Laura here, coming to you with one of the most personal offerings I have ever publicly made. And a slightly different topic than House Of Origins usually presents. The time has come to be vocal about how Maz and I are queering mysticism. After years of deep talks and diving into mystery studies, I am finally ready to begin speaking in these ways and be unapologetic in vocalizing how friggin queer we are over here in the apothecary!
There is a lot to say about queerness, gender and sexuality in magical and mystical spaces, and I will only be touching on a few concepts and principles based on my personal experience. I write through the lens of a mixed settler (polish, ukrainian, scottish, english), cis passing non-binary trans person. This lens will never be able to encompass the experience of those more marginalized than me and I fully realize the effect my privilege has on the views and concepts I express. My writing and my views are incomplete, as I need to continue learning, living and decolonizing my person to hold an expanded understanding of the human condition and what it means to be gender blessed in a spiritual space.
So what got me to a place of needing to write about queering magical spaces and re-programming gender? There’s a misconception in spiritual circles that they are accepting and open to all people; and while that intention may be true, the reality of the space actually being inclusive often falls short. One of my teachers, Eve Bradford shared something that stuck with me and it went something along these lines: a lot of spaces are inclusive, but they are not built upon the foundation of queerness and transness. You get an entirely different curation of content and space when the baseline is queer, and you’re not just trying to make cisheteronormative concepts “inclusive”.
For many years I would show up to rituals and ceremonies and leave feeling incredibly triggered and erased. I found myself in circles where there was a hyper focus on masculine and feminine principles with no alternative point of view presented. To the point where I’d hear “divine feminine” or something about “women's roles in ritual” I would be shot into an episode of dissociation, fully removing me from the presence of the magical working at hand. Healing this pattern has come from a place of deconstructing gendered terms and giving them my own definitions and trying to understand the true essence of what is being spoken about and taught to me.
I deeply feel that part of the mission for magical folks in this lifetime is to move beyond archaic understandings of gender in ceremonial and ritual space. The more inclusive we are, the more opportunities we create to uplift and up-level humanity; and let’s be honest… humanity and the planet need all the upliftment they can get right now!
The thing about inclusivity is that it needs to be more than an intention. We need to look at the content we are sharing and if it is founded in the binary, cis-ness or the patriarchy; and reflect on how we can teach this content outside such frameworks. True inclusivity requires deep investigation into the content you are sharing and seeing if it truly is coming from a place of the deconstructed binary. It is not enough for you to have the intention or acceptance of queer and trans kin without this kind of reflection. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in an “inclusive” space where there has been zero mention of deconstructing the binary; and continuous focus on masculine and feminine principles. This type of thing has led to a lot of dysphoria and feeling of othering which is especially painful when a gathering is advertised as safe and inclusive.
So where do we even start with deprogramming the gender binary and creating inclusive space?
Let’s begin with the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine. Deconstructing the meanings and use of these principles is incredibly transformative to anyone's magical practice, whether you are queer or not. Firstly, I want to say that these principles do exist even in a non-binary spiritual framework; and that these principles are archetypes. An archetype lives in the trans-human world, meaning it is beyond human-ness; it is deeply related to the principles of creation but they are not able to be personified completely. What we need to recognize is these principles represent different ends of a spectrum of energy. In the foundational philosophy of hermeticism, two ends of a polar spectrum are the SAME thing, expressing itself in different degrees, always in motion and always in rhythm; moving from polarity to polarity.
Part of the issue I have come to realize, is the over personification of gendered concepts and divine archetypes. By doing this we are placing limiting stories on ourselves and possibly a disservice to our own developments. You don’t have to look far to find spiritually centered courses that boast about teaching you how to become one of these gendered aspects of the divine. While this can be useful at times; I have largely seen this work be a spiritually sugarcoated version of heteronormativity. Using hype words appropriated from yoga traditions or just spiritual jargon as a mask for perpetuating patriarchal concepts.
There is no doubt that we are divine beings, and there is no doubt that we are able to tap into and embody aspects of the divine. However, I do believe that it is a disservice to these aspects of the divine to personify them to the degree in which we have in the western spiritual traditions. Because our culture is so heavily influenced by cisheteronormativity we are only able to understand and view these aspects of the divine through this lens. For example, the immensity and vastness of the Divine Feminine is something so far beyond the human experience. Sure, we can experience parts of what the Divine Feminine is; and we can even play with different ways to embody this archetype; but at the end of the day we will never be able to experience the fullness of this principle because we are so limited by the human experience. We may have a taste of these archetypes in our lifetime, through a path of devotion or inner knowing. But we are certainly not the embodied representations of this at all times, to be honest it appears as a Messiah complex of the spiritual community. What would it look like if we weren’t trying to be this idealized version of the divine masculine or feminine? What if we were just focused on being the most divine version of ourselves, and were able to play with the rhythm of these two principles within each and every one of us?
I have to give credit to the Academy of Oracle Arts for playing a huge part in this deprogramming and invitation into the archetypal embodiments. In their courses we have the opportunity to take part in ritual theatre where we are intentionally embodying Tarot archetypes. At times I have embodied the Emperor or the High Priestess, and so does each member of the class. Being able to see my classmates as these archetypes regardless of their gender identity has been foundational to how I approach my work in deprogramming gender in spirituality. In the not so far off past; having a male bodied person in the High priestess role would not have gone down! Same goes for a woman as the High Priest. I am deeply thankful to this community for providing an arena of exploration and inquisition into these topics. Without this community support and mutual desire for an inclusive space; I don’t think I would be here writing these words. So, thank you…. And I continue on…
An exercise that is very useful in this deprogramming journey is to not use gendered terms when teaching or describing divine concepts. For example when speaking about Venus, instead of saying feminine; I speak to the qualities Venus embodies. Venus is moist, wet, voluptuous, sweet, beauty oriented, loves pleasure, wants to be pampered etc... This practice has actually helped me get out of the default modes of understanding the world in a way that is so gendered and led me to a much more expansive view of mysticism. Just look at all those juicy descriptive words that actually illustrate a concept and evoke feeling so much more than just saying “feminine”.
Something that is important to highlight is the difference between speaking conceptually or from personal experience. People have gender identities, and when you are speaking about yourself or your experiences this is the time to use gendered language. When it comes to sharing concepts and archetypes of spirituality, in my opinion, it is best to stay away from gendered language as much as possible. In this practice there is an invitation to really dig deep into the sensory and visceral experience of that concept or archetype in a way that ensures each person will find some resonance.
To walk the path of the mystic requires a life of devotion, study and unearthing history. I find the more I learn about historical events and the people who wrote about them are the keys to unveiling the truth of the divine. I am also on a quest to find the stories of those who have been written out of history, as there lies some of the most potent information in relation to our gender blessed kin. A tool of the oppressor has always been to silence that which has power and divorce the individual from their own inner spring of the divine. As mystical people in this lifetime it is our birthright to reclaim this unadulterated connection to the divine and unearth the stories of those ancestors and transcestors who walk silently with us in the unseen worlds.
If you have gotten this far, thanks for sticking with me and reading this whole dang thing! This work is so important to me as a mystic and a medical herbalist; as I aim to create an inclusive space for my gender blessed community to flourish and come into their powers of gender variance. As a herbalist I focus on mental health and the intersections of gender inclusive womb and period care. Seeking period care is often a heavily gendered and potentially dysphoric experience (I know, I’ve been there!). I am super passionate about helping people manage period pain in a way that is affirming to their gender & not coming from a place of cis-centered wellnes.
My books are open and I would love to help you live a period pain free life. Click HERE to book!
Maz and I also have another round of the Nootropic transformation coming up, a guided microdosing journey that transforms your life on all levels. What I’ve spoken about in this writing is a lot of the foundation of how we curate these transformational containers and the guiding forces we use to help you embody your divine nature. Next session begins in the new year, perfectly in time for your new year’s resolution! Register Here .