At the same time, MSNBC fired the only real war opponent it had, Phil Donahue, despite very healthy ratings (the highest of any show on MSNBC, including "Hardball"). When interviewed for Bill Moyers' truly superb 2007 documentary on press behavior in the run-up to the war, Donahue reported much the same thing as Yellin, Couric, and Banfield revealed:
BILL MOYERS: You had Scott Ritter, former weapons inspector. Who was saying that if we invade, it will be a historic blunder.
PHIL DONOHUE: You didn't have him alone. He had to be there with someone else who supported the war. In other words, you couldn't have Scott Ritter alone. You could have Richard Perle alone.
BILL MOYERS: You could have the conservative.
PHIL DONOHUE: You could have the supporters of the President alone. And they would say why this war is important. You couldn't have a dissenter alone. Our producers were instructed to feature two conservatives for every liberal.
BILL MOYERS: You're kidding.
PHIL DONOHUE: No this is absolutely true.
BILL MOYERS: Instructed from above?
PHIL DONOHUE: Yes. I was counted as two liberals.
A leaked memo from NBC executives at the time of his firing made clear that Donahue was fired for ideological reasons, not due to ratings: The study went on to claim that Donahue presented a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war . . . . He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives." The report went on to outline a possible nightmare scenario where the show becomes "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity." NBC executives then proceeded to hire Dick Armey as an MSNBC commentator and give a show to Michael Savage. Michael Savage.
Embodied mysticism is felt in the body, for example in eating and drinking or in dancing or making love or in climbing the peach tree--not in negation of the self or the body through ascetic practices. Embedded mysticism seek does not seek to annihilate the self, nor to rise above the world, but to feel the feelings of other individuals in world ever more deeply. Embedded mysticism is the sense of being part of a larger whole that is infused with the presence of the divine. This larger whole includes both human and other than human life. There is no place in embodied embedded mysticism for the notion that the divine exists apart from the physical world and that our goal is to deny the self or physical body in order to connect with immaterial or transcendent divinity. In contrast to philosophies rooted in classical dualisms, process philosophy affirms all bodies and the world as the body of Goddess/God. Because it corrects the theological mistakes that arose from denying the female body through which we are born into the world, process philosophy can provide grounding for a feminist understanding of mysticism.
I wish that there were a word to describe what happens when you're not actively "thinking" about something, but when you are aware that the topic is, I don't know, bubbling, fermenting, composting, working, just below your level of consciousness. Ever since Sunday when my wonderful circle of witches had our annual retreat, I've been -- composting? -- the idea of how complicated it is, and, yet, also, what a gift it is, to live within a circle of women. Real women, not the idealized ones you imagine when you come to Wicca and spend months and maybe years longing for a coven, but the real ones that you encounter when you finally do. I just am, for no reason that I can imagine, fortunate to find myself in a circle of maidens, mothers, and crones who tell each other the truth, even when that truth may wound, in the belief that we'll work through the truth faster than we could ever work through convenient lies:
I can't do ritual at your house because your life is too chaotic.
I may not be able to stay in this circle and have an infant and an job and a husband and another child and parents and a home.
I'll make whatever concessions I can so that you can stay in this circle with all those commitments and I'll love you if you have to say, "Time Out."
I want everyone to shut up when my cards are being read.
I need a real friend and not someone who just emails me once in a while.
I wonder at the exclusive focus on women in this circle.
Will you all still love me when you know everything about my sexuality?
Is it ok for me to be afraid at the role you've all asked me to assume?
Can we become more focused during deep magic and still like each other?
Am I asking for too much?
It's not that this process interferes with spiritual development, at least for me. It's that this process IS spiritual development. For several reasons, I spent the early mornings leading up to our annual retreat thinking of the women who've, over the years, left our circle and moved on to other things, for good and for ill. I am, my soul is, this trip around the wheel for me is, tied up with the women with whom I've done magic.
It's all real. It's all metaphor There's always more.
Don't tell me that community is important in Paganism. Tell me about finding your first Pagan community, and about that heady rush like first love you felt for it. And about the crushing pain that followed the first betrayal (the leader that was manipulative; the grove member who stole; the coven-mate whose oaths didn't keep her from outing one of you) and how you came to terms with it. How you learned to embrace the Pagan world despite its flaws--or dedicated yourself to eradicating them.
Don't tell me that Pagans find our gods in nature. Tell me about the time you climbed a mountain to celebrate with them, but it turned cold and foggy, and you thought you were lost forever until you spotted that raven that looked at you out of just one eye. Tell me about the taste of the meat from the deer you hunted yourself--or about the look of kinship in the eyes of the possum you accidentally killed, which made you give up meat-eating forever.
Tell me about how hot your sweat lodge was and how thirsty you emerged from it, when you explore whether or not Pagan sweat lodges are cultural appropriation. Tell me about the first time you saw an aura--or the time you were the only one who couldn't see one, in your whole magical lodge--before you tell me about psychic phenomena.
Go read the whole thing. And then, post an answer.
Really, I doubt that. I doubt that, in my wicked youth and childhood, I did something good.
Grace really isn't like that.
And it's grace, pure and simple -- that well that is sitting there, waiting to be drawn upon -- that gave me a wonderful Son, a delightful DiL, and the sweetest G/Son in the whole wide world, and that brought me -- me, the loner, the INTJ, me -- to a wonderful circle of wonderful women and plopped me in the middle of, and along the edge of, and at the perfect spot in this Circle of Amazing Women. There's nothing "good" in my wicked youth and childhood (and early adulthood and middle adult years) that I ever did to deserve a draught of water this cold and this pure.
Once a year, my Circle spends a whole day on ourselves, on our Circle, on the kind of magic that we've done and that we want to keep doing. Every year, by the end of the day, I'm completely worn out. And, every year, I drift on off to bed amazed at my good fortune. Maidens. Mothers. Crones.
May it be so for you. May it continue to be so for me.
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 . . . ."