It’s that time of year again!


That time when my focus on spiritual matter perks up. When I think about the dark time and how that affects me.

Over a decade ago, my interest in alternative spiritual views brought me to community of women. I was in my mid-twenties, and I’d been exploring these views on my own previously. But doing so in community? With like-minded people? It was a game changer.

I learned a great deal from these women. And I learned a great deal about myself. That will be a topic for another day.

As time progressed, my perspective changed. As it does. I found myself changing position on the pendulum of importance between feminine and masculine. My anatomy no longer ruled how I saw the divine. I participated in groups with women and men, met queer folk who saw their gods as such, attended a conference session on gender neutral language in paganism. These things all broadened my horizons.

This year, I have been walking beside my friend as they speak out about their gender identity and navigate how they want to express it. And how they wish others to acknowledge it.

With my past questions about the nature of divinity/deity, my friend’s experience is turning my mind toward the mythos of the wheel of the year, of our gods, etc. How would one rewrite the story of Maiden/Mother/Crone/Holly King/Oak King? Better folk than I have surely developed such things. I will try my own version. But I would like to explore where others have gone ahead of me.

I told my friend about these thoughts, and they asked ‘are you feeling more neutral-ish lately?’ It was a text conversation so not a good medium for weighty discussion. Hence this more thorough examination and excavation of the concepts lurking in my minds. (I’m always of two or more minds, I should just continue with the plural from now on. 🙂 )

The idea of genderless/gender neutral deity has been lurking in my minds for a while. It is how I have been thinking of them when not confronted by specific images or names (like Himself by Brian Froud) I have not called on the feminine exclusively for a while.

But in my daily life? I am unmistakably a woman on the outside. I mostly wear plain pants, only tending to wear skirts in warmer weather. However, on the inside, I have been having more ‘unwoman’ days. That is the word to describe it at the moment. I am just a person, neither my sex nor my gender being the primary defining characteristic of who I am.

I am not confused about my gender identity. But I think I am definitely entering a new, more fluid stage/state. As a child and young adult, I hated wearing pink and/or dresses and skirts. (In hindsight, I believe it was due more so to the requirement of panty hose. That clothing item is a torture tool and should be abolished. Also, it’s really only fun to wear when it fits properly and you have someone to flirt with. Not suitable for children!) I wore oversized shirts and sweaters, often ‘mens’ or unisex. Being one of the tallest kids/girls in elementary school, and then also being one of the first to develop breasts might have something to do with that. Then as I matured and tried new things, I liked dresses. I was able to enter into my feminine power.

But I think I am swinging on the pendulum again – I don’t need to make a show of my femininity. It’s what’s inside that matters. I think the current excavation is also about how to be a friend and ally. This work of making the world a more inclusive place has been going on for decades. But it is personal and relevant to me now. Because of my friend, and hopefully because of my ever-expanding world view.



Solstice Poems


Great Nights Returning
It’s a while since I’ve revisited the magnificent poem below by Vernon Watkins. I was moved to do so by the frosty nights we have been having and the array of stars on display. Looking up at the stars in the clear sky the other night, in one of those synchronous moments where an event links with a memory, I just thought I had to come into the house and read the poem. It seems perfect for the Winter Solstice.

Portrait of Vernon Watkins by Alfred Janes

Great nights returning, midnight’s constellations
Gather from groundfrost that unnatural brilliance.
Night now transfigures, walking in the starred ways,
Tears for the living.

Earth now takes back the secret of her changes.
All the wood’s dropped leaves listen to your footfall.
Night has no tears, no sound among the branches;
Stopped is the swift stream.

Spirits were joined when hazel leaves were falling.
Then the stream hurrying told of separation.
This is the fires’ world, and the voice of Autumn
Stilled by the death-wand.

Under your heels the icy breath of Winter
Hardens all roots. The Leonids are flying.
Now the crisp stars, the circle of beginning;
Death, birth, united.

Nothing declines here. Energy is fire-born.
Twigs catch like stars or serve for your divining.
Lean down and hear the subterranean water
Crossed by the quick dead.

Now the soul knows the fire that first composed it
Sinks not with time but is renewed hereafter.
Death cannot steal the light which love has kindled
Nor the years change it.

Solstice Blessings

12:17 pm
Know Thyself

There is no longest night, no waning dark,
The sun combusts always, somewhere in sky.
This planet, like our hearts, doth axis mark
And leaves us ever burning. Burning.

Wilt thou now burn with me, beloved one?
The winter’s cold or summer’s heat appease?
Each drawing breath we take another dawn
To waken, finally turning. Turning.

What do you wait upon? The light is heard,
You know the name of every ant and leaf
And sing the spell in every woven word,
Your chambered heart beats yearning. Yearning.

You are the light. You are the one returned.
You are the shining thing that always burns.

T. Thorn Coyle
with Solstice Blessings, 2009