Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What is Trans*? What is Pagan?

 A memo that started out as a short message to the other members of Beyond the Binary became an unfolding exploration I'd like to share with you all.

This week has given me much food for thought in the realm of our studies and service in Beyond the Binary—from the PACO panel discussions on POC, gender and the intersections of identities, to the Rainbow Moon (a seedling CAYA group) Circle's brainswarm on Monday to spending all of yesterday in the company of P. Sufenas Virius Lupus (birther of the Tetrad++ group of gender-variant deities)! WOW.

What is becoming clear to me is that it is important to acknowledge that many gender identities (if not most, if not all) are inherent, and deserve to be recognized as primary and central to each individual's experience— rather than in their relation to the binary, cisgendered cultural "norm." In that context, using the word Trans* no longer feels correct as the term to use in my events listing, or in my description of whom I serve. Trans* is included, yet still not the central focus, nor the umbrella term that works for me. Many people who identify as Trans* also identify as binary, besides. There are ritual spaces for women or men. This is not where I serve.

I have been questioning the usefulness of my Trans*/Pagan events listing for a few months now, wondering if it is necessary to include every all-gender event that is Pagan, or focus only on events that address variant-gender inclusiveness, though many are binary-oriented. Are Buddhist sanghas, yoga classes, healing clinics and workshops that focus on or include the needs of Trans* people appropriate to list on a Pagan events announcement?

What is Pagan? What is Trans?* That could be (and will be) the title of the blog post this is clearly becoming. (Though I won't be opening the can of worms called "Pagan" at this time. It's about as useful as "Trans*" is to me these days.)

Frankly, I included all of those aforementioned options because I haven't found very many events that could be considered Trans* AND Pagan. If my service as a public Priest/ess is to minister to the needs of nature-based spiritual practitioners who do not identify with the gender binary, then WTF do I call it? C'mon, Hermes, give me the language!

The intersection of personal identities within an individual is difficult— perhaps impossible— to sort out into neat sections. The phrase that seemed to resonate with brilliant intensity this week was "Gender is a holographic experience. Identity is a holographic experience."

While I sort this all out, my events listing will go on hiatus. Is it transitioning to a new identity or simply recognizing what it was all along?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Trans*/Pagan Events in November 2014

Welcome to this monthly listing of events that celebrate the sacred and honor gender diversity. This November marks a year since the members of Beyond the Binary introduced ourselves to the public. It has been a year of searching, learning, discovering, and a growing assortment of questions and possibilities to explore.

We chose Transgender Day of Remembrance as our date of embarkation (Nov 20, 2013), in part to honor our Beloved Dead as the source of our inspiration and widom, and also to bring more awareness to this worldwide observation of those who were murdered because of transphobia— a pandemic disease that needs much more attention and action in order to bring healing to us all. In that spirit, all of the listings for this November will focus on TDOR.

For other events of Trans*/Pagan interest, please check out the calendar in the sidebar of our blog's homepage. And please send me info about any events that might belong in this listing. Thank you! Blessed be.

#transgenderdayofremembrance #tdor #tdor2014

Maintained by Jaina Bee, a Priest/ess of CAYA Coven, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA, Earth.


TDOR SF 2014 from Trans March on Vimeo.




TDoR Main Site:

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014
This page includes information about TDOR events happening around the world, including Sweden, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Singapore, and West Point!

The Trans Rite of Ancestor Elevation
Wed, Nov 12-Thurs, Nov 20 (TDoR)

We are radical trans activists and spirit workers holding a nine-day international ritual to honor our beloved transgender dead.

Join us.


 TDoR San Francisco: 

Thursday, November 20t, 6:00 to 8:00PM
San Francisco LGBT Community Center; 1800 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102
FREE—donations appreciated!

San Francisco Honors Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014
Please join us at the SF LGBT Community Center on the of 16th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) on Thursday, November 20th, 2014. Transgender Day of Remembrance is a genuine tribute to those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. This day serves a purpose to raise awareness of the threat of abuse and violence faced by the transgender community, as well as their families and friends.

What is TDoR?
The number of reported cases of trans-phobic based hate crimes has more than doubled since 1999 when the first TDoR was held in San Francisco on a cold and rainy night. TDoR occurs globally on the 20th of November. This day also acts to bring visibility and momentum to a call to action to end the hatred and ignorance that the transgender community faces daily.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a trans woman who is a graphic designer, columnist, and activist, to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts. Since its inception, TDoR has been held annually on the 20th of November, and quickly evolved from a local gathering started by Smith into an international day of action. In 2013, TDoR was observed in over 200 cities throughout more than 20 countries. The SF TDoR will include local community advocates like Miss Major Griffin-Gracy and Jewlyes Gutierrez. The SF TDoR will also include performances by trans youth, an altar created by El/LA Para TransLatinas, a special Hawaiian chant by local trans legend Kumu Tatianna Kaneholani, a ceremonial release of balloons accompanied by opera sung by the angelic Breanna Sinclaire. The TDoR will be hosted by the SF LGBT Community Center and emceed by local trans youth Alex Bergeron and Rexy Amaral.

For further information and to make a donation in support of the SF TDoR please visit:
(415) 865-5555
Providing: ASL, Spanish translation, Light beverages and snacks


TDoR Oakland/East Bay:

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014, 7-9:30 PM
Oakland City Hall Council Chambers; 1 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612
Honorary Co-Host Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett

Very Important, this is not TransVision/Tri-City Health Center event this year

It is Tiffany Woods and the TransVision Team, Terry Washington, Lorena Martinez, Janet Halfin, Kayla Moore, Roman Flintroy, Erikka Palafox, Avee Meals, Charlie Wilson, Perla Nolasco, who annually put on TDOR and other community members, Deanne, Austin Bruckner and others, on our own time and anybody else who wants to help/be involved

Please share the event and invite community, allies, supporters.

For official info and participation Contact Tiffany Woods:

Resistance and Remembrance: A Transgender Day of Remembrance Shabbat
November 14, 2014, 7:00p
Kehilla Community Synagogue; 1300 Grand Avenue, Oakland, California

Join Keshet and Glitter Kehilla for a special Shabbat observance focused on the remembrance of the victims of transphobia. Services at 7:00 pm: vegetarian potluck dinner at 8:00 pm. We will be collecting tzedakah for the Transgender Law Center.
Please note that this is a scent-free event. This event is geared toward young adults, but folks of all ages, genders, and orientations are welcome.




Check out these links!

How to host your own TDOR Event

Transfaith TDOR Toolkit for Faith Communities 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Trans Body Blessing

I've been thinking a lot about what I, in my role as Priest/ess of the Body-Temple, can offer to the large portion of the trans population that experiences body disphoria. I want to acknowledge, first of all, that I don't experience body disphoria. It is thus difficult for me to really get into peoples' heads and hearts to discover what they need. I've done my best through personal conversations and research. If you feel I've been disrespectful, please do contact me so I can do my best to address your concerns and make amends.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


I've been thinking recently about what archetypes might be of service for trans* folks. What bridges our life experiences, speaks to different stages we grow through, touches both transsexual women and men and those of us with non-binary gender identities? The results of my musings are hard to swallow in places, but that seems about right. Being trans* is hard at times, too.


Many of us begin our journey by being accused, either overtly or subtly, of being traitors. We are called traitors to our gender, to what it means to be a man or a woman, to our communities, to feminism, and sometimes to our sexual orientations. Transmen who love women are particularly vulnerable to this last accusation.

So what is there to celebrate about being a traitor? I look to mythology to give me a broader picture. Prometheus, who brought fire to humanity, was no doubt called a traitor. When Inanna kept the me (divine powers) that Enki gave her while intoxicated, or when Isis forced Ra to giver her his secret name, betraying the trust those gods had in them, they acted as traitors. To be a traitor is to betray something or someone. In these myths, we see that to be a traitor is to be a revolutionary, to overthrow or threaten the current power structure.

To embody the archetype of the Traitor as a trans* person means to question whose power we are being asked to uphold. It means to acknowledge that, YES, actually, in many ways we are betraying the gender binary. It means to be a wedge, a hammer, creating cracks through which others might see that they are walled in. It means giving others space to question what they support and why. It means doing all of that from a place of deep integrity with the intent of doing good.


A lot of us hear "trickster" as well. Gender tricksters are not what we seem. What's under our clothes and especially what is in our pants is a surprise. We are fakers somehow, illusionists intent on messing people up. The voices that call us tricksters most loudly are those that are outraged.

Many mythological tricksters do not blindly cause mayhem. They have specific targets. The fey who whisk away greedy mortals for a night of dancing that turns out to be a century in the human world are tricksters. Rabbit feigning fear of Coyote to lure him into defeat is a trickster. Hermes trading his lyre to Apollo in return for the cattle Hermes had stolen and a share of Apollo's power is a trickster. Odysseus claiming to be Nobody to the Cyclops is a trickster. Tricksters take on the arrogant, the power hungry, those who are too certain of themselves and what they deserve from the world.

To be a trans* Trickster is to acknowledge that we unmoor gender from its fixed point. We are a sign that sex and gender don't always align, or even conform to binary categories. We are not fooling anyone about who we are, though. Rather, people are fooling themselves. We are (or at least, I am) not trying to pass as something other than what we are. We are just living our truths. Our targets create themselves. How people choose to read us is up to them. Their outrage is the result of finding out that their assumptions were wrong. It is on them, not us, to come to terms with this newly revealed world.


Many of us literally change our shapes, making additions or subtractions to the upstairs and downstairs, as it were. We take hormones to harden or soften our lines. Others of us use more temporary means: binders, carefully glued hair, the cut of our clothes, soft or hard packs, make-up, and body language to pull people's perceptions one way or the other.

Shapechangers abound in mythology. Loki, who brings the end, appears as both male and female. A number of mortals, male and female alike, have their shape changed in Greek mythology as punishment, to escape an untenable situation, or as a sign of respect for their life. Cerridwen changes shape in the pursuit of Talisman and in the end consumes him and rebirths him with many gifts.

Changing shapes signifies an end to one thing and a beginning to another. It is a new life. Shapechangers also bring to the forefront of our awareness the connectedness between human beings and animals and plants.

Embodying the Shapechanger archetype as trans* person means holding space for all people to change. It means recognizing the subtler shifts in gender expression in ourselves and others. It means giving people space (physical, emotional, psychic) to not be something anymore and instead to be something new.


There are, in straight up numbers, not very many of us. Statistics suggest 3% of the population is trans. In queer communities, which are generally more welcoming than straight ones, we are still on the outside. As one person put it, we are the Gl(b)t community. If we are recognized as trans*, many doors are shut to us.

Pagans, too, are outsiders. We have been the old woman at the edge of the village, the medicine man who goes into the forest, the monk on the mountain top. We pagans know the power of crossroads, of being outside the normal stream of things. Many circle castings include some variation of the words, "In a space outside space and a time outside time."

Trans* Outsiders consider the unique gifts we have to offer our communities. We take the time to see patterns invisible from the inside and call attention to them. We tap the medicines and knowledge from the wild places accessible to us through our unique positions. We gather together to share and celebrate. We are deeply rooted in our sense of Mystery.

These archetypes will not resonate for everyone. They were drawn from my personal experience as a genderqueer pagan and from conversations with others in the pagan and trans* communities. In grand pagan tradition, please disregard what doesn't work for you. Or, better, figure out what does work for you and share it. The more options trans* pagans have to draw from, the better!

What archetypes resonate for you? Share in the comments.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trans*/Pagan Events for September 2014

Welcome to this humble exploration of events which may be of interest to people who identify as Trans* and Pagan, radiating from a central point in the San Francisco Bay Area and extending Worldwide. I seek to share about gatherings that help promote awareness and inclusion of the countless genders we humans experience, concentrating on events which reflect Pagan values and practices. If there's something you'd like to see listed here— or an error— please leave your message in the blog comments section. Let's have a wonderful time!

This month: San Francisco, Oakland, Sebastopol, Portland, OR, and Germany!

Maintained by Jaina Bee, a Priest/ess of CAYA Coven, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA, Earth.

Queer/Trans Yoga Series at CounterPULSE
MONDAYS Sept 8, 15, 22, 29; 7-8PM
THURSDAYS Sept 4, 11, 18, 25; 7-8PM
FRIDAYS Sept 5, 12, 19, 26 4:30-5:30PM
CounterPULSE; 80 Turk Street @ Taylor,  San Francisco CA (one block away from Powell BART)
By donation, BYOM (bring your own mat)

Queer/Trans Yoga series at CounterPULSE Underground is designed to be an inclusive space for all bodies or all orientations. Join us for curated playlists, candle lit meditation, and shared practice.

Mondays: Vinyasa Yoga with Nick
Thursdays: Slow Flow/Yin Yoga with Rhani
Fridays: Hatha Yoga with Erin

CounterPULSE is holding weekly donation-based Hatha yoga classes every Friday from 4:30-5:30pm as part of our CounterPULSE Underground programming. Led by Erin McElroy (RYT), classes will be multi-level, and will incorporate anti-oppression frameworks. Based on principles of non-violence, presence, and mindfulness, we’ll warm up your bodies, hearts, and minds, and all that energy that lives in between! Come join us in decolonizing yoga, one morning at a time!
For more information about yoga classes, click here.
Sunday September 14th, 10am to 5pm
Oaks Amusement Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR

It will be a day of celebrating our diversity in our community. Best part is getting in for Free, yes it is Free to attend. We will of course gladly accept your non-perishable food or toiletry donations to Esther's Pantry, Animal Food for The Pongo Fund, a local non-profit that gives pet food to low income and homeless people so they don't have to give up their pets due to lack of funds, or magical items to send to Soldiers overseas. 

There will be several workshops, lots of vendors, service providers, kids corner and a harvest ritual. For additional fun you can choose to go ride the rides along the midway and/or compete in the day pavilion decorating contest. 

You are welcome to bring a picnic for you and your group. You can even bring a BBQ as long as you take the coals away with you. No alcohol--Oaks Park rules.

Updates will be posted on our Facebook Page as well.

Blessed Be

Paganism for the sake of this event can be broadly defined as earth based and/or poly theistic faiths that are not judeo-christin-islamic-muslim in nature. Just in case you were wondering.

Reclaiming San Francisco Fall Equinox ritual (Mabon)
Saturday 20 September, 1pm
Magic Meadow, Golden Gate Park
by donation

Join us to celebrate the time of balance, the time of harvest and thanks. Please bring food and/or non-alcohol drinks to share at post-ritual feast. Flowers and musical instruments are also welcome. This ritual and site are kid-friendly.
Please bring food and/or non-alcohol drinks to share post-ritual. Flowers and musical instruments are also welcome, as is colorful attire.
Extra card tables (or even bigger?) are always helpful! Please bring one along if you can. 

Transit: BART to Civic Center, transfer to Muni N-Judah train. Take train to Judah and 40th, walk two blocks to park, enter at 41st Ave. Walk two short blocks into park, enter parking lot on right, look for Pagans and/or sign on big tree. (Drivers - enter at 41st and Lincoln, park in lot.) 

North Bay Reclaiming Fall Equinox ritual (Mabon)
Sunday 21 September. Gather 3:30pm, ritual 4pm
Ragle Ranch Park, 500 Ragle Rd, Sebastopol CA
$10-$30 suggested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds

We are looking forward to our North Bay Equinox gathering. We've planned something quite unique as we have partnered with The Ceres Project in Sebastopol and will be donating the proceeds from the event to their excellent program. 

You can learn more about The Ceres Project by visiting their at
In a nutshell, their mission is to support individuals dealing with serious illness with free, delivered and nutrient-rich prepared meals, nutrition education, and building a community of caring. 

They Involve young people as volunteer gardeners and chefs, giving them direct, hands-on experience of the difference that fresh, healthy foods and community make, and of their own capacity to contribute. 

They work to educate the broader community, including health professionals, about the connection between fresh, healthy food, strong social networks, healing and wellness.
We believe that supporting The Ceres project is in line with the core values of Reclaiming and is an act of activism and compassion we can stand behind. 

This is a clean and sober event, so please, no alcohol or drugs at the ritual space.

 "Sassafras Cypress & Indigo-Black screen images and the [e]motive notion of Freakiness” presented by Vaginal Davis
Friday, Sept 26
Hoerspiel Forum NRW 2014 in Koln (Cologne), Germany
check website for cost

Vaginal Davis is the internationally revered intersexed doyenne of intermedia arts and sciences. She takes public discourse to Dementia 13 levels as she spells out the queer and blatino experience in her own inemitable fashion creating new words out of thin air and crashing bull-in-a-Madame Mau China-Shop style over notions of propriety and reality. Born and braised in the poorest sections of Los Angeles, California Ms. Davis has been living in Berlin Germany since 2006 where she curates and hosts the monthly performative film screening mega event Rising Stars, Falling Stars at Arsenal Instituet fuer Film und Videokunst.  Along with Susanne Sachsse, Marc Siegel and Daniel Hendrickson she has been a part of the Berlin based art kollektiv CHEAP since 2001. Ms. Davis has taught seminars of her spiky brand of performance and live art at The Chicago Art Institute, Harvard, Malmo Art Academy-Lund University,Goethe-Universitaet,Frankfurt am Main and Justus-Liebig Universitaet Giessen.  Her videos, collages paintings and performance installations have been presented at The Tate Modern- London, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary-Vienna, MoMa-NYC,  The Getty Art Center, Los Angeles and Palais de Tokyo, Paris.  In 2009 she was the recipient of the Ethyl Eichelberger /Gesso Foundation Art Prize.
Queer School
Saturday, September 27, 3pm
Oakland, CA

It's autumn and the time of harvest / decay brings us another Queer School meeting!
Emji Spero and Olive Blackburn will lead us through the mulch of our queer dreams.

A Peep into the Exciting Future!

Saturday, Oct 25, 10am-5pm
If The Broom Fits, 8845 SW Commercial St, Tigard, OR (2 blocks from MAX)
$1 entrance donation (that is not a typo)

OWOW is hosting a fundraiser again this fall to help raise money for OWOW in their quest for being able to have a space in town for a Pagan community center. There will be practitioners ranging from Tarot, Runes, Reiki and more. This event raises money for OWOW, the practitioners and we hope showcase an amazing new business in the Tigard area If the Broom Fits.

There will be practitioners on hand, the retail store to shop and some sandwiches and tea available for purchase. This should be a fun day and we can't wait to see everyone there. More details will come soon. We hope you are all staying warm and dry.

As always thank you for your continued support of pagans in our community.
Pagan Activism Conference Online
Nov 22-23, 10am-5:30pm
online! link to video conference will be provided to registrants
Early Bird before Sept 15: Full conference (7 sessions) $80, Sept 15-Oct 31: $90, Oct 31-Nov 22: $100, Or, purchase a ticket to a single session for $20.

The Pantheon Foundation is happy to announce the upcoming Pagan Activism Conference Online (PACO). The Conference will take place on Nov. 22-23, 2014, and will be conducted entirely online using an easy-to-learn video conferencing platform called Zoom 

 There will be 7 sessions over the course of the weekend. Each will be 90-minute panel featuring 4-5 guests offering brief, TED talk-length presentations about tools and valuable information from the heart of their particular areas of experience/expertise, followed by moderated Q & A sessions. There will also be a Keynote address.
Current panelists and moderators include Shauna Aura Knight, John Beckett, Christine Hoff Kraemer, Carolina Amor-Boggs, John Medellin, Rion Roberts, and Amy/Ankhira Swordplow Himes.

The Conference Programming Committee currently consists of Yeshe Rabbit Matthews, Xochiquetzal Duti Odinsdottir, and Dwan McCarthy. A special keynote address, along with the following topics, are already planned:
  • Pagans & Infrastructure: Serving Your Cause Effectively
  • Care & Feeding of Activists
  • Queer-and-Gender Activism
  • Online/Media Activism
  • Activism Among Pagans of Color
  • Consenting Adults: Sexual Ethics in the Pagan Community
  • Know Your Pagan Religious Rights

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Pagan Trans March

This is my fourth Trans March. The first year, I came early and listened to all the speakers and musicians and reveled in being around people. That year, Trans March was like a secret in my heart: I knew I was like them, but almost no one else knew. The next few times I went to Trans March, I butched it up. I studied men and the way they moved and tried, if not quite to pass as male, then at least to pass as gender non-conforming. I got "sirred" on the train home. I came out. I walked with my girlfriend and her other girlfriend.

Then I really came out. I changed pronouns. I told my mom. I did some hard internal work. I started getting the occasional "sir" in my everyday life, despite making no attempt to hide my breasts. Kids got confused about my gender. (They're smarter than grown ups about some things.) I settled into my gender on some deep, fundamental level.

This year, when I went to Trans March, it was different. I wore my standard outfit: tight jeans, a white undershirt, and my brown leather jacket, the one that my dad gave me years ago. I also wore a leather mini-skirt over the jeans, and dark eyeliner. And my pentacle necklace. I felt giddy, applying the eyeliner, knowing down to my bones that I didn't need to pass as anything at all. I just was. I just am. I'm genderqueer. It's not my tie or my hair or my cock or my skirt that make me genderqueer. Those are accessories. They're helpful as signifiers, though I mostly combine them in ways that signify "I am outside the binary." They can be a wave to fellow outsiders. But I don't need them to be who I am.

On the way out the door, passing by my Hermes altar, I snatched a feather and came up with two. I left the first at the crossroads near my home, praying for a good march. As we twined through the streets and stalled momentarily in the San Francisco fog, I looked back. I was near the front of the march. We were almost at the top of the hill. Snaking back behind me were hundreds, maybe a thousand, trans folks of all stripes and types. People like me, glittering in the streets. With a laugh, I lifted the second feather high and let it go, letting it fly away in the wind.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Trans*/Pagan Events for July 2014

A periodical events round-up focusing on that which may be of interest to people who identify as Trans* and Pagan, radiating from a central point in the San Francisco Bay Area and extending Worldwide. All events are either Trans*-oriented or open to all genders. Events are Pagan-specific, Pagan-friendly, or at least Pagan-inclusive. If there's something you'd like to see listed here— or an error— please leave your message in the blog comments section. Let's have a wonderful time!

In this issue: Eugene, LA, Lopez Island, Oakland, San Francisco, Western MA… y en español

Maintained by Jaina Bee, a Priest/ess of CAYA Coven, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA, Earth.

The Church of 8 Wheels: LGBT Tuesdays—Gay Night Roller Disco
Tuesdays— July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 (a weekly event), 7-10pm
The Church of 8 Wheels; 554 Fillmore St., SF, CA
$10.00 entrance fee. Skate rentals available at $5.00

The Church of 8 Wheels is an "only in San Francisco" rolligious experience.  Come join D. Miles, San Francisco's "GodFather of Skate" and the Holy Rollers of the Church of 8 Wheels as we get our skate groove on at the Church of 8 Wheels.

Tuesday Nights at the The Church of 8 Wheels is dedicated to San Francisco's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community. It's Gay Night Tuesdays at the Church!!! 

Come get your skate groove on every Tuesday night at San Francisco's Roller Disco, the Church of 8 Wheels, 554 Fillmore St. at Fell St. in San Francisco. The doors open at 7PM and we roll until 10PM. We play a variety of disco classics, old school funk and some of today's hottest skate beats, so come on down and roll with us.

more info call 415-752-1967or e-mail
Alphabet Sangha
Tuesdays— July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 (a weekly event). 7-8:30pm
East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC), 285 17th St. (@Harrison) in downtown Oakland

The Alphabet Sangha is a weekly meditation group for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Same-Gender Loving, and Two-Spirit communities. Because that's such a mouthful, we call ourselves the Alphabet Sangha. We gather for Buddhist meditation practice, Dharma teachings, and friendly, supportive community. Together we explore mindfulness and awareness for cultivating an open heart in our everyday lives.

We are a diverse, multicultural community, committed to social justice and to maintaining a Sangha that's welcoming to people of all races, ethnicities, classes, genders, abilities, sizes and ages.

We welcome people at all levels of practice. Simple beginning meditation instructions are always offered. If you have specific questions about meditation, a teacher is usually available to answer questions.

COST: EBMC is supported by the generosity of the Dharma communities that make a home there. There is never a fee charged for any event at EBMC. The teachings and space are always offered freely, and you are invited to donate money or offer your support through participation in the community.

ACCESSIBILITY: EBMC is fully wheelchair accessible, with two accessible bathrooms. Chairs and cushions are provided, and you are free to bring whatever else you need to make yourself comfortable. Out of respect for people with environmental illnesses, please do not wear fragrance or scented products.

GROUP FORMAT: Some of our core teachers are based in the Theravadin tradition, and some in the Soto Zen tradition. We also have wonderful visiting teachers from a variety of Buddhist traditions. One or two teachers generally lead(s) the group, and sometimes there are peer-led sits with no teacher, facilitated by members of the Sangha.

The typical evening format:

    7:00 Welcome
    7:10 Silent sitting (with some instructions)
    7:40 Dharma talk & group activity
    8:20 Announcements
    8:30 Closing

Please try to arrive a little before 7 so we can begin together.

Newcomers at any level of meditation experience are always welcome!

2014 Outfest LA: LGBT Film Festival
July 10-20
Directors Guild of America,  7920 Sunset Blvd., LA
$10 and up

Though there are lots of fine, fun, and fabulous films in this year's festival, the Documentary Centerpiece is this year's Sundance favorite, My Prairie Home, about singer-songwriter Rae Spoon who identifies quite cheerfully as a non-binary person. This looks so cool!

My Prairie Home
Sunday, July 13, 6pm
(Canada, 2013, 76 min)
Los Angeles Premiere
Directed By: Chelsea McMullan
With only a guitar and a handful of cash for Greyhound fare, transgender singer-songwriter Rae Spoon, who prefers the gender-neutral pronoun "they," performs across the vast and blue-skied plains of Canada, in dingy bars and badly lit concert halls. Together with filmmaker Chelsea McMullan, Rae's songs transport audiences from small, confining nightclubs into dreamy, beautifully photographed landscapes of music and memory. MY PRAIRIE HOME disposes of traditional documentary filmmaking, opting instead to explore Rae's discovery of love outside their evangelical home with haunting visuals and a hypnotic score that go hand-in-hand with Rae's highly personal melodies. Within the first moments of this Sundance Film Festival favorite, we're visually cued to subvert our expectations and spend intimate time with a subject who sees the world in their own way. A particular joy comes from delving into an artist's world of quiet musings; discovering Rae Spoon is this film's biggest reward. 
Energetic Alignment through private CoAlithesis treatments
Friday, July 11
Homestead Apothecary, 486 49th St #C, Oakland, CA
$50 (or $35 if you bring your own beeswax candle, sage bundle, or palo santo stick)

Take a guided & assisted dive into your own energy field & participate in a collaborative healing process. This treatment is especially recommended for those with a passion for working on their own healing & evolution. You will leave these sessions with hands-on experience of simple & effective energetic treatments, customized to your particular & current needs, that you can then continue to practice on your own to keep your energy strong, flowing and in balance.

Rae Diamond’s work arises from a devotion to the interrelation of matter and energy. She has practiced professionally as an astrologer, energy healer & teacher for over a decade. Rae apprenticed with Lakota shaman, Char Sundust, 2002 – 2006, became a Reiki master in 2005, & recently transplanted to Oakland from Seattle. She is also the director of the Long Tone Choir, plays synthesizer in an art-rock band, makes meticulous black & white drawings, & makes frequent forays into nature.
  This 45 minute treatment will occur on the 2nd Friday of each month. Please email the shop to see if appointments are available.
Low Cost Consultations every 2nd Saturday with Liz Migliorelli of Sister Spinster Apothecary
Saturday, July 12
Homestead Apothecary, 486 49th St #C, Oakland, CA
$40-60 sliding scale

Liz Migliorelli is a western clinical herbalist and magic maker. Her clinical herbal work is inspired by the folklore of the plants and aims to find herbs that bring your personal mythology into balance. In order to work on your health care needs and intentions, she provides a safe, non-judgemental, active listening space in order to discuss your health care options that may include herbal remedies, flower essences, dream work, magic and ritual, nutritional support, lifestyle changes and other healing modalities. She welcomes all bodies with deep compassion and respect. Liz has studied with folk herbalist Corinne Boyer in Olympia, WA and has completed the apprenticeship program and clinical year at the Ohlone Herbal Center in Berkeley. Liz has studied under herbalist Atava Garcia-Swiecicki and now works at Ancestral Apothecary as a teaching assistant and medicine maker. Liz is the founder of Sister Spinster Apothecary, where she is committed to making flower essences in love and ceremony for her community.

This 45 minute consultation will occur on the 2nd Saturday of each month. 
Pronouns page from The Gender Book (cc)

 The GENDER Book book-signing party
July 18, 6:30pm 
Wicked Grounds, 289 8th Street San Francisco
FREE, however please support the venue by purchasing a beverage or something, eh?

The GENDER book resident artist Mel Reiff Hill will be hanging out at one of our favorite coffee shops in San Francisco to sign books, doodle you some free drawings, offer you coloring and activity pages and eat some tasty snacks. Join us to get your copy signed and meet fellow gender scouts! 

The GENDER book is a fun and colorful resource which illustrates the beautiful diversity of gender. We give half of our proceeds back to book scholarship funds and use the rest to continue providing free gender education for all.

By popular request, a text-only version of the GENDER book. This is great if you want to pop the text from the GENDER book into a google translate to help talk about gender to your Spanish aunt or Filipino brother-in-law.

Other uses could be to help with accessibility (though there's also a specialized large-format version for that, if you prefer). This is meant to be used as a companion to the original, fully-illustrated version of the GENDER book, so print out both to help you read alongside!
Consulta Sanadora y Somática con Edgar Fabián Frías, MA de Nuestra Red Sagrada
July 19, A las 10a.m., 11a.m. y 12p.m.
Homestead Apothecary, 486 49th St #C, Oakland, CA  
$35 – $60 pago de escala basado en sus ingresos

Edgar Fabián Frías, MA tiene entrenamiento como consejero, terapeuta, y guía. Viniendo de un linaje de curanderos y sanadores indígenas de Zacatecas y Jalisco, Edgar entrelaza la sabiduría y prácticas de sus antepasados con prácticas y teorías modernas sobre la sanación y el cerebro humano. Recibio su maestria en terapia de salud mental y un certificado profesional enfocado en la neurobiología interpersonal en Portland, Oregon. Además tiene un año de entrenamiento con el proceso “Hakomi,” una forma de trabajar con nuestra energía corporal, psíquica, y espiritual, usando nuestra atención propia y nuestro enfoque para descubrir y explorar nuestros sistemas internos. El estudiar y aprender con compasión de nuestra experiencia propia, nuestros pensamientos, emociones y sensaciones, nos puede ayudar a lidiar con traumas y aprender a tener una nueva relación con nosotros mismos. Edgar ofrece una invitación a entrar a una red sagrada de apoyo, empoderamiento, compasion, y sabiduria.

Estás consultas de 45 minutos ocurren en el 3er Sábado de cada mes. Por favor llamenme al 510-255-1474 o envienme un mensaje a mi correo electronico para hacer una cita.

Mi pagina de web:

In English: 

Low Cost Consultations with Atava Garcia Swiecicki of Ancestral Apothecary
July 23
50 sliding scale

Atava Garcia Swiecicki, MA, RH (AHG). Atava has been studying and practicing healing arts for over 20 years and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a graduate degree from Naropa University Oakland. Atava is also certified in both Acupressure and Jin Shin Jyutsu®, and is a clinical herbalist and professional member of the American Herbalist Guild. Atava’s teaching and healing work is a unique and powerful combination of herbal medicine, curanderismo, dream work, energetic bodywork and ancestral healing. She runs a small herbal product company, Ancestral Apothecary, that specializes in hand-crafted herbal remedies and potions. She also is opening a school and healing center dedicated to herbal, folk and indigenous medicine in the Oakland. Her website is:

This 45 minute treatment will occur on the 4th Wednesday of each month. Please email the shop to see if appointments are available. 

Faerieworlds 2014
July 25-27
Emerald Meadows at Mt. Pisgah, Eugene, OR describes Faerieworlds thus:
"Faerieworlds, the yearly festival that encourages attendees to “live your legend,” returns. Celebrating fantasy, magic and, of course, faeries, this annual event of pixie dust and gossamer wings provides everything a faer-folk enthusiast could want. By bringing in internationally acclaimed authors and artists, featuring a “Mythic Marketplace” and presenting a diverse group of musicians from the world over, Faerieworlds….caters to the varying tastes of those who adore the faerie realm."
For much more information, flit on over to:

Kinky Spirituality Munch
Sunday, July 27 7:00pm - 9:30pm (recurs last Sunday of each month)
Wicked Grounds 289 8th Street, San Francisco
FREE, please support the venue by purchasing something

We will be gathering at Wicked Grounds to discuss and share what Spirituality and Kink mean to each of us. Come. Share your beliefs. Share your practices. Talk about Rituals and Rites and what they mean for you. Meet other Spiritual and Spiritually Kinky pervs in the Bay Area. Know that you are not alone in your practices.

All faiths and practices are accepted without judgement or criticism.

You might be interested, but maybe you don't know what "Spirituality" means in reference to BDSM?

SACRED BDSM can include (but is not limited to):

Healing or coming into wholeness, holiness, integration and authenticity
Transformation & Shadow work
Trance & vision quest
Offering & prayer
Ritual & ceremony
Moving in and through the energy into release & awakening
Discovery, uncovery and/or recovery of that which is lost, hidden, suppressed, rejected or denied
Working with consciousness, energy, sensation, impact, power, & the chakra system to increase vitality, and inner harmony
Explore with us. Share your ideas. Find common ground together at Wicked Grounds.
 Save the date, preregister, and pack your bags for these enticements:

Haaayfest! Queer Music Explosion!!
August 8-10
Oddland!, Lopez Island, WA
Sliding scale donations, $20+, no one turned away for lack of funds

more info to come: Oddland!
Queer/Two Spirit Ancestral Healing Workshop
August 21-24
The Witch Barn, Amherst, MA
Cost: $500-$425. $75 deposit due by July 1st. 
We are thrilled to announce this special workshop on ancestral healing and remembrance workshop for the queer community. We’ll be gathering at the Witch Barn in Amherst, MS for a four day intensive on this subject. Topics covered include:

• Group and individual practices to connect to our ancestors
• Ritual and ceremonies for healing
• Dream work
• Healing with plant and stone allies
• Connecting to the elements of nature for healing and connection

Class taught by Atava Garcia Swiecicki of Ancestral Apothecary and Dori Midnight.

Dori Midnight practices community based healing and intuitive counseling, weaving traditional folk healing, plant medicine, and social justice. Drawing from her ancestral heritage (Ashkenazi/Sephardi, Roma, First Nations Shawnee), her passion for justice, and training as a clinical herbalist and flower essence practitioner, Dori's work is grounded in self-determinism, collective liberation, and the belief that healing ourselves is inseparable from healing our communities and earth. Dori teaches workshops on community healing, queer magic, and intuitive arts and maintains a local and distance healing practice in Western Massachusetts.
To Register: Contact ancestralapothecary[at] for a class application.
Freedom and Ease of Being: A Meditation Retreat for Our LGBTIQ Community (IMS)
September 2 – 7, 2014
Insight Meditation Society, 1230 Pleasant Street, Barre MA
Sliding Scale; $485-$605

IMS is one of the Western world's oldest and most-respected meditation retreat centers. We are dedicated to providing a spiritual refuge for all who seek freedom of mind and heart.

This insight retreat creates a space of ease and support for our LGBTIQ meditators to come together, beginners and experienced practitioners alike. Sharing silence and meditative space allows us to make greater peace with ourselves and our lives, one moment at a time. We learn to find an ever-deepening sense of wellbeing, touching joy and fostering the heart's release. While listening to the teachings of wisdom and compassion, and sitting and walking mindfully, liberating insights arise, and clarity and freedom is gained. We practice in this way both for our own benefit and for the benefit of others.

There may be rides available for this retreat. You can also offer a ride. Click here to view the listings.
24th Annual Southern Comfort Conference
September 3-7
The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia
, 4355 Ashford Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta GA

Prices Vary, $130 and up
Scholarships available 

We are so glad you have decided to join us the 24th annual Southern Comfort Conference, the largest gathering of the transgender community in the world.  Whether its your first time, or you are an old hand, we’re sure that you will have the time of your life.

There is something for everyone on the SCC. Whatever your connection to the transgender community – whether you are transsexual, a cross dresser or in between; a spouse, a partner or a family member; straight, gay, bi or omni-sexual; post-op, pre-op or non-op; young or old; married or single; FtM or MtF – if transgender is an issue in your life, you are welcome!

Editor's note: the SCC 2014 program is still under construction. Check here in the next month or so for specific events that may be of particular interest to Trans*/Pagans!

Southern Comfort Conference

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Gender Sermon of the Moment

 I have recently had several interactions with a friend of mine who is currently offering generally wise and well-informed counseling to the public on matters of sex and relationships. After a few incidents in which I felt that her gender education wasn't up to speed, I sent this email. This seems like a fine introduction to my personal gender story, which is one of the subjects the Priest/esses of Beyond the Binary would like to share with the public. May it be received with the love and compassion with which it was composed.

I hope this missive finds you well and fine.

I have been wanting to touch in with you about something that hasn't settled well with me. I haven't spoken up before because I felt too upset to communicate clearly and compassionately, and, well, you know we discussed the difficulties in working against the conditioning not to speak up for oneself.

Lately, for me, it has been an interesting process of "coming out" as a gender variant individual. It has been a private affair for me, and one that has felt too unclear to share with others, similar to what I have heard shared by my friends of variant sexualities. I never had an issue with identifying my sexuality as "queer", though most people presume I am heterosexual (and my sig others tend to be straight white men). I have found it to be much more challenging to correct others when they presume I am a cisgendered woman.

It has been easy for me to pass as a woman because of my feminine gender expression, however I often feel more like a drag queen. I like being a drag queen. No one questions me when I use the women's room, (Try using the men's room in the city to get an idea of what it's like to be gender variant) I have been welcome in women's spaces (though with increasing discomfort for me. I wrote a blog post about it here: ), and no one (friends, family, strangers) feels entitled to ask me, "So what ARE you? A boy or a girl?" as they do many other gender outlaws.
This is important for me to share with you; a person who is offering counseling services to the public on matters of sex and relationships. Gender is a highly-charged topic these days, as it comes out of the cisgendered binary cage it has smothered in for so long.
We have spoken on this subject for three weeks in a row now. The first time, I told you I had a book to give you on the subject, and all was well. The second week, I paid for your counseling services, and in a moment of enthusiasm, you spoke very dismissively about "that gender stuff" as you literally waved your hands as if shooing it away, presuming you were talking to a cisgendered woman. I was in a bit of shock and found myself speechless. The next week, I brought you The Gender Book, hoping it would help you understand the vastness and beautiful nuances of this topic. Again, you said something dismissive about gender and again you waved your hand as if it were a fly in your face. It was then I came out to you as a person who does not identify within the gender binary. Though I sensed some mild resistance at first, you quickly began to adapt this new information to your understanding of gender. Right on!

When you complained of men being dismissive to women's issues, such as rape and sexual predation, you were expressing your own gender awareness and experience. Please consider showing other genders the care and support you want men to show women.
I found the topic of gender to be a serious area of insensitivity in your otherwise considerate and informed services. I have great confidence that you will inform yourself further on this subject, as every person you meet has a gender identity, whether they have explored this and defined it for themselves yet, whether it is static or fluid, whether it is cisgender or agender or the many countless and multiplying identities that people are claiming and reclaiming for themselves.
I am here for you if you have any questions, wish to discuss this further, want some recommendations on resources. There's a lot out there on this evolving issue, and I am grateful to be of service.

With love and respect, Jaina Bee