Despite being masculine, she became a wife and the mother of a daughter, and was planning to be a science fiction writer and a folk musician, when she had a near-death experience while battling with lupus.
"During this drawn-out illness, I had a massive vision of the goddess who had been involved with me throughout my life.”She revealed herself as Hela, the Norse goddess of death.
"She hung me up, tore me apart like a butchered animal and rebuilt me. When I came to, I was different. I lost some fears, I lost some memories, I lost some personality traits, and there were some new things. I’d always been able to sense ghosts but now could see them much more clearly. I’d always been able to vaguely sense the presence of gods and divine entities, but suddenly they were there, like an electric fence."Hela told Kaldera to become a man, an option he had already been considering. He took testosterone and had chest surgery.
“It was a gamble, it was a leap in the dark, but it was absolutely wonderful. For me it was sacred shape-shifting. OK, socially it’s been very difficult, but y’know, it’s hard to be a minority. The irony was that I went through my second puberty at 30, around the same time my daughter went through normal puberty.”Later the god Baphomet arrived and talked to Kaldera.
"The reason that he, or she, liked me is that he’s a hermaphroditic god. He can shift back and forth, but he’s always mixed. I’ve lent him my body. In Afro-Caribbean terms, I’m a ‘horse’, in that I will lend my body consensually to god-possession under certain circumstances or rituals. He makes sure, while he’s using my body, to leave me a lesson of some kind.”Raven is a northern shaman, mainly working in the Norse tradition, devoted to gods from all three pantheons: Aesir, Vanir and Rokkr, but with some input from other traditions. He sees his tribe as those who are transgender/ third gender. He is also into polyamory and the spiritual aspects of BDSM:
“If you put BDSM into a spiritual context, it’s not a question of if something deep will come up; it’s a question of when".He is the leader or king of the Neo-Pagan First Kingdom Church of Asphodel. His wife of 13 years is Bella, a trans women. They own and run Cauldron Farm, a pagan homestead in Hubbardston in rural Massachusetts, where they live with his daughter, who still calls him 'Mum'.
Much of what he has written is controversial and is rejected by other neo-pagan groups, particularly the emphasis on ordeal, the fact that he has a boyfriend-slave, and is into domination that features pain and violence. He has written 33 books.
- Raven Kaldera. Hermaphrodeities: The Transgender Spirituality Workbook. Xlibris, 2001.
- Raven Kaldera. "Do It on the Dotted Line". In Joan Nestle, Clare Howell & Riki Wilchins (eds), GENDERqUEER: voices from beyond the sexual binary. Alyson Books, 2002.
- Helen Boyd. "Five Questions With… Raven Kaldera". en|Gender, October 12, 2005. www.myhusbandbetty.com/2005/10/12/five-questions-with-raven-kaldera.
- Raven Kaldera. Dark Moon Rising: Pagan BDSM and the Ordeal Path. Hubbardston, Mass: Asphodel Press, 2006.
- Raven Kaldera. Five essays in Ruth Addams (ed). A Gift Of Maggots: A Devotional For Baphomet. Lulu, 2011.
- George Binning. "Meeting Raven Kaldera: George Binning meets Raven Kaldera, pagan shaman, herbalist, transgender god-slave and servant of Baphomet". Fortean Times, January 2012. www.forteantimes.com/features/fbi/6211/meeting_raven_kaldera.html.
- Jeffery Pritchett. "Raven Kaldera on the Norse Gods and Northern Tradition Shamanism". Examiner, October 17, 2012. www.examiner.com/article/raven-kaldera-on-the-norse-gods-and-northern-tradition-shamanism.
- "An Audience with Raven Kaldera". The Blog of Baphomet, October 21, 2013. http://theblogofbaphomet.com/2013/10/21/an-audience-with-raven-kaldera.