Saturday, May 07, 2011

Saturday Poetry Blogging

Laughing Heart

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

~Charles Bukowski

Picture found here.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Bad Week for Pagans in DC

Jason Pitzl-Waters has an important and well-reasoned post at the Wild Hunt concerning The Washington Times' (known throughout DC as The Moonie Times) attempts to smear Pagans. If you haven't seen it, you need to go read it now. As Jason notes, just when you think the paper may be running out of bad things to say about Pagans:
they quickly turn to environmentalism, portraying it as a stalking horse for Paganism.
“Such [environmental] questions can only be raised in a politically correct military that may actually contain more Earth worshippers than imagined. Though cloaked in scientific terms, the tenets of global warming are essentially pagan. [Not going to even mention rules of capitalization.] This belief system, which cannot be questioned, [??] holds that material sacrifice – turn down your thermostat and trade in your light bulbs – will result in a change in the weather. It is the modern equivalent of a rain dance.

I have to say, that's a level of stupidity that simply boggles my mind. You don't have to be Pagan to believe that if you stop adding carbon to the atmosphere, global climate change can be ameliorated. It's as if they said:
Idiot Pagans! They think that putting seeds into the ground will make food grow! They think starting a fire will keep you warm! They think that drinking wine will alter your consciousness! Only crazy people imagine that making material changes in the material world will cause material changes in the material world [And I am a material girl. Sorry, can't help myself.] Duh, Pagans probably think putting pins in a poppet will cause someone to feel pain, too! Pagans are dumb.

And, as Jason's commenters point out, the Moonies have honestly not got much room for calling other religions weird.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post (aka The Kaplan Test Prep Rag) is busy trying to screw its Pagan employees:
The [Washington Baltimore Newspaper Guild Local 320350] also criticized a management request to ease restrictions on layoffs and reduce severance pay while eliminating a provision that allows employees to trade a traditional holiday for another recognized holiday if they choose:

Not Christian? Too bad. The Post would eliminate an employees' right to substitute a traditional paid holiday, such as Christmas, for another recognized holiday of their choice. This from a company whose editorial page often lauds the importance of diversity.

A Post spokesperson declined to comment on the raise, the proposed severance, and layoff changes or the holiday provision.

/hat tip: Atrios

I'd imagine the Post would be glad to get some folks who'd volunteer to work the Xmas shift (because they run ads publish 365 days a calendar year) in return for getting Samhein or Beltane off, but apparently not. Lally, one imagines, may take off whenever she likes.

Some days, the stupid, it burns.

Picture found here.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

All Acts of Love and Pleasure

In comments to my earlier posting of this YouTube below, Markarios makes some good points and I thought that I'd post my responses.

First, with Markarios, I agree with the speaker's first point: enshrining religious beliefs in a state constitution is not a good idea. However, watery Pisces and lover of legal prose that I am, I'm not sure exactly where the line gets drawn. I'd vote, were I in the legislature, for constitutional amendments that enshrine, for example, the rights of plants and animals to not be driven to extinction by human profit. I'd enshrine the rights of women to control their own bodies. I'd enshrine the rights of all people to engage in adult, consensual sex of their choice without government intervention. (Maybe "enshrine" is a bad word in this context; say "establish" instead.) And, to be honest, my commitment to those ideals springs from my religion. So while I don't agree that: "Because the Bible (the way some now interpret it) says homosexuality is bad!" is a valid reason to change the state constitution, and while I agree that: "Because the Charge of the Goddess says that all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess!" is not a valid reason to change the state constitution, I'm aware that religion sometimes influences the votes of the humans in the legislature. But, yes, like Markarios, I agree that the speaker's first point is the most valid.

Although the speaker is much more eloquent concerning his second point, which I'm about to discuss.

In the law (and I've no idea if this gentleman is a lawyer, or not, but, to my ear, he sounds like a good one), it's permissible, indeed often necessary, to "argue in the alternative." In other words, you can say to the court, "Look, my client did not pull the trigger. I've shown that with evidence A, B, and C. However, even if you find that he did pull the trigger, there are three reasons why he's still not guilty of this crime. First, . . . " And that's what I think the speaker is doing when he moves to: "the other thing . . ." and "what does it mean to the moral force of your arguments arguments if sexual orientation is god-given?" (You know how effective his argument is because his opponent jumps up and makes a jerk of himself saying, "Keep your applause to yourself." How does one even do that?) In other words, the speaker is saying, "First, we shouldn't enshrine religious beliefs in our Constitution. But, even if you believe that it's ok to do that -- to change the Constitution based upon your religious beliefs -- here's another reason why we shouldn't adopt this measure. We shouldn't adopt it because god keeps creating gay people, and how many gay people does god have to create before we accept that god wants them around?" In other words, the moral force of those "religious arguments" you've proposed is nil. So don't change the constitution based upon false religious beliefs, even if you think it's ok to change it based upon religious beliefs.

And to my lawyer's ear, that's ok. And to my lawyer's ear, it's ok to pull out your rhetorical guns against the argument you believe is most attractive to the person you're attempting to convince. And to my lawyer's ear, it's where this speaker's argument becomes so eloquent that it moves from mere prose to persuasive rhetoric, which can, in fact, stir people's souls and change their hearts. And, sometimes, their votes.

As to Markarios' other point, I had to smile, as I had dinner with a dear friend last night (her husband's homemade gumbo -- the nectar of the Gods!) and was making this very same point. I agree that sexual orientation, for the vast majority of the population, is innate. In the speaker's words, translated into mine, it's a "gift of the Goddess." I know that I didn't wake up one morning and decide to be "straight." I've heard from too many of the gay people I love how they spent nights on their knees praying "not to be gay" in a culture and religion that taught that there was little less acceptable than being gay. But I've also known people who engaged in whatever sex was available or approved at the time, whether that meant male homosexual sex in an all-boys' school or lesbian sex when (and this is how old I am) that was favored by feminists, and then went on to have lots of other kinds of sex.

Yet, importantly, I agree that, in my world at least, it should be irrelevant whether sexual orientation is innate (as it often is) or a "lifestyle" choice (as it can be). I don't believe that the government has any reason to tell any person what kind of adult, consensual sex is "Ok" or "sanctioned." And that's true regardless of the reason why that person chooses to engage in any kind of sex. But I also "get" that anti-discrimination laws are often based upon the fact that a person can't choose to be, for example, dark-skinned, or female, or differently-abled and, so, that makes it illogical and wrong to discriminate against them, as if the discrimination could cause them to change their "behavior."

And that brings me back to my religion. Because it's my religion that makes the sex act doctrinally important (well, the Christians seem to consider it important, as well, but for reasons that have nothing to do with what Jesus said and did and everything to do with patriarchy, control, fear, etc.) and freedom to practice all "rituals of the Goddess" free from government interference (especially because that government interference is often based upon (someone else's) religious beliefs) a really important point for me.

More to the point, I would sincerely love to hear more of the "people on our side" able to discuss these issues in a manner similar to this gentleman's discussion. (Good rhetoric backed by real belief.) I'm just embarrassed by Democrats who mouth some namby-pamby version (John Kerry and Barack Obama, I'm looking at you) of "I think marriage is a union between one man and one woman but I'd support blahhabhallahh and please don't hold this against me and could we please just change the subject?" And, in case ya'll haven't noticed, that's not working too well for you. The Christianists see through you and vote for your opponent and those on your side are dispirited. Grow up. Get some ovaries. Stand for something. Stand for sex-positive attitudes. Hell, could it hurt you worse than your Republican-Lite stance?

We're leaving the Age of Pisces (and I'm a Pisces) and moving into the Age of Aquarius. Humans are going to have to figure out some way to live in communities that don't share religious beliefs, even as we focus with laser-beam intensity on how to change the world. It's going to be interesting. I hope to hang around for a bit of it.

What do you think?

More interesting discussion here.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Queendom Come


/hat tip: Amanda Marcotte

The Mystical MidAtlantic

Tuesday Poetry Blogging

Barbara Starrett said:

I am a secret agent
Of the moon


Celestial subversive
Spirita Sancta


And then some.

And I have friends.

May you, too, have such friends.

Picture found here

Monday, May 02, 2011

(Almost) 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 heca tedemet ersdat ter@ hotm ail.c om. 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. I'll email you back your reading.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Month of "Yes, You May!"

Blessed Beltane to you. Wake at dawn and wash your face in the dew. Light the Beltane fires and make a deep wish when you jump them.

Can you make a divine mistake today? What?

Once more, this time with dragons!

Sunday Ballet Blogging