Author Topic: Question: Sex/gender in Artemism, clarification?  (Read 1413 times)

idgo

Question: Sex/gender in Artemism, clarification?
« on: October 19, 2018, 10:54:49 pm »
I notice that in the materials so far, Olive's work on Artemism assumes the default gender of the reader/practitioner/Priestess as female. While it's a refreshing change from the Solar paradigm of assuming practitioners to be male by default, I'm curious as to what it means about whether male or generally masculine-affiliated individuals are permitted/welcomed/encouraged to pursue Artemism.

So, to ask the "but is this for everybody?" question that it took some solar paradigms hundreds of years to properly sort out: To what extent does the paradigm recommend or require a rejection of the masculine? Are male or masculine individuals banned, deterred, or otherwise limited in their participation in or opportunities with it?

Little Beast

Re: Question: Sex/gender in Artemism, clarification?
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2018, 08:04:56 am »
I notice that in the materials so far, Olive's work on Artemism assumes the default gender of the reader/practitioner/Priestess as female..... Are male or masculine individuals banned, deterred, or otherwise limited in their participation in or opportunities with it?

Since this language has had a default masculine format for... quite a while, I'd assume the reader is whatever gender they are otherwise they wouldn't be able to even read the post. Likewise, the moon is variously described as masculine or feminine according to whichever socio-religious viewpoint you have adopted (eg; Mani is masculine in Germanic myth) - regardless of this I can say with absolute certainty the moon doesn't have a penis or a vagina.

I had a copy of the Bible floating around for a few years where I'd crossed out the "LORD God" bit and edited in "Psycho Lovecraftian Space Monster". It didn't actually change the message.
I'll be a thorn in your side,
'Til you die
I'll be a thorn in your side
For All Ways

- Chvrches - We Sink

Olive

Re: Question: Sex/gender in Artemism, clarification?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2018, 02:28:41 pm »
Thanks for stopping by to check out my work, guys. ;)

As I wrote in the intro, there is a tendency to honor the feminine principle over the masculine. Though, inasfar as what I briefly described as the ‘divine feminine’ principle is non-polar, it must reclaim the masculine principle or transcend both. All this still begs questions of more precise definitions and expansions of each of these terms. That may well be a good topic for me to add to the list of important discussions to have here.

That being said, to me the Moon (and consequently the Lunar Goddess) is clearly a feminine force. I think on a symbolic level this is obvious and fitting for many reasons. (The nature of its reflected and perfected light, the cycles that coincide with the female cycle, the beauty and humility of its visage compared to that of the sun which blocks out the heavens and forces men to avert their eyes as if kowtowing to a king, it’s association with cold rather than heat, the perfect image of the yang principle in the full moon surrounded by night, etc etc)

This means that the choice of honoring her above all others, does imply an evaluation of the two principles and a decision to embody one before the other. Though as I said, not to the total exclusion of the strengths of the other side. Especially at the more advanced level reunification and reclamation become more important. For instance, my actions on this board. Teaching and philosophizing can be construed as a projective and therefore masculine activity - though in my case they are in service to expression of a higher feminine principle. This can be seen as a hermetic reunification, or perhaps narratively as the woman usurping the strengths of the man. I.e. a solitary Pharoah Queen, even as the great teacher reveals.

These kinds of ideas and similar ones are what lead me to default to feminine words here, even though the English language makes that difficult sometimes. (Prominent examples of words which are difficult to flip without reconstituting and defining more archaic words first: Master, Brethren, Fraternity, etc.) In writing I generally default to masculine gendered words as a stylistic choice to promote consistency, but in this case it felt very wrong.

As @Little Beast mentioned, there are a good assortment of male lunar deities which are still quite useful for my purposes, such as Chandra, Tsukuyomi, and Sin. In fact, many of the oldest lunar deities are portrayed as men, while the majority of those popular in the last several thousand years have been women. There is a theory that due to the gradual recession of the Moon, in very ancient times it was slightly larger in the sky - making it the largest celestial body visible. This alongside more skewed views about gender could explain why in those remote times the Moon was seen as the male figure and as more important than the sun, as it was superior to the latter in size and beauty. This process of flipping genders has caused some modern commenters to characterize the Moon as a trans woman. This is quite funny but it is an effective way of encoding a bit of lunar history, although much of it be informed by the masculine perspective from the beginning.

Bringing this back down to a more direct level - the value assigned to the feminine principle in this system should not be construed to mean that only women may become accomplished Lunar magicians. We are, after all, speaking about pervasive principles and not merely sex. The principles of masculine and feminine are reflected in a physical sense in the respective sex organs; but in the much more important internal sense, these principles are not perfectly mapped to any bodily characteristic. Therefore, no potential practioner of this tradition will be obstructed by his social classification as a man - so long as he pursues or is able to pursue the embodiment of the feminine principle in the mental and spiritual spheres. (Cultivating a state of the upmost receptiveness, internal potency, storing and enhancing essence rather than projecting it outward, etc. It is noted that further definitions of each principle are still begged, though I do not have the time to yet provide them.)

As to other question, which is indeed quite a different one. “Is this [Artemism] for everyone?”

I can say with near certainty that it is not. Actually the system and practices I plan to record here represent a pretty extreme path towards spiritual development. Lunar Devotion will never be a mass religion, because it does not stoop low enough to cater to the common man. I should rather expect, that no one will be able to follow this path beyond incorporating certain practices unless they are extremely driven and have unified their will, or otherwise are already an experienced practitioner with enough flexibility to explore a new tradition in a serious way. I intend to create a system of philosophy, theology, and practice for those who are dedicated to developing spiritual knowledge and ability. This is what was meant by my comments about the Pale Goddess being “terse” and “meritocratic.”

And for the same reason I would echo the statements of Yeshua when he said (somewhat dramatically):

“The gate is small and the way is narrow which leadeth unto life, and only a few find it.”

And:

“If anyone comes to me that does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brother and sister - yes, even his own life - such a person cannot be my disciple.”


Thanks for the time, friends. You have my blessing. :)
« Last Edit: October 23, 2018, 04:20:36 pm by Olive »
    Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,
     Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth, -
And ever-changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Onyx

Re: Question: Sex/gender in Artemism, clarification?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2018, 04:27:35 pm »
Quote from: Olive
The principles of masculine and feminine are reflected in a physical sense in the respective sex organs; but in the much more important internal sense, these principles are not perfectly mapped to any bodily characteristic.

I would agree with this, the human condition is quite complex. People have intellectual and emotional traits that run the gamut from "masculine" to "feminine".

Liu

Re: Question: Sex/gender in Artemism, clarification?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2018, 06:21:52 pm »
Hm, I find it quite a bit difficult to talk about a male or masculine principle or female or feminine principle.
Sure, there are things that clearly are male or female physical things (even if not always entirely clear-cut, even less if considering other animals).
And yeah, there are also mental/psychological and potentially spiritual things that seem to be more common for physical males or physical females.
But, especially as a transperson, I too often find exceptions to believe that there is anything that ultimately would be per se masculine or feminine (like people talking about male or female energy or whatever) besides social conventions and some few natural tendencies that however seem to be species-dependent.

As the opposite example of my position, a while ago I heard of Artemists (or rather Dianists, or whatever is the word) who would only allow females in their group and would go so far as to exclude pregnant women from their meetings if they were pregnant with a boy. Glad that you're not like that.

Hm, that theory about the moon being larger in the past and the influence of that on mythology is completely new to me. Kinda makes sense, and at least an interesting idea.

And btw, regarding it being difficult in English to talk gender-neutral - try German ;)
In English, yeah, there are a handful of pretty gendered nouns (I especially notice that in prayer when calling my deity my master and calling it my mistress really isn't the same), but they are marginal, and regarding pronouns, it's fairly widespread nowadays to use singular they, and some even use ne, xe or shi for these purposes, even though those have some additional connotations.
And especially in occult literature I also have seen people use generic she all the time, likely as an counter-movement to generic he.

Olive

Re: Question: Sex/gender in Artemism, clarification?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2018, 08:57:45 pm »
Hm, I find it quite a bit difficult to talk about a male or masculine principle or female or feminine principle.
Sure, there are things that clearly are male or female physical things (even if not always entirely clear-cut, even less if considering other animals).
And yeah, there are also mental/psychological and potentially spiritual things that seem to be more common for physical males or physical females.
But, especially as a transperson, I too often find exceptions to believe that there is anything that ultimately would be per se masculine or feminine (like people talking about male or female energy or whatever) besides social conventions and some few natural tendencies that however seem to be species-dependent.

So, when I speak about the Masculine and Feminine principles, I am referring to the two extremes of the polarity that is present in all manifested things. This idea has a long history in both the western and eastern esoteric traditions. It has the more specific connotation of the complementary aspects of extension and reception that we see in gametes, the sex organs themselves and even something like light and darkness. But this concept has been greatly expanded to include principles such as Man and Woman, Hot and Cold, Li and Kan, Yin and Yang, Right and Left, Order and Chaos, and the Sun and the Moon.

I’m also a trans person, but I have a bit of a different perspective on the issue. It seems to me that the masculine and feminine principles do have an inherent character to them that is not entirely socially constructed. I think for example that if we could remove a group of individuals from society and have them live outside of our influence - we would likely see most racial stereotypes prove themselves incorrect, whereas some distinctions between masculine and feminine personalities would remain true. There does seem to be a distinction between the respective principles’ manifestations of certain traits such as aesthetic, social interaction, motivators and outcomes that we probably wouldn’t do justice describing only in neutered terms.

Again, these correlations are not strictly linked to biological sex. As Onyx said, people are complex and there is a lot of exception and grey area. But I would disagree with those in the trans community that say that gender is totally a social construct and the resulting performance. (And consequently with the more revolutionary take that gender should therefore be drastically reformed or discarded.)

I would say that gender is not a performance, but an expression of an internal mode of being. And I think the existence of trans people in many disparate places and times despite external circumstances is a pretty strong point for that position. I do of course respect the validity of non-binary trans people (whether that is taken to mean an aforementioned grey area or the introduction of a new principle), but the majority of trans people are still binary and feel that they are men and women in a way that is meaningful to them. Personally, I think that even if I were alone on a desert island, I would still be a woman - and not just because of the way people used to look at me. I can’t prove that to you, it’s just something gleaned from self-knowledge. I don’t consider myself a woman because of my functional role in society, but because of my internal experience and perspective. And further, I think it is relatively easy to identify others who share those mental, emotional, and other internal characteristics with me, and those that are more towards the other end of the spectrum.

Whatever your ideas are about the ultimate foundation of gender and the applicability of words like masculine and feminine to concepts such as light and darkness - it ultimately does not take away from the usefulness of the associated philosophy/theology if you can recognize that what is being spoken about is the fundamental duality of reality in a yin/yang sort of way. If this terminology is unappealing to you, however - it may be more difficult to understand what it means to take a masculine approach to spiritual and alchemical development as opposed to a feminine approach; it may also be difficult to understand why I refer to the nondual principle as the Divine Feminine and not the Divine Masculine.

I’m confident that many of you understand what concepts I’m talking about based on prior experience with other esoteric traditions. Nevertheless I would still like to develop a more sophisticated approach to explaining what these words really mean - especially in the context of spiritual practice where many subtle distinctions have to be made. I will certainly put it on the list to do a more full analysis and exposition on this topic and it’s relevance to our work.

Quote
As the opposite example of my position, a while ago I heard of Artemists (or rather Dianists, or whatever is the word) who would only allow females in their group and would go so far as to exclude pregnant women from their meetings if they were pregnant with a boy. Glad that you're not like that.

Haha... well that’s certainly rather extreme. Especially since the founder of Dianism as it was known in the 19th and 20th centuries was a man (Henry Parkhurst). I have looked into the related material as it concerns one of the few groups that honor the Moon Goddess in the name of their practice. Research is currently ongoing and I will likely produce a discussion or lecture on the topic in the future. It was quite an interesting movement but woefully short-reaching compared to what I am attempting to do under the name of Artemism.

There have historically been occult groups and covens that were female-only, but that’s just not conducive to my intentions of open teaching and focus on experience. Even if I did want to be that selective about who could be a student, biological sex would not be be a significant enough indicator for the internal characteristics which would actually matter in an esoteric path like this.

Quote
And btw, regarding it being difficult in English to talk gender-neutral - try German ;)

Oh goodness no... if it’s anything like French then I can understand. Practically every noun is gendered in that system haha. But yes, thank you for the response. I’ll likely stick with the generic she for official Artemist writings just to keep the atmosphere in-theme. :)
    Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,
     Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth, -
And ever-changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Liu

Re: Question: Sex/gender in Artemism, clarification?
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2018, 12:47:44 pm »
So, when I speak about the Masculine and Feminine principles, I am referring to the two extremes of the polarity that is present in all manifested things. This idea has a long history in both the western and eastern esoteric traditions. It has the more specific connotation of the complementary aspects of extension and reception that we see in gametes, the sex organs themselves and even something like light and darkness. But this concept has been greatly expanded to include principles such as Man and Woman, Hot and Cold, Li and Kan, Yin and Yang, Right and Left, Order and Chaos, and the Sun and the Moon.
I often heard of that complementary, I just don't think it has much anything to do with male and female or even just with masculine and feminine.

Quote
I’m also a trans person, but I have a bit of a different perspective on the issue. It seems to me that the masculine and feminine principles do have an inherent character to them that is not entirely socially constructed. I think for example that if we could remove a group of individuals from society and have them live outside of our influence - we would likely see most racial stereotypes prove themselves incorrect, whereas some distinctions between masculine and feminine personalities would remain true. There does seem to be a distinction between the respective principles’ manifestations of certain traits such as aesthetic, social interaction, motivators and outcomes that we probably wouldn’t do justice describing only in neutered terms.

Again, these correlations are not strictly linked to biological sex. As Onyx said, people are complex and there is a lot of exception and grey area. But I would disagree with those in the trans community that say that gender is totally a social construct and the resulting performance. (And consequently with the more revolutionary take that gender should therefore be drastically reformed or discarded.)
Sure, tendencies exist, but they seem merely that, and thereby I would avoid generalizing them in any fashion. As I said, not all of it is a social construct, but those things that are not but natural/inborn, while statistically influenced by one's gender, are not determined by it.

Quote
I would say that gender is not a performance, but an expression of an internal mode of being. And I think the existence of trans people in many disparate places and times despite external circumstances is a pretty strong point for that position. I do of course respect the validity of non-binary trans people (whether that is taken to mean an aforementioned grey area or the introduction of a new principle), but the majority of trans people are still binary and feel that they are men and women in a way that is meaningful to them. Personally, I think that even if I were alone on a desert island, I would still be a woman - and not just because of the way people used to look at me. I can’t prove that to you, it’s just something gleaned from self-knowledge. I don’t consider myself a woman because of my functional role in society, but because of my internal experience and perspective. And further, I think it is relatively easy to identify others who share those mental, emotional, and other internal characteristics with me, and those that are more towards the other end of the spectrum.
For me, being trans has mainly to do with (some of) the anatomical aspects, and there more with the secondary sexual characteristics.
Sure, also regarding personality, interests and fashion I might more resemble a typical cisman than a typical cis- or transwoman, but not even sure about that, especially the first two aspects are difficult to judge, and e.g. my clothing style has hardly changed by transitioning.
I do feel more comfortable when people assume/consider me to be a male, but I guess that's because I think what they associate with the male gender is closer to how I am than what I think they associate with the female gender, so I would feel misunderstood if they'd associate me with that.

Quote
Whatever your ideas are about the ultimate foundation of gender and the applicability of words like masculine and feminine to concepts such as light and darkness - it ultimately does not take away from the usefulness of the associated philosophy/theology if you can recognize that what is being spoken about is the fundamental duality of reality in a yin/yang sort of way. If this terminology is unappealing to you, however - it may be more difficult to understand what it means to take a masculine approach to spiritual and alchemical development as opposed to a feminine approach; it may also be difficult to understand why I refer to the nondual principle as the Divine Feminine and not the Divine Masculine.
It's good that you have found metaphors useful for you - but to me, associating them with that duality feels utterly wrong, so I avoid it in my own workings, even if that's difficult due to how commonly it's used and because of the limitations of language.


Quote
I’m confident that many of you understand what concepts I’m talking about based on prior experience with other esoteric traditions. Nevertheless I would still like to develop a more sophisticated approach to explaining what these words really mean - especially in the context of spiritual practice where many subtle distinctions have to be made. I will certainly put it on the list to do a more full analysis and exposition on this topic and it’s relevance to our work.
That certainly sounds quite helpful, and I look forward to reading more of your writings even if we may disagree in the terminology and metaphors we use.

Quote
Quote
And btw, regarding it being difficult in English to talk gender-neutral - try German ;)

Oh goodness no... if it’s anything like French then I can understand. Practically every noun is gendered in that system haha. But yes, thank you for the response. I’ll likely stick with the generic she for official Artemist writings just to keep the atmosphere in-theme. :)
In French it works similar enough like in German - except that for most German nouns that refer to humans, the feminine form has a suffix, the masculine form is unmarked. So you can't even leave away the marking or replace it by some other to invent a neutral form - in Spanish, they seem to do exactly that by e.g. instead of "los" or "las" (plural the, masculine/generic and feminine, respectively), some use "les", or, in writing, "l@s".
There is a third grammatical gender in German, but it mainly refers to things and diminutives, and many of its forms are identical to the masculine forms, so it's neither appropriate nor fully neutral either.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 02:00:23 pm by Liu »

Km Anu

Re: Question: Sex/gender in Artemism, clarification?
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2020, 01:46:14 pm »
Esoteric gender. Gross.

I just use Male=Force stuff in, Female= Take it in/ grow it/ birth it. Seed and soil is more fitting tbh. There is so much that CAN be said, but most of the time it doesn't get more simple than that.