Saturday, September 04, 2010

Saturday Poetry Blogging

The Angel with the Broken Wing


I am the Angel with the Broken Wing,
The one large statue in this quiet room.
The staff finds me too fierce, and so they shut
Faith’s ardor in this air-conditioned tomb.

The docents praise my elegant design
Above the chatter of the gallery.
Perhaps I am a masterpiece of sorts—
The perfect emblem of futility.

Mendoza carved me for a country church.
(His name’s forgotten now except by me.)
I stood beside a gilded altar where
The hopeless offered God their misery.

I heard their women whispering at my feet—
Prayers for the lost, the dying, and the dead.
Their candles stretched my shadow up the wall,
And I became the hunger that they fed.

I broke my left wing in the Revolution
(Even a saint can savor irony)
When troops were sent to vandalize the chapel.
They hit me once—almost apologetically.

For even the godless feel something in a church,
A twinge of hope, fear? Who knows what it is?
A trembling unaccounted by their laws,
An ancient memory they can’t dismiss.

There are so many things I must tell God!
The howling of the dammed can’t reach so high.
But I stand like a dead thing nailed to a perch,
A crippled saint against a painted sky.

Poem, along with a number of other wonderful ones, found here.

Picture found here.

Burn Her!

Old woman and grandchildren hacked to death because the woman was suspected of witchcraft. Her home had previously been burned down for the same reason.

Thank goodness there are no crazed mobs who'd do anything like that over here.

Or, They Could Spend Time Catching the Thieves

Police seem determined to keep spreading the story that Pagans braid horses' hair as some part of a ritual.

However hair plaiting is not always a sign of a potential crime, PC Brittain suggested.
"Braiding is also a Pagan ritual - it's not necessarily for theft," she said.
But Dorset Grove Druid Ian Temple denied that there is any connection.
"It isn't a Pagan ritual - there's no evidence that it is," he said.
"There's been a lot of it going on in Dorset over the last couple of years. None of the Pagans I know can find any relation to it - there's no history."

More here.

We've seen this same nonsense before. And, it doesn't help that attention-seekers spread the nonsense.

Friday, September 03, 2010

All About the Archetypes

Can You Spot Them?

Persephone? Demeter? Hecate? Hades? Neptune?

Some things that you don't think you're going to enjoy, you enjoy. That's what makes it all interesting


People Keep Doing It. I'm Going To Keep Complaining.

OK, girls and boys, let's see how many errors we can spot. It will be good practice for "issue spotting," which will help us all to get A's in law school.

Though their worship includes elements from early Christianity, these practitioners are not Christians. They are pagans.

And they are part of a growing body of believers who have moved away from monotheistic faiths such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam into the wide world of syncretic spirituality.

Dear Peggy Fletcher Stack,

Were you asleep the day that they taught capitalization in 3rd grade? If, within the space of two sentences, you are going to capitalize the names of some religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), then you should capitalize the name of the one other religion you discuss: Paganism.

And don't give me the "category" argument. You know, the one that goes, well, xianity, Judaism, and Islam are specific religions, while Paganism is a category, so my discriminatory and demeaning capitalization rules make sense. Christianity is a category of religions. It includes Catholics, Methodists, and Baptists. Judaism is a category of religions. It includes Orthodox Jews, Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, Hassidic Jews, etc. Islam is a category of religions. It includes Sunnis, Sufis, Ahmadiyya, and Shi'a. Similarly, Paganism is a category of religions. It includes Wiccans, Druids, Asatru, and others. If you capitalize "Christian, Judaism, and Islam," then capitalize Pagan.


I'm not even going to bother with: "Though their worship includes elements from early Christianity . . . ." Because it shouldn't be necessary to point out that it was "early xianity" that included elements of Pagan worship, and not the other way around.

Picture found here.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

You Know It's True

I totally stole this from The Urban Pantheist, which, if you don't check daily, you should.

It made me laugh out loud.

All Acts of Love and Pleasure Are Rituals of the Goddess

Maybe it's my Pisces nature showing itself, but I love this.

/Hat tip: Stunt Woman

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

And I Am Marie of Romania

Nothing to see here. Move along.

And, surely, nothing here, either.

Not Helpful

Story here.

Interesting how little discussion news stories of, say, white xian men who shoot doctors in churches, have about pacts with St. Jesus. Because that would be wrong. I'm willing to bet, however, that Jesu Christo is "venerated in jails and among criminal gangs" to a far greater exent that St. Death.

"Pagan." You Keep Using That Word. I Don't Think It Means What You Think It Means

Benedict XVI Recommends "God's Style"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 30, 2010 ( Noting that people frequently live according to a "style of pagans," Benedict XVI is encouraging forging one's life in another mode: "the style of God."

This was the exhortation the Pope made Sunday at the beginning of a Mass he celebrated in Castel Gandolfo with a group of his former students, who were gathered for their annual study weekend. The "Ratzinger Schulerkreis" looked this year at the theme of the implementation of the Second Vatican Council.

The Holy Father's reflection focused on Sunday's Gospel, in which Christ tells the parable of those who seek the places of honor at a wedding banquet, Vatican Radio reported.

He noted that in this passage, "the Lord brings us to understand that in reality we still live according to the style of the pagans: We invite reciprocally only those who will return the invitation; we give only if we will get back."

"The style of God is different," the Pontiff continued. "He invites us to his table, we who are lame, blind and deaf; he invites us who have nothing to give him."

The divine style, he added, is experienced above all in the Eucharist, during which we are called to allow ourselves to be touched by gratitude to God, who invites us to his table even though we are full of faults.

"But we want to learn as well to experience the guilt of too infrequently turning away from the pagan style, because we live very little the novelty, the style of God," Benedict XVI continued. "And because of this we begin holy Mass asking forgiveness: a forgiveness that changes us, that makes us more similar to God, in his image and likeness."

In his homily, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, and a member of the group of the Pope's former students, highlighted the importance of humility that "transforms insults into grace."

"Thank you, Holy Father, because you incarnate for us the attitude of Christ, who is meek and humble of heart," he said.

And the cardinal reflected: "Is this not a marvelous element of the Christian faith and the Christian experience? Joy at the fact that the parameters of heaven are so different than ours."

The study circle is made up of some 40 people who presented their doctoral theses to Professor Ratzinger during his tenure at various German universities.

I'd be interested to know where, in modern Pagan writing, the Pope finds support for the notion that it is the "style" of Pagans [Capital "P" please, for the names of others' religions] to "invite reciprocally only those who will return the invitation; we give only if we will get back." In my line of work, citations talk, bullshit walks.

I know Pagans organizing river clean-ups, providing legal services to disabled voters, defending the rights of dead soldiers to have headstones of their choosing, cleaning oil off of animals in the Gulf, working in soup kitchens, etc. I know xians who rant against liberation theology, fight against paying taxes that go to the common good, and gladly support wars, polluting corporations, and the death penalty. Since they have a large and contradictory "book," the xians can find support for almost any position they want to take. We Pagans are different. And while what I don't know and haven't read is a far broader category than what I do know and have read, I've never heard or read any Pagan suggest that we give only if we will get back.

In fact, to my mind, it's the xians who give so that they will get back an eternity in their heaven who appear motivated by this principle. But more broadly, it demonstrates a dangerous practice of this former member of the Hitler Youth to call anything that he dislikes "pagan," with no citations at all. He ought to be made to put up or shut up, before this becomes even more common practice than it already is.

I'm not going to touch "Ratzinger Schulerkreis" with a ten foot pole. Or the pope's Prada shoes.


Their list so far, which goes back several years, includes a comment by conservative radio host G. Gordon Liddy about Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor: "Let's hope that the key conferences aren't when she's menstruating or something, or just before she's going to menstruate," Liddy said on his show. "That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then."

The women's groups also point to a quote in a Wall Street Journal story about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin's run for vice president where a liberal voter asks, "Who's watching the baby? And what kind of nurturing is going on in that 17-year-old's life if she's pregnant?"

The comments were only lightly condemned, said Jehmu Greene, president of the Women's Media Center, and they keep coming.

"Sexism against women in the media has become normalized and accepted in a way that they would not be if the comments were racist," Greene said. "It dramatically affects women candidates."

More here.

Time, and past time, for this nonsense to end.

Picture found here.

September Poetry Blogging

Song of Fairies Robbing an Orchard

We, the Fairies, blithe and antic,
Of dimensions not gigantic,
Though the moonshine mostly keep us,
Oft in orchards frisk and peep us.

Stolen sweets are always sweeter,
Stolen kisses much completer,
Stolen looks are nice in chapels,
Stolen, stolen, be your apples.

When to bed the world are bobbing,
Then's the time for orchard-robbing;
Yet the fruit were scarce worth peeling,
Were it not for stealing, stealing.

James Henry Leigh Hunt

Picture found here.

First of the Month Bazooms Blogging

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.

I know that a recent study indicated that early detection via breast self exams might not be "cost effective." I'm not a scientist, but when I read those studies, they appear to be saying that sometimes women find a lump during the BSE that turns out not to be cancer. Those women have caused some expense and have gone through some discomfort in order to find out that the lump wasn't cancer. I don't know about you, but when that happens to me, as it has a few times since my first mammogram found a small, curable, cancerous lump, I go out and buy a new scarf, take myself out for a decadent lunch, call everyone I know, and declare it a good day.

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. If you have a deck, pick three cards and e-mail me at 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 I'll email you back your reading.

Picture found here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I realized tonight that what I love about this kind of dance is the honor that it pays to the underworld. All of the action is beneath the surface, you have to ignore the held-rigid bodies and focus on the feet, making music on something rigid of the Earth.

Celts. We're complicated people.

I Don't Know About You, But I Can Sure Hear Herne Waking Up

It's that time of year.

Late Monday Poetry Blogging

The Inner History of a Day

by John O'Donohue

No one knew the name of this day;
Born quietly from deepest night,
It hid its face in light,
Demanded nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that traveled ahead,
Providing in time, ground to hold our footsteps
And the light of thought to show the way.

The mind of the day draws no attention;
It dwells within the silence with elegance
To create a space for all our words,
Drawing us to listen inward and outward.

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.

Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.

So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.

Picture found here.

Important Questions

What's the best book you read this Summer?

Picture found here.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Prosed out, and wiped from work, but here's an oldie, but a goodie that you may have missed. Normal blogging activities will hopefully resume tomorrow, if I'm not still busy turning people into newts.

You know who you are.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My New Name for a Blog

What Shakespeare's Sister Said.

Picture found here.

Wrapped in the Flag and Carrying a Cross

Sinclair Lewis is supposed to have said that:

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.

He left out the parts about racism/sexism/homophobia and an incredibly odd corporatism that has, through advertising, merged, in the minds of lots of Americans, with national identity. (Extra weird in these days of trans-national corporations.) But he got it basically right.

Yesterday, I had to work downtown in my shining city in a swamp, the one full of marble monuments to great ideals that inspire me every day and full of words carved over doors that still reduce me to proud, hopeful, valiant, humble tears and remind me just how very much I adore the Goddess Columbia's sacred lands. I made the mistake of leaving the office to drive home just as the crowd from the Glenn Beck rally was heading back to D.C.'s West End. Granted, these were likely some of the more affluent members of the crowd; the hotels in West End are pricey. I'm not sure that made a difference.

I've come to realize that, Pisces that I am, I have pretty porous borders and tend to pick up people's emotions and motivations when others might not. A big crowd feels to me as if it creates its own fog in the air, a fog that I can't help but know and feel, as it carries the emotions of the crowd deep into my own awareness. And I have never, ever, in my life, been as terrified by what I felt as I was by what I felt from that crowd. I've been in demonstrations where the police hated us, where the right-wing showed up to counter protest, where a phalanx of priests showed up to project what I can only call hatred at the marchers in the Million Woman March. I get into conflicts for a living. I've been in rooms full of angry witches, pissed-off lawyers, furious teen-agers. And those were nothing compared to what I felt yesterday. I rolled up my windows, turned on Handel (never failed me, yet) full-blast, and drove (fast) the entire way home, yelling, over and over, the Litany Against Fear. Literally lying on the ground in my own garden and grounding finally returned me to "mere" shakiness and fear.

There's been a lot of derision from Left Blogistan directed at Beck and his minions. Quite a bit of it has been tinged with size-ism, ageism, and class warfare. Fair enough, sometimes, pace audre, the master's tools can be quite effective against the master. Ridicule can be as effective a weapon as exists. And, Goddess knows, much of what went on there was, in fact, ridiculous (1540s, from L. ridiculosus "laughable," from ridiculus "that which excites laughter," from ridere "to laugh.") in the one-may-as-well-ridere-as-cry sense. I imagine (and since Beck has broken Godwin's law, I feel little constraint in this invocation) that many educated Germans ridiculed that moron Hitler and his followers, as well. I have a vision of educated, ancient Priestesses assuring each other that dirty horsemen from Kurga would never overtake their lovely villages and temples. Some Fist Peoples assumed that the funny people trading beads and other trinkets would get on their ships and go home after a Winter or two.

I don't think ridicule and ignoring the stupidity is going to work, this time.

Along these lines, I had an interesting discussion this morning over at Eschaton about the fact that the Right has people who are good at engaging the angels of people's darker natures. The Left (and yes, it's handicapped by not getting the corporate sponsorship that the right gets, but that's ultimately irrelevant to the outcome) does a piss-poor job of engaging the angels of people's better natures. Sadly, Obama, who appeared to have an amazing gift for energizing people to work for good changes in society, got elected and decided to play it safe, always capitulate to Wall Street, and seek "cred" by "punching hippies." Many of the young people (and others ) who, immediately following his election, were thirsty for the chance to work for "Hope" and "Change" have concluded, perhaps, sadly, for the rest of their lives, that politics is just a game for suckers. Too many on "our" side are not good at, in W's words, "catapulting the propaganda," are terrified of being seen as "too radical," and begin by conceding that the other side has most of the good points going for it. Paul Krugman's brilliant, but he's never going to rouse crowds the way the Martin Luther King did, the way that Joan Baez could do singing "We Shall Overcome," the way that any half-decent union leader could do talking workers into going on strike.

People are, perhaps sadly, complicated. I've never known anyone who wasn't a walking contradiction of both good and evil, generosity and venality, prejudice and great openness. And many of the same people energized by Beck could be energized by a liberal leader who inspired them to greater things, instead of appealing to their natural prejudice against "the other." I've known people who would enjoy lynching an uppity [insert name of "the other" here], but who would also show up when their neighbor "other's" home burned down or spouse was lost or child was sick and pretty much give the shirt off their back. Odd, how personalizing emergencies can bring out the angels of everyone's better nature.

The planet's dying. No one can find a job. The planet's dying. We're firing teachers and firemen so fast we can't comprehend it, while we pour more and more money into the failed wars of a failed empire. The planet's dying. And we're ignoring those who, wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross, are going to completely ruin us.

More here.

I'm an old woman. I've lived a privileged, amazing life. I like to pretend that I'm pretty brave, but yesterday scared me to my core. But even shaking, shitting, and puking in fear, I can go to the pyre that crowd would howlingly enjoy building for witches and uppity women and it will all still be ok.

But I have a Son, a DiL, and, I have a G/Son.

Picture found here

The Peace of Wild Things


When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

Nature is often overlooked as a healing balm for the emotional hardships in a child's [Heck, even in an adult's] life. You'll likely never see a slick commercial for nature therapy, as you do for the latest antidepressant pharmaceuticals.

~Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Louv may be too optimistic; someone probably is finding ways to profit from, and thus run slick commercials for, nature therapy. But his (and Berry's) main point -- that nature can serve as a real balm for emotional hardships -- is very important. And, as more and more kids grow up in urban areas, in families who don't belong to the class of people who can afford a trip to see the redwoods or wade along a deserted shore, or canoe down a river, it becomes increasingly important to help them find nature inside urban areas. Although large empty spaces are really wonderful, for many kids [and adults!] a rather small space will suffice. A community garden. A gated alley full of trees, and tomato plants, and pets. A park. A local Nature Center. A tree that becomes a special friend.

Can you identify three or five local sources of "nature therapy"?

Photo (of a park in North East Washington, D.C.) by the author. If you copy, please link back.

Sunday Dance Blogging

Sunday Poetry Blogging

Maybe it's Labor Day's approach that has me thinking about right livelihood. I've always liked this poem's discussion of being a miller.

The Miller of the Dee
by Charles Mackay

There dwelt a miller hale and bold
Beside the river Dee;
He worked and sang from morn till night,
No lark more blithe than he;
And this the burden of his song
Forever used to be, —
"I envy nobody; no, not I,
And nobody envies me!"

"Thou'rt wrong, my friend!" said good King Hal;
"Thou'rt wrong as wrong can be;
For could my heart be light as thine,
I'd gladly change with thee.
And tell me now, what makes thee sing,
With voice so loud and free,
While I am sad, though I'm the king,
Beside the river Dee."

The miller smiled and doffed his cap:
"I earn my bread," quoth he;
"I love my wife, I love my friend,
I love my children three;
I owe no penny I cannot pay;
I thank the river Dee,
That turns the mill that grinds the corn,
To feed my babes and me."

"Good friend," said Hal, and sighed the while,
"Farewell! and happy be;
But say no more, if thou'dst be true,
That no one envies thee.
Thy mealy cap is worth my crown,
Thy mill my kingdom's fee;
Such men as thou are England's boast,
Oh miller of the Dee!"

Nowadays, nor England nor her former colony can boast about many workers like Mr. Miller. But we sure do have a lot of folks in advertising and financial derivatives.

Picture found here.