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
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.)