…King Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites…
And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines…

—I Kings, Chapter 11, The Bible

The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon by Edward Poynter
Currently on exhibit at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
(I searched a long time to find an image in the public domain that didn’t show the queen,
who is generally believed to have been from Ethiopia or Yemen
—although her title implies she may have been from India—
without the pale, extremely white skin associated with Europeans.
It is far more likely that, if she was historic and not mythic, her skin was swarthy.)

The Didache (“The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”) is a short, Christian treatise usually dated to the late first or early second century, c.e. Although it was lost for centuries, there were references to it in other works as early as the fourth century c.e. where it was considered by some sects to be part of the Christian church’s canon. Some have called it the earliest surviving teaching or catechism, covering topics such as ethics, rituals (including baptism) and church organization. One of it’s instructions is: “”Share all things in common with your brother. Do not claim anything as your own.”

All things?

By the end of the 2nd century, this attitude had changed a bit. Tertullian (circa 160–circa 225 c.e.), the famed Christian author and defender wrote: “Everything among us is in common, except marriage.”

But was this a human instituted change or a spiritual one?

In 1582, famed magician Dr. John Dee, and his assistant Edward Kelly, were in contact with spirits they believed were angels. While staying in Trebon (in the current Czech Republic), a “child spirit” called Madimi began communicating initially with Kelly and then with both of them. Madimi said, “by the will of God, to share all things. ” This included their wives.

Dee and Kelley hated the idea. Their wives didn’t like it, either. However, the angel insisted that it should happen, so they dutifully followed the instructions.

Was this a true command from angels? Personally, I’ve always thought this might have been from some lesser spirits who just wanted to see how far they could pull the legs of Dee and Kelly. Whatever the source, it is clear that Dee and Kelly couldn’t handle it. Their partnership became increasingly strained. In less than two years Dee returned to his home in England without Kelly.

An Enormous and a Tiny Cause of
Changing Attitudes

Because the Earth is slightly tilted on its axis, our planet’s position in relation to the rest of the universe slowly evolves. The position of the constellations slowly changes. It takes about 26,000 years to go through an entire cycle, known as the precession of the equinoxes. This cycle is divided into 12 sections related to the astrological signs. At the time of the fall of Israel to Rome and the dispersion of the Jewish people (called the Diaspora), the world was moving out of the Arian Age and moving into the Piscean Age. Today we are moving from the Piscean Age into the Aquarian Age. The crossover period takes a long time. Thus, people who are strongly influenced by Piscean Age mentalities are often in conflict with those who have adopted Aquarian Age mentalities.

The red line from the upper left to lower right of each image
shows the apparent path traced by the Sun through the Earth’s year.
The red/green horizontal line shows a projection of the Earth’s equator on to the celestial sphere.
The crossing point of these two lines is the spring equinox.
In 1500 BCE it was near the end of the Aries constellation.
In 500 BCE it was near the beginning of the Aries constellation.
In 150 CE it was in the center of the Pisces constellation. Today it is at the end of Pisces moving into Aquarius.

The small cause of changing attitudes was the birth control pill. As we move into the Aquarian Age, for the first time, women could have complete control of their sexual lives without the concern of having children at times when births weren’t wanted. Women had always explored their sexuality, but now such exploration hit the middle class mainstream.

This has been a long preface to looking at the idea of free sexuality, and it’s important to look at the changes that have come along with it. If we look at the story of Solomon, he was in complete control of his partners. He was the king and there was no balance here. Some early Christian sects took the Didache literally, but in a very short time, this was changed. In the Piscean Age men are in control of women.

By the time of Dee and Kelly, even though they were told by an angel to share their partners, they weren’t ready. They couldn’t handle it. Even in contemporary times, with the use of “the pill,” exploring was put down to “cheating” and not telling your partner whom you were having sex with. This was still Piscean Age mentality.

My favorite example of this mixed message came with the T.V. show, “Three’s Company.” In this show, which ran from 1977–1984, you follow the adventures of two single women sharing an apartment with a single man. Even though it was supposedly daring (and filled with titillating jokes implying sexuality), these three people were some of the most sex-starved characters on television. Beneath the daring (for television) set up were three conservative, Piscean Age people. They could have just as easily been living in three separate apartments.

The Times They Are A-Changing

In the year 1990, Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart wrote an article for The Green Egg magazine entitled “A Bouquet of Lovers.” In it, she described the concept which has become known as polyamory, an odd word combining both Greek (Poly, meaning “many”) and Latin (Amor, meaning “love”) words. Her husband, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, gives this brief definition of the term:

The practice, state or ability of having more than one sexual loving relationship at the same time, with the full knowledge and consent of all partners involved.

This concept is night-and-day different from previous forms of relationships:

  • It’s not a situation where a king or male has multiple partners. That’s “polygamy.”
  • It’s not a situation where one or both partners have outside relationships without telling their partners. That’s “cheating.”
  • It’s not a situation where you have a long-term romantic and sexual relationship without telling your partner. That’s “an affair.”
  • It’s not a situation where both partners have sex with others without a committed, loving relationship with those others. That’s “swinging.”
  • It’s not an agreement where both partners are free to have other relationships with or without (depending upon the agreement) the knowledge of their partner. That’s an “open marriage” or “open relationship.”

Polyamory is something radically new. In fact, it’s so new, that people are just beginning to explore and define it. There are already variations. In some cases, people have primary, secondary, and tertiary partners. In other cases it’s more about which lover is available at a particular time. In some polyamorous relationships love and sex are equally important, while in others love is more important and some of the poly partners don’t have sex with others. The key differentiator in polyamorous relationships, as opposed to previous relationships, is the concept of being able to truly and deeply love more than one person.

But S/He’s My Soul Mate!

It’s possible to love both of your parents. You can also love all four of your grandparents. If you have several siblings you can love all of them. You can also love aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members. Why, then, do we expect that people should only be able to love one person romantically and sexually?

Just because someone’s your soul mate doesn’t mean you can’t also love others.

Many people today think the concept of polyamory is horrible. And yet, they will have one boyfriend or girlfriend after another. As people become adults, this often means a sexual relationship with one person after another. It’s called “serial monogamy.” Is a person who has one partner for a few months, then another, either better or worse than a person who finds out that he or she is capable of loving more than one person at the same time? They’re different, yes. But I wouldn’t define either as better or worse.

Are You an Outsider?

Colin Wilson wrote a book called The Outsider. In it, he contends that the scientific, artistic, and philosophical leaders throughout history have always been outsiders, people who don’t fit in with the majority. I think he gives extensive proof that this is true. Being an outsider doesn’t make one exceptional, but it is a common trait among some of the most amazing, important, and unique people the world has ever known.

Magickal people have always been outsiders. They don’t fit in with the beliefs and practices of the majority. They’ve been shunned, mocked, and persecuted for their beliefs and rituals. The Zell-Ravenhearts are Pagans. A surprising number of magickal folk and Pagans have discovered the concept of polyamory—responsible non-monogamy—fits their beliefs, desires, and needs perfectly. Although there have sprouted up many books on polyamory, there is really only one specifically directed at the Pagan and magickal community. That is Pagan Polyamory by Raven Kaldera.

If you want to discover what polyamory is really about, especially from a magickal perspective, this is the book for you. Whether you want to see if polyamory is for you or if you just want to learn about it and how it may apply to Pagan and magickal lifestyles, this well-reviewed book is my recommendation.

Caveat Emptor

Although astrological and astronomical experts will debate the exact date we enter the Age of Aquarius, I think most will agree that we are still in the crossover period between Piscean and Aquarian Ages. That means you may have a greater or lesser draw to Aquarian Age concepts, beliefs, and practices. It’s important, I believe, to listen to your heart. Polyamory is not right for everyone. It is not right for all Pagans. It is not right for all ceremonial magicians. It is not required of anyone. Therefore, if someone tries to tell you that you should become poly with him or her and their partners, while it’s okay to listen to what they have to say, it’s most important to listen to your heart.

Be aware of what you’re getting into. If it sounds like something you want to explore, fantastic. If it’s something that you’d never want to explore, that’s fantastic, too. Don’t just buy what others are selling, listen to your heart. Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware.

Morning Glory wrote,

I feel that this whole polyamorous lifestyle is the avante-garde of the 21st century. Expanded families will become a pattern with wider acceptance as the monogamous nuclear family system breaks apart under the impact of serial divorces.

Is she right? Time will tell. However there is no doubt that polyamory is becoming popular in the magickal community. Almost every Pagan or magickal festival or convention has at least one talk on the subject. As a student of magick, it makes sense to find out what polyamory is really all about, rather than relying on rumors and mocking stories in the media. That’s why books such as Kaldera’s are so valuable and important. Polyamory may or may not be your path. Discovering the truth about polyamory—and the truth about how you feel about it—should be one study of all magickal people.

Are you familiar with polyamory?
Have you tried it?
Do you think it’s right or wrong?
If you haven’t tried it, would you like to?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Written by Donald Michael Kraig
Donald Michael Kraig graduated from UCLA with a degree in philosophy. He has also studied public speaking and music (traditional and experimental) on the university level. After a decade of personal study and practice, he began ten years of teaching courses in the Southern California area on such ...