Antinoe

Beyoncé Mass at Grace Cathedral

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On Wednesday, 25 April 2018, The Vine at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco held a Beyoncé Mass. I took a short lunch that day and work in order to get to the cathedral in time. A good thing, too, as the doors for this Mass didn’t open until 6pm, and there was a long line out the door and around the cathedral’s courtyard.

Being partially disabled and already in a good deal of pain when I arrived at just before 6pm, I entered from the lower level to take the elevator up to the sanctuary. There, I was directed to the line. At this point, I’d wished I’d brought my wheelchair. But if I had, the accessibility would’ve been even worse. The walkway in front of the cathedral’s main doors would not have been wide enough for me to roll pass the crowd to the end of the line. I passed numerous cathedral staff as I limped, leaning on my cane, to the end of the line. None of them asked if needed any accommodation. It was only after I’d been standing in line for about ten minutes that another person in line offered to as the staff to let me wait inside on a seat. At that point, the doors were opening anyway, so I declined her offer and thanked her.

I mention this because the sign describing the Mass indicated it was for the “forgotten and marginalized.” Well, it seems in this case the cathedral staff forgot to take into consideration accessibility.

It was a powerful and engergetic worship experience. And, the marginalization of trans/gender-diverse persons was addressed in some of the prayers. At other times, there was still mention of “men and women” or “sisters and brothers,” and that was a little disappointing. Even the blog post about this Mass starts with, “Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.” It’s a common phrase in Christianity that is probably intended to be inclusive, but falls a bit short.

But really, those were the only two things that felt a little alienating and for me they were rather minor. I have a great interest in pop-culture spirituality and finding ways to make Christianity in particular and religion in general even more relevant in the present. And this Mass did just that. I’m sure I would’ve gotten more out of the Mass if I’d been more familiar with Beyoncé’s work. That said, I can see why which songs were chosen for the Mass in general as well as where in the Mass they were used.

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The “Calling Out” part of the Mass was used to call out to God those social sins that we need to be free from, the chorus from the song Freedom was used in between each sin called out. Again, I was happy that “transphobia and cissexism” were amoung the bondages from which we needed to be freed. The one that surprised me was when being made free of the “bondage of privilege” was called out. Being transgender, queer, mentally ill, and somewhat disabled I didn’t quite understand this. I watched various forms of privilege disappear as I came out and transitioned as as my health declines. Privilege, to me, doesn’t seem like a form of bondage. I’m going to have to investigate this idea.

I was moved to tears when reciting the Womanist Lord’s Prayer:

Our Mother,
who is in heaven and within us,
we call upon your names.
Your wisdom come.
You will be done,
In all the spaces in which You dwell.
Give us each day
sustenance an perseverance.
Remind us of our limits as
we give grace to the limits of others.
Separate us from the temptation of empire,
But deliver us into community.
For you are the dwelling place within us
the empowerment around us
and the celebration among us
now and for ever.

This language framed the Lord’s Prayer in ways I’d never encountered before. So while the music didn’t speak to me as much as it would have to others, the theology certainly moved me.

Beyoncé Mass at Grace Cathedral

image

On Wednesday, 25 April 2018, The Vine at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco held a Beyoncé Mass. I took a short lunch that day at work in order to get to the cathedral in time. A good thing, too, as the doors for this Mass didn’t open until 6pm, and there was a long line out the door and around the cathedral’s courtyard.

Being partially disabled and already in a good deal of pain when I arrived just before 6pm, I entered from the lower level to take the elevator up to the sanctuary. There, I was directed to the line. At this point, I’d wished I’d brought my wheelchair. But if I had, the accessibility would’ve been even worse. The walkway in front of the cathedral’s main doors would not have been wide enough for me to roll pass the crowd to the end of the line. I passed numerous cathedral staff as I limped, leaning on my cane, to the end of the line. None of them asked if needed any accommodation. It was only after I’d been standing in line for about ten minutes that another person in line offered to ask the staff to let me wait inside on a seat. At that point the doors were opening anyway, so I declined her offer and thanked her.

I mention this because the sign describing the Mass indicated it was for the “forgotten and marginalized.” Well, it seems in this case the cathedral staff forgot to take into consideration accessibility and disabled persons.

It was a powerful and engergetic worship experience. And, the marginalization of trans/gender-diverse persons was addressed in some of the prayers. At other times, there was still mention of “men and women” or “sisters and brothers,” and that was a little disappointing. Even the blog post about this Mass starts with, “Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.” It’s a common phrase in Christianity that is probably intended to be inclusive, but falls a bit short.

But really, those were the only two things that felt a little alienating and for me they were rather minor. I have a great interest in pop-culture spirituality and finding ways to make Christianity in particular and religion in general even more relevant in the present. And this Mass did just that. I’m sure I would’ve gotten more out of the Mass if I’d been more familiar with Beyoncé’s work. That said, I can see why which songs were chosen for the Mass in general as well as where in the Mass they were used.

image

The “Calling Out” part of the Mass was used to call out to God those social sins that we need to be free from, the chorus from the song Freedom was used in between each sin called out. Again, I was happy that “transphobia and cissexism” were amoung the bondages from which we needed to be freed. The one that surprised me was when being made free of the “bondage of privilege” was called out. Being transgender, queer, mentally ill, and somewhat disabled I didn’t quite understand this. I watched various forms of privilege disappear as I came out and transitioned as as my health declines. Privilege, to me, doesn’t seem like a form of bondage. I’m going to have to investigate this idea.

I was moved to tears when reciting the Womanist Lord’s Prayer:

Our Mother,
who is in heaven and within us,
we call upon your names.
Your wisdom come.
You will be done,
In all the spaces in which You dwell.
Give us each day
sustenance an perseverance.
Remind us of our limits as
we give grace to the limits of others.
Separate us from the temptation of empire,
But deliver us into community.
For you are the dwelling place within us
the empowerment around us
and the celebration among us
now and for ever.

This language framed the Lord’s Prayer in ways I’d never encountered before. So while the music didn’t speak to me as much as it would have to others, the theology certainly moved me.

Easter 2018 Dream

[image courtesy https://wildlifewaystation.org/animals/species/peacock]

Easter Sunday, 1 April 2018

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.

Amen, and Blessed Be!

Denying the Event Horizon

[image courtesy http://holofractal.net/the-holofractographic-universe/]

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.

Denying the Event Horizon

[image courtesy http://holofractal.net/the-holofractographic-universe/]

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.

International Women’s Day

cronepunk:

I’ve been trying to think of how to phrase this to  avoid upsetting anyone. But, I can’t figure how, so here goes.

I want to extend my undying gratitude to everyone who included transgender women in their
International Women’s Day posts.

Being a transgender woman myself, I’ve found I have to be very careful how I participate in anything remotely feminist. I know who my allies are, and I’m still here because of you.

May your lives be filled with love and joy!

Thank you.

International Women’s Day

cronepunk:

I’ve been trying to think of how to phrase this to  avoid upsetting anyone. But, I can’t figure how, so here goes.

I want to extend my undying gratitude to everyone who included transgender women in their
International Women’s Day posts.

Being a transgender woman myself, I’ve found I have to be very careful how I participate in anything remotely feminist. I know who my allies are, and I’m still here because of you.

May your lives be filled with love and joy!

Thank you.

PantheaCon 2018

Monday, 19 February 2018

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.

PantheaCon 2018

Monday, 19 February 2018

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.

The Heretic’s Rosary

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.