Back On the Dance floor: A Reintroduction

Yesterday, I made this announcement on Facebook: “A couple times a year I always say I’m going to start blogging again. And then I don’t. But I really really really mean it this time. So, for the 382nd time, guys, I’m going to start blogging again. Soon. Very soon. No, really.”

Consider this my first step back out onto the dance floor.

But with the relaunch of this blog, I suppose that I should reintroduce myself. Here’s the quick and dirty rundown from the “About” section:

Sister Krissy Fiction, the nun that got nailed, is a former conservative Christian and participant in the “Ex-gay” movement for over a decade, but currently an out gay man, a drag clown nun, a devotee of Antinous, a Gnostic, and a Witch living in the hippy haven of Portland, Oregon.

Sister Krissy is a fully professed Sister of Perpetual Indulgence and Prioress of the Order of Benevolent Bliss in Portland.  Her varied background includes education and work as a minister in a conservative Christian denomination, initiation into an Alexandrian Witchcraft coven with which she is still active, and initiation into the Antinoan mysteries through the Ekklesia Antinoou.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Staff Ministry and has done graduate coursework towards a Masters of Applied Theology.

The following was an introduction that I wrote a few years ago for another blog, but it’s still mostly accurate:

I’ve been a spiritual seeker the majority of my adult life. For most of that time I’ve struggled with labels. To many, I’m sure it looks like I’m all over the place. Am I just some weird drag clown nun? a Pagan? Christian Gnostic? Devotional Polytheist?  Something else?  Some people look at me and get the impression that I jump from religion to religion to religion, never really settling on one path or another. I can certainly understand why others might get this impression, and for years I struggled with how to define myself. While I still don’t have a good answer on having a singular label that defines my path, there are a few different labels that one could stick on me: Sister, Witch, Devotee, Gnostic.

35735_1505477753934_1143986628_1478268_5448661_nSister of Perpetual Indulgence – Yep, that’s me.  I’m Sister Krissy Fiction, the nun that got nailed, a Fully Professed Sister of Perpetual Indulgence.  Being a Sister is not technically a spiritual path. It certainly has no religious component. The Sisters have no religious affiliation, and for some Sisters being a part of the organization is a way to serve the queer community, but it’s not spiritual for them.  Other Sisters have a strong background in Christianity, with the Radical Faeries, some other form of Paganism, or just consider themselves spiritual in general.  The description on the page for the San Francisco Sisters states:

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a leading-edge Order of queer nuns. Since our first appearance in San Francisco on Easter Sunday, 1979, the Sisters have devoted ourselves to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. We believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty and we use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.

When they elevate to the status of Fully Professed Sister, almost every Sister takes a vow to “promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt.”  Those are big words that I boil down to: You are not defined by the labels (stigma) that others place on you.  Rather, you are loved and worth loving just the way you are, no exceptions.  Period.  Exclamation point.  The Sisters are here to remind you of this every chance we get.   I list being a Sister as part of my personal spiritual path because I believe the vows I just shared are spiritual principles, and for me, being a Sister provides the most direct way to put my personal theology into action in the wider community.  My identity as a Sister is a core part of my spiritual identity.

antinousDevotee of Antinous – I am a Mystes Antínoou  and was initiated into the Antinoan Mysteries in Spring of 2011.   I experience interaction with the gods primarily through my devotion to the god Antinous. There are other gods I also interact with and have an important relationship with (Hekate, Dionysos, Pan, Aphrodite, the Wiccan Goddess and God, the Gods and Goddesses of the Unnamed Path), but my relationship with Antinous is one of my main focuses of devotion.  Antinoan devotional practices are a part of my regular spiritual practice.

The blessings of Antinous are many. He is a god of love, beauty, harmony and poetry. He is a god of hunting and athletic competition. A god of profound mysteries who helps the soul transition from this world to the next, and a god of the mysteries of apotheosis. He is a god of ecstasy and freedom. Antinous is not just “a gay god” or a god for gay men or a god of being gay. He was and is available to anyone who prays to him, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Antinous was a young man from Bythinia who was the companion and lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. In October 130 – around the time of the festival of Osiris – Antinous drowned in the Nile river. The Nile was considered a sacred river by the Egyptians. Anyone who drowned in it was deified. Antinous was proclaimed a god by virtue of his death in the sacred river. For the Romans the erastes-eremenos relationship was not unusual, but the intensity with which Hadrian mourned Antinous’ premature death and encouraged his cultus in the eastern empire was without precedent. Temples were built for his worship in Bithynia, Mantineia in Arcadia, and Athens, festivals celebrated in his honor and oracles delivered in his name. The city of Antinopolis was founded on the site nearby where he died. After deification, Antinous was syncretized with and depicted as the god Osiris, Dionysos, Hermes, as well as many others. (The information in the last 2 paragraphs is a description from Ave Vive Antinoe – A Place of Devotion to Antinous, a group that I maintain on Facebook.  It’s a mish mash of information and sentences from Wikipedia, info written by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, a sentence or two from Antinous for Everybody, sifted through my own words and editing.)

There are still those who are devoted to the worship of Antinous today.

The Ekklesia Antinoou (“Citizenry of Antinous”) is a queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist form of mystical religion.  The community is mostly online right now.   There is a Yahoo Group for anyone interested in Antinous to gather and discuss,  P. Sufenas Virius Lupus provides great commentary and resources over on his blog, Aedicula Antinoi, and there’s a handful of us hanging out on Facebook in the Ave Vive Antinoe group.

gnosticsoulGnostic – I am a modern Gnostic and the Gnostic worldview provides an essential philosophy and ideology, although I admit that I approach it from more of a polytheistic paradigm than a monotheistic one.  Father Jordan Stratford’s Gnosticism 101 post on his blog is still my favorite place to send people when they ask me, “What is Gnosticism?” (This is right after they say, “Oh, you’re a Gnostic?  I’m agnostic too.”)  Some of his definition:

Gnosis means “knowledge”; a specific kind of intimate knowledge, the way lovers know one another…  At the core of Gnosticism is gnosis, and the idea that enlightenment is a necessary and natural step of human experience. Early Gnostic texts are identified by [these] principal characteristics:

that it is gnosis, not faith, that saves us from deception…

that the universe “flows out of” God, the way ripples emanate from a stone dropped in water…

that the “Spark” of Divinity is immediately present in the world and constantly available to us, even if it is obscured by illusion and ignorance…

Contemporary Gnostics would add a further point; that the system or daily world of our experience – one of deadlines, “spun” media, spilled coffee, parking tickets, and traffic jams – is an artificial construct, and we have a responsibility to wake up from this illusion into a real, spiritual world outside of “the powers that be”.

I still have a great fondness for liberal, progressive Christianity, especially the United Church of Christ, but even when moving in Christian circles, I tend to experience Christianity through a Gnostic and polytheistic lens.

witchteatimeWitch – I am an initiated member of an Alexandrian Witchcraft coven in Portland Oregon.   Alexandrian Witchcraft is a Wiccan tradition that is part of British Traditional Witchcraft (BTW).  There are probably as many definitions of Wicca as there are people who claim to follow it, but I actually think the standard dictionary definition provided by Merriam-Webster provides a decent, generalized definition:  “A religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of western Europe that affirms the existence of supernatural power (as magic) and of both male and female deities who inhere in nature and that emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles.”  BTW is the high church, Episcopagan version of that definition focusing on the Craft as an initiatory, mystery tradition that preserves core orthopraxy.  Alexandrian Witchcraft also tends to include more ceremonial magic and Qabalistic practices.

And there you have it.  This gay drag nun Antinoan mystery initiate gnostic witch queerdo is blogging again.  What’s that mean?  A few times a week I’ll be using this space to write and muse on the spiritual life, LGBT issues and queer culture, devotion to Antinous, Occultism,  thoughts on politics and humor, observations on modern Neopaganism and the Craft, Gnosticism and Esoteric Christianity, promulgating universal joy and expiating stigmatic guilt, being a queer nun, and whatever else tickles my fancy (I am quite ticklish).

Sit down, buckle up, and hold on!

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