Saturday, March 01, 2008
Ladies! Listen up! Catching breast cancer early is the key to surviving it! Breast Self Exams (BSEs) can help you to detect breast cancer in its earlier stages. So, on the first of every month, give yourself a breast self-exam. It's easy to do. Here's how. If you prefer to do your BSE at a particular time in your cycle, calendar it now. But, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
And, once a year, get yourself a mammogram. Mammograms cost between $150 and $300. If you have to take a temp job one weekend a year, if you have to sell something on e-Bay, if you have to go cash in all the change in various jars all over the house, if you have to work the holiday season wrapping gifts at Macy's, for the love of the Goddess, please go get a mammogram once a year.
Or: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pays all or some of the cost of breast cancer screening services through its National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. This program provides mammograms and breast exams by a health professional to low-income, underinsured, and underserved women in all 50 states, six U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and 14 American Indian/Alaska Native organizations. For more information, contact your state health department or call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.
Send me an email after you get your mammogram and I will do an annual free tarot reading for you. Just, please, examine your own breasts once a month and get your sweet, round ass to a mammogram once a year.
And, here's a video demonstration of a BSE:
Friday, February 29, 2008
It's Leap Day, and, as Monica Hesse notes in today's WaPo:
It is here, in all its quadrennial springiness, like a cartoon Slinky boinging into the wall calendar.
Ah, Leap Day. It's so topsy-turvy, sounding too whimsical for its placement at the end of what everyone knows is the cruddiest month of the year. It's the day when, oh, anything can happen, like women proposing to men, like pirates turning 5 when they think they're turning 21 ( c'mon-- Gilbert and Sullivan! "Pirates of Penzance"! Whistle! Trill!).
It is a curly, twisty day hanging off the only month that divides neatly into four weeks, and it is there to tidy up time. . . .
As a sort of time out of time, it's also a great day to do magic. Bonne chance!
Art found here.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
WaPo explains that the Catholic church is now going after women with breast cancer.
The Diocese of Little Rock is urging its members not to donate to a breast cancer foundation known for its fundraising races across the globe because the group supports Planned Parenthood.
The diocese says the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, which has invested about $1 billion in cancer outreach and research, gives money to Planned Parenthood to hold breast exams and offer education to women in its clinics.
Donors cannot control how an organization designates its funds," a diocese statement reads. "Therefore, money donated for a specific service ... directly frees up funds to support other areas of an organization's agenda."
Marianne Linane, director of the diocese's "respect life" office, said those other agendas includes abortions and contraceptive services. The Catholic church's policy is that abortion is wrong in every instance.
I am glad to see that she understands the basic reason why faith-based funding is actually unconstitutional: money is fungible. Money provided for a specific purpose frees up funds to support, oh, say prostelytizing against women with breast cancer.
I hate these fucking fucks.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The lovely and literate Peg tagged me.
Here is the challenge:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.
Will this disturb the sleep /of a woman giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade.
These lines are from Wendell Berry in Earth Prayers from Around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations Honoring the Earth, edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon, which I picked up off my coffee table.
I tag NTodd, Liz at CodePink, Aquila ka Hecate, Anne Johnson, Marcellina
The Fifth Sacred Thing detailed not only a multi-cultural, multi-faith community that works, but showed also some of the priciples behind why it works. And in the face of the kind of adversity that could wipe out a whole section of the population, the priciples of selflessness, true Oneness with the Earth and all its creatures, and the mentality that EVERYTHING is sacred saves this community. And many people feel these principles are not just fairy tales to tell children, but true and real goals we can aspire to. We could live in peace and joy and balance someday. And when I am feeling a little helpless and scared in the world we live in, I remember this novel of hope and once again put one foot in front of the other.
I'm just at one of those "good" periods right now. I'm moving forwards on goals, spending time with friends, getting things done at work. That's what the period between Imbolc and Eostara is all about for me.
On Wednesdays, I get together with some witches for ecstatic dance and a healthy potluck dinner. Tonight, my dear friend R. was talking about cleaning every inch of her house in preparation for Spring. I was thinking this morning about how in Spring, it's so tempting to abandon goals and just indulge in the sun and warmth and flowers and how in Summer it's so tempting to give in to the heat and just sit under the ceiling fan with a glass of iced tea. But in February, there's none of that. There are goals and there are ways to work on those goals. I'm blessed with friends who push and prod and help each other to achieve goals.
I had dinner last night w/ a friend who works harder than almost anyone I know at consciously creating his own life. It's such an inspiration for me.
I'm reminded of a poem w/ overtly xian connotations: Life is real/Life is earnest/And the grave is not its goal/Dust thou art to dust returneth/Was not written of the soul.
Now, between Imbolc and real warmth, my life is real and earnest and the grave is not its goal.
What do you need to do between now and Eostara?
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Women and Spirituality blog has a great review of the three part film series-- Goddess Remembered, The Burning Times, and Full Circle -- by Donna Read, now released as “Women and Spirituality: the Goddess Trilogy”
The christianisation of Europe involved a holocaust – with eighty-five percent of those condemned being women. The Burning Times tells some of this story and of how we live it yet still: how common it is to associate the shamanic female – the witch – with malicious intent, and her healing knowledge and midwifery with quackery. The document that expedited this European gynocide, the Malleus Maleficarum, is described by Matthew Fox – ex-Dominican priest – as a “pure study of repression”, which singled out women. There have been no monuments yet built in their memory. There has been no “sorry” said. There is little official or popular recognition of the integrity of the indigenous tradition that was decimated.
Watching this series would be a great way to celebrate Women's History Month in March.
Never again, the burning times.
There's an interesting report out from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life discussing Americans' willingness to switch faiths. The study also classifies Wicca and other forms of Paganism as "New Age" and shows that less than three per cent of the population is Wiccan and less than three percent of the population belongs to some other form of Paganism.
Kind of funny for a religion that traces, at the very least, its important concepts and major deities back to the dawn of time to be classified as "New Age"-- and I doubt that's a term with which many Wiccans and other Pagans identify at all.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
St. Kevin and the Blackbird by Seamus Heaney
And then there was St. Kevin and the blackbird.
The saint is kneeling, arms stretched out, inside
His cell, but the cell is narrow, so
One turned-up palm is out the window, stiff
As a crossbeam, when a blackbird lands
And lays in it and settles down to nest.
Kevin feels the warm eggs, the small breast, the tucked
Neat head and claws and, finding himself linked
Into the network of eternal life,
Is moved to pity: Now he must hold his hand
Like a branch out in the sun and rain for weeks
Until the young are hatched and fledged and flown.
And since the whole thing's imagined anyhow,
Imagine being Kevin. Which is he?
self-forgetful or in agony all the time
From the neck on out down through his hurting forearms?
Are his fingers sleeping? Does he still feel his knees?
Or has the shut-eyed blank of underearth
Crept up through him? Is there distance in his head?
Alone and mirrored clear in love's deep river,
'To labour and not to seek reward,' he prays,
A prayer his body makes entirely
For he has forgotten self, forgotten bird,
And on the riverbank forgotten the river's name.
What Twisty Said. I have to get up pretty early in the morning to wrap my head around the notion that sex is bad but children are pure. I wish that Diane Sawyer would eat a big fucking bowlfull of Shut-the-Fuck-Up.
In comments to my post about his book, Real Magic, Isaac Bonewits v. kindly clarifies his current position on magic and ethics:
I'm a little older and wiser now. :)
I now say that ethics are needed for magic users just like they are for doctors, plumbers, farmers, or just plain folks. The kicker is that the ethical rules followed by most Neopagans don't make a lot of philosophical sense. That's because they are based in a Christian Dualist frame that separates matter from spirit.
It was that sort of dualism I was protesting back in the early 70s. The rule of thumb I use now is that something is ethical to do with magic if it would be ethical to do the same thing physically.
Which, I admit, is what I thought he meant at the time, especially when you read the entire chapter and not the tiny section that I quoted.
I agree with Bonewits' "rule of thumb." It's ethical to do with magic anything that is ethical. I often hear Pagans say that it's "wrong" to use magic to [insert your peeve here] influence politics, make money, achieve anything for yourself, etc., etc. That's just silly, IMHO. Magic is, as Bonewits notes, a science and an art. I'd say that it, like science and art, is a tool.
My wooden spoon is also a tool. I can use it ethically to mix up a healing tisane for my neighbor or a nourishing meal for G/Son. I can use it unethically to mix up a poison to be given to a nice person or to cook a nourishing meal for someone like Pinochet who really needs to go. It's not the use of the wooden spoon that makes the action ethical or unethical.
Similarly, I can influence politics by voting, writing letters, protesting, and engaging in civil disobedience or any number of other methods. I can also influence politics by doing magic. Me, I like to use a variety of methods. Lawyers are risk-averse creatures, they say, and I'm always in favor of belts and suspenders.
I sometimes hear that it's wrong to use magic to earn a living or to improve one's financial situation because, the argument goes, magic is a "gift from the Goddess, freely given." Yeah. So's the ability to paint lovely pictures, or to sing arias, or catch a ball and run really fast, or to do higher math. People earn money from those freely-given gifts of the Goddess every day. The problem with this kind of thinking lies, I think, in the "Christian Dualist frame that separates matter from spirit" that Bonewits discusses above. Somehow, it's "pure" to, say, heal someone else who is sick, but "impure" to make money for yourself (and politics, of course is way too "impure" and "worldly" for lots of Pagans. Sigh.). This is, of course, bollux. The cognitive dissonance involved in believing that all nature is divine and connected and in believing that your own sustenance and bodily well-being is "impure" has a lot of effects. One of them is an inability to make magic work much of the time.
I'll agree that it's generally not wise to use magic, for example, to cast a poorly-thought-through binding spell. But I'd also agree that it's generally unwise to, for example, try on a whim to kidnap Pinochet on your own and tie him up to keep him from doing evil. Again, the wisdom, or lack thereof, flows from the original goal and the lack of good thinking, not from the method used.