Friday, 9 November 2012

Vows, Lies and Authenticity

This blog fits neatly with the second “V” that I am due for submitting in the Pagan Blog Project. It has come about as a matter of synchronicity after reading this post by Rogue Priest Drew Jacob.

It is essentially about battling the assumptions people want to make about you based on specific criteria such as age and star sign.

Drew has taken his vows as a Pagan priest. I am no such thing, but do have great regard for the concept of maat and the Goddess Maat. It would not be a lie to say that often times I feel the Great Goddess near me.

Truth is important. Whilst I have taken no official vow, I do live with a high sense of “code”. This code would have similar values to that of clergy I am sure, if were to dig deep in comparison. Not harming others, respecting people, and other concepts that make up what we would refer to as comprising a modern person that has evolved beyond savagery.

This eerie scene from the film "Logan's Run", has chilling echoes of how we (dis)regard age in todays society
Lying about age
Interestingly, I actively began lying about my age some time ago, when I found that the further away from thirty I got I felt like I was living in a real life version of Logan’s Run.

I had good reason too. For a time I was making a living from two jobs where it was considered “inappropriate” to continue in if in your thirties. By inappropriate, I mean that I would actively not get hired simply by telling the truth of my age.
Matthew M's role in "Magic Mike" pressed some buttons for me. I do think he needed to leave the g-string dancing to the other lads though, I must admit

One was teaching fitness and the other was stripping (I still do the former but rarely the latter). My employment opportunities were diminishing before my eyes by telling the truth of the number of the years I had lived on Planet Earth!
My love and fascination of / with astrology always has me dipping into this topic at work, and social settings. That won't change, but I am not telling which one I am any more.
Lying about star signs
I like Drew’s point about not mentioning star signs and am beginning this practice also. This will be harder as I always announce my birthday (it’s an opportunity to further lie about my age, and elicit gifts!!) and I happen to be born under a sign with well known traits that I pull off well. Damn it, we have written a song that will give it away too!

Stating and asking for a star sign is another opportunity for people to peg you into a box. Whilst I have turned that to my advantage many a time, I remember one time in my twenties when I was house hunting and the nutbag that interviewed me at one prospective property turned me down as our signs “weren’t compatible”. That is an extreme example but on subtle levels I think that astrology is sadly used for all kinds of discrimination a lot.

If you are a gay man in Australia, be sure that you have seen this film and know the story. It is expected of you. Also, you should love Babs Streisand, musicals, frocks, and explain why you are not effeminate. If you are effeminate, all good.

The other big peg you in the box assumption: sexuality
There is another. Sexuality. And this is a very interesting one. I have come more and more to the understanding these days that I no longer wish to engage with people (I am talking workaday public) about my sexuality, sexual identity and preferences. (To see or meet me off the bat you would not necessarily know either ways as I defy most stereotypes).

What I have learnt is that an open or curious sexuality is often regarded as "less than" stating you are homo – the dual otherness of bisexuality conjures prejudice in people that unless you have experienced it, you would not think it true. I am not on the make in my working life so this is not an issue, but that does get tricky if I am horny and looking for sex.

Finding which elements of ones nature to keep to oneself and which ones to share has been a theme in my life. This is why I have been compelled to share this post with you.

There are some things that are meant to be kept private. Being an actor from an early age, I instinctively learnt that if I did not have that private side - that side that was just for me, my beloveds and the Gods - I would perish. I think that this is what happens to artists that expire before their time, especially those that have known fame.

My training as an actor early in life has actually prepared me for presenting the right elements of myself for getting through my life. Do I question my own authenticity though?

No. I do not. All that I am, I am. And if in my day to day wanderings I lie about being a Scorpio, hetero, 30 year old, that changes nothing to what I am bringing to the table as a person and human being.

In many ways, it is a kind of heka.


This is my second "V" submission for the Pagan Blog Project 2012. I am not entirely sure anyone is actually reading these damn things, but I am having a lot of fun writing them anyway!


  1. Imagine that, another Scorpio who must sometimes present truth hidden in the wrapper of what is expected by society! I knew I was in good company! Happy BDay, fellow Scorpio!

    I've also recently explained how Scorpios dispense information with someone. It was a really good exploration into the grey areas of being a Scorpio- those spots where we can use "bad" power (lying, keeping secrets, having great sex) without being bad- that's what scares folks.

  2. Great post Setken. Thanks for the shoutout. Though I should mention I am most definitely not a Pagan priest... so we have that in common :)

    1. See Drew, I do get confused. So the priest appellation refers to . . . . . ?

  3. In the (paraphrased) words of Sun Tzu: "All war is deception."

    Deception is a survival mechanism, as you were mentioning in regard to your job and pussyfooting around your actual age. Deception doesn't necessarily mean "being without honor," but it is in many situations a reliable tactic (though often in a temporary sense) when it comes to self-preservation. We can still give off a sense of being truly genuine without baring the entirety of our souls to the world.

    Today, I had someone trying to goad me out into the open in an irrelevant, downright insane argument about my "magical training." That is something I will never reveal, not even to my husband. Sure, I give people pointers, talk about foundational stuff, but I don't disclose everything about myself, ESPECIALLY regarding my religious/spiritual life. Regarding magic, the more someone knows about you and your formulae, the worse damage they can do to you, real or imagined.

    I also work under more than two names. My artwork, and the papers I had done during University, were/are signed under a different name than my religious writings, and under a different name than my fiction/fantasy stories. That way, no one "important" can look for "dirt" on me without bending over backwards searching for IP addresses and rifling through tedious paperwork. They only see and know what I want them to see and know.

    Regarding lying and heka: the 42 Negative Confessions are a great example and precedent. The Negative Confessions weren't a profession of truth, a declaration of "I have never done these things," but a magical weaving of words to deceive Otherworldly guardians, malicious demons, and the Gods that dwell in the Duat. The Gods Themselves, most notably Djehuty (Thoth), have made an art of perjury and prevarication. Lying is by no means a "sin" within Egyptian religion -- it's a professional sport, and one designed to save your hide! And it doesn't make us or the Gods "evil," simply . . . tactful. But there's a time and place for it.

    And I agree . . . I don't even get into Astrology whatsoever, because I get sick of people trying to shove me, and people in general, into a particular personality type. "You're a ___________, so you MUST be an easy slut. LET ME ANNOY AND SEXUALLY HARASS THE CRAP OUT OF YOU." And so on. Gender and sexual orientation are abused in this fashion to a FAR WORSE degree, and I completely empathize with you when it comes to keeping your gender and orientation private. I'm sorry you've had to put up with that slimy behavior from others -- no one should ever have to deal with that.

    1. I have also used stage names and other names for various aspects of my work, as it is clear to me that the person that I am as an actor / entertainer (and even speaker) is not the same as the person I know as "Me". (This is where life becomes tricky for celebrities who have lost control of their lives to an over exuberant fan base and media).

      It interests me that peeps want to label my sexuality when sex is not on the table. Is it because they are the ones with sex on their minds so much that they must know which way(s) I swing?

      And I really appreciate what you wrote about the 42 conessions. This resonates with me and I feel like I finally get what they are about.

  4. It's interesting the response you've taken to the rampant 'ageism' in our society. Perhaps it's more of a 'feminist' thing to buck this by not lying. I know I could pass for younger than I am. But then I'd have to deny years of my experience. One lie would lead to another. For me, this would be too complicated. But I also admit, my job and other interests are not impacted by people knowing my age. I could be 94 and as long as I can get the job done, that's all that counts. I guess we all do what we have to do to get by.