The Need for Masculinity: The Equal Importance of Men
Author: Vetch Hoshizora
As observed by a recent essay by another Druid, Draoi, there are a lot fewer men following Pagan religions than women, who compose an overwhelming majority. Some traditions are more male-oriented than others-for example, my path of Druidry. Everyone in society sees Druids as being male, and while it’s true that women also could be Druids, women were an actual minority.
Likewise Asatru, based on Norse traditional beliefs, and which probably attracts more men than women. Wicca, however, is very female-dominated. Feminism is a strong force in Paganism at the moment, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But has anyone noticed there isn’t a word with the same “standing up for rights” connotations when it comes to the defense of men?
It also seems that men are viewed as having less power than women and that a High Priestess has more authority than a High Priest. I don’t understand this view, personally. We have a male and female pairing in leadership of Wiccan covens to reflect the fact that Wiccans believe in a God and a Goddess. I can see that this idea of putting the woman first is an attempt to right the wrongs of patriarchy, which oppressed women for around 2, 000 years or so. But I don’t see why the Goddess cannot be equal to the God; why has she got to be more powerful than He?
Now, I know what you’re thinking: the Goddess gives birth to the God; therefore, she’s better. But without the God, she would never have become pregnant in the first place. The entire cycle of the year, in which the God dies and is reborn from the Goddess to marry her again in the summer, depends on their becoming lovers and the God impregnating her with new life to be born again. A woman may carry a child, but it takes a man to create one. His role is just as important as hers. They are both the creators of life, not just the single Goddess.
And this is true of the ancient pantheons on which Wiccans base their practice. Look at the Greek Gods: admittedly, Zeus was in charge and he did a lot of womanizing, but his wife, Hera, was an incredibly powerful figure. She got her own way and punished him for all of his infidelities. She was Queen of the Gods, not just “Zeus’s wife.” Look at all the priestesses of the past, from the Oracle of Delphi to the seers and Druidesses in Celtic mythology. Look at Cuhulain’s wife, angry at his adultery but strong enough to do something about iit-so much of an equal that he would do anything to please her.
Now, I’ve always had feminist leanings. I’ve never accepted the bullying of boys in my class because I knew they were wrong for not valuing what I could do. I have always thought that women’s rights are not yet completely won (equal pay, for a start) and there is a lot of time to go before things are satisfactory between the sexes. But what we are doing now, my sisters, is destroying ourselves before we start.
I don’t advocate a return to the days of the meek housewife polishing her husband’s shoes. But I do think that the feminism that has led to today’s female binge-drinking culture has a lot to answer for. In the street, it is possible to see two generations of women: the wise, older ones, dressed sensibly and leading a sticky curly-mop toddler by the hand, and the teenage mothers with bare midriff, cigarette hanging from their lips, and brown hair with bleached stripes through it. They drink more in pubs than the men and put off having babies until it is far too late. We don’t have the time men do to have the next generation.
It may be a dim view, but before long we’ll be a society of idiots because the teenage mothers with no idea how to use contraception and get stoned every weekend will have produced the entire generation, while the intelligent career women, in the name of feminism, reject what their bodies are for and forget children.
As much as rabid feminists would like to forget it, whether you believe in the Christian God or not, women are the ones who have children, and men are the ones who give them to us. We’re not seahorses-you can’t really reverse the role. Having a child requires a lot of sacrifice on a woman’s part. But if we are to survive, as Pagans and as intelligent people, we have to procreate. We can’t claim the tolerance other faiths lack if we oppress our own men and turn them away.
I foresee a situation in which women have defected to Paganism and men have defected to monotheism purely because both paths value more their different genders; if it gets to this, of course, how will there be any more Pagans? We’ll have destroyed ourselves with our silliness.
There is the sacred feminine. There is also the divine masculine, and we need to recognize the important, eternity-long role men play in the cycle of life. As Pagans, worshipping the Earth and as part of an ancient fertility religion, we need to see that the corn didn’t grow and the livestock didn’t breed for meat and milk and wool long ago without fertilization.
Men are as important as women. The God-or the Gods-are just as important as the Goddess and the Goddesses because life would not exist without the Gods. The roles of men should not be spat bitterly out of Pagan life. They were the hunters, the farmers, the warriors, the priests, and they were Fathers. What can a daughter do without a father to be a rock to lean back on? Who teaches a girl to stand on her own two feet and gain financial independence? Who offers a daughter lessons that her mother cannot teach her purely because she is a woman?
The only substitute for a father figure is close male friends. Either way, you learn to understand the male sex from your Dad or boy mates; a boyfriend, unless he becomes a husband, is not going to tell you why he thinks the way he does.
People spend so much time ranting about the fact that we say “God and Goddess” instead of Goddess and God and “husband and wife” not “wife and husband.” But why should we change our language to reflect an equally bigoted climate of feminism? Why should we discriminate against men by making them the second-class citizens we used to be? It makes no sense to oppress a man just because his forefathers were slightly dim in their views of women’s rights.
I want a career. I want the freedom, as a Pagan woman, to worship how I will without bending to any authority but the Gods and my teachers. But I am happy to accept a man’s authority in a grove or a woman’s, just as my patron God is male, and though I’m looking at an ambitious career choice, if I met a man who I fell in love with, giving up that job to have a family would be an easy choice to make. I don’t intend to squander my chance to create a legacy for the world of children with brains and Pagan leanings. After all, what else is a woman’s womb for but to fill with the baby of a man she loves?
Author’s Note: I realize many women may not agree with me, but the fact is that feminism discriminates as much as misogyny and that is all that can be said.
Alayne Grey, Druid