The one thing I have found over the last two decades is that it is too easy to have misconceptions about other groups because of all the closeting that many of us go through in self-defense. It really is time to open up to one another and realize that we have many more similarities than differences and that when it all comes down to it, we are like a patchwork quilt: each patch is unique and lovely and an indispensable part of the quilt, but if the patches didn't all hold together it would only be so much scrap. With this in mind, I offer a Dianic FAQ. My thanks to the womyn of the ZBudapest email group for helping me compile the questions we all have been asked at one time or another. My thanks also to the readers of The Goat and Candle newsletter for contributing some of the questions to be answered.
Are you all lesbians?
This question reminds me of the old Pat Robertson rant that feminism causes women to leave home, have abortions, practice witchcraft and become lesbians. I suppose in my case he got one right...*grin* In any case, the answer is no. Some Dianics are lesbians, some are bisexual, some are hetero, some are celibate by choice.
Do you castrate men?
Goodness, no! I can think of far better things to do with men than castrate them. The only time it might cross my mind is in the case of a rapist or child molester, but why else would any of us want to castrate men? The Dianics I know all agree on this one. (Even the lesbians...)
Do you sacrifice men?
See previous question...'nuff said.
Do you hate men?
As a group? Nooooooooo..... There are Dianics who are very angry with men in general. It passes. They find in being Dianic a healing space from whatever outrage caused this anger. Aside from some of the very new ones and a few very militant ones, the Dianics I know have very good relationships with men. I can think of a few men I would cheerfully strangle if given the option, but it has nothing to do with being Dianic, it has to do with personal problems between us. This tends to be true in most groups, you have people you like and people you dislike. That's life.
Why don't you believe in a god?
I can't recall any Dianic, including the fanatically militant ones, saying that we didn't believe in a god. We don't invoke male deities into our circles. There is a difference. We will pay honor to the male deities in open circle with other people, and in fact, we have many lively discussions about which male Gods we really like. Pan and Dionysus are big favorites. We just don't invoke any of them into circle when it's just us women. On a sidebar to this, yes we are also big proponents and supporters of men who would like to explore men's mysteries the same way we explore women's. In fact, many of us believe it would help modern males a lot if they would do just that. The only way they're going to get to a point of peace about what and who they are - if they're not there already - is to be unashamed and unafraid to delve into their own consciousness and find what the Gods have to say to them.
How can you view deity as only female when everything around us comes in pairs of male and female?
See previous question.... Another answer to this is that gender polarity is not the only way to view things. Personally I find the emphasis on gender polarity to be hetero sexist. If it works for you, lovely. I certainly enjoy it at times myself, but it's not the only way things work. Also, remember that some species reproduce asexually and some are hermaphroditic.
How can you practice without a priest?
Very easily. How does any female solitary practice without a priest? By being her own priestess. I certainly don't need a man intervening on my behalf to commune with Goddess. I have done huge open rituals with men and it worked beautifully. I have also done large rituals with no men; this also worked beautifully. It is the energy of the participants, not what their plumbing is that determines how things go.
It's just not right, you need balance in your rituals, you must invoke the God, right?
WRONG. To be honest, if I had a dollar for every time I was asked that, I wouldn't need to work. As I have said before, gender polarity is not the only way of viewing things. I have been in women's circles for very close to two decades now (it'll be 20 years Brighid of 2000) and I've never been in one that I would describe as unbalanced or lacking in any way. I always come away joyous and energized. I think that record stands for itself.
How do I empower myself and ALL women I touch with my life as Goddess?
With joy and laughter and support and hugs and tears and chocolate and dancing and singing and most of all, love. I am Goddess, You are Goddess. Therefore it is our job to protect, love and nurture women!
What are the "traits" of Diana?
Well, that depends on whether you are asking about the classical Diana of Roman days, Diana of the Stregha, Diana of the late Empire, or the Tuscan Diana. The reason we are called Dianics starts with the classical Diana, the maiden huntress. Her clergy was all single women. She was virgin in theses of belonging to no man. We are all of the same mind set. Many of us are married, none of us belong to our husbands. We are in these relationships through love and choice and for no other reason. It can freak a man out when he figures this out. (I know, I had one do just that.) Next you have the Late Empire Diana. She was known as Diana of a Thousand Breasts and was worshiped at Ephesus. She is seen as a Great Mother. We venerate Her as a genetrix. Diana of the Stregha is the mother of Aradia. She is the Magickwielder. She is thought to have developed from the Late Empire Diana and Hecate in Her role as Mother of Magicks. She encourages women to be strong and to take control of their lives. The Tuscan Diana is a form of the one worshiped by the Stregha. From what little I have found, She is a Mother of the downtrodden. But Dianics don't just worship Diana... we worship (I don't know if that's the right word since it seems to connote something separate... we commune...) all Goddesses when the spirit moves us.
Do Dianics worship both Diana and Dianis?
Dianis? Do you mean Dionysus? We certainly like Dionysus. He's a very neat God. As part of the Eleusinian triad with Persephone and Demeter we certainly recognize Him.
How do you become a Dianic?
That's easy. I could point you in any number of directions. These days you could contact the Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess and start reading Of A Like Mind and go that way. You could join a local women's circle, if there is one. You could go out and read the books of Zsuszanna Budapest and Shekinah Mountainwater and do solitary work. You could work one on one with a local Dianic. It's no different than any other Pagan path in that respect, there are many roads to get to the same place.
Aren't there Dianic groups with men in them?
Yes. There is another Dianic tradition started by a British-tradition woman named Morgan McFarland which is men and women both and polarity oriented. It is called Dianic because they (so far as I have ever been told) only invoke Diana as their Goddess. Also, there are male Dianics. They are called Kouretes, meaning young men, from a Cretan order that has been documented in Greek texts as being the symbolic protectors of Rhea in childbed and followers of Dionysus and Gaia.
Considering the number of feminists there are, why aren't there more of you?
This goes back to the early days of the post WWII feminist movement. In those days spirituality was considered to be something to be left behind as most of the women fixated it with the oppression of Judeo-Christianity. Women who wanted to develop a women's spirituality were considered to be flakes that didn't want to focus on the important issues, which was blatantly wrong considering how many of the early feminist spirituality women were also working very hard for things like rape and domestic abuse laws with real teeth in them and giving women subjected to those forms of brutality places to live and healing space. They lobbied just as hard for reproductive rights, harder in some cases, since being Dianic makes one very interested in being in control of one's own body. It's not enough, in my humble opinion, to work for the material side of things without working equally as hard for the spiritual side because otherwise you are left with a big gaping hole in part of the paradigm and Nature abhors a vacuum. If you give Her nothing new for the spot, She will fill it with the old stuff. But that's why there aren't as many Dianics as there might be.
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