Four years ago in the early hours of Easter morning, I had a dream that I was in San Francisco and ended up in the house of Mary Magdalene. She looked like an average, middle-aged woman in a white tank-top and blue jeans. She indicated I was welcome to spend the night that night and as she took me through the house, we passed a closed bedroom door with Jesus’ name on it. “He’s not up yet,” she explained.
This year, in the wee hours of Easter morning, I dreamed that I was out walking on a roadway up and hill and around a curve. A small peacock was on the guardrail, and took flight as I got closer. The imagery was obvious to me.
It was Melek Ta’us: the Blue God, the Peacock Angel, the Peacock King.
My primary deities are almost all male: YHWH/Jesus/the Holy Spirit, Antinoüs, Melek Ta’us. I wonder at this, sometimes, as it was the Divine Feminine that really drew me to Paganism. And, I can’t help but wonder if me be transgender is part of that pull. As I move deeper into my transition, I’m find that I’m okay with the Divine Masculine that seems so prevalent in Christianity, even as I recognize that’s not the be-all-end-all of the Christian G!D.
My faith formation has been an interesting thing for me to observe of the last several years. I think I’m really beginning to understand the concept of metafaith, and that’s been crucial to me no longer attempting to reconcile my seemingly disparate faith practices. This, in turn, has led me to renewing my relationship with Christianity. Finding a faith community that’s absolutely wonderful was a significant part of that, too. That, coupled with my process of cultural reclamation as I try to return in a way to the faith I was born into, has renewed my relationship with Mary, the Mother of God, and deepen my relationship with Mary Magdalene, my matron saint.
How does all of this relate to Melek Ta’us? Well, I think it means for all his vanity, he doesn’t mind sharing me with other gods and beings.
Suicide has gravity. This gravity feels stronger when it’s the death of somebody in one of my communities. I find myself orbiting at the edge of the gravity well, and part of me feels a desire to go beyond the event horizon.
But, I can’t let that happen. I cannot let myself descend into suicide’s singularity. And not only because of how the event horizon I would make would send out shockwaves among my beloveds. But also because my life has worth for me, myself, and I.
Antinoüs the Navigator, I know I must eventually climb up the walls of the world cross through the Gate. Guide me from rash decisions here in the moment.
Melek Ta’us, the tears of your mourning once quenched the fires of hell. Mourn with me, and weep for our Beloved Dead.
YHVH, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit—the Lover, the Beloved, and the Love Overflowing—into your arms welcome the spirits of the Dead, giving them the comfort they were denied here on this earth.
Emma of the Good Heart, I miss you and I will hold your memory until the end of days. Peace be with you.
With the close of PantheaCon earlier today, this concludes the third somewhat major retreat-like event I’ve attended since 31 January. I have a lot to process, and will be processing all of it for some time, I think.
I really like it when PantheaCon and Lent overlap. And this year at a workshop for self-care, I heard another Christian-Pagan talk about a Lenten practice of self-care rather than self-denial.
I learn something new every year, and I am blessed and privileged to do so.
My primary rosary is an Episcopal one, arranged in weeks instead of decades, given to me by my beloved friend and mentor, Rev. Gina Pond. This is how I pray it.
For the Sign of the Cross…
In the name of Mary, and of Joseph, and of their beloved son Jesus, amen.
For the first large bead…
Our God, who is within us, hallowed be your Names, Your community come, your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us today the blessings we need, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Don’t put us to the test, and protect us from harm. For yours are the community, the love, and the beauty now and forever, amen.
For the next large bead…
Glory be to Mary, and to Joseph, and to Jesus, as they were, are now, and ever shall be the Holy Family forever, amen.
For each small bead…
Hail Mary (Magdalene), full of strength, God is with you. Blesséd are you among disciples, and blesséd are the fruits of your study with Jesus. Holy Mary, Consort of God, pray for us learners now and as we discern our ministries, amen.
year two thousand seventeen of the Common Era was a very difficult
one for me, even as it was a year of healing and introspection.
Various aspects of my health are in decline, including my mental
health. Yet, starting medication for my mental illnesses and taking a
depression management class have helped greatly.
does this have to do with Echo and Narcissus and why do I call them
Saints? Various reasons.
of Echo’s story was that she was yet another mortal woman seduced by Zeus. Some translations
use the word “ravished” which in modern times is often equated with “rape.” When Hera came to question Echo,
the mortal told the goddess long stories to distract from from her
pursuit of Zeus. Echo was covering Zeus’ escape, it seemed. Hera
cursed Echo so that she could only speak the last few words she heard
another speak. This was how Narcissus was caught staring at his own
reflection. She’d fallen in love with him and wanted to speak to
him, but was only able to repeat some of his words back to him. As a
result, he was tricked into falling in love with himself.
in this tale we have a randy, powerful being seducing someone who really
didn’t have the power to say no. And unforgiving wife struck out at
the target she could reach and as a result ruined at least two lives.
Echo, I see those who are used sexually and don’t report for fear
of backlash, yet backlash struck her anyway. In Narcissus, I see
those who have learning disabilities, mental illnesses, or some
combination of both, and who can be very literal in their understanding of language.
They can be led, by accident or by design, to self-destruction or
modern times, people use the phrase “echo chamber” to deride
those who are unwilling to the voices that speak out against them.
Sometimes, this phrase is used to shame the marginalized for creating
safe spaces. The word “narcissistic” is often wrongly used to
describe persons whose self-esteem has grown to the point where they
aren’t willing to take the abuse that’s so casually given to
say, we should build our echo chambers! We should surround ourselves with those who
don’t speak ill of us. We know those other voices are there. We
can’t escape them. But in creating our echo chambers, we can give
ourselves a certain measure of peace from those who hate us.
say, we should fall in love with ourselves! We should fill our minds with thoughts of
self-worth, because we know there is no shortage of those who hate
us. If our self-worth causes them to be angry, then perhaps it’s
not us who are medically narcissistic.
Echo, patron saint of the used, frightened, and misunderstood!
Narcissus, patron saint of learning disabilities and mental
Today is Monday, 25 December 2017. It’s Christmas, the celebration of when Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love were made incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, the one Christians call the Christ.
Christian. It’s an interesting word. It can be used both as a noun (as I have above) or as an adjective. These days, I call myself a Jesist rather than a Christian. There are various reasons I do this, one of them being I don’t like where modern American Christianity seems to be going a lot of the time. That said, I’ve encountered welcome among the United Church of Christ, DignityUSA, the Progressive Christian Alliance, and the Episcopal Church (my current “home” denomination) to name just a few organizations. At the individual level, I’ve encountered more welcome than resistance to my existence. This welcome is Love, which gives me Joy, bringing me Peace and Hope.
What can be very difficult, is remembering in the midst of my oppression to bring the Gifts of Advent to those around me. Others seem to be better at remembering to do this, which leaves me somewhat ashamed as a clergy person. Ritualizing life can help with this, and Episcopal worship seems more formally ritualized than a lot of what I’ve been experiencing since leaving the Roman Catholic Church in 1988.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about making various things “great again,” and it’s even been suggested this needs to be done with Christmas. But, that’s just it: Christmas celebrates how the Almighty was incarnated in a life so delicate it had become a refugee. Greatness starts small. That is growth. Also, the greatness that came out of Christmas stood against the empire and the wealthy and the powerful. The Gospel is full of inversions, and Christmas is when those inversions really started for Christianity.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, help me to remember to bring the Gifts of Hope, Joy, Love, and Peace to the world, bringing blesséd Inversion to the empires of the world, in whatever small ways I can.
Today is Sunday, 24 December 2017. It’s the fourth and final Sunday in Advent and the theme is Peace. Again, this is a bit odd to me as I’m used to Peace being the second Sunday and Love being the fourth. Anyway…
I have the tendency to think of the liturgical season of Lent as being about confronting our inner demons. Well, it seems this Advent I’ve been confronted by the demons of others. Anti-LGBTQIA+ hatred, harassment, and violence seems to be at a level I’ve not seen in a long time. Maybe it is at an all-time high, or maybe it’s just that I’m noticing it more. But considering what’s happened in the US after the disaster that was the November 2016 election when the populace elected one candidate and the electoral college chose another, bigots have become emboldened.
If Lent is a time to reflect on what our inner demons tempt us to do, then perhaps Advent is a time to reflect on what our inner angels are guiding us to bring out into the world. I’ve long since accepted that I cannot rely on my society in general to give me Peace. Yet, there have been those individuals and particular groups in society that have brought some measure of Peace to me.
Advent is about bringing Gifts out into the world. As I have received the Gift of Peace from others, I should strive to bring Peace to others. I will not fix society. That’s too big for me. But if I can make existing in society a little easier for others who don’t often enough experience Peace, then that’s something I should do.
Today is Sunday, 17 December 2017. It’s the third Sunday in Advent and the theme is Joy.
My Advent season this year started with a huge influx of Joy on Saturday, 2 December, the day before Advent 2017 actually started. It was on this day when I was at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to bear witness to the ordination of three wonderful queer women to the priesthood. Two of them I met at seminary, the third is someone I met at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Berkeley, which has become my current church home. To be present when the bishop declared them fully ordained priests was a moment of tremendous Joy for me.
In fact, the Joy of bearing witness to their ordinations carried me through some difficult encounters the following days and weeks. This is an amazing thing, to me. The Joy in witnessing the achievements of others was healing to me.
And then, last Thursday was another Joyous time. I had a productive session with my therapist after work and later went onto karaoke with my coworkers. Circling back to today was the first time I sang with the choir at Good Shepherd. While I make more of a Joyful noise than an aesthetically pleasing one, singing is always a gift of Joy to myself.
There is much to be concerned about. But, find and spread Joy where and when you can.
This past year has been the most violent on record for trans and gender-expansive persons. There was a record number of Names for the TDoR. Love and compassion for our destroyers goes only so far…
A Lakeside Cabin
Rev. Constance Antinoë Magdalene McEntee
“What happened to that lovely beach with the resort-slash-residence carved into the cliffside?” he asked me. I was sitting in front of my cabin, the one that I built on the lakeshore as a retreat and refuge.
“Oh, I still have that place, too,” I assured him. “It’s just that …”
“It’s just with all the curses you’ve been casting, formally and informally, you needed a place more conducive to those intentions. Am I right?”
This was no ordinary cabin on the shores of some ordinary lake. No. This was the Lake of Fire.
“They hate us so much,” I said, staring into a fountain that was where one would expect to find a campfire. Hey, we were on the shores of the Lake of Fire! We didn’t need more fire. “They tell us we’re going to burn in hell. So, I created this place and I come here to feed—”
“To feed your soul when you feel you want to curse your tormentors,” Lucifer finished for me.
“It seemed like a good idea to me.”
“And, should there be any adverse effects returned to you from your magick?” the Light-bringer asked me.
“I will accept any and all consequences of my actions,” I declared, standing to face the Fell Lord with swords in both of my hands. “Do you have any fucking idea what we go through?”
“They won’t stop!” I swung at him, a strike he effortlessly blocked with casually conjured blade of his own. “They never stop!” I swung at him with my left this time, and again Lucifer summoned a weapon to parry my blow.
Before long, we were locked in a full-on duel. My protests ceasing to be words and becoming screams of undeniable rage. The camp fountain burbled placidly and the flames of the Lake of Fire licked the shore, and all the while we fought.
Reversing the grip with my left hand, I plunged my sword into Satan’s heart. With the sword in my right hand, I slashed through his neck, beheading him. His weapons were gone.
“My child,” he said, his head floating above his shoulders. “Restore yourself. Do me this harm. But remember: rage will carry you only so far.” My chest heaving from the exertion, his words broke through my wall of furious hate. Tears began to burn my eyes, as he healed his wounds. With open arms and outstretched wings, the Light-bringer invited me into his embrace. “Come to me, priest.”
Sobbing, I stepped up to him, his arms and wings enfolding me.
“Why won’t they just leave us the fuck alone?” I wailed into Satan’s bosom, knowing he wouldn’t offer any simple answer. In fact, the only answer he offered was to croon soothingly to me, stroking my hair as I wept bitterly.
“Priest, my lovely child, you are not a necromancer,” Lucifer told me. “But you can raise the Dead nonetheless. That which is remembered never dies. Let your heart and mind be crowded with the memories of them. Carry them with you in your heart wherever you go, always.”
“I’ll try, my Lord.”
Satan through his head back and laughed. “My lady, you already do! It’s why you feel all this pain all the time. Do you understand what you’re enduring? Yes, maybe there are others who can bear the pain better than you. That’s why your doctors have prescribed the medications they have. There’s no shame there. You already carry their memories and the pain of those memories. Remember: I’m here for you. And so are the Others.”
At his reminder, the Others appeared. Melek Ta’us. Antinoüs. Jesus and his bride, Mary Magdalene. All six of the mighty Tetrad++: Panpsyche All-Soul, Panhyle All-Body, Paneros All-Love, Pancrates All-Power, Paneris All-Strife, and Panprosdexia All-Acceptance. And not just beings such as these, but the Great and Blessed Mortals as well. Saint Fred Rogers. Saint Carrie Fisher. Saint Alan Turing. Saint Matthew Shepard. Saint Gwen Araujo. They surrounded me, imbuing me with their love and power there on the shore of the Lake of Fire.
I turned once again to the Light-bringer.
“Carry your beloveds in your heart always,” he said to me. “We will help you bear this burden.”