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the cleansing

The purpose of the spells is to ask for prosperity, protection and to purify the space. To re-sanctify the site.

They found the forsaken temple on a small island. It was well built and that was the only reason it still stood. After all, the weather there was gruesome. It had been de-consecrated obviously, as the cross was removed and the altar as well. No icons remained either. As they walked around, they discussed how many pagan temples had been taken over by the Christian church and suddenly it dawned on them… they could reclaim this one!
The gargoyles were all still flawless, as if someone cared for them. The walls and roof were intact and it was obviously a very well built site. It would be beautiful for their group.
They gathered the group and talked about buying the island so they could have the temple for their rites. Everyone agreed.
The day came when their plotting and planning came to fruition. The temple was theirs!! Pagan again.
The three priestesses gathered their tools and met at the temple to perform the incantations to renew the spirit of the place. And to awake the gargoyles …
Back to the old ways.

Goddess hear us,
We call down your blessings on us and this temple.
We ask that you help us return this temple to the old ones.
We promise you to use it for good craft and healing.
Blessed be.

They put crystals in all the corners and smudged the complete area. They piled a few stones in the center and burned incense. They poured wine on the stones and broke a loaf of bread over the stones as well.

Goddess see us,
We give succor to the gods and goddesses.
We recognize the old traditions in worship of the earth and nature’s laws.
And we ask for guidance in our journey and worship.
Blessed be.

They chopped some herbs and ground them and prepared the bags. Then hid them among the stones.

Goddess we beseech you,
for prosperity of our people and cause
for purity of this temple and our souls
and for protection of this land and all it’s inhabitants
Blessed be.

They could feel the energy of the place changing around them.

Goddess at the waning of the moon, we come to thee
Knowing you see all.
We ask for your guidance and power.

Raise the walls, cover the roof, defend your people.
Goddess we ask this of thee
Blessed be.

They performed these rituals on the wane of three moons. Then thanked the goddess … and waited.

gargoyles

the gargoyles were meant to have a twofold purpose. To be waterspouts, architecturally. And to be guardians against evil.
Each animal had a specific purpose. A specific deadly sin to ward against.

Pride – lion
Envy – snake
Wrath/anger – wild boar
Gluttony – bear
Lust – goat
Sloth – monkey
Greed – dog
and the Eagle was the dragonslayer.

The Prowl –

As the sun sets, the guardians awaken to begin their walk or flight through the site and it’s local villages. To check for people and businesses who push the edges of what is true and right. To guide the faithless back to the light. But most of all to bear witness, when the demons and imps make a conquest or set their eyes on a new target for sin’s delight.
The guardians cannot stop the people from their choice, given free will. But they can tell them what they risk, what they give up if they chose the darkest soul of night.
Perhaps it’s enough to remind them that the battle between light and darkness is better left to the divine.
The sins are the separations between human and divine. The exaggerations that are built by fear and hurt. According to science, symptoms of mental defect or disease. According to religion, signs of the devil’s hold on humanity. Yet the exact same emotions and behaviours. The exact same failure to bond with their gods, culture, community and family. The loss of self to obsessions and impulse control issues. The same fragile soul.

the dark side

Evil comes in many forms. But mostly it begins with something attractive, something you can relate to. Something you have an interest in. Then it takes over your mind and overpowers your will. It lies to you, manipulates you and it seduces you with promises of power, glory,… YOUR WISH FULFILLED.
It comes at your darkest hour and promises you freedom from whatever is oppressing you. And it tells you you are right, true, … anything you want to hear at that moment.
And when it has you in it’s clutches, it tells you that you cannot change, you cannot be forgiven. You are evil now, just as bad as them.
If you do get free, it chases you with reminders of the good feelings at the beginning and all the bad acts you have done.
Evil is built on deception and confusion.
It succeeds by slowly taking over your life, your mind, and your relationships. But it begins with a whisper from a friend.
There’s a saying that evil’s best victory is that it convinces you the devil doesn’t exist. Perhaps so, but maybe it does that by convincing you that YOU are the devil.

the lovers – light and shadow

Four times a day they meet
at zero hour, full zenith, dawn and dusk.
Each has a path of their own
where they embody all they are at full power
Until they must meld again with their opposite.
Slowly creeping toward the other
somewhat leery, somewhat eager.
When they meet, there is a crash
and a long slow whimper
simultaneously.
How can it be both?
How can they be so ambiguous?
Because in their hold
there is fire and ice
there is absence and all consuming power.
It was a moment of joy and wrath
they looked forward to with trepidation
yet also with desire.
It is a dance like no other
It is a dance never the same twice.
They dance just like lovers.
And the only people who see it
are the guardians.

anthropology on sex and gender

posted from  :

http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199766567/obo-9780199766567-0009.xml

Introduction

Gender is a key concept in the discipline of anthropology. Sex and gender are defined differently in anthropology, the former as grounded in perceived biological differences and the latter as the cultural constructions observed, performed, and understood in any given society, often based on those perceived biological differences. Throughout the 20th century and the rise of sociocultural anthropology, the meaning and significance of gender to the discipline has shifted. In early ethnographic studies, gender was often synonymous with kinship or family, and a monograph might include just a single chapter on women or family issues. Despite early female pioneers in the field, it was not until the 1970s and 1980s and the real rise of feminist anthropology that gender as a distinct area of theoretical and methodological interest took hold within the discipline. Women were no longer seen as a category of culture and society outside of the realm of the everyday. While some focused on divisions between the domestic and the public, feminist anthropologists and those interested in the study of gender began to challenge the simple “add women and stir” model of ethnography and sought to bring attention to structural inequalities, the role of economic disparities, global dimensions to gender politics, the role of language, sexuality and masculinity studies, and health and human rights. Gradually the most recent works in gender and anthropology came to encompass a wide range of perspectives that challenge Western or monolithic assumptions about women and the experience of gender. For example, non-Western writing on gender illustrates how varied the experience of feminism can be in contemporary contexts where religious beliefs, development experiences, and the very role of language can influence understandings of gender. The study of women, men, and the intersections of gender across cultures has become a key aspect of any holistic study or methodological approach in anthropology today.

sociology on sex

SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON SEX AND SEXUALITY

posted from :  https://opentextbc.ca/introductiontosociology/chapter/chapter12-gender-sex-and-sexuality/

Sociologists representing all three major theoretical perspectives study the role that sexuality plays in social life today. Scholars recognize that sexuality continues to be an important factor in social hierarchies and relations of power and that the manner in which sexuality is constructed has a significant effect on perceptions, interactions, health, and outcomes.

STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALISM

When it comes to sexuality, functionalists stress the importance of regulating sexual behaviour to ensure marital cohesion and family stability. Since functionalists identify the family unit as the most integral component in society, they maintain a strict focus on it at all times and argue in favour of social arrangements that promote and ensure family preservation.

Functionalists such as Talcott Parsons et al. (1955) have long argued that the regulation of sexual activity is an important function of the family. Social norms surrounding family life have, traditionally, encouraged sexual activity within the family unit (marriage) and have discouraged activity outside of it (premarital and extramarital sex). From a functionalist point of view, the purpose of encouraging sexual activity in the confines of marriage is to intensify the bond between spouses and to ensure that procreation occurs within a stable, legally recognized relationship. This structure gives offspring the best possible chance for appropriate socialization and the provision of basic resources.

From a functionalist standpoint, homosexuality cannot be promoted on a large-scale as an acceptable substitute for heterosexuality. If this occurred, procreation would eventually cease. Thus, homosexuality, if occurring predominantly within the population, is dysfunctional to society. This criticism does not take into account the increasing legal acceptance of same-sex marriage, or the rise in gay and lesbian couples who choose to bear and raise children through a variety of available resources. It is of course not the case that homosexuals are unable to marry or procreate with members of the opposite sex as this has occurred throughout history.

CRITICAL SOCIOLOGY

From a critical perspective, sexuality is another area in which power differentials are present and where dominant groups actively work to promote their worldview as well as their economic interests. Homosexuality was criminalized in Canada in 1841. At the time of Confederation in 1867, sodomy was prohibited, and in 1890 the Canadian Criminal Code made “acts of gross indecency” between men illegal. Acts of “gross indecency” between women were not prohibited until 1953. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, homosexuals were even treated as national security risks and hundreds of gays and lesbians lost their civil service jobs or were purged from the military. Thousands were kept under surveillance (Kinsman 2000). It was not until 1969 that the Criminal Code was amended to relax the laws against homosexuality. As Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau said in 1967 when the amendments were introduced, “Take this thing on homosexuality. I think the view we take here is that there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation. I think that what’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code. When it becomes public this is a different matter, or when it relates to minors this is a different matter” (CBC 2012). It was not until 2005 that same-sex couples were given the right to marry. Critical sociology asks why homosexuality, and other types of sexuality, have been the subject of persecution by the dominant sexual majority.

From a critical sociology point of view, a key dimension of social inequality based on sexuality has to do with the concept of “sexuality” itself. Sexuality is caught up in the relationship between knowledge and power. The homosexual was first defined as a “kind of person”  in the 19th century: the sexual “invert.” This definition was “scientific,” but in no way independent of the cultural norms and prejudices of the times. The idea that homosexuals were characterized by an internal, deviant “inversion” of sexual instincts, depended on the new scientific disciplines of biology and psychiatry (Foucault 1980).  After centuries in which an individual’s sexual preference was largely a matter of public indifference, the problem of sexuality suddenly emerged in the 19th century as a biological, social, psychological, and moral concern. The new definitions of homosexuality and sexual inversion led to a series of social anxieties that ranged from the threat to the propagation of the human species to the perceived need to “correct” sexual deviation through psychiatric and medical treatments. The powerful normative constraints that emerged, based largely on the 19th century scientific distinction between natural and unnatural forms of sexuality, led to the legacy of closeted sexuality and homophobic violence that remains to this day. They depended on how scientific types of knowledge, which defined the homosexual as an unnatural type of person, were combined with emerging forms of medical, psychiatric, legal, and state power.

Part of the power issue involved in having a sexuality or a gender therefore has to do with the perceived “naturalness” of one’s sexual identity. However, having a gender or sexual identity only appears natural to the degree that one fits within the dominant gender schema. The dominant gender schema is an ideology that, like all ideologies, serves to perpetuate inequalities in power and status. This schema states that: 1) sex is a biological characteristic that produces only two options, male or female, and 2) gender is a social or psychological characteristic that manifests or expresses biological sex. Again, only two options exist, masculine or feminine. “All persons are either one gender or the other. No person can be neither. No person can be both. No person can change gender without major medical intervention” (Devor 2000).

For many people this is natural. It goes without saying. However, if one does not fit within the dominant gender schema, then the naturalness of one’s gender identity is thrown into question. This occurs first of all by the actions of external authorities and experts who define those who do not fit as either mistakes of nature or as products of failed socialization and individual psychopathology. It is also thrown into question by the actions of peers and family who respond with concern or censure when a girl is not feminine enough or a boy is not masculine enough.  Moreover, the ones who do not fit also have questions. They may begin to wonder why the norms of society do not reflect their sense of self, and thus begin to feel at odds with the world. For critical sociology, these are matters defined in the context of power relationships in society.

SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM

Interactionists focus on the meanings associated with sexuality and with sexual orientation. Since femininity is devalued in North American society, those who adopt such traits are subject to ridicule; this is especially true for boys or men. Just as masculinity is the symbolic norm, so too has heterosexuality come to signify normalcy.

The experiences of gender and sexual outsiders—homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, women who do not look or act “feminine,” men who do not look or act “masculine,” etc.—reveal the subtle dramaturgical order of social processes and negotiations through which all gender identity is sustained and recognized by others. From a symbolic interactionist perspective, “passing” as a “normal” heterosexual depends on one’s sexual cues and props being received and interpreted by others as passable.

The coming-out process of homosexuals is described by Vivienne Cass as a series of social stages that the individual is obliged to negotiate with others (Devor 1997): first, a period of identity confusion in which the person attempts to deny or resist the growing suspicion that he or she is homosexual; second, a period of identity comparison in which the person examines the series of available identity options to see which one explains his or her sense of self best; third, a period of identity tolerance in which the person recognizes “I probably am gay” and seeks out more information and contacts; fourth, a period of identity acceptance in which the person carefully manages sexual information or claims public acknowledgment of his or her sexual identity; fifth, a period of identity pride in which the person identifies strongly with his or her reference group and minimizes the value of others; and sixth, a period of identity synthesis in which the person’s sexuality is naturalized, becoming “no big deal.” Of course the transition between these stages is not predetermined, and it is possible to remain stuck in one stage or even to go backwards. For the homosexual, these transitions are fraught with difficulty.

To what degree does the same process apply to heterosexuals? Although the idea of coming out as a heterosexual, or as a masculine man or a feminine woman, might seem absurd, this absurdity is grounded in the norms of heteronormative society that are so deeply entrenched as to make them appear natural. The social processes of acquiring a gender and sexual identity, or of “having” a gender or a sexuality, are essentially the same; yet, the degree to which society accepts the resulting identities is what differs.

Interactionists are also interested in how discussions of homosexuals often focus almost exclusively on the sex lives of gays and lesbians; homosexuals, especially men, may be assumed to be hypersexual and, in some cases, deviant. Interactionism might also focus on the slurs used to describe homosexuals. Labels such as “queen” and “fag” are often used to demean homosexual men by feminizing them. This subsequently affects how homosexuals perceive themselves. Recall Cooley’s “looking-glass self,” which suggests that self develops as a result of one’s interpretation and evaluation of the responses of others (Cooley 1902). Constant exposure to derogatory labels, jokes, and pervasive homophobia would lead to a negative self-image, or worse, self-hate. The CDC reports that homosexual youths who experience high levels of social rejection are six times more likely to have high levels of depression and eight times more likely to have attempted suicide (CDC 2011).

QUEER THEORY

Queer theory is a perspective that problematizes the manner in which we have been taught to think about sexual orientation. By calling their discipline “queer,” these scholars are rejecting the effects of labelling; instead, they embrace the word “queer” and have reclaimed it for their own purposes. Queer theorists reject the dominant gender schema and the dichotomization of sexual orientations into two mutually exclusive outcomes, homosexual or heterosexual. Rather, the perspective highlights the need for a more flexible and fluid conceptualization of sexuality—one that allows for change, negotiation, and freedom. The current schema used to classify individuals as either “heterosexual” or “homosexual” pits one orientation against the other. This mirrors other oppressive schemas in our culture, especially those surrounding gender and race (black versus white, male versus female).

Queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick argued against North American society’s monolithic definition of sexuality—against its reduction to a single factor: the sex of one’s desired partner. Sedgwick identified dozens of other ways in which people’s sexualities were different, such as:

  • Even identical genital acts mean very different things to different people
  • Sexuality makes up a large share of the self-perceived identity of some people, a small share of others
  • Some people spend a lot of time thinking about sex, others little
  • Some people like to have a lot of sex, others little or none
  • Many people have their richest mental/emotional involvement with sexual acts that they do not do, or do not even want to do
  • Some people like spontaneous sexual scenes, others like highly scripted ones, others like spontaneous-sounding ones that are nonetheless totally predictable
  • Some people, whether homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual, experience their sexuality as deeply embedded in a matrix of gender meanings and gender differentials. Others of each sexuality do not (Sedgwick 1990)

In the end, queer theory strives to question the ways society perceives and experiences sex, gender, and sexuality, opening the door to new scholarly understanding.

Throughout this chapter, we have examined the complexities of gender, sex, and sexuality. Differentiating between sex, gender, and sexual orientation is an important first step to a deeper understanding and critical analysis of these issues. Understanding the sociology of sex, gender, and sexuality will help to build awareness of the inequalities experienced by subordinate groups such as women, homosexuals, and transgendered individuals