A Pagan Polyamory Page

(Version 2.6)

Copyright © 1999, 2005 c.e., Isaac Bonewits

Some (Very) Personal Notes:

As you may not know if you got here from some other website, my name is Isaac Bonewits, I’m 56 years old, have been married five times (hope springs eternal), and am father to a frighteningly intelligent and self-aware young man named Arthur. I’m 90% heterosexual, with a taste for pixies, artists, ethnic “archetypes” and exotic blends, mad geniuses, and the occasional werewolf. Despite the fact that some of my friends and lovers are involved in the “leather” community, I am (to them) distressingly “vanilla,” in my preferences and practices. I believe that pain is something to avoid giving or receiving, in contrast to pleasure, which I believe should be given and received as often as possible in as many ways as the sentient beings involved may desire. This may be related to the amount of physical pain my ill health presents me with. Before it became too painful, I used to be an amateur practitioner of Tantra, the name given to several paths of erotic spirituality, and a devoted Aphrodisian.

I am both a Neopagan and polyamorous. My commitment to polyamory, a “lovestyle” of intimate relationships with more than one other person at a time, is tied closely to my polytheism and vice versa. While not strictly necessary, Neopagan beliefs are certainly more accepting of polyamory than those of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam (the latter allows a man to have several wives but not vice versa and is horrifically sexist).

Like other “polys” — which is what we tend to call ourselves, leading to infinite parrot jokes and logos (see below) — I discovered early in life that I had the ability to love more than one person and did not have the ability to live monogamously. I suspect Robert Heinlein’s and Robert Rimmer’s writings on the subject had a strong influence on me — their polyamorous worldviews were so logical, if often unrealistically optimistic for their times.  I’ve listed a few of their books below, that I think you’ll enjoy.

Also like other polys, my dream is to someday be in an open group marriage and have a multi-adult household. I’ve done this for short periods of time in the past, and I believe it can be done long-term in the present and future. My current poly relationships involve several other (mostly Pagan) women (and one angel), who live in various, mostly distant, parts of the USA, usually with partners. Even though we don’t all live together—in fact, I’m happily living with just my Lady Phaedra these days—what we have is something part-way between an extremely extended family and an erotic network of friends, lovers, and committed partners. When Phaedra and I move to Ashland, Oregon in a few years, we hope to get a house large enough for several adults to share.

In this section of my website I hope to provide resources for people, especially fellow Neopagans, to investigate polyamory and to connect with others doing the same. Your comments and suggestions are more than welcome.

Polyamory in Theory and Practice

A good way to get the feel of specifically Pagan polyamory is with Morning Glory Zell’s classic article, “A Bouquet of Lovers.” This essay first coined the term “polyamory” and was a germinal work in the ongoing Poly Love community dialog. It has since been reprinted in Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits, which should be the second item on your reading list. See the book list below for further authors to study. A search for “polyamory” at yahoogroups.com will reveal dozens of local, regional, and global lists (though you’ll have to wade through hundreds of “swingers” lists to find the polyamory ones), all of which discuss the joys, woes, and weirdnesses of poly at great length.

I or Phaedra will be putting an essay here in the near future, as well as links to essays by others. For now, please use the resources listed on this page.

Polyamory Symbols and Slogans

 The Poly Parrot logo to the left is © 1998 c.e. by Kathryn McDaniel. Unfortunately, their Triad Ventures website vanished, so I no longer know where to find their stuff. Fortunately, if you go to CafePress.com and do a search on “polyamory” you'll find over 700 products to enjoy, including t-shirts, hats, and the previously elusive greeting cards for poly partners and announcements. One of my favorites is the shirt that says “Polyamory is wrong!” on the front and “It is either Multiamory or Polyphilia, but mixing Greek and Latin roots? Wrong!” Another says “plural without possession” which is from the folks at SpiritualPolyamory.com. You can also go here for A List of Poly Symbols. I think I’ll see what I can come up with in thew way of some new poly art this spring.

Some Useful Books on Polyamory:

Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits: Secrets of Sustainable Intimate Relationships,  by Deborah M. Anapol
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!
Loving More: the Polyfidelity Primar,  by Ryam Nearing
Unfortunately out of print, but used copies are available on the net.
The Ethical Slut; A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities,   by Dossie Easton & Catherine A. Liszt
Click here for a Review by Deborah Lipp.
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!
Three in Love : Menages a Trois from Ancient to Modern Times,   by Michael Foster, Letha Hadady, & Barbara M. Foster
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!
The Myth of Monogamy,  by David P. Barash & Judith Eve Lipton
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!
The New Intimacy: Open-Ended Marriage and Alternative Lifestyles,   by Ronald M. Mazur
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!
Polyamory: Roadmaps for the Clueless & Hopeful,   by Anthony D. Ravenscroft
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!
Spiritual Polyamory,   by Mystic Life
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!
Readers would do well to investigate some of the novels by two authors who, despite some occasionally glaring sexism in their earlier works, in many ways led to the creation of this movement, including: The Harrad Experiment,  by Robert Rimmer
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!
The Premar Experiments,  by Robert Rimmer
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!
Proposition 31,  by Robert Rimmer
Unfortunately out of print right now, this novel of an attempt to make group marriage legal through a referundum is well worth looking for.
Stranger in a Strange Land,  by Robert Heinlein
This one led to the founding of the Church of All Worlds, one of the primary sources of the current Neopagan movement.
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress,  by Robert Heinlein
Source of the immortal T.A.N.S.T.A.A.F.L. Principle!
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!
The Notebooks of Lazarus Long,  by Robert Heinlein
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!
Time Enough for Love,  by Robert Heinlein
Click here to buy it from Amazon.com!

Global Resources

Loving More, is an international organization and resource for people who believe it’s possible, practical and particularly rewarding to love more than one other responsibly, intimately, and in integrity. We value the diversity of forms that loving relationships can take, and support innovative chosen lovestyles such as group marriage, open couples, intimate networks, communities, tribes, & expanded families.

The group is the synergistic union of two former poly groups (IntiNet and PEP), and publishers of Loving More Magazine. In addition to having excerpts from back issues on their website, they also have complete back issues, anthologies, books and videos for sale, as well as a live chat area, free poly personals, and several polyamory e-mailing lists you can join. Their nonelectronic contact data is: Box 4358, Boulder, CO 80307 ~ (800) 424-9561.

The Sacred Space Institute grew out of an erotic affinity group of intimate peers with the common goal of supporting each other’s spiritual evolution. Our intention is to create a context in which the arts of whole systems healing, sacred sexuality, polyamory, community development and new paradigm relating can be taught, developed, applied, given professional legitimacy, and disseminated internationally.This group was founded by Deborah Anapol, author of Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits. The website includes a calendar of workshops, books and videos for sale, and more.
A truly major resource for polyamory is www.polyamory.org, which has grown beyond its early identity as the homepage for the alt.polyamory newsgroup to become host to many fine polyamory sites, including the legendary Howard Landman’s Polyamory Index, as well as dozens of websites for local poly groups around the world, many polyamory related e-mailing lists (including the famous poly one), incredibly useful FAQs files (such as the famous How to f*** up a poly or even a mono relationship), poly related essays, and many other resources.
Polyamory: An Unconditional Love Online Magazine has articles, essays, personal stories, links, chats, and resources of value to polyamorists and those who love us.
The Poly Matchmaker website has a Poly Personals ad section, live chats, multiple links to other poly sites and individuals, and message boards.
Public Polyamory If you want to find or perhaps even be listed among the very “out” (public) polys, you can visit Poly and Poly-Friendly Folk on the Web. There you can submit your own site or email address to be listed.
Here’s a link to a great essay on Valentines Day for Polys.

Poly Partners with Disabilities (recently received notice, 12/14/05)

Disabilities present many challenges to the average family and there are many options for discussion, support and venting. Unfortunately, polyamorous families find most of these discussion groups don't cover all the dynamics presented by our chosen family make-up.

This group was created for poly families who have a member who has been diagnosed with a long or short term disability. It is open to disabled partners, caregivers, family members, extended family members and friends. Please use this group as a place to share your experience, strenth and hope with each other through internet conversation. Feel free to ask questions, vent frustrations or share stories of hope.

This group is not modified, per se. Message posts are sent to the list without approval by the moderator. Obviously, differences of opinion are expected as is a bit of cursing here and there, but please use common courtesy in your responses. Written attacks on individual members, cyber-stalking and spamming can result in loss of membership.

To subscribe send a blank email to: PolyPartnersWithDisabilities-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

As part of a poly couple with disabilities, this looks to me like a great idea!

Local Resources

I’ve decided not to maintain a list of local groups here, because the sites mentioned above do a much better job than I ever have of keeping their data about local groups current. You will also find many local poly groups by using the Pagan Poly Ring here on the right, as soon as I get the code working right.

Copyright © 1999, 2005 c.e., Isaac Bonewits. This text file may be freely distributed on the Net, provided that no editing is done, the version number is retained, and everything in this notice box is included. If you would like to be on one or more of Isaac Bonewits’ emailing lists, click here to get subscription information.

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(P. E.) Isaac Bonewits, Adr.Em./ADF
Email: ibonewits@neopagan.net
Snailmail: PO Box 1010, Nyack, NY, USA 10960-8010
This webpage is copyright © 2004 c.e., Isaac Bonewits
Most recently updated: December 14, 2005
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