Antinous for Everybody

Archive for the tag “trans*”

Requiem for the trans dead, movement eight

VIII. In paradisum

Imagine there is a city.

Imagine there is a city which is also a garden.

Imagine that trees grow in this city

which flower and fruit at the same time.

Imagine that a river runs

through this city

and four rivers spring out of it

and the waters run out

to the four directions.

Imagine the streets of this city

are broad and clear,

paved with white

or inlaid with mosaic.

Imagine the windows

of the houses are open

to the light and the air,

and the doors

of the houses are open

to visitors and guests.

Imagine that fountains flow

in the parks, and the pigeons

eat from your hand, and the dogs

play without aggression

as the cats look on

from the window sills.

Imagine the people

walking there, walking in

the street, singing

in their doorways,

cooking at their hearths.

Imagine them in all colors,

imagine them in all genders,

imagine them in all races,

imagine them in all sexualities,

imagine them in shining robes,

in glorious hats, in golden shoes,

in jewelled sandals, in shimmering veils.

Imagine that you are welcome there.

Imagine being led into the city

through the gates that are never shut

while trumpets blare on the towers

and flash mobs dance in the streets.

Imagine there is a house for you

and in this house is every thing

you ever wanted and every person

you ever loved knows the address.

Imagine what you would call this city.

Jerusalem? Antinopolis? Alexandria?

New York? Shambala? London?

Imagine that you are going there, now.

Imagine that you are home.

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Requiem for the trans dead, movement seven

VII. An ancient dirge

On this night, on this night,
every night and all,
fire and fleet and candlelight,
and gods receive your souls.

If shoes and stockings
were taken away,
at the first gate
put them on

If skirt or trousers
were taken away
at the second gate
put them on

If shirt or blouse
were taken away,
at the third gate
put them on

If hat or wig
were taken away,
at the fourth gate
put them on

If jewels or gauds
were taken away,
at the fifth gate
put them on

If cash and cards
were taken away,
at the sixth gate
take them up

If hungry and thirsty
you may be,
at the seventh gate
there waits for thee

food and drink
fire and friends
light and a guide
on this night

on this night
every night and all
gates stand open
for the trans dead
gods receive your souls

Requiem for the trans dead, movement six

VI. Libera me

O Antinous the Liberator, deliver us.

Deliver the living from transphobia

and the trans dead from their fears.

Deliver the living from the fear of Eros

and the trans dead from their unrequited loves.

Deliver the living from the tyranny of gender roles

and the trans dead from the tyranny of the body.

Deliver the living and the dead alike from all evils

that would harm the body, that would assault

and deform the soul. O Antinous, liberate us!

 

May Panprosdexia free the minds of the living

and the souls of the trans dead.

May Panhyle free the bodies of the living

and the remains of the trans dead.

May Paneros free the hearts of the living

and the hearts of the trans dead.

May Pancrates burn the bonds of the living

and likewise of the trans dead.

May Paneris contest with all hatred among the living

and defend and protect the trans dead.

May Panprosdexia succor the living

and find all the trans dead, wherever they may be,

and lead them home to the light.

Requiem for the Trans Dead, movement five

V. Communion

Lux aeterna
May light eternal shine on the trans dead
and may the light of judgment shine upon their murderers.
May light eternal shine on the path they take
and may the light of condemnation shine upon their bullies.
May light eternal shine for them, a beacon in their darkness,
and may light like a laser search the consciences of the bigots.
Light can be a blessing, sunlight, moonlight,
a candle in the darkness, a string of tiny bulbs,
but light can also be a curse, probing, searing,
burning, cauterizing the wound so it will not bleed.
May the dead walk safely into the light.
May the living walk safely under the light.
May the guilty find no rest, only the torment of light.
When there is justice, then may the trans dead
rest and remain in peace.

Requiem for the Trans Dead, movement four

IV. Offertorium

Domine Jesu Christe, Rex Gloriae

O Antinous, Liberator of souls,

Navigator of the Boat of Millions of Years,

Lover and beloved of the queers, the homos,

the fags, the dykes, the trannies,

the green carnations and the pink stars:

Deliver the souls and spirits, the bones and shades

of the trans dead from the wandering road,

from the unhallowed place.

May Panprosdexia lead them

out of the deepest pit.

May Pancrates rescue them

from the lion’s mouth.

May Paneros draw them

from the bottomless lake.

May Panpsyche guide them

through the restless winds.

May Panhyle protect them

and their bodies’ resting-place.

O Antinous, beautiful, just, benevolent,

gather them aboard

your Boat of Millions of Years

and take them to the afterlife

of their heart’s desire.

 

Hostia et preces

To the gods we offer sacrifice and prayers

on behalf of the trans dead, remembered

and unremembered, to all the gods

in all the heavens, in all the hells,

in every purgatory and limbo, on behalf

of all the souls, male or female or both

or neither, that they may be welcomed

onto the Boat of Millions of Years

and taken to the afterlife

of their hearts desire.

Requiem for the Trans Dead, First Movement

I. Requiem
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Rest not, rest not, rest not, but cross over–
cross over, you who have crossed over,
crossed over from gender to gender,
from the false to the true: Rise up,
rest not, there is a light in the darkness
for you,
there is water in the desert
for you,
there are voices calling in the emptiness
for you:
Rise up, cross over, come home.

(For the Rite of Elevation of the Trans Dead)

At the core of the Mystery

Look:  age is no excuse.  If you could draw on ancient sources to help restore the sacred feminine, a deeply radical notion in the 1960s and 70s, you could certainly have noticed that those same ancient sources make frequent reference to the sacred androgyne…Gods, Goddesses, and their priesthoods alike.  We aren’t talking about some “progress” that hasn’t quite happened yet and that we need to be patient for; nor yet about disrespect for elders, forsooth.  We are talking about Ancestors, who are the most Elder of all, and reading the source material.

And that is what I came here to tell you about.  Let stupid be stupid.  What I want to say to you…especially those who are trans, genderfluid, bisexual, or any variety of shapeshifter queer…is that we aren’t some peripheral afterthought of the sexually polarized Mystery.  We aren’t the next down the priority list of being seen as fully human, and for some a bridge too far.  We are at its core.

Sara Amis, A Word to the Witch

A couple inches of dirty water in the bottom of an otherwise empty vase

That’s my emotional state right now, there in the title: An image worthy of haiku, perhaps, or of Rilke, who wrote so movingly of roses in a bowl. That’s depression, gentle readers–a few inches of stagnant, smelly water, with a rotting leaf or two, in the bottom of a vase from which the dead flowers have been removed.

I suffer from depression. And it is a kind of suffering, though much of the time depression means “not feeling much of anything” rather than “feeling bad”. Depression means I sometimes don’t make it to work because taking a shower, or facing a rainy day and public transportation, seems too much to bear. It means some days the only thing that interests me is Township, a mobile game where you plant crops, feed critters, and gradually build a town with houses, factories, and public buildings. (I’ve just reached level 35 and acquired an apiary!) It means writing is difficult or simply seems meaningless, pointless.

Yet I find myself holding on to my daily devotions in spite of everything. And yesterday, in spite of not being able to cope with work, I managed to clear a space and set up a minimal shrine for an ancestor elevation. I am once again participating in the Trans Rite of Ancestor Elevation, for the benefit of the far too many transgender folks who died by violence in the past year. In addition, I am doing my first elevation for a personal ancestor, for my Aunt Margaret, whose birthday is the nineteenth of this month.

Aunt Margaret was actually my great-aunt, my mother’s father’s younger sister. Born in the ‘teens, she was several years old before being diagnosed with a hip out of the socket, probably a result of the difficult birthing. As an adult, she was still wearing a heavy metal brace on one leg and walking slowly, with a limp. Back then we didn’t call people disabled, or handicapped; we called them crippled, lame. Aunt Margaret was crippled, but that didn’t stop her from holding down a job for decades, or living on her own. She rented a room from another lady of her own generation, up the street and around the corner from our house, and had dinner with us every night before walking home around ten o’clock.

Aunt Margaret was a constant presence in my childhood. She gave me money for the collection plate at church and bought me a new winter coat every year. She played cards with me for hours on end. She went on bus trips with my grandmother and me; my mother hated to travel and could not sleep away from home, but Mom and Aunt Margaret and I travelled up and down the east coast from Quebec to Nashville. Did I mention that she stood all of four-foot-six? Outgrowing Aunt Margaret was a benchmark.

My life has turned out more like hers than I could have anticipated. Like me, she was divorced, lived alone, and supported herself. I have her body type, inherited from my maternal grandfather’s family. I fear I have her wonky hips, too. Her picture has been on my shrine all along, but this year I felt the call to honor her more directly and to do something for her benefit. She gave me so much when I was a child, and it took me far too long to appreciate that.

As for the transgender dead, I was informed, more or less, that participating in this year’s elevation rite–and next year’s, for that matter–is just something that I am required to do. It’s my job. I volunteered for it when I did it last year, and the Tetrad deities noticed me; now I have to keep up that responsibility. And last night, in spite of everything, I did.

I have some half-formed thoughts on what my calling is, what work the Tetrad want me to do, but they are not nearly ready for a blog post. In the meantime, think of your ancestors, dear readers, and pray for me in my depression. I’ll write again soon.

Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Internet quizzes always rely on forced choices, which is why I find them so annoying. Ninety percent of the quizzes I’ve seen that ask about one’s taste in music, for example, name performers I’ve never heard of. There is no Internet personality quiz that gives me the option to name the Irish choir Anuna, or Tudor lute repertoire, or Puccini’s opera Gianni Schicchi among my favorite types of music.

Probably the most annoying question on any quiz, for me, is, “Dog or cat?” Because, of course, the answer is BIRD. And because the answer is simply more complicated than any single choice. I like dogs but prefer not to own one. I like cats but am allergic to them, so my interaction with them has to be limited. Birds are my companions of choice, but I’m also very fond of bearded dragons. I like reptile pets in general but not rodents; bunnies are photogenic, to be sure, but a sweet-looking pet rabbit chomped on my finger once. The same owner’s bearded dragon didn’t.

In the past couple years I’ve realized that asking if someone is male or female is about as useful and accurate as asking whether they are a dog person or a cat person. Gender is just more complicated than that. I myself am a comfortably cisgender female person. I’ve never had reason to disagree with the gender I was assigned at birth. On the other hand, I have lots of experiences of not fitting into female or feminine roles. As a child, I was neither a tomboy nor a little princess, but more of a little nerd, whether I was in a skirt or in pants. I can do femme but not high femme. There are things in myself I see as masculine because my culture calls them masculine–like being handy with tools, for instance–but I’m not butch in the conventional sense. I can’t sew a button on a coat, but I replaced a part in my toilet by myself. And yet I identify as a woman with no dysphoria, even if I’m too smart, too fat, too butch, too femme, too whatever for some people’s ideas of what a woman is.

The past few years have been an era of coming into visibility for transgender people, and for other people who can’t just tick off cat or dog, boy or girl on the quiz and move on. No doubt my own better understanding of the multiple possibilities of gender is part of that. Still, I wasn’t exactly prepared when the first deities to “tap” me, to seek my attention, turned out to be a group of deities who expressed those expanded possibilities.

I have written about participating in the Rite of Trans Ancestor Elevation last November and being contacted by these deities. I would like to say a little more about them here.

Collectively, they are known as the Tetrad++, because they first revealed themselves as a quartet, but two more joined their number. They are Panpsyche, “all-soul”, who is a trans female goddess; Panhyle, “all-body”, a trans male god; Paneros, “all-love”, a metagender deity; Pancrates, “all-power”, a pangendered deity; Paneris, “all-strife”, a genderfluid deity; and Panprosdexia, “all-acceptance”, an agender and asexual deity.

My initial contact with the Tetrad++ was during the Rite of Elevation when I was praying to them for the first time. I had a strong sense of a group of people standing over me, very tall people with staffs, or spears, or something, peering down at me the way an adult peers down at a small child playing on the floor. (In fact, I was sitting on the floor at the time.) I had a feeling of being noticed, of their attention, and of interest coming from them–almost of recognition: “Ah, here’s one of ours.”

On another night, while reciting the prayers, I had an experience I can only understand as Paneros and Paneris attempting to possess me, jointly. It felt like something was trying to open up my skull and get in, from above and behind me, yet not in a hostile way. I panicked and rejected the idea, and they backed off. I explained that I was not wholly unwilling, but I was untrained and unready for the experience.

Since then I have read about the Tetrad++, prayed and offered to them, written prayers for them, and accepted that, in whatever way, for whatever reason, although I’m not trans, I am “one of theirs”. I am definitely one of theirs in the sense of being a devotee, possibly in the sense of being, in future, a priestess or mediator for them. Maybe my gender is less important to them than my sharing their values: self-esteem for all, proper self-care for all, joyous erotic love for all, free gender expression for all. Because I’m neither a dog person nor a cat person, and apparently the gods can’t take Internet quizzes, either.

For Leelah Alcorn

She left a note on her Tumblr saying that there was no way out. And even in mourning her death, her mother misgendered her.

For Leelah Alcorn, I will pour out cool water.

For Leelah Alcorn, I will light a candle in the darkness.

For Leelah Alcorn, I will pray.

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