Saturday, May 30, 2009

Out And About

A number of Pagan artists will be participating in Artomatic in DC this weekend. If you can stand to go inside on a weekend like this, you should check it out. Look especially for Angela Raincatcher and According to Us - A Parabolic Musical - created by Pagan playwrights Charles Butler Neto and Rosanna Tufts, Saturday, June 10, at Artomatic, from 6-9:30 pm.

Image found at Angela's site.

So That's What I've Been Doing Wrong. Winnowing Basket, Not Broom!

It never ends. More here.

I forget where I found this image, but I think it was at this lovely site.

Obama Restaurant Watch

Apparently, the first family really likes Five Guys. Obama made another burger run yesterday, this time to Five Guys at 1500 South Capitol Street, SE. I'm glad he skipped the Dupont Circle one. They had to close down for rat infestation a few weeks ago.

Saturday Poetry Blogging

Moreover, the Moon ---
by Mina Loy

Face of the skies
over our wonder.

truant of heaven
draw us under.

Silver, circular corpse
your decease
infects us with unendurable ease,

touching nerve-terminals
to thermal icicles

Coercive as coma, frail as bloom
innuendoes of your inverse dawn
suffuse the self;
our every corpuscle become an elf.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Obama Restaurant Watch - VP Edition

OK, I admit that this is cheating. It's Biden, not Obama, but it's still a restaurant and the meal still sounds pretty good: Vice President Joe Biden dropped in unexpectedly on a Denver barbecue restaurant Tuesday after presiding over a town hall meeting on green jobs and the economy.

Patrons of
M&D's Cafe east of downtown broke into applause when Biden walked in. The vice president shook hands and posed for photos.

. . .

M&D's owner Mack Shead hovered nearby as waiters brought out plates of barbecued catfish, fried green tomatoes and corn bread and glasses of lemonade.

The M is for Mack and the D is for Daisy. I'd definitely have gone for the fried green tomatoes, but I might have made a whole meal out of appetizers, including fried okra and hot wings.

Countdown to wingnut worries that lemonade is French or something.

Photo found here.

Pagan Deities And Morality

In comments to my post on Pagan Values, nanoboy asks a good question:

I am curious about something. In the Socratic dialogue Euthyphro, Socrates catches Euthyphro in a logical fallacy. Euthyphro is a good guy, as he's acting as a witness against his father who murdered a slave. In discussing the morality of his situation, he must decide whether something is pious (or moral, for our purposes) because the gods approve of it, or whether it is approved by the gods, because it is pious.

He doesn't know in the end and heads off to court. Now, Socrates was a monotheist (a crime in Athens.) However, regardless of the number of gods, any religion needs to grapple with this issue. Did the gods make morality, or do the gods honor morality, because it is constant? I am curious of the response to this question by modern pagans.

You know, a lot of Pagan Godesses/Gods don't really have a lot to do with morality. They generally don't hand down lists of "Thou Shalt Not"s or even "Thou Shalt"s. The Wiccan Rede: "An it harm none, do as thou wilt," doesn't come from any particular deity that I know of. The Charge of the Goddess is sometimes associated with Aradia, but I think of it as a lovely piece of poetry written by Doreen Valiente for Gerald Gardner. Doreen could, though, have been channeling Aradia as much as Moses channeled Jehovah or Joseph Smith channeled Moroni. Crowley's "Love is the law. Love under will," was, according to Crowley, authored by an entity named Aiwass, whom Crowley later referred to as his personal Holy Guardian Angel (or "Higher Self"). Several Egyptian deities speak in Crowley's book. But that's it, as far as I know, at least in terms of generally-recognized explicit Pagan "commandments."

One thing I like about a lot of Pagan deities is that they're imperfect. Zeus runs around on his wife and isn't above trickery to land a young woman in the sack. His wife is jealous and often misdirects her jealousy. Seth killed Osiris. Diana turns Actaeon into a stag to be torn apart by his own hounds simply because he comes upon her bathing and is struck by her beauty. When Persephone is abducted, none of the Goddesses or Gods will tell her mother, Demeter, what happened until Hecate speaks up. And we won't talk about how the Trojan War got started.

I'm going to take moral instruction from this crew? ;)

To me, they neither, to answer nanoboy, make morality nor do they always honor it. What they do is to personify powerful forces and important archetypes. And, they just . . . are. Process theology would argue that they not only "are" but "are becoming," as well, and that makes sense to me. And, there's a point at which The Goddess and I are one, just as there's a point where Baba Yaga is a completely different entity from, say, Quan Yin and I am distinct from both of them.

However, while Gaia never handed down any specific commandments, I don't think that you can know her without accepting certain values, without valuing the Earth and all that She is.

As a devotee of Hecate, I try be willing to speak truth to power, especially if it will defend women. I try to be open to liminal times, spaces, experiences. I try to honor change in myself and others. I try to be aware of the value of those times when nothing is certain, to recognize that good things, as well as bad, can come from chaos. But it's as likely that I'm drawn to Hecate because she personifies those values as it is likely that I value those things because they're sacred to Hecate.

I don't know if this answers nanoboy's question, or not. Do you get your values from the Goddesses/Gods?

Black Calla Lilly

So-called black flowers almost never are truly black. They tend towards deep purple. This was billed as a black calla, but it's really a purpley-claret.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


It's not objectively true, but it does seem to me that winter is so much longer than summer. How can we be only weeks away from Litha, when the day and night are even and then, we begin, again, the mad descent into the dark, night growing long and day growing short? This morning, when the rain began around 4:00, I got up and put my nose in the window and smelled it: that earthy, rain smell that is missing here from December through mid April. As I curled back up under the covers in the deliberately-chilled room, I was praying: don't go away. Don't go away too soon, earthy smell.

This afternoon, driving home from work after finishing my pro bono hours, I went past the lovely Potomac River. For the entire length, the scents of honeysuckle and mown grass were like an overwhelming drug and there was low mist on the river and weak light breaking through the grey rain clouds that have turned everything so intensely green that you can't imagine it.

One of the greatest joys of my life is to live near the banks of this lovely river. This weekend, in the mountains, I was near its source and wished it love as both it and I ran, on different courses, back down to the floodplain.

Chas Clifton posts a list of twenty questions. IMHO, all Pagans should be able to answer these questions. The first two are: 1.Trace the water you drink from rainfall to tap. 2. Trace it out of the house and back to a river, aquifer or the sea.

A good summer project.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pagan Values?

Sia alerts me to the fact that a blogger has declared June to be Blog About Pagan Values Month.

In June the sun is at it’s height in the Northern Hemisphere and nearly hidden from view in the Southern Hemisphere. Midsummer and Yule, festivals of fire and of light.

Let us then use our hearts and minds and words, invoking the fires of inspiration; let us write of the virtues and ethics and morals and values we have found in our Pagan paths, let us share how we carry these precious things forward in our own lives and out into the world.

Hmmm. Why? Because the sun is high? I may have missed something.

One thing I like about Pagans is that we don't proselytize. And, honestly, if you've spent any time among Pagans you know that (1) no two Pagans agree about anything, hell, most of us disagree with our own selves half the time, and (2) there are as few Pagans living the Wiccan Rede or any other form of Pagan Values as there are xians living the command to "Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself." In fact, for a lot of Pagans, their religion consists of buying new-agey stuff in stores that reek of incense instead of buying makeup in the mall. I've known Pagans who are not-nice-people. "Witch wars" describes an actual phenomenon.

But if you put a gun to my head, I'd say that most modern Pagans value the Earth, the body, matter, the connection between all-that-is. (As soon as I'd say that, someone could produce half a dozen examples that disprove what I'd said.) Cock the gun, and I'd say that Pagans tend to value women, women's bodies, the divine feminine, Gaia, the Goddess. Push the barrel a bit into the gentle flesh of my temple, and I'd say that lots of Pagans value ecstatic experience. In fact, for quite a few of what I'd call "festival Pagans," the connection that comes from drumming, fire, dancing, drugs, and sex at the 8 Sabbats IS their experience of Paganism and what they value most about it. And that's v. cool. I'll take that over hating on gays and beating little children in Irish orphanages.

There are, of course, the values of the ancient Pagans, and some modern Pagans look there for guidance. Good start, if one then edits out slavery, human sacrifice, etc.

But, in the end, all that I can say is what I value about Paganism. I value the sacrality of matter, bodies, blood, hymen, placenta, semen, cunt juice, bone, phlem, and shit. I value the thing that happens when I see photosynthesis happening. I value a mythopoetic explanation of the world that complements my scientific understanding of the same. I value the ability to part the veils, the chance to ground daily, the glimpse of what it could be like to live in a world where the king and the land are one. I value flow and fire, the ability to be silent and how the last light over the dark west went while morning at the brown brink eastward springs and the holy ghost over the bent world broods with warm breast and with, ah! bright wings. I value the Spiral Dance. I value poetry. I value the dark. I value the shadow. I value my willingness to let the infinite touch the buckle of my spine and I value the place where change can happen. I value being in touch with things that scare a lot of people and I value valuing that which many devalue. I value the way that boundaries dissolve at orgasm and I value the way that sun feels on skin. I value the way that a living oyster becomes a part of me when I eat it, thereby melding with dinosaur, Hatshepsut, a woman giving birth in Pompeii, and with Sappho, and the way that I will become part of the soil under the lilac bushes when I die.

What do you value?

Picture here.

Bonus points if you can id the two poems I've quoted.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Obama Restaurant Watch

Turns out, the president loves cripsy-edged pancakes. He and G/Son share a love. It's also cool how he keeps inviting restaurant owners from around the country to show up at the WH and fix food.

President Barack Obama has a craving for Pittsburgh pancakes.
He's invited two local women to the White House for a very special honor.
The president ate at
Pamela's Diner in the Strip District during a campaign event last year.
Among many breakfast selections, the thin, crispy-edged pancakes are a favorite.
The co-owners of Pamela's are now on their way to Washington D. C.
President Obama asked if they would cater a pancake breakfast for him and more than 80 veterans this Memorial Day.

Picture of Obama at Pamela's here.

We Are A Sophisticated People

Son and DiL are vacationing in New Orleans:

Meanwhile, I've been exploring "Sculpture Museums" in West Virginia:

Sunday, May 24, 2009