Horrible winter-like weather in April meant the Internet wasn't working for me to get on my creator on Tuesday; thankfully it is this (4/6) morning so I put up part 1 and am scheduling part 2. It's *late to go up* because I wanted to give the posts from roughly 10am EST to 10am EST.
If you haven't read part 1 yet, please read it here before continuing on with The Queen's thoughts. :)
The Queen continues with his thoughts from yesterday about how the seemingly disparate pieces of belief in his life (Unitarian Universalism, Norse Paganism, BDSM) work in his life. Yes, he was wordy- hasn't Vala joked about that sometime? :D- so I had to break it in two.
The Queen's thoughts- part 2
I want to tell you the 1st UU principle now: "We agree to promote and affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all people." First off, there is nothing in Norse Paganism that contradicts that principle. Not in my understanding of Norse Paganism, least-wise. On the surface of BDSM, and in practice for some, it would seem that Dominants and submissives are in an unequal power dynamic, the way I understand dominance and submissive it that it is matching pieces of a whole- Tommy is not a lesser person because he submits to me. UU as a religious movement is very concerned about justice and equality- it is even in our 2nd principle. However, like I said earlier, about false equalities. It is so easy for us to go through the intellectual motions theorizing how "equality" will look in real life. Too often this ignores the complexities of justice- each person brings multiple pieces of identity and in our culture, these pieces can limit and expand a person's possibilities in a myriad of ways that can limit their ability to gain justice. In this I think on the Norse God Tiwaz (Tyr, if you are using the more common Scandinavian name), who while war-like is also concerned with justice. For instance, the unfortunate fact is that Vala does not remember enough details to have any of her rapists prosecuted and opening the can of worms that would be pursing her father for her molestation would do her more harm than it would benefit her if I helped her to pursue legal justice for the times her ability to consent to sexual activity has been ignored or compromised. I have offered affection, BDSM, sex, love, spirituality to her; these things have helped her to heal emotionally, spiritually from those experiences. Of course, more than just her ability to remember, our legal justice system in the US is not constructed in such a way that a woman with a past containing details like hers can expect to gain justice against a rapist; her own history would most likely be used against her by the attackers' attorneys. What is justice can be hard to name though. I guess that is part of why I feel so drawn to Tiwaz and his stories. Of course, he is best known for placing his hand in Fenris wolf's mouth while the other gods were binding him in the chain Gleipnir, as a faith offering to Fenris. When the wolf sensed the trap, he took Tiwaz's hand. And finally, the many values important to Norse Paganism, (like honor, oath, commitment, courage) are well woven within the 7 principles. It is only the surface that they might look different.
I want to summarize my thoughts on war in this paragraph. This is one of those contentions that have long plagued UUs. As has been seen at general assemblies (the national denomination meeting), there is quite a divide between the hard-line pacifist camp and those who decry the lack of recognition of veterans, regardless of what war they fought in. I am somewhere in the middle. I do not think all wars are necessary and our leaders could stand to conduct warfare in much more honest fashions. I think often there are ways to avoid warfare that should be utilized; I was fascinated by Joelle's teaching that WWII might have been avoided if the European countries listened to Woodrow Wilson's "14 points plan" rather than passing the punitive Treaty of Versailles. But that is neither here nor there. Again looking to the example of Tiwaz, there are multiple ways of reaching justice and it is not always by utilizing weapons. I like to imagine if I had lived in pre-Christian Europe that I would have valued guarding my family, home, property over raiding, although I would have enjoyed raiding as times. Because defending the defenseless is important too. Many of my slaves have needed defense from someone, something. Tommy, from his dad; Abrecan, from himself and homelessness; Prisca, from her unwise decisions; Vala, from her parents and fundamentalist Christianity. In bringing them into my family, I acted the warrior protecting them from those who wished to hurt them. Of course there are situations with some of them where Norse Paganism, within those specific pre-Christian cultures, would have supported physical violence to protect my family; our legal system discourages that. Better or worse, that is debatable. But I can imagine, remember, if many IFs had been different, if only I had punched Tommy's dad and taken him out of that abuse when we were thirteen. We also have the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The very fact of who I am, a cisgender male who loves people not just the opposite gender from my own, means that I could not openly, proudly serve the United States in the armed forces. I would not shirk that duty to serve, if it was not for that.
But then there is the question of serving (not just in a BDSM fashion, or not even, as the case here.) By bringing these nineteen people into my family, I care for them, protect them, make it so they are not a drain on the society by collecting Welfare or other governmental helps. To me, I am serving my Gods, serving my beliefs, the principles as Unitarian Universalist by protecting those precious beings whom I love, who are my family.
Joelle here- So I thought only one thing to update, not 2. But when The Queen was writing this the first time, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was still the legal mandate in the US armed forces, so as an openly bisexual man, The Queen couldn't have served in the armed forces.
Now the second update- as pertains to The Queen's many storylines in my Vala's Story-verse: he's since come out as a BDSM switch. Right now I'm in the midst of rewriting/republishing "Out of the Night: Book One" and "Gates of the Garden: Book Two," but I'm hoping to finally get through the publishing of all 9 planned "Vala's Story" books and get into the spin-offs (one of which showcases The Queen coming to terms with his BDSM orientation.)
Horrible winter-like weather in April meant the Internet wasn't working for me to get on my creator; I'm going to have this and the "part 2" posts go from roughly 10am EST to 10am EST.
The Queen's thoughts- part 1
The way I live my UU is with as much of the non-judgmental, open-mindedness as all UUs hope to live or at least should strive to live. I endeavor to avoid snap judgments, even when it comes to the treatment of my slaves, all of whom I know better than most people. Of course, it is more than just being a UU. I am also a Norse Pagan, even if more of the stories, the deity names I feel in touch with of a Germanic persuasion than the better known Scandinavian extraction. Beyond that, I am a lifestyle Dominant in BDSM.
On the surface, some people might struggle to understand how those three seemingly very different things co-exist within one person. We UUs tend to be very politically and socially liberal. It is common enough that those among our number will take political correctness further than I think it should be. As well, in the pursuit of the 2nd principle ("justice, equity, and compassion in all human relations"), it is easy to engage in lazy cognition that promotes a surface level equality- that is a problem for me as a lifestyle Dominant specifically. Yes, my relationships with my slaves do not look like what a feminist might say they should; however, they are completely consensual. Who is some uptight woman who has read too many feminist literature books to tell me... or one of my slaves... that we have made the wrong choices?
But we have gotten off on how BDSM and UU can go together- if you want to know more, I suggest you go to Leather & Grace UUs for BDSM Awareness and read more; Joelle is quite proud of her involvement with that organization and it is is good that it exists- BDSM practitioners deserve inclusion in UU life just as much as any other consensual, alternative (to mainstream) sexuality. That happened in part because I see where my Norse Paganism and BDSM go well together. Among Norse pagans, there are some very important values that serve well in BDSM as well: honor, oath, commitment, courage, just to name a few. There is also the fact that Norse paganism does not ask us to sustain a false equality. Sure, when you see movies about Vikings, more of the warriors are men. Men do tend to be more capable to engage in physical warfare, especially when high tech weapons are not involved. However, that does not mean there were never Viking women; women who were capable were entirely included. (As aside, I loved Erik's wife on History Channel's "Vikings." She was a wonderful and complete female character, as well as a warrior in her own right. And when she defended herself against the man trying to rape her. Not the rape of course, but her defense of herself was amazing to watch.)
Coming back to those values I mentioned (honor, oath, commitment, courage), I want to touch on how the war-like nature of Norse Paganism fits into my life. My 19 slaves, even Mandisa in her way, needed some level of rescue from issues in their lives that were negatively affecting them. My honor is enhanced when I take care of their needs, even if that need be "to serve my Master." While the collaring ceremony language talks mostly about what the slave being collared, what my other slaves will do, within that language, it talks about what I swear to do. If a slave breaks a rule, I have sworn an oath to punish for the rule-breaking. What sort of Master would I be if I allowed my slaves to break their "oaths" without repercussions? With my oath (although unspoken) comes what I commit to do: the train a human being as a BDSM slave. I commit to their care. It can take a lot of courage to do what must be done, especially when it is not fun or easy. And being a BDSM Master is not always easy or fun. I had to carry Vala through some horrendous experiences before she was well enough to make the decision of taking a new name, of begging for my collar.
Please watch for part two tomorrow. (This post will be updated after the fact with part 2's link.)
Joelle speaking here- so this was originally posted back in 2013 on an old blog of mine. With changes in some of The Queen's storylines, I'd debated editing this. I decided however to let his words stand; I'll share one change in his story beneath tomorrow's "Part 2." (Updated with the link for those reading at a later date) And like I mentioned in the caption for the Leather Pride flag- Leather & Grace UUs for BDSM Awareness is permanently suspended as a group, but you can use the link I provided or click on the Leather Pride flag to get to the Facebook page, where I'm active and ready to talk with you about UU-ism and BDSM.