Around the Cauldron

Queer Magic – Honouring my Deadname as an Ancestor

I cannot talk for everyone who identifies as Queer, Trans or Non Binary – I can only talk from my own experience as that is the only experience I fully know. 

When I came out as non-binary, I went through a stage of anger and regret. I was angry that it took me so long to find the term to understand who I was. I had regret for the years of “living a lie” where I tried so hard to be someone I wasn’t. And eventually, over time, you may come to accept that life happened as it happened. The steps taken to get you from that first moment of, “I’m different” to “I know who I am” can be long, and hard, and arduous, but you get there in the end.  

In time, I came to understand that I wasn’t “living a lie” – I was living. I was living a life the best I could with the knowledge I had at hand about self. I made decisions that may or may not have helped me, or hindered me, but I was making do with life in the best way I could.  

A weird analogy – I was flicking through all the magazines in a waiting room, unknowingly waiting for my time to be seen.  

It’s been four years since I came out as non-binary and took on my new name of Rowan. The transitional period of my dead name (let’s call her “C”) to Rowan was about a year. A year of exploring who I am, who I have been hiding; slowly peeling back the layers and layers of clutter I had unknowingly tossed on myself within that closet I mentioned in my previous post. A year of getting angry and incredibly impatient because I wanted the change to be immediate – I finally knew who I was, I wanted to drop everything and begin that life. I wanted to forgo everything that C represented, and went through. I wanted her life to be done and dusted and just be Rowan.  


Coming out was a revelation – it was coming home. It was finding that missing piece of who I was. It was understanding the years of depression, and suicide attempts, the cutting, more depression, comforting myself with food and allowing my body to get bigger as a way to hide the feminine self that I didn’t connect with. It was understanding the “tom boy/emo” late teenage years, the hyper femininity that followed. It was understanding why I just couldn’t connect with the body that I was born with.  

And then the sads came. Feeling sorry for C for spending those years so confused. 

When I laid her to rest, I thought that was it. Almost a year after my weight loss surgery and being reborn as Rowan, I partook in a Shamanic burial and I laid her to rest. The grave was dug, her favourite clothes were burned, and she died.  I sung to her as she turned to dust and returned to the Mother. I mourned her. I mourned the end of that life and I embraced life as Rowan with vigour and excitement. I tried to forget her, forget the aspects of the life she lived that wasn’t shared with Rowan’s vision of the future.  

C’s Burial

But what is remembered, lives. 

Over the last few months I have felt incredibly unbalanced, and I am obsessed with the idea of balance. When my partner and I moved house at Imbolc, Brigid came in like she owned the house, and started waking me up. Herne stood back, as he sometimes does, because Brigid claimed this to be “Women’s Business” and he had no part. Our study didn’t feel right until I had the three women up on the shelf – the painting I did of Oma for my Pop in 2001, Brigid’s print I’ve had since 2003, and a framed collection of the four aspects of Elen of the Ways. It didn’t feel right until I had a feminine print that I bought in Geelong when I was attending my Nanna’s funeral. And as much as my agender self doesn’t “get” gender, energy is something else entirely. 

During meditation on the full moon at Ostara, I was told to honour C as an Ancestor. She is dead, but she is still alive. I can still look to her for advice, even if I don’t want to live her life any longer. I was told to honour the three aspects of self – Rowan, the agender core being; B, the astral masculine; and C, the ancestral feminine. We were washed clean, we embraced, we came together with the intention of honouring this physical self as a collective, rather than shunning one over the other, or ignoring aspects of self. 

C is not to be looked down upon, to be looked upon with sympathetic eyes. She was strong, she did the best she could. She survived the years of depression and various forms of self-abuse. She looked for answers. She found the ways we needed to cope. She began the search for our own Holy Grail and, when the time came, she stepped aside for Rowan to emerge. She was wise, she was courageous, she was forgiving. She loved and was loved. She is to be respected for her journey, for the decisions she made, and the life she lived.  

She is to be sought out for advice as we continue to share memories, share emotions, share thoughts and feelings connected to our past.

Ostara celebrations came to an end last night, where I was guided back to the place of the first meditation. Dressed in white with a feminine body, I understood that I was C in that moment. Guided by the women that came before me, veiled as Brigid has been wanting me to be, C was welcomed into the Ancestral fold.  

I feel whole. I feel centred. I feel complete. I understand that to live my truth as Rowan I need to continue to walk with C in my life.  

C as an Ancestor

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