Paganism is for Men Too

Paganism is for Men Too June 13, 2024

This coming Sunday is Father’s Day, and it brought to mind an old thought that I have about the Divine Masculine and men in Paganism.

Paganism is for men too.

Author and Her Husband

This seems like an obvious statement, especially if you look at the history of witchcraft and Wicca, or the often patriarchal cultural and spiritual systems of our ancestors. Yet in the modern movement of spirituality and Paganism, its practitioners and devotees are largely women or those who present in a feminine manner.

There Are Many Pagan Men

Now I am not saying that men or male presenting persons do not practice Paganism or Witchcraft. They absolutely do. And I am blessed to know many great men who not only practice but are advocates for our religion.

If you take a look at what I’ve dubbed “Big Name Pagans” (do we have Pagan celebrities?), you will find a long list of influential and dedicated men. How can we talk about the modern Pagan and Wiccan movement without mentioning men such as Gerald Gardner and Raymond Buckland. There’s Pete Pathfinder who founded the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, a global Wiccan fellowship, in 1979.

If you do an internet search for books on Paganism, Wicca or Witchcraft, you’re going to find an amazing selection by authors such as Jason Mankey, John Beckett, Mat Auryn, Scott Cunningham, Kristopher Hughes, Alaric Albertson, Ted Andrews, Ivo Dominguez Jr, and so many, many more.

Pagan and Wiccan Men seen in Sacred Roles at Spring Mysteries Festival

I am not saying that men do not practice Paganism, I’m just saying that women seem to outnumber them. I see this mostly in the microcosm of my community but I understand that this also plays out on a larger scale. My coven, which evolved into a legal 501(c)(3) church in 2016, was exclusively women with the exception of my husband for a long time. Over the years we have had men join us and become an active part of our community. But even in my Norse kindred, where you might expect to find a larger number of men, we are mostly women.

Women Gravitate towards Paganism

I understand some of the reasons why women have embraced Paganism. Wicca and many modern Pagan practices originated in or were influenced by the counterculture of the 1950s and 1960s. The 1950s and 1960s were the decades where the nonconforming values of free love, environmentalism and mind expansion through substances took a foothold in our culture and in our religion. With this new focus on the environment and women’s rights, modern Paganism became a haven for women.

In Paganism and Wicca, women are honored. Women are given a place of prominence in groups. In Wicca, the high priestess, the woman leading the ritual is the energetic focus. Many Wiccans believe that in the religious structure, the woman is the face and the facilitator of the experience, but she draws her power from her male counterpart, the high priest, who serves almost as a battery and pillar behind the energetic scenes. This doesn’t mean the high priest does not have a speaking part or does not lead a ritual. And every group will have their balance that works for them. But take a quick look at modern Pagan festivals, groups or classes and you are going to find mostly women as headliners or facilitators.

Nowadays women are often seen as goddesses, carrying the divine spark of the Great Mother in them. We are constantly working to embrace our Divine Feminine in all of its aspects, both soft and hard. There are countless women’s festivals and women’s retreats that happen annually to help women embrace their femininity (however it may look) and to have a safe space for women to be women. I am not saying that women do not need this. We need all of this and more. But women are not the only ones with needs.

Mid-South Pagan and Wiccan Clergy Men

Energetic Imbalance In Mainstream Religion

It is no wonder that Paganism has attracted so many women when the Abrahamic faiths most of us were raised in shunned women, told us we were evil or unclean, and we had no representation in our clergy or even in the gods of those religions. I am painting with a broad brush here, because I do know Mother Mary is a large part of Catholicism. I do know that many Christian churches and Jewish synagogues have women ministers and rabbis now. But it is still just a drop in an ocean compared to the rest of Christianity and Judaism’s masculine focus.

I understand why women have gravitated to Paganism. I am one of those women. But in a woman dominated area, we cannot fall into the same religious trap that many of us just escaped from. Many Pagans come to Paganism with church trauma, with religious conditioning that is counter productive to ourselves and our communities. Over the years I have known many Pagan women who fled the Church and wanted nothing to do with anything that made them think of the Church, including worshipping a god.

If the Abrahamic faiths focus solely on the masculine end of the continuum, energetically they are out of balance. If we allow Paganism, in all of it’s many forms, to swing to the other end of that continuum and become focused only on the goddess, we are also out of balance. Having a religious space that honors both ends of the continuum, masculine and feminine, and all the part in the middle of that is where we find our spiritual and energetic balance.

This Is My Favorite Soapbox

Since I actively joined the Pagan community, one of my favorite soapbox topics is that we need more men in our communities. We need more men who want to get involved. We need more men in Paganism who are willing to step out and speak up, that are willing to help. And as I reflect on this now, I am realizing that my wish is coming true. I can visualize many of the men of my local community, and many of them are stepping up to lead. This is something that has changed just in the last ten years or so in my personal community.

For many years, I’ve talked with other Pagans (men and women) about deities. In some Pagan traditions, people may find or chose a god and a goddess to be their primary deities that they worship. Other Pagans may have multiple deities that they consider part of their personal pantheon. For the most part, anyone I’ve ever had “the deity conversation” with can quickly tell you who their goddess is or which goddess they like right now. Sadly, a large number of those people have told me they don’t work with gods. And the reason that many of them say that it because they are not comfortable with the idea of the Divine Masculine based on what they learned in the Church.

Working through that Church trauma is not something we can do in a blog post. But I want to encourage everyone to be open to the idea of the Divine Masculine if you are not already. Our society is in the middle of a pendulum swing away from the masculine and into the feminine and I don’t want the Divine Masculine to be neglected because of it. The Divine Masculine (however that might look for you) is not responsible for the teachings of the Church or the harm done to you by your local congregation. We should not reject the Divine Masculine outright just because it reminds of something we no longer like.

We Need the Divine Masculine

The Divine Masculine, the gods of Paganism and our ancestors, are part of the balance of the cosmos. The Divine Masculine and our gods play an important role in our religion. Work with Aphrodite, and Diana and Hekate all you want. Sing the feminine praises of Yemaya or Isis or Frigg. But also consider learning the balancing mysteries of Eros, Apollo or Papa Legba. Yemaya may be the Orisha of the seas, but she is master only of the surface of the seas. Olokun is the male Orisha who presides over the depths of the ocean and has domain over all other water deities. Isis is the feminine force that balances Osiris, the god who brings stability and progress. Frigg is the All-Mother and the stable partner of Odin, the All-Father who works tirelessly around the world.

Pagan and Wiccan Men seen in Sacred Roles at Spring Mysteries Festival

I’m not saying you have to find the god who matches your goddesses. Some traditions might recommend that though. I tried that and it did not work for me. I have been dedicated to Sekhmet for 10 years. I tried to build a relationship with her husband, Ptah (an Egyptian creator deity). And while Ptah gave me a gift I’ll never forget or stop being thankful for, we don’t have a relationship. Fast forward a few years and now I’m also oathed to Odin. And there are plenty of gods and goddesses in between those two that I worship and work with.

How you recognize and come into harmony with the Divine Masculine is a personal journey and will be unique to you. I just encourage you to partake of that journey in your own time. I encourage you to be open if a god reaches out to you.

Divine Space for Divine Men

And I encourage our communities across the world to help us make space for the sacred men in Paganism. They also need safe spaces where they can heal, learn and worship. Where are the men’s festivals? Where are the men’s circles? Where are the books that help men navigate Paganism with a healthy mindset?

Author and Her Husband

As we approach Father’s Day and the summer solstice (a time in Wicca and other traditions to honor the Sun as The God), I hope you will take some time to honor the Divine Masculine. Let us approach this coming week with the intention of adoring the god. Not just in worship, not just as an aspect of the greater Divine, not just as your favorite god. Let us try to approach this coming week, full of masculine energy, with the intention of honoring the men in our lives as representations of that Divine Masculine. Just as the Divine Feminine can take all sorts of shapes or appearances, so too can the Divine Masculine.

The Divine Masculine is strong, protective, supportive. It is also soft, needy, and childish. The Divine Masculine is represented in athletes with strong arms, in corporate men who use their intellect, in our silly younger brothers or nephews. The Divine Masculine is seen in all people as well, not just traditional men. Women and everyone in between hold Divine Masculine energy in them. If you don’t have a masculine role model in your life that is worthy of your love, love the Divine Masculine parts of yourself. Spend some time appreciating how the Divine Masculine shows up through you.

Yes, we need more masculine energy, more men in our modern Paganism. But we cannot attract those men if we do not work on creating a healthy, sacred space for the Divine Masculine to be honored and respected. Thank you for coming to and sticking through my Soapbox Talk.

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