WitchTip: if you can’t share a secret don’t tease people with it - it just makes you look desperate for attention & will cost you friends
Gnosis does not mean what so many people have come to think it means.
It is not the color of your god’s hair.
It is not their ‘favorite flavor of tea.’
It is not a story that you think is funny about your god.
Gnosis means knowledge.
Gnosis is specifically a spiritual…
so the thing about honoring ancient deities is that historical context matters
i don’t mean everyone has to be a reconstructionist, stay with me here
what i’m saying is that if you can’t historicize the worship of your deity and how they’ve been viewed in multiple historical contexts, you’re going to end up unintentionally mobilizing your god as a vehicle for all of the dominant ideas of your own cultural context.
what i mean is, if you don’t check in now and then with the ancient cultures your gods come from, and learn about how those societies understood gender, you’ll interpret gods’ genders within (probably) a modern western understanding of sex and gender.
and that leads to statements like:
- all pagan fertility gods are female! female = wombs = the creative principle!
- hephaestus was gender-nonconforming because he liked to do crafts!
- osiris was reconstructed without a weenie, so he’s a great god for trans ppl! (seriously, where the fuck did this one even come from?)
which are not only cissexist but ahistorical.
do not ever, ever, EVER excuse cissexism in paganism by saying, “that’s just how these ancient cultures were organized!” ‘cause that’s not true at all.
the modern idea of sexual dimorphism in humans can be dated to the european enlightenment. before that, bodies were interpreted in a completely different way, and gender was considered innate while sex could morph throughout a person’s life.
and that’s just western folk. listen. the modern western system of sex and gender is closely tied to colonialism. it was shaped as a tool of colonialism, and it has been enforced on colonized peoples, erasing non-western concepts of sex and gender.
what i’m really trying to drive home is that the gods we honor originated in cultures with COMPLETELY different ideas of sex and gender.
unfortunately, i’m acutely aware of the fact that what we know about these cultures is largely filtered through two centuries of academic work done by racist Egyptology, Oriental Studies, and Classical Studies programs in the West.
the modern books we’ve read about our gods and their cultures and the history of their worship are all filtered through this same lens which casually translates ancient stories into modern concepts of sex and gender, failing to even consider that those concepts are ultra-specific to time and place.
that means WE have to do the work of undoing cissexist interpretations of ancient gods.
so when i hear, “all deities seem binary .. who are some nonbinary deities i can worship?” i wanna shout, “it’s gonna be ok! these cultures didn’t HAVE a gender binary, not in the modern sense! ALL the gods can be nonbinary!! any gods you want!!”
but what i hear from other pagans — not all, but many — is reiteration of the same cissexist concepts that i try to move away from in my personal faith.
and it honestly hurts, y’all. it hurts when people describe MY GODS according to a system which has no space for ME.
TL;DR: why would you confine LITERAL DEITIES to biological essentialism?? why. they are LITERALLY DEITIES