Saturday, September 08, 2007

No One Expects The Plastic Chairs In The Deep Woods!

Not the plastic chairs! Sweet Mother of the Goddess, not the plastic chairs! My Moon in Taurus canna' take the plastic chairs!
But, otherwise, this is a nice introduction.

The Ophelia Cantos

Lilies tangle in her hair: green stems

Like water-snakes.

A disembodied hand

Floats on the surface. So much has been lost

Already: toes, the lobe of her left ear.

But this remains, a damp, immaculate

Sign, like a message saved from the dark current.

She wandered through the courtyard in her tattered

Dress distributing wild violets.

She called us whores—your son ma'am, not your husband's

I think—and knaves—the taxes sir, your cellar

Is stocked with sweet Moselle. We called this madness.

Indicia of her innocence: to be

A maiden floating dead among the flowers.

She will become an elegant and mute

Image: the sodden velvet coat, the sinking

Coronet of poppies, virgin's bower,

And eglantine. The replicable girl.

(A blob of Chinese white becomes a hand.

The artist puts his brush in turpentine,

The model pulls her stockings on.)

And yet,

Surround by the water-lily stems,

Her face appears an enigmatic mask:

A drowned Medusa in her snaking hair.

The lilies gape around her like pink mouths,

Telling us nothing we can understand.

Her eyes stare upwards: dead and not quite dead.

by Theodora Goss

A Nurturing Society -- What Would It Be Like?

What would it mean to live in a nurturing society, one where even men nurtured self, one another, and others? . . . From a theological point of view [it would mean] the recovery of the tradition of God as Mother.

Matthew Fox, as quoted in As Above, So Below: Paths to Spiritual Renewal in Daily Life, by Ronald S. Miller

Beautiful Planet

In case you get to doubting, for even a minute, what an amazing, beautiful, wonderful, glorious planet the Goddess gave to us, just go here.

Hat tip to Joanna Colbert

Saturday Goddess Blogging

Here's an entirely fictional harvest Goddess, Jeyriall of Santharia. Santhria's apparently a Tolkein-like gamers' world. In the fantasy world creation of Santharia you'll find tons of fantasy art, magic, fantasy pictures, maps (continent maps, town maps, village maps), a RPG bestiary, a herbarium, free online RPG games, RPG material - and everything else a fan can dream of... Let the magic come true again! Let's heed the legacy of JRR Tolkien and his world creation... Feel the magic, enjoy free role playing and dream the dream!

I love the idea of entire new pantheons being created on-line. You just know that, somehow, hundreds of years from now, at least of few of these deities will have their own actual worshipers.

Hail, Jeyriall!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Meg Murray. The Girl Who Was Willing To Trust Her Own Intellect. What A Hero She Was To Me.

That ball that bounced out of rythym. The terrified mother who snatched the child inside. It may have been the very first time in my entire life that I felt understood. It kept me going for a v., v., v. long time. That's what good writers can do. They can toss a lifeline to the drowning and hold on tight. Madeline L'Engel did that for me.

Of a kindness, she named the witches in her story Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which. It was grace for me to find witches in her v. xian story. Her story was, for me (if your only tool is a hammer) a political tale about propaganda, the evil use of psychology, the value of the intellect and of not conforming, and the importance of the First Amendment. Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which (the one with whom I always most identified) simply fought that evil as if it were the most natural thing in the world for a woman to do. It was a lifeline and I grabbed ahold and never let loose.

Once, when I was in NY, I tried to find the church where Madeline L'Engle spent her declining years as a librarian. A huge yong NYC policeman told me, "You don't want to find her." Like the stormtroopers told that these were not the droids they were looking for, I grabbed the first ex Mr. Hecate and ran away. Now, I'm sorry that I never met Ms. L'Engle, never told her how she saved my life. Her stories about running a country store in New England, about the value of piano practice, about the need to keep a daily journal, Crosswicks, canning, children, Europe, music -- they meant so much to me.

May The Goddess Guard Her. May She Find Her Way To The Summerlands. May Her Friends And Family Know Peace.

She paid the Earth the inestimable compliment of being reluctant to leave. Madeline L'Engle has died. I loved her work beyond almost anyone else's on Earth. Her writing on writing has been hugely important to my own, paltry, development as an aspiring writer. The characters that she created helped me to grow up, got me to agree to grow up, showed me that it wouldn't be futile to grow up, helped me to become a grown woman, a middle-aged woman, the mother of a son, a grandmother. I can't believe that she's gone.

It's fair to say that I truly loved her.

It's funny, because L'Engle was a quintissential Christian writer, a woman who waxed so poetic about the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer that she made me buy a copy and read it. And, yet, I'd dub her "witch but doesn't know it" in a heartbeat. She wrote about angels in a way that made it clear to me that she had direct experience with forces larger than human. She clearly understood, in an almost Charles Williams kind of way, that there is nothing mundane about the mundane world and that Earth is crammed, crammed to the brink, with Heaven. And, vice versa.

As the NYT noted: “Wrinkle” is one of the most banned books because of its treatment of the deity. . . . The book used concepts that Ms. L’Engle said she had plucked from Einstein’s theory of relativity and Planck’s quantum theory, almost flaunting her frequent assertion that children’s literature is literature too difficult for adults to understand. She also characterized the book as her refutation of ideas of German theologians. . . . “Why does anybody tell a story?” Ms. L’Engle once asked, even though she knew the answer.

“It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said, “faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”

Thank you, Madeline L'Engle. Goddess-speed.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

Why u is flashything me?

Oh noes! I haz to ignores u like bad cheezburger.


And After The March, You Can Hear My Brilliant Friend Amy

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Some Good News On Emissions

From today's EEI newsletter:

Early Data Suggest Growth in Carbon Emissions May Be Falling

Emissions of CO2 slowed last year according to preliminary data from the U.S. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. Gregg Marland, a senior scientist at the Center, warned: "It is hard to put too much emphasis on the last number in a time series; it is always the most subject to revision," reported Reuters. The Center's data show a rise in carbon emissions of only 2.6 percent in 2006, compared to 3.3 percent in 2005, 5.4 percent in 2004, and 4.7 percent in 2003.

The preliminary estimates for 2005 and 2006 come from information provided by BP, while the earlier estimates are based on U.N. energy data. According to Marland, the most recent data include emissions from burning fossil fuels, making cement, and flaring natural gas. The Center provides DOE with most of its climate-change data and information analysis. In prior years, preliminary estimates of this kind have had to be revised upward.
Reuters , Sept. 4.

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Happy Fiftieth Birthday to Jack Kerouak's On the Road.

"They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn..."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What Are Witches For?

SheWho asks: What are witches for?

I once had an intense crisis that caused me to seriously consider the question: what was the point to my being incarnated at all, especially if it was all going to end far sooner than I'd been led to believe? (As SheWho notes, we can ask for teachers, but we can't control the nature of the teacher that we get. It can be an experience. Sometimes, it can be an experience that we hate. Teachers come in so many shapes and colors. Often, they're long gone and ill-lamented before we go, "Oh. That was a teacher. Shit. Was it necessary to fuck me over like that?" Answer: apparently, yes.) And the answer that I got, resoundingly, was the answer that it's easy to give to SheWho's question: you were incarnated because deity wanted to find out what it would be like to be you.

But that answer's too easy to give to SheWho's question. It answers the question: why is any one of us here, but it doesn't explain what witches are for. My general answer is that witches are here to help to turn the wheel. I've long since forgotten where I first read that "a witch's job is to turn the wheel and round and round the wheel must turn," but it made immediate, instinctive sense to me. Gael Baudino's fiction often captures this concept. So does Terry Prachett's. So, I was oddly reminded tonight, does Zena Henderson's.

But, again, that's too easy. What does it mean to turn the wheel? The wheel of the year turns of its own accord, it can seem, and certainly it would go on turning with or without the aid of any individual witch. There are, as SheWho's post notes, different ways to help to turn the wheel. The wheel has so many spokes. They can all use a shove. Some witches teach. Some care for animals. Some do magic to heal the land. Some care for women or children or ancient herbs. Some pray unceasingly. Some sing. Some inspire others. Some create beauty, which always stands as a bulwark against the breaking of the wheel. Some work directly for social justice.

What matters, I think, here, just before Mabon in 2007 CE, is to figure out which spoke of the wheel feels most comfortable against your shoulder. Where can you provide the greatest torque? Are you providing that torque? If not, why not? If not now, in the words of the saying, then, when?

I had an amazing weekend, this past Labor Day. Deep dreams and deep insights into where to go next. One moment I was running errands and the next moment I was surrounded by green vines and branches and experiencing a vision of what the next ten years or so of my life are about. From that point on, I have been filled with such a deep, underlying joy. Not that anything's likely to be easy. Only that it's likely to be right. The longer that I practice as a witch, the longer that I do the boring, difficult daily practice, the more that I come to depend upon and expect these experiences.

What are witches for? Witches are for manifesting the Goddess here on earth, for turning the wheel of the year, for performing the amazing act of appreciation, an act which nature requires, an act upon which the gods and goddesses depend. And witches are for whatever your are for, for putting the shoulder up against that particular spoke of the wheel that calls to you, that sings your name, that cries out for your particular shoulder. You know it when you are about to fall asleep, when you are in deep meditation, when you let your Better Self roam free.

So mote it be.

No One Could Have Anticipated . . . .

Today's WaPo reports on something that I think we all saw coming.

[M]ansionization comes with a twist: Some of the new homes, neighbors and town leaders say, are being used as boardinghouses for several families or unrelated people. Some are college students from the University of Maryland. Others appear to be immigrants.

"Our concern with these McMansions is they are not single-family homes," LaVerne Williams of Lewisdale told a group of county planners and elected officials in Riverdale. "You are turning our communities into rooming communities."

Williams, 81, is leading a campaign to protect her neighborhood and beyond. She walked into the recent meeting with a cane in one hand and a fistful of pictures of oversize houses in the other.

"I'm a law-abiding citizen," she said. "You have to do something about this."

In my Northern Virginia neighborhood, there are a number of these ecological and aesthetic monstrosities -- crowding out light for the surrounding modest bungalows and leaving no room for trees or grass -- sitting empty. It's a matter of time before they, too, turn into rooming houses. Great job, zoning boards!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Pagan Pride Week


Harvest Events Feeding The Spirit, Mind, & Body
Washington, DC; Baltimore, and Northern Virginia
Saturday, September 8 - Saturday, September 15

Welcome To Pagan Pride 2007! A multi-day harvest celebration hosted by the Open Hearth Foundation (OHF), The International Pagan Pride Project, and members of the regional Pagan community - The Washington · Baltimore · NOVA Pagan Pride Week facilitates community service, education, and worship while recognizing the wonderful diversity of our local Pagan traditions.

This year's events will feature the first-ever NoVa Pagan Pride Day on Saturday, September 8th; an Interpath Service on Sunday, September 9th on the National Mall as part of DC Pagan Pride Day, mid-week events, and close with the Baltimore Pagan Pride Day on Saturday, September 15.

My wonderful circle of women generally flies well below the DC Pagan radar; we're a closed circle and don't do teaching or healing or general outreach, focusing, instead, on intense magical workings devoted to changing our world and ourselves. But we surface once a year to participate in Pagan Pride Week. It's a wonderful opportunity to feel the incredible strength of the Pagan community thriving here in the shadow of the nation's Capitol.

I get a lot of emails asking how to "break into" the Pagan community. Pagan Pride week is a good opportunity to see what different Pagan groups are like without committing to do anything for a "year and a day." You can wear jeans and a t-shirt (rather than go skyclad), come with a friend, or come alone. It's generally free and the events are large enough that you can leave whenever. OTOH, if you see a group that interests you, people are more than willing to chat.

Be sure to check out the chocolate ritual at the Arlington Virginia Unitarian Universalist Church. They will reprise [their] previous PPD Chocolate ritual by calling on the heat of fondue, the blue M&M's, and everything yummy in this family-friendly, humorous, ritual. There will also be a rite to Caffenia, hosted by Cedar Light Grove in Baltimore, and a workshop on drumming in sacred space in Columbia, Maryland.

See you there!

Art found here.

(Almost) First Of The Month Bazooms Blogging

The first (week) of the month is a good time to do a breast self exam (BSE). BSEs are easy to do: here's how. Doing a regular BSE can save your life because it can help you to detect a cancerous lump early. Catching cancer early is, as I am living proof, the best way to fight it and live. So, women, order pizza and slip a movie in the DVD player so that the kids will leave you alone for 15 minutes. Take some time for yourself and give yourself a BSE. When you're done, have some chocolate. Have a green smoothie. Visit the virtual garden. Have tea.

Men, are there any women you'd miss if they were not around? Wife, lover, daughter, friend, granddaughter, neice, co-workers, employees, mothers, grandmothers? Why not offer to take the kids to the park, pick up dinner, get the oil changed so that they'll have time to do a BSE?