Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Garden Blogging

Iris, blooming lavender, tarragon, woad.

Demeter's Daughter

Saturday Poetry Blogging

A Penitent Considers Another Coming of Mary


For Reverend Theodore Richardson

If Mary came would Mary
Forgive, as Mothers may,
And sad and second Saviour
Furnish us today?

She would not shake her head and leave
This military air,
But ratify a modern hay,
And put her Baby there.

Mary would not punish men—
If Mary came again.

Picture found here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Message To My Younger Self

A large part of the magic that I do is magic from my younger self reaching forward into the future to my older self and magic from my older self reaching back into the past to encourage my younger self. It all has to do with an Autumn when I kept seeing stags and does, but that's another story.

If I could send just one email back to my younger self, who'd never gotten an email in her life, that email would say:

Hang in there. The mundane work that you're doing will allow your fifty-something-self to sit skyclad for an hour in the Spring rain, to chant with the dirt and the grass, and the trees that are part of you. It will allow you to become the rain and the dirt and the needles of the Japanese temple pine and the mint and the thyme and the chipmunk in the tiny hole.

And you will chant, over and over, a priestess of the Spring shower:

I am a manifestation of the Goddess.
Mother, help me to become my Better Self.
It's all real.
It's all metaphor.
There's always more.

The breath of my body will bless.
The cells of my being will sing.
In gratitude and reawakening.
Mother, make me a perfect priestess to your service.
And allow me, in all that I do, to help to repair the web.

Divine Lady, wash from my eyes the enchantment of forgetfullness.
Allow me, as much as I can know, as much as I can see,
To realize that we are all connected.
This is my will. So mote it be.


Just now, inside, soaked by a Spring downpour, I think I'd have thought it a fair trade.



What The Arch Druid Said

In a contracting economy, it becomes easier to notice that the less you need, the less vulnerable you are to the ups and downs of fortune, and the more you can get done of whatever it is that you happen to want to do. That’s an uncongenial lesson at the best of times, and during times of material abundance you won’t find many people learning it. Still, in the world after abundance, it’s hard to think of a lesson that deserves more careful attention.

Go read the whole thing.

Picture found here.


NYT gives Agora, opening today in NYC, a good review.

It's got to be better than SitC III or Prince of Persia.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

And, As Derrick Jensen Says, Our Discourse Just Rapidly Gets Soooo Weird

The Other Side Of Sacrifice Is Blessing

Reducing reliance on corporate food is probably going to mean you’ll spend more time cooking and preserving food, and that you might not be able to eat strawberries in winter or oranges at all.

Reducing fossil-fuel use might mean you’ll have to spend more time walking, or that you’ll give up some of your freedom in order to carpool. Or it might mean you won’t just ask what BP the corporation is doing about the oil spill, but what we the people are doing about it.

Fortunately, the other side of sacrifice is blessing, and the journey away from corporate-reliance toward self-reliance and local-reliance, though I have barely begun it myself, seems full of blessing.

Anyone who grows their own food or who has gotten to know their farmer at the farmers market knows this.

Anyone who has done without a particular technological gadget knows this.
Anyone who has organized to protect the interests of small farmers from the greed of corporate agriculture businesses knows this.

And anyone who has looked into the course catalogue of the
Driftless Folk Schoolwhich is educating our community about everything from blacksmithing to mowing with a scythe to pickling to soap-making — sees how delightful the journey toward self-reliance can be.

This reminds me of something that Derrick Jensen, I think, once wrote. Which is that, yes, the move from consumer culture and big oil is going to involve sacrifice. My G/Son won't live the hedonistically creature-comfort-loaded life that I've led. But he might gain something, as well. If our children and grandchildren gain an increased closeness to the Earth, to the seasons and cycles and processes of Gaia, well, then, they will, indeed, be blessed.

Of course, Jensen also posits our descendent, starving to death on the banks of Yukon River, cursing us for killing off the salmon in return for cans of corn syrup that we could throw away. Cursing our great grandparents for killing off the buffalo for sport and the flocks of passenger pigeons so large they darkened the sky for days at a time for no reason at all other than the love of destruction.

And, yet.

Read the whole thing here.

Picture found here.

We finally really did it. You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

The World Below the Brine
~ Walt Whitman

The world below the brine,
Forests at the bottom of the sea, the branches and leaves,
Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds, the thick
tangle openings, and pink turf,
Different colors, pale gray and green, purple, white, and gold, the
play of light through the water,
Dumb swimmers there among the rocks, coral, gluten, grass, rushes,
and the aliment of the swimmers,
Sluggish existences grazing there suspended, or slowly crawling
close to the bottom,
The sperm-whale at the surface blowing air and spray, or disporting
with his flukes,
The leaden-eyed shark, the walrus, the turtle, the hairy
sea-leopard, and the sting-ray,
Passions there, wars, pursuits, tribes, sight in those ocean-depths,
breathing that thick-breathing air, as so many do,
The change thence to the sight here, and to the subtle air breathed
by beings like us who walk this sphere,
The change onward from ours to that of beings who walk other spheres.

Picture found here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Smudge Sticks

As I've blogged about before, I live a busy life and one of the challenges that I face is how to live as a Witch in this world, this modern one, this one full of conference calls, deadlines for briefs, emails to answer, investment accounts to manage, a home and garden to attend. One of the things that I often find myself missing is time for what I think of as the "routine duties of a priestess," -- time to grind incense, oil candles, harvest herbs, make smudge sticks.

This week, having met a major deadline at work, I'm taking a some time off to stay at home and get things in order before the "next big push." Back in March, when the unheard-of February snowstorms melted, I cut back an armload of dead branches from the German Mountain Sage and the French Thyme in the herb bed. And those dried-out branches have been sitting on my altar, ever since, waiting for me to turn them into smudge sticks.

I use smudge sticks a lot in my workings, often using them to smudge the boundaries of my property, the edges of my home, the liminal space between where things are stuck and where they can change. And, so today, I sat down to make smudge sticks, just like any old hedge witch, minor crone, witch of "this" place. It felt so good.

I love the homonym of "thyme" and "time" and use smudge sticks of thyme when I need to move between time. Sage is the more traditional, more grounded, use of smudge, although smudge is v much an element of Air. I use cotton embroidery thread, which burns well, in colors that represent Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. I ground, cast a circle, enter sacred space, bind the herbs, and call upon the Goddesses to make my intention manifest.

May it be so for you.

The Obligation To Endure Gives Us The Right To Know

Rachel Carson's homepage credits her mother with instilling Ms. Carson with a life-long love of nature. I'll die happy if I'm able to give G/Son such a love.

She wrote pamphlets on conservation and natural resources and edited scientific articles, but in her free time turned her government research into lyric prose, first as an article "Undersea" (1937, for the Atlantic Monthly), and then in a book, Under the Sea-Wind (1941). In 1952 she published her prize-winning study of the ocean, The Sea Around Us, which was followed by The Edge of the Sea in 1955. These books constituted a biography of the ocean and made Carson famous as a naturalist and science writer for the public. Carson resigned from government service in 1952 to devote herself to her writing.

She wrote several other articles designed to teach people about the wonder and beauty of the living world, including "Help Your Child to Wonder," (1956) and "Our Ever-Changing Shore" (1957), and planned another book on the ecology of life. Embedded within all of Carson's writing was the view that human beings were but one part of nature distinguished primarily by their power to alter it, in some cases irreversibly.

. . .

Rachel Carson died in 1964 after a long battle against breast cancer. Her witness for the beauty and integrity of life continues to inspire new generations to protect the living world and all its creatures.

Wikipedia says that the title of Ms. Carson's masterpiece, Silent Spring, was inspired by a poem by Keats:

The book argued that uncontrolled and unexamined pesticide use was harming and even killing not only animals and birds, but also humans. Its title was meant to evoke a spring season in which no bird songs could be heard, because they had all vanished as a result of pesticide abuse. Its title was inspired by a poem by John Keats, "La Belle Dame sans Merci", which contained the lines "The sedge is wither'd from the lake, And no birds sing."

Tomorrow, May 27th, is the 103rd anniversary of her birth. And, a full Moon. As we contemplate the full catastrophe that is the Gulf of Mexico, I intend to invoke Ms. Carson on the full Moon and call for her aid. You come with me, now, won't you?

Picture of La Belle Dame sans Merci found here.

I Was Not Angry Since I Came To France.

I am so sorry that I voted for Barack Obama. Not that I had a choice (thanks, sexists!) and not that I wouldn't vote for him again over McCain/Palin, but what a sorry excuse for a Democrat he is.

The Obama administration is backing the Vatican’s claim to immunity from lawsuits over sexual abuse by US priests. In a brief filed with the Supreme Court last week, the administration’s solicitor general’s office says an appeals court wrongly allowed an alleged abuse victim to proceed with a lawsuit against the Vatican. The plaintiff’s suit says the Vatican should be held responsible for transferring the priest to Oregon despite previous allegations of abuse.

Fuck this shit.

/Hat tip to Quentin Composin in comments at Eschaton.

Picture found here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Afternoon Of A Faun

Go Listen.

My dreams last night were full of really aggressive fauns, both old and young. I kept telling Son to get G/Son inside. Funny time for fauns to fill my sleep.

Picture found here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Heavens Rejoice

Discovery Of Ancient Pagan Altar

Here's an interesting article about the discovery of a Pagan altar, possibly dedicated to Roman deities. The altar was found at the site of a new hospital wing, which has created a good bit of controversy in Israel. The new wing is being built on the site of an ancient grave and, although the bones have been removed for re-burial, Orthodox Jews, believing the bones to be Jewish, have protested. The government, on the other hand, says that the bones are Pagan.

Note once again the capitalization of one religious group, in this case "Jews," while using lower case to describe Pagans. I'm not sure what's so complicated about applying your capitalization rules consistently.

Israel on Thursday announced the discovery of a 2,000-year-old pagan altar at the site where plans for a new hospital wing have come under fire from ultra-Orthodox Jews who fear bones found there may be of Jews.

The find of what the Israel Antiquities Authority calls a "magnificent" altar gives a boost to the authorities at a time when ultra-orthodox Jews condemned the removal of bones from ancient graves at the site in the southern city of Ashkelon.

"The find further corroborates the assertion that this place is a pagan cemetery," the IAA said in a statement.

The altar is about 60 centimetres (24 inches) tall and is decorated with a bull's head from which dangle laurel wreaths. Such altars usually stood in Roman temples, the statement said.

Picture (of a similar altar) found here.

Sunday Dance Blogging