Pagan Consent Culture

Pagan Consent Culture

Building Communities of Empathy and Autonomy

cover by Shauna Aura Knight
An Anthology from Asphodel Press
Christine Hoff Kraemer & Yvonne Aburrow, editors

For many Pagans, sexuality and the body are sacred. Unfortunately, this conviction is not enough to prevent sexual harassment, assault, and abuse. Like the mainstream communities they are immersed in, Pagan communities struggle with consent issues, especially around sexual touch.

Increasingly, Pagans realize that good consent practices must be embraced by communities, not just by individuals—and that consent is about more than sexuality. Consent culture begins with the idea of autonomy, with recognizing our right to control our bodies and selves in all areas of life; and it is sustained by empathy, the ability to understand and share the emotional states of others.

This collection grounds consent culture in contemporary Pagan values, stories, and practices:
  • a Druid explores the concept of sovereignty
  • Wiccans analyze “The Charge of the Goddess”
  • a Heathen explicates medieval Icelandic lore
  • a modern Polytheist draws on philosophies of difference
  • ...and much more
Additionally, contributors provide nuts-and-bolts guides to building consent culture:
  • responding to the needs of survivors of sexual abuse and assault
  • setting consent-based policies for rituals and events
  • training children and adults in consent practices
  • sacralizing pleasurable touch on an everyday basis
  • ethically teaching sacred sexuality and sex magick
For Pagan leaders, teachers, and organizers, Pagan Consent Culture is an essential resource.

Published February 2016

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On Yeshe Rabbit and her essay "Matriarchy and Consent Culture"

In February 2018, we read on the CAYA Facebook page and website that Yeshe Rabbit had resigned from her leadership position with CAYA during an ethics investigation and was now considered "not in good standing" in that community. Since then, we have been saddened to read the substantial first-person testimony from former members of CAYA who were victims of emotional abuse and financial and sexual exploitation at her hands.

Rabbit contributed an essay to our 2016 Pagan Consent Culture collection about matriarchal, consensus-based community organizing and consent. At the time, to our knowledge, Rabbit and CAYA had good public reputations in the wider Pagan community. We believe the article still has merit and that the principles described can be used to organize a healthy community. However, from the testimony of the victims, it seems clear that CAYA was not actually run in accordance with the principles described.

Although Rabbit's "Matriarchy and Consent Culture" essay remains in the collection and will do so unless and until we prepare a second edition, we cannot therefore recommend Yeshe Rabbit as a teacher or leader in any capacity. We hope that that those harmed will be able to find healing, and that Pagan organizations will learn from this situation.

--Christine Hoff Kraemer & Yvonne Aburrow