In the Bible there are two goats: one goat is cast away from society and takes with it all the sins of man, and the other goat is for bloodletting, a sacrifice to God. So, the scapegoat is a device you can use to evade your own wrongdoing. This is where the term comes from, though in contemporary usage we might say someone is a scapegoat because they are wrongly accused, in the Biblical sense the scapegoat is a necessary tool for a community’s health and survival, and a justified sacrifice.
Women, among other people, have been subjected to this practice. They are diagnosed with hysteria, burned at the stake, locked up in asylums. It’s not just about masking sin, or redirecting blame — it’s also about fear. It’s not so easy to take advantage of or enslave a woman when she is held as a credible subject, a fully formed person, an equal in intellect and maturity. If she is equal, her power might be stronger, her will to be respected, her body her own. These men in power (religious and political leaders, psychoanalysts, artists, husbands, fathers) would come up with anything to keep women from sharing the secret: that they have power and magick, and no man can ever extinguish that fire for all of womankind. They can burn us by the thousands, but our stories live on. That’s why it is important to fight for the scapegoat, and to recognize her in ourselves, in our sisters, and most importantly, in pop culture and politics.
The Bible in all its incarnations has passed through so many powerful hands, hands that want control. Those powerful myths of women have been twisted into tales of deception. Characters who we treasure in Paganism — fertility Gods, whores, clever women, strange beasts and gay and empathetic men — become Satan, Eve, Lilith, the Whore of Babylon. All that is female, inherently, is considered to be evil and dangerous.
We desensitize the public to the cries of woman. She’s always crying, she is hysterical, she cries wolf. Rape accusations are just that, accusations, they fall on deaf ears. Women may be murdered by the hundreds, it helps to talk about what they are wearing, why they left the house in the first place. Hundreds of women ritualistically raped and murdered in Juarez, Mexico coming home from the maquiladoras, making a living. It’s simple: they were out late, and they should be at home. Scapegoating. It’s easy to call a woman who cries and points her finger a witch. Silence her, burn her. Hide your sins in her. Fuck her, rape her, abuse her, love her, make a muse of her, steal her work, her ideas, pick her brain. Witch, slut, whore, mad woman, hysteric, adulterer, widow, crone — and she’s dead.
Thousands of years into the future, the Scapegoat asks,
“Who the fuck is going to love me?”
Azazel taught the Women, who used to be goats,
to paint our faces and to seduce.
And They thought it was deception.
He taught us Witchcraft,
They feared our power — which was Love.
He let us act like Men, because we didn’t know gender —
They thought it was corruption.
I know Azazel wasn’t a man, though. Azazel was all genders.
An angel tortured Azazel and left him to die.
A crime far worse than making a mask and loving a body.
that the flood did not take the fallen angels back to Atlantis.
Instead, We became the bastards and the scapegoats of the world,
displaced and cast not onto mountains to become reclusive Hermits,
but into civilizations, into communities and into families that wish we were never born.
The changelings, the whore mothers.
The damned bastards.
We were the witches who burned at the stake,
we were the mistresses conspired against,
we were the prostitutes left in the gutter,
we were all the women in the world with our mouths and bellies full of it,
we were given the sins of man and when we die
and when we suffer,
we will be blamed.
This is The Year of the Scapegoat,
and we will spit this burdensome load back.
When the demon Azazel saw the mirages in the desert, I was seeing the big blue moon and the pink saguaro blooms.
When they cast me out for Azazel I didn’t realize
that the desert didn’t want me either.
I was a fallen angel, a garbage shit excuse for a goat,
cast away in the desert,
left to die, carrying the sins of man.
Meanwhile, the other goat,
the one for God
spilled her blood as a martyr.
I would rather DIE in the desert than spill my blood for a GOD who never gave a shit about me.
When they made me go I was carrying the sins of all lovers,
holding the fantasies and secrets of all men,
stuffed in every orifice of my body,
relentlessly they find me and they hand me their sins,
only to frame me later so that I am seen with my hands and mouth full.
Provocation is an invitation to take your wrongdoings and to hold the Devil (me) responsible.
I didn’t force adultery on you.
I didn’t seduce you from reason.
I didn’t corrupt you with sodomy.
You can’t sodomize a thing that lacks Purity.
You spilled your sin with cum and spit into me so you could be free of it, and I would forever carry the burden of your self-loathing, violence, and secrecy.
Because I am the scapegoat.
But I will climb Mount Hermon and find where the other demons play.
Where we will be free from the burden of man’s sins because we were ALWAYS free.
Which you know.
We have always been strong and true of heart.
We have always had the force of angels and the beauty of the devil.
This is why we were made to be the Scapegoats.
Fear that we carried the disease
we could piss on their sacred morality.
With Azazel, we make our own ark,
and when the flood comes we don’t fear the water.
The mermaids, The Fata Morgana, will keep us safe
and we will love each other, deeper and with more Purity than the whitest angel.
Images: “Beethoven Frieze: Gorgons.” Gustav Klimt, 1901; “The Burial of Salome.” Aubrey Beardsley, 1894; “Venus Between Terminal Gods.” Aubrey Beardsley, 1895; “The Cave of Spleen.” Aubrey Beardsley, 1896.