, not stay the same as some perfect relic. A lot of my beliefs have changed in nine years, from my view of divinity to my perception of the elements to how I perform ritual. As I change, so does my spirituality change, as it should.