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note from the web mistress: thats not what the article was originally called. It was originally called some other thing. I unilaterally changed it to something fitting the spirit of this broken evil garbage satanic website monster from helheim

The following is a repost of an essay deleted by Patheos Pagan detailing the changes they’ve made and their intention to censor their writers. The essay was written by John Halstead on his Patheos-hosted wordpress blog, Allergic Pagan.

We are republishing this because it was deleted by Patheos and the author was locked out of his account, effectively censoring it from the internet.

Please consider reposting this widely, and even hosting it on your website in case of legal threats to us.

I’ve been writing at Patheos for 4 years now (blogging for 6 years in all). In that time, Patheos has changed in some significant ways. The three editors of Patheos Pagan that I’ve known — Star Foster, Christine Hoff Kraemer (who hired me on), and Jason Mankey—were each very different in their own way.

The biggest change, though, is that in the last couple of years, there has been increasing pressure to make Patheos profitable, and that has resulted in changes like increasing use of invasive ads (I still can’t read my own blog on my iPhone 4) and pressure (albeit of the soft variety) from the editor to post more frequently. Most recently, Patheos was purchased by Beliefnet, which is owned by an evangelical organization.

Today, the other shoe dropped. Our editor, Jason Mankey, gave me the heads up late last week that a new contract would be coming with a different pay structure, but what he didn’t say was what else was in the contract.

Under my original contract I make $50 a month. Twice in the 4 years I have been writing here, I made $100 because of especially high page views. (Incidentally, neither of those posts was anything to be proud of.) Fifty dollars is not much, but I know it is a lot more than most writers at Patheos Pagan make. I have it on good authority that only three of us at Patheos Pagan make that much. Under the new contract, I would make a little less, but since I’m not reliant on the income from Patheos, I really don’t care about that.

Others Patheos Pagan writers would make a little more, which I am glad for. But while five or ten dollars a month is more than nothing, it is still a pittance. Jason has repeatedly told me that Patheos is suffering financially, the implication being that we should be happy with what we get. Of course, we haven’t seen their books, so we don’t know how much revenue Patheos receives from ads and other sources, or where it is going. Needless to say, it is common for miserly employers to claim poverty when employees demand a living wage. (I do find it interesting, though, that Patheos can afford to fly its editors out to visit their corporate headquarters and to other events, but they say they can’t afford to pay their writers more than third-world wages.)

The new contract also requires writers to post with a certain frequency, two to three times a week. While I don’t care that I will be earning less, it does irk me to have my income cut and then be told I have to write more in order to earn it. Jason has assured us this provision of the contract will not be enforced, but in my experience as a lawyer, the only reason to include a provision in a contract which you say you don’t intend to enforce is so you can later spring it on the person. It’s a classic way for employers to fire someone for a discriminatory reason, for example: They decide to suddenly start (selectively) enforcing a contract provision which was not previously enforced so they can claim to have a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for the termination.

But the real problem with the new contract is the increased editorial control. The new contract reserves the right to edit any of our posts, and even to change the format of the post or to use the content to create a quiz (?). We are explicitly prohibited from using profanity (with some minor exceptions) and the “tone” (a very subjective term) is expected to resemble that of other online media with which Patheos compares itself, like Slate or Huffington Post. The contract also prohibits advertising or self-promotion. We are also barred from posting a “farewell” post without approval, and even approved farewell posts will be deleted after 7 days. (What is that about?) And Patheos can delete any post it deems, in its sole discretion, to be “offensive”—another subjective term.

Now, here’s the thing: In the contract, Patheos compares itself to Slate and Huffington Post. But I write for the Huffington Post, and I didn’t have to sign anything like this to write for them. Nor did I have to sign anything like this to write for Witches & Pagans. Or Gods & Radicals.

Finally, we are prohibited from “disparaging” Patheos “or any of its related companies”. This is potentially the most problematic part of the contract. For example, one of the other writers here brought to my attention that the American Centre for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a group founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson, is a partner with Affinity4, which is itself listed alongside Beliefnet and Patheos on the BN Media page. The ACLJ lobbies for the death penalty for gays in other countries. Under the new contract, ACLJ could be considered a “related company” that we’re not permitted to disparage. (And that’s just one related company that we’ve discovered in less than 24 hours.) Well …


Oops, I used profanity. Actually, this whole post would probably be considered “disparaging” of Patheos. So don’t be surprised if this post is deleted soon.

[UPDATE: Here’s a list of some of the groups that may be considered “related” to Patheos and whom we cannot “disparage” under the new contract: National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, Promise Keepers, Concerned Women for America, American Family Association. Citation here.]

While some of these contractual provisions are common in the industry, I’ve learned that “standard in the industry” is code for “we can screw you over and there’s nothing you can do about it.” And while some of these changes might be dismissed if considered in isolation, the fact that it all comes at once, the fact that it was sprung on most of the writers with little to no notice, the fact that it was written unilaterally by Patheos corporate without input from the writers, and the fact that it goes into effect tomorrow, makes it all seem pretty suspicious (not to mention draconian).

It’s difficult to avoid the observation that the situation at Patheos is a microcosm of some of what has been happening on the national stage recently, with the power of corporations expanding and those same corporations (through their political lapdogs) trying to put limits on our freedom of speech. It makes me wonder if the timing isn’t coincidental: An evangelical company acquires Patheos. Trump is elected and sworn in. A number of Patheos bloggers are critical of Trump. And now, the new owners of Patheos want to exercise more editorial control. Coincidence? Maybe.

Jason has assured us that Patheos will not be censoring its writers. But you know, it usually doesn’t happen … until it does.

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The Mourning of Agdistis

The stones are wet with black moss where i lie, broken, weeping, and defeated. This dark is not the liminal twilight I have revelled in, but a binary cruelty crushing me with its certainty, that I am not a dancer on bridges of starlight, but rather a chess piece moved incorrectly, smugly returned to its neatly colored square. Bad square, get out of the round hole, or be burned and learn too late this two-of-swords world was made for anyone but the likes of you. Cleaved in two , im a beast in a zoo made to beg for your scraps . i dont know what to do.

And these pieces lie in mirror shards around me, broken chess dolls confound me. How did I find myself at the bottom of this well, drearily dripping ghost whispers like helaheim spells….. I was Agdistis, puma-chested lady with a brow of quartz, smelt of hyacinthe and sex of all sorts, mushroom crown and ivy gown fabulous. That which was neatly divided was all mine to fathom, my bed was filled with satyr girls and flatterers, and a boy nymph that purred. My mother was the mountain crystal canopy castle balance blessing fertile laughter, my father a pornographic narcissistic thunderbolt. Zeus conned Dionysis to love me and destroy me, like jocks and the new guy in a stupid teen movie. Dionysus loved me. Flirtatious betraying wounding bastard…..and I loved him…and he broke me with sleep and my lifeblood river prophesied the agony of all my kind. Who would ever love me again? If this was how the story began and ended…who would ever love one such as me who dared to be born with both powers. The brightest symbol my aeons of tortured kind would know would be this river of pomegranate blood, this almond in a cleavage, this sex massacre wedding where Attis was a red lipped king. A coin in a lap and a millenium of claptrap, a baptism of lies and a balance sheet of “why’s”. For this, the mind of Diony-cis had to be struck a killing blow to know that mad justice was an undertow. In another myth he would become a god of madness due to the sacrifice i demanded, and i dont fucking care. Born we are in blood, in shouting, in pills and stitches and sneers and alleyways, in concrete and rooftops and bricks and sticks and midnight tricks. Born in the dark, screaming and scrambling to get up to the white and red, the light that beckons to the dead. I wandered the world, half of my riotous sorcery stolen and thrown in the gutter like a chicken neck. Can you guess which half? Does it matter? Do you see my kind rising from the slaughter, my fishnet ballad daughters, my Babalon boys of MATTER MATER MOTHER? Cybeles Sybiline Mysterio Dream Scream Queen with Unchaste Tongue in this dung-heap world where there is no quarter, no spare change barter, no mother no father, no caress, no food, no water.

I had a john from Cicily, he waxed poetic about a man in a tree as I sucked his flaccid dick and miserable aching balls, Johnnys daddy went away in blood and blisters and thistles and splinters and promises and stupid fucking lightshows, I dont give a toss just toss a roman coin to me and go back to your Patmos cave you pretty pansy weed, continue to curse the world. Ill be in thurston county in this agonized tapestry trying to learn how to be me.

Ah at your peril do you scorn me, menstrual puritan cisters clinging to your one source of power in a world that hates us, carrying cysterns of bile for a genderqueer loki, writhing in entrails, screaming, no…not in my eyes. Im sorry I changed. Im sorry I cut off sifs hair and played a trick on that Baldrchrist, If you stop with the venom I will try to be nice…. In the meadow the moon rises full, you lull yourself to believe you have it all figured out. Doubtless you dox us and breathless is your cowardice. But we are fox-quick, we lick each others tears and conspire in a hollow , an army of mischief. Like Zeus you dream of us all bleeding in the gutter. Like YAHWEH you spat fire at our temples of love, where Lilith and Enki made out on the sofa…my lyrics are sealed with the poison of roses.

The liminal mischief of fey and sprite, giggling sparkles and ambiguous night, gone in the ravages of savage catholic blight that broods on the heath where i once knew delight of a lover entwined and a wine of mind. I dine on moonlight and strain against a bind. Now see a stack of cards offered in a doorway, the gendersparkle bean sidhe bleached by the angel lady, fucking whimsy, piss on your sentimentality. I want war and FAIRY whoredom pouring out of the heavenly gates like a water jug on a cloud of hate.


Book of Ruth, Chapter ____. Ruth says to Cathy: “youre people are my people your god is my god” You. You fucking liar. You imposter. You betrayer. You sickening vomitous roman faux-goddess of dimestore Justice. puff up your feathered breast and malign my children as medusa, for daring to say we are more lovely than thee. Cast us out, and down? We have been down and out and painted the clown from the moment we saw ourselves in ragged gowns. Dox us? A pox on us? We are contagion, immunity, the holder of a skeletons keys, we know names you could scarce imagine whispered to us in the last breaths of Thanateros lovers. We are ordeal and heroin and screaming and gnashing of teeth and gashes and pretty eyelashes and bashful drag kisses. You cannot stop us. You cannot contain us. You cannot make us afraid, you gutless mindless pompous worms.

For you the moon descends in blood for My avatar lune sickles curved sick in a mind collapsing like towers and bricks and sticks and mortar and wicks burning low and starry caverns that glow.

Long ago, I was there. Life after life, I came to the temple, offered up that which tribe called “manhood’’, risking death, to reinact this rite of Agdistis, to hope that the river of blood would mix with the mud and my mother Eart could stop weeping and I could be loved. Stitched me up in the morning and I moved to the red , the white and the light and the temple, and the bread. Devote my life and a life and this life and that life to healing all strife, to being the holy and the grail and the knife.

Now gone, all gone.

But we are dusk and dawn.

When did you part ways with me, cister in Lunar Rite? was the trauma of what was done to us so great for you that you forgot your own kind? Was it the rending of the social fabric, the plagues, the mental hospitals, the centuries of rape, the lords who loved to take take take? We had no part in that. While Roman Soldiers brutalized the world, we gathered in the temples of Cybele, straining to hear the commands of our goddess, bleeding for her and weeping for her. It was we who as the Asushunamir descending into this obsidian wasteland of Irkalla to steal back home the Starry Lady, only to bear the curse of Ereshkigal whose heart we broke. It was you that we fought for, and us, and our mother, and the world, and the universe, and the stars and the right of all beings to be free and live in love.

And after all this, you would deny us a place, a face, a bathroom, guaranteeing us only a tomb? Fuck you and your whole crew.

There is no contest. Our pain is equal. You treat me like the last, the invention of the enemy. But i am AGDISTIS. i was the first. Adam didnt lose a fucking rib you idiot christians, ZE lost half of Zirself, the two halves war against each other in a dying world where healing eludes and fades and flies away like a moth towards the moon.

My healing venom has come and not a moment too soon.

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Theres a ghost mice song where the singer says ‘punk rock saved my life’ and im pretty sure ive heard the phrase other places too. There are stories of alienation so great that life seemed utterly pointless and only the catharsis freedom and sense of community created by punk had the power to heal that. On the other hand, there are cases where the punk life carried many of us so far on the stormy currents of KAos that its amazing any of us survived.

These stories….stories of being beat up by cops while flying on a sheet of acid, of psychological and physical injury, of scars and terrifying journeys…..are consistent with many of the teachings of the Ordeal Path…that your ordeals are not a phase or a plot to get attention, they are sacred. Ordeal is a teacher, it illuminates and it creates inner strength, knowledge, and perspective. It also creates elders and traditions and punk is at a stage in its development where, however awkward it may be, it has no choice but to recognize the place of tradition. Youth get into trouble, its their job and its how they learn to define themselves……but with perspective and mentorship they can get into the right kind of trouble: activism and courage and positive ordeal. Punk has elders now, and that is not a bad thing. This subculture has been around for 40+ years….it is inevitable that we would form ourselves around rules. Here are some that i have encountered:

1. dont be a dick
2. dont be a fucking racist, and show accountability
3. respect consent and boundaries
4. dont fucking snitch on your comrades and loved ones

Theres nothing wrong with rules. Rebellion for its own sake with no principles to guide it creates a bunch of assholes with no respect for each other. Being crass, barbaric and unmannered is fine…but even thieves have honor. This is a hard balance….create too many rules and the rebellious individualistic spirit of punk becomes resentful….have no rules at all and theres oppression, privilege, disrespect, disregard. No rules at all and the same toxic paradigm we are all fighting…gets acted out in front of us in the behavior of people we thought we could trust.

Punk saved my life. It was a huge part of what healed the effects of ritual cult abuse. I was a childhood cult member, my dad joined the TT when i was 16 and tried to con me and my mom into joining. She refused because she knew i would run away. She went bankrupt for that. When i turned 20 i got into a toxic witch cult where i was abused any time I did what the leaders didnt like, and sometimes abused regardless. They called me a slut, irresponsible, vile, diseased. Over time I had completely lost sight of what I wanted and needed. I had been broken by authorities and hierarchies that saw me as nothing more than a pawn on a chess board and i was utterly lost.

Punk came to me as a series of brilliant fierce wounded healers in bedrooms and studio apartments and midnight forests. They left just as suddenly as they had arrived. They couldnt heal my core wound, only i could do that…but they all sent a vital message: You matter, GG. You belong. You are beautiful and what you want and need matters and you need no hierarchy to validate you. Punks were nurturing and kind to me and made a place for me. Witches were nurturing and kind to me. I found shelter and safety in punk houses and in punk bands and in punk gatherings. I found weapons and salves and shields in Radiance and Psychic Sister and Earth Magick and LadIY fest and kimya dawson songs made me want to live again and fight for a better life.

Punk saved my life. Punk healed me from the horrors of ritual cult abuse. Because at its core, this seemingly undefineable force teaches that your individual identity matters. that YOU matter. That we are all kings and queens of our own kingdoms. Our kingdoms are our bodies, our art, our music and the beautiful things we create out of the garbage of life….and there is no being on this entire planet who is our servant. We are kings and queens who need no servants, only the companionship of other kings and queens . Our sovereignty over our bodies is recognized as paramount and perfect and the only being we follow is the solidarity, love, respect and cooperation that make survival possible.

I also want to offer my deepest thanks to Madre Ayahuasca, without whom I would not exist, without whom none of this exists.

And my deepest thanks on this day to my Mistress Babalon, who takes such good care of me.

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