Inari Okami has been depicted as male, female, and androgynous. In this issue, I want to see writing that breaks down gender barriers.
The figure of Inari Okami is often linked to the fox, or kitsune. Foxes symbolise the cunning trickster. They are generally not malicious, but rather must use their intelligence to become the victor of their conflict.
In terms of this issue, I see the fox as being the figure who uses its knowledge to cross boundaries and educate others about the importance of being true to oneself. This issue is a celebration of the LGBTQA+ community. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with.
In Hindu mythology, Ardhanarishvara embodies all that is both male and female into a single form. The supreme god of creation, Shiva combines with his lover, Parvati, the mother goddess of nurturing, to create an androgynous being that manifests both of their strengths. This form is particularly inspiring to the LGBTQ community – and especially those who identify as nonbinary -- because this implies the strengths of males and females should be mixed and inseparable. Neither can be isolated from the other because they are strongest together.
As Ardhanarishvara, there is no male or female. They simply exist as the supreme being of creation, power, and love. They combine the stereotypically male attributes of power and authority with the stereotypically female attributes of empathy and care to create the ultimate embodiment of balance. How can strength be used to the benefit of all without empathy for all? How can creative energy be put into an effective form without care and patience for the final outcome? How can a ruler be deemed good without love for their subjects? Wouldn’t the best leader be the one who acts as both mother and father, as both god and goddess? The point of all this is to say: the older I get and the more I involve myself in the LGBTQ community, the more I hope we all reach a point when we are able to assimilate ourselves into the same form as Ardhanarishvara, as both male and female, as both creator and nurturer, and as both leader and lover, because what could be more powerful than that?
Issue 5: Seer is now officially out and published! I (Abigail) apologize for the delay in this issue, but I am so proud and excited to share it with you now. Thank you to all of my staff for all their work. Thank you to all who submitted and for all the lovely work we are showcasing this issue. And of course thank you to all of our readers. I hope you all enjoy!
From today until August 15th our submissions are now open again!
Issue 6 is a special issue celebrating Pride Month and we will be looking for submissions only from people who identify somewhere on the LGBTQA+ spectrum. Our theme inspirations are Sappho, Ardhanarishvara and Inari Okami.
Check out our submission guidelines and we look forward to receiving your work!
Thank you to everyone who has submitted over the last few months! The editors and I are so excited to buckle down and start preparing this next issue. We've received so much diverse and amazing work and we can't wait to share it with you all.
We will be announcing the themes for Issue 6 on June 15th.
What do you think of when you hear the name Jezebel? Have you heard the name before? Does it conjure up images of sex workers in ancient times, of lewd paganism and scheming women?
If you’re like me it’s the images above, or at least that’s what it was until I did more research on the woman from the book of Kings in the Bible. I knew there was more to her story, I had just never taken the time to look.Because Jezebel is, in my opinion, just one more example were the mythology has been changed over the years.
Once you look at her story more closely you see another classic example of people blaming the woman for negative outcomes, when there’s very little proof she was the heart of the problem. When looking at stories like Jezebel’s, one wonders where were the other people in the story? 1 Kings 18:4 says she was killing prophets, but obviously she wasn’t the king, so where was her husband? What was he doing? One also has to ask the questions of why was she doing this? Where they a threat to her life? No one takes the time to stop and ask. There are no answers to be found that are not given to us by men who want to paint her as the bad guy. What are your answers to this question? Why do you think Jezebel does the things she does?
Jezebel has come to be synonyms with prostitutes, but again there’s no actual evidence that Jezebel cheated on her husband or was a sex worker. So why have Biblical scholars ignored this and changed her character? Why do you think she’s so negatively portrayed?
It is interesting to note that the Bible treats Jezebel much worse than any of the Jewish texts do. While in the bible she is carefully never called queen, Jewish texts do give her title and even mention some of the more positive work she did. Why is there this difference in the texts? How do you feel like her story should be written?
I hope one, or all of these questions inspires you all to submit to us today!
As we draw closer to the submission's closing date, the editors and I wanted to put out another playlist. This issue's playlist is a bit shorter than usual, but hopefully it is still inspiring to you all. We hope you give it a listen and then consider submitting to us. The current themes are: Kali, Cassandra and Jezebel. We also welcome any suggestions for future playlists, be sure to follow us on twitter for more information on that.
I’m excited for our first (of many, hopefully) Hindu theme, Kali. So, who is Kali? She is a seer. She is the Goddess of death and destruction. She is the destroyer of time.
Kali–she who is death.
Kali is one of my favourite goddesses because she has so many different aspects to her mythos. She is layered in a way that many other goddesses aren’t. They are beauty, or love, or death. Kali is all of these things, and so many more, wrapped into one non-linear package.
Did I mention she’s totally badass? Because she is, totally badass.
In Greek mythology, Cassandra is one of my favourite supporting characters. She’s struggling through a life of prophecy, watching things come true as they happen, and yet no-one believes her when she predicts something. All because she spurned a god’s affection.
Some would probably say that it wasn’t the wisest move to anger a god – in fact I would apply that as a general rule in the mythology, since Greek gods weren’t exactly well-known for being forgiving. And yet, she had the bravery to do something like follow her heart even if she knew she might be punished for it.
My main line of thought when I think of Cassandra tends to centre on the Trojan War. How much exactly did she see with the Sight? Did she know in advance that loved ones would die, or did she manage to blot out the visions? I like to pick this line of thinking apart, taking it very analytically. Was it something she could focus, or, like other literary seers, was she drawn against her control into a vision? Did she reject Apollo knowing he would punish her, and the way in which he would do so or did she just take the gamble?
When thinking of songs to put to the theme, I thought of Cassandra and I thought of Sacred Heart, by The Civil Wars. In French, the song talks about being at a place and waiting on someone to arrive. Waiting on them to show up, even thinking about reasons that the person might not come.
How long was it after she spurned a god that she started waiting for people to believe her? I like to think of her as not a subservient type, brazenly telling someone that misfortune would happen, damn the consequences.
Eventually though, it must’ve worn her down. Eventually, I can imagine her seeing something that’s about to happen and giving up on saying anything, aware that someone wouldn’t welcome the prophecy anyway.
That’s what I want to see in the poems for prophetesses. Show me despondent, unbelieved and ignored prophecies. Create your own with a warning. Tell me about a bold woman who tells people everything they don’t want to hear and add a bit of destiny – but maybe avoid fate. Show me someone bold who makes her own rules, creates her path in life. Depict someone who has foresight, and uses it. Or maybe she doesn’t.
As an atheist, I’ve always been fascinated by biblical women; they’re so often relegated to mere objects or plot points in their husband’s or father’s stories, much like headlines pitch us wives and daughters instead of proper names now. Women like Lot’s wife aren’t even afforded a name (except for in a few Jewish traditions) while women like Jezebel have names translated as “where is the prince?” in a reference to her deity (yes, this is literally what biblical scholars translate her name as). Jezebel is both a strong woman, who is murdered for her strength and yet also a pawn; women are seen as duplicitous but only as a relational device for or against the men in their lives. Give me the Jezebels who have full interior lives and relationships with other women and staunchly hold their beliefs in the face of death. It’s always a good time to reclaim our names for ourselves.