Recently, when Galina Krasskova spoke about a particular ancestor-honoring ritual she and House Sankofa did, she mentioned various groups or types of ancestors that are honored, including the military/warrior dead, and also (and this was the first time I’d heard her mention this) the two-spirit dead. That intrigued me, needless to say…
While I fully support Galina and House Sankofa in this endeavor, for my own part, I’m not 100% comfortable with the term “two-spirit.” Yes, it “kind of works,” in many respects, and is an easy shorthand for a variety of things that aren’t easy to categorize, but it is itself a kind of conflicted term in many Native American cultures–it was a meeting amongst representatives of those cultures in the early 1990s that generated the term, and they weren’t all happy with it, because when translated into their various languages, it didn’t always work very well. In modern Native American contexts, it can mean anything from the gender-variant spiritual functionaries of a wide variety of identities and understandings across many different Native American cultures, to anyone who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual in modern Native American cultures. Many use it as shorthand for “Indian transsexual”; others use it to describe what many people would call a type of genderqueer identity. It almost poses more questions than it solves, unfortunately…
While that’s not any reason to say “It shouldn’t be used by non-Native Americans,” at the same time, it’s not exactly an unproblematic or unambiguous term, either.
No matter…the real crux of the question is: if this is a spiritual priority in one’s ancestral practices (and, I’d say, for the present Ekklesía Antínoou and Tetrad++ Group-reverencing context, it is!), what form can it take other than offerings made to these collective ancestors on various occasions?
As a side note–and yet, you’ll soon see it isn’t entirely tangential–I was reading Peter Grey’s The Red Goddess this past weekend, which was published by Scarlet Imprint. I will not be making a full review of it, here or elsewhere (though I was considering doing so initially); I will only say a few things about it in brief here. It is a work of devotion, and it has some really good and powerful parts in it; other parts didn’t strike me as being quite as useful, comprehensive, or powerful. There is certainly some great information in it on John Dee, Crowley, and Jack Parsons; there are also some systematic errors (e.g. if one is going to talk a great deal about the Book of Revelation, which Grey does, then one should get its name right, and not call it “Revelations”). The main reason that I am not going to review it is because, at the end of the day, no matter how many good things can be said about it, it’s androcentric, heterosexist, and not a small bit homophobic at several points–Grey prefers to use the word “sodomite” for queer persons on more than one occasion (an ideologically loaded term, to say the least!), which is sad, because in other publications, he has seemed to be open to and accepting of queer people. I think even despite what he says at various points in this book, he’d still claim to be accepting–and, I would believe him if he said so; unfortunately, the wording in parts of this book doesn’t really convey such accepting sentiments.
That having been said, at one point he does mention various eunuchs (though he’s not really very supportive of that particular spiritual path–though, in the context he’s discussing, it probably wasn’t a consensual decision), and in particular seven eunuchs who are mentioned in the biblical Book of Esther 1:10.
When he mentioned those, I got a strange idea, partially inspired by the great Tess Dawson and her honoring of the biblical Jezebel as a spiritual ancestress. Perhaps these seven eunuchs should also be honored as the spiritual ancestors (particularly since they have no genetic ancestors, as is the case for many gender-variant people) of modern-day gender-variant spiritual practitioners.
The names of these seven eunuchs, according to the Book of Esther, were:
I wish I knew more about Hebrew names and the language generally, as I’m sure these names have very interesting meanings…
By their spiritual descendants, may Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas, and all of the gender-variant dead, be honored!