Dear Pagani and Friends,
I am not the only one lately to be musing about sexuality and it’s consequences in our communities.
In editing a podcast episode from a panel she did at Florida Pagan Gathering, which included the infamous yet influential Witches Gavin and Yvonne Frost; T. Thorn Coyle has written a post that muses over some tough questions about the Frosts (here, here, and finally here) and that lays the foundations for some deep questions about modern Paganism’s relationship to sexuality and to the idea of Sacred Sexuality.
In the last few days over at the Wild Hunt there has developed an interesting and (mostly, so far,) politely impassioned discussion regarding the murder of Dr. George Tiller, and about the difficult topic of Abortion. If we are going to examine the Sacredness of Sexuality, we should also acknowledge and embrace and discuss ALL its consequences.
So I have tried to write about Sacredness of Sexuality once before, and had mixed success.
Many Pagans talk about the immanence of the Divine in all of creation. Many Pagan values systems speak either directly or indirectly about personal responsibility. We always have the power to choose our actions, and our reactions, we are responsible for those choices, and their consequences.
Even if sex for pleasure isn’t inherently wrong, is it necessarily always the right thing to do? If someone has looked at themselves and their relationship with their Gods and spirituality, their ethics and morals, and decided that they choose celibacy, how supportive is our community of that? Or are they just chided for being “repressed” or ” narrow minded”?
Sex is holy and sacred, as is every blessed spinning atom and vibrating cell of creation; or so many of us say. Even within those forms of Paganism and Heathenry that don’t believe in the immanence of the Divine, or who don’t say one way or another on the issue, there is the simple fact that since Paganism doesn’t believe in Sin, engaging in the sex act for pure pleasure is not a moral or ethical wrong in and of itself. It does have the potential for consequences though… I ranted about a few of them in my own recent Beltaine post…
I find myself wondering how many people in our community realize that one of the big reasons that a lot of open rituals will pass out dixie cups for sharing our wine or mead at the appropriate time in the ritual is because sharing a drinking vessel can spread oral herpes?
How many of you knew that oral herpes is present in 50 to 80 percent of the U.S. population?
When I read that roughly 1 million people in the U.S. have HIV; and 1 out of every 5 of them has no idea that they are infected! When I hear that someone in the United States is infected with HIV every 9 minutes and 30 seconds…
When was the last time you saw birth control/std prevention supplies available at a Beltane event or festival? How about an STD screening tent and the local Heathen festival honoring Freya or Freyr? If sex and sexuality hold no shame, and to some of us are sacred, then why don’t we address it more often in our religious lives and events? What about Beltaine or Imbolc health faires with Safer Sex and unwanted pregnancy prevention workshops?
It’s not as if the information about effective birth control and disease prevention aren’t already out there and available!
Coalition for Positive Sexuality ~ A free-online Sex education resource, including information on STD’s and Birth Control.
Aren’t Trust, and Friendship, and Love just as sacred as Sex? Then too there is the near universal attitude within Paganism that we are each responsible for our own actions and reactions and always capable of making an informed choice. In that case, shouldn’t the number of STD cases and unplanned Pregnancies be almost nill in the Pagan community?
As much as the Pagan movement talks about sacred sexuality, it doesn’t seem like that talk has fundamentally changed our movement on a cultural level yet; we are still messily enmeshed within our over culture in this.
I don’t know. I don’t really have any answers to Thorne’s questions, or the discussions at Wild Hunt. The more I think about it the more questions I have myself.
What do you think?