Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sound Asleep In Nonna's Bed

We pulled out the pots and Nonna's spoons and whisks and "made" pizza. The pizza man came and we ate pizza and a banana. We watched parts of three Elmo videos. We opened up all the decorative tins in Nonna's kitchen and played with the tea tin that looks like a double-decker bus. We sang, "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round" and G/Son joined in on "town." We colored in coloring books, especially with the blue crayon, which is our favorite, followed by the brown crayon, followed by the grey crayon. We looked under the bed for Nonna's kitty cat. We had some applesauce. We went downstairs and rode Thomas the choo-choo train. We had a bath. We looked under the dining room table for Nonna's cat. We put on our Spider pajamas. We ran around the house pretending to be jet airplanes. We asked if Nonna had a tent or a tunnel, but Nonna didn't have one. Nonna read "Lamma, Lamma, Red Pajama," instead. We played some more with the double-decker bus tin. We had some Elmo crackers. We looked under the sofa for Nonna's kitty cat. We went downstairs and watched part of the Monsters, Inc. DVD. We looked behind the Morris chair for Nonna's kitty cat. We had a bottle. It's going to be cold tonight, so we went all around the house with Nonna and helped her turn on the faucets so the pipes wouldn't freeze. Nonna sang the Old McDonald's song, including "Old McDonald had a panda bear," and "Old McDonald had a yak" and "Old McDonald had a bunnie." Nonna sang "Me and the Mandolin Holy Man," and G/Son joined in on "rock the national phallus down!" Then, we fell asleep in Nonna's bed. Life is good.

In Memory Of M.B.

In Memory of M. B.
by Anna Akhmatova
Translated by Max Hayward and Stanley Kunitz

Here is my gift, not roses on your grave,
not sticks of burning incense.
You lived aloof, maintaining to the end
your magnificent disdain.
You drank wine, and told the wittiest jokes,
and suffocated inside stifling walls.
Alone you let the terrible stranger in,
and stayed with her alone.

Now you're gone, and nobody says a word
about your troubled and exalted life.
Only my voice, like a flute, will mourn
at your dumb funeral feast.
Oh, who would have dared believe that half-crazed I,
I, sick with grief for the buried past,
I, smoldering on a slow fire,
having lost everything and forgotten all,
would be fated to commemorate a man
so full of strength and will and bright inventions,
who only yesterday it seems, chatted with me,
hiding the tremor of his mortal pain.

/For plantsman.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The World Is Made Of Stories, Not Of Atoms. /Rukeyser

"When we change the shape of the Land, we alter the contents and contexts of our collective, familial, and personal memories. Yet, stories can preserve both mythic and familiar elements of geography even when the physical features are forgotten, buried, or obliterated. And more than this: the stories can bring these elements back. If the Land can be preserved long enough for its stories to be told, and retold, perhaps we all—as custodians of both place and memory—stand a chance at real preservation."
Ari Berk


Is this a natural part of aging or the sign of an oncoming trip to the Summerlands, these increasingly frequent holes in the veil? I need elders, damnit, who could answer this kind of question. Meanwhile, I like it, a lot.

Today's portal was the article that Sia linked.

[T]o bring back [the] ancient days of the Land, when the kings were the Land, and the line between nature and civilization was not so keen. So here again we see that the way back into the First World is marked by the hoof–prints of the deer and the ability to see, for a time, the world through its eyes.

Hey, Chris! Fuck You! Fuck You, Fuck You, Fuck You!

Chrissy hasn't begun to apologize for the way that he's treated lots and lots of women, not just Hillary Clinton.

Oh, and in case I didn't make myself clear: Hey! Chris! Fuck you! You're about to find out what kind of hardball feminists can play and I don't think you're going to like it. Do the words "Don Imus" ring any bells for you, Chrissy?

Friday Cat Blogging

I can haz clozeup now, Mr. DeMille?

Friday Flower Blogging

My DiL's kitchen.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Looking Out From Clare (For John O'Donohue) By David Whyte

There’s a great spring in you
all bud and blossom
and March laughter
I’ve always loved.

Your face framed
against the bay
and the whisper
of some arriving joke
playing at the mouth,
your lightning raid
on the eternal
melting the serious line
to absurdity.

I look around and see
the last days of winter
broken away
for all those
listening or watching,
all come to life now
with the first pale sun on their face
for many a month,
remembering how to laugh.

But most of all I love
the heft and weight
and swing of that sea
behind it all, some other tide
racing toward the shore,
or receding to the calmness
where no light or laughter
lives for long.

The way you surface
from those atmospheres
again and again,
your emergence seems to make
you a lover of horizons
but your visitation
of darkness shows.

Then away from you
I can see you only alone
on the strand
walking to the sea
on the north coast of Clare
toward the end
of an unendurable winter
taking your first swim
of the year.

The March scald
of cold ocean
even in May about to tighten
and bud you into spring.

You look across
to the mountains in Connemara
framing, only for now,
your horizon.

You look and look, and look,
beyond all looking.

No. Listen.

Now, go buy the book.

The Task

The task is to actually perceive what's real and to act within that knowledge as much of the time as we can.

To actually perceive that everything is connected.

To actually perceive that everything, everything, everything is shot full with divinity, that it's all, in J.D. Salinger's words, "God pouring God into God."

To actually perceive that you have, in Gabriel Roth's words, roots that go all the way back to zero.

To actually perceive that, in Mary Oliver's words, "one morning in the leafy green ocean, the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body is sure to be there," and so it's more than appropriate to cry: "Let the immeasurable come. Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine. Let the wind turn in the trees, and the mystery hidden in the dirt swing through the air."

To actually perceive that everyone, everyone, everyone, even you. art Goddess, art God. That you are a manifestation of the Goddess, growing into becoming your Better Self.

And to then figure out what that all means in terms of what to eat for breakfast, how to stand on the metro, what tasks to perform and how to perform them, what images to hold and which to discard, what to say to your friend, lover, grandchild, enemy, antagonist. To figure out what that all means when you come to your altar, when you waft the incense towards you or away from you, when you sink into scented bathwater, when you make an intention for your dream.

Every morning, I pray, "Allow me, in all that I do, to help to repair the web." And then I spend a few minutes perceiving the web. That's the first part. Holding that perception, paying attention to that perception, acting in accord with that perception: that's the task.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Want A Women's Revolution Like A Lover.

You need to read this. No, really. You need to read this.

[Y]ou can reach out and change the state and its institutions, which we recognize as revolution, or you can make your own institutions beyond the reach of the state, which is also revolutionary. This creating -- rather than simply rebelling -- has been much of the nature of revolution in our time, as people reinvent family, gender, food systems, work, housing, education, economics, medicine and doctor-patient relations, the imagination of the environment, and the language to talk about it, not to speak of more and more of everyday life. The fantasy of a revolution is that it will make everything different, and regime revolutions generally make a difference, sometimes a significantly positive one, but the making of radical differences in everyday life is a more protracted, incremental process. It's where leaders are irrelevant and every life matters.

/hat tip Altercation


Sadly, some bloggers I've really enjoyed have, over the past few months, stopped blogging. I've been meaning for a few weeks to do a bit of selective weeding of my blogroll. If you're listed and your blog is about to become active again, please let me know. Alternatively, if you've got a blog that you think I'd be interested in blogrolling, please let me know. Thank you!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


What time the meanest brick and stone
Take on a beauty not their own,
And past the flaw of builded wood
Shines the intention whole and good,
And all the little homes of man
Rise to a dimmer, nobler span;
When colour's absence gives escape
To the deeper spirit of the shape,

-- Then earth's great architecture swells
Among her mountains and her fells
Under the moon to amplitude
Massive and primitive and rude:

-- Then do the clouds like silver flags
Stream out above the tattered crags,
And black and silver all the coast
Marshalls its hunched and rocky host,
And headlands striding sombrely
Buttress the land against the sea,
-- The darkened land, the brightening wave --
And moonlight slants through Merlin's cave.

by Victoria Sackville-West

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa

May the Goddess forgive us. But, really, why should she?

/hat tip HoneyBearKelley

The Uses (And Misuses) Of Magic

There's an old saying among witches that the most effective spell for getting a new job is done at midnight, under the full moon, skyclad, wearing a silver ring on your left index finger, with incense made from cinnamon and high john the conqueror's wort and basil, dancing deosil -- around a completed job application that you then go drop in the mail. I'm a huge believer in magic; I've felt it, seen it, tasted it, watched it too often not to believe in it. Wicca, as I've said before, isn't a religion of faith, but of experience. But I don't kid myself that magic will, all by itself, solve all problems any more than I kid myself that, for example, physics or good looks, or money, all by themselves, can solve all problems.

I've had some interesting flame wars on these here internet tubes with various know-it-alls concerning the uses (and misuses) of magic. I've been told that it was somehow "wrong" to use magic to influence politics. To which, in my generally not-too-polite manner, I've replied: "Bite me." I use magic to find parking spaces, to heal hangnails, to heal Mother Earth, to hide me from those who would do evil to me, to keep my family safe, to make my e-mails more persuasive, to make my cakes rise, to make it rain. I am damn sure going to use it to influence politics, which can have a far larger impact on my well being than, say, a hangnail. But magic is only a part of my political work. I also write letters, send e-mails, make phone calls, donate money, march, hand out campaign literature, talk to everyone I know, vote -- and I do magic. Magic is an integral part of the whole; it's not "the" whole.

And I think that's the point that I want to make about magic. Magic ought to make one more effective in the real world -- not less. If you're focusing too much on magic and not enough on the "filling out the job application" you'll be able to tell: your life will be in the crapper. You won't have a decent job or insurance or a retirement plan. You'll be living in a shitty apartment or a house that's falling down around your head. Your health will be iffy, as will the health of those -- pets, children, significant others, aged relatives, plants, etc. -- entrusted to your care. You'll have problems coming out your wazoo and it's precisely then that retreating into an overdependence upon magic is a serious danger.

That's when you'll start telling your friends: the universe is going to provide (trust me, at that very moment, your friends are beginning to feel that they're the universe, and they're not liking it.) If you've already got big credit card bills, and what you really think you should do is buy one more book on magic and one more poly-something statue of some Goddess, you're misusing magic to avoid the other work that you need to be doing (aka getting a second job and paying off your bills). If you need to go to the dentist and start walking around the block every day and get enough sleep, and what you really think you should do is sign up for one more workshop/class/ritual weekend on "Creating Health," you're misusing magic to avoid the other work that you need to be doing. If you're in an abusive relationship and what your really think you should do is make a poppet and do some trance work in which your partner stops hurting you, you're misusing magic to avoid the other work that you need to be doing.

That's one of the dangers of magic (and magic does have dangers, just as science and good looks and money have dangers. Oddly, few books published by Llewellyn mention this. Old grimoires tended to; maybe they worried more about lawsuits back then). Magic can seduce you and help you to avoid reality, all the while allowing you to feel as if you were, in fact, taking action.

Stop that shit. Because, when you hurt yourself, I will laugh. Or, if I care for you, I will cry. But, either way, it's up to you to pull yourself up by your own broomstick and act like someone able to transverse all the worlds, rather than like someone who can't even function in this one. I am just saying.

A witch is one who works as hard as she can to correctly perceive "this" world and who then goes a step beyond to see the magical overlay, to see the connections between everything, to walk between the worlds, acutely aware that what she does in any one of them affects them all. As I pray every morning: It's all real. It's all metaphor. There's always more.

My New Name For A Blog

What The Snake Goddess Said.

May The Goddess Guard Him. May He Find His Way To The Summerlands. May His Friends And Family Know Peace

Today's LAT reports that:

Andrés Henestrosa Morales, a prolific poet, essayist and journalist whose lyrical writings helped raise the cultural profile of Mexico's indigenous people, particularly the Zapotec Indians of southern Oaxaca state, and whose wide circle of friendships and intellectual partnerships included Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Langston Hughes, died Thursday at his Mexico City home after a months-long battle with pneumonia.

He was 101, the same age attained by his Zapotec mother, who was the subject of one of Henestrosa's two best-known writings, "Retrato de mi madre" (Portrait of My Mother), published in 1940.

His single most influential work, "Los hombres que dispersó la danza" (The Men Scattered by Dance), is a folkloric collection of Zapotec legends and fables that Henestrosa had learned while growing up in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Oaxaca.