Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday Garden Blogging

We had a good soaking rain yesterday, a cool misty morning, and then sun. When I got home from work, the Autumn camellias had opened. I think this really is the v last thing that will bloom until either the snowdrops or the hellebores come in after Yule. (I'm interested to see which is first. My bet is on the snowdrops, as another name for hellebore is Lenten Rose, but you have to consider that my hellebores are planted on the Northern exposure and I've (just) planted the snowdrops on the Southern exposure, which likely gives them an advantage.)

What's the last thing to bloom on the land that you love/tend/are the witch of? What's first?

Photo by the author; if you copy, please link back.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday Garden Blogging

If you look, you can still find a bit of garden black and white underneath the falling leaves. I still have white anemones blooming, and the black berries of the lirope look especially menacing for Samhein.

Photos by the author; if you copy, please link back.

Samhein's Coming

You Gonna Eat That?

Continuing our discussion concerning mindful eating,* I recently came across this quote from Alisha Little Tree, who occupied a redwood tree to prevent logging:
I stopped being a vegetarian after that tree sit because I connected with that tree so intensely . . . it has really changed my whole reality. Now I'm thinking of beings not as conscious creatures, but as life-force. There's a really strong life-force in all of us, and in this forest in these trees. Connecting to the tree [is like just being,] it's not like you talk to the tree, because it can't hear, but there's this feeling. I don't know how to describe it, [it is], like a deep rootedness, very powerful, not superior to us, but certainly not inferior to us and more primitive or less evolved than us.

~quoted in Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future by Bron Taylor.

Taylor asked Alisha Little Tree about how the experience impacted her eating habits and she replied:
Because I just started to appreciate the incredible life-force in plants . . . and the line between animal and plants blurred. It's all just different forms of life-force.


For Lierre Keith, the change in her habits appears to have been related to becoming aware of various scientific studies that highlighted the consciousness of plants (although she discusses the desire that this information created within her for a direct experience with plants) while, for Alisha Little Tree, the change came about as a result of a direct experience, in nature, of the consciousness of plants. In both cases, the women were willing to accept new information (however received) about the interconnection of everything and to change their behavior based upon the new information. What would you do differently if you were even more vibrantly aware of this interconnection?

I'll suggest that practicing mindfulness and gratitude when purchasing, preparing, eating, and disposing of food can be a transformational spiritual practice. Stopping for a moment to be aware of the sacrifices/gifts involved in the food you are about to consume is a good place to start. What would it mean for you to eat as a sacred act, to eat as a Priestess/Priest? Does any part of your practice involve offering food to the Goddesses, Gods, ancestors?

*I'll repeat that I'm not making any judgments about how or what people eat, nor am I advising any eating regimen. I don't think it's my business to tell other people what to eat. People make choices about food based on a wide variety of personal likes and dislikes, health reasons, ethical decisions, and other factors. I am suggesting that we include more mindfulness and gratitude in our daily eating practices.

Picture found here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

People Keep Doing It; I'm Going to Keep Complaining About It

This article is a good example of two of the points that I keep trying to make.

First, there's the failure to capitalize the word "Pagan." The author capitalizes the word "Wiccan," but not "Pagan":
[Larson, a] member of the Wiccan branch of paganism, . . .

That's like saying that "Father Murphy is a member of the Catholic branch of christianity," or "Rabbi Abrams is an Orthodox jew." Since it's commonplace to capitalize the major religious categories such as Christian (which includes, inter alia, Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, and Quakers), Jew (which includes, inter alia, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist), and Moslem (which includes, inter alia, Suni, Shi'a, Sufi, and Ahmaddiya), it ought to be commonplace to capitalize Pagan (which includes, inter alia, Wicca, Druid, Asatru, and Celtic Reconostruction).

Second there's the Pagan spokesperson reinforcing the Christian framing of our religion by using valuable interview "space" asserting that various stereotypes of Pagans are false. Thus, we get:
Larson said the reality is that paganism has nothing to do with Satan worship and that the pagan tent is large enough to include people who do identify as witches (although not the green-faced, wart-laden stereotypes) and people like Larson, a Chicago attorney who has a doctorate in psychology and who's on the faculty of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
I'm not sure how one identifies as Wiccan but differentiates oneself from Witches (nor, as a lawyer and a Witch, how those two terms are mutually exclusive), but I'm willing to accept those notions. But I'm not willing to accept having Pagans reinforce the framing of the dominant paradigm concerning our religion.

I've dealt with this issue extensively here, here, (in about a dozen other places,) and here. Just fucking stop this shit and stop it fucking now.

Picture found here.

My New Name for a Blog

What Athenae Said

Democrats aren't going to be losing seats in a few weeks because liberals haven't internalized being nice to the rich. They're going to be losing seats because THIS ECONOMY BLOWS and there's no real sign of it not blowing because of anything Democrats are willing to say they've done. They're going to be losing seats because there are no jobs. They're going to be losing seats because they didn't fix enough about how busted health care is. They're going to be losing seats because college still costs too much, elementary schools have holes in the roof, and the universal response to hard times in any town in this country is shutting down the library and firing the cops and the guys who fix the sewers.

They're going to be losing seats not because they didn't think or feel the right things but because they didn't DO the right things. Because everybody's tired, and everybody's scared, and everybody's tired of being scared. Tired of worrying about savings. Tired of worrying about debt. Tired of worrying about saving to pay off debt. There never seems to be enough money and every time the phone rings it's $600, and the message from Washington is some incoherent combo of "it's already okay, so your desperation is all in your head" and "don't blame me, man, I was never even HERE."

Yet pricks like Sullivan think it's about what narratives we've internalized.

Go read the whole thing. You'll thank me.

Picture found here.

Monday, October 18, 2010


A ballet w a rather Pagan esthetic is back in NYC, and the NYT review makes it sound pretty good.

Prone to Pronoia

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Grow Old, I Grow Old

Could this article be any more biased?

Bread baking is a "blessing".

Sowing and milking came to Europe with both a "missionary zeal" and "peaceful cooperation." That "peaceful cooperation," however, shows "signs of conflict." The lack of logic doesn't matter when explaining how the patriarchs prevailed.

The early farmers moving into Central Europe were sophisticated compared with these children of nature. The farmers wore different clothing, prayed to other idols and spoke a different language.

Early farmers were more "sophisticated" (aka better than) the "children of nature" who were living in Europe. But both of them prayed to "idols" other than, one assumes, the "true god" of the xians.

The farmers even protected their livestock from outside influences, determined to prevent the wild oxen known as aurochs from breeding with their Middle Eastern cows. They feared that such hybrids would only introduce a new wild element into the domesticated breeds.

Their breeding precautions were completely understandable. The revolutionary idea that man could subjugate plants and animals went hand in hand with enormous efforts, patience and ingenuity. The process took thousands of years.

Of course, the hard-working patriarchialists wouldn't want their "enormous efforts, patience, and ingenuity" to be ruined by those less interested in the "subjugation" of all other life forms.

. Çatalhöyük, known as "man's first metropolis," had about 5,000 inhabitants, who lived in mud huts packed tightly together. They worshipped an obese mother goddess, depicted in statues as a figure sitting on a throne decorated with the heads of carnivores.

Catalhoyuk is "man's" first metropolis and the Goddess worshipped there was "obese."

The settlers, wielding their sickles, kept moving farther and farther north, right into the territory of backward peoples. The newcomers were industrious and used to working hard in the fields.

This is opposed to the "backward peoples" who were not used to "working hard in the fields."

By comparison, the more primitive existing inhabitants of the continent wore animal hides and lived in spartan huts. They looked on in bewilderment as the newcomers deforested their hunting grounds, tilled the soil and planted seeds. This apparently upset them and motivated them to resist the intruders.


At this point, our heroine's head asplodes.

Picture found here.


Now that Mabon's come and gone, now that we're heading madly towards Samhein, it's that time in the Gardening Year when we begin to clear stuff out. One of my magical Sisters (whose home is deep in a grove of gorgeous old trees) and I were joking at brunch today about how we're already into that time of year when raking up leaves becomes a primary chore. (Her yard is already much more carefully-raked than mine. It's only going to get worse between now and late November when my white oaks finally drop their last leaves.) And all those dead leaves (and, in my case, acorns) have to GO SOMEWHERE; here at Hecate's Cottage, they go into big brown paper bags that the county will come by and pick up to turn into mulch. But the leaves aren't the only things that need to be gotten out of the garden. There are dead, branchy stems left over from the now-harvested-and-made-into-frozen-pesto basil. There are old stalks from daisies and obedient plant and Asiatic lilies and anemones. (Compost bin, here they come!) There are wisteria vines that have been pruned back and there are pots of brugmansia to be cut way back and brought inside for the coming Winter.

And, at the same time, it's now the season to do a lot of planting in anticipation of the Spring and Summer that we hope, as did our great-great-great-great-many-times-great grandmothers, will certainly (yes?) come. So this past week I worked w/ Landscape Guy and his crew to put in two new trees, innumerable hostas and astilbes, some new drancunculus, Darkness iris, and giant white alliums. Right now, I'm staring at a box of 75 snowdrop bulbs, sitting on the table, tapping their fingernails, and saying, "Well? When ARE you going to get us into the ground?" With so much new stuff, it's still a time of watering; I likely won't have to put the hoses away and shut off the pipes to the outside until nearly Yule. Until then, new roots are still growing and water is important.

Finally, this time of year is the beginning of that season that, if we're honest (and, we're not; most gardeners lie worse than golfers, fishermen, hunters, tennis players), many gardeners love every bit as much as we love High Summer: the Time of the Winter Plan. It's a perfect period (you can do it while raking! or sitting in front of the fire!) to mull over what worked (marigolds in the herb bed), what didn't work (Burpee's Summerlong basil, everything from White Flower Farms), what you want to try next year (black poppies and white peonies), what new adventure you'll embark upon when, sometime between Yule and Imbolc, you give in to the garden porn of the catalogs and begin buying new seeds, seedlings, etc. Just now, hope springs eternal, everything seems possible (maybe just a dozen new ostrich ferns and that corner WOULD look perfect; next year, I'll find a place to put wormwood where it won't kill off the surrounding plants; if we "just" move about a hundred day lilies out of the gardenia beds and into the woodland . . . .")

And, of course, as I plant, and pull up, and water, and rake, (and try to ignore the snowdrops), I think about how much this liturgical season mimics (as, how, based upon it as it is, upon what goes on in the garden, could it not?) what is going on outside. As above, so below. As outside, so inside. As in the manifest world, so in the world of the psyche. Just now, with the veils so thin, my ancestors and deceased friends and lovers show up and offer their advice. I'm likely the only woman in my neighborhood raking, saying, "Shut up!" bagging leaves, shouting, "Who asked you?" pulling up stems, murmuring, "Well, OK, you may have a point."

I adopted the practice last year of setting an intentional word to organize my goals and objectives for the coming year. This year, the word has been "Vitality" -- an attempt to introduce more health and more energy into every area of my life. For the coming year, I'm pretty sure that the word is going to be "Elegant," which, for me, implies, a serious editing, a cutting away of all that is extraneous. I meditate upon that word from Samhein until Yule. Just after Yule, I make a screen-saver for my computer with images, words, and phrases that convey my word and I write a global list of goals for the coming year.

Between Yule and Imbolc, I work on a more logical, strategic plan.

What are you raking up and throwing into the compost bin? What are you planting just now and watering? What plans are you hatching? What does this season mean for you?

Photo by the author; if you copy, please link back.

Sunday Dance Blogging