Pagan Community Notes: Cara Schulz, Z. Budapest, COG’s Grand Council, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 18, 2014 — 83 Comments

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started!

Cara Schulz

Cara Schulz

Earlier this month I gave an overview of Cara Schulz’s candidacy for a city council seat in Burnsville, Minnesota. Schulz, a Hellenic Polytheist and staff writer for this publication, has long been active in politics. As a candidate for this non-partisan seat she has endorsed a “Socially Accepting and Fiscally Responsible” platform, and it looks like enough voters in Burnsville liked what they saw. Quote from her Facebook campaign page: “THANK YOU to everyone who volunteered, told their friends about me, and are heading to the polls today to vote. If you think people are selfish, not involved, or lazy … run for office – you will be disabused of those erroneous notions. I’ve been offered help before I could even ask and volunteers helped an insane number of hours. I’ve made some great friends and learned from kind mentors. I’ve met some incredible people from all over Burnsville. […] The final tally is in! Thank you to everyone who volunteered, sent me messages cheering me on, told others about me, and took the time to vote in the primary.” Schulz will now advance to the general election in November, where the top-two vote getters will fill the two vacant seats on the city council. Our congratulations go out to Cara! 

10557341_10203741099061740_6626525900185221594_nAuthor and Dianic Witchcraft Elder Zsuzsanna Budapest sent out a press release last week announcing that she had bestowed a blessing on Claudiney Prieto, part of Brazil’s Nemorensis Dianic Tradition, for his work on behalf of the goddess Isis. Quote: “I was greatly impressed by Claudiney Prieto in Brazil, who has successfully nurtured an Isis revival. I have blessed him to be a Priest of Isis, which he already is. I saw what he has done and I think he serves the Goddess with his personal leadership. Everybody loves the man. He is dynamite in circle. Such a man with ten years of experience richly deserves the blessing. Both sexes are part of the rituals and sacred plays and always have been. This fits us well. I connect with this because I am also a play write. The original Isis plays have all been translated. It will be great fun creating a religious experience within the medium of theater for this community.” Budapest went on to clearly state that this blessing was not a shift in her beliefs concerning gender and her tradition’s Dianic rituals. Quote: “Although there was some initial confusion about the blessing, it was clarified that he was awarded by her as an honoring of his work with the Goddess […]  Budapest honored Prieto and bound him as a priest to the Goddess within the constructs of Prieto’s own Nemorensis Dianic Tradition and not her own Dianic Tradition, which is women-born only.” The stated “confusion” and subsequent clarification is most likely related to the fact that Budapest’s form of Dianic Witchcraft is open to cisgender women only, and this blessing could have been interpreted as a move away from that ethos. Such a shift would have been dramatic news indeed, as Budapest has received criticism from within the Pagan community in the recent past for holding “genetic women only” rituals that exclude not just men, but also transgender women, at Pagan events that are open to the public.

green-faiths-3atransThe Covenant of the Goddess (COG), one of the largest Wiccan and Witchcraft-focused organizations in the United States, is holding their annual business meeting, the Grand Council, this week in Atlanta, Georgia. Grand Council, which is held in conjunction with an open-to-the-public event called Merry Meet, is where the sprawling consensus-based organization elects its board and decides on policy. I’ve personally held forth on why I think COG could have a vital role in Wicca and religious Witchcraft’s future, and The Wild Hunt has covered these meetings for the past three years. This year, Merry Meet will feature Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary as a special keynote speaker. Quote: “We are very excited to have Selena Fox as our Guest of Honor for Merry Meet 2014 and as our Friday Night Keynote Speaker. Selena has been a leader and mover in Interfaith for many years and has worked, and continues to work, tirelessly within the Interfaith Community. Join us for what is sure to be a lovely evening of good food, camaraderie, and our shared passion for ‘Standing on Common Ground’!” Stay tuned for a report on the event from Managing Editor Heather Greene in the near future.

In Other Pagan Community News:

  • Polytheist and spirit-worker Sarah Kate Istra Winter has announced the publication of a short booklet on working with animal bones. Quote: “Working with Animal Bones introduces the reader to the biological processes which form bone; gives advice on how to find bones in a natural setting, and subsequently identify and thoroughly clean them; discusses the types of crafts that can be made with bones; and explores the history and modern practices involving the sacred use of animal bones, including divination. An annotated bibliography and list of online resources for collectors are also included.” The book can be purchased at Etsy, or on


  • Over at the Patheos Pagan channel, The Staff of Asclepius blog has welcomed two new contributors: Nornoriel Lokason and CJ Blackwood. Quote: “Nornoriel Lokason is a thirtysomething Norse pagan and demonolater living in the Portland metropolitan area with spirits and a cat […] Nornoriel is a disability and LGBT rights advocate and in his spare time he enjoys thrifting, communing with nature, reading, and being an armchair historian. […] CJ Blackwood graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s in journalism and a minor in English […] She’s been a practing witch and Pagan for eight years. Her path began with eclectic Wicca, but has now taken her to dusky realms of warrior goddesses, creative goddesses, and crones.”
  • Hungarian Pagan band The Moon and the Nightspirit have released a new album entitled “Holdrejtek.” Quote: “Just like its predecessor ‘Mohalepte’, ‘Holdrejtek’ is much influenced by a deep veneration for and love of nature as far as its concept is concerned, while this time, mastermind Mihaly Szabo approaches the subject in a less romantic and more intellectual way. The lyrics are rife with the philosophical idea of simultaneous oneness and duality of micro- and macrocosm, which is attributed to Hermes Trismegistos and his screed ‘Tabula Smaragdina’.” You can purchase the album digitally on iTunes and at

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Nice going, Cara!!

    • Cara Schulz

      Thank you!

  • I understand that Budapest and others prefer the term “women-born women” and that you’ve put it in quotes here, but you *do* understand that many trans people (and not just trans women) will see your use here (regardless of whether or not you’ve “dick quoted” here) as an endorsement of that term, which is itself transphobic, and will feel alienated from TWH?

    I’m not trying to be argumentative, I’m just saying that I know that you, JP-W, try to foster an air of inclusivity and acceptance, that you like to extend that to your work here (even though, as I understand it, you’ve passed on the EIC reigns), and that even by using Budapest’s preferred terminology in a paragraph specifically relevant to her, it can read as an endorsement of her noted and unrepentent transphobia.

    • I really wrestled with whether I should use that term. I in no way want to endorse her views regarding trans people. How would you re-work the terminology in that sentence?

    • I’ve changed the sentence to read “Budapest’s form of Dianic Witchcraft is open to her definition of women only.” Is that better?

      • I’d use “cisgender women only” but if you think that’d alienate women in her tradition and that that’s a bad thing, your edit is fine. Personally, I think history will not be on their side (much like those against miscegenation and same-sex marriage and so on…), so I have no problem alienating her ilk if it means future generations will see my words as being on the side of progress. That might also be more my thing than yours.

        • I have adopted the language you suggested, thus:

          “Budapest’s form of Dianic Witchcraft is open to cisgender women only…”

          I don’t feel alienated when people describe me as cisgendered, because I am. If someone is going to take offense to what I see as a neutral descriptive statement of fact, there’s not much I can do on that score.

          Thank you for bringing your concerns to me on this, I don’t always get it right, but strive to be the best I can be within the circumstances I’m working.

          • Lithia Brigan

            Cis and trans are not the only compulsory options and ignoring the way that women self-identify is not neutral. There are a myriad of other ways that women might identify themselves, including “no, thank you.”

          • So how would you define Budapest’s tradition in a way that is truly neutral? As previously noted, “female-born” or “women-born” are not seen as neutral terms by trans women.

          • Lithia Brigan

            Hi Jason. I personally believe the most accurate and neutral term for a third party to use would be “women assigned female at birth (AFAB).” Thank you very much for asking–we need more dialogue on this as we continue to evolve our language to be fully inclusive and empowering for all women involved.

          • kenofken

            Do you have any scientific and unambiguous definition for AFAB?

          • Also, I think a lot of people on the Intersex spectrum prefer non-IS people to use “DFAB” and “DMAB”, for “designated (or “determined”) fe/male at birth”, whereas “assigned” tends to imply that one is fe/male “at birth” due to an intentional assignment, rather than a designation based on apparent anatomy. Or so sayeth a few IS people whose Tumblr blogs I found.

            …then there’s the whole “CAFAB / CAMAB” thing for “coersively assigned fe/male at birth”, which tends to only be relevant to the trans- and paragender communities, rather than inclusive of those who are implicitly cisgender, as well.

          • Lithia Brigan

            Here’s another perspective on why “cis-gender” doesn’t work, offering some additional functional alternatives that can help us evolve our language. Both intersex and gender-variant people are, in fact, included in Women’s Mysteries and are served by Z’s Dianic Tradition.

          • Unfortunately, that article misses the mark in relation to this discussion, as it’s about the exclusion of IS people from the cis/trans narrative. This does not mean that narrative is inaccurate, it just fails to paint a more-complete picture.

            Furthermore, it does not say a ding-danged thing about how “intersex and gender-variant people are, in fact, included in Women’s Mysteries and are served by Z’s Dianic Tradition”.

            Lastly, “gender-variant” is a term to the TS/TG community that kind of sticks in the gums of many like a popcorn hull –if one holds that personal identity is sacrosanct (as you’ve created the appearance of doing several times over in this thread), then one simply cannot use “gender-variant” to refer to all trans people, because it’s a term that, historically and in current usage, makes no differentiation between male crossdressers and trans women, or hard butch women and trans men.

          • “AFAB” or “female – born” also implicitly includes many people who are not women. In certain contexts, those can be neutral terms, but those are in very specific situations, like at the gynæcologist or a gender studies course. Not in terms of personal identity.

          • And yes, ignoring the way that women identify is not neutral. There are plenty of studies that strongly suggest that trans women are, indeed, born with female brains. This, by certain logic, makes them “female-born” or “women-born” women. When cis women claim to be the only class of such women, they are committing an act of transphobia by denying the right of trans women to, rightfully, claim their birthright as women who were born with some semblance of female biology since birth.

            Logically, “cisgender” is the most neutral term to describe the only class of women Zsuzsana Budapest allows within her tradition.

          • Lithia Brigan

            Um…what *exactly* is a female brain? If you are neither Pagan nor Dianic (as you stated below), I have to ponder why you are even here–other than to be contrary and stir up toxic sentiment.

          • I’m a polytheist and I’m a trans person who’s been watching Budapest show her arse for the last few years, so I think this is relevant to my interests.

            As to what a female brain is, exactly, I’m not a neurologist, but most of what I’ve read seems to say that it’s a brain with characteristics typically seen in both cisgender and transgender women (unfortunately, these studies tend not to track paragender sorts).

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            According to the people who get paid to find out these things, a female brain is a normal human brain, the product of straightforward embryonic development without testosteronization. A male brain gets pushed into a different direction under the influence of the fetal testes. Sometimes that doesn’t work. Sometimes a pregnant mother’s body comes up with androgens at just the pivotal time and does that to a female fetus. None of these are value statements or guides to who should circle in what groups, just what I’ve been given to understand.

          • Franklin_Evans

            I have an Internet friend with whom I enjoy semantics battles that often wax lyrical — Charles C. knows about whom I write. In a recent exchange, I committed to writing something I’ve long thought but rarely expressed openly and explicitly. This post is my oath to change that.

            This is not about labels. “I am A trasngendered person” (insert specific term of one’s choice) is an invalid and misleading usage, masked by the seemingly trivial one-letter article. Society-at-large is still learning about trust, something which dialogues (usually becoming shouting) about “tolerance” just miss.

            “I AM transgendered”. That simple statement, taken with trust, opens doors and expands the common ground. We can explore WHY and HOW, but that doesn’t change the simplicity of the dynamic.

            People are lazy. This is not necessarily a bad thing. There’s only so much perceptual and rational bandwidth in most people. We slap labels on things to keep them organized in our awareness, giving little thought to the accuracy or validity of the labels. But it takes little additional effort to accept the internalized truth people express, a statement of what is true about them. It’s that effort that gets lost in the general laziness, for which I do criticize people.

          • That’s really all any of us can hope to do, is the best within our circumstances. And yes, that’s pretty much the intended meaning of the term, a neutralising word to describe people who aren’t transgender in a way that doesn’t implicitly prefer those who aren’t trans. Some people do have a problem with it, apparently for that very reason, but I figure that they’re also the sorta people who would’ve been offended at the word “heterosexual” in the 1920s (or whenever it entered the common parlance).

          • AnantaAndroscoggin

            You’ve done it now! I’ve finally gone to look up the actual dictionary definition of ‘cisgender.’

            There’s just too many people with their own private definitions of various words running around misusing those words for what seems to be a goal of starting fights.

          • And you’ve come to this conclusion in this instance… how?

          • mountainwind

            Is it considered hateful or transphobic to say that people with xx chromosome and uteruses and vaginas are (biologically speaking) female, and people with xy chromosomes and penises and testicles are (biologically speaking) male?

            Because if so, this debate is beyond broken. People are being issued death threats, or being called hateful bigots, for outlining primary school biology.

            (And yes this is a rhetorical question, because Budapest has been issued death threats for saying exactly this.)

            This is not intended to deny the validity of the individual identities of trans people, or to say that they should not be treated with courtesy and respect, or to say that they should not be able to define themselves and expect other people to respect that. Gender is a massive, contentious issue and one that deserves to be carefully unpacked.

            But adopting a really hateful and frightening Year Zero approach, in which any resistance or disagreement is characterised as bigotry, and people are required (at rhetorical gunpoint) to junk some of human society’s most fundamental precepts, and alter their entire understanding of both sex and gender overnight, is genuinely a significant strategic error IMO.

          • Is it considered hateful or transphobic to say that people with xx
            chromosome and uteruses and vaginas are (biologically speaking) female,
            and people with xy chromosomes and penises and testicles are
            (biologically speaking) male?

            Yes. Chromosomes are not the end-all/be-all of human sex and gender. Making that assumption in spite of a wealth of evidence that says otherwise is not only hateful and transphobic, but it’s also patently untrue.

            Because if so, this debate is beyond broken. People are being issued
            death threats, or being called hateful bigots, for outlining primary
            school biology.

            Primary school biology is broken. “Chromosomally”, there are at least 12 recognised human sexes.

            (And yes this is a rhetorical question, because Budapest has been issued death threats for saying exactly this.)

            Prove it.

            You’re not the first of her fangirls to make this allegation, but not one of you has ever been able to prove it when challenged to. So prove it. I’ll bet you twenty dollars that NO ONE has ever actually threatened Ms Budapest’s life over this, that’s it’s just a bunch of butt-hurt second-wavers screaming bloody murder and mischaracterising completely innocuous comments cos their pweshuss fee-fees got hurted on the webbertubes.

            So prove to me that anyone has actually threatened Ms Budapest’s life over this, or STFU. As Carl Sagan once said n reference to the idea of alien encounters, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            I think people should make a differentiation between sex and gender. Sex being the physiological categorisation (via science) of an individual, with gender being the psychological categorisation.

            Personally, I don’t worry about the psychological aspect, preferring the physiological categorisation.

          • mountainwind

            Thank you. I do think it is important to distinguish between sex and gender. The distinction seems to get lost in these discussions.

          • Except that it does not.

          • The thing is, though, WHAT concretely defines sex, physiologically and stuff? If it’s chromosomes, then you’re playing a lottery game, cos there are a minimum of twelve different possibilities, and the variants besides XX and XY don’t necessarily mean what you think they do. It should be obvious by now that apparent genitals aren’t really a good defining point, as those don’t always coincide with chromosomes. Furthermore, last I checked, the human brain was a part of the body, and the studies conducted over the last fifteen years overwhelmingly show that trans women have “female brains” (despite apparently “male characteristics” observed at birth) and trans men have “male brains” (despite apparently “female characteristics” observed at birth); since the human brain is, indeed, a part of the human body, why is this routinely discounted when making the distinction of physiology in trans people? It’s not just a “psychological categorisation” for many trans people –though for decades, yes, that was the best way to do it based on the knowledge gathered, but that old knowledge now gives a painfully incomplete picture.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Sexual differentiation in humans is the development of phenotypic structures consequent to the action of hormones produced following gonadal determination.

            I don’t see many scientists that specialise in human physiology arguing about what defines a sex as either male or female.

            The *vast* majority of humans are either XY males or XX females. Anything else is medically abnormal and, as such, will be viewed as an exception.

            I could, however, just use the GLAAD distinctions:

            The classification of people as male or female. At birth infants are assigned a sex, usually based on the appearance of their external anatomy. (This is what is written on the birth certificate.) However, a person’s sex is actually a combination of bodily characteristics including: chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics.

            Gender Identity
            One’s internal, deeply held sense of one’s gender. For transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Most people have a gender identity of man or woman (or boy or girl). For some people, their gender identity does not fit neatly into one of those two choices.


          • For me, it’s the spirit, not the body or the self-definition, that attracts, for ANY kind of relationship, including friend.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            That is the end result, yes.

            Judge people as individuals, not as demographics.

          • Unfortunately, that’s an ideal, not a reality for the overwhelming majority of all people.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            It will never be a reality in cultures that maintain over-large societies.

            (I’ll shut up now, as this would just become a post about Dunbar’s Number.)

          • mountainwind

            The demand to “prove it” seems somewhat ironic, given the claims in the above post that refute mainstream science and biology.

            I guess I can only reiterate that if courteously pointing to biological realities (as understood by 99% of the human race throughout its entire existence) is enough to get you called a bigot and a transphobe, I sincerely believe that a strategic rethink is in order.

          • My claims do not refute science and biology. see for yourself

            Now prove to me that Ms Budapest has been getting death threats from us “transies”. Like I said, if you can prove she has, you’re twenty dollars richer!

          • Franklin_Evans

            You present an accurate picture of biology, but you use it to steamroll over “primary education” of biology. It is not broken. It is designed for the developmental skill levels of the children to which it is presented.

            They still teach Newton’s laws in primary school science classes, knowing full well that when the children reach high school physics they’ll be told that Newtonian physics has been essentially falsified by quantum mechanics. There’s a practical point of diminishing returns there, and teaching in 5th grade about two human sexes instead of 12 is perfectly valid.

          • Like you said, by the time high school physics arrives, the idea of Newtonian physics will seem broken.

            Why a grown person is screaming bloody murder because the ideas she learned in third grade aren’t the full picture is simply ridiculous. Guess what? Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are really her parents!

          • Franklin_Evans

            I give zero respect to the grown person who stopped paying attention after third grade. That she is throwing a 9-year-old temper tantrum over it would be wearing the shoe that fits.

            When it comes to science, if you (general) stubbornly insist that the very first thing you learned must be true forever and ever, I really have no interest in debunking your ignorance of the scientific method… which, by the way, while simple to state is quite complex enough to be beyond the ken of third graders.

          • Eh…. It depends on the third grader. Take it from one who WAS that third grader.

          • Franklin_Evans

            It saddens me that you were deprived of the subsequent steps in learning after that point. However, I’m not going to pass on your projecting that failure to the general case. Shrug.

          • I think the ghost of my comment went over your head –cops odd hate to think that you’re just insulting me.

          • Franklin_Evans

            Ha, wouldn’t be the first time that’s been true. My comments are meant sincerely, no implications or veiled connotations intended.

          • Good to know that you’re insulting me outright, then.

          • Franklin_Evans

            For future reference: I’m not shy. If I intend to insult you, my words will be very explicit about it. 😀

          • You called me stupid. That’s pretty explicit.

          • Franklin_Evans

            Shrug. You are wilfully putting words in my mouth and misconstruing my statements. Shall we call ourselves even?

            I was going to simply write “You’re wrong…” but it seems to me you are unwilling to offer even minimal trust by taking what I write at face value. Is there anything I can say in reply that will make any difference here?

        • Lithia Brigan

          I would not use “cisgender” to describe women that are willfully gender non-compliant (especially when they have said repeatedly that they don’t want to be labeled in that manner). I would use the term “female-born,” or “assigned female at birth.”

          • Ate you saying that both a) you identify as someone who is not female – gendered but who is female – assigned, and b) that you are a part of Zsuzsana Budapest’s tradition and lineage? Cos if neither applies, I would be curious as to how you might know that her lineage accepts AFAB people who are not women, cos to my understanding, it does not.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Ruadhan, in the chemical vocabulary “cis” and “trans”are not the only options. There is also “para” and it lies by definition between the other two. Lithia, would “paragender” offend or satisfy you?We can dare to invent a new term. “Cisgender” is not that old.

          • “Paeagender” would certainly seem adequate to describe people who are not cisgender but who don’t fit the typical expectations of “transgender” (as a catch – all for people who identify as genderqueer, neutrois, agender, and so on, and also as a way to describe not-transitioning trans people outside a context of potential cissexual privilege). It may also be useful to describe extreme gender nonconformity, like people like Pete Burns from Dead Or Alive or British pop star Marilyn, where people do maintain an otherwise “cis” identity, but present themselves in a manner that is clearly more typical of another gender.

            I am not sure if either of those instances are what Lilitha meant, but if the former, by my understanding, such people are not permitted in Budapest’s lineage, though the latter (though not my male examples of the latter) may be.

          • Lithia Brigan

            Yes, Baruch, let’s dare to name ourselves! Facebook came up with about 50 variations to choose from, so clearly there’s a broad spectrum of choices–and even a few for those of us who prefer to live “off the grid.” FAAB works well, for appropriate situations (otherwise, just plain women should be fine for all!). I’d much rather call myself a faab-ulous woman than refer to myself as something that sounds like it needs to be removed from one’s ovaries/breasts;)

          • Cos it’s all about you and how you don’t know Latin, right?

          • Lithia Brigan

            Actually, I have studied Latin and Etymology–and I certainly know what ad hominem means! I also know what a homophone is and how to be decent to people that are trying to have a reasonable conversation with me. I’m going to go ahead and take my “lady brain” and move along now…

          • Please show me where I said you had a “lady brain”? I’d like to know so that I can apologise, if necessary.

          • Renna Shesso

            This really is the heart of the issue: Daring to name ourselves. Does the term “cisgender” make sense? Maybe. Whoever chooses to use “cisgender,” have at it. But why is there such a push for others to use it, too, especially when it’s a question of how one identifies ONESELF?

            The insistence that we all march in lockstep on this (new and still shifting) nomenclature smacks of bullying. For all those who insist on the right to define and redefine themselves, please allow me the same privilege.

          • Daring to name ourselves. Does the term “cisgender” make sense? Maybe. Whoever chooses to use “cisgender,” have at it.

            And those who don’t, but fit the term? They can just be “normal”, if they feel like, right? Cos if that’s what you’re proposing, that’s a BIG problem. It’d be like suggesting to heterosexuals in the 1920s (or whenever “heterosexual” entered the common parlance) that the word “heterosexual” doesn’t have to include them if they don’t want it to, they can just be “normal”, and all those homosexuals and bisexuals can be categorised by these neologisms.

            Personal identity is not sacrosanct. If it was, I wouldn’t be a “trans man”, I’d just be “normal”, like everyone else!

          • Renna Shesso

            “Normal”? Who on this page is likely to identify as “normal”?

          • You’d be surprised.

          • I tend to prefer ordinary or common rather than normal. When I think about various medical, mental, and physiological issues I have that stray from the top of the bell curve….

          • Lithia Brigan

            Naming gender non-compliant women “cis-gender” is like calling an atheist “cis-Catholic.” It shows a great amount of ignorance, at best.

          • I guess that depends on what you mean by “non-compliant” in this instance. If by that you mean someone who is DAY but doesn’t identify as a female gender, then yes, your analogy would be correct. If, though, you mean someone who is DAY and generally considers their gender to be on a female spectrum but who is not generally feminine (if she is arguably feminine at all), then your analogy fails. One does not have to be feminine to be of a female spectrum gender. Nor need one be masculine to be of a male gender.

          • What you’ve just written makes me think back to a certain discussion?panel? at Pantheacon this year about how we label ourselves when Wiccan, Pagan, Heathen, or Druid are not accurate descriptors. I think there was also a discussion of personal pronounds there as well.

            How we think of ourselves, in what terms, is for each of us to do. Being designated by someone else to suit them, however it is, smacks of ownership to me, certain countries’ Books of Approved Names aside.

          • Lithia Brigan

            Sex and gender are often conflated, but they are not the same and it’s important to recognize that each functions differently in a woman’s lived experiences. I am female (biologically and legally) and have been identified and socialized by gender (against my will) since the day I was born. Although I do consider myself a Dianic witch (among other things), I do not subscribe to any form of religious dogma (“Wicca” or otherwise) and represent only my self and my own truth. I accept trans women as women and am happy to circle with my trans sisters–as I have and will continue to do so. I also happen to facilitate rituals focused on Blood Mysteries (menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, etc.). Since the birth of my daughter, these rituals have become more relevant to me personally and, most recently, I have been focusing my group practice with younger girls who are coming of age. These rituals are much needed and are focused on physical/biological rites of passage, NOT gender. As I said before, my gender is “no, thank you” and my word should be good enough to keep people from gendering me against my expressed will. That request is in no way based on phobia or hatred, but rather on self-determination and personal sovereignty. My trans sisters see my struggles and experiences as valid and worthy of exploration, just as I see theirs *and* those we share–which are plentiful and too often sidelined (on all sides of this debate) by divisive language. We can do better.

          • The question was whether or not you BOTH a) identify as something other than a woman, AND b) are an initiate of Budapest’s lineage. As the paragraph in question was specifically about Budapest and something she did and how it relates back to the tradition she founded, which she has stated, in no uncertain terms, specifically excludes trans women and also men of any sort.

            Am I to understand that your answer is “no”, both A and B to not apply to you? If so, then why do you feel it is relevant to vie for the inclusive language outside the cis/trans paradign when it’s specifically about Budapest and her lineage, where that paradigm is absolutely relevant?

          • Lithia Brigan

            Not sure why all of the responses here are appearing out of order–it makes it very difficult to follow the conversation:(

          • Also, I’m trans, myself, so yes, I know full well that sex and gender are not one-in-the-same.

          • Lithia Brigan

            It seems you don’t like the way I answered your question because I don’t subscribe to your paradigm. “Woman” is often used interchangeably for both sex and gender and I’m making distinction between the two because they operate in a materially different way in women’s lives. I want to be crystal clear that I do not speak for Z, but I have been initiated into the Blood Mysteries and I do facilitate rituals based on them, so I do have a thorough working knowledge of the tradition. The most accurate and neutral way to describe how that tradition actually functions would be to say it is focused on Women who were assigned and have lived as females from birth. Trans men do not self-identify as women, so their participation is a moot point.

          • Whether or not you speak for Budapest or “have been initiated into the Blood Mysteries” is irrelevant.

            Are you a part of her lineage? It is a yes or no question.

      • kenofken

        For my two cents, it is better, because it’s more accurate and to the point. It really does just come down to Budapest’s own definition of women. “Women born women” has has no scientific basis. It’s a phrase that attempts to assert Budapest’s conception of womanhood in terms of a conventional wisdom, ie “those women who everyone knows are Real Women.”

    • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

      I must confess, when I read “women-born”, my first thought was “well I was born of a woman…”

      • That was my first thought the first time I ever saw that term, too. And for some reason, I am under the assumption that a now – antiquated euphemism for a cesarean birth was “not born of a woman”, but I’ve searched out at least a dozen times, and I have never found anything conclusive. In which case, if that was actually a thing that was said, I was not born of a woman, myself. Apparently, I never wanted to have anything to do with those.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          In “Macbeth” he receives a promise from a trio of witches (we are everywhere) that no man born of woman will defeat him. He is defeated by a man delivered by Caesarian.

          • son of a pup… I thought I retained Shakespeare better than that.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Banquo did spring to mind, as well.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Just realised, Banquo is wrong. Should have been McDuff…

            Been a long time since I studied Shakespeare.

        • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

          Must just be bad English on the term originator’s part. Ah well.

    • kenofken

      I get exactly what you’re saying, but at some level, it’s sort of like trying to find the right shade of lipstick for a pig. There’s no useful neutral term for ideologies of hate and exclusion. For journalistic purposes, I see the point of trying to pick something more descriptive and less pejorative, but in the end it’s all just an airbrush job on something ugly. Viewed through a different lens, is a particular movement “white pride” or “concern for the distinct identity of the Peoples of the North”? Anti-gay or “pro-family”? It doesn’t much matter, and for my money, I’d rather have it straight and not dressed up with some fake veneer of pseudo-scientific dispassion.

  • Charles Cosimano

    As once again Pagans contort themselves into verbal knots trying not to offend anyone and in the process make everyone laugh.

  • Just FTR, Claudiney Prieto is not “of” the Dianic Nemorensis tradition, he is its founder, as well as the author of 13 books. He’s quite a guy and a dear friend.

    There are some errors in the press release and I understand a new release is coming.

  • Deborah Bender

    There is a front page story in yesterday’s (8/21/14) San Francisco Chronicle about Mills College in Oakland, California revising the language of their criteria for admission. Mills is a women’s college at the undergraduate level and needed to be more precise about how they decide who is and who is not a woman. Mills also clarified its policies on students who change gender while they are students.