Garbed in Green: Gay Witchcraft & The Male Mysteries
30th January 2018, 158 p.
Available in Kindle and Paperback.
In Garbed in Green, Casey takes us to his approach to Male Mysteries, a field where few have ventured — and none (according to this reviewer’s point of view) have succeeded. The why to his last, will be evidenced later on in the review.
The book begins offering a personal background on the author, on a very deep level; which enables the reader to understand the direction of the book. The following chapters, as the author himself specifies, start the path towards Gay Male Mysteries, from a high level — passing through noteworthy roles of homosexuality and the sacred in ancient history to key events in recent ‘Gay History’.
From the Sumerian gala priests and the Phoenician kelev, to the renown Native American Two Spirits, Casey explores the key role of homosexual or queer priesthood (or ‘sacred personhood’) throughout the foundation of our culture.
At this point the author starts using the myth of Diana and Lucifer (as portrayed in Leland’s Gospel of the Witches) as a center pillar or prime example for the interaction fo polarity, which will become a centre piece of the following argumentation and ‘drilling into’ the Male Mysteries —strongly supported by Jean Baudrillard’s views on his work Seduction (New World Perspectives, 1990):
‘One can hypothesize that the feminine is the only sex, and the masculine only exists by a superhuman effort to leave [the feminine]. A moment’s distraction and the masculine falls back into the feminine’. [End of Baudrillard’s quote] We can see this in the Aradia Myth. Lucifer fights so hard for his independence, and the moment he takes rest and falls back on his comfortability, Diana reclaims what was taken from her. This is the secret that any man who wishes to explore the Male Mysteries must fully reconcile for himself.
While there is a further caveat of this being mainly applicable to heterosexual men, and while this reviewer does not dispute that fear of oblivion might have a role in the entire development of patriarchy, this piece disrupts the argument flow in the book due to two different points:
- While the author quickly specified that this is mainly true to heterosexual men, and that this is the reason while Gay Mysteries should be explored separately, the set up of chapters from ‘higher level’ to ‘more specific’ makes the above applicable to all men. Furthermore, anything labelled as ‘Male Mysteries’ should be also applicable to Gay Male.
- Gender Mysteries should address the understanding of the core principles of the gender itself and it’s role in this reality. The above might tackle issues between the interaction of straight males towards females, but it does not delve into any mysteries related to males.
Both of the above risk sending the reader into a guilt-trip where, as Lucifer, the source of all their problems is their inability to face and accept the irrevocable fate of disappearing into the feminine. In a book that aims to mainly address a gay readership, this is a mood-breaker.
This brings me back to the beginning of the review, where I mentioned the challenge of talking about Male Mysteries.
I have seen many people attempting to talk about Male Mysteries. All of them making the same mistakes, which results in this reviewer developing three main points (or flaws, or mistakes) that a conversation on Male Mysteries has to avoid in order it to be considered valid:
- If focused on Gay aspect, it strongly delves into sexuality: This is probably one of the most common points which not only does not produce any valuable result but gloats over one of the clichés which actually require ‘healing’ and are an encumbrance in the path towards Male or Gay Mysteries. I have too often seen this as conduit for personal, erotic, pleasure and satisfaction of the promoter (i.e. ‘jerk-circles’).
- If focused on straight aspect, it quickly resorts to clichés: Hunting, shaving, protecting the tribe… We all are very familiar with the clichés and groups and organisations that champion them.
- It focuses on female gender — and this one can be split in two.
- I tries to emulate Female Mysteries.
- It sets the exploration of Male Mysteries as wedded to the female figure, in whatever extent.
Of the above, the last one is probably the one that slips more frequently — it is way too easy to explain or explore Male figure through the female one. A majority of the myths and principles touch upon the interaction between the two; leaving little or nothing to the exploration of them individually.
However, a reviewers opinion is that every exploration of mysteries of a gender, or the identity of a group or culture, should start from and reaming within itself. In other words, one should acts as if nothing else and nothing beyond that group existed. While a bit far off the topic, I believe this is explained beautifully by the following quote:
When a group’s voices have been silenced for decades or centuries, having a safe place that is only for the members of that group can be an essential step in helping members of that group claim the voices that have never been allowed to speak. It’s then easier for those voices to speak in the broader community. So I hear this… more as sanctuary than segregation and can see it contributing to the day when … voices are invited and valued equally.
— Rev. Charles Gibbs
Although the above mainly addresses social minorities and discriminated groups, and might seem as a bit of an irony to use them in the context of a conversation about males, it does portray the need for any empowerment and inner exploration journey to begin within itself.
Only once this initial healing has taken place, can the group reconnect. Only once the male, or gay male, has healed and unveiled the axis stone that defines himself, can he start explore how does that interact with others (i.e. females).
Moving forward from the above, Casey offers the first towards creating (or even recovering) spiritual tools (whether on myth or mythology) to help in the quest towards that Male (Gay) Mystery quest. While a few of them are again female focused-dependent (i.e. Cybele and Dyonisus), he does offer an invaluable cross-culture, all-up, start point for gay males to start exploring, and re-exploring, both common and not so common myths.
In the second half of the book, Casey offers a cohesive and practical set of exercises, instructions, and rituals, to begin the journey towards Gay Male Mysteries and Gay Witchcraft, borrowing from different cultures (with emphasis on the Greek), and setting a framework for any solo practitioner to start working on his own. He also provides extensive follow-up resources (that I will list below).
I started this review by clearly emphasising the daring and challenging nature of Casey’s quest with this book. This was no random comment. In spite of my comment above, Garbed in Green remains and excellent prime in the collective quest towards unveiling Male (and specially Gay) Mysteries. Not only does it tackles numerous key points over which one should ponder, but it also provides several start points to further drill into.
After my first reading of the book I also reached out to Casey to provide my feedback, which resulted in a very constructive follow-up conversation. This evidenced that, first, we did agree on a number of points, and my mixed feelings about some points might also have been due to editing. Second, that Casey’s quest is a work-in-progress, and that this book should certainly be the first of a series as he goes forward.
For all that, the book is a must-have for anyone wishing to embark into the exploration of Gay Male Mysteries — specially those with interest in witchcraft and the occult!
Resources (mentioned in the book):
- Gay Male Witches — Group for male gay witches interested in discussions on witchcraft (cis gay men-only group).
- Male Pagan Mysteries — Group for Straight, Bisexual, Gay, as well as transgender interested in discussions on paganism (men-only group).
- Wicca Garbed in Green — Group for Straight, Bisexual, Gay, as well as transgender (men-only group).
- Gala Witchcraft Website — Website for the tradition founded by Casey, with further information.
- Gala Witchcraft Group — Group for those interested in joining one of Gala Witchcraft’s covens.
Casey Giovinco is Chief Elder of Gala Witchcraft, which combines traditional coven-based, initiatory Wicca with the central goal of reawakening the Gay Mysteries. In addition to his work with Gala, Casey works with clients in a variety of modalities applying metaphysical principles he learned through his Wiccan clergy training to improve the quality of their lives. He is an RYT 200 yoga teacher, and he holds certifications in strategic organisational leadership from Villanova University; hypnosis from the National Guild of Hypnotists; and life, executive, and relationships coaching from The Coach Training Alliance.