Weaponizing Polarity: A Critical Response to “Traditional Gardnerians”

Dylan, High Priest of the Beacon Hill Coven, Boston MA

Those who seek initiation into our coven often ask, “How do you decide when to initiate someone?” Of course, we want to know that prospective initiates have a genuine interest in Gardnerian Wicca. We want to hear why they think the Craft is right for them and why our coven is their best entry point into our mysteries. We want to know they are curious about the underpinnings of the cosmos and that they hear the whisper of our gods. But we also want to see that they are a good person, and that their social and political values match our own. We want to ensure they understand the commitment of joining a coven. We want to be sure that their “energy” meshes well and productively with every other member of our group. We’re looking for synergy or what some have simply called “fit.” But there’s more to it than that. Of course, all those things I’ve listed matter. But none of them are our most important criteria. The most significant question we ask ourselves when deciding if we should or should not initiate someone is this: Do we recognize them?

For us, and for many Gardnerian covens, we see ourselves as a reincarnation cult. Initiation binds us to the coven and our coven mates. It creates an invisible yet recognizable thread that tethers us all together. When we consider a new initiate, we look for that thread. We’re waiting for that “I-have-known-this-person-forever” sort of feeling. We promise to love, die, and love again – and initiation into the Craft is the ultimate expression of that love as it ensures that when we die and return to this earth, we will find each other, celebrate the gods together, and love each other once more. That’s all we look for. The person’s age, ability, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, class, nationality, race, or ethnicity are all irrelevant distractions to that question. If when we meet someone, we look into their eyes and see the goddess in them and recognize our connection to them – we initiate them. While this is probably how most covens operate – even if they don’t articulate it that way – some make a different choice. There are those covens who allow their hate, bigotry, and deep-rooted biases to influence who they may or may not initiate. 

By now, you may have seen a problematic statement from a fringe group of conservative Gardnerians who mark themselves as “traditional.” While they may claim that their “Craft is inclusive,” make no mistake about their intentions. This group, led by long-term problematic figures in our community, is trans exclusionary and suffers from a profound misunderstanding of science, Western occultism, and Gardnerian history and practice. The so-called “traditional Gardnerians” are using the adjective “traditional” to trick would-be seekers into thinking that their reductionist and exclusionary understanding of Gardnerian Wicca is what our community understands as “traditional.” They further claim that those of us who affirm the gender identities of our initiates are somehow less authentic, less traditional, and less Gardnerian. If we read their statement carefully, we see three significant issues emerge, which I explore in more detail below: (1) this group of conservative Gardnerians suffer from profound ignorance of our tradition’s history; (2) they seek to mobilize what I am calling “toxic polarity” to justify their bigotry, and (3) they seek to impose American fundamentalist Christian understandings of “belief” onto a magico-religious system where one’s belief has been historically unimportant. 

Silencing the Past

The authors of “A Declaration of the [sic] Traditional Gardnerian Wica” state, “In the late 1930s, Gerald Gardner came upon the remnants of a dying faith. He and a small group of dedicated witches preserved what they could during difficult times.” The only things historically accurate in their claim are the date and the fact that Gerald Gardner was involved. We know from Philip Heselton’s incredible research that neither Gerald nor other members of what we now call the “New Forest Coven” came upon the “remnants of a dying faith” [1]. The Gardnerian community has not accepted inaccuracies of this magnitude since the early 2000s. To see initiates spread this sort of misinformation is especially egregious. Of course, it’s possible that they are simply ignorant of the history – but I think that’s unlikely. Instead, they attempt to frame their argument around an outdated understanding of tradition tethered to an unchangeable romantic past. They want the “esoteric community” to see the Wicca of 1939 as old and dying. They want us to see Gerald and the other members of the New Forest Coven as the saviors of that fictional past. Which, in turn, manipulates folks into seeing these ultra-conservative Gardnerians as the modern-day tradition savors akin to those who founded Wicca. Either they are profoundly ignorant, or they are purposefully twisting the historical truth of Wicca’s early formation to make themselves seem more committed and just. Either way, they lack any authority to speak for our community. 

Margaret Murray’s hypothesis that contemporary witches still existed and continued to work and worship the “old gods” in secret covens has been long disproven. However, we don’t need to lie to make Wicca’s early history seem more attractive. There were no secret covens, and Gerald wasn’t trying to save a “dying faith.” However, there was tremendous contemporary interest in reincarnation and naturalism in 1930s Britain. There was a burgeoning curiosity in romanticism and the inherent sacredness of the natural world. Gerald had traveled and encountered other religions, practices, and ways of being. He developed interests in mysticism and the occult and found others who shared those curiosities. As Hestleton has shown, the cultural zeitgeist of the time, combined with Gerald’s focus on magic eventually coalesced with the shared interests of Edith Woodford-Grimes (Dafo) and others. Members of this group believed they had overlapping past-life memories of their existences as witches. They experienced similar memories, recognized each other, and eventually, Wicca was born. Wicca then served to ensure that they’d find each other and love each other in future lives. Because of this early focus on remembrance, our coven, and covens like ours, are far more interested in a deeply embodied familiarity with prospective initiates before all else. No historical or circumstantial evidence suggests that Gerald and the New Forest Coven were trying to “[preserve] what they could during very difficult times.” Perhaps inspired by our gods but certainly encouraged by past-life memories and their love for each other, Wicca formed not in a moment of difficulty but as an expression of Perfect Love. 

Toxic Polarity 

I am not revealing any major secret to say that love is central to the Craft. It’s the source of our magic and at the core of our most essential and sacred mysteries. The poet Pablo Neruda once wrote, “If nothing saves us from death, may love at least save us from life.” While not explicitly Wiccan, Neruda’s poetry speaks to the heart of our mysteries. A mystical dance between the goddess of life and the god of death that is made magical by their love for each other. Our gods are primordial. They exist beyond the bounds of time and space – and endure outside any notion of gender or sex that human beings may have created. While we may think of our gods as being THE primordial “male” and THE primordial “female,” the application of sex and gender are simply human attempts at understanding the ineffable nature of the divine. Gods are not limited by gender. They exist beyond it. Throughout history, gods from cultures worldwide have changed genders or sexes. They’ve polymorphed into animals. They’ve become forces of nature. Our gods are reduced only by our capacity to understand Them. 

By anthropomorphizing our gods, we purposefully limit Them. However, the mystic understands that those human limitations that we place on gods are mere interpretive devices designed to help us to comprehend more fully the complexity of the inexpressible. The path of the mystic integrates and transcends these limitations. The authors of this awful declaration would have you believe that we come to know our gods, or perhaps all gods, by limiting Them. They would have you ignore the path of the initiated mystic who seeks integration in favor of the path of the uninitiated who seeks digestible simplicity. 

They further show their inexperience in both Wicca and science by arguing, 

“We recognize that male/female polarity is present in both the physical and metaphysical, and we set forth that the physical is inseparable from the metaphysical while incarnate. It is therefore necessary to practice biological female to biological male and vice versa, within a Traditional Gardnerian circle, based on the energies derived therefrom at the cellular level” (A Declaration of the Traditional Gardnerian Wica, 2022). 

As an anthropologist, I can’t even begin to articulate how irresponsible – and racist – it is to argue that “the physical is inseparable from the metaphysical while incarnate.” Religions from all over the world, and especially those practiced predominantly by peoples of color, have shown this to be untrue. Ecstatic religion, spirit possession, and trance, to name but a few examples, repeatedly show that the “metaphysical” and the “physical” are, in fact, separable. I will never forget seeing this in action while living in Haiti. During an initiation ritual (kanzo), I watched as a stereotypically masculine and heterosexual man became possessed by the ultra-feminine Erzulie Freda. Mounted by the spirit (lwa) of love and luxury, the congregation ushered him to a secluded room, stripped him naked, and adorned him in Erzulie’s lacy pink billowing dress. The man, now possessed by Erzulie Freda, sashayed around the temple, and greeted everyone present. He – or rather, she – approached many young attractive men nervously as she flirted with them, caressed them, and even kissed a few. All of this happened with zero consequence to the men’s perceived sexuality, gender, or social standing. Despite the muscled body in which he was incarnated – at this moment, he transcended his physical reality and became Erzulie Freda, the divine essence of feminine sensuality herself.  Black religions such as Haitian Vodou have shown that the metaphysical and physical worlds may overlap. Still, they may also diverge and produce profound religious experiences that would be impossible if the physical were inseparable from the metaphysical, as some conservative Gardnerians would have us believe. Indeed, erasing those traditions that center these experiences is racist. Assuming we don’t also do these things in Wicca – as if they’ve never heard of “Drawing Down the Moon” is sophomoric. 

But the conservative Gardnerian misinformation campaign doesn’t stop with cultural erasure. They also quite carelessly argue that we must practice “biological female to biological male” and that these energies are derived therefrom [sic] at the cellular level.” Let’s be clear about what they are trying to do here linguistically. They are marking English sex categories (e.g., female, male) with the adjective “biological” for a particular political purpose. While they may contend that trans-folks are welcome to participate in our mysteries, they will also add that trans initiates must do so as the sex assigned to them at birth. The only time one would need to use the word “biological” in this context is to make clear that they want to exclude trans-folks from these classifications. It’s a classic trick employed by TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) to essentialize female-ness and male-ness into distinct – and false – biological categories to exclude trans-folks from the discussion. “Biological” here is being used to disregard and dehumanize the experiences of queer and trans initiates and seekers. Just like their understanding of history, their knowledge of biology is also outdated and not based on any scientific reality. Biological sex is just as complicated as gender. Neither exists on a binary. Indeed, the gods – the beings who created the cosmos itself – understand the realities of sex. Or do conservative Gardnerians assume that our gods are as uninformed as they are? 

In 2019, biologist Rebecca Helm helped us understand the biological complexities that inform sex in her now famous tweet [2]. In a series of fifteen tweets, Helm showed, for example, how one might be physically female, chromosomally male, and genetically female. She clarified the intricacies surrounding biological sex and illustrated quite clearly that determining one’s sex requires far more data than a cursory inspection of one’s genitals could ever produce. Suffice it to say, biological sex is complicated, and it is determined by a series of (not always) overlapping traits. Neither sex nor gender exists on a binary; suggesting they do is scientifically wrong. 

Understanding this biological reality was made further significant when one of the supporters of the declaration argued elsewhere that “We traditionalists subscribe [sic] to the Hard [sic] science of biology.” As Helm has helped us to see, they don’t prescribe the “hard science of biology,” either. They advocate for an understanding of the world based on their grade-school interpretations of what they imagine biology to be. The fact remains that sex and gender are complicated experiences that exist on overlapping spectrums of many different possibilities. It is absurd to propose that the Gardnerian mysteries are only available to those who fit neatly into their obsolete understanding of the biological and social sciences. It not only shows their profound ignorance of biology and the social construction of gender but also an overwhelming unfamiliarity with the Gardnerian mysteries, our gods, and the role that gender or sex plays in these experiences. 

To achieve this, the authors of the declaration misrepresent polarity in the Craft. They approach polarity as a child would – in simple and digestible terms without complexity or nuance. They argue that the polarity found in the Craft is based on the sexual tension generated between an essentialized male and female. All the while, they ignore our rituals and the words of our Craft elders, who repeatedly show that the sacred polarity we adore in the Craft is that of Life and Death and the Love that reconciles them in all of us. They even ignore the rich history of how other occultists see hermetic polarity. In The Kybalion, for example, we learn that “everything is dual” and that “everything has poles.” No one person or being exists as a manifestation of a single binary truth. However, some conservative Gardnerians would have us believe erroneously that our genitals somehow position us firmly on one pole or the other. Their bigoted stance ignores that polarity in hermeticism presumes a non-binary existence for all of us where the “like and the unlike are the same.” It’s why many magicians and witches argue that it may be easier for the magician (or witch) to transmute hate into love than it would be for them to transmute hate into happiness. This is because love and hate exist on the same spectrum of experience and provide the path of least resistance needed to affect change magically. The principle of polarity presumes that everyone has opposing poles within themselves while paradoxically existing in a state betwixt and between the polemic extremes. But those who support the declaration aren’t interested in the truth. They are concerned only with justifying their bigotry and hatred for people who move about the world differently than they do. To rationalize their narrow-mindedness, they’ve not only had to mispresent how occultists operationalize the principle of polarity, but they’ve also had to reduce biological sex artificially into binary compartments that no biologist of our time would accept.

Of course, to all of this, the conservative Gardnerians will gaslight us by saying, “I am not a bigot! I am only following tradition when I say that power must be passed from man to woman and from woman to man.” Even if they ignore that all traditions change profoundly over time, one would think that they’d at least recognize that we have different, more specialized terms than Gerald did eighty years ago when the Craft was founded. Times have changed, and our knowledge of the world has grown. Ignoring these changes is irresponsible at best and dangerous at worst. Being able to react quickly to culture change is one of the super-powers of oral religious traditions where knowledge is passed predominantly from mouth to ear instead of from book to student. It’s why gods of blacksmithing, such as Ogun in Yorùbáland, became the gods of cars and airplanes. It’s why the gods of smallpox, such as Sakpata in Fonland, transformed into gods of HIV/AIDS and, more recently, COVID-19. Traditions are not static. They have never been. They never will be. Even if we presume incorrectly that traditions never change and that the ways in which Gerald and the New Forest Coven practice must be preserved perfectly – the argument put forth by their declaration falls apart even then. 

When we look at Gerald’s own words, we see that the tradition of passing the power from man to woman and woman to man had nothing to do with polarity. Instead, it was a way to prevent homosexual feelings during a time when homosexuality was illegal. To this point, Gardner says, 

“The law has always been that power must be passed from man to woman or from woman to man, the only exception being when a mother initiates her daughter or a father his son because they are part of themselves.” The reason, Gerald offers for this prohibition is, “that great love is apt to occur between people who go through the rites together.” (Witchcraft Today, 1954). If hermetic polarity were the real reason behind the prohibition of a man initiating another man, then one would think Gerald would say that here. Instead, he indicates that the prohibition exists because a “great love is apt to occur between people” of the same sex who undergo these rituals. He further asserts that a mother may “initiate her daughter or a father his son” or that a High Priestess may girt a sword and assume the role of High Priest to initiate another woman. If gender polarity were as crucial as the conservative Gardnerians would have us believe, these exceptions wouldn’t exist. Yet, they do. The tradition of cross-gender initiation is likely rooted in historical context: it’s important to remember that homosexuality was illegal in the U.K. until 1967. We also know that Gerald was keen on publicizing the Craft. So, it seems very likely that these prohibitions were not based on ritual truth. Instead, they were designed to make the Craft more palatable and to avoid drawing too much attention from authorities. 

We know the conservative Gardnerian stance is based on bigotry because the crime they accuse most of the community of committing is same-sex initiation. For example, they argue that transmen should be initiated as biological women and initiating them as men is an example of same-sex initiation. Ironically, they are the ones violating the very “law” they extol by advocating for some men to be initiated by men and some women to be initiated by women. But their bigotry blinds them to this gross contradiction. Unfortunately, there have always been those in the Craft who have taken these ritual rules and interpreted them in rigid, dogmatic and sometimes contradictory ways. They’ve created a sort of toxic polarity that’s defined not by the occult sciences or Craft theology but rather by their predispositions and prejudices. Polarity, when used correctly, is an attempt at understanding the inner workings of the cosmos. Toxic polarity attempts to reimagine occult theories and weaponize them in ways that support one’s deeply held animosity toward those different from them. One of these interpretations resonates with the goddess’s embodiment of Life and Love, and the other does not. 

Christianity, Belief, and the Wicca 

We’ve established that the evidence upon which the authors of the declaration are building their argument is based on misinformation and a lack of education. Now let’s ask: why are they invested in making such a toxic and dangerous argument? Why would they contribute to growing feelings of worthlessness felt by trans and queer folks every day? Why would members of the Craft seek to perpetrate violence instead of Love? Which cultural mores are supporting their bigotry and allowing them to incorrectly use the concept of “tradition” to mask their anti-queer hatred? While the questions may seem complex, the answer is quite simple: they target trans and queer folks because they hold unchallenged fundamentalist Christian ideas about the world. 

The Pan-Africanist philosopher Franz Fanon once argued, “Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove [not only] from our land but our minds as well” (Black Skin, White Masks, 1967). Fanon sought to warn Black folks the world over about the dangers of what he and others called the “colonized mind.” In his influential work, he argued that colonized peoples perpetuate their oppression by mimicking the culture and ideas of their oppressors – often unknowingly. Fanon’s work provided tremendous insight into the threats of colonialism and helped people of color to think about ways they may work to decolonize their thinking. However, Fanon’s work can be expanded to provide an interesting lens to comprehend better the motivations of those Gardnerians who have chosen to dehumanize, marginalize, and harm trans-initiates and seekers – all in the distorted name of “tradition.” 

Before white Europeans colonized the world, they colonized themselves with Christianity. In the Beacon Hill Coven, we teach our initiates the importance of intentionally and systemically decolonizing one’s mind and body of unconscious Christian biases. One might reflect upon how growing up in a Christian society has affected how they see their bodies, how they think about sexuality, or even how they conceptualize and relate to our gods. It’s not easy work – but for a modern witch or Pagan – it’s necessary. Indeed, had the so-called “traditional Gardnerians” done this work, we would not have to watch as they debate the rights of trans-initiates and seekers to know our gods. 

We recognize they are drawing on Christian fundamentalist ideology to support their bigotry because of their own words. The statement starts by describing Wicca as a “faith.” Faith is anathema to Wicca. Faith presumes a religious fervor despite contradictory evidence. In Wicca, we encourage initiates to follow their hearts, develop their own beliefs, and lean into evidence. They will, of course, tell you that they are simply using “faith” as a synonym for “religion” because that’s just what you do in English. While it is true that many English speakers use “religion” and “faith” interchangeably – it’s important to note that folks only do this because, to many Christians, the substitutions work. However, when this term is applied to religions outside of Christendom, the hegemonic power of Christianity becomes painfully visible and oppressive. So before we even get to the heart of their argument – we already know they haven’t interrogated their own biases and embodied Christian-inspired assumptions about religion or the world. 

Another instance of their overreliance on Christian modes of thought can be found in their problematic use of the word “belief.”  Belief is another concept that works best when applied to monotheistic religions like Christianity. Anthropologist Rodney Needham felt that notions of belief were so problematic when applied to non-Christian religions that the term should be eschewed from the anthropological lexicon altogether [3]. While Needham’s solution may be a bit dramatic, his point is well taken: belief is a problem. For many religions, including Wicca, the participant’s belief is unimportant. When the conservative authors of the declaration asserted, “Traditional guidelines within Gardnerian Wicca are established beliefs and practices as set forth by Gerald Gardner and are pervasive themes woven throughout our rituals” (emphasis mine), it’s painfully clear they haven’t considered what those “established beliefs and practices” actually are. They never tell us – expect to say that to be “traditional,” we must initiate trans-folks according to their biology and not their gender. But the fact is, there are no “established beliefs and practices” in the Craft that can be applied to every Gardnerian coven across time and space. 

When I was initiated into the Craft, I assumed all Gardnerians did things in the same ways my initiating coven did. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure and honor to guest with covens from all over the Wiccan world. This experience taught me quickly that the notion of a “core” set of practices is a politically motivated illusion. In the 1990s, the Gardnerian tradition was less connected globally. But thanks to the Internet and social media, the space that separated us began to collapse. Anyone who has Circled with covens outside their immediate area would know how diverse Craft “beliefs and practices” really are. The thing that binds us is not shared practice; it’s the magical initiatory current that is passed from initiator to initiate, reaching back to Gerald Gardner and the other founders of the New Forest Coven. Assuming all covens operate in the same ways and work from a shared and consistent Book of Shadows shows a profound lack of experience in our tradition and a deep misunderstanding of how Gerald and his High Priestesses designed the Craft to operate. To this point, in Witchcraft Today, Gerald emphasizes, 

“[every witch] must copy what they willfrom another, but no old writings may be kept. As everyone is apt to alter things slightly, modernizing the language and making other changes, it is impossible to fix the date when it became current. Clearly, it was not written in England” (Witchcraft Today, 1954).

Margot Alder echoes Gerald’s point when she quotes Theos, the former High Priestess of the Long Island Coven, and upline from most American Gardnerians, as saying,

“Any successful group must have the advantage of some roots upon which to build, some knowledge of previous mistakes and successes, some information as to the symbolism and myth. But then they must forge ahead to new frontiers, trying different concepts, approaching the gods in a manner which is suited to their own needs, and gaining contemporary insights into the various philosophies and teachings which they have been given” (Drawing Down the Moon, 1986).

Here both Gerald and Theos admit to a change of practice over time. This is simply how tradition works. The notion of a static, unchangeable tradition that reaches far into the past is an illusion. All traditions, even the oldest, change. If traditions are to survive, they must adapt. All traditions, even the most important among them, are mobilized by people in ways that support their political agendas and individual or social identities [4]. Reaching into the romantic past and weaponizing a misconstrued tradition to harm or dehumanize individuals in one’s community – knowing full well that traditions change, adapt, and morph – is a terrible act of hatred that could be easily avoided by simply understanding how tradition operates in the real world. Weaponizing an imagined and romantic past against people already profoundly ostracized by the dominant Christian worldview goes against everything for which the Craft stands. It ignores that our goddess is the “Mother of all living” whose “love is poured out upon the earth.” If She is the “Mother of all living” whose love is given freely to the world, why would She exclude people from participating in Her mysteries as they are? She wouldn’t. Believing that She would shows a profound and tragic misinterpretation of our gods and mysteries. 

Coven Autonomy and Transphobia in the Craft 

So, where does this leave us? We don’t have a governing body in Gardnerian Wicca. No one coven has authority over another. No single initiate – or collective of initiates – holds any supreme or governmental power. The Craft was designed based on coven autonomy. As much as I’d love to tell my readers that the authors of the awful declaration aren’t Gardnerian – I can’t do that. As far as I know, they are all properly initiated members of the Wica. Like all communities, the Gardnerian tradition is a small slice of our broader society. While coven autonomy means that the transphobic among us have no right to prevent our coven or covens like ours from affirming and celebrating our trans-initiates, this also means that there will be covens out there who engage in practices and produce rhetoric that will open vulnerable people to violence. Unfortunately, some Gardnerians are racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and classist. Some Gardnerians support Christo-fascist governments and politicians. There are even Gardnerians who support Neo-nazis and other white supremacist organizations. We can’t prevent awful people from existing. But we can speak against their bigotry, work hard to inform seekers of the richness of our tradition, and initiate people in ways that affirm their rightful place in our Circle. 

If you’re an initiate reading this, I encourage you to push back on bigotry when you see it. If you’re a coven leader, I hope you will train your initiates so that they have the tools to understand polarity – not as something beholden to gender and sex – but as the perceivable push and pull between our gods. If you’re a seeker reading this who is looking for a coven, I’d like to reassure you that you have the right to ask questions of your would-be teachers; check and verify their credentials and standing in the community, and make sure you know the politics of the coven you seek to join. Remember, when you’re joining a coven, you’re interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. While we have a lot more work to do to be more affirming to everyone who hears the call of the goddess, let me say this: the terrible people who signed that declaration of exclusion do not speak for the tradition. They don’t even represent a large swath of the tradition. They are a loud, angry, and hateful minority using “tradition” to weaponize an imagined past – void of historical and scientific fact – to justify their personally held hatred and bigotry. For every Gardnerian coven who seeks to exclude trans-initiates based on a child’s understanding of biology, five more are working hard to lead with love and celebrate trans-inclusion in the Craft. Anyone who hears the voice of the goddess whisper in their ear must feel safe to heed Her call. I hope one day we get to a point in the community where the loud anti-trans minority will come to know the love of our goddess and be inspired to change their ways. For it is She who says unto us, “Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.”

The official copy of the “Declaration of the [sic] Traditional Gardnerian Wica,” to which I’ve responded to in this post may be read in full by clicking here.

Biography:

Dylan is a 3° Gardnerian and the High Priest of the Beacon Hill Coven in Boston, MA. He’s also the Minos for Alsos Tartaros (Minoan Brotherhood) and serves as a Clan Head in the Black Forest Tradition. Additionally, Dylan holds a Ph.D. in anthropology with specializations in magic, witchcraft, and sorcery in the African Atlantic world.


Works Cited:

[1] See, In Search of the New Forest Coven, 2020.

[2] https://twitter.com/RebeccaRHelm/status/1207834357639139328

[3] See, Belief, Language, and Experience, 1973. 

[4] For more information on the ways in which traditions are invented and mobilized politically see, Hobsbawm and Ragner’s “The Invention of Tradition,” 1983.

7 responses to “Weaponizing Polarity: A Critical Response to “Traditional Gardnerians””

  1. Yes, this. Thank you for calling out that we are connected through initiation and magical current, not practice. Very well written!

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  2. Bravo Dylan, thank you for this very thorough and persuasive rebuttal. I’ve looked in vain for a copy of the original declaration which still has the names of those who drafted it. I can guess, but it’s a shame that they do not have the courage of their convictions to stand by their words.

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  3. Wonderfully written thoughts which I have held as well for decades. I like your reliance on textual evidence and the very words of those who would divide our community to destroy their sham arguments and reveal their motivations. We indeed have no need for a false orthopraxy used for political purposes for we have our initiatory current.

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