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Patti Wigington

Reader Mail: What About the Sacred Masculine?

By November 19, 2013

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A reader asks, "I go to public Pagan events a lot, and I'm seriously feeling like a minority. I belong to an eclectic path that honors a male deity but not a goddess. It's not that I have anything against goddesses, they're just not part of my system. So when I go to anything with other Pagans, it seems like a lot of times I get a load of flak for not being a "goddess worshiper." One very angry woman told me I "might as well be Christian" since I didn't honor the divine feminine in my practice. Is this normal? Are all Pagans supposed to be goddess worshipers? Am I "doin it rong"?

First of all, when it comes to Paganism, it's nearly impossible to use the word "supposed" in a sentence. We're all so different, and we all follow so many different paths, that it's unreasonable to paint us all with the same brush. I'm sorry you had a rotten experience with the angry goddess worshiper - who seems to have other issues going on, given her comment about Christianity.

For many people in Pagan paths, the masculine can be as sacred as the feminine. There's no Big Book of Pagan Rules that says we all have to be part of the same giant estrogen-powered belief system. Plenty of Pagans honor a god and not a goddess. Others honor both equally, and some honor only the feminine. It's unreasonable for anyone to tell your belief system is less valid than their own, just because it doesn't fit into their mold: Honoring the Sacred Masculine.

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November 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm
(1) Ben says:

I’ve been on the fence about faith for a long, long time. I recognized greater powers in this universe when I was a child, but things happened to dampen that (it’s a long story, trust me) until just this year. Once again, things culminated in an upheaval of my peronal beliefs and introspective practices, that ended up with me becoming reacquainted with this supreme male power and presence. I explored this presence for about a week, establishing a comfortable rapport and system of identities. He can be the One Mind over our universe, or, if I need, can come as an aspect in a mythological figure or personal fictional hero. It’s a very flexible faith that I enjoy. It wasn’t until a little later that I met Her. The other half of all of this. The supreme feminine presence that is his equal and counterpart. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how perfectly they feed and need each others’ knowledge and wisdom to make this entire reality function as it does, it’s so perfect. She also is very flexible in the ways I can see and communicate with her – be it a tapestry of emotional wisdom in all things or even an imaginary female friend to talk to in that bright light hovering in the western dusk. I think I would’ve been just fine if I’d never found her like that, but I count myself fortunate that I did. For many, I think that knowing only one or the other is so much more than many more can say they have in their spiritual life. So yes, I agree that it’s okay to just have one, and make it sacred. No, you’re not doing it wrong, not by a long shot. Worship and honor Him. Though I think it’s wise to be open to Her, should she ever decide it’s time to enter your life in that perfect way, too. The Vice-Versa should also be true. Be mindful and open, I say.

November 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm
(2) Kat says:

Ben put it very well.
Hold your male God sacred, but be open to the Goddess aspect too.
I had the reverse happen, I worshipped only the Goddess, until she showed me her masculine side. I am more at ease with her; being female, but the male aspect has helped me too.
So stay open, but know there is nothing wrong with honoring the masculine alone.
Blessed Be

November 25, 2013 at 2:40 am
(3) Sha says:

Meh, I reject the concept of a masculine/feminine binary anyway, so I don’t see a problem with it. I say you work with that/those deity/deities who reach out to who, and with whom you wish to align yourself with, and don’t worry about what anyone else has to say about it.

Gender is a human construction, so who’s to say that there is any sort of inherent gender identity to a given deity anyway. Maybe a given deity is actually male or female or both or neither or something else entirely, but then maybe a given deity only has a gender because human beings have such a hard time with the concept of things working outside of that paradigm.

The way I see it, it doesn’t make much sense to begin working with a deity simply because you’re “supposed” to worship both a male deity and a female deity (which is incidentally not true of all or even most pagan paths, particularly when we move out of Wiccan and Wicca-influenced paths).

You work with the deities you work with, and if you’re putting more effort into trying to have deities of the “right” gender identities than you’re putting into building a relationship with those deities, well that’s kind of an odd way to prioritize things, no?

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