Saturday, January 09, 2010

My New Name For A Blog

What NTodd Said:

I know not everybody can be in their Congressmembers' faces every day like a K-Streeter. However, we all can build up some level of relationship with our elected employees by making regular contact with them (e.g., through electronic means) and following up with more individual and/or collective actions on a less frequent basis (e.g., meeting with Reps and Senators during "district work periods").

More here.

May They Receive Exactly What They Deserve; May They Meet Their Namesake Every Minute, Forever

The free market at work, ladies and gentlemen.

Cerberus Capital, one of Wall Street’s most notoriously ruthless leveraged-buyout firms (or “private equity firms” in PC-speak), recently made a $1.8 billion killing on their human plasma investment, a company called Talecris, which they bought for a mere $82.5 million just four years earlier. Meaning Cerberus made 23 times their investment on human plasma. They did it by the most savage, heartless means possible: by paying peanuts to their impoverished human plasma donors, who increasingly come from Mexican border towns to blood-pumping stations set up on the American side, jacking up the price of plasma by restricting supply (a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission accused Cerberus Plasma Holdings of “operat[ing] as an oligopoly”), and then selling the refined products to the most desperately ill, patients suffering from hemophilia, severe burns, multiple sclerosis, and autoimmune deficiencies. The products cost so much—one, IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin) cost twice the price of gold as of last summer -- that American health insurance companies have been dropping or denying their policy holders in increasing numbers, endangering untold numbers.

More here.

I just can't think of anything to say.

Picture found here.

Saturday Poetry Blogging

vi. Prayer
Now rests the body and now rests the mind;
But for the soul the stars of heavenly things
Illumine space: a sweet celestial wind
Stirs in the lattice, and the sound of wings.

vii. The Dark Night of the Soul
Naked and stripped of all things but desire
(And even desire to its last sickness drawn)
The forlorn soul, crouched by a dying fire,
Remembers only that there once was dawn.

viii. The Consummation
Now the long day of His creation ends;
In that perfection which at first was willed
Activity its happy speed susupends.
Nothing is lost and nothing unfulfilled.

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

~Charles Williams

Friday, January 08, 2010

Friday Poetry Blogging

The Witch

I HAVE walked a great while over the snow,
And I am not tall nor strong.
My clothes are wet, and my teeth are set,
And the way was hard and long.
I have wandered over the fruitful earth,
But I never came here before.
Oh, lift me over the threshold, and let me in at the door!

The cutting wind is a cruel foe.
I dare not stand in the blast.
My hands are stone, and my voice a groan,
And the worst of death is past.
I am but a little maiden still,
My little white feet are sore.
Oh, lift me over the threshold, and let me in at the door!

Her voice was the voice that women have,
Who plead for their heart's desire.
She came--she came--and the quivering flame
Sunk and died in the fire.
It never was lit again on my hearth
Since I hurried across the floor,
To lift her over the threshold, and let her in at the door.

Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

Picture found here.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Me, I'm Rooting For Mount Hecla

To Winter by William Blake

O Winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs,
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.
He hears me not, but o'er the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchain'd, sheathed
In ribbonened steel; I dare not lift mine eyes,
For he hath rear'd his sceptre o'er the world.

Lo! now the direful monster, whose 1000 skins cling
To his strong bones, strides o'er the groaning rocks:
He withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.

He takes his seat upon the cliffs,--the mariner
Cries in vain. Poor little wretch, that deal'st
With storms!--till heaven smiles, and the monster
Is driv'n yelling to his caves beneath Mount Hecla.

Breaking Toast Together

I'd still rather see the gov't leave religion alone, but, if it won't this is kind of nice.

Logic And Consistency Are Too Much To Ask

Dear Cardinal,

"Pagan" -- I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Muslims are conquering Europe because Christians have become too selfish and pagan to defend the spiritual heritage of the continent, a Vatican cardinal said this week.

Miloslav Vlk, who has served as archbishop of Prague since 1991 and was considered as a successor to John Paul II, launched an outspoken attack on Christians living in Europe and accused them of allowing Muslims to "Islamise" the continent.

He warned that Europe would "fall" to Islam if people continued to deny their Christian roots.

Of course, Europe has has a Pagan "spiritual heritage." Kali on a cucumber sandwich, if Cardinal Vik were doing his job, wouldn't Europeans be flocking to xianity? Wouldn't the Moslems who moved to Europe observe the love, warmth, charity, and joy of the xians and long to convert? Maybe Europeans don't like child abuse, pederasty, and cover ups?

t was Muslims and not Christians, said Vlk, who were shaping the spiritual outlook of Europe. "The Muslims definitely have many reasons to be heading here. They also have a religious one – to bring the spiritual values of faith in God to the pagan environment of Europe, to its atheistic style of life."

In a separate interview, a second cardinal criticised Islam for repressing religious freedom.

Which, you know, is true in some places, but, pot, kettle, black.

Cardinal Tauran: also commented on the Swiss referendum to ban the construction of new minarets, and seemed to approve of the outcome. "Naturally it is necessary to harmonize construction with the atmosphere in which it comes to be a part, with the city landscape, the cultural context, and the complex of the laws and norms that regulate the life of the society."

Which is odd, because that wasn't the church's position when it built xian churches on sacred Pagan spaces, nor when it built Spanish churches in North and South America.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

How Did We Get Here?

Or, If There Are, They're Silly

Nothing Comic About It

So instead of Peter Parker it's Pavitr Prabhakar. Aunt May becomes Auntie Maya and Mary Jane Watson is Meera Jain.

Even better,

It's another Virgin Comics cover, this time spotlighting the story of the female divinity Devi, the Sanskrit word for goddess. Clad in skintight black leather from neck to boots, the contemporary version of the mother goddess has been transformed into a modern-day superhero. Only unlike Wonder Woman, Devi can also be seen (albeit in more modest attire) immortalized in a ninth-century sandstone sculpture in the adjoining Gallery of South Asian Sculpture.

"This would probably be on the outside wall of a temple in a niche. It's an icon that's worshipped, but it also depicts this climactic scene in the Devi Mahatnya, the origin story of the goddess, where she conquers the evil demon Mahisha, who takes the form of a buffalo. In a way, this is like the first comic-book story," Ms. Romain says, laughing.

More, here.

If you're anywhere near LA and care about Goddesses and/or comic books, this sounds like a great exhibit. I may try and swing by if I get out there on business.

Online collection here.

And, girls, getting into the act.

Picture found here.

Monday, January 04, 2010

I Love That One

May The Goddess Guard Her. May She Find Her Way To The Summerlands. May Her Friends And Family Know Peace.

Some news stories make you burst into tears.

Mary Daly, hugely influential Goddess scholar, widely-read feminist, and a woman whose writings rocked my world and changed my life, is dead at 81. I disagreed with a few of her ideas about sexuality, but she taught me most of what I know about the poison of patriarchy. She lived her ideals, making academia back down once, and quitting rather than violating her principles when the religious right went after her. Just how much the catholics hated her is made clear in catholic "culture"'s post on her death:

Daly’s feminism grew more radical over the years, and her attacks on the “patriarchy” of the Church evolved into condemnation of most Christian doctrine. Her many books often carried outlandish titles, pointing to the extremism of her thought:

Gyn/Ecology:The Meta-Ethics of Radical Feminism
Outercourse: The Be-Dazzling Voyage [her autobiography]
Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy
Amazon Grace: Re-Calling the Courage to Sin Big.

Love the quotation marks, you jerks. Those titles seem anything but outlandish, these days, thanks, in large part, to Dr. Daly's courage over the last few decades.

The subtitle to my blog, and, indeed, the purpose of my life -- Undermining the Patriarchy Every Chance I Get -- are in humble homage to Dr. Daly. I will call her name at Samhein. What is remembered, does not die.

Photo found here.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Going To The Cons

The Goddess only knows what is wrong with my pipple that we schedule our serious conferences for February, aka, the worst travel month of the year. Well, there's no mystery, we're a poor people, and that's when conference space is cheap. Here's a v, v, v small sample of what's going on in February, Brigid's month. Feel free to add your own events in comments and/or go here for updates and a far more complete listing. There is, even for we INTJs, a great value in coming together, hearing some new ideas, getting a fresh perspective.

Pantheacon. If you live in the Western US, you should go.

This year’s Theme is Back to Basics --- As energy and economics implode we look for more simple ways of life. Our pagan ethics and worship of our Earth Mother help us forge new sustainable lifestyles as we honor the old ways. What we know about the old ways of life, others now acknowledge as new imperatives to be the custodians of our earth. What is the bottom line when it comes to our lives and our spirits? What living skills of our traditions are especially needed for the future?

The National Capital Region Pagan Leadership Conference is a great East Coast event.

The 2010 conference meets critical needs by emphasizing financial vitality for Pagan organizations, which is especially relevant during these tough economic times. The conference breakouts are built on participant feedback, and include expanded workshops in four crucial areas of interest:

Financial planning and discipline,
Publicity & Promotions, and
Expanding topics from last year's workshops and integrating material based on feedback from conference participants, this year's instructors and facilitators are preparing innovative sessions to help equip you and your board members to gauge and to guide your organization through the next ten years. An updated format featuring all plenary sessions ensures that you and all members of your group, organization, or business can benefit from the training provided.

This year's conference opening provides a provocative speaker with an excellent topic: Christine Woodman, a doctoral student of sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University, will present a framework for studying the financial makeup and health of religious and spiritually oriented organizations and businesses.

Ecumenicon is almost in February:

The Hanging Man–Dark Night of the Soul

Ecumenicon Interfaith Conference 2010
Rockwood Manor
11001 MacArthur Boulevard
Potomac, MD 20854
Cell (240) 764-5748 (Charles Butler)
March 25-28, 2010

Sponsored by Ecumenicon Fellowship and the Ecumenicon School of Interfaith Studies. If you wish to cosponsor go to our Sponsor Page for ways you can help.

The conference takes place from Thursday night until Sunday afternoon, beginning with The Feast of Four fundraiser banquet Thursday evening, continuing with Classes all day Friday and Saturday, with final classes and Closing Ceremonies on Sunday.

I am hoping to have the time off from work to attend Sacred Space in Baltimore.

Featured Presenters:
Raven Grimassi & Stephanie Taylor
Christopher Penczak
Judika Illes
Also, Carolyn Kenner and Ivo.

And, of course, the (still to be scheduled) Feast of the Red Dragon, held by the DC Radical Faeries.

What's on your "outside my sphere of comfort" list for the first part of this year?

Picture found here.

Neil Gaiman's New Year's Benediction

I hope that you surprise yourself.

So mote it be.

On The Other Hand.

I'm not a believer in the death penalty; people who do horrific things should, IMHO, live a long time inside a jail with no chance of parole, but with plenty of chances to understand just how horrific a thing they've done. That said, I am glad to see some governments seriously prosecuting people who kill old women for being witches.

Here's the article.

TWO men who killed an old woman in Bushenyi District on suspicion that she was bewitching them are to hang, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Paul Kakubi, 38, a cultivator, and David Muramuzi, 28, a builder, both from Kangore village in Sheema county, shivered as the registrar read the court’s judgment last week.

The men had appealed against their conviction and death sentence, arguing that the trial judge had failed to properly evaluate the evidence on record.

“On thoroughly perusing the record, we are in complete agreement with the trial judge that only logical conclusions on the available circumstantial evidence are that the appellants are the ones who committed the offence,” the court ruled. The deputy Chief Justice, Laetitia Mukasa-Kikonyogo, headed the-three-justice-panel. The other members were judges Alice Mpagi-Bahigeine and Amos Twinomujuni.

The High Court had earlier convicted the two men of murdering Jolly Ntegyereize, their neighbour, on July 13, 2004. The culprits were identified by the grand-children who were present during the murder.

Ntegyereize was hacked to death as she was fetching water outside her kitchen.

Hacked. To Death. Outside her kitchen. Hacked. To Death. For Being a Witch. While fetching water. How often do you turn on the faucet?

Picture found here.