OK, I’m going to weenine out on this one and make it even less about my own spiritual beliefs and practises than the last one. Long story short, while my practises include a fair amount of less-than-chaste communique I’m less inclined to put this into terms more coherent than, well, this post. Don’t get me wrong, I have little shame about sex, probably even none, but this, for me, is less sex and more akin to a level of prayer, for lack of a better word — it’s very intimate, and not something that is easy to put into coherent language for others.
That said, I can see little ways in which my path has influenced the expression of my sexuality, much less how I think of it. For starters, I pretty much identify as “gay” out of convenience, because as a man who has had an overwhelmingly dominant sexual attraction an experience with men, this placates an audience that desires to compartmentalise human sexuality. The ancient Hellenes had no such terms, and as such, any subculture surrounding those of similar experience to myself was probably far more subtle than it is today. There were terms to describe behaviours, and it was generally accepted that most people would experience sexual relations with both sexes1 — though, interestingly, it should be noted that it was often the case (as acceptance varied with region) that those who experienced exclusive heterosexuality, or nearly so, were better-accepted than those experienced exclusive homosexuality. While acceptance of near or exclusive homosexuality varied with region, the apparent status quo that can be deduced from surviving texts show a disproportionate acceptance of exclusive heterosexuality. On the other hand, life in the BCE was far harsher than it is now, stillbirths and deaths in childbirth were far more common, as was the probability of death from common ailments that seem trivial today — such as chickenpox or measles. In other words, there was a reason that it was far more commendable to breed than to ostensibly not breed.
My love for Eros, though, has led me to learning about the mating habits of birds, for they are all His, and it’s been observed that even male-male homosexual pairings in many bird species will adopt abandoned nests, or simply steal them, or in lieu of this, adopt a rock of appropriate size, and nurture it. Outside the human world, it’s evident that even same-sex couples are perfectly capable of aiding in the growth of a culture — and indeed, in swans, it’s has been observed that cygnets of either sex that are nurtured by two males have a higher rate of survival than cygnets raised by a male-female pair; it may, in some ways, be beneficial to be oriented toward one’s own gender, for both one’s own soul and for one’s community.
I also believe that men and women have inherently different energies, as do those who are IS or socially androgynous, gender queer, or “gender-free”. I also believe that “butch” and “fem” are a spectrum that the majority of men and women fall at varying points on, and that this produces another difference in energy, maybe even the stronger difference than the gender itself. This probably has an effect on how we relate to the Theoi, and this may differ among deities — I don’t get the impression that Eros is too picky about gender, but I do get the feeling that Artemis especially is, like to the point that certain expressions offend Her. Now, I do also believe that formalised ritual weddings between two people should vary based on sex and gender, so obviously there are even some queer Hellenes who may be at odds with me on the topic of same-sex marriage and Hellenismos, but I also believe that the ritual should be separate from a civic marriage — which is what ancient marriage really was, a civic formality that may or may not have been followed with a ritual ceremony. The civic definition of marriage has changed enough, even in modern Hellas, so that procreation between the two joined parties is no longer then goal of marriage, as it was in ancient agreements, after all, infertile and elderly couples can legally marry, so this, by logic, should be extended to people who are of the same sex. Whether or not a homosexual union should have the same terminology as a heterosexual one, on the other hand, is something that I’ve always personally felt should only be kept or altered to reflect the couple getting married, even if the couple is man-and-woman. After all, if this is a union where they know one or both of them has a condition leading to infertility and plan to adopt, well, you can say that the language about “legitimate offspring” is therefore symbolic — and so logically, it can be extended that a pair of women uniting with the same intent to adopt should be free to use the same symbolic language, after all, legally, that child would be legitimately theirs. On the other hand, if a het couple has decided before marriage that they have no intentions to make babies or adopt, be they fertile or not, then why should their ritual be obligated to use that language?
Ancient marriages were hardly one-size-fits-all, either; there were marriages for political alignment (at least one of Alexander’s brides was such an arrangement), marriage for status, and among slaves and the lowest free classes, marriage out of affection was far more common because daughters were to poor for dowries and sons had nothing to lose (and after all, the girls they could gain from were likely betrothed long before they came to a marrying age). At the tomb or cult centre of Herakes’ beloved, Iolaus, it is also reported by Plutarch that male-male couples would pledge themselves to each-other, so obviously even the concept of a ritual same-sex union is an ancient one.
1: Yes, by the standards of many Teansgender and Intersex groups, there is either no such thing as biological/reproductive sex, or there are far more than two, but firstly, I am speaking of ancient Hellas, where this was definitely the line of thinking, even if those such a the Gallae offer evidence that there were certainly more than two accepted genders
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