Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Misha Magdalene, author of the new Outside the Charmed Circle.

Misha MagdaleneFrom “bathroom bills” to the #MeToo movement, our culture’s struggles with issues of gender and sexuality have been at the heart of cultural change at our current moment in history. The past few decades have seen great strides and great losses in rights for queer* people, along with a profound shift in the philosophies around gender and sexuality and the language used to discuss them. The Pagan, polytheist, and magical communities are as immersed in these struggles as the rest of the overculture, and in some ways we’ve been part of the vanguard of these issues. As a nexus of “outsider” faiths and practices, our communities have long been welcoming to people whose experiences of gender and sexuality are similarly outside societal norms. (*By “queer,” I’m referring people whose expressions and experiences of sexuality or gender fall outside strictly cis-gender heterosexuality, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, transgender, and non-binary people, among others.)

Sad to say, they’ve also been indifferent or hostile towards queer people, especially those whose gender and sexuality contradict the community’s own, often unexamined, assumptions and biases.

This ambivalence towards queer people is especially frustrating because we’ve always been an integral part of these communities of devotion and practice. From Hyacinthus to Loki, from Hermaphroditus to Babalon, queer narratives have always been a part of our myths, across a wide panoply of cultures and cosmologies. Looking at the modern era, queer experiences have always been a part of the modern Pagan and polytheist movements. After all, queerness is magical, and queer people have a magic all our own. Queer practitioners of all stripes have been among the founders, forebears, thinkers, writers, ritualists, and artists whose lives and work create and define the shape of Pagan, polytheist, and magical cultures. Without queer people, without our narratives and our experiences, the larger body of practice and culture from which we all benefit is impoverished, and our communities become…well, less magical.

When queer people, queer narratives, and queer experiences are welcomed and embraced by the larger community, when we’re allowed to share our magic openly and without fear, our communities, traditions, and practices are made richer, more vibrant, and more truly reflective of the world around us.

In short, they’re made better for all of us.


Our thanks to Misha for their guest post! For more from Misha Magdalene, read their article, “Five Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Doing Magic.”

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Written by Anna
Anna is the editor of Llewellyn's New Worlds of Body, Mind & Spirit, the Llewellyn Journal, and Llewellyn's monthly newsletters. She also blogs, tweets, and helps maintain Llewellyn's Facebook page. In her free time, Anna enjoys crossword puzzles, Jeopardy!, being a grammar geek, and spending time ...