“Thoughts on the Transgender” – Freya’s Chambers – Sexual Identity

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day!

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.  Given the nature of some subjects be prepared for nude images as there may be some.  I avoid genitalia as a general rule but is not always possible.

Discussion:

This is one of those subjects I was going to get to later but it has been put in my face due to recent events.  A coworker came out recently that ‘he’ was transgender and in a few months months ‘he’ was going to become ‘she’.  He talked to me with a lot of trepidation, my empathy could tell he was very nervous and they told me it was because of my background.  As a former minister, they didn’t know where I stood on this issue.  I told him that he really didn’t have anything to fear from me as I pretty much now allow people to be whatever sexual identity they want to be.See the source image

My atheism has made me quite liberal on most social matters as I don’t care what identity/ role or pronoun people use about themselves anymore. My main issue regarding sexuality and behavior is as I said some time ago.  Is it consensual, is it safe, and are the people involved emotionally mature enough to handle it?  Beyond this let freedom reign.

See the source imageIf someone, therefore, feels they are a woman but their body is male, then I can’t conclude they are wrong out of hand any more.  No appeal to authority for my morality means I treat them as human beings who are making choices about their life.  I respect them and support them and their right to make such a decision themselves. My own sexual identity has no bearing on this.  This is about an individual right to make decisions regarding their body and sexual identity.   A right that no person should take from them.

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My concern for them is that they consider all the risks and factors as honestly as they can and with the greatest amount of information possible to make the best decision for themselves there are risks both mental and physical and this change tends to be a one way trip with some things that cannot be reversed.  This a lifestyle-altering decision and should be treated as such.  Socially the stigma is very negative right now and it can be violent, cause the trans person to consider suicide and other mental escapes even more than others, etc. Going into this decision without full counseling and consideration of all the implications is unwise and I don’t recommend it.

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It’s also why I don’t think minors should be allowed to make this decision, not to mention letting their body grow to the point where it can take the stress the transformation can put on it, and some changes are simply not possible until the body matures anyway.

The one thing I will not tolerate anymore, is these people being treated badly. I stand very strong for individual rights in this area and my coworker needn’t have been concerned because my attitude now is to defend their right to make this change.  I just have to get used to the change as it happens on a practical level.

My Two Cents,

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Deconverting and My Attitude About Women”- The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!

Announcements:

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: Nordic/Viking Music – ‘Víðbláinn’

Meditation:

Image may contain: possible text that says '"WheRever you know or harm, Regard that harm as youR own; and give youR roes no peace." --Odin, Havamal 127.'

Text: 

Sermon:

When I was a Christian minister I always had the dreaded sermons when going through certain books of the Bible where I had to talk about male and female roles, husband and wife roles and the status of women.  It was so patently obvious that the Bible is patriarchal to the extreme it is ridiculous.  Women have a status of somewhere above cattle but below men, Women are clearly seen as male property either of their father or their husband.   The laws regarding rape and adultery in the Bible are much more about protecting a man’s investment and property than the woman’s right to her body and mind.

When I deconverted, one of the things I had to struggle with at first and deal with often was my own attitude about women.  Not that my views as a Christian weren’t fairly liberal, it is that the environment of the church still tends to put women in their place.  Even my last church which was very open, there was an almost unwritten rule that women could not be ushers for the offering. It actually caused some buzzing when one Sunday we had no choice but to use one of the female members of the church council to do this task because most of the men were gone that Sunday.

When I look at this issue now as a pagan atheist. the respect of the individual regardless of sex, sexual orientation or identity becomes paramount. I have no authority that tells me that women are subservient to men nor tells me that men and women have different roles in society.  We tend certain natural directions if left to our own devices, but it is quite possible for women to be mechanics and men to be hairdressers and there is nothing wrong with that.  It also possible for a woman to be the head of her house because she is the best suited to lead it.

I am very much attracted to the female form and feminity in general as a heterosexual masculine male. Our survival as a species has depended on this attraction for millions of years. I have no problem with the LGBTQ+ community but recognize my own attractions and desires that seem natural to myself are what most of society would classify as ‘normal’.  I love women and I love femininity as a masculine male.  I like pin-up girls (of all types and levels of nudity), the female form still lights my sexual fire and I find the wild pagan tattooed rebel girl attractive as fuck.

At the same time, my deconversion thoughts have taught me to respect women as their own individuals that have the right to be in charge of their own destiny.  Their sexuality is their own and they make the decisions about it. If a woman makes love to you by her own choice, it means she chose it as much as you and that is the best type of making love.  But that is also true of any time men and women work together to accomplish a goal or engage an issue.  I want a partnership with women, not ones that are subservient simply because I have a dick.

I find though that my upbringing and former way of life have a way of intruding from time to time with old attitudes. Old ideas of how men and women are different’ spiritually’ come up from time to time. One by one I have to deal with them.  I guess if something comes up where I notice it, I try to meditate on it and change my brain about it. My goal is to let women be what they want to be and enjoy the ride.

Parting Thought:

 

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Robert Heinlein’s Line Marriage” – Freya’s Chambers – Sexual Orientation

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day!

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.  Given the nature of some subjects be prepared for nude images as there may be some.  I avoid genitalia as a general rule but is not always possible.

Discussion:

In 1967 the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein published his novel – The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It was mainly focused on showing how people could not only go to the moon but also after a hundred years establish a colony on it.  In the midst of the story however, he introduced a concept of group marriage called – the line marriage.

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The main protagonist of the story is in such a marriage.  He has multiple spouses and all his wives also have multiple spouses as it is essentially a polyamorous marriage, although no homosexuality is mentioned. The ficitonal comment is made that the marriage was 150 years old.  The two people who started it had long ago died when the moon colony was young.

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The idea of line marriage is to keep it going you add to it in such a way that there are multiple generations represented.  In the story, the protagonist is the third husband a far as age with a couple younger ones behind him.  The women are generationally spaced as well. The chief, of course, is that all the wives and husbands can have sex with each other. There are no exclusive bed partners and the members can also date if the aim is to bring in another member.  The real issue is that Heinlein presents a world where sexual jealousy is minimized or a thing of the past.

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There is a lot of advantages the protagonist points out to this relationship.  There are multiple incomes but only one large dwelling to maintain so they are fairly prosperous. Children in his world require licensing to have because of overpopulation but the ones they do have are considered to belong to the whole marriage. So everybody pitches in and takes care of the children thus they have so burned out is less frequent.

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The organization of the family is with one head patriarch and one matriarch to handle the day to day issues but more complicated decisions are handled democratically. The rights of each person are respected and the responsibilities are laid out clearly.  The marriage is a true contract relationship and people can leave it, but it is remarked that very few have.

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The sexual issue was actually handled by the women as far as who was going to sleep with who every evening.  In the book, the protagonist sleeps with two or three of his wives and gets the honor of being the first to consummate the marriage with the woman he brings into it as he patriarch defers to him although he would normally have the right to go first. Not that sexual fidelity seems to be required as long as people are practicing safe sex outside the marriage.

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Could this concept work in the real world? it has been said that polyamorous relationships, whether married or not, don’t work out long term. I have never seen research to back this idea up so I can only say until lI see some that the concept seems sound. Jealousy and the feeling of being left out would seem to be the biggest dangers of this but the open nature of it would mean the marriage is more about the mutual benefits without the responsibilities being overbearing.  I can’t say at this time that it wouldn’t work.

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It does reflect I am beginning to understand more and more what people mean by love not being limited by gender or number.  Monogamy is definitely hard to maintain and often leads to a lot of work and disappointment for a multitude of reasons. Those reasons seem to be answered and countered with the idea of line marriage.

My Two Cents,

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Women’s Nipples and the US Supreme Court” – Freya’s Chambers – Equality

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day!

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.  Given the nature of some subjects be prepared for nude images as there may be some.  I avoid genitalia as a general rule but is not always possible.

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Discussion:

While not surprising to me, the US Supreme Court decided to refuse to hear the case brought by two women from New Hampshire.  The Court basically decided not to hear the case.  The story from Reuters is below:

Reuters: US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Topless Case

Why am I not surprised?  Because the court is conservative and there is no way that they want to go on record as having to do something very obvious to most people from a plain reading of the 14th Amendment.  If you have a rule that tells a woman she cannot do something a man can do freely, then it is sexual discrimination.

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The best thing for a conservative court with many of its members appointed by conservative presidents to do is to avoid the whole issue.  So that is what they did.  And it shows how the court, while in many ways has always been political, is even more political. The issue for most court members is legacy, not justice and it shows particularly when they don’t take cases of obvious implications for the constitution and the bill of rights. Most notably to me, the court could define 2nd amendment rights for the nation as a whole and in this case, would start to allow women to do what men have been allowed to do for years which is take off their shirt and bare the chest on hot summer days or whenever they wish. 

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This case involved two women who did a normal activity on a hot summer day and were fined 100$ for it each.  The simple question of whether a man would be fined the same way is an obvious ‘no’.  It is clear sexism that was justified by ‘traditional understandings of nudity”.  One thing is clear though that men and women can do the same activity but one of them is fined and the other is not.  That is sexism no matter how hard you try to make it something else.

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Probably the most disappointing thing is the fact this case came from one of the most libertarian states in the union – Hew Hampshire.  That’s right “Live Free or Die”.  Except, in this case, freedom doesn’t extend to women as much as men and it has been noted. Sorry, a little hypocrisy there as tradition apparently trumps freedom.

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What needs to happen is that women have full equal rights in this issue.  The issue of toplessness in public should not be made by government, nor men, but each individual woman involved.  This is really a female choice issue.  It also has an interest in the growing trans community because what constitutes male and female is getting blurry and so the best thing to do is have a uniform standard of ‘if a person for ant reason is allowed to go topless here, then all people are allowed to go topless’.

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From a sexualization point of view, as the idea of men going topless becomes more normal, sexualization of female breasts, much like legs, backsides and other aspects that have been normalized.  We will become as used to it as we have to those others. Not to say that those attracted to the female form such as my heterosexual male self won’t take note and admire, but I already do that with the rest of the female body as it is. I do find women’s breasts attractive and in some regard ‘magical’.

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Biology has kept us being attracted to each other’s physical bodies regardless of dress.  Ultimately this has led to our survival as a species.  Every picture I have used in this article is women doing some of the same activities a man can do while topless.  Only if they do it in some states – they get fined or jailed. I could have easily substituted men in all of these pictures and no one would bat an eye as this is acceptable culturally for men.  But somehow it becomes morally wrong if a woman does it. Yeah, right.

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The women of New Hampshire are now left with the arduous task of changing the laws of their home state.   A process that will take time and should be unnecessary given the plain wording of the 14th amendment: A liberty is being denied to women and given only to men. So much for equal protection under the law and the US Supreme Court is too political and thus to cowardly to correct it.

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My two cents.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Own Your Role” – Freya’s Chambers – Sexual Roles

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day:

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.  Given the nature of some subjects be prepared for nude images as there may be some.  I avoid genitalia as a general rule but is not always possible.  

Discussion:

Referring to the cartoon above: it should be noted that sticking a man’s wifi antenna into a woman USB port is dangerous in many ways.

Now as a guy with a political science degree, I had to sit in on a lot of classes that involved a discussion of gender roles, patriarchy, women’s issues, equality, etc. I am going to tell you upfront that none of it takes into account hard science like biology and neurology.  The closest I got to that in my studies were two classes – social psychology where the female instructor was honest in demonstrating how men and women are treated differently by society in certain situations and noted that it was not always good for the guy.  This video is pretty interesting and reflects this:

The other class was genetics where the female instructor basically said – the XX and XY chromosome combination makes a world of difference in everything about a person.  Simple genetic truth.  Boys and girls are different and they demonstrate this in everything scientific that science can measure and some differences are evident right from birth.  Another Video, definitely worth a watch as this woman did her homework:

Gender:

When it comes to gender, I am going to say part of it is nature in that we are male and female and part of it is societal expectations. You might say gender is where the hard wiring of our sex meets societal expectations.  It is a mixed bag of our differences as expressed by our sex gets mashed together with society’s expectations. That is why some see it as fluid but others may see it as masculine and feminine having multiple ways to express themselves. I fall on the side of the second option.  I have simply never found a compelling argument that gender was more than male or female and certainly not that it could be fluid.

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In any case, I have noticed that while feminists bitch about equality, I don’t see them encouraging women to become sewer workers, coal miners or any other dirty job.  They want the social construct version to bitch when it comes to the CEO professional office job, but then cling to their own gender’s nature and avoid the dirty nasty jobs that if men stopped doing would dramatically have a negative impact on life. The feminists when it comes to gender as social constructs seem to have a selective compliant switch and seem to prefer their gender over the alternative.

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This is why I stopped supporting them after the third wave of feminism began and became pure egalitarian.  Things are not always right for men and how they are treated in this mix of nature and society and I should not be browbeaten to silence because I point it out.

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In the United States the draft, child custody, men’s mental health. longer sentences for the same crime. and the lack of a support structure with any semblance of equality compared to women in the areas of abuse and health are just the tip of the iceberg. There is simply a lot of issues where one sex or the other is being shafted and you don’t do anything but show your sexism when you want to point out yours at the exclusion of the other side.

Gender Roles: 

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Gender roles and expectations of society are purely social constructs and form in my mind a form of tribalism which I think needs to be regularly challenged.  In my country, this traditional gender role thing started a long time ago and probably saw its height in the 1940s and 1950s. I am glad they have been challenged but interestingly enough some women prefer their traditional role and so do some men.  If this is truly and genuinely their free choice, then they shouldn’t be condemned for it.  The real problem with gender roles is not that they exist, but when they are forced or people are shamed into doing them.

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Once again I come back to the power of liberty.  Of letting people chose for themselves what role they want to play in society as being the only fair way to do things. Society needs to stop imposing and start granting liberty.  No opportunity should be denied, but don’t be surprised when sexual preferences as far as a role are seen in people’s choices.  Don’t yell if a woman freely chooses to forgo a career to have children and raise them so her husband has to go and work to support them.  If it is their free choice, that’s their business. On the flip side if a man decided to be the one to stay home and raise the kids because his wife has a better job, don’t call him a lazy deadbeat either.  Let people define themselves and this includes their role in society and how their sex/gender expresses itself in that role.

Conclusion:

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Probably the best thing we can do is let people own their own role as far as sex and gender and follow our own desires as far as our own.  Own your role, not someone else’s. Take it on as an individual, not as a collective group. In the end, we do want similar things and we need each other to have that happen. But we are not going to get what we want by forcing roles on others or denying the natural propensities of our own sex.  Both are avoiding reality.  What really is needed is just letting each of us be free to pursue what we want.  Liberty is always a better answer than control or dogmatic expectations.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Qualities of Spiritual Nudity” – Freya’s Chambers – Nudism

 

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.  Given this week’s topic be prepared for nude images of people engaged in spiritual and other activities.  I avoid genitalia as a general rule but is not always possible.  

On May 17th, 2013 I started a series on my old blog All Things Rabyd called Naked Before God with the post; The Positive Spiritual Side of Nakedness. Back then I was still a devout Christian that was struggling with the simple fact that while Christianity basically had strongly connected nudity. sex and sexuality: the Bible had not.  If anything the most positive time in humanity’s existence in the story of the Bible is when Adam and Eve are in the Garden – naked and unashamed.

That series was about the spiritual side of being naked before God and how nudism could be considered a Christian spiritual discipline or at least a metaphor of how one could picture oneself before God and develop a sense of enlightenment about that relationship. That was over six years ago and a lot has changed but the main principles of spiritual nudity I think are still solid and deserve a second look.

I listed six positive spiritual qualities that nudity possesses: 1)  Vulnerability, 2) Openness, 3) Intimacy, 4) Genuineness, 5) Wholeness and 6) Equality.  I would say that all of these are still valid but need to be rethought without all the ‘how do I draw the line and avoid sin?” question. For me, this question no longer even exists so I want to see how things change from what I felt and thought then to what I feel and think now.

What follows will be excerpts from that old post with commentary and changes to reflect new attitudes:

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Vulnerability: 

“While it could be argued that vulnerability is a weakness and at times it is, there is a positive side to it.  In the Garden of Eden we see this in Adam and Eve as they are completely vulnerable to God’s presence, each other and the world around them.  Because of this, they have to develop interdependency with each other and God.  In all person to person relationships, vulnerability is the key to opening up intimacy and ultimately love.  To love someone, you must make yourself vulnerable to them and take risks that they will take advantage of this vulnerability, but when vulnerability is rewarded with returned vulnerability from the other person intimacy and love grows”. – The Positive Spiritual Side of Nakedness – May 17, 2013

I suppose the easiest way to edit this would be to remove all the lines about the garden of Eden and leave the rest because I think it still is a positive quality at times. I think one could experience the vulnerability to other people and the world around them and just drop the divine parts unless that is part of your spiritual goal of being naked.  I know that for myself this is a longing of my heart but I have experienced vulnerability being naked with my wife. There is something about that that opens the door to intimacy.

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Openness:

‘It is really hard to be closed off to people when you are naked.  …  Reading the testimonies of practicing nudists, particularly people who are sharing their first time is interesting in this spiritual aspect of nudity.  Even naked, they try to cover themselves up and present themselves in ways where their perceived ‘bad features’ are less noticeable.  In the end, they give this up and just allow themselves to be themselves…. –  The Positive Spiritual Side of Nakedness – May 17, 2013

As you can imagine this one is pretty edited down and much simpler without the God of the Bible involved.  It suddenly switches the spiritual focus from the divine to humanity and being open to our fellow human beings. This a shift that actually gives this author a cause for pause, because the question becomes is openness truly possible without being naked in front of someone else?  I can do this with my wife but that is it, so the spiritual aspect of openness is left to that relationship. This is simply a spiritual quality that you are either open to others around you or if you are more spiritually minded – the universe. This brings up a limitation that depends on one’s willingness to be naked in front of others.

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Intimacy:

Clothing prevents intimacy and in our world, this is often by design.  I am not going to say this is bad in certain contexts. Clothing is a barrier that is used to prevent people from knowing things about you.  Intimacy ultimately results from people discarding barriers and defenses.  In personal relationships, you don’t necessarily have to shed your physical clothes to be close to someone but you do have to let your guards down and let people know things about yourself that are sometimes uncomfortable and awkward.  In a real way, intimacy is achieved when you allow others to see that you too are human and you also allow them to show their humanness to you without judging them in return.  – The Positive Spiritual Side of Nakedness – May 17, 2013

I would still say that clothing is a barrier to intimacy in certain contexts.  Sometimes this is about security but also it can be about insecurity.  We all guard ourselves and cover-up both literally and figuratively.  Intimacy is just not possible without the shedding of all the barriers and one of them can be clothing. Learning to drop barriers and not judge when they do the same are the two key factors in building intimacy.

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Genuineness:

‘Hard to be false and deceptive about anything when you’re naked.  Everybody sees the truth about what you are.  This is particularly true with yourself.’ – The Positive Spiritual Side of Nakedness – May 17, 2013

I guess this still applies to spiritual things as well but I find that this is accomplished far more by looking into your own eyes. The principle is still true that when anyone is naked they are who they genuinely are. In my own life, this has become reflected in my morning routine of getting up and meditating in the nude which means I start with who I genuinely am and work the rest of the day from that point.  Being honest with myself looking in a mirror has been both a great motivator for health and fitness.  In any case, when naked every flaw, scar and what does not measure up to normal society is visible.  What can be changed for the better is obvious but also that which one cannot do anything about should be accepted.  Often what we think are flaws are simply things that make us unique.  This can be particularly obvious when standing in front of a mirror naked and honestly assessing ourselves.

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Wholeness: 

‘It is very difficult to see yourself compartmentalized when you are naked.  You actually see everything that you really are.  Clothing is used to define ourselves but in very limited senses.  We dress in work clothes to define our work.  We dress in athletic clothes to go work out.  We dress in casual clothes to relax.  We dress in sexy clothes to be romantic and make love.  We dress in formal clothes to impress people with who we are.  In a very real way, clothing is used to compartmentalize our life.  When you are naked all that is gone and the reality of ALL that you truly are is there: body, soul, and spirit in one package and there is no compartmentalization at all.  We simply and truly are what we are.’ – The Positive Spiritual Side of Nakedness – May 17, 2013

I would still stand behind the above statement.  Clothing seems to be about changing roles and gives only one facet of who we are at a time.  Take that away and you are what you are completely.  You are whole and not compartmentalized in that state.

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Equality:

‘It is very difficult to see yourself as better or worse than someone when you’re naked.  Want to make everyone socially, economically and culturally equal? Take off their clothes.  The housewife, businesswoman, prostitute, and debutant suddenly just become women when you strip them of clothes, makeup and jewelry and make them stand in a lineup.  Without their clothes, you can only define them by their bodies, personality, and actions and none of that necessarily reveals economic, social or cultural status.  Nakedness forces us to realize that we all came into this world naked and we all will leave it naked.  That is the great equalizer.’ – The Positive Spiritual Side of Nakedness – May 17, 2013

I still stand by what I said to here and I don’t want to give the impression that I am singling out women because the same is true for men and perhaps a little more visible. To most women, a man in a suit with an expensive watch is going to get a lot more attention if he is single than the guy in a t-shirt and jeans. Take their clothes off and then the factors of attraction change radically. The equality of removing fashion from the equation I think could be and perhaps has been scientifically demonstrated.

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A Word of Warning:

Now, this all said, there is a reality of the world we live in that cannot seem to grasp the concept that nudity doesn’t necessarily mean a person is being amorous or an expression of sexuality.  We live in a world where culture can be very sanctimonious and self-righteous and those that practice spiritual nudism are well-advised to take that into consideration. For myself, I practice privately and when alone. The whole goal for me is not to have people see me. Forcing your nudity on others might not be wise.  Fighting for equal treatment like the topfreedom movement does is one thing.  Shoving your nudity in the face of people you know would be offended is another.   The issue is to make these experiences, if they have a spiritual side to them, positive and not negative.

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Issues:

I think most of the issues involving spiritual nudity and if you want this as part of your life both practically and spiritually are solved with using reason and wisdom.  This is definitely one of those needs or wants that you should listen to the ravens first before letting the wolves be feed.  There are definitely spiritual and personal benefits and perhaps even social ones. The issue is ‘indecent exposure’ is a real legal charge and there are simply safety measures that you can and should engage.  I think privacy and perhaps going to a place where nudity is known to be accepted are probably the best options.

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Personal Thoughts:

I am agnostic about most things.  I lean toward thinking deism might be an option but at the same time I have no active belief in anything divine, so on a practical level, I am an atheist.  I believe in spirituality as practicing meditation to calm my mind and focus my day.  I believe in the power of symbols to help conceptualize things such as virtue and principles. If spirituality is about virtue and relationships then I guess in that sense I am very spiritual.  My following of Asatru is more about the virtues and recovering the lost pagan heritage of my ancestors.

Nudism has a lot more to due with me just being truly who I am.  Being a whole person who accepts who they genuinely are without all the trappings. It’s about being honest with myself about what I can improve and what is simply what makes me unique.

The other aspects of nudism from a spiritual point of view are incomplete for me.  They are high in these regards when it comes to my wife, but other aspects of them are incomplete because of my lack of any kind of experience of communal nudity. Well, other than the locker room when I was an athlete. I don’t know if this would be so revelatory as to change my views on spirituality or not, but until I experience it I will never know. In the meantime, I stick with what I know and can experience.  One of the things I know is that nudity has other qualities besides the physical and those can be very positive.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Divine Masculine and Feminine” – Freya’s Chambers – Male-Female Balance

Happy Frigg And Freya’s Day

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.

I am fairly new to this and perhaps this is a topic for Odin’s Eye but the sex role and sexually infuse magical concepts are very much what Freya’s Chambers is meant to address.  The pagan concept of the divine masculine and feminine hits pretty much every form of paganism in some form or another.  There are some that focus on one or the other, but usually, they have both.  The idea of masculine and feminine not just being genders but spiritual forces are quite common.

In most mythological pantheons there is a duality of gender when it comes to the simple fact that most gods and goddesses are paired.  There are a husband and a wife and often there is an understanding of the feminine and masculine roles in the divine realms that are conveyed in those pairings.  One of the most common is that rain, thunder, and lightning is often a masculine god, like Thor or Zeus.  The feminine is earth, harvest and giving life, like Sif and Hera. When I was in seminary one of the pairings and mythologies we looked at basically held that the earth was the womb and that rain was semen.

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In this idea, there is the notion that certain forces of life are masculine based and others are feminine.   That some forces in life contain masculine energy and others feminine.  Also with this is the idea that these two forces need to be kept in balance as much as possible. That when things get out of balance things can go horribly wrong to being just off and not working.

In our modern world, the issues of gender identity, gender roles, etc. seem to defy these views in some respects. Gender identity has become a bugaboo because according to someone can simply choose one’s gender by a decision.  Gender Roles are often questioned and rightly so because in many cases in society one sex’s roles are often put as superior to another.

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In ancient paganism and mythologies, there is little gender-neutral or gender fluid.  Odin is a man, Frigg a woman.  That doesn’t mean that Odin doesn’t do some things that even in Viking society would be considered feminine – like his ability to use divination magic which is a role that was almost exclusively female. But Freya embraces the masculine when she dons her armor and flies with the valkyrie.  That said, for the most part, Odin and Freya stick with their sex when it comes to what they express spiritually and their role in society.

It should be said that those that believe in the divine masculine and feminine try to remove the negative stereotypes:   Men are aggressive and women passive is a common spiritual theme but that doesn’t mean men are strong and women weak.  Aggressiveness and passivity each have their own strengths and weaknesses so each is required to complement and harmonize with the other.  They need each other.

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My personal view is presented in the simple idea of male-female balance:

  1. I think self-fulfillment is found first in accepting all you are including if you are male or female. Trying to be something you are not is self-defeating and indicates self-hatred which is not helpful.  So no, I don’t think being gender-neutral or fluid is a good thing or even based in reality.  The genders are not evil but evil can result if they are not balanced. A good way for them to become unbalanced is to deny their existence or ignore them.
  2. It stands to reason that if spirituality exists men and women would have a spirituality that is different from one another.  If we are different physically, emotionally, mentally based on our gender. Then it only stands to reason that we would also be spiritually different based on it as well.
  3. I believe that men are strongly masculine but need a touch of the feminine and visa versa.  I think the yin and yang symbols are the best representation of this and the need for balance.  The dot of the opposite color in each keeps us from the more negative qualities of our gender.

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I personally have had to adjust a few understandings to come to these conclusions.  One of the great failures of the Abrahamic religions is their failure to lose the patriarchal notion that man is the head of the woman.  That masculine dominates feminine is a central theme to all of them. In the end, this leads to women being everything from property to submissive servants to men.  I am pretty much sure this a great ploy to keep dominance now.  Religion is used to justify men controlling the destiny of women which I would no consider unbalanced and thus doomed to fail. No matter how pleasantly this is put, it is ultimately about the domination of masculine over the feminine.

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In my personal life this is challenging in my marriage as my wife still, through long experience, habit, and practice, seeks my authority over her. The problem is I don’t look at it this way and tell her to make up her own mind a lot. This can be frustrating for both of us. I am looking for an equal partner who makes decisions together with me now.  She still looks for me to make those decisions alone and she just goes along with them.  I was never a domineering Christian husband, but the teachings of the church in multiple contexts over the decades have created this version of masculinity and femininity that I no longer hold, but she does.  This represents a great difference in our values and does cause strain in our marriage.

Away from marriage, I have accepted my masculine spiritual side as pretty strong.  I also like the feminine and I am attracted to it. I need it as I do not generate a lot of feminine energy within myself.  This could lead to a lot of imbalance, but that is why I probably get along better with the women in my life than men. Their influence keeps me balanced.

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This is my initial view at present.  I may change it with time as I meditate on it more and refine it.  I do know that this belief in balance is what caused me to gravitate to Asatru rather than Wicca.  I found most, not all, practitioners of Wicca to be very ‘The Goddess’ oriented like masculine forces were bad or inferior.  Men were only a consort to the feminine, not presented as equal.  If patriarchy is bad; I am going to say matriarchy is equally so.  Neither is balanced.

Asatru doesn’t do this but reminds people of the need for both men and women and that both are important. Both the masculine and feminine are equally valued and have their role in society, life, family and sexuality. Neither is a social construct, but spiritual forces created by men and women being men and women. We may be different, but we are both needed and partf o that is to recognize the need for balance between the male and female.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

 

“The Topfreedom Movement” – Freya’s Chambers – Equality

 

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.  Given this week’s topic be prepared for images of topless females. 

Introduction:

I have to say that since the first time I wrote on the topfreedom movement in the United States, they have made quite a bit of progress.  I originally examined them in my Christian blog many years ago.  Mostly the issue back then was legal.  But the real trick of any social movement is to address all concerns including cultural, social and political.  If you are not aware, the topfreedom movement is basically pressing for equal rights of women to appear topless wherever a man can appear topless.  Basically asserting that the different laws for the treatment of men and women’s chests are sexist and violates equal protection under the law.  The issue for them is equal rights under the law.

I was supportive of the topfreedom movement back then even as a Christian because unlike many other Christians I actually realized that the constitution is the law of the land, not the Bible, and even with the Bible, there is no, I repeat no, statement or even indirect reference in the Bible that says a woman exposing her breasts is a sin. From my point of view then, a Christian woman who decided it was too damn hot and took off both bra and shirt and mowed the lawn was not a sinner, she was just being practical.

But what about now without Bible as some sort of appeal to authority and being you basic deistic humanistic pagan, where do I stand on this issue now? Without the whole sin question to consider, then the issue becomes very practical and about equality.      

Discussion:

From a cultural/social point of view, this is going to be a long fight but I stand with these ladies for a lot of reasons.  Most notably to me is a simple fact that socially I feel that these ‘modesty’ constraints are kept mostly to allow the unattractive, the insecure and religious women of the world to have an advantage over those women who are attractive, secure and non-religious.  I see it every time I go to the beach and some attractive woman is wearing a very revealing swimsuit.  All the other women are judging and criticizing because they are not secure in themselves or have a positive body image about themselves. I love it when a woman asks her significant other, who is watching said attractive female, what he thinks and he says: “whatever you think dear.”  This is far more about pecking order among females than anything else. To aid them in this quest for dominance, some women turn to religious moral codes and such to force their way into the law and on other women.

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My libertarianism kicks in as well to support these women.  If an action is not about force to harm, the threat of force or fraud there is no violation of the Non-Aggression Principle and if there is no victim you can point to and say who was harmed – there is no crime. Can someone tell me who is hurt by a woman walking down the street on a hot day topless?  As far as I can tell the only thing that is harmed is people’s opinions, feelings and sensibilities and none of those things count as far as the NAP violation or a crime.

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This leads me to the legal issues that how is exposing female nipples a crime and the exposing of male nipples is not a crime?  Note that most laws talk about nipple exposure and not the actual breast itself. I have found this an interesting part of the law as the nipples on men and women are essentially the same.  It is the mammary glands that lead to the mound of the flesh a women’s nipples are on that is the difference between the chests.  However, in most places, if the woman were to put tape over her nipples then she is perfectly legal as she would not actually violate the wording of the law.

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But I started this post out with the pagan and spiritual side of this and from that standpoint, I would have to say there is something liberating and freeing to the spirit when one frees themselves from the spirit of being a moral busybody and judge of other people.  There can be no greater judgemental attitude that the one where you impose what you think is modest on another because modesty is a spiritual quality of heart and mind, not one of the dress or undress.

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The other spiritual quality is the appreciation of beauty and in particular the beauty of the human body.  I find a lot of religious believers in God will talk about the beauty of creation and then spend a vast majority of their time trying to cover up one of its most beautiful parts: the human body, both male and female.  In this appreciation of beauty, I have also started to discover something about my attitude about women and their appearance.  I have found a greater understanding that sexual desire and nudity are not always connected. Put simply just because a woman is topless it doesn’t mean she is thinking about or asking for sex anymore than a man who is topless is doing so. Personally, I have learned that real modesty is letting other people be free and if a woman wants to freely walk down the street with her breasts bare, that is her business and I should respect that and not look at it as an invitation for a sexual encounter.

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When I first was made aware of the topfreedom movement, only one state of our fifty had changed its laws to reflect and equal treatment of men and women regarding toplessness.  Since then there are now 35 states that have followed suit realizing that legally there can be no distinction between a man and a woman’s chest. 

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The challenge now is in these states many local governments have reacted with their own ordinances and so what the topfreedom movement focuses on there is trying to get the one legal case in that state that will bring the locals government to heel with state law. There is currently one woman bringing legal action against the city of Chicago before the Supreme Court of the United States.  That might be the legal silver bullet that brings about the remaining states and locals to realizing they can either lose money in a lawsuit every time or just let women be topless.

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The real problem, of course, is that the long term will require society some time to change. Cultural norms change slowly but inevitably.  Like when women were first allowed to show their legs and more cleavage, it takes some time for it to be more normal to everyone in a society. I see change coming for American society regarding this issue and the majority of pushback will come from women and the religious.  In time, even they will have to submit to the inevitable. Sure men will probably at first avert their eyes, but eventually, they won’t think of bare breasts, as usual, any more than bare legs. Time will tell.

Thoughts?

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!