Raven Kaldera is a queer northern-tradition shaman and a pansexual FTM transgendered intersexual. That complicated string of titles translates to someone who was born with an intersex condition, raised female, transitioned to being socially and physically male, and became a transgender/intersex activist. At the same time, he was claimed by the Norse death goddess Hela, who visited him and informed him that he was required to get sex reassignment. "I'm sending you where you're needed most," she told him.
He suffered through not only sex reassigment but a protracted illness that culminated in a near-death experience and began to be plagued by gods and spirits afterwards. Afterwards, trying to make sense of what was happening to him, he began to read anthropological accounts of traditional tribal shamans, and realized that he had suffered through experiences that were frighteningly similar to those of tribal shamans of western Eurasia. Further research revealed that a good number of the things that the gods and spirits wanted him to do were things that northern tribal shamans were traditionally expected to do. In spite of being a white American, they had come and taken him anyway. There was nothing left to do but either do the work and live the job, or go mad and die, so today Raven is a northern-tradition shaman in the modern world.
Of course, a shaman is always attached to a tribe. It turned out that the tribe Hela had in mind for him to serve was the scattered tribe of all who are neither completely male nor completely female: intersexuals, transsexuals, transgendered people, drag perfomers, crossdressers, genderqueers, and any other random assorted gender transgressives. Every year, he speaks for the Dead of his tribe, and reminds listeners of their pain and anger and joy. One of his first spiritual orders was to research and spread the history of third-gender spirituality, which culminated in his book Hermaphrodeities: The Transgender Spirituality Workbook.
This also led to many workshops on the history of transgender spirituality, exploring such ancient gender-transgressive figures as Agdistis, Lilith, Shiva, Dionysos, Aphrodite Urania, Athena, Baphomet, Obatala, and many others. He is determined to spread the concept of being third-gendered and/or transgendered as the central part of one's spiritual path, not simply an annoying fact that must be endured in secrecy. He also writes and teaches about the sacred side of BDSM practice and polyamory, using them as part of one's spiritual disciplines.
He has been with his wife Bella, a social worker and MTF transsexual activist, for 13 years. Together they bought and began Cauldron Farm, a pagan homestead, intentional community, and sacred space. His lover Joshua came into his life 4 years ago, starting as an intern on their homestead and falling in love with Raven, his farm, and his goals. The three of them live together at Cauldron Farm, along with Raven's daughter and various queer refugees.
Raven continues to be an activist for such sexual and gender minorities as intersexuals, transgendered people, BDSM practice, and polyamory. He is the leader of the Neo-Pagan church First Kingdom Church of Asphodel, and will always be a practicing shaman. He has authored several books and innumerable essays on Pagan religious practices, polyamory, gender issues, BDSM, northern-tradition shamanism, herbalism, astrology, homesteading, and all the links in between. He has a couple dozen more books in the works, and intends to keep changing heads via books, essays, songs, workshops, magic, and anything else he can get his spirit-taught hands on.
(This biographical statement provided byt Raven Kaldera.)
Biography Date: August, 2005
Neo-Pagan | Queer/non-conforming | Transgender activism