Saturday, November 28, 2009

Who Says?

How much of the stuff that you do this time of year gives you pleasure?

Can you stick to that and ditch the rest?

Can you insure that you get some time outside, even if it means bundling up?

Can you do your daily practice daily every day between now and December 31st?

I have a dear friend who always counsels, when faced with a decision: think about how you'll feel if you do this. Think about how you'll feel if you don't.

It's pretty good advice. The Wheel of the Year is winding down. Why can't you?

It takes 3 minutes to ground.

Woman Murdered In London For Being A "Witch"

The increased murder of women because they are seen as witches isn't confined to Africa and Asia.

A divorced father of three from north London stabbed his mother 21 times after becoming convinced she was a witch and had put a curse on him, a court has heard.

Kayode Kuye tortured and killed Christina Kuye, 69, because he believed she had ruined his life with a black magic spell, the Old Bailey was told.

I'm planning to do some personal magic at Yule to protect women from this madness. Will you join me?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Keep Your Nativity Scenes On Church Property: How Difficult Is That?

The same scenario apparently needs to play out over and over again before people get the message.

The latest battle in the "war on Christmas" has come home to Franklin County's seat, and it comes down to the baby in the manger.

The borough has a decades-long tradition of allowing the local garden club to place a Nativity scene, depicting nearly lifesize statues of a kneeling Mary, Joseph and a swaddled Jesus, shepherds and kings, on the ground surrounding the Memorial Fountain. . . . Earlier this month, PA Nonbelievers Capital Area director Carl Silverman wrote the borough a letter stating its intention to erect [a sign reading "Celebrating Solstice -- Honoring Atheist War Veterans."]

While the group believed it did not need the borough's permission because the creche required none, it was submitting a proposed design in "the spirit of cooperation," the letter said. . . . "We didn't want to take Jesus out of the public square," Silverman, of Camp Hill, said. "We want to put atheism in the public square."

Bill McLaughlin, president of the Chambersburg Borough Council, said that after discussion with the borough solicitor, two practical options emerged -- officials could allow everything or allow nothing to be displayed at the fountain.

The council chose to allow nothing, he said.

McLaughlin said he took PA Nonbelievers' letter as "a demand, with an implied threat of legal action."

The council came to the rather unstartling, but apparently difficult-for-xianists-to-comprehend conclusion that: "The downside of 'everything' is it means everything," McLaughlin said. And, [t]hat was something council could not live with, he said.

I've recounted before the story about a xian group that sued the local public school system and won the right to force the local public schools to send home announcements about church activities in kids' bookbags. Yet, when a group of local Pagans took advantage of the same ruling to send home notices about a Yule celebration at the local UU church, the xians went ballistic. Eventually, the school system decided, reasonably, to just not send home any kind of non-school notices.

In Chambersburg, as everywhere, there's a simple solution to the xians wanting to put up nativity scenes: Central Presbyterian Church, located on the square directly across from the fountain, is considering construction of a perch on its property where the creche could be displayed. That won't satisfy the xianists, though, because what they really want is to impose their religion, and only their religion, on everyone else via government property and action.

Xians upset over increasingly vocal atheist organizations might do well to consider that their own attempts to force their religion on everyone else is likely the cause for what is starting to look like an increasingly organized and vocal atheist movement.

Another Dispatch From Our Glorious War On Xmas

Ya Think?

[W]hy do Christian groups insist on this campaign year after year? I think the answer to that question may be, alas, crass commercialism. A 2006 story from the Religion News Service reported that the American Family Association sold more than 500,000 buttons and 125,000 bumper stickers bearing the slogan “Merry Christmas: It’s Worth Saving.” The Alliance Defense Fund sold about 20,000 “Christmas Packs” that same year. The packs, available for a suggested $29 donation, included a three-page legal memo and two lapel pins.

The bottom line here is, well, the bottom line: The Christmas wars are a financial windfall for the organizations that whip up this frenzy. The Christmas wars have become, ironically, the ultimate commercialization of Christmas.

I’m not saying that there are times when we Christians shouldn’t stand up for our rights, but when we fire all our weapons in such a meaningless skirmish, we alienate potential allies, and we have no ammunition for the battles that matter.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Here's Your Daily Dose Of "Slow Down"

This video is long enough (almost ten whole minutes!) that, if you're like me, you'll get multiple opportunities to notice how monkey mind keeps trying to take over, to breathe, to bring your attention back to your present, and to relax again. Isn't it interesting information?

Home For The Holidays



Remember who you truly are.

Can you find 10 minutes to go outside and feed the birds? Some seeds, some bread crumbs, a bit of apple spread with peanut butter.

Fill your lungs with the cold Air. Notice your feet upon the chilly Earth. Connect with the Fire deep inside the planet. Watch the Water of your breath turn into mist when you breathe.

It's all real. It's all metaphor. There's always more.

Picture found here.

Thursday Poetry Blogging

On this wine bowl of pure silver—
destined for the home of Heracleides,
where discerning taste and elegance reside—
I've engraved flowers, streams and thyme,
and in their midst a handsome youth,
naked and erotic, dangling his leg
in the water still. I prayed, memory,
that I'd find in you an ally strong enough to render
the face of this youth, whom I loved, just as it once was.
It will not be easy, as it has been
some fifteen years from the day he fell,
a soldier, in the battle of Magnesia.

~C.P. Cavafy

Picture found here.

Yes, Let's All Get Worked Up Over The Pleasantries We Exchange With Shopkeepers

I agree: Epic Fail. And if Bill O'Reilly is a Pagan, I am the Queen of Romania.

Yesterday, I was in line at the local sandwich place and the guy at the counter handed the woman in front of me her order and said, "Have a happy holiday." The woman, clearly a tourist and completely delighted to have a chance to get pissy said, "It's Merry Chirstmas, if you please!" Counter Guy said, "Oh, I meant the Thanksgiving holiday. It's tomorrow." Good on him.

Picture found here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


And. so, when your family members begin, as they must, to push, push, push, push, push those buttons, you can ground. You can breathe. You can deliberately expand the space with your breath to give yourself more room to simply be, to give yourself an opportunity to be present and calm in the midst of a situation designed to take away your control.

May you find quiet time in the midst of frenzy, may you remember who you are in the midst of commercialism designed to make you forget, may you feel the deep peace of the ever-more-deeply-slumbering Earth in the midst of this culture's fear of that sleep.

So mote it be.

~Photo by the author. If you copy, please link back.

Throw Back Your Head

An Idealized Small Town

I have a Roycroft side table that I cherish. At least he was interesting. At least he was trying.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Maybe It's The Waxing Moon In Aquarius

Suddenly, it's Talk About Goddesses and Gods Week in the Pagan Blogosphere.

My wonderful circle of amazing women is working this year with Columbia, especially in her incarnation as the Goddess of Washington, D.C. I'm really enjoying getting to know her, not least of all because she's a rather young Goddess, as Goddesses go. I recently did some dark Moon magic and she showed up, huge and solemn and strong, and said, "Here, I can make this work for you." And, then, she did. She doesn't talk a lot. But when she does, she means what she says.

Who's the youngest Goddess or God you've ever called?

Picture found here.

Really, Some People Are Just Assholes.

In the Glorious War on Xmas, I am on Athenae's side. And it takes an entire boatload of stupid not to understand that Scrooge at the end of the story was happy, while Scrooge at the beginning of the story was mean, unhappy, petty, miserable. Kind of like today's "conservatives" and "libertarians." There's a message hidden a sixteenth of an inch deep there, boys. See if you can find it.

Picture found here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Stupid. It Burns.

I Will Buy This Book

Holy Shit. I pretty much am Mrs. Johnson. Well, my stash doesn't have its own shed. Yet.

Vast, Gorgeous, And Strong

Thorn Coyle has up an important post today. You should go read the whole thing.

We live in the mitzrayim and we do not have to. Once we reach adulthood, no person or circumstance keeps us in the narrow place without our permission. The narrow place can be helpful during times of incubation: we may wish a bit of extra constriction in order to figure out where the new boundaries are, push against them, and learn how to stretch. But we cannot stay there forever. Sooner or later we have to move to bigger pastures, to well-watered fields and wider vistas - or heavier weights - in order to get a fresh perspective. Staying in the narrow place constricts not only our vision of self, but our vision of the world and our vision of possibility.

We can become vast, gorgeous, and strong. We can live fully and brightly. When we let ourselves out of the boxes of our thoughts, we can more clearly see what we can do and not only who we can become, but who we are.

What would life be like if our only boundary became the boundary of love?

Picture found here.

My New Name For A Blog

What Susie Said.

I'll just add, though: don't think for a minute that the catholics wouldn't love to execute and jail women who have abortions. They just understand that, for now, that's unacceptable to most Americans. They'll get their camel's nose under the tent by first criminalizing abortion and then, once it's illegal, they'll begin to advocate for "stronger measures to ensure complete compliance." These men have never had a problem burning women at the stake.

"Your Excellency" my round, sweet ass.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Poetry Blogging

Winter Sleep

When against earth a wooden heel
Clicks as loud as stone on steel,
When stone turns flour instead of flakes,
And frost bakes clay as fire bakes,
When the hard-bitten fields at last
Crack like iron flawed in the cast,
When the world is wicked and cross and old,
I long to be quit of the cruel cold.

Little birds like bubbles of glass
Fly to other Americas,
Birds as bright as sparkles of wine
Fly in the nite to the Argentine,
Birds of azure and flame-birds go
To the tropical Gulf of Mexico:
They chase the sun, they follow the heat,
It is sweet in their bones, O sweet, sweet, sweet!
It's not with them that I'd love to be,
But under the roots of the balsam tree.

Just as the spiniest chestnut-burr
Is lined within with the finest fur,
So the stoney-walled, snow-roofed house
Of every squirrel and mole and mouse
Is lined with thistledown, sea-gull's feather,
Velvet mullein-leaf, heaped together
With balsam and juniper, dry and curled,
Sweeter than anything else in the world.

O what a warm and darksome nest
Where the wildest things are hidden to rest!
It's there that I'd love to lie and sleep,
Soft, soft, soft, and deep, deep, deep!

~Elinor Wylie

Picture found here.