Saturday, February 03, 2007

Saturday Goddess Blogging


Eurynome is a Goddess whose worship appears to date back to neolithic, Pelagian Greece. She was sometimes pictured as a mermaid and was often associated with the Ocean.

Amy Sophia Marashinsky says that, "Eurynome dances into your life to tell you [that] it is time for ecstasy. How can you give yourelf [to] ecstasy, that deeply nourishing, intensely joyful place? One way is by healing the wounded parts of yourself. Your wounded parts take up emotional space within you. Once, healed, the space [that] they previously occupied becomes available for ecstasy. . . . Another road to ecstasy is to open to it. To give yourself permission to call it in, feel it, and revel in it. [T]he conscious decision to court, seduce, and entice ecstasy ensures [that] it will come. Eurynome says that when you make the decision to dance with ecstasy, all life challenges you with the opportunities to facilitate that dance."

Robert Graves told this story about how Eurynome, whom he saw as descended from earlier lunar Goddesses, created the world: "In the beginning, Eurynome, the Goddess of All Things, rose naked from Chaos, but found nothing substantial for her feet to rest upon, and therefore divided the sea from the sky, dancing lonely upon its waves. She danced towards the south, and the wind set in motion behind her seemed something new and apart with which to begin a work of creation. Wheeling about, she caught hold of this north wind, rubbed it between her hands, and behold! the great serpent Ophion. Eurynome danced to warm herself, wildly and more wildly, until Ophion, grown lustful, coiled about those divine limbs and was moved to couple with her. Now, the North Wind, who is also called Boreas, fertilizes; which is why mares often turn their hind-quarters to the wind and breed foals without aid of a stallion. So Eurynome was likewise got with child.

Next, she assumed the form of a dove, brooding on the waves and, in due process of time, laid the Universal Egg. At her bidding, Ophion coiled seven times about this egg, until it hatched and split in two. out tumbled all things that exist, her children: sun, moon, planets, stars, the earth with its mountains and rivers, its trees, herbs, and living creatures.

Eurynome and Ophion made their home upon Mount Olympus, where he vexed her by claiming to be the author of the Universe. Forthwith she bruised his head with her heel, kicked out his teeth, and banished him to the dark caves below the earth.

Next, the goddess created the seven planetary powers, setting a Titaness and a Titan over each. Theia and Hyperion for the Sun; Phoebe and Atlas for the Moon; Dione and Crius for the planet Mars; Metis and Coeus for the planet Mercury; Themis and Eurynmedon for the planet Jupiter; Tethys and Oceanus for Venus; Rhea and Cronus for the planet Saturn. But the first man was Pelasgus, ancestor of the Pelasgians; he sprang from the soil of Arcadia, followed by certain others, whom he taught to make huts and feed upon acorns and sew pig-skin tunics such as poor folk still wear in Euboea and Phocis."

"The Pelasgian Creation Myth," from Robert Graves' The Greek Myths, v.I, p. 27: Penguin Books, England, 1955.

So invite Eurynome to dance and don't be surprised at what ecstasy creates. But don't imagine that you did it all alone -- at least if you like your teeth.

Artwork: Eurynome Creates the Cosmos by Elsie Russell.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Hair Styles of the 1970s

I'm an old woman and I've never been much of a tv watcher. Before this week, I'd never even heard of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force. But I have to say that the picture that goes with this article is probably the funniest thing I've ever seen.

If Blogger hadn't literallly forced me to switch to "New Blogger" (grr) and fucked me up so that I can't post YouTube videos, I'd post the second-funniest thing I've seen lately, which was the "news conference" given by the two "perpetrators" of the Boston Cartoon Hoax of Doom, wherein our heroes insisted on discussing haristyles of the 1970s, much to the consternation of the "reporters" who kept complaining that the young men weren't "taking this seriously," by which the reporters meant, playing the "being on tv, giving a news conference, seriously taking "questions" from "reporters" and never answering any of those questions while attempting to look as if you had" game.

I think it was a revolutionary moment; a lot like the moment when John Stewart called Tucker Carlson a dick and, when chided for not playing the game the way that Tucker expected it to be played, replied, "No. I'm not going to be your monkey."

In fact, I think it provides a paradigm for the way that all "serious" people should respond to "the press." We should all just show up and insist on discussing 1970s hairstyles. To wit, I present the following as a reference guide for serious people. You may wish to commit at least some of this information to memory, in case you find yourself being "questioned" by "reporters."

Bad 1970s haircuts.

Sha na na. All kinds of 70s hair

In the 1970s, women discovered curling irons.

Afros. No one could wear an Afro like Angela Davis.

General information on 1970s haircuts.

Why Does The Veterans Administration Hate America?

Via Witchvox, comes some good news from the civil case brought to force the Veteran's Administration (VA) to allow fallen Wiccan soldiers to have their religious symbol placed on their gravestones and markers. Interestingly, the article comes, as decent reporting on this issue often has, from a small local paper.

To be clear: the VA can make this entire case go away by simply granting the petitions that it has had before it for more than nine years, just as it has (in far less than nine years)approved the petitions for other minority religions such as, for example, Sufism Reoriented, Eckiankar and the Japanese faith Seicho-No-Ie. That's what the VA should do, rather than wasting taxpayer dollars fighting this in court.

MADISON, Wis. - A federal lawsuit filed by Wiccans against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will proceed despite a request by the VA that it be put on hold for perhaps as much as a year.

The lawsuit, filed in November, accuses the VA of coming up with "excuse after excuse" for more than nine years to deny the Wiccan symbol on grave markers of veterans who were members of that religion. The department does not allow its religious symbols on veterans' headstones in national cemeteries.

The VA argued in a motion filed Jan. 19 with the U.S. District Court in Madison that the lawsuit should be put on hold until after the department finalized its new rules related to accepting new grave marker symbols. That process could take up to 12 months but the VA would make a decision on the Wiccan request within a month after the process ended, the government's motion said.

The Wiccans' attorney objected, arguing that nothing commits the VA to finalize its rules within that time frame, or take up the Wiccan request at all.

U.S. District Judge John Shabaz issued a one-line order on Jan. 26 allowing the case to proceed. He set a trial date for June 29.

"We're pleased that the litigation will go forward and the VA will not be able to delay further coming to the right decision and giving the families of veterans the memorials that they're entitled to," said Richard Katskee, lead lawyer in the case for Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

U.S. Attorney Erik Peterson, who is defending the government, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

Selena Fox, a Wiccan high priestess with Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, praised the judge's decision.

"The VA's decade-long pattern of delay, disregard, and discrimination against the Wiccan religion must stop," she said. "The thought of possibly having to wait more than a year to have our case heard was terrible."

A nature-based religion, the Wiccan faith is founded on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons.

The Wiccan symbol is a pentacle, a five-pointed star representing earth, air, fire, water and spirit. Variations of it that are not part of the Wiccan belief have been used in horror movies as a sign of the devil.

The lawsuit argues that constitutional rights of freedom of speech, religion and due process have been violated by the department's not acting on requests to allow the symbol. The lawsuit seeks an order compelling the VA to make a decision.

The lawsuit was filed by Circle Sanctuary, Isis Invicta Military Mission, a Wiccan and Pagan congregation serving military personnel based in Geyserville, Calif., and two widows of Wiccans: Roberta Stewart of Nevada and Karen DePolito of Utah.

The lawsuit argued that it makes no sense for Wiccan symbols to be denied on grave markers especially given that Wiccan soldiers can list their faith on dog tags, Wiccan organizations are allowed to hold services on military installations and the Army Chaplains Handbook includes an explanation of the religion.

Americans United is in the process of objecting to the new proposed rules that the VA has drafted covering acceptance of new symbols on grave markers, Katskee said. The rule gives the VA too much discretion in deciding what to allow and doesn't have firm enough timelines governing the process, he said.

"It leaves a lot of room for the government to reject things out of hand," Katskee said.

A message left with the VA's public affairs office was not immediately returned.

Currently, 38 religious symbols are recognized by the VA for gravestones. The list includes commonly recognized symbols for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, as well as those for smaller religions such as Sufism Reoriented, Eckiankar and the Japanese faith Seicho-No-Ie.

The VA has suspended consideration of all requests while the new rule is being drafted.

Why Does The Chicken Cross The Road?

My dear, dear friend Nancy sent this to me and it's just too good not to post:

Alexandrian/Gardnerian: To reveal this would be to break my oath of secrecy. I can say, though, that it *really* is an ancient rite, dating far back in time, back even before 1951, and I have learned it from an unbroken lineage. As Gerald said, it takes a chicken to make an egg.

Asatru: First, we don't believe in a "One Chicken" or a "Hen and Rooster." We believe in many chickens. Second, "crossing the road" is part of the three levels, or worlds, and the chicken simply crossed from one level to another. Hail to the Chickens!

British Traditional: The word "chicken" comes from a very specific Old English word ("gechekken"), and it only properly applies to certain fowl of East Anglia or those descended therefrom. As for the rest, I suppose they are doing something remotely similar to crossing the road, but you must remember that traditional roads are not to be confused with the modern roads....

Ceremonial: "Crossing the road" is a phrase that summarizes many magical structures erected and timed by the chicken to produce the energy necessary for the intention of the travel across the road. For example, the astrological correspondences had to be correct, the moon had to be waxing (if the chicken intended to come to the other side of the road) or waning (if the chicken intended to flee to the other side of the road), and the chicken had to prepare herself through fasting and proper incantations. Note: certain forms of invocation (summoning an egg *inside* your chicken self) can produce abnormal or even dangerous eggs and should only be conducted inside a properly erected barnyard....

Chaos: Thinking in terms of "roads" and "crossings" is simply looking at the formal, typically perceived structure of chicken crossing space- time. We, instead, focus on the possibility of chicken crossing itself; what appears to be a random act is thus actually the norm ---- it is the **road** which is the freak of chance. Indeed, quantum mechanics now demonstrates what we knew all along: two roads can simultaneously exist in the same place at the same time. Thus, by attuning ourselves to the dynamic energy (called "crossing"), we can manifest the road. Of course, to the knowledgeable, this appears as a chicken crossing the road.

Dianic: The chykyn ("chicken" is term of patriarchal oppression) sought to reclaim for herself the right to be on the other side of the road, after it had been denied to her for centuries. By doing so, she reawakened the power of the Hen within herself.

Discordian: cock-a-doodle-doo!

Druid: To get to the sacred grove, of course! Keep in mind that 99% of everything written about chickens-crossing-the-road is pure hogwash, based on biased sources. Yes, there were a few unfortunate chicken sacrifices in the past, but that is over now...

Eclectic: Because it seemed right to her at the time. She used some Egyptian style corn and a Celtic sounding word for the road and incorporated some Native American elements into her Corn-name, Chicken-Who-Dances-and-Runs-with-the-Wolves.

Faery: In twilight times and under sparkling stars, those properly trained can still see the chickens crossing the roads. Reconnecting with these "fey-fowl" as they cross is crucial to restoring the balance between the energies of modern development and living with the earth.

Family Traditional: Growing up, we didn't think much about "crossing the road." A chicken was a chicken. It crossed the road because that was what worked to get her to the other side. We focused on what worked, and we worked more with the elders of the barnyard and less with all this "guardians of the chickencoop" business. We didn't get our concepts of "chickens" or "the other side" from Gardner, either. You can choose not to believe us but that doesn't change the facts: there *were* real chickens, and they *really did* cross the road!

Kitchen Witch: The chicken crossed the road to get food, to get a rooster or to get away from me after I decided to have chicken for supper!

Left Hand Path: White, fluffy chickens prancing across the road! Do you think that is *all* there is to crossing the road? Do you *dare* to know the dark side of crossing the road and the *other* path to self-development?

Shaman: Crossing the road is a way to reconnect with the healing, visionary lifeways of the past. Chickens have long known this, but increasingly the Rooster's Movement is adding more roosters to the crossings too.

Wiccan: The chicken crossed the road because she felt like she was finally "coming home." She could do it alone or with others, but she had to call to the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the Barnyard first ... uhm, after casting the circle.

Margot Adler: The recent chicken resurgence, it can be argued, is directly based on a response to the suburban middle class experience. While I found that chickens-who-cross-roads who responded to my survey are of a wide range of ages and backgrounds, I discovered some trends in the "why" of crossing the road. For some it is was freedom. For some it is chickenism. Many chickens told me they crossed the road for intellectual satisfaction. One thing is clear: the growth of road crossing by chickens is expanding in the numbers of chickens and in the ways they cross the road, including at chicken festivals and for political blocking of roads.

P.E.I. Bonewits: Real crossing-the-road, we have seen, is a very interwoven and complicated subject. Our conclusion could be that real crossing-the-road is the build up of chicken emotion in conjunction with chicken concepts to vary the modulation of chicken energy so as to effect the modulation of the road's energy. That's all! Perhaps it is unfortunate, though, to use the word "chicken" in relation to it, since the "C" word is being used now in a way it was never used before in the English language and is an utterly meaningless term without a qualifying adjective. And this, of course, is the fault of the medieval Christian Church, through the Gothic Chickens it invented and used as the basis of persecuting men, women and chickens. The word "chicken" itself comes from an Indo-European root, "cheeka/e" meaning "one who lays eggs," and it has no relation to the later Anglo-Saxon word for "wise spirit of flight," as so often stated by certain contemporary "Chics." An'Chk'Rrhod ("Our Own Chickens on Our Own Roads"), an authentic Neo-Chicken Rooster tradition, offers the best of paleo-, meso- and neo- Chickenism ...

Scott Cunningham: A chicken passes between the grasses, clucking. The wind blows, and the chicken knows, *knows*, that this is the time. She puts her energy into taking the steps, in harmony with the gravel and the stones of the road. She is across; it is over, and the chicken stands in the field on the other side of the road. ... Natural chicken crossing is unique among most other branches of the art of chicken road crossing. It doesn't require years of collecting or fashioning coops, feeders or hen houses. Indeed, the most important tools of natural chicken crossing are free: the road, the chicken and you, your personal chicken power. You're already familiar with it. You've felt it. You *are* a chicken. Crossing the road is you, with your chicken need. And, you can do it on your own. After all, who initiated the first chicken?

Janet and Stewart Farrar: Since so many editions of Gardner's Chicken Book of Crossings have appeared in print (some accurate, some not), we think it won't "lay an egg" too much if we clearly present "The Chicken Crossing Rite," especially if we do so after two and half pages of well researched introduction set in six-point type. In version A of the Chicken Crossing Rite, we find many pseudo-archaisms (e.g.,"Yea, Ye Anciente Rite of Ye Chiks and Ye Rodes is a moste powerful Crafting, taking thy athame..."); however, Doreen Valiente notes (in version C, which is what we present), and we agree, that underlying it all is a basic ritual for summoning the astral road through the spirit of the Chicken (drawn down in the person of the High Priestess, holding the black handled feed bin; of course, a second degree may assist or perform the rite when....

Llewellyn's Practical Chicken Magick Series: To some people, the idea that "chickens crossing the road" is practical comes as a surprise. It shouldn't. The whole idea of Crossing the Road is practical for chickens. While Crossing the Road is also, and properly so, concerned with spiritual growth and psychological transformation --the "why" of crossing the road-- every chicken's life must rest firmly on material roads. Crossing the Road is the flowering of chicken potential. And the profits from publishing all those books on how to do so? Well, that ain't chicken feed...

Doreen Valiente: Old Chicken really did exist, and she really did cross the road. Gerald talked about her often, but she didn't cross the road till before I began studying with Gerald. Still there are records of Old Chicken which confirm her reality. As for all the comments that Gerald had a "thing" for chickens, that is simply not true. The reason we worked with chickens is really quite simple: it worked!

Second Annual (Cyber) Poetry Slam In Honor Of The Goddess Brigid

The God Forsakes Antony
~by Constantine P. Cavafy

When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
an invisible procession going by
with exquisite music, voices,
don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
work gone wrong, your plans
all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.

As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.
Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say
it was a dream, your ears deceived you:
don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.

As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
as is right for you who were given this kind of city,
go firmly to the window
and listen with deep emotion, but not
with the whining, the pleas of a coward;
listen—your final delectation—to the voices,
to the exquisite music of that strange procession,
and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.


There's no way that I could ever pick one favorite poem. But I selected this one for today for two reasons. First, it's about as perfect a poem as a poem can be, especially if you understand a bit of the backstory. And, second, I've been thinking a lot about this weirdly mild winter that we've been having and what it may portend for the Planet, for my own little garden, for G/son. If we're watching the end of an Era (and I think we are), then this is how we ought to watch it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Green Glass Beads

Overheard on a Saltmarsh

Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?

Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?

Give them me.


Give them me. Give them me.


Then I will howl all night in the reeds,

Lie in the mud and howl for them.

Goblin, why do you love them so?

They are better than stars or water,

Better than voices of winds that sing,

Better than any man's fair daughter,

Your green glass beads on a silver ring.

Hush, I stole them out of the moon.

Give me your beads, I want them.


I will howl in the deep lagoon

For your green glass beads, I love them so.

Give them me. Give them.


-- Harold Monro

Three Pledges -- What A Nice Way To Celebrate Imbolc!

What Joanna Colbert said.

(Artwork found here.)

Gee, Mary, Is That How You Think It Works? Welcome To Your Father's America.

NEW YORK - The decision to become pregnant and raise a child with her female partner was not political, Mary Cheney, a daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, told a Barnard College audience.

"This is a baby," Cheney said Wednesday at a forum sponsored by Glamour magazine. "This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. It is my child."

You know, you ignorant bint, there's more than a few women who think that their reproductive choices shouldn't be anybody else's business. And, beyond that, I kind of think that Terry Schiavo's husband thought that, "This is my wife. She's not a political statement. She's not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. She's my wife." There are sick Americans who could be cured by research using stem cellls from tissue that's going to be discarded anyway. I kind of think that they'd say, "This is my health. I'm not a political statement. I'm not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. I'm a human being who'll die without this research." And, of course, as you well know, there are gay people out there who love each other and want to get married. They'd gladly tell Glamour Magazine that, "This is our love life. We're not a political statement. We're not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. We're just two people who love each other and want to get married."

And, hey, Mary! Guess what you privileged, protected, punk? Your fucking father and his fucking marionette in the WH disagree! They think that THEY, not you, have the right to make your reproductive choices, and to make medical end-of-life decisions for Terry Schiavo, and to prevent stem cell research, and to define marriage as "between a man and a woman" -- all in the name of placating some whackjob, woman-hating, gay-fearing fundies in order to harvest their votes and their donations. In fact, that's your daddy's base, although, as you well know, he holds them in as much contempt as he seems to hold 99% of the electorate.

And, gee, Mary, you filthy-souled sell-out to your gender, guess what else? You support that! You worked on your daddy's campaign. You didn't give a speech and say that Focus on the Family is a bunch of dirty-minded busybodies who have no business sticking their noses into America's vagina. You didn't issue a statement saying that Terry Schiavo's family ought to be left the fuck alone. No, Mary, you, you ugly-spirited sow, you are what we call a collaborator.

And, hey, guess what else, Mary, you moron! You may have thought, as all collaborators do, that your collaboration and your position of privilege would protect you. Yeah, poor women, black women, -- other people -- maybe the patriarchs that you've supported would interfere in their lives, but not yours. Your daddy's rich and powerful and so you thought that you'd get to flout the rules that Focus on the Family lays down for those of us with wombs; your reproductive decisions, unlike those of all the rest of us, would be "personal matters," your "choice," and not a political prop.

Well, all I've got to say to you was said a long time ago by Bob Dylan:

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?
People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall"
You thought they were all kiddin' you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin' out
Now you don't talk so loud
Now you don't seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out you're gonna have to get used to it
You said you'd never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He's not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And ask him do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain't no good
You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain't it hard when you discover that
He really wasn't where it's at
After he took from you everything he could steal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They're drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you'd better lift your diamond ring, you'd better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Now shut the fuck up and quit complaining. You made your goddamn bed. Now sleep in it, bitch.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Worst That The Patriarchy Has To Offer.

Once again, the catholic church demonstrates how truly anti-woman it really is.

The Vactican is furious over an Italian magazine reporter who "confessed" various sins to Italian priests to find out how closely they honed to the Vatican's line on various issues. The old white men in the silly dresses can rest easy: all the priests condemned abortion. However:

In another confessional box he faked being HIV positive and was told by a priest that whether or not he used a condom in order not to pass the virus to the woman he loved was "a very personal matter of conscience."

I hope, well, I think you know what I hope.

I Have Passed The Test. I Will Diminish, And Go Into The West, And Remain Molly

Farewell, Molly Ivins. May the Goddess guard you. May you find your way to the Summerlands. May your friends and family know peace.

When Death Comes
~by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox:

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.


I find, as I almost always do, that the coming Sabbat is "really" my favorite Sabbat. (This happens eight times a year, every year.) I'm looking forward to the ritual that my wonderful circle of witches has planned for Friday night to celebrate Imbolc.

One of our newest members -- a beautiful, brilliant, and strong woman for whom the term "still waters run deep" was likely coined -- is leading her first ritual with us. I've been cleaning my house and polishing silver, and meditating on her theme for days. One of her themes is Creativity, a very logical theme for Pagans celebrating the feast of the Goddess Brigid, patron of those who create everything from metalwork to poems. And my meditations have helped me to realize that one of my own forms of creativity is the creation of ritual. I suppose that's a bit like saying that one of your forms of creativity is performance art. Ritual is impermanent, transient, short-lived. You can't really control it, the way that you can a quilt or a poem or a song. And yet, and yet, and yet. Ritual is so necessary.

Pagan Godspell has an incredible post up about ritual. You should go read the whole thing. Here's my favorite bit:

“Dwelling is not primarily inhabiting but taking care of and creating that space within which something comes into its own and flourishes.” It takes both time and ritual for real dwelling."

I love this. My Taurus Moon, my dedication to Hestia, my INTJ self adores the notion of ritualing a dwelling into being, of helping the place where I dwell to "come into its own and flourish." I'm within a few months of having the inside of my cottage -- that I moved into 3+ years ago -- just like I want it. And I'm spending hours dreaming, browsing, preparing to hire a landscaper and redo the garden over the next year and a half. The garden will be my next big creative project and it will be, as of course a garden must be, the place where my spirit and body truly dwell. I'm excited about the idea of ritualing it into being. I can't wait to do ritual in it.

What and how do you create? What makes ritual meaningful to you?

First of the Month Bazooms Blogging

Dear Women,

It's the first of the month. Today's a good day to do a breast self-examination (BSE). It's easy; here's how. BSE helps to detect tumors early. Early detection saves lives. Take a few minutes today and do a BSE. If you prefer to do your BSE at a particular point in your cycle, take the time today to calendar a BSE.

Dear Men,

Are there nine women in your life that you'd miss? Statistically, one of those women will come down with breast cancer. Why not offer to do a chore or watch the kids or make dinner so that one of the women you'd miss has the time to do a BSE?

Here's Something For Investors To Consider

From today's EEI newsletter:

New Investments Flowing Into Clean-Energy Technology Sector

Money is beginning to flow at a faster clip into the alternative energy sector than had been expected, thanks to increased global demand for green technology, the Los Angeles Times reported today. Wrote the newspaper: "Courting the state's growing clean-tech small businesses are banks, federal export finance officials and even venture capitalists, who have traditionally shunned the capital-intensive sector. They are focused in part on helping the small companies reach the overseas clients who are increasingly hungry for their technology."

Venture capital investment in clean-technology companies soared 78 percent last year to $2.9 billion, up from $1.6 billion in 2005, the Times reported, citing data released by Cleantech Venture Network. Jason Matlof, a partner at Battery Ventures, was quoted by the Times as saying: "Venture-backed clean-tech start-ups are on a trajectory. In five years people will look back and it will be deemed as one of the big venture trends, similar to the Internet trend." Matlof also noted that Venture capitalists began noticing some of the biggest recent initial public offerings were made by clean-tech companies.
Los Angeles Times , Jan. 31.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Villlage Discovered Near Stonehenge

Interesting archeological news from a site about two miles from Stonehenge.

I love that they can figure out how old the pigs were when they were eaten and, thus, tell what time of year it was when the festival took place.

Happy Birthday, Z

Happy Birthday, Zsuzsanna Budapest!

I regard Z as one of the elders of the modern Wiccan movement. Wiki notes that:

She founded the Susan B. Anthony Coven Number l, the first [specifically] feminist witches' coven, which became the role model for thousands of other spiritual groups across the nation. Her first book, The Feminist Book of Lights and Shadows, was published in 1975 and then re-published in 1989 as The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries. This book served as the first hands-on book to lead women into their own spiritual/Goddess heritage.

Z was arrested in 1975 in Los Angeles for reading Tarot cards to an undercover policewoman. She lost the trial, which resulted in a $300 fine and probation, whereby she was forbidden to read Tarot cards for others. However, she instead began teaching Tarot classes, in addition to courses in divination and witchcraft. The municipal code against fortune-telling (by someone other than a religious leader) was struck down nine years later. Z has led rituals, lectured, taught classes, given workshops, written articles tirelessly, and published in many women's newspapers across the country. She has powerfully influenced many of the future teachers and writers in the Goddess Movement.

Her circles are exclusive to women only, and she prefers an equal mix of heterosexual and lesbian women, which she believes provides balance in her rituals. According to Z, "We have women's circles. You don't put men in women's circles - they wouldn't be women's circles any more. Our [G]oddess is life, and women should be free to worship from their ovaries."

Located in San Francisco, Z sometime gets lost in the light of Starhawk's (well-earned) fame. But her books had a huge influence on my early spiritual development, and I don't know if I would have come to Wicca had it not been for her abillity to clearly tie this religion to feminism.

There's a line drawing in my copy of The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries that shows a crone, in winter, curled up at the foot of a tree, bare feet and long, gnarled toes, which must be so cold, not quite curled up underneath herself. Yet, the crone seems to be dreaming deep dreams and not unhappy with her life. She is, at any rate, a survivor, one who has made it through many cold winters before and who will, you hope when you look at the picture, make it through a few more, if for no better reason than to warm her feet in the Summer sun. That picture got me through some pretty difficult times.

Thank you, Z. Many happy returns of the day.

By Jove, I Think He's Got It

Wherein Attaturk finally figures out of whom this junta reminds him. Perhaps Cheney spends his time in his undisclosed location sewing his gems into his whalebone corsets.

Monday, January 29, 2007

To Be, As Well, A Daughter Of The North

The Bear's Daughter
by Theodora Goss

She dreams of the south. Wandering through the silent castle,
Where snow has covered the parapets, and the windows
Are covered with frost, like panes of isinglass,
She dreams of pomegranates and olive trees.

But to be the bear's daughter is to be a daughter, as well,
Of the north. To have forgotten a time before
The tips of her fingers were blue, before her veins
Were blue like rivers flowing through fields of ice.

To have forgotten a time before her boots
Were elk-leather lined with ermine.

Somewhere in the silent castle, her mother is sleeping
In the bear's embrace, and breathing pomegranates
Into his fur. She is a daughter of the south,
With hair like honey and skin like orange-flowers.

She is a nightingale's song in the olive groves.

And her daughter, wandering through the empty garden,
Where the branches of yew trees rubbing against each other
Sound like broken violins,

Dreams of the south while a cold wind sways the privet,
Takes off her gloves, which are lined with ermine, and places
Her hands on the rim of the fountain, in which the sun
Has scattered its colors, like roses trapped in ice.

Some people, and I think that they are well-meaning people, will say that Imbolc, the Pagan holiday that's coming up this full-moon Friday, is the "beginning of Spring." They talk about watching for the "first signs of Spring," although they have to stretch rather far to find them, noting buds on trees that were there at Yule, as well, or pointing out that the days have, as, in fact, they have, become a bit longer since Yule, when the night far outlasts the day. But if they thought more about it, these people would, I think, agree with me. Imbolc isn't the first day of Spring. Imbolc is the deep, deep, deepest deep middle of the Winter. Imbolc is as far into Winter as you can be. Yule was the beginning of Winter and the first day of Spring will be Eostara, the Vernal Equinox on March 21st. Imbolc, which falls between them, truly is mid-Winter.

And, here, at least, where I live, in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic seaboard, that feels right. From mid-January to mid-February is when we have our coldest weather and best chance of snow and ice. By February, it's been grey too many days and there are still, to my mildly-SAD-affected self, too many grey days still to come. Trees, hard tiny buds notwithstanding, still look bare, not yet having gained the vague pink aura that they'll acquire shortly before turning that amazing color of Spring green that they turn once it's really Spring. The squirrels are now digging up holes all over my yard here in the oak grove, desperate for a few buried acorns to carry them through. "My" fox comes round, too, too hungry to worry about staying out of sight, hoping she may catch an already-nearly-dead rabbit or, even, proud though she is, a squirrel. The ground is too hard, and even when it's not too hard, it's too wet and cold, to do much of anything in the garden, although this mild winter I've managed to pick thyme and rosemary and a bit of parsley as recently as this weekend.

Imbolc, in my mind, is all about two things: (1) getting through and (2) doing wild things that require a leap of faith. I think, and your mileage may differ, but I think that deep Winter calls on us to take the same walk as the Bear's Daughter takes in Theodora Goss' wonderful poem:

And her daughter, wandering through the empty garden,
Where the branches of yew trees rubbing against each other
Sound like broken violins,

Dreams of the south while a cold wind sways the privet,
Takes off her gloves, which are lined with ermine, and places
Her hands on the rim of the fountain, in which the sun
Has scattered its colors, like roses trapped in ice.

Take off your ermine-lined gloves, the habits and beliefs and carefullnesses that cover your hands and keep you from feeling -- the cold, yes, but also everything else. Touch, with the palm of your whole hand, the icy rim of the fountain, and reach for the sun, reflected and refracted like roses. Touch it even though it freezes your fingers. There are times, lots of times, when the only way "out," the only way "there" -- is through. Deep mid-Winter is like that. If you make it through, you'll see Spring and Summer, but first you have to make it through. And sometimes that means taking off your gloves and plunging your hands into the ice to grasp the fiery roses, to feel something, anything, even if it's pain. It's the only way to find roses in mid-Winter's "empty garden."

What wild thing can you do between now and late March? What warm ermine-lined gloves do you need to pull off? What will help you to make it through?

From An Environmental Issue To A Business Issue -- Good

From the January 23rd EEI newsletter:

Companies Speed Disclosing Climate Change Risks to Shareholders

In response to possible coming emission reduction laws and a push by socially conscious investment funds, more 10-K reports being filed with the SEC are likely to include a disclosure statement about the risks of climate change, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported. The Carbon Disclosure Project, a group of big institutional investors, said a record number of shareholders' resolutions relating to climate change could be filed this year.

The newspaper quoted Mike Lufkin, an associate with the environmental law firm Marten Law Group, as saying: "The handwriting is on the wall that this is going to be a huge issue for companies in the long run." Law firms are creating climate change-oriented practices to capitalize on the focus on climate change, and two attorneys recently sued oil, utility, and coal companies on behalf of Hurricane Katrina victims, claiming climate change warmed the Gulf of Mexico and contributed to the ferocity of the storm, the newspaper reported. Lufkin added: "There was a fundamental change in the discussion. It seems like climate change went from an environmental issue to a business issue, more so last year than at any time in my recent memory."

Avista said climate change could alter the availability and timing of hydro power and increase or decrease demand, the newspaper reported. Climate change regulation could also put constraints on coal-based plants.
Puget Sound Business Journal , Jan. 22.

The Role Of Religion In Politics

Starhawk on the emphasis on religion in political campaigns

Campaigns Need Values, Not Media Images
. . .

Voters have the right to know that any candidate is honest, honorable, moral, and will not abuse the public trust and power we invest in her or him. But today’s political campaigns, with all the professions of religiosity, all the sound bites, and talking points, and carefully crafted images, succeed mostly in obscuring our ability to tell if someone is simply a decent human being.

. . .

I would love to see us change the way we do elections. If I were making the rules, anyone who ran for public office would have to complete a qualifying course that included a week living on the streets with the homeless, a month living on a welfare budget, six months of volunteer work in an inner-city classroom or emergency room or post-disaster cleanup, and an anonymous week in jail.

This would weed out the merely power-hungry and egotistical, and those who become public servants might make laws and policies that embodied the values of compassion, caring and inter-connection that all religions teach.

Right on.

And, as great as the march to end the war this weekend was, few speakers managed to avoid inserting the xian god into their speeches. Jesse Jackson and Tim Robbins, I'm looking at you. By the time that the very good hip hop artist got around to reciting his poem "One" that included the line: "There's only one god," I'd had it and yelled out, "No, there's lots of them. And Goddesses, too!" Some folks around me cheered, some smiled, and some looked at me as if I had three heads (insided joke). Does it ALWAYS have to be about the xian god and to we HAVE do have him shoved down our throats EVERYWHERE? Can a few people recognize that not EVERYONE here is a member of an Abrahamic cult?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sunday Akhmatova Blogging

Imitation from the Armenian

In the form of a black ewe my ghost
will straggle through your dreams
on faltering, withered legs,
bleating: "Shah of the Shahs,
blessed in Allah's eyes,
how well did you feast?
You hold the world in your hand
as if it were a cold bright bead . . .
But what about my boy,
did you enjoy his taste?"
Endgame International Film Festival * 2007

Nearing the endgame.