Green Men and the Goddess

Last night at Circle of Aradia's Winter Solstice, which was the 40th anniversary of the Dianic Tradition, I was called upon to light the green candle for the future of the Tradition. There were three candles there on the altar representing the future: green for the world, white for community, and red for sisterhood. Ironic, I thought, looking at them together. At my Dianic Ordination four years ago, there were white candles on the altar. I saved them, and this past year as I have been in personal discernment about the Tradition and its stance on men and transgender women, I have been burning them down to offer clarity to my path. Our Amazon Ordinations use red candles, and though I looked longingly at that emblem of the Blood Mysteries, I was not called upon to light it. Instead, it was clear, I was instructed by the Priestesses to light the green candle.

Ironic, because in addition to being a Dianic High Priestess, I am also the Mother of a Men's Mysteries Tradition: the Green Men. Although I respectfully acknowledge their sovereignty and autonomy, I take credit for my part: I made the space in our CAYA community for this work. I penned one of the main prayers used in this work, and I designed the foundational structure that supports this work, though the men do the actual work privately in their own, deep, wild, wonderful ways. I am proud of this. I am proud of them. I am one of very few contemporary Dianic High Priestesses who has chosen the honor of being a spiritual leader of men as well as women. It is humbling and empowering at the same time.

Ironic, because I source my confidence in my ability to lead men from the firm foundation my Dianic sisterhood gives me. With my sisters, I set myself free. So free that I have much, much more to give on a larger scale than I would otherwise have, and I therefore can afford to take chances on doing things that might once have scared me, like working with men in a very spiritually-intimate way. Or challenging the rules of my Tradition by exploring elasticity in what I teach.

As I prepared to light the green candle, I envisioned a beautiful future where there is mutuality, respect, love, & honor between ALL people of ALL genders in ALL Traditions. I thought of how the Green Men & CAYA are based on some of the principles found in the Amazon Priestess Tribe's iteration of the Dianic Tradition, including power-sharing techniques, reverence for Goddess as primary cauldron of life, and high regard for women in authority. I thought about how much the Green Men have challenged themselves, grown, and gained amazing wisdom due to enacting these principles, and how the women in their lives (including me as their High Priestess) have seriously benefitted from their study in gentle, self-arising, vulnerable wholeness.

Isn't that what so many women in the Dianic Tradition want? For men and women alike to be safe, vulnerable and non-violent? To be honored in their personal and community authority by men and women alike? I held that vision of the wonderful Green Men, whom I love, in my mind: men who approach me with dignity and poise, men who willingly acknowledge my leadership skills and intellect, men who support the power of the women in our community with complete loyalty, and who know that doing so only adds to their own power. I envisioned women all over the world being treated with kindness, respect, and integrity by men, and by one another. I envisioned women and men leading by example in their mindful ways, in their sparkling speech, in their fullness of self-arising power. And I thought, "How blessed a world it would be if this kind of honoring happened everywhere! How blessed I am to be in the presence of such balance and beauty in a 360-degree experience of religion that meets ALL of my needs: for uncompromising radical sisterhood, yes- that is crucial, but also for reverent brotherhood, for a family of one-ness."

Then I thought, but it's not JUST a blessing received- it's a privilege earned. My reality of empowered relationships with men didn't just happen. It was built because I did the work. Specifically, I took the risk as a Dianic High Priestess of honoring the Divine within these men, and held up my lunar mirror to show them a reflection of how glorious they are, how much they are capable of, how great it can feel to be respected and acknowledged in their power by a woman who also feels respected and acknowledged in her own power. In doing so, I received the reward of an at-first-shy, but now-thundering and ever-growing blast of solar, joyful light that invigorates our collective work and points back, always, with gratitude and radiance to me and the other women in our community who support these men in their journey as Priests.

I flashed to an unforgettable moment at PantheaCon three years ago, after the (now) Green Men had just completed their first (of many), glorious, well-received rituals. It had gone really well (naturally, because these men are AWESOME ritualists). They were telling me about it as we stood on the balcony of one of the hotel rooms. They described the setting, the attendees' reactions of how beautiful it was to look another man in the eye and take his arm in brotherhood, without competition, without challenge, just opening to peace and support and dignity together. Captain Jack of Bears spontaneously leapt into a passionate recitation of my Charge of the Sun God, and it brought tears to my eyes to see and hear him, nobly delivering my words and giving them LIFE. "I am the strength of the mountain, and the laughing, rushing river, and the path of the sacred arrow, and the hunger of the wild hunt..." I wrote these words, but he MEANT them in a way that was wholly his own. The men looked on approvingly, some mouthing the words along with him. At the end of the oration, there was silence. Then, Magus Abba Ben Zo ventured, "Dude, you looked really sexy while you were saying that, with the wind blowing through your hair," and all the men enthusiastically AGREED! YES! HE DID! We ALL agreed! It was the same sort of energy among them that I feel with my Amazon sisters when we compliment and adore one another in circle. That kind of open, affirming, heartfelt affection between heterosexual men in our culture is so rarely displayed. Instead, men are taught to cut themselves off from one another, or to eye one another warily. The Green Men know themselves to be benevolent lovers, fathers, and brothers to the world, and therefore feel free to express themselves with an openness that feels really correct and whole. I hold that moment as a shining jewel in my memory. It emblematizes so many other moments of pride, hope, and happiness that have followed since the Green Men took up the charge and began organizing themselves as a powerful force of love in CAYA and the world.

And so, holding these thoughts and feeling safe, proud, and holy in the reality I gave birth to, I said, "May the principles of the Dianic Tradition be of benefit to the entire world." And it will be so, because it is already happening.

Last week, one of CAYA's Dedicants asked me why everyone, male and female, who becomes Clergy in CAYA is required to dedicate to a Mother Goddess. The intellectual reasons are threefold:

1) In a world where monotheistic patriarchal religions seek to dominate, it is a radical act to honor the Mother Goddess, who represents the rights and needs of all (regardless of gender, race, ability, age, sexuality, economic status, or faith.)

2) Even when paternity is uncertain, maternity is always certain. Thus, we dedicate to a Mother Goddess, who represents the womb of creation, birth and life throughout time.

3) The founders of CAYA are all women who came to practice together because of a shared love for the Mother Goddess. In honor of their work together and the roots of CAYA, we dedicate to a Mother Goddess of our choosing whom we admire and revere for Her role in our lives.

But in the instant of lighting that green candle last night, and thinking of the VAST contrast between the Green Men of CAYA and, say, the police currently brutalizing elderly women and veterans, a simpler, less intellectual, more profound awareness dawned in me about why we do this:

Because it is good for the world that we do this, that we lead by example in our love for the Goddess, and the qualities of life-affirmation that She represents in us ALL: men, women, everyone.

If the principles of Dianic practice can shape a world where men arise in their own glory to love and respect themselves and women, and where women arise in their own glory to hold power and authority in equal measure with men unflinchingly and with confident, non-reactive wisdom, then it is good and right for the entire world to receive the blessings of the Goddess that we Dianics find in our practice.

It starts with one or two people deciding to just lead by example. Women fearlessly showing men how they REALLY want to be seen, spoken to, treated. Men accepting this teaching with open hearts and employing it to great benefit in their own lives, for their own empowerment as well as more balanced empowerment in the greater community. Power scales balancing where they have, for so long, been psychologically and ethically askew. All able to be as free and vulnerable with one another as small children, but retaining the wisdom of their years. Here we are in CAYA, doing it. And doing it well, if I do say so myself. Step by step, we grow closer as a Coven family because of this work. I think the general state of happiness within our community speaks volumes about its success. I love my community, and am so grateful for the lessons that are flowering in me with you all as time goes on.

I salute you, my Amazon sisters! Your love and beauty and ferocity give me courage to reach beyond my comfort zone!

I salute you, my Green Men brothers! Your joy and tenderness and respect give me hope for a better future for us all! I lit that candle as much for you as for my sisters!

I salute you, Wildflowers! You lead the way with innovative thinking and daring energetic exploration! You are the big playground where our innocent selves can be free!

And may that better future we hold in our shared vision be realized in the now for the benefit of all beings.