Saturday, May 02, 2009
BBC has some amazing pictures of the Beltane festival at Edinburgh. The May Queen has a pretty neat kabuki, Theda Bara, Princess Leia, Sacre du Printemps vibe going on.
The value of theatre -- costume, props, lighting, dance -- has seldom been more evident in a modern Pagan ritual. Something to consider when you figure you can just skip all that stuff. Younger Self will not be fooled.
Photo (and lots more amazing ones) found here.
Giselle Vincent is doing some serious thinking about Goddess Feminists and how, and why, they practice Drawing Down the Moon.
Goddess Feminists have a strong sense of being able to know the divine through body experience. The body becomes a locus for the divine, and a medium through which to experience and learn about the divine. As Amy Hollywood writes, “the goal of consciously pursued bodily practices and rituals is ultimately to render conscious training unnecessary” (2004: 63): that is, in repeatedly enacting the empowering transformation of embodiment rituals, Goddess Feminists render the empowerment permanent in the individual.
Embodiment rituals enable a woman to be not Other to the divine. At the same time, embodiment admits the Other and admits that the divine is (at least partially) Other. This is especially so in the context of Goddess Feminist groups wherein the divine is personal rather than (or in addition to) psychological or archetypal. In embodiment, a woman’s self (or selves) does not disappear. The Other becomes part of the woman’s self and yet is not part of her. Hence, embodiment requires a woman to have a sense of self that can be multiple and can change.
Embodiment is an active opening of the self to the unknown Other, an opening to change and transformation. That each woman embodies a goddess in a different way reflects the Goddess Feminist teaching that no goddess can be fully defined because Goddess is always changing. For Goddess Feminists, the self lives in the simultaneous multiplicity or becoming with/in the divine. The becoming of self or selves and the becoming of the divine are intersecting, reciprocal, and particular or non-universal.
You can read the whole thing in this quarter's Matrifocus.
Picture found here.
Friday, May 01, 2009
Ladies! Listen up! Detecting 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.
I think that I owe several of you readings. If you have a deck, pick three cards and e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll email you back your reading. If you don't have a deck, go to Lunea's tarot listed on the right-hand side in my blog links. Pick three cards from her free, on-line tarot and email me at email@example.com. I'll email you back your reading.
Photo found here.
The month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth
to blossom, and to bring forth fruit; for like as herbs and trees
bring forth fruit and flourish in May, in likewise every lusty heart
that is in any manner a lover, springeth and flourisheth in lusty
deeds. For it giveth unto all lovers courage,
that lusty month of May.
- Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, 1485
Picture found here
Here's an article from the News Scotsman that starts off well enough and that has a nice slidshow. And, then, it runs off the rails:
IT'S the festival that heralds the start of the summer and if Beltane 2009 is anything to go by it's going to be a hot one.
The Beltane Fire Festival, which takes place every year on Calton Hill as April turns to May, lit the sacred fires of summer in front of 11,000 revellers last night.
The May Queen started the summer by evoking all four elements – air, earth, water and fire – before banishing the horned-god of winter and bringing forth her consort the Green Man to breathe new life into the Earth.
The festival is renowned for its lustful atmosphere as this year's May Queen and Green Man proxies Fenella Hodgson and Rupert Smith found out when their three-month-old son Reuben was conceived on the night of Beltane 2008.
It's enough to make any mother want to lock up her daughters . . . .
No, it's not. Pagan mothers may v well be happy if their daughters have sex on Beltane. Protected sex, yes, unless the daughter wants to conceive. It's like writing an article about catholic confession and saying, "Of course, most parents don't want some creepy old guy in a skirt sitting in the dark and making their kids feel guilty for having sexual feelings." It's not true. That is what (at least some) catholic parents do want.
Pagans believe that sex is good, sex is holy, magical sex makes the world fertile and happy and good. We don't think that locking up our daughters is good, or holy, or makes the world fertile and happy and good.
And, of course, no mention of fathers locking up their sons. Ever.
Photo found here.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
I knew when I bought this little cottage that I was going to have to change the landscape. But I lived for half a dozen years with the land, talking to her, learning her, entering into relationship with her. About a year ago, I found Landscape Guy, who, while not Pagan, I knew would work with me in the way that I needed. We started the hardscaping and moved on to trees and bulbs and plants.
A few weeks ago, Landscape guy called me and said, "I don't care that you think you need to work this weekend. I've found your altar stone. Meet me at the quarry." I dropped everything and raced there and, amazingly, Landscape Guy was right. A lovely boulder, found in the Shenandoah River Valley, with a corner perfect for offerings. I touched it, and it spoke so clearly to me. There were lots of folks wandering around the quarry that day, and Landscape Guy said, "If you want it, we should go pay for it now. It may not be here too long." So, I wrote a three-figure check for a rock, although no one can ever "own" a stone like this. (I've done dumber financial things, trust me, so I hardly batted an eye.)
We've been on and off since then about schedules and the weather, but, in the end, Landscape Guy was able to get a crew out here today, the day before Beltane. They planted lots of things, including all the black ariseama that Landscape Guy could find, moved bushes around, and pulled out stuff that needed to go. I planted rosemary so it would be in the ground on Beltane night. And, they installed my altar stone. Now, after all these years, the woodland garden in the southeastern corner feels "right."
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I've been an avid reader since the day that Sister Mary Michael showed me how the letter "S" says "Ssssss." (When I was growing up, in the late fifties, parents were warned NOT to teach their children to read. I think that cost me about three years, and I've been making up, ever since.)
And although I've read and forgotten more stories than I can count, what stays with me, far more than the names of the characters or the specific events, are the archetypes. (I still remember my impatience when I was, in the mid 70s, in college and all my friends were reading Lord of the Rings. I didn't, as they did, want to master Elvish or remember the exact names of all the characters or the precise sequence of the battles. Who cared? That wasn't, for me, what the books were ABOUT. The books were about the archetypes and themes, and, those, I got, w/o having to speak Elvish or remember the name of the third set of Hobbit cousins.) And although I can't name the books that mentioned it, "baby conceived at Beltane," (born in January, so Capricorn or Aquarius) is one of the archetypes buried deep in my soul.
So it's with joy that I read this report of a "Beltane Baby":
He said: "We basically know that Reuben was conceived at last year's Beltane. There was a sex ban imposed on all the Red Men before the event as we were to be charged with as much energy as possible for the night."
Although Reuben will be staying at home tomorrow while his parents entertain more than 12,000 people on Calton Hill, he has been taken to watch rehearsals this week.
His dad said: "We really wanted him to be there, but we thought it would just be too much this time."
12,000 Beltane revelers. It blows my mind. May you, as well, perform the great rite, together or alone, and may you, as well, give birth to something wonderful.
Picture found here.
Here's a great report on Obama's favorite pizza pie, from pi.
I tried two of the most popular pizzas served to Obama: the Bucktown, with mozzarella, chicken, artichoke hearts, red bell peppers, green olives, red onions, feta and tomatoes on a thick crust; and then a thin-crust version called the Lincoln Park ,with mozzarella, garlic olive oil, zucchini, fresh tomatoes, feta and basil. While both of those pies are named after St. Louis Chicago destinations, he also has many Bay Area references, such as the Berkeley (mozzarella with portobello mushrooms, kalamata olives, red bell peppers, garlic and zucchini), and the Western Addition(mozzarella, spinach blended with ricotta and feta with mushrooms, onions and garlic).
Photo found here.
Lately, the comments section has been filling up with folks posting ads, especially, it seems, for some sort of games or gaming stuff. I'm not talking about the kind of blog-whoring that is expected in Blogtopia. I'm talking about flat-out ads. I delete these as soon as I find them and will continue to do so.
I am going to ask, nicely, once, that the people doing this, whom I don't think are even regular readers, please stop. I've already gone to the trouble of making people enter word verification before they can comment, in an effort to try and stop advertising spam. That ought to serve as a clue that I don't want your ads in my comments section. Thank you in advance for your compliance.
Photo found here.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I live in a small oak grove, and tending that grove is part of the way that I observe the turning of the year. I spend a lot of time noting how the oaks impact my tiny world, here on the banks of the Potomac River.
And this, as most years, here at the place where the river runs past the marble city, the oaks are having sex. I mean, they are having mad, prolific, insane sex. Oak trees have the kind of sex that overwhelms the world. They literally cover my yard with the results of their sex, they cover the cars, they create huge piles of oak sex in the streets, they spend about four or five days having mad oak sex. I left this morning aware that it was happening and came home this evening to a carpet of oak sex all over my herb bed, my lawn, my woodland garden, my deck.
It happens every year, just before Beltane. I've yet to celebrate a Beltane here that didn't involve sweeping oak sex off my deck so that we could jump over candles. Tonight, after days of waiting, my woad has bloomed. The sage has blossoms all over it. Wisteria is blossoming all over the place. Violets are everywhere. The rosemary is blooming. Parsley is just sprouting.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I've got no history nor special insight into this story, but one wonders if the tone of coverage would be the same if the story were about, for example, catholics being excluded from Lourdes or some ancient European xian church.
I'm not sure what the answer is. At the same time, Stonehenge is holy ground for me and it is susceptible to ruin by overuse. But building highways just beside it (again, imagine that done to some xian holy site) and keeping Pagans out all but once or twice a year doesn't seem the answer.
Picture found here.
The people at Pew (heh! I said "pew" and they study religion!) have been doing lots of interesting research, lately. The WaPo reports that Pew has been studying how often and why people leave their religions This will likely only be true for another generation, or so, but most of today's Pagans come from other religions. In my circle, there are a few "failed Catholics," a few women raised in fundie homes who walked away and never looked back, and a formerly very secular Jew. Your average Pagan gathering. I suppose we fall within the ten percent who found a religion that we liked more.
And, hey, WaPo! It's two thousand and fucking nine. Link to the damn study that you're discussing. You troglodytes.
Picture found here.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Bush, Not Those Who Would Prosecute Him For Torture, Turned Us Into A Banana Republic. Only In The Patriarchy. Only.
Media Matters has the full story about Republicans' attempts to portray prosecution of Bush officials for torture, rather than Bush's use of torture, trashing of the Constitution, and impoverishing of Americans, as turning the United States into a "Banana Republic."
Wiki explains what a "Banana Republic" is; compare and contrast w the U.S. from 2000-2008. Substitute corn syrup, or weapons, or chemicals for the word "banana".
More from Jensen concerning the parallels between our culture and abusive families: here.
We must prosecute the Bush torturers. For our own sake.
Audio by Derrick Jensen from Now This War Has Two Sides