Saturday, January 06, 2007
We just can't go on this way.
We can't keep distracting ourselves with war, no matter how big it makes your penis feel. I know that you can't truly imagine this, but some things matter more, even, than your penis.
We have to start paying attention to Mother Earth, no matter how much of a drag you may think that this is. Yes, this means you. It means that you will have to make lifestyle changes and that the magic technology fairy isn't going to get here in time to save you. The fairies have been telling you for years that steel creeps them out.
We have to control our population, no matter how much that makes some people unhappy (I'm looking at you fundies and catholics).
Don't make me hurt you.
I think of Bast as a Goddess of sensual pleasure -- the sort of sensual pleasure that a cat takes from napping in the sun, stretching, and being petted. She is sometimes referred to as the Goddess of perfume -- yet another sensual pleasure.
Originally a Sun Goddess, she came eventually to be considered a Goddess of the Moon
Wikipedia tells us that: Due to the severe disaster to the food supply that could be caused by simple vermin such as mice and rats, and their ability to fight and kill snakes, especially cobras, cats in Egypt were revered heavily, sometimes being given golden jewelry to wear, and being allowed to eat from the same plates as their owners. Consequently, as the main cat (rather than lion) deity, Bast was strongly revered as the patron of cats, and thus it was in the temple at Per-Bast that dead (and mummified) cats were brought for burial. Over 300,000 mummified cats were discovered when Bast's temple at Per-Bast was excavated.
While all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of The Goddess, you can honor Bast by really enjoying a nice stretch, a warm nap, a heady breath of gardenia, and, of course, petting a cat.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
I'm so old that, when I grew up, school teachers explained to roomsfull of children that women could never lead the country because they were too unstable, had periods, couldn't handle the pressure. I'm so old that, out on the playground of St. John the Baptist, boys, with fewer brains and smaller balls than I had, teased me on the playground about that, and relied upon the strength of what Sister said to bolster their arguments. What could I say in return? I'm smarter than you and, deep inside, I simply believe that you're wrong? I think that I'm better suited to lead than you are, the words of all the authority figures in our lives notwithstanding? Yeah, right. That works on 12 year olds. No, it doesn't. I just had to dig my nails deep into the side of the cliff and hope, against hope, that time was on my side. That didn't keep me very warm at night.
I graduated Order of the Coif from law school, single-motherhood intact, went to a white-shoe law firm, won billion dollar cases -- and they didn't -- but it wasn't truly until this afternoon that, merci maroon-suited grandma Pelosi, that I felt truly vindicated. I've been half grinning like an idiot and half sobbing like a baby all day long.
Thank you, Ms. Pelosi. It was always going to be someone, but it turned out to be you and, thank you. Thank you for being there, for being the one, for being, when the time came, a grandmother just as I am. It's been such a long slog from the late 1950s to here. Young women have no idea -- no idea -- what's it's cost some of us some from that time. We paid, and paid gladly. We'd pay all over again.
But, damn. Just, damn. They voted in a woman as Speaker of the House, third in line, today, and damn. Just damn. Every protest that I ever went to. Every meeting where I refused to be the one to take notes. Every LttE that I ever wrote. Every time I raised my hand to answer in class (which was a political act, all through the late 80s, believe me). Every man that I ever told, no, thank you, I'm not interested, even if you do have a job/promotion to offer. Every night that I went without sleep wondering if Shirley Chisholm, Robin Morgan, bell hookes, and Pat Schroeder were really going to pull it off. I'll gladly sign off on all of them, declare them little enough to pay, for the joy of today.
Nancy Pelosi! May the Goddess guard you! Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, please guard Nancy; she's your daughter. Air, Fire, Water, and Earth, to her better self, now give birth. Fire, Water, Earth, and Air, make her brutally fair. Water, Earth, Air, and Fire, grant to Nancy her heart's desire. Mother Hera, at the Center, stand by your child and give her mentor.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
If you've never taken the Myers Briggs personality test, you really should. It's available several places on line.
I'm, according to the Myers Briggs, an INTJ -- introvert, intuitive, thinking, judging -- type. Emphasis on the "introvert." It's not that introverts don't like people; we do. I, for example, am happiest when entertaining people in my home or at a restaurant. I can make small talk like you've never seen and draw everyone, and I mean everyone, into the conversation. For me, conversation is a glass bead game, an art form, the most natural platform for my creativity. It's just that introverts need time alone in order to "recharge" our batteries. While an extrovert will get recharged being out among other people, we introverts get recharged spending time alone, listening to our own thoughts.
I still remember the very first time that I, oldest daughter of five, was ALL ALONE in the house. It was a moment of complete magic for me, a time that I still, forty years later, treasure, a revelation. I still remember the complete and lonely silence of the San Gabriel Mountains, ten years later, the deep, deep, deep longing that this silence filled for me.
It's funny; supposedly only about 2% of the population is comprised of INTJs, but, whenever I'm around a bunch of Pagans, there's bound to be a large percentage of INTJs present.
Which is all a long way to say that I may either post a ton of new posts over the next few days or that I may hardly post. I've blocked out almost four days to be all alone, to go "on retreat," in my own home, to spend some blessed time recharging my batteries. I worked and socialized all through the holidays. I sooooooo need some time sitting zazen at my altar, walking in the woods, listening to my own thoughts, digging in the dirt of my garden, being home alone.
I'm giving myself the gift of time alone. Give yourself the gift that you really need. Do it now.
Full Circle News is truly one of THE best pagan blogs on the net. The current posting is no exception.
Discussing dysfunction w/in families and the carryover to pagan groups, FCN notes that: Starhawk, in Truth or Dare, describes four main types of groups; intimate groups, whose purpose is "being"; task groups, whose purpose is "doing"; support groups, whose purpose is "changing"; and learning groups whose purpose is "education." Purposes may overlap, but when they get crossed, such as learning groups who try to make people change, there may be some covert manipulation going on to which members have not all agreed.
My circle is an amalgam of all except for the final purpose. We're an intimate group with a definite task --doing magic, right now, magic related to the Goddess Hygeia and to healthy growth. We also function as a support group; my circle is THE first place I go to announce that I've won a case or to ask for help when something in my life "goes wrong." (Really, things don't "go wrong" do they? They just go different from our plan. But that's a different post for a different time. You can bet that when, a year ago, D-i-L went into the hospital w/ early dilation, the women in my circle were the first people that I called, even before I left for the hospital. "Quick! Do magic! Quick give me a tarot reading! Quick; give me some hope that this will all work out ok." That's what circles of women have done for each other for thousands of years. That's what my circle does for me.)
The one thing that we don't do is train new witches, mentor anyone for a year and a day, proscribe the steps that you must take in order to be considered a priestess. (Although some of us will flog you if that's what you'd really like! :) ) We're a college of priestesses and you'd better come to us ready to priestess, even if you've only just recently learned of Wicca. Maybe someday a true teacher will join us, but, for now, we'll read tarot for you, do Reiki for you, celebrate your successes, commiserate, share what we know, but we won't train you.
Having "non-work" time is replenishing to group energy. Our coven schedules socials once a month in addition to our magical workings. In the Church of All Worlds, non-work time makes us remember why it is we work so hard or put up with this crazy family. It gives us fuel for our work and our vision and the love and bonding to get through the difficult parts when they arise.
My circle has always done this. We get together once a month for what we call Stitch-n-Bitch -- stitching optional, bitching mandatory. It's where we really get to know each other, understand each other's lives, become friends. We haven't been together since Yule and already I'm wondering: what happened when C. was cooped up w/ her M-i-L for three days? What happened when E. told her boss that she was leaving? How'd K. handle the commotion of her family's holiday? Is N.'s daughter over her illness? How did B.'s bridge tournament go? Did B. get some time alone w/ her husband? How's K. handling the new job w/ her boss out of town? Is M.'s foot better? Did R. take the job in Alexandria?
I suppose it's possible to work magic with people that you don't know, but it's not what I do. I work magic with women that I love, women that I know, women who know me, in all my parts. We sometimes treat the monthly get-togethers as less crucial than our monthly lunar magical workings or our 8 Sabbats, but that's really not quite accurate. The monthly brunches (they're usually brunches) are when we discuss circle business, catch up on each other, re-establish the threads of our (sorry, B!) web. I'm bound to these women. They're (poor souls!) bound to me. These are the women who have a key to my house, who know where my journals are and who have instructions to burn them at my death, who blessed my new house moments after the movers (motherfuckers) left, who will go to lunch with me and really listen to my legal theories concerning the always-fascinating Federal Power Act of 1935, the women that my will instructs D-i-L to allow to select their favorite Hermes scarf from my collection. Sometimes it's messy, sometimes it's glorious, sometimes, to quote Hebert, it's melange; sometimes it's bitter spice. But it's always the web and woof of my existence; this circle of women. This college of priestesses. I am so blessed. May it be so for you.
*How an outsider recently described our circle.
Yesterday, we had an interesting discussion over at Eschaton concerning what sacrifices we may need to make in the coming years in order to deal with global climate change caused by greenhouse gases. The Toronto Star recently ran an article that shows how easy it would be for many of us to cut our greenhouse emissions significantly. Lots of these suggestions aren't new; you've heard them over and over. Why not make a new year's resolution to implement these simple steps right now?
To demonstrate how easy it would be for each of us to make a difference, we have prepared a list of 10 simple, inexpensive things residents could start to do over the holidays. For a typical middle-income family of four in the Greater Toronto Area, these small steps could cut emissions of greenhouse gases by up to 25 per cent without causing any big lifestyle changes.
1) Lower the thermostat on your water heater from 60 to 55 degrees C. All it takes is a screwdriver, but if you are not sure how to change the setting, have a professional do it for you.
2) Replace the shower heads in your home with low-flow models, and install faucet aerators on all of your taps.
3) Run your washing machine with cold water to both wash and rinse your clothes instead of using hot or warm water.
4) Install a programmable thermostat for winter heating and summer cooling, setting it to automatically lower than the room temperature in winter by 1 degree C during the day and 2 degrees C at night.
5) Run your air conditioning system in the summer with the thermostat set to 24 degrees C.
6) Replace the five light bulbs you use the most in your home with compact fluorescent bulbs, which, unlike incandescent bulbs, do not waste energy by creating more heat than light.
7) Turn off lights in rooms that are not in use, or install sensors that do the job for you in bathrooms, hallways and utility rooms.
8) Maintain the pressure in your tires at the appropriate level at all times, which will improve your gas mileage. Because your car is the source of most of the greenhouse gases your household produces, such simple measures can make a big difference, especially if you drive to work.
9) Follow the regular maintenance guide recommended by the manufacturer of your car, and
10) Drive the speed limit and you won't waste gasoline.
According to Environment Canada, such seemingly insignificant measures would actually produce a 24 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions for our representative Greater Toronto Area household, which would make for a good start in the fight against global warming.
Why not get started now?
From the EEI newsletter:
Arlington County, Va., Launches Plan to Reduce GHG Emissions
Arlington County, Va., a Washington, D.C., suburb, has announced a plan to reduce GHG emissions by 10 percent by 2012, a goal that could cost the county $6 million to improve energy efficiency in public buildings, plant 1,200 trees, buy more wind-generated power, and hand out more than 2,000 fluorescent light bulbs at fairs to promote energy conservation, the Washington Post reported today. The Post reported that Arlington County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson (D) said "he was moved to launch the plan after studying environmental theories and seeing former vice president Al Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth."
Ten percent isn't much, but it's a start! And if we could get even more county boards to see An Inconvenient Truth, maybe we could get more counties to take these important steps. Planting 1,200 trees in Arlington will be great for wildlife, in addition to soaking up carbon dioxide.
From Today's EEI newsletter:
Md. Attorney General Focuses on Coal-Burning Plant Sites as Civil Rights Issues
Incoming Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said he would use a new approach to tackle the issue of the environment – focusing on how coal-burning power plants "tend to be in less-affluent areas and are responsible for respiratory ailments that disproportionately affect African Americans," the Washington Post reported today.
Gansler, a long-time Montgomery County, Md., county prosecutor, said that he would focus on the issue in an innovative manner, indicating that the "prevalence of those ailments should be viewed as a civil rights issue, one that could presumably be addressed in court," wrote the Post. Gansler also vowed an "all-out assault" on Chesapeake Bay polluters.
Washington Post , Jan. 3.
CARMAGNOLE OF THE THIRTIETH OF JUNE
I will grow fingernails
to scratch the scab
that stops the sore’s lips on the scream
the pusty whistle of escape
EEEEEeeeooooooo steamboat annie comm roun the bend
I will grow fingernails
ten feet long and walk on them like stilts
& breathe steam out my nostrils
& split boards with my eye
don’t get near me with your martial arts
unless you want to get split right down between the balls
neat as a colonel’s chicken
I got Real Bad Vibes
I have been talking to my father
who died in 1960
he’s 101 years old not feeling very perky
he gets left out of things
I will grow fingernails
and claw down the Lubyanka
stone by stone by stone.
Listen, my vibrations are so bad
they’re Richter 87
look out down there in Daly City.
My toenails are growing too.
I can dig up graveyards with them
and dance on the burning ground.
I use the urns for footballs & my tongue hangs out a yard.
I am WUMMUN, ta doody boo-bah,
but even worse than that I’m me
and feeling mean
rumbles like a drum when I jump on it
when I dance on his chest he snores
when I dance on his gut he farts
when I dance on his cock he comes
when I dance on his eyes he wakes and all the stones fall down
all fall down.
Get up and dance, creation!
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
This is such a lovely post that all I can do is to beg you to go read it in its entirety. Honestly.
It is a common human failing- what Wulf the Seidman from Brian Bates' work "The Way of Wyrd" calls the "fungus" that grows in our minds: we assume that we all have so many years left to live, so much so that a dream-life takes over in our brains. We put off today what we assume we'll be able to do later, even though there may be no "later". Death is our constant companion, and the sorcerer, as well as the warrior, must accept that death may come for us today, any day, at any moment.
It's one thing to say it, but something else to really put your whole mind and body into it. This isn't a clever mind game; this isn't just some line of wisdom you read in a book or see on a screen. This is death, the sometimes violent destruction of our lich or our bodies; it is the end of our dearly loved and familiar routines and activities, a farewell to our friends, and the release of the fetch and the mind into the vast and mysterious reaches beyond this world of animals, growing things, and human beings. It is a forced shove into a distant, unknown shore, and we can lose our wits easily in such a radical change.
I'd like to make this totally clear, to remind myself as much as to remind you- and you can't be reminded of this enough: the time to be alive and truly aware is now. Wyrd only gives us this moment, right now. It may truly seem like it, but there is no future out there somewhere, waiting for us. What you have- what everyone has- is here and now, wherever you are, whatever you are. Do not trust in a hope for some fantasy future that you have dreamed of in your head. Do not assume that your friends and family will be there with you, one day far from now, to discuss with you about the good times you had long ago. Let the future arise as it will; we don't live there. It is impossible to live in a place that doesn't yet exist.
There's this incredibly kind and incredibly magical thing that the universe does for me and I'd love to hear if it does the same for you: suddenly some word on concept that I've never heard of before or that I've completely ignored keeps jumping up in front of me. For me, suddenly, it's "blot," and "seid," and "heathenry." Expect more posts on these concepts as I explore them this year.
From the December 25, 2006 edition of Inside Energy:
[G]reenhouse-gas-emitting power companies must be held legally responsible for fueling global warming and the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, according to papers filed recently in a federal court in Mississippi.
The 11-page motion, filed December 14 in the U.S. District Court in Jackson is the latest salvo in a novel lawsuit brought by Ned Comber and other people who own property that was damaged when Hurricane Katrina roared ashore on August 29, 2005.
Comber and other plaintiffs maintain that [companies that generate electricity] bolstered Katrina's destructiveness by pumping millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the environment. These emissions warmed the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and caused Katrina to grow larger and more destructive than it otherwise would have, the plaintiffs maintain.
Comber and his colleagues are seeking millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages from the energy companies. In all, some 21 electric utilities and numerous oil and coal companies are named as defendants in the suit, which is referred to in some legal circles as the "Katrina case."
. . .
The Katrina case is one of several global-warming-related lawsuits targeting power companies and other greenhouse-gas-emitting industries. In another closely-watched case, a group of states led by Connecticut is seeking to force . . . large utilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions on the grounds that they are a "public nuisance" that is fostering global warming. A ruling in that case, which is lodged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, could come any day. ~Brian Hansen
It's been too long since I took Torts to remember how liable you can be for helping to cause the situation that led to someone's damages. The defendants argue that everyone pollutes so that, if they're liable, so is the dad firing up the grill or the mom driving the SUV to take the kids to soccer. The danger here is that the Katrina case or the nuisance case in the Second Circuit may result in bad precedent.
Hopefully not. But I don't view either of these fora as particularly favorable.
Monday, January 01, 2007
A group of anti-war grandmothers gathered Monday to call attention to the growing loss of lives in Iraq by reading the names of the dead -- a day after the American death toll in Iraq reached 3,000.
About 60 people from the group Grandmothers Against the War and their supporters read the names of the war dead from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center as curious tourists took their photos.
And yet, In New York, a group of counter-protesters said the grandmothers were insulting U.S. troops, who need support during the Iraq war.
The granny group later walked to the military recruiting center in Times Square.
Fuck the counter-protestors. Just fuck them. Fuck them.
Are the fulcrums spiritual? Perhaps we should attempt to desacralize power for power's sake. Perhaps we should attempt to break down the divine right to science, the divine right of corporations, the divine right of production, the divine right of nation-states. Perhaps we should attempt to help people to remember that spiders who live in their bathrooms are sacred, as are salmon who spawn in rivers outside their homes, plants who push up through sidewalks, salamanders who live high in the hollows of ancient redwoods, their own bodies, their own experiences, their own sexuality, their own flesh free from industrial carcinogens. Where do we place the levers, the fulcrums, to help people remember that they are humans living in a landbase, that they are animals?
~Derrick Jensen, Endgame, Vol. I
by Sara Teasdale
Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things;
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up,
Holding wonder like a cup.
Life has loveliness to sell;
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And, for the Spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.
Give all you have for loveliness;
Buy it, and never count the cost!
For one white, singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost;
And for a breath of ecstasy,
Give all you have been, or could be.
My father, who went to his grave singularly unimpressed by anything that I had ever written, was visibly moved by my ability to recite this poem during a meteor shower at the beach. More than a decade later, I'm less impressed by the value of the bargain than I was at the time. At least as it pertains to the "many a year of strife well lost." I'm still willing to trade, for one breath of ecstacy, all that I have been, or could be. Does anyone ever approach ecstacy with anything less in hand to trade?
At any rate, I think it's very good advice for the New Year.
And, I'm a passing writer, if, in Dorothy Parker's words, passing grade is minus D.
PS I learned of this poem through a series of short stories that the first-ex-Mr.-Hecate left with me called: The People: No Different Flesh. I spent 17 years in education on the strength of those stories.
Today is a wonderful day to make a resolution for better breast health. Resolve today that you will do twelve or thirteen breast self-examinations this year and that you will have a mammogram! Go to your computer's calendar right now and schedule them! The first of every month is good. The day of your birthday is good. A day calibrated to your period (if you still have them) is good. Anything is good as long as it's regular! Reward yourself by scheduling something that you like -- a massage, a pedicure, a lunch with a friend, some quiet time -- for the same day. Do the BSE and then reward yourself. It helps to make BSE become a habit.
BSE is easy to do. Here's how. Breast self-exams save lives because the earlier that you find a breast cancer lump, the greater your chance of survival.
Can you think of 9 women that you really like and would miss if they were gone? Mother, Sister, Wife, Lover, Daughter, Niece, Granddaughter, Best Friend, Secretary, etc.? One in nine women will get breast cancer. You can help. Calendar for yourself a time to relieve those women for an hour or so -- give them the gift of time for a BSE. Take their kids to the park for an hour; pick up the dry cleaning and the groceries; or fix and clean up dinner while she does a BSE. We need your help!
Sunday, December 31, 2006
In cases where it's not the individual CEO, but the position -- where social framing conditions make it so that most people who would take up that position share the same deadend worldview that would cause them to commit the same atrocities -- where[,] then[,] do we place the levers and the fulcrums? Do we go CEO to CEO, "removing" them one by one? We always hear that the machine-like characteristics of corporations mean the CEOs are simply cogs -- albeit large ones -- in their community-destroying institutions, and[,] so[,] it would do no good to remove them. It's an odd argument to make . . . . There are few who suggest that simply because arresting or killing one rapist does not stop other men from raping, that this means we should not stop whatever rapists we can [--] through any means necessary. Yet when it comes to CEOs[,] the argument seems to hold: Someone else will just take this one's place, so we must not stop this one personally. In fact, we must allow him [it's usually a him] to continue to be rewarded with millions of dollars per year in salaries and stock options. Where are the fulcrums to stop these people, these institutions? Where are the bottlenecks?
~Endgame, Vol. I by Derrick Jensen.
2006 was quite a year. It will always, for me, be the year when:
I turned 50;
Grandson was born: hale, healthy, redheaded, and blue-eyed -- I am with my mother's mother's mother and my son's son's sons.
My circle decided to add new members in a serious, deliberate manner;
I had a wonderful crop of violets for Beltane;
My circle took Pagan Pride week by storm;
I won two big cases in the Ninth Circuit and Jeff Skilling went to jail;
All year long, I didn't get to the mountains. I mean to fix this in 2007;
The oak trees masted;
I began blogging for real;
I saw Son develop into THE most amazing father, ever;
A baby dove got caught in my rosebush and then got free and lived;
I read Derrick Jensen;
A one-sentence essay: "I am Macca," won a UVA student a seat in Larry Sabato's grad student course;
E, D, and I had the "mad hat" tea at the Mayflower;
My black iris flowered;
America stepped back from the abyss;
I pulled Baba Yaga from the Goddess Oracle to guide me through the coming year. This will be interesting;
I carried the amazing Michael Kors bag that, all summer long, got so many compliments;
I didn't buy even one single Hermes scarf, although I have my eye on the one that shows the roofs of Paris;
Son, D-i-L, and Grandson came to my circle's Yule party.
My woad flowered but my dill was abysmal and my black hollyhocks had rust.
We had a bad drought in July and August and I tried desperately (we'll find out this Spring) to keep all the arisemea that I planted in the Spring alive.
D-i-L looked me straight in the eye following Grandson's birth and said, "I had exactly the birth that I kept envisioning. I kept saying affirmations and, you know, those things really work."
I am blessed. May it be so for you.
2007 Tarot readings for the first 10 readers who post their three cards in comments. Check out Lunea's website, in my blogroll, for a lovely on-line tarot.
She had already kissed Antony's dead lips,
she had already wept on her knees before Caesar . . .
and her servants have betrayed her. Darkness falls.
The trumpets of the Roman eagle scream.
And in comes the last man to be ravished by her beauty --
such a tall gallant! -- with a shamefaced whisper:
"You must walk before him, as a slave, in the triumph."
But the slope of her swan's neck is tranquil as ever.
Tomorrow they'll put her children in chains. Nothing
remains except to tease this fellow out of mind
and put the black snake, like a parting act of pity,
on her dark breast with indifferent hand.