In the past week, a news story has come across my desk that reaffirms my desire to have little to do with being known as pagan. In this case, it isn't so much the case itself (although it is troubling), but the "pagan" response to it that irks me.
The case involves recent arrests of members of the "Phoenix Goddess Temple" on charges of prostitution. Apparently the temple calls itself "neo-tantric" and believes in the use of sexual methods for healing practices. And all this for a "donation" of $200+ for an hour of "healing massage", or if you want sex outright, that'll run you $400+ for a 2-hour session. I think even a blind person can see that if you're paying $400 for a woman to give you sexual gratification, that's the definition of prostitution. The fact that she's dressed as a pseudo-Greek goddess while doing it just makes it somewhat fetishesque. And just because she's using stones and oils doesn't suddenly make it worship.
So imagine my surprise on a well-known pagan news review site when the overall tone was one of how we should rally around these people, because this was clearly just an attack on the Goddess and the (apparently widespread) long pagan history of sexual temples, and as such was a clear-cut case of religious persecution. The reasons--the main one is because they had the word "Goddess" in the name of their organization. The other reason is because the centers often offered non-sexual classes in addition to providing sexual services for high fees.
I don't know of any place busted for prostitution where the only thing they do is prostitution. Whether the place is billed as a tanning salon or a massage parlor or something else entirely, the presence of some sort of cover business is universal.
This isn't the first time that I've seen self-proclaimed pagans say that we should rally behind someone, regardless of who they are or what they are doing, simply because they call themselves pagan. It irks me to no end, and yet it seems to be the new norm.
So what do you think--in general, if someone calls themselves pagan, should we rally behind them (or automatically give them the benefit of the doubt) just because they say they are pagan?
In this specific case, what do you think--should we fully put our support behind Phoenix Temple or should we just let the legal system work as it will?
Okay, here I go stepping on toes. Anyone has a right to call themselves anything that they want and there is part of the problem. Second part of the problem is that many people do call themselves anything that they want, and others who have also called themselves something similar feel the need to defend those with similar names. Let us call this being eclectic.
Your forum post is a neon sign endorsing BTW, and not just any BTW but the purest, toe-the-line BTW that one can seek and be accepted into. Where there is room for the creation of perversion under the eclectic umbrella of paganism, there will always be someone stepping up to fill that room and there will always be someone who blindly and in reactionary form steps up to support that perversion, whether they are part and parcel to it or not. In BTW, you answer to your HPs, HP, Queen, lineage....perversion is reculed and not endorsed.
Let them fry.
Wowerz Ok now I know this thread has pretty much said about all it can say I guess. I just spent about a hour (like I really have the free time) looking over(I just gave it a quick look the other day) the "Phoenix Goddess Temple " web site and a number of the links from these folks.
I just have to shake my head I ask myself as I was looking this "site" over ? am I getting old, am I like out of the larger loop of what is now the way of (so called) Pagans. What really is Pagan?or what is not?
Am I working on being a old prude. I know I have "my view" of life I have a real problem with this. I think more so then before I look at this "Temple" site over.I really have trouble wrapping my head around the mind set behind this "Temple"and the other I found from the links.
Ok I get we now live in a Mc Pagan world where one can mix and match what ever one wants(some times this is a good thing) But I see that there whole out cry is that the "Powers that Be" are run my christens that don't under stand "Tantra and Goddess Worship" well ok nor do I .
I don't understand how one can think that they can be referred to as Goddess Tracy and Goddess Radha who spoke on the local raido the other day to "what the Temple is and what it is not. We feel confident that educating the general public about Tantra and our practices is the best way to grow our message and extend our reach even further into the community." See it seems that a few of the women there are Goddess's.(400+bucks a hour They better be)
If you fallow the Link "A Modern Day Witch Hunt"(oh please.!! REALLY NOW) you will find a petition to sign. An Big surprise a place to Donate funds to help with the legal fees.(P.T.Barnum would have loved this)
I do note that this Temple does seem to teach other course Pain Relief Yoga , Healing Abuse/Trauma Circle,Mystic Sister Ordination ? oh and "Naked Life Coaching"(WTF on two sticks)
I did kinda of a unscientific test I show my Witchy Wifey the temples web site not telling her about this thread and ask her her take on the site. First I got the look"an just why are you looking at this" then she look around still tossing a few side ways looks my way. She said "Dear husband" you know this a sham right it like in "incall house". Then she stated laughing and wanted to know if it was a real site I told her it was sadly then show her this tread. As a Witch it made her angry as a women it made her sad.
Like I said maybe I'm getting old But This is not what I call Witch Craft nor did I find the word any where on the site so I guess if you "use GODDESS" it ok to invoke the Witch "card" .
I like other that have posted to this thread I am not new to the Craft nor was I born last night. I am getting very sick and tired of Playgans and the mindless prats that buy a shinny pentagram and a few books and tribal tattoo(nothing wrong with tattoos) poof I'm a "Witch" .
To me this is really pretty cut and dry This is NOT a so called a "Witch Hunt" at all as this "Temple" call it. It is just some group of folk using their sudo religion to cover there ass when they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.!!!
This makes me mad for a number of reasons but the biggest one has nothing to do with paganism.
I am going to school to be a massage therapist, and it is already hard enough with societies pre-concieved notions of massage parlors for people to take this form of healing art seriously. I work hard and have paid a lot of money to get a good education, and for people to exploit that fills me with rage.
If you want sex to be a big part of your rituals and practice then either find of coven of polyamorus individuals or find a partner who is either interested in the same type of path or just really likes sex.