After the farmers’ market I stopped at Milk and Honey, the goddess store. Yes, the town has a goddess store. What can I say? In an earlier post I mentioned that they were going to start serving tea and coffee and expressed some skepticism about it. Apparently my pattern is to publicly express skepticism, and then go check it out, because this weekend was the grand opening of the “elixir café” and I stopped by.
They serve tea, coffee, chocolate, coffee drinks and a series of elixirs that have gemstone and various herb essences in them. I’ve seen the brand around town in a few places and never tried them, and didn’t try them today. One of the choices has kava in it, but Milk and Honey doesn’t offer that. Oh, they also serve milk and honey! Clever, and somewhat intriguing.
I ordered a small lavender hot chocolate (the sizes are Maiden, Mother and Crone, the barista/clerk showed me, grinning). I ordered Maiden size. I had my choice of organic whole milk or coconut milk, because the owners believe that soy milk is not the best for you. That was interesting. I tried the coconut milk. I have to say it was a pretty good drink. The lavender was an after-note, which was good, and conjured the impression of drinking chocolate while sitting in a spring meadow. The coconut milk makes the beverage lighter and less rich than dairy milk does, and since I had consumed a mocha drink about half an hour earlier, that was a good choice. There wasn’t a strong coconut flavor. Overall, I liked it. I like what they’ve done with the space. I asked the counter person how the grand opening had gone and she said they had over 100 people for the event on Friday, and so far business had been flourishing if not actually booming.
While I was waiting for my drink I read the bulletin board and came across a flier for “Feminist Witchcraft in the Dianic Tradition.” The flier was nicely laid out with a photo of a bronze statue of Diana with her bow in the center. I read down past the picture and came to this:
“. . .classes are open to all women-born-women.”
Wow. I said, “That’s interesting.” Apparently, that is the goddess-y way of saying “No transsexuals.”
My server asked what was interesting and I read her the sentence. She nodded. “You know what that’s about, right?”
Right, no transsexuals.
She said, seriously but not defensively, “Some women don’t feel safe in a space with men, even men who have changed, especially if they’re pre-op and still have their penises. So you’ll see woman-themed events that say women-born-women. It’s to create a safe space, but then, where’s the tolerance?”
“That’s what I was wondering.”
She said that at the annual women’s music festival in Michigan (I think), they had decided to limit attendance to women-born-women, and there had been an outcry from the trans population.
They came to a compromise; the transsexuals have an encampment outside the festival, and there is a day when they have a parade through the festival grounds. This way they get to participate but are separate and apart from women-born-women.
Yeah. . . because that’s always worked out so well. Who were those people, back in the medieval days, who were allowed to live in the city but were made to be “separate and apart?” Oh, yeah. The Jews. And in more recent, North American history, separate-but-equal ended up being only one of those things.
On the other hand, I know that many women have been wounded—and not only in an emotional or metaphorical sense—by men, and turn to Wicca or witchcraft as a way to find healing and empowerment. It’s important to have a safe place where you are not confronted by the people who are like the people who hurt you. Then how do we ever get to inclusion?
I guess the answer is that for many of us, the basis for prejudice is fear. When we move beyond fear, maybe we can move beyond exclusion. I don’t know.
What about women-born-women who are now surgically transformed into men? Do they no longer meet the definition? Are they considered men-born-women?
Questions aside I have a knee jerk (and therefore not necessarily correct) response to exclusion in this type of circumstance. Basically I am against it. This is one of the myriad of reasons that I have never joined or had any desire to join a “men’s group.” (Hanging out with a bunch of guys informally is different.) Physical violence aside my feeling is that if you are so afraid of some type of individual that they need to be banned from a group of which you are a member despite the fact that other members of the group are there to support you then you need to work on that fear, not indulge it. The fear is warping your perspective and crippling you.
They are men-born-women and not included. Dianic Wicca, which goes back to the 1950s, like all Wiccan groups really, has never included men so I don’t think this is especially different. It’s another intriguing example of the struggle to balance rights–the right to feel included with the right to feel safe.
I always believed wicca a very unique religion. I love the idea of not having any “set” way of worshipping. Also you’re able to observe alone or in any sized group.
I have been using kava tea for some time I read about how it can aid with tension and anxiety. I have found it to be relatively enjoyable and I have got to admit I really feel a little calmer after a cup. I would recommend it to any person who wants to lessen stress in their lives.