Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ageism and Pagan Elder Abuse, Part 2

"Hi, I'm Morning Raven Fluff and I've decided to be one of your priestesses, here is a list of the things you have to change for me."

I hope this sounds as ludicrous to your ears as it does to mine but it reflects the attitude more and more younger Pagans seem to approach  established groups with.  What the hell is going on here?

What's going on is a generation of over protected, everyone gets a trophy just for showing up, "you're special" even if you never actually did anythings have entered Paganism and Feminism and the world in general.  The dominant attitude is "my totally uneducated opinion is equal to your educated and experienced knowledge base".  This is accompanied with "more victim than thou" and what I started calling years ago, the Oppression Olympics.

You really don't have to look very far in Pagan discussion groups to run across multiple "so and so isn't an elder in MY tradition so I won't listen to anything they have to say"  Their tradition often is a tradition of one.  In a time where the internet makes connections easy that used to be almost impossible, when Pagan groups should be flourishing with ever expanding numbers, they are dying on the vine and unsupported by groups set up to actually support them but apparently actually set up to support someone's ego and pocketbook.

If this continues you can kiss Paganism goodbye along with the environment, women's rights hard fought for and won by those  awful second wave feminists and we have already lost most of our civil rights in Amerika where standing up for them is now considered terrorism.

And it is ageism.

Most Pagan traditions trace some of their sources to societies where the elders were respected and cherished but today elders are dottering old fools with dinosaur ideas and I've personally been told, "I cannot wait until you die and take your ideas with you."  Because a couple of elder men have been exposed as sex perverts recently within Paganism, all elders and in particular elder women are under some form of attack in some twisted return to the Crone as the evil Halloween witch.. in Paganism!   Wannabe Big Nose Pagans are writing blogs with titles implying all elders are essentially bullies and abusive.  Saying no to these idiots is considered abusive as is refusing to accommodate their every whim.

"You must change your tradition to fit my desires"  Or what?, you won't join?  "Your opinions are oppressing me"  So wipe the dust from your feet and move on darling.  "Your tone is angry"  Really?  I was trying to have a discussion with you thinking you were an adult capable of a spirited debate.  "You are difficult to work with"   Because I didn't give you a trophy for showing up or tell you your opinions were brilliant when they weren't?  

I ain't your grandmother without opinions who just sticks around to hand you a cookie.  I am a woman who fought more damn battles in a long lifetime than you can imagine and stood up for mine and your rights.  I've been kicked and beaten and even raped more times than you can imagine.  This is why I don't run around taking your money to teach you in some Pagan festival workshop or online scam school.  You want to learn from me, you come to me and I share freely.  That's what I do.

If it hadn't been for our legal battle for equal rights under the law and our need to raise each year twice than our operating costs for legal fees, you probably would not have heard of us at the Maetreum because we know what we offer is not for the masses who want quick answers without work.  We don't give answers, we just help you find them but if you are not willing to do the work, we have nothing to offer you.  We don't need you, you need us.  We do the work of taking in women in need and helping them get back on their feet without preaching or requiring they join us and have been doing so for over a decade.  We never asked the greater Pagan community for money to do this.  We do it because it is the right thing to do.

If this youth culture crap continues in Paganism of all places, you will all wind up sitting under a tree alone gazing into your smart phone instead of your navel.  It makes me want to cry.....and feel I wasted a lifetime fighting for rights and equality and respect for women when it wasn't valued enough to just keep the victories won in the past.

But for now, I'm still here and I still share freely with those who actually want to learn something and expand their horizons and get in touch with the Divine within themselves but I am getting old and won't be here forever.......  You cannot make someone respect you but you sure as hell can demand they not disrespect you.

You are throwing away the greatest treasure of all with your ageism, the access to the wisdom that sometimes (not always) comes with age and experience.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ageism and Pagan Elder Abuse Part 1

Elder abuse is usually associated with caretakers abusing the elderly in nursing homes but it actually goes much deeper and further than that.  When you are older but fail to be the grandma with cookies type of older woman you will experience ageism big time.

Normally I don't like airing our dirty laundry here at the Maetreum but we recently had a multi level example of both ageism and elder abuse happen here starring that crusty old crone, yours truly.

We had a priestess who's involvement in the Cybeline Revival went back to it's near beginnings but who only actually showed up or participated every couple of years or so.  Up until a couple of years ago, she did keep in fairly regular touch by phone but that suddenly came to a halt about 2 and an half years ago until this spring when she descended on us full force telling everyone here I needed more looking after.  I didn't think much of it at the time but then the return in June put everything in an entire new light.

She and her daughter and partner are living in an older home they just moved into to "help" an older gentleman who's family allegedly was not looking after.  This is the second time she has moved into a property to "help" someone and took it over.  He has family, but she somehow arranged power of attorney for his healthcare and finances.  Recently he was moved into a retirement home but they are still living in his house.  Now understand that this sort of house stealing is becoming more and more common and the law hasn't really caught up with it.  Essentially it is a type of con aimed at elderly home owners.  Her own mother has early stage Alzheimer's, something I noticed several years ago on the last whirlwind visit with mom in toe.   She took over all her mothers affairs as well and cleaned her out.  To make a long story short, she's figured out the jig is up on the free housing and planned to move here and take over.  Moving here would not have been a problem but I told her that her mom could not be part of the package as we simply are not equipped to deal with an Alzheimer's patient.  

When I did that, it hit the fan.  She was already telling me my advisor, a woman I literally trust more than anyone else on the planet, had an agenda and I shouldn't trust her.  She'd had a facebook account for ages but never used it at all.  Suddenly she is friending everyone associated with us.  At this time a younger Pagan woman who was to start her novitiate training with me was moving into the Maetreum with her multiple partners.  Our novitiate was zeroed in on.  Then she started telling everyone associated with us that I was showing signs of early dementia, naturally with nothing to back that up because their isn't anything to back it up.  She started working the younger women against the older ones, pushing for major changes in everything about the house.  Not directly, but through the younger women.  My advisor actually overheard her doing this.

The tactic switched to early signs of dementia to full blown very quickly and the rest of the priestesshood realized we had to do something quickly because we'd been down this road years before.

Unlike many other Pagan traditions, we have a blueprint for dealing with conflict and running and living as a community.  This document has been online since 2004.  The last time we had an attempted schismatic takeover of the property (it's always about our property) it was slightly modified to empower an individual Battakes (Rev. Mother of a specific Phrygianum or convent if you will) to simply expel a priestess working to undermine her.  It has further safeguards against just a personality conflict.  Under our rules I could have just done this but I did not.  Instead the priestesses who were aware of the situation, all but two living outside the US, conferred and collectively and unanimously decided to tell her she was no longer a priestess and must leave immediately.  We knew there would be blowback from this.  The rouge priestess was informed she needed to meet with me and my heir for a discussion.   That's where it hit the fan big time.

Apparently she started texting everyone in the house that she was being set up by demented old me and calling for an intervention to prevent the meeting.  We have very specific rules for calling a house meeting and this violated most of them.

She did not show up from her RV until she had it all in place unknown to my successor and myself who walked into an ambush.  When I saw what was happening, I announced this was a priestess only matter and I was speaking as the Battakes.  Not only was I ignored but the novitiate announced she was mediating this and I was physically prevented from leaving the room.  It was two against seven... and clear the agenda was me.  No personal boundary of mine was left intact or respected.  Yes, I yelled but I never threatened even verbally while I had been forcibly stopped from leaving myself by a large younger male we were letting stay with us.

The offending priestess left but not without arranging considerable chaos in her wake in the form of half the downstairs of our home turned upside down and pretty much unusable.  The Noviciate decided I had somehow "triggered her" by yelling and she and her partners decided not to move in and break all the promises they had been making.  Ok, bad situation but resolving itself except they left all their things filling the rest of the downstairs and two bedrooms and the main hallway for six weeks not to mention a dead car in our driveway at a time we were having a battle with the local code office.

The former noviciate was left an open door to come back.  She was in charge of the Albany summer Pagan event and I was supposed to be "honoured" as a crone at that event.  I told her under the circumstances that I considered that inappropriate and I would not be even attending absent an apology for basically total disrespect of the priestesshood and myself in our own home when we were trying to deal with a very difficult situation under our rules and blocked by her, not a priestess, from doing so.  We recognized she was suckered into it by an expert con artist and cut a LOT of slack for her because of that.

Still with me?  This is where it gets interesting.  Apparently I have become a Name Pagan due to our multiple year battle with the town of Catskill and apparently that has made other Name Pagans nervous despite the fact I don't do the festival circuit or hold court like many of them do.  Frankly, I've been far too busy keeping our place going and fighting bigotry to even think about it.  Our former Noviciate does do the circuit and likes to schmooze with the Big Nose Pagans and the BNP wannabes.  I have been trashed to pretty much all of them at this point as an abusive and angry bitch.  All at a time that three separate legal actions with Catskill have been coming to a head and thus cutting off support we badly needed to raise the needed legal fees.

One of the wannabe BNPs is a woman who runs around the community giving "leadership" workshops even though she has never, to the best of my knowledge, ever actually led anything other than a workshop.  She also makes her living writing soft Pagan porn.  Almost exactly a year ago the Albany Pagan group had her come do a workshop and it was done here at the Maetreum for free.  We hostessed the workshop and put this woman up for the night and fed her.  That night she and I sat down to have a chat and were quickly interrupted by a vandal throwing rocks through our windows and screaming anti Pagan and anti LGBT slurs and then threatening to come back with an AK 47 and shoot us up.  The cops did show but did not even bother to do a proper interview with us.  That was the sum of my contact with this wannabe with a couple of very brief FB encounters afterwards.  After being contacted by our former Noviciate, suddenly we were being accused of being transphobic and our wannabe blogged about what a terrible leader and abusive angry person I am being extremely careful not to mention my name but giving more than enough details about the Maetreum and myself that no one familiar with any of this would not know exactly who was being talked about.  I was linked to the recent paedophile and the Frosts.  Also to Z Budapest.

I am writing this because I am seeing evidence my experience is not an isolated one and my next blog entry will deal with the widespread in general disrespect of older women in particular in the Pagan community.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tired of Waiting for That Next Witch Hunt, Pagans Start Doing it to Themselves

I have been known to speak bluntly and some overly sensitive idiots take that as "too angry". If you are afraid the blunt opinions of an outspoken crone might somehow harm your fluffy bunny, well tough toenails darling.

In full disclosure, I am descended from Salem witchcraft trial victims on both sides of my family, Susanna Martin on my maternal side and Sarah Good on my paternal side.   I grew up with tales of Salem as well as an uncle who used to show me the fertile farmlands near the mouth of the Merrimack river that were stolen from us (his words) of William Wood, another ancestor who wrote the book "New England Prospects" but committed the sin of marrying into a local tribe.  The damn Puritans took it from him.  I grew up with "haunted" pre-revolutionary houses in our family and no one from the family ever told me "there's no such thing as ghosts" because every damn one of us knew the family ghosts on a first name basis.

With others, I reclaimed an ancient Mother Goddess tradition with an actual, traceable heritage, which I suspect pisses off those without those roots.   I have been a practising Pagan for more than fifty years, long before it was "cool", and I spent part of my teenaged years in India, just before the Beatles made that cool.

I've played my part in every major civil rights battle since the mid sixties as a passionate activist.  Every single one.

But apparently I am too hard to work with and too angry to work with on the major Pagan legal battle of the past 30 years, our right to equal treatment of our "church" (IRS designation).   WTF?????

The past year or so has seen revelation after revelation of sexual misconduct and out and out child abuse in the Pagan communities by some of the biggest names in Paganism and covered up by other big name Pagans.  No accountability for that.  Nope, instead we claim the Maetreum of Cybele is transphobic, Z Budapest is a terrorist and evil person for speaking out about sexual fetishism at Pagan events and wishing to keep her group for women born women, which is her absolute civil right under the 1'st amendment to do so.  I keep reading that Z doesn't have the right to call herself an elder, and apparently neither do I.  

Do I agree with Z on everything?  Oh hell no but I would love to sit down with her someday over a pot of coffee and have a lively debate as she is a crusty old crone same as me.  And if she isn't a Pagan elder, then 'taint no such thing.

I've read a number of articles lately about walking away from the term Paganism as well.  I've been told the Maetreum should move somewhere where it would be better received by cowardly asswipe Pagans who apparently are afraid to be called Pagan.

To them I say, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.  I am a proud Pagan and I am sick to death of the cowards in Paganism who's response to challenges is 'run away, run away'.

Susanna Martin laughed at her accusers during her trial and pointed out their fears.  Sarah Good cursed her judge on the gallows to die with blood in his mouth and he did.  These are the women in my personal history.  To hell with the cowardly Pagans like the Lady Liberty worthless League, to hell with those "leaders" who knowingly covered up the sex crimes of their peers like some Pagan version of Ratzinger, the nazi pope.

The Goddess is angry, I'm angry.  If you cannot deal with that and do the right thing and fight the good fight, go join the Baptists cause there is no room for you in Paganism any more.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Open Letter to the Greater Pagan Communities on Transphobia

From About News Civil Rights section, 

Definition: Transphobia is an irrational fear of, and/or hostility towards, people who are transgender or who otherwise transgress traditional gender norms. Because lesbians and gay men often transgress gender norms, it is often associated with homophobia.

The most direct victims of transphobia are people who are transsexual--those who are labeled one sex at birth but transition into another sex later.

Pay attention to that last part because it is true even among the so called trans communities.  Most non trans people (I refuse to use that ridiculous invention word "cis") would take it as evidence of transphobia the refusal to accept the womanhood of a transitioned transsexual and they would be right.  Where they get suckered is when some random trans-person makes such an accusation against the very people who are the poster children for "trans", post surgically corrected women of transsexual history.  And this is not only common, it is practically universal with the current generation of so called trans-activists.  They flatly refuse to acknowledge the womanhood of those with female bodies and identities who were born transsexed or intersexed.  They will tell her she is forever male because she has an Y chromosome, that her vagina is just an inverted penis, that she can never be a "real" woman because she lacks a uterus and more.  How can I say this?  I can because this has happened to me, not once or twice but literally hundreds of times and I have personally witnessed it done to dozens like me in public so called trans activists who actually hate post surgical women for escaping the "transgender" pot.

Amazing isn't it.  But it is true.  Let a post surgical woman say she has now cured her transsexual condition and is just plain woman like every other woman and these trans-activists will move heaven and earth to deny her that.  Violence is common, death threats are common, attempts to utterly destroy her life are common.  This would include physical abuse, verbal abuse, "outting" to spouses and employers, slander, libel and much more.

So when you hear someone called transphobic, stop, ask yourself what is behind it.  If it is a woman of transsexual history being called transphobic, the real transphobe is likely the one making the accusation, not the victim.  Ask yourself can it actually be more gynophobic as well as transphobic to do this to a post surgical woman and if they are willing to do this to them, what are their true feelings towards non trans women?

This issue is much more complicated than most realize.

I founded the Cybeline Revival with a woman of transsexual history.  I was born a true hermaphrodite and surgically assigned male at birth and had to correct that later in life.  I, personally, recovered the role of the transsexual priestesses in the Mother Goddess traditions of the ancient world and wrote about it........ now I am a transphobe?   Really?  You bought that?

Who's the real transphobe here.

I did not want to have to write this, I left the trans battlegrounds years ago but when this crap is spreading within the Pagan communities and tearing them apart, I cannot maintain silence.

Post Script added 9/4

We have been trolled here and on Facebook because of this accusation that the Maetreum of Cybele is transphobic.  To be perfectly clear, the Maetreum has always welcomed all trans and gender queer people and men to participate fully in all our rituals and events since it's founding.  At issue is one of the requirements to be a priestess in our tradition is being female bodied AND identified.  That anyone feels they have the right to dictate to us who we accept into a very limited sisterhood of priestesses is beyond offensive.  Half of that circle of priestesses consists of women of trans or intersexed history.