Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Synchronicity, You're Soaking In It

I love the artist's discussion of how her childhood spent in Nature influences her art.


[H]ealing the broken bond between our young and nature—is in our self-interest, not only because aesthetics or justice demands it, but also because our mental, physical, and spiritual health depends upon it. The health of the [E]arth is at stake as well. How the young respond to nature, and how they raise their own children, will shape the configurations and conditions of our cities, homes—our daily lives.

~Richard Louv
More here.

Hat tip to Margaret Roach, in A Way to Garden.

Solstice Blogging: Snow on Snow on Snow, In the Deep MidWinter, Long, Long Ago

Up rose the wild old winter-king, And shook his beard of snow; "I hear the first young hard-bell ring, 'Tis time for me to go! Northward o'er the icy rocks, Northward o'er the sea, My daughter comes with sunny locks: This land's too warm for me!"

~Charles Godfrey Leland

With apologies to Ms. Rossetti.

Picture found here.

Tangerine & Roasted Thyme

Here's a lovely dinner for a Wintery Friday night.

What are you feeding your Inner Child these days?

Picture found at the link.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

For My Friend, The Singer

Nursing You by Erica Jong

On the first night
of the full moon,
the primeval sack of ocean
& I gave birth to you
little woman,
little carrot top,
little turned-up nose,
pushing you out of myself
as my mother
me out of herself,
as her mother did,
& her mother's mother before her,
all of us born
of woman.

I am the second daughter
of a second daughter
of a second daughter,
but you shall be the first.
You shall see the phrase
"second sex"
only in puzzlement,
wondering how anyone,
except a madman,
could call you "second"
when you are so splendidly
conferring even on your mother
firstness, vastness, fullness
as the moon at its fullest
lights up the sky.

Now the moon is full again
& you are four weeks old.
Little lion, lioness,
yowling for my breasts,
rowling at the moon,
how I love your lustiness,
your red face demanding,
your hungry mouth howling,
your screams, your cries
which all spell life
in large letters
the color of blood.

You are born a woman
for the sheer glory of it,
little redhead, beautiful screamer.
You are no second sex,
but the first of the first;
& when the moon's phases
fill out the cycle
of your life,
you will crow
for the joy
of being a woman,
telling the pallid moon
to go drown herself
in the blue ocean,
& glorying, glorying, glorying
in the rosy wonder
of your sunshining wondrous

Picture found here.


Is it just me, or are the Fae, in fact, out in greater force than normal this cold December? Has the Wild Hunt, in fact, been out riding more frequently and with more force than is usual?

Driving home along Spout Run (admittedly, one of the most Fae-inhabited spots in DC) late Tuesday night, I had to roll up my car windows (which I usually keep down even in the coldest temps) and call loudly to Bride the Bright and Vesta the Virtuous in order to make it home to my own snug cottage. And, somehow, a part of me is, even still, wandering those chilly banks, trailing my cape and soaking my boots in those icy waters, finding myself irrevocably lost, twigs in my hair and dirt under my nails, as I look for the entrance to the hill from whence those dancing tunes still beckon. It's a killing cold, and, yet, and yet . . . .

And, tonight, standing for a moment in the bones of my winter garden, talking with the lovely crescent Moon, something suddenly chilled my blood. "My" fox walked out into the middle of the yard, stared at me and said, "Go. Inside. Now."

And so, I did.

Picture found here.

Apologies to Tolstoy

The amazing Theodora Goss writes that:
With apologies to Tolstoy, all A papers are A papers in their own way. They don’t just lack mistakes. They have something extraordinary about them, a level of engagement with the texts, a felicitous style. They grab and keep your attention, and it’s interesting to think about what does that. Usually, I think, it’s the student’s voice. The student already has an individual voice. The student is already thinking, and writing, in his or her own way. There’s an enormous pleasure in seeing something like that.

Shorter Ms. Goss: When it's done well, we cannot know the dancer from the dance.

I find that the same thing is true of a compelling legal brief; I spend almost as much time reading and editing briefs as I imagine Ms. Goss spends on student papers. And there's little that sends a thrill down my spine quicker than a well-written brief -- although it's painful if it's a brief directed against my position. Good legal writing is something that people like to pretend is an oxymoron. But good legal writing is, IMHO, some of the best writing that there is. It informs, persuades, and carries the reader along in an elegant and almost seamless manner from the initial question to what appears, by the end, to be the only possible conclusion.

How do you know good writing when you see it?

Picture found here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

Everybody, Take a Chill-Pill

Mercury in Retrograde


The day ended badly with a broken ankle,
a jinxed printer, and a dead car. The dry yellow grass
against the sunset saved me. Roosters

pranced across a lawn of shit, proudly plumed
in black feathers, bobbing before the gray goats.
It was the first day I saw god in the quiet,

and found a mustard seed was very small.
There I had been for years cursing “why?”
and all the gold in the sun fell upon me.

There was a white mare in the midst
of brown smog, majestic in the refinery
clouds. Even the radio wouldn’t work!

My mother limps and her hair falls out.
The faithful drive white Chevy trucks
or yellow Camrys, and I’m here golden

on the smoking shock-less bus.
I lost language in this want, each poem
dust, Spanish fluttered

as music across the desert, even weeds
tumbled unloved. The police sirens seared
the coming night, dogs howled helplessly

Lo I walk the valley of death, love
lingers in my hard eyes. Mañana never
comes just right. I mend myself in the folds

of paper songs, ring my paper bells
for empty success. Quiero Nada,
if I sing long enough, I’ll grow dreamlike
and find a flock of pigeons, white under
wings lifting awkward bodies like doves
across the silky blue-white sky.

Picture found here.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Dark Moon Commitment

It's the first really raw day of the season, even though we are, still, a few weeks out from the Winter Solstice.

Last night, I tucked G/Son in, and, just as he was falling asleep, he murmured, "Nonna, I hear the wind."

I said, repeating one of my most-used magical incantations, "Yes. It's windy and cold outside. And we're here, inside our snug cottage: safe, and warm, and dry. You're under warm covers and you have on soft pajamas. Safe and warm and dry." I rub his back while I say it, and all that I have goes into hoping that all his winters are thus. [I never claimed high magic; the hedge kind works for me.]

This morning, after I drop G/Son back at his house, I come home and begin to prepare for the Dark Moon. A December Dark Moon: windy, and cold, and raw. The wind is whipping the last several hundred leaves off of the oldest oak. The birds who know me best sit huddled in the now-leafless euonymous shrub by the deck, knowing that I will show up to put out seed. The grey and black squirrels, who are now feeding pregnant bellies, sit on the edge of the cedar fence, waiting for the peanuts that disappear mere minutes after I put them out. My garden is, by now, almost all bones.

And I, bent under how much reading and writing I have to do today for work, take off my coat, put on some ritual items, and begin to prepare a meal for the dark, three-headed Goddess of the Crossroads. And, all of a sudden, I am fully engaged, fully present, fully here, even if what I am here for is "mere" commitment. I take comfort in T. Thorn Coyle's discussion of the fact that:

“Even when you’re just going for maintenance, progress ends up getting made.” I remarked that this seemed true for any practice.

While riding my bike to my next appointment, I pondered this. Why was this true of so many things? Physical health, meditation, writing, dance, job skills…? What was it about maintenance that would end up facilitating growth? My answer was commitment. For all of these, we are making a commitment to ourselves and to our projects. We are stating that something is important enough for effort, and even if we aren’t going full out, we still end up building muscle, so to speak. We end up learning something. We are showing up to ourselves and for ourselves.

. . .

Someone once said, regarding the Pentacle of Autonomy that I write about in Kissing the Limitless, that he wasn’t sure everything began with commitment and then flowed into the rest of the points (honor, truth, strength, and compassion). Didn’t we sometimes start with desire, or something else? Here is one answer: It isn’t that commitment starts every single thing, it is that commitment starts the action of our will. Commitment starts the flow of deepening. It takes what might be a small impulse, or even a daydream, and makes the first step toward channeling this into manifestation. Commitment is the goad to our spirit, and the cheerleader, and the stalwart support. Commitment is the thing that keeps us showing up.

Mighty Mother of All Change! You who stand at the crossroads, You who look in all directions! When I am full of time to come to You and when I am overcome with work, when I am able to spend hours at Your feet and when the world is too much with me, Bright-Coiffed One of Liminal Space, You whom I meet whenever I work for change, Heroic Hecate, all my worship is Yours on this windy, Dark Moon Day.

Picture found here.

My Other Broomstick Is a Hybrid

Last night, looking to delay for a moment the inevitable pre-bedtime bath, G/Son wandered into my ritual room and picked up the fairy door on my altar. "Nonna, why fairies don't like people coming into their houses?"

I replied, "Well, I think they like their privacy; we wouldn't like it if people just wandered into our house right now, would we?"

G/Son said, "No," and picked up my sheathed athame, something that's been fascinating him his last few visits. He said, "Nonna, why at Halloween, you give witches three pieces of candy?" [All the other trick-or-treaters get two.]

I explained, "Well, I'm a Witch, and I really like witches."

G/Son: "Nonna, you're not a real witch." [We've had this talk before. Kids being kids, we'll keep coming back to it until G/Son works it out.]

Nonna: "Yes, I am, but I'm a different kind of Witch from the mean ones in stories. I'm a Witch because I honor the Earth. OK, if we hurry up our bath, we'll have time for some popcorn and one more Scooby Doo."

This morning, as we were driving back to G/Son's house, he noticed the gauge in my car that shows when the electric battery is charging up and when it's assisting the motor. At first, he thought it was the gauge for gasoline and that we were running out. I explained what it was and how the electric battery helped the car to use less gasoline and that this was good because gasoline pollutes, so I try to use as little of it as I can. I told him that my car is called a "hybrid" car.

G/Son: "Why you don't want to pollute?"

Nonna: "Because I am always trying to honor the Earth."

Silence for a bit. [I am certain G/Son is working on my explanation of how some plants are called hybrids and how a car can be a hybrid, too. I am pretty damn proud of what an intellectual influence I am on this kid.]

G/Son: "So you're a Witch because you drive a hybrid."

Nonna: "That's right."

Or, it's the other way around, but that's close enough for now. We'll save the whole "broomstick discussion" for another day.

As we were pulling into his driveway I said, "Your car is a hybrid, too." G/Son said, "No, Nonna. It's a Toyota. Daddy told me." No one in the world can remind me of how very much too seriously I take myself as fast as this golden-haired kid with freckles and Elvish blood.

Picture found here.

What, There Weren't Any Hungry to Feed or Sick to Cure?

Good grief, Charley Brown.

SOLDOTNA - An Alaska store owner says a wooden cross wrapped to the store sign in Soldotna was an unwelcome act of vandalism that goes against her pagan and spiritual beliefs.
The Peninsula Clarion reported 45-year-old Rondell Gonzalez arrived Thursday at her store, the Pye' Wackets on the Kenai Spur Highway, and found a makeshift cross about 7 feet tall attached to her business sign with plastic food wrap.
Gonzalez says she believes in spiritualism rather than organized religion. She also said her father fought and died in Vietnam for religious and personal freedoms.
Her store specializes in wellness and self-help books, candles, oils and crystals.
Soldotna police say it may be the first vandalism of a religious nature in Soldotna.

So loving and full of light, these xians.

I'll just point out that I can't think of any story in even recent memory involving, for example, pentagrams painted on the outside of a Christian bookstore.

But it's the Christians who are persecuted.

Picture found here.

Sunday Dance Blogging