TPE Wk8 – Coming Out As Pagan

Week 8 – Any writing for the letters C or D – Feb. 23
Any writing for the letters C or D- I am keeping this familiar format on week 4 for those who have joined me from the Pagan Blog Project.

Coming Out As Pagan
I am so behind on all my TPE posts, and it’s partly because I couldn’t settle on a topic for this particular week, but anyway. This is on my mind right now, so this is what you’re getting. I can’t say this will be organised; it may end up being a long ramble like most of my posts like this tend to be. Anyway. Have some thoughts on Coming Out As A Pagan, subtitle: Or why I find this concept far less terrifying than coming out as trans* and nonbinary.

I guess I’m drawing on something I’ve seen around the traps lately, and having that feeling like I need to be more visibly Pagan. And I don’t mean that in any sort of obnoxious, in your face, sort of way. I’m a job seeker; I ain’t daft. It’s more subtle, and it’s particularly drawing on a growing sense of embodying the role of a priest, like it’s finally fitting in a way it never did three years ago. I’ve spent my time with Hekate, with Artemis, even with Isis, incubated in this transitionary cocoon, and it’s beginning to feel like that period of preparation is coming to a close.

With it has come a growing sense of wanting to be seen, to be open about my practices, to not be afraid of being seen as Sobek’s priest. To wear that in public, even if it’s not in a way people would understand unless they asked. There will be a ring, and a pendant, and cords, but that’s it. The ring and the pendant are on their way, and there will be some rituals once they arrive to dedicate them to Sobek.

I sometimes find it hard to write publicly about my relationship with Him, because some of it is so intensely private. Hem-netjer is the easiest way to describe it, but it’s so much more complex than that. There are aspects of sacred D/s, but it’s not romantic or spousal. I just can’t think of it in those terms; it never makes sense. I am His servant above all else, and He’s happy enough with that.

This journey to priesthood started a long time ago, when I joked to the universe that if no one else was going to be Sobek’s priest, it was probably going to be me. (I say this about Sobek a lot. Because obscure gods ftw.) I hesitate to say I said it with any sense that it would come to fruition, nor that it was Sobek’s plan all along. Perhaps it was. Perhaps He was waiting to see if I was willing to bear the mantle first. It’s not like there aren’t other devotees out there He might call on, and perhaps that will come later. I don’t know.

It still took a long time to accept that priesthood was something I wanted. When I was Kemetic Orthodox, you see priesthood in a certain way, because of the way they operate, and none of that called to me. And the community was just so far away that I never felt it would be worth bothering with. For an unemployed student in Australia, a trip to the US was out of reach, and because of that, any priesthood training was also out of reach. So I never felt it was for me, because the means to reach it were beyond me. I can see a well-placed block when I see one.

But I think, in the end, that never mattered, because the gods took me elsewhere. Even before I left Kemetic Orthodoxy, Isis was pointing elsewhere. So when the reorganisation came in 2011, it was clear to me that I needed to be elsewhere. I had learnt all I could there, and the gods had other plans for me.

It’s very strange to leave that sort of … I hesitate to call it isolated, but it really was, for a long time, my biggest connection into the Pagan community. All my friends were there, all my networks were there, I had Kemetic recons up to my ears, and that was about it. It was a bubble. And once I left that bubble, and saw how other Kemetics and Pagans were practicing, that began to shift things.

My Kemetic practice had never been particularly orthodox, or particularly regular. Mostly, I just wanted to worship the gods I loved, and didn’t much care for the rest. I am not ashamed to admit I was a fucking terrible recon. (I was a pretty terrible Kemetic Orthodox practitioner, as well; I hardly ever did Senut, because it was just the wrong sort of daily rite for me.) I definitely admire scholarship, and I do my own, but I use that for inspiration to build modern practices, because that’s what works for me, not recreating the past. Which I’m sure works really well for some people, but I am not one of them.

It’s the eleventh year of Per Sebek’s existence. Perhaps I ought to have done something last year, to honour ten years of existence, but I don’t think I got around to it. (If I did, I have forgotten what I did; probably wrote a blog post, way to go self.) I mean, it’s changed hosts and formats and organisation several times in those eleven years, but it’s still been Per Sebek. It’s never changed from what it was intended to be, as a resource for those seeking Sobek.

And, like, I’ve had many, many web pages over the course of my online life, but none have lasted as long as Per Sebek has, with perhaps the sole exception of my old LiveJournal account, which I have not deleted even though I don’t post there anymore because I can’t kill an account that old, I just can’t. LiveJournal will have to delete it themselves if they want to rid the internet of that. I spent most of my twenties figuring myself out in that blog. Yes, it’s embarrassing as all fuck to look at, and I will never, ever read it again, but it still has to exist as a record.

It was in that journal that I first began posting about my gender, and beginning to question whether I was trans*. I spent a lot of time dithering between FTM and genderqueer and settled on genderqueer because nothing else made any sense. I feel much more secure in that identity now than I did then, and I do refer to myself as trans* and nonbinary, which I sort of shied away from then. Being trans* was too hard to deal with back then.

It was because of this that I began looking into queer paganism, and wanting to avoid some of the more cisheteronormative trappings other paths had. My gods were queer, and I was queer, and my practice needed to embrace this. It took a long time to work through that, as well, and find the best way to reconcile the two into something that works for me.

…I have a lot of liminal gods, have you noticed? Sobek, (arguably) Heru and Isis, Hekate, Hermes, and, well, Artemis is Artemis, I suppose. There’s a lot of liminal space there, being in between, being without and within. Being outside the binary, being outside the monotheistic norm, being one of Set’s people, perhaps. He is a god of foreigners and outsiders, and perhaps I relate to that more than to His other aspects.

Set and Nit certainly pushed me to write a Lamentations for Trans* Day of Rememberance. I have the draft done at last, I just need to edit it until the words are exactly the right words. I need to work on my curses. I’ll let you know when it’s done, and posted, in case anyone wants to use it themselves.

It’s probably not that hard to imagine that it’s relatively easier to come out as Pagan than as trans* and genderqueer, even though the two are so inextricably part of my identity. I’m always a bit cagey about disclosing my Paganism, but it’s easier than explaining my gender. And certainly easier to see. I was not blessed with an androgynous appearance, so I have to put up with being read as female for now. It’s not fun, but it’s better than coming out over and over again. Because coming out never stops. It just keeps going. There’s always someone else to disclose to.

But I don’t know. I feel more secure in my practice, like I feel more comfortable explaining that. I can feel it inside me. Might just be me getting older, and a bit more mature, but I’m not afraid anymore, not with that. And I’m serious about magic. I haven’t cast any proper magic for years. But I can feel those tools in my hands, now, and the power at my disposal. I’ve never felt this way about magic before. But it feels so much more potent now. Like, all I need to do is unleash it. And that’s exciting. I don’t know whether I’ll ever stick to any sort of recognisable magic, but the urge to cast is there. And I never thought that would make me feel like I had any agency, any scope to forge my own future, but that’s what it feels like. Taking my life into my own hands.

Yes, I am a priest of Sobek. I can say that now and not shy away from it, like it doesn’t fit. That’s what I am. And it feels so good to say that and know it’s true. That it’s real. That it’s not just playing pretend, or wearing a title I still need to grow into. Where things go from here, I don’t know. But I’m sure they will be interesting.

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