In the twentieth century, Paganism organized into discrete communities of belief and joined the panoply of America’s religious denominations.
Goddess, does this chick have a lot to learn about Pagans. "Organized" -- hah! "Discrete communities of belief" -- hah! The WHOLE POINT of Paganism in the 21st Century is the disorganization and the overlapping communities of belief.
I'm glad that there are nice xians who want to reach out to Pagans and who agree that, yes, going out on a limb here, if there are Pagans in the military then they are probably entitled to at least one whole Pagan chaplin. Really, I am. But this week has been, IMHO, a clear demonstration of just how much the xians "don't get" about Paganism.=
When women replace the symbol of the Father with that of the Mother, we, too, are committing a political act. The image of the Mother does not lose its old connotations of earth, intuition, nature, the body, the emotions, the unconscious, etc. But it also lays claim to many of the connotations previously attributed to the father symbol: beauth, light, goodness, authority, activity, etc. . . . What is significant here is that the duality, no matter wich opposite is preferred, gives us only two choices. We may choose the reasoning, observing, dominating ego; or we may choose the annihilation of the personality. But if we learn to think beyond the binary, beyond the given choices, we can honor, equally, the conscious and the unconscious mind.
~Barbara Starrett, quoted in Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler
Wow. It's hot. And dry. Mercury's STILL retrograde and tempers are short, patience all used up. This evil junta has another 500+ days left to screw the world up even worse than it already has (if you can imagine such a thing) and the wingnuts won't go gently into their good night. Meanwhile, the Dems in Congress are keeping their very precious dry powder very nice and very dry, my Precious.
I think we could all use a good laugh. The kind of laugh that releases endorphins, relaxes all your muscles, floods your immune system with antibodies. The kind of laugh that makes you feel comradly and warm towards everyone laughing along with you. Sacred laughter. Healing laughter. A good long belly laugh.
Before the Rock Cave of Heaven where Amaterasu Omi Kami, the Sun Goddess had hidden her radiant face where all the assembled Gods and Goddesses had tried and failed to lure her out I stepped up to the Cave with utmost seriousness with grave determination with proper decorum and a lofty mien and with a bump and a bump and a bump bump bump bump lifted my kimono and revealed myself in ways that caused the mouths of the exaulted ones to water and fall open. Then I played puppet with my labia and paid myself a little lip service. I heaved my breast over one shoulder then the other over the other and landed on my ass with a bump and a bump and a bump bump bump bump amidst the explosions of laughter and merriment of the esteemed crowd. With breasts tied in a knot my legs spread like a welcome mat I called in the Spirits and offered them my body . . . but they refused to take it. The crowd howled and laughed as I continued my dance till Amaterasu Omi Kami couldn't stand it any longer and rushed out to see what was what. And thus did laughter win the Sun Goddess from her dark cave and bring light and warmth back into the world.
You've probably read about efforts to wean America off of those godawful plastic bags that you get every time that you buy anything from a book, to a loaf of bread, to a bottle of aspirin, to a pair of jeans. Good Magazine reports that:
Each of our featherweight plastic shopping bags carries a hefty cost: Americans use 100 billion plastic bags each year, and toss the majority of them after a quick trip to the store. Since the bags take nearly a millennium to break down in landfills, they'll be haunting the planet long after we tote home the groceries. Today, local governments pay to have wind-blown bags plucked from trees and telephone wires; in San Francisco, cleanup efforts run as high as $8 million a year. Plus, more than a million sea birds and a hundred thousand marine mammals suffocate from plastic litter each year. [Co-founder of California's Green Party, Ross Mirkarimi says,] "Long before I was elected, I've thought the plastic bag was emblematic of what our country and planet have been suffering from." Mirkarimi authored a bill banning the use of plastic bags in San Francisco and estimates that the plastic prohibition will save 450,000 galllson of oil and prevent 1,400 tons of trash from ending up in a landfilll.
Of course, net and cloth bags that you carry with you and re-use over and over are best for the environment. But paper bags, which biodegrade and are easily recyclable, are better than plastic. Many times, you really don't need any bag at all. You can slip the book into your purse or put the bottle of aspirin in your pocket. You can carry the gallon of milk by its handle and put it straight in the fridge when you get home. But if you're buying enough things that you need a bag, you know what to do the next time the clerk asks: "Paper or plastic?"
VATICAN CITY, July 6 (UPI) -- The Vatican suggested an anti-Christian bias in the short list of candidates for the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Only three Christian sites made the list of 21 -- the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, and two Moscow cathedrals, St. Basil's and the Kremlin.
Bernard Weber, a Swiss photographer, began working to create a new Seven Wonders list after the Taliban destroyed giant statues of the Buddha in Afghanistan. The short list was drawn up by a panel of architects.
Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, head of the pontifical commission for culture and archeology, found the omission of the Sistine Chapel, with its frescoes by Michelangelo, "surprising, inexplicable, even suspicious," The Times of London reported.
He pointed to other world-famous Christian sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and the Sagrada Familia Church designed by Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona.
The short list included such acknowledged marvels as the ancient Cambodian temples at Angkor Wat, the city of Petra in Jordan and Stonehenge, a pagan religious monument in England, The Times said.
Go listen to the Furious Spinner talk about harvesting lavender and rosemary. My v. creative friend K. is working on a Summer Solstice ritual that involves harvesting rosemary. I love that it's a friendship plant.
Last weekend, in the hot, bright sun of 3:00 pm mid-day, I went out and transplanted Datura from my back deck to the sunny west of my yard, near the planters, out where the sun shines so bright that it gives you a furious, viscious headache. And every day since then, I've been taking the water from the sump pumps and pouring it on the Datura seedlings, telling them how much I love them.
It's diffucult for me to grow rosemary because my yard is so shady and I simply can't grow lavender at all in this shade. My brilliant friend E grows rosemary in her backyard which gets lots of good afternoon sun. I hope soon to have raised planters with sandy soil where I can grow rosemary and lavender in my front yard, which actually does get a bit of sun. This is my will. So mote it be.
If I were brand new to the Craft and wanted to learn about Wicca, I'd start by reading The Spiral Dance by Starhawk. I'd follow that up with the newly-revised edition of Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler. After that, I'd check out Twelve Wild Swans by Starhawk and Hillary Valentine to learn basic techniques and Witchvox to find some local public rituals. (If you have time, read Charlene Spretnack, Robin Morgan, Zuzanna Budhapest, and Circle of Three by C. Bird.) You can show up at a public ritual, leave early if it's too weird, stay and participate and then leave, stay, participate, and make local contacts. Many areas have Pagan Nights Out; Witchvox will know. I'd see if there were an Elements of Magic class run by local pagans and if the first one that I attended sqished me out, I'd try another one run by someone else.
After that, I'd go outside under the almost-full moon, and say three times: "I am a witch, I am a witch, I am a witch." Then, I'd start to grow herbs, study Tarot, ground (as per Spiral Dance) and do the Ha Prayer ( as per Evolutionary Witchcraft by T. Thorne Coyle), and start looking for womyn who want to form a circle. Then, I'd sit back and enjoy the show.
Once in a while, I'd look up, realize how blessed I am, and pull my head back into the hood of my magical cape. It's the easiest thing in the world to become a witch. It's the work of an entire lifetime to earn the title: witch.
So, more than I believe almost anything else, I believe that the entire purpose of being alive -- the entire point to the amazing gift of having been in-car-nated (made into meat) in this charming and mad little node of the space/time continuum -- is to be aware, in every single moment, of the way that Divinity permeates through and shines through and breaks through and illuminates and connects everything.
I think that the real point of being given the gift of existing at this time (still eagles, still oaks, still jack-in-the-pulpit, still wheat, still citrus-and-other-bee-dependent-sex-organs-cum-fruit, still air, still water, still glaciers) on Gaia's surface is to be AWARE every single minute, with every single breathe that you draw, that you live infused with divinity, carried on the pregnant stomach of Mother Earth, interconnected to everything -- everything, everything, everything -- from Coyote Trickser to orchids to viruses to molten lava at the Mother's very core. If you were truly aware, with every breath you take, that this is what you were living, you could never waste what Mary Oliver calls your one wild and precious life. You'd use it for your higher self, for the greater good, for your highest purpose.
And, for some reason, today, of all days, I wake up aware that the fur and claws pawing at me is Goddess, and that the roses and gardenias outside my breakfast porch are Goddess, and that the cold-brewed gift of the first drug of my day -- coffee -- is Goddess, and that the river -- Potomac -- that I drive along on my way to work, all pearly pink and gold, is Goddess, and that the trees and vines and mad green growth on Roosevelt Island are Goddess, and that the music that I hear on the way to work, both Wynton Marsalis on the trupmet and T. Thorn Coyle singing about Seven Evening Stars, is Goddess, and that the chance to explain to young lawyers how to write pleadings is Goddess, and that the chance to read blogs is Goddess, and that my by-now-dear-old-friend Robert, who does my hair, is Goddess, and that Clydes' crabcakes and a martini are Goddess, and the that e-mail from my idiot co-counsel trying to fuck up my petition is Goddess, and that my chance to go back to my office and do what I do best in all the world -- write and edit -- is Goddess, and that my ability to mange everyone's emotions is Goddess, and that getting to read a perfect ritual proposed by my brilliant friend E. for my genius friend B. is Goddess and that a half an hour -- a whole half an hour -- alone in the car with the gorgeous man-Son-Scorpio lawyer that I bore and raised all by myself -- a whole half an hour with Son -- is Goddess, and that his beautiful, kick-ass, wonderful mother of a wife is Goddess, and that, more than anything else that has happened to me all week in a week of living with witches and brilliant litigators and my garden and interesting policy issues and all of my own spiritual issues, more than anything else in the world, getting to hold my Grandson IS Goddess --
well, that is simply an amazing day.
I am more blessed than I deserve to be. I am more blessed than I expected to be. i can work hard night after night at my altar, pursuing a spiritual practice, working hard to become my Better Self. And then, out of nowhere, as pure Grace, comes the realization that, every moment that I am alive is like walking at the edge of the surging surf, feeling my ankles washed and bathed in foamy water, bathed unexpectedly in grace. Grace is a gift. Grace isn't earned, or worked for, or deserved. Grace just happens. Grace is the giant sting ray that doesn't eat Son's finger. Grace is the priestesses who surround you and call you to your Better Self, with gifts of chants about bread and roses, green stones for Lilith, chicken and eggplant, mad Tarot. Grace is the gift that guides a gorgeous, brilliant woman into your family. Grace is a Grandson that you never deserved, all alive, and all Id, and all smooth blushing skin, and all brave-beyond-brave toddling, and all new. Grace is the chance to work at fun and interesting and important work that you know in your core that you can do. Grace is, in Mary Oliver's words, the chance to love everything. Grace is what happens when you are expecting other things.
May it be so for you. May Grace break through the clouds, and ceilings, and hard slate rooves and flood into your lives. May Grace be the crack in everything that is how the light gets in. May Grace show up as unexpectedly in your life as does your Shadow and may Grace fill your every waking and dreaming moment with the realization that it's all real, it's all metaphor, there's always more.
A heat wave sizzling across the West showed little sign of letting up Thursday, with Las Vegas forecast to tie a record high and even northern Idaho expected to top 100 degrees.
''You can become dehydrated really quick before you know it. You step outside and, 'wow,''' said Charlie Schlott, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas was expected to hit 116, which would tie a record for the date set in 1985. Near-record highs were also forecast for Southern California, where the mercury was expected to top 115 in desert.
A high of 101 was forecast Thursday in Spokane, Wash., and nearby Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, which would exceed the record of 100 set in 1975. Friday's forecast didn't hold much relief from the nearly weeklong heat wave, either.
In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the opening of state cooling centers in 13 counties, and the operator of the statewide power grid ask Californians to try to conserve energy to avoid brownouts.
Turn off all of the electrical appliances that you don't need. Pay special attention to so-called "vampires" -- appliances that use electricity even when they're "off". These include many chargers such as cell phone chargers, mp3-player chargers, Blackberry chargers, etc. They also include tvs, for example, that display LED clocks even when the tv is turned to "off". Every electron that you don't use means less greenhouse gasses and less chance of blackouts.
Stars and Stripes has a respectful, heartwarming story about the dedication of at least the third pentacle-engraved headstone at Arlington National Cemetery.
On Wednesday [Reverend Selena] Fox, members of her congregation, and other pagans held a consecration ceremony at the grave site of Jan Deanna, a Wiccan minister who passed away more than two years ago.
Her husband, Army Capt. William O’Rourke, passed away nine years earlier and had the Christian cross engraved on his tombstone. But Deanna’s side was left blank, because until May the Department of Veterans Affairs had no symbol to recognize her faith. Several weeks ago, the headstones of Wiccan Rosemary Koolman and her military husband were engraved with the pentacle and dedicated. As Stars and Stripes explains, Wiccans have been fighting for some time to have their religious symbol on their military headstones; the Veterans Administration recently settled a suit by Wiccans, caving completely when embarassing e-mails came to light indicating that the VA was dragging its heels on the Wiccans' request because George Bush doesn't consider Wicca a "valid" religion.
The Stars and Stripes article is objective and well-written. It avoids the "let's get a xian to provide a negative quote about Wiccans" ploy so often used by the press when reporting on Wicca. Oddly, when the press writes stories about xians, they don't go looking for a witch to provide "balance"-type commentary.
The article also mentions that Amy Staff Sgt. Frederick Twombly, a member of the 63rd Engineer Support Battalion, helped set up a Wiccan worship community in Baghdad during both of his deployments over to Iraq.
“We had guys from all over, all different units, all different ranks,” he said. “People would look and say, ‘Wait, he’s a major and he’s a Wiccan?’ And then they’d understand that it’s not just some hidden thing.”
The Telegraph repots on efforts to secure a pardon for Anna Goeldi, a Swiss woman executed as a witch.
The execution of the last European witch to be sentenced to death by a court of law has plunged Switzerland into an unlikely political debate over whether she should now be pardoned.
Anna Goeldi, a housemaid, was executed by decapitation after being found guilty of witchcraft in the small Alpine town of Glarus in 1782.
Now, 225 years later, a group of local and federal MPs has prepared a parliamentary motion demanding the full rehabilitation of Goeldi, who was tortured into confessing to being a witch and was subsequently beheaded. Campaigners claim she was the victim of a conspiracy between the eastern town's juridical and Protestant church authorities.
Of course, A spokesman for the Swiss Protestant Church said: "History has made its judgment on the case and we need to move on. It would be better to focus our energy on the more acute problems of today." Yeah, what a surprise that you'd say so. Ass.
Chesapeake Pagan Community [has] been working for months to arrange a Pagan Religious Rights Rally and Ritual, to be held on the Fourth of July 2007 in Lafayette Square Park, in front of the White House and catty-corner to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Originally, our intent was to support the Veterans' Pentacle Quest. Now that we have won the Pentacle, there are many other issues to put forward. Advocating a military chaplain in the U.S. Armed Forces is one of the most pressing issues. Adding the symbols of more Pagan denominations to those religious emblems approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs is another vital issue. Even the mere act of demonstrating publicly for Pagan religious rights is empowering.
And so, we invite you to join us on the Glorious Fourth of July! Meet us in front of the White House to listen to our leaders articulate a further agenda for Pagan Religious Rights.
. . .
Diana L. Paxson, acclaimed author and Pagan Elder, will lead us in circle as we invoke the Founders of Our Nation. This will be the first public Pagan ritual in Lafayette Square Park, in the President's front yard. Diana has been invoking the Founders for some years now. . . .
Diana describes the Fourth of July ritual this way: "We will honor those who established our fundamental freedoms, especially Washington and Jefferson, and those who built on their ideas, from Lincoln to Teddy Roosevelt and FDR, offering our energies to preserve the liberties they fought for and the land they loved. We will offer our will to carry on the work of our Founding Fathers and Mothers, and to help America become what they hoped it would be."
To do such a ritual on the Fourth of July outside the White House will create a very powerful resonance, and have far reaching consequences. We invite you to co-create this ritual of religious freedom with us, and help us further the intent of universal religious freedom and free expression for all. Please join us in meditation or trance, or in ritual where you live, if you cannot be physically present at the Washington ritual.
In Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, Barbara Ehrenreich writes about the sharp decrease in holidays (days off) between the Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution.
[T]he repression of festivities was, in a sense, a by-product of the emergence of capitalism. The middle classes had to learn to calculate, save, and "defer gratification"' the lower classes had to be transformed into a disciplined, factory-ready, working class -- meaning fewer holidays and the new necessity of showing up for work sober and on time, six days a week. Peasants had worked hard, too, of course, but in seasonally determined bursts; the new industrialism required ceaseless labor, all year round.
. . .
In part, [the appeal of Protestantism] was probably similar to that of much evangelical Christianity today; it offered people the self-discipline demanded by a harsher economic order. Curb your drinking, learn to rise before the sun, work until dark, and be grateful for whatever you're paid. . . . Protestantism, serving as the ideological handmaiden of the new capitalism, "descended like a frost on the life of 'Merrie Old England,'" as Weber put it, destroying in its icy grip the usual Christmans festivities, the maypole, the games, and all traditional forms of group pleasure.
Today, of course, it's worse. It's worse because even when we do get a holiday, we're checking e-mails, answering cell phone calls, watching the "news," worrying about work. Why? Why do we allow this?
The Furious Spinner notes that we have all been coopted by the corporatists:
Today I was moved by the words of Robert Shetterly. He is writing about the social activist Eva Peterson. He is also writing about us.
He writes in "When Does Drowning Mean Drowning," "We are now up to our necks in a culture of programmed complicity. Just as the Hutus in Rwanda made sure that all the men killed someone so all would be complicit, the corporate culture here teaches consumption rather than citizenship, isolation rather than community, teaches that predatory capitalism is democracy. If there is an answer, it must be climbing out together, giving a hand up to the weakest and most vulnerable, reinforcing our virtues, denying the culture that preaches making virtue of vice, heroism of spectacular, unsustainable greed.
"Eva Paterson, when she did complete the quote for her portrait, included this sentence: 'Drowning in silence, we are brothers and sisters drowning each other.' We are drowning, my friends, suffocating in complicity and lies. As surely as trees give life sustaining oxygen to our atmosphere, truth and accountability, fairness and compassion provide the social oxygen for our culture. I’m sure that the epidemic of asthma in our children is attributable in equal parts to environmental and cultural causes. A culture living on lies leaves everyone gasping. The oxygen has gone out of America. The waters are rolling down, but they are not the waters of justice."
I want my holidays back. I want the leisure to stop and think, the time to grow flowers, an end to capitalism-induced Koyanaskatsi.
If the news programs want a world threat that they can report on 24/7, they could do much better than to a few inept would-be-car-bombers in the UK. They could report 24/7 on the fact that the bees are disappearing and we won't have much food at all in another season or two. I'm going to miss honey.
Honey At The Table
It fills you with the soft essence of vanished flowers, it becomes a trickle sharp as a hair that you follow from the honey pot over the table
and out the door and over the ground, and all the while it thickens,
grows deeper and wilder, edged with pine boughs and wet boulders, pawprints of bobcat and bear, until
deep in the forest you shuffle up some tree, you rip the bark,
you float into and swallow the dripping combs, bits of the tree, crushed bees - - - a taste composed of everything lost, in which everything lost is found.
Women! It's the first of the month; time for your breast self-exam (BSE). BSEs can help detect breast cancer when it's still in its early, easier-to-cure stages. BSEs are easy to do: here's a short video that shows you how to do a BSE. If you prefer to do your BSE at a different time in your cycle, now's a good time to calendar it so you don't forget.
Men! Are there women you'd miss if they weren't around? Mother, Wife, Girlfriend, Daughter, Friend? Why not help them to do their BSEs by taking the kids to the park for half an hour, picking up dinner, reminding them, doing the dishes?
Modern Big Business Republicanism has thoroughly entrenched its amoral worldview into politics, which over time absorbed its belief that civic virtues are irrelevant. (The denizens of DC did, however, attempt to cover this worldly sin by adopting the GOP's cynical and manipulative stand-in for virtue --- puritanical sexual morality --- a grotesque and ill-fitting substitute for personal integrity coming from such decadent creatures.)
That night an eagle swooped down from the skies onto Sophocles' house. And the garden suddenly rocked with a cry of cicadas. Already the genius strode toward his immortality, skirting the enemy camp at the walls of his native city. Then it was that the king had a strange dream: Great Dinoysus ordered him to lift the siege, so as not to dishonor the service for the dead and to grant the Athenians the solace of his fame.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."