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Author Topic: Gender/sex based Mysteries?  (Read 6725 times)
darashand
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« Topic Start: November 18, 2009, 07:40:39 am »

Do you think that there are different mysteries based on sex? If so, could a male or female understand the mysteries of the other sex? Or possibly the mysteries are accessible for anyone who wishes to understand them?

What do you think?
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« Reply #1: November 18, 2009, 07:48:13 am »

Do you think that there are different mysteries based on sex? If so, could a male or female understand the mysteries of the other sex? Or possibly the mysteries are accessible for anyone who wishes to understand them?

I believe that we have a certain amount of both genders within ourselves, obviously balanced to equal the gender that we become, but we still contain some of the opposite. There are, I believe, some mysteries based on gender, but I think that anyone who wants to understand them, and takes the time and effort required, will achieve that goal.

(And if the above paragraph actually makes sense to anyone, give yourselves a pat on the back-it made so much more sense when I was thinking it-I think  Undecided )
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« Reply #2: November 18, 2009, 07:54:38 am »

Do you think that there are different mysteries based on sex? If so, could a male or female understand the mysteries of the other sex? Or possibly the mysteries are accessible for anyone who wishes to understand them?

What do you think?

I don't think there are RELIGIOUS mysteries based on sex.

I think there are life-mysteries based on things that only men, or only women, can experience - no man will EVER experience childbirth the way I did.  OTOH, I will never experience the birth of our child the way my husband did, either - I suspect men in that situation could share in a way women never could, just as women share labor horror stories in a way men can only run screaming from.

But religious mysteries?  Not in FlameKeeping, at least. Smiley
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« Reply #3: November 18, 2009, 02:04:18 pm »

I don't think there are RELIGIOUS mysteries based on sex.

I think there are life-mysteries based on things that only men, or only women, can experience - no man will EVER experience childbirth the way I did.  OTOH, I will never experience the birth of our child the way my husband did, either - I suspect men in that situation could share in a way women never could, just as women share labor horror stories in a way men can only run screaming from.

This thing.

Though I'd put it "Of course there are men's and women's mysteries, and it's the nature of mysteries to be unapprehendable without experience, so these are things that some people will never know.  There are also writers' mysteries, engineers' mysteries, parents' mysteries, sky-divers' mysteries, skiers' mysteries (my standard explanation of how the mystery experience works is one of these, in fact), sculptors' mysteries, queer mysteries, straight mysteries, et cetera et cetera and so forth, world without end.  Does this matter in the grand scheme of things?  Not really."
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« Reply #4: November 18, 2009, 04:29:42 pm »

Do you think that there are different mysteries based on sex? If so, could a male or female understand the mysteries of the other sex? Or possibly the mysteries are accessible for anyone who wishes to understand them?

What do you think?

In a perfect world I'd like to think that equality is in all things, but I doubt this is true. In many ways, males and females really do think differently, and I would suspect that any "mysteries" associated with being part of either sex would be even more mysterious to the other.

Humorously, I am thinking of an ad on TV that shows two women gushing over the gift of 400 thread count cotton sheets, and the men just sort of going "I don't get it". And of course, the liquor commercials that deal with men's mysteries Smiley

Seriously, on a biological level, men and women will probably never have a visceral understanding of the mysteries of the other, simply because it is often something that has to be experienced (the true meaning of mystery in the Gard circles).

I am thinking right now of myself and a group of female friends, sitting around whining about "that time of the month". Not just PMS and cramps, which are not so mysterious and which men can experience firsthand Smiley, but of the other things. Like feminine product failure, or deciding what to wear today based on your time of month, or having a little something extra to consider when planning a vacation. Things most males will never consider or understand at the deepest level. My spouce of 28 years still has a problem understanding why I have regular clothes and fat clothes......
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« Reply #5: November 18, 2009, 10:13:44 pm »

Do you think that there are different mysteries based on sex? If so, could a male or female understand the mysteries of the other sex? Or possibly the mysteries are accessible for anyone who wishes to understand them?

What do you think?

I think it is a completely different experience to be a man or to be a woman or to be some other sex - intersexed, transgendered, what have you. I will never fully get into my husband's head, not just because he's a very different person than myself, but because his body chemistry and hormones make him respond to things differently than my chemistry and hormones make me respond... and not only that, but society does have different mythologies and cosmologies for men and women and other.

In some things, everyone can be equal. When it comes down to biology, not so much. 
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« Reply #6: November 19, 2009, 02:54:13 pm »

I think it is a completely different experience to be a man or to be a woman or to be some other sex - intersexed, transgendered, what have you. I will never fully get into my husband's head, not just because he's a very different person than myself, but because his body chemistry and hormones make him respond to things differently than my chemistry and hormones make me respond... and not only that, but society does have different mythologies and cosmologies for men and women and other.

As some who's transgender, the role of hormones often seems overrated to me. Switching from testosterone to estrogen has had very little affect on me mentally. Similarly with my day-to-day hormone levels. But other people have very different experiences, so who knows.

I think gender/sex provides a convenient (altho not necessarily accurate) shorthand for certain shared experiences. It's these shared experiences that create the mysteries. Anyone without these experiences (and a similar outlook) will have a hard time understanding them.
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« Reply #7: November 19, 2009, 09:31:34 pm »

As some who's transgender, the role of hormones often seems overrated to me. Switching from testosterone to estrogen has had very little affect on me mentally. Similarly with my day-to-day hormone levels. But other people have very different experiences, so who knows.

I've got PCOS, so most of the time I feel like I'm completely at the mercy of my hormones - or the pill I'm taking to try and balance them out. I wonder a lot of times what it would feel like to be a 'normal woman' - I know there's probably stuff I just don't get because apparently, I don't even ovulate Tongue
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« Reply #8: November 20, 2009, 02:10:19 pm »

Do you think that there are different mysteries based on sex? If so, could a male or female understand the mysteries of the other sex? Or possibly the mysteries are accessible for anyone who wishes to understand them?

The gender binary is really an illusion. Or maybe it's more like a labeling system that usually works but still often fails. A lot of people present as/are women but have male genitalia, a lot of people present as/are men but have female genitalia, a lot of people are born intersex in one of a bizillion ways, a lot of people... well, you get the point. They all have the right to self-define.

On another note, we can understand the "mysteries" of others in an academic sense. Great literature or music, for instance, does its part to give us visceral senses of the inner worlds (hence mysteries) of others. But it's never going to be like really experiencing things yourself.

However, when it gets past practical, easily-defined mysteries like the experience of birthing a child or knowing what it feels like to have a penis, I really do think it gets fuzzy. I don't think it's realistic to say that so-and-so can never experience "what it feels like to be a real woman" for instance, considering that nobody can ever agree on what real-woman feelings are. It's this sort of fuzzy assertion that often leads to social injustice -- ie "So-and-so is not a real [insert whatever the heck you want to here], and therefore does not deserve to be treated like a real [whatever]."

Though I'd put it "Of course there are men's and women's mysteries, and it's the nature of mysteries to be unapprehendable without experience, so these are things that some people will never know.  There are also writers' mysteries, engineers' mysteries, parents' mysteries, sky-divers' mysteries, skiers' mysteries (my standard explanation of how the mystery experience works is one of these, in fact), sculptors' mysteries, queer mysteries, straight mysteries, et cetera et cetera and so forth, world without end.  Does this matter in the grand scheme of things?  Not really."

Brilliant explanation. I agree here.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2009, 02:14:07 pm by hyacinthine » Logged

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« Reply #9: January 02, 2010, 05:47:04 am »

Do you think that there are different mysteries based on sex? If so, could a male or female understand the mysteries of the other sex? Or possibly the mysteries are accessible for anyone who wishes to understand them?

What do you think?

While I would never argue that that people have shared experiences of "being a man" or "being a woman" in any given culture, I'm beginning to question the value of gender-based rituals or "mysteries" in neo-paganism, if only because I've found that they tend to focus on the most mundane (if not cartoonish) aspects of being a man or woman. Clearly "women's mysteries" have been empowering for women in neo-paganism, but I think that's largely attributable to the fact that women sometimes can't find a space in which to talk about their experiences as women. But as I said, I tend to find something lacking in gender-focused rituals, and it's difficult to put my finger on it. In the case of women, often they do the "celebrate your body" thing, which is fine, but I don't feel that my femininity is solely based on my physical body or its biological capacities (i.e. childbirth). In the case of men, almost every male neo-pagan I've known has expressed disappointment with every "men's mysteries" event they've ever attended. I guess they don't feel their masculinity is based solely on their capacity to hit things with swords or knock people up.

Now, I'm a young woman, and many of the male pagans I know are young men, so maybe there's a generational thing going on there. Some of the men who have been in my coven, who are older, would probably enjoy the typical "men's ritual," but they happen to have had traditionally masculine roles in life (military/navy/etc) and also happen to have fathered a lot of children. They would relate to that kind of stuff more. But not everyone does - not everybody is a warrior or a virile-husband-type. If there are true mysteries to being a man or a woman, one would think they would be universally applicable. I've yet to encounter any such thing.

I'm not even certain there's any sort of archetype or mythos that describes a solely masculine or feminine experience. I might venture to say that the Hero's Journey could be masculine while the Descent of the Goddess/Maiden is feminine, but Orpheus and Dante descended into the underworld too. I don't know of a female example of the Hero's Journey, but I honestly wouldn't be surprised if there were one. While there are certain facts about biology and physical differences, these don't necessarily dictate what a man or woman thinks, feels, does, or is capable of. We should always remember that gender is ultimately a social construct, however much it may shape our psychology.

Again, I'm open to spiritual discourse on shared experiences of being "male" or "female." I just get iffy when people start reducing masculinity or femininity to a handful (or less) of social roles. I'm more inclined exploring the inner worlds of "males" and "females" with an open mind, rather than focusing on the exterior/the immediately obvious, like "I have boobs" or "he's good at hitting things." Just speaking from my experience.
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« Reply #10: January 02, 2010, 01:08:24 pm »

I don't think there are RELIGIOUS mysteries based on sex.

I think there are life-mysteries based on things that only men, or only women, can experience - no man will EVER experience childbirth the way I did.  OTOH, I will never experience the birth of our child the way my husband did, either - I suspect men in that situation could share in a way women never could, just as women share labor horror stories in a way men can only run screaming from.

But religious mysteries?  Not in FlameKeeping, at least. Smiley

Drawing Down the Moon?

The Chalice and the Blade?

AH
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« Reply #11: January 02, 2010, 01:10:40 pm »

Drawing Down the Moon?

The Chalice and the Blade?

AH

Neither of those exist in my religion, however.  Which is what the question was.
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« Reply #12: January 02, 2010, 01:32:09 pm »

This thing.

Though I'd put it "Of course there are men's and women's mysteries, and it's the nature of mysteries to be unapprehendable without experience, so these are things that some people will never know.  There are also writers' mysteries, engineers' mysteries, parents' mysteries, sky-divers' mysteries, skiers' mysteries (my standard explanation of how the mystery experience works is one of these, in fact), sculptors' mysteries, queer mysteries, straight mysteries, et cetera et cetera and so forth, world without end.  Does this matter in the grand scheme of things?  Not really."

If one is defining (small-m) mystery as any experience that isn’t or can’t be known or comprehended by humans, then such can be experienced by anyone potentially in the right place at the right time.

For me, religious mysteries are (capital-m) Mysteries. You experience religious Mysteries within the participation of a religion and/or faith tradition. Like the difference between logos and mythos that has so changed the modern spiritual landscape, religion for me is not about what we believe or think but about what we do. The truths encompassed by religion participation and at pivotal points transcended through the epiphany of a Mystery are acquired by practical action. Until you ‘do’, you cannot learn. Until you ‘do’, you cannot understand. When you ‘do’, everything falls into place.

Hence the religious context within which a specific religious Mystery may be revealed may be genderized. The preparatory necessary in THAT religion/faith trad to be in ‘the right awareness at the right time at the right place’ may be genderized. The mythic framework from THAT religion/faith trad to re-integrate the resulting 'shift in being' back into one’s life may be genderized. Does one discuss the transcendent epiphany itself in terms of gender (or can one?) or is it this context-preparation-framework that one is discussing?

For example as a non-Wiccan Dianic from a woman-only-Feminine-Divine-by-choice-only mystery faith, I have met a few self-identified non-Wiccan Dianic Goddess-Called males over the years. It is far more healthy for these men to seek out another religious tradition whose context, preparatory and framework honours and embraces their Call from the Feminine Divine. Dianic Wicca for example, which is a different faith from mine, has place/roles for males. Sex-based mysteries too, such as the Great Rite.

If a male does find a woman-only trad within which to participate, he can certainly try to experience those specific Mysteries within such a faith. He potentially could go through their preparatory, experience the Mystery and come out with his own epiphany. Yet within a truly woman-only faith, the role and/or participation of males has not been considered. There is no role for ‘him’. Such a specific preparatory path was not designed to encompass or honour the entirety of who and what a male is/can be. 'He' won't be prepared properly for THAT Mystery, the one he is supposed to be preparing for. Likewise, the mythic framework such faiths/trads use won’t resonate for him or let him re-integrate whatever epiphany he does achieve back into his life.

So for Dianics such as myself, gender based Mysteries obviously exist and gender matters.

AH
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« Reply #13: January 02, 2010, 01:35:36 pm »

Neither of those exist in my religion, however.  Which is what the question was.

HeartShadow,

Apologies for being so cryptic. The off repeated instructions of just short paragraphs for posting has me second guessing myself a lot right now.

I merely meant to ask if you considered these to be examples of sex-based mysteries as you had originally indicated that you didn't think any such existed. I did see that you had narrowed that down to your trad later on. My mind was still on the bigger question.

AH
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« Reply #14: January 02, 2010, 04:41:40 pm »

So for Dianics such as myself, gender based Mysteries obviously exist and gender matters.

I just had an epiphany that I want to thank you for, profusely. This sentence right here made me realize: Dianics who hear me say that gender is a "just a social construct" feel exactly the same way I do when people say that race is "just a social construct."

Thank you, a thousand times, thank you! That turns my worldview on its head.
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Thessaly: It's time to draw down the moon.
Foxglove: We did this. Or something like this. We had water and salt, not blood. We invoked the goddess in her aspect as the moon. We called down her power...
Thessaly: Did she answer you?
Foxglove: Well, it felt good at the time. Empowering.
Thessaly: Hmph.

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