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Throughout most of Wicca and Neopaganism, homosexuality is not considered an issue. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are almost always welcomed in individual communities, covens, study groups, and circles. Many homosexual Neo-Pagans take to Neo-Pagan religions specifically in order to get away from what they see as homophobic pressure in their original religion to one in which their relationships are seen on an equal footing.
One qualified exception is Gardnerian Wicca and other relatively traditional groups. Gardnerians do not make any moral judgements about homosexual people, but they usually form their covens from male-female pairs.
Most traditional Wiccans worship the God and Goddess. Traditional Wiccan covens aspire to having equal numbers of men and women, to embody their belief in the importance of balance between the male and female (which extends sexually). This goal is often not met, since there are more women involved in Wiccan Religion than men. There are probably around the same or greater percentage of homosexuals practicing traditional Wicca, as the percentage of homosexuals in the population at large. This, and the imbalance of female and male practitioners, can sometimes be a practical obstacle to gay people and women who wish to join traditional circles, an obstacle often shared by single people. The actual sexual orientation of the individual is not an issue.
Another exception is Dianic Wicca (also known as Feminist Witchcraft and/or Feminist Spirituality), a branch of Wicca practiced almost exclusively by women, most of whom are heterosexual, preferring to practice their spirituality with other women in pursuit of Women's Mysteries. Some Dianics, of course, are lesbians, just as there are lesbians in other Wiccan denominations. Dianic Wiccans worship a Goddess but no God, and form female-only covens, for the most part. There are some mixed-gender Dianics, specifically the McFarland Dianics, who practice in either all-femal or mixed-gender circles, and who may or may not include the god in their workings.
Dianic Wicca is attractive to lesbian pagans because it is a religion that welcomes them and celebrates their perspectives on feminism, sexism, and women's empowerment within patriarchal culture.
In the 1970s when the Dianic Wicca movement began, traditional Wiccans were often very upset by it. Dianic Wiccans were excluded from large Neo-pagan gatherings, were threatened, had their circles broken up, and in some cases attacked by non-Dianic Wiccans. It is unclear at this time whether the contention was over the exclusion of men from their beliefs, or their sexual orientation, or a culturally-indoctrinated fear of women and women's power. The anger between the two groups died down after the 1970s and now traditional Wiccans and Dianic Wiccans frequently work side-by-side at large neo-pagan festivals.
Another branch of Wicca has provided a home for many Neo-Pagan homosexual men. The Faery Wicca tradition is very open to all sexual orientations and some sources encourage bisexuality during rituals to reach states of ecstasy. Faery Wiccan covens of gay men only have been formed and are readily accepted among the larger group of Faery Wiccans. Both heterosexual and homosexual couples are married and handfasted in Faery Wiccan ceremonies every year.
Many Neopagan gods and goddesses are seen as bisexual or gay. The Neopagan pantheon includes many gay themes. A few of them are:
- Apollo is known for having sexual relationships with men. Hyacinth was one of his lovers. When Hyacinth died, Apollo created the flower from his blood. Hyacinth became the patron of gay love.
- Astarte, the Great Mother, is sometimes a hermaphrodite. Her temple staff included a caste of gay male priests called the kelabim.
- Pan, the patron god of shepherds and god of nature, is famous for his sexual prowess with both maidens and shepherds.
- Zeus had many homosexual liaisons, notably Ganymede, his cupbearer.
- Artemis spent almost all her time in the woods, her sacred precincts, with other women (her Nymphs).
- Artemis, Hestia and Athena were never paired with male gods when the patriarchal Hellenes took over Greece.
See alsoSee views of other religions on the topic of homosexuality on the Religion and homosexuality page.