Pagan Soup: What Pagans Can Accomplish & Goddessy Gaga

Pagans Supporting Japan

It’s a good time to be Pagan. I’m very proud of our community. Peter Dybing’s fundraising efforts for Doctors Without Borders have raised over $23,000 and this week is the home stretch to reach the $30,000 goal. I wouldn’t have thought it possible that we could have raised so much so quickly. It’s a beacon shining forth of what Pagans, Wiccans, Heathens, Recons and all the other fabulous folks who make up our communities can accomplish together. Please contribute what you can, whether it’s $5 or $500 it inches us closer to our goal.

Building Infrastructure

Cara Schulz at PNC-Minnesota has created a series focusing on Pagans creating Sacred Spaces. Part 4 is up and features on the Sacred Paths Center in St. Paul. You can find the story here and the first video below.

YouTube Preview Image

This series is a great resource for Pagans seeking to create or maintain infrastructure for our communities. I’ve found this series fascinating as many of my friends are seriously tackling the infrastructure issue in their communities.

Is Gaga Promoting Goddess Spirituality?

That’s what LA Times’ Ann Powers wants to know but remains a firm skeptic:

Turning goddess culture dystopian and sexy — and focusing not on the often militantly uncool women’s movement that (pun avoidable) birthed it, but on the queer community that, lately, has been making remarkable inroads in the Glee-ful mainstream  — Gaga has found a way to place female empowerment at the center of her vision without sacrificing the gains she makes by being a daddy’s girl or a “boy toy.

I am admittedly a Gaga fan, albeit not a rabid one. I find the sci-fi theology expounded at the begin of the video awkward and uninspiring, but I find the Mother Monster concept unique. Gaga is going beyond diva and setting herself up as the living goddess and “Bona Dea” of her people. It’s a powerful thing and I have to respect her savvyness. She’s not creating music but a movement, and it will be fascinating to chart her success.

One thing I have to take Ms. Powers to task on is her seeming sneer at “flowing Wiccan skirts” in the same article she criticizes “Gaga dancing in a scant bikini.” Just what are the aesthetic requirements to be a proper feminist? A Hillary-esque pantsuit? Organic cotton macrame halter top? A burka? A corset?

I think feminism is what you do, not how you look. As a semi-granola Wiccan with both flowing skirts and corsets in my wardrobe, I believe embracing Goddess spirituality is about embracing empowerment. As the late great Eleanor Rossevelt said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Whether in a bikini or a burka I know “the Goddess speaks with certainty” and that it is by your deeds you are known. If Gaga is building a Goddess-inspired cult of acceptance for disco baby/club kid culture, then good for her. She could be writing derivative, insipid and uninspired music about being a desperate sex-kitten who embraces sexual escapism and needing a man to feel whole and at peace.

What do you think? Is Gaga a good representative of Goddess spirituality?

YouTube Preview Image
About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • Quimbob

    Gaga’s a hoot. You are right that she isn’t making music – it’s more of an experience. Maybe a pop cult thing. I dunno.
    I like the beginning. It’s just a mish mash of stuff. It could be just manga. My fave is the shelf of Gaga heads.

  • Quimbob

    Gaga’s a hoot. You are right that she isn’t making music – it’s more of an experience. Maybe a pop cult thing. I dunno.
    I like the beginning. It’s just a mish mash of stuff. It could be just manga. My fave is the shelf of Gaga heads.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1678081929 Bill Wheaton

    Yes. I think she does. I may not like it. It may not suit my taste, but I don’t have a say in that. And because of that, it exactly fits the description I think. She changes everything she touches, yes. She always challanges us and through that we are more fit for her nature.

    Lou Grant in the old Mary Tyler Moore Show had a line once. “I like women with hairy legs. It may not be very smooth, but at least its real”. Lady Gaga’s overt sexuality scares the shit out of me. And on the surface I don’t ‘like’ it. But at least it is real, and causes me to examine my own response to it, and grow. And I like that.

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    I like The Eleventh Muse, as we call Lady GaGa around the Aedicula Antinoi–as you may have guessed by our prolific usage of her music in our ritual drama at PantheaCon. ;)

    However, I’m not that impressed with “Born This Way,” for a variety of reasons I’ve already discussed at my blog. I saw the video, and while it’s creative, there’s a big thing standing in the way of seeing it as Lady GaGa trying to promote goddess spirituality: the song it supports only talks about “God makes no mistakes” and things like “the way He made you” and so forth, which is pretty blatantly Christian in its theology. If she’s trying to create a goddess spirituality in any of this, it’s of her as a goddess, her as Mother Monster and so forth…and that’s not the same thing at all. If she wants to do it, she’s not only welcome to, she’s already succeeded quite well; however, that’s very different than promoting goddess-based spirituality.

    And, there has been a Mother Monster long before her: her name was Cybele or Magna Mater, and she started out as the phenomenally powerful gender-ambiguous Agdistis. GaGa has proven she’s of this same mold…but, again, I think the point stands that while the imagery and the titulature are there, the actual theology is missing at this point.

    • Wes Isley

      I think you’re right on a number of points–and Gaga might be feeding us goddess spirituality in wee small doses. She’s throwing a lot of stuff at pop culture, and I think most of it sails over everyone’s heads (at least on a conscious level). Maybe she’ll exchange “H.I.M.” for “H.E.R.” in her next hit. Baby steps…

      I, too, love the “mother monster” mantra and while it may not be completely original from a true historical perspective, there isn’t anyone else serving up what Gaga is serving. I have a friend who always comments on how Gaga could be “pretty if she wanted to”–this friend is a woman, but it’s as if she thinks all female pop stars must be conventionally attractive in order to be successful. Gaga goes way beyond that and I do think she is the newest feminist icon we have. I think she goes beyond what even Madonna did (peace be upon her!), because at Madonnas’ most outrageous, she never moved much beyond the sex kitten/animal role, and Gaga turns that on its head. But all things in their time–you can’t have a Gaga without first having a Madonna!

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        Oh, I don’t disagree–I like GaGa a lot, and she is doing some amazingly interesting and very likable work (perhaps not on this song, though, and not because it sounds like “Express Yourself,” but because the poetry of her other songs is lacking in this one, in my opinion). It’s just that it isn’t goddess spirituality, at least at this point…

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    I like The Eleventh Muse, as we call Lady GaGa around the Aedicula Antinoi–as you may have guessed by our prolific usage of her music in our ritual drama at PantheaCon. ;)

    However, I’m not that impressed with “Born This Way,” for a variety of reasons I’ve already discussed at my blog. I saw the video, and while it’s creative, there’s a big thing standing in the way of seeing it as Lady GaGa trying to promote goddess spirituality: the song it supports only talks about “God makes no mistakes” and things like “the way He made you” and so forth, which is pretty blatantly Christian in its theology. If she’s trying to create a goddess spirituality in any of this, it’s of her as a goddess, her as Mother Monster and so forth…and that’s not the same thing at all. If she wants to do it, she’s not only welcome to, she’s already succeeded quite well; however, that’s very different than promoting goddess-based spirituality.

    And, there has been a Mother Monster long before her: her name was Cybele or Magna Mater, and she started out as the phenomenally powerful gender-ambiguous Agdistis. GaGa has proven she’s of this same mold…but, again, I think the point stands that while the imagery and the titulature are there, the actual theology is missing at this point.

    • Wes Isley

      I think you’re right on a number of points–and Gaga might be feeding us goddess spirituality in wee small doses. She’s throwing a lot of stuff at pop culture, and I think most of it sails over everyone’s heads (at least on a conscious level). Maybe she’ll exchange “H.I.M.” for “H.E.R.” in her next hit. Baby steps…

      I, too, love the “mother monster” mantra and while it may not be completely original from a true historical perspective, there isn’t anyone else serving up what Gaga is serving. I have a friend who always comments on how Gaga could be “pretty if she wanted to”–this friend is a woman, but it’s as if she thinks all female pop stars must be conventionally attractive in order to be successful. Gaga goes way beyond that and I do think she is the newest feminist icon we have. I think she goes beyond what even Madonna did (peace be upon her!), because at Madonnas’ most outrageous, she never moved much beyond the sex kitten/animal role, and Gaga turns that on its head. But all things in their time–you can’t have a Gaga without first having a Madonna!

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        Oh, I don’t disagree–I like GaGa a lot, and she is doing some amazingly interesting and very likable work (perhaps not on this song, though, and not because it sounds like “Express Yourself,” but because the poetry of her other songs is lacking in this one, in my opinion). It’s just that it isn’t goddess spirituality, at least at this point…

  • Sidhe Bear

    I see Gaga as flirting with Goddess Spirituality – while simultaneously holding a Christian view, and I wouldn’t put it past her to do that intentionally. Perhaps incorporating a spiritual ‘queerness’ in addition to her exploration and support of gender & sex queerness?

    While I don’t look to her for spiritual cues per se (although ‘Judas’ provides some good fodder for contemplation),I do love her creative genius and her voice, and I want to watch her again and again.  I love that she challenges us culturally and esthetically, and that she writes her own music.  She is a cultural goddess (small, playful g), and (IMHO) the most interesting pop icon in decades!

  • Sidhe Bear

    I see Gaga as flirting with Goddess Spirituality – while simultaneously holding a Christian view, and I wouldn’t put it past her to do that intentionally. Perhaps incorporating a spiritual ‘queerness’ in addition to her exploration and support of gender & sex queerness?

    While I don’t look to her for spiritual cues per se (although ‘Judas’ provides some good fodder for contemplation),I do love her creative genius and her voice, and I want to watch her again and again.  I love that she challenges us culturally and esthetically, and that she writes her own music.  She is a cultural goddess (small, playful g), and (IMHO) the most interesting pop icon in decades!


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X