Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On Trials and Transitions

I was talking to a friend about his current trial he's going through with Coyote and he suggested other totems (such as mine, Crow) may be gentler. I said, All totems can be complete and utter dicks if they don't like what you're doing. I'm pretty sure even rabbit can be a dick. It's more a shamanic trial/rite thing verses an individual totem thing
but what they take will differ and what they want you to learn will differ. The point is to communicate in a way you understand and if it appears you don't understand, they'll hit you harder and harder until either:
a) You change
b) they get bored and wander off
c) They kill you

And then I thought, whoa! That's some godslave kind of talk like what's been going on in the blogosphere. I suppose, first off, the (c) part should be caveated with, if you don't do something with perhaps other deities to stop Them.

And I thought about my recent entry that forays into that whole mess. In there, I think I was mistaken for having no self esteem because I think the gods won't care enough to make dramatic forceful efforts into my life but what I was trying to convey was that I am realistic about my place in the universe. I may or may not write some books. I go to work. I love a lot of people. I try to be a good person. I don't really feel I have an earthshattering impact on this world but I also think like 90% of the populous is like that too to varying degrees, so I'm not really downing myself, I just don't think many of us are all that special though I love you just the same. My gods could totes kill me but . . .why? I mean, if I'm not picking up what they're putting down and/or resisting killing me is going to do . . .what? It's not like I'm a demon or doing evil, I'm pretty sure if I had a DESTINY I'd know by now and so far, not so much. Killing a worker bee to prove a point seems pretty silly . . .and not a trait I'd want a god I'm in a worship/parental/love/devotee/whatever relationship to have.

So, I've been thinking about that, what all that means. Part of it is about faith and part of it is about proof, imo. I'm not going to lie, when Crow gave me my last trial that I now lovingly call, It's Time to Grow Up, No Crying, my first thought wasn't omg! This is a trial! This is what's happening! It took a few weeks to sink in. But as Heather Nova sings, Security is the whore in me/ she never lets me fly, that was my theme song for most of my twenties, so needless to say when Crow essentially stated through action, "I'ma going to take away everything that's made you feel secure, what?" I knew how this would work.

I mean, my husband (who was a big source of my security, we spent our whole "grown up" life together) walked out on me with no real warning, leaving me to flounder for food and rent as he overdrew our bank account by a ridiculous amount, my healthcare was going to get cut off, my car died and then by the time it got broken into (with Christmas presents stolen), I was like oh shit. I know what's happening.

And I was mad, man! I was super mad! I didn't want all this shit taken away from me! I didn't want to have to borrow money from the Bank of M&M (mom and my sis), I didn't want to be a zombie for several months, I didn't want to feel like my heart had been broken in a million pieces and I really didn't want to be completely self sufficient to be honest because I hadn't been my whole adult life. I was mad enough that I wouldn't speak to Him for a couple months.

At the same time, I stopped struggling and did what I was told and started working on being a grown up hardcore because honestly? I didn't want to see what the next party trick was. This is where faith comes in. I had to believe that becoming an actual grown up was in my best interest, that's why my deities (who have parental power over me) took shit away from me, just like parents take away naughty teenagers car keys and iPhones.

And it was in my best interest, in about six months my life got much better and in two years it's like waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than it was. I'm self sufficient, in charge of my own health care, a homeowner, have a stronger spirituality, stronger relationships all around, have had things published and am getting a decent sense of self and learning to love my body and stop being mean to it as well as cultivating a feeling of gratefulness and thankfulness for what I have and working on fixing some things that weren't good about me.

But bad shit stopped happening to me when I stopped saying LALALALALALALALALA!!!!!!! I'M GOING TO KEEP DOING STUPID SHIT!!!! When I stopped doing stupid shit, there were cookies. I guess at the end of the day, that's what defines a non-godslave relationship to me. If your parents are mad at you for flunking algebra and take your car keys and iPhone so you get your shit together and get an A and their reply is to smack you in the mouth, that's abuse. Because, wtf? That reaction makes no sense, you did what they asked, not failing algebra was in your best interest according to your parents and you want to go to college and all so why would you get punched in the mouth for that? And no, your parents aren't always going to buy you a car for a good job, sometimes it's just a pat on the head and a good job, sport but it shouldn't be a smack in the mouth either.

Quid quo pro, Clarice. If I am doing what you asked of me, I expect *something* to get better, especially if I'm trying with all my heart. As we say in my grove, I have a bottom feeder relationship with my gods. I don't expect things to be good all the time, but if I'm working my hardest and praying my hardest, I need *something* whether it's surprise pizza dinner party or a change in perspective. I can't get crapped on forever and just take it. It may not happen tomorrow, or next week or next month, but it should be something that you can see progressing after a few months of shit or you need to get the fuck out.

It's not an equal relationship. At the same time, don't let Them make you Their bitch.

But business is business and business runs in the family/ We tend to bruise easily, mad in the blood . . .

Yesterday was a bad day for my mother, sister and me. The details are personal, but most of the time we fight like typical Italians do - fast, hard, loud, mean and with forgiveness quickly following. Yesterday for a multitude of reasons, I think we all saw how fragile even the strongest threads could get. I was miserable, I left work early, I had been crying all day and felt sick to my stomach worried that some of the things said just . . .couldn't be forgiven.

Then where would I be? The idea of being untethered from my mom and sister was unbearable, we had been through so much together and we always loved each other through it, even if we didn't agree with each other. The amount of love and support I received from them was unmeasurable, to be without that was unthinkable, there would always be a huge gaping hole in my heart. While for once the issue wasn't about me per se, I could see things unraveling and while I tried to have the conversation reasonably, too much flew out of my mouth when I got heated and while I apologized to my sister and then things managed to escalate further, I was feeling cast adrift.

Jow and I went to the grocery store, one we didn't usually go to. It had an impressive amount of candles to all sorts of saints and the big JC and Mary. I had privately thought I would have liked to have done all sorts of spellwork to remedy the situation in a way I found favorable but I knew I was mad and hurt and that this mess was so deep, I knew in my heart I wouldn't even *know* what the right outcome was. The candles were on sale, only a $1.15 each, I grimly asked Jow if any of them could do :::lots of unnecessarily snarky suggestions::. While there was a Certain Saint who probably could, She and I don't have a great reaction to each other and she doesn't get along overly well with one of my patrons.

I stared at the candles dumbly and I thought about how I wasn't Catholic anymore, my sister was lapsed, but my mom still was devout. Who would be interested in hearing my family problems after I had left the Church anyway? I couldn't even manage a relationship with St. Expedite. Jow pointed out how Mary loves everyone and doesn't seem to care much if you take up with pagan gods, She just wants your family life to be good. And I thought about how dysfunctional and difficult her family life must have been ("Sooooooo. . . .um, there was angel and not only did He have something to tell me but . . .") and how faithful and calm She had always been. I thought about the GoG Crowning of Mary and how I still felt at home there. I thought about my mom and how she tried to emulate Mary in raising two hellion daughters as best as she could. I hesitated between Traditional Mary and Our Lady of Guadalupe. I liked the prayer on OLoG candle better and Jow pointed out that She is the Virgin Mary of the Americas. I also figured the current family drama was a lot of Standard Ethnic Drama so the "translation" wouldn't be hard. I later learned that She's associated with being somewhat of a riot girl and synchronization with other previous goddesses which is a good fit for me.

I got home and I said the prayer and lit the candle on our altar. We went about our business making dinner and a few hours later, my mom had spoken to my sister and my sister had texted me and my mom called me and in the typical dysfunctional round robin my family uses to solve problems, things were better. Sincere apologies were exchanged and laundry was aired. We're on the same page with Mary burning brightly in the background of all of it and I feel whole again and I felt my heart open up to be more compassionate, to be kinder. I shyly told my mom that I had lit a novena candle to Mary and said a prayer to her and now things were better. She sounded happy when she said, prayer always works. I think she understands that she doesn't understand how my faith works, but somewhere in there there's still a piece she understands.

All of this for $1.15 at the grocery store reminds me sometimes all you need is your heart on your sleeve for magic to work.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Little altars everywhere

I've been meaning to post this for a while, but I got distracted by something shiny and Jenna being preggo on Degrassi. Previously, we had tiny altars everywhere taking up just about every conceivable surface of our house. Jow pushed for consolidation but I resisted for a while because I didn't know how it would work out and I fear change. But the promise of easy accessibility to our magical components won over my lizard brain. Also, we didn't consolidate everything everything.

First, let's start with some failure. Like many things, our wealth altar started with really good intentions and being all excited from Jason Miller's lecture on wealth. But we soon came to realize:

a) As neither of us are Catholic anymore and also lazy, we sucked at starting a new relationship with St. Expedite.
b) We also aren't terribly good with Chinese deities.
c) Perhaps the wealth altar facing a wall and often forgotten because of its shitty placement in the house is not the best.

Behold! Our failure!

So we decided to keep using the money box which had been working well and is on our new altar, continue using the money hand Jason had made for me (I named her Ali 'cause she is part alligator hand), remember to water our prosperity plants (desert roses) and utilize additional spellwork (honeypot, mojo hands, etc) and um . . . comment dit-on hit up the deities we already have relationships with for money as needed.

We have at the tippy top of one of our bookcases a place we call Skull Head Island, for reasons that should be readily apparent. Death from Sandman lives there, Creepy Doll recently took up residence and the two clay sugar skulls we won at GoG Samhains live there as well.

My altar to Yemaya remains a full altar as she is one of my main two patrons (Crow has His own too, but I didn't take a pic for some reason). Ali lives downstairs from Yemaya on the saucer holding the table together/pied-à-terre.

On my vanity table, I have a small v. pink altar space for my charm/Charm bracelet which also houses one of my personal demons (she's a Gluttony demon) that I work with.

My altar to the Goddess remains separate because Her statue is huge!

The window sill in Spare Oom is where the nature spirits/house fae hang out.

I have a little bedside altar which has super important religious texts as you can see, and a mini shrine to the Holy Family, teeny Crow and Goddess statue (I have a Yemaya one on my window sill).

I also have a little part of my kitchen counter space dedicated to kitchen witch work with the cauldron I co-opted from Jow and my housewives tarot deck. In this pic, I was burning my candle for my honeypot.

And finally, the new and improved central altar! It's actually a baker's rack and working out super well. The top shelf houses our Hindu deities we work with, middle shelf is the Greek deities we work with, third shelf is our working space, bottom rack is our ancestor altar and then the two baskets hold magical components.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Your Magic and Your Washer Machine

When speaking with Jow, I realize I often feel uninspired and unintelligent compared to the rest of the Mad Boy Scientist Club (MBSC).

I have to admit it very plainly, I don't take shit apart just to see how it works and then attempt to either: put it back together or put it back together BUT BETTER. Let's talk about my washer machine. It does wash. I don't feel like I need to take it apart and know it intimately to validate its ability to do my laundry. I put my clothes in, they come out clean, fin. I don't really feel the need to upgrade it to be a thermonuclear reactor too.

It's sort of how I feel about magic. If it's working, it's working and . . .I don't feel like I need to be knee deep in its viscera to believe that. However! If my washer machine stops working right or starts making alarming noises, you can be damn sure that I'm googling "what the fuck is wrong with my washer machine" and trying to figure out how to fix it. Perhaps, this is a *reactive* approach to magic in general verses a *pro-active* approach to magic and naughty and whatnot but . . .it's how I am. See: The World is My Poorly Fed Seamonkey Tank. I just . . .don't care enough most of the time to get deeper in. I mean, I have to be honest, my brain needs plenty of room to be occupied with the latest friend scandal and what's going on in Degrassi.

I honestly didn't think I had what one would call strong . . .faith in general. I'm a suspicious, cynical person and my generation was taught first that it was cool to be that way and then that it wasn't. Like, last year someone sent the memo that it's not cool anymore to be jaded. At 31, I can only do so much to fix that. But I guess in some strange ways, I do have faith. I believe in my washer machine and my magic enough that I don't really need a complicated system for shit to work. But it's interesting to see these differences in a scientific approach verses a faith approach, Jow and I gently butt heads about this all the time. He gets all excited to learn some kind of random minuta about something that frankly he'll likely never use and I know more than I ever really needed to know about The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

And . . .I guess, that I have enough Catholic programming that I don't feel like I'm constantly in this antagonistic GM/player relationship with God Herself. I don't need to constantly be getting one over on Her due to some kind of paper pushing error that allows me to do so. I don't collect my arete that way, I just don't. And . . .it bothers me when something sacred is treated like a party game. I'll never forget an occult event afterparty I was at where someone had managed to get the ability to ordain through some kind of loophole and he came in with a bottle of beer in one hand and a bottle of olive oil in the other and gleefully said, Who wants to get ordained tonight!

Yes . . .we were at an occult party but let me be frank. Just about everyone there was three sheets to the wind and waaaaaay more concerned with who they were bedding that evening than receiving sacred orders and watching the barrage of giggling drunk girls go to receive theirs just made me ill inside. Because, knowing a good number of those people in question, it didn't matter to them (with a notable exception who did treat it seriously, he knows who he is), it was just another merit badge to collect. It wasn't about what to do with it afterwards, it was about sticking it to The Man.

I received my Reiki training from two renegade Reiki masters who didn't believe that Reiki should cost you a small fortune to receive, though they both paid their dues for it. I thought about it strongly both times (receiving first Reiki I and then II). It was almost a year in between I and II for me. I used it, I thought about what it meant to me to have it, what I could do with it. Admittedly, I didn't follow up with getting formal training as I always meant to, but I use both all the time. Both initiations were deeply meaningful experiences to me and though *technically* I did receive Reiki III, I would never go to a party and randomly pass out attunements.

I don't have a lot of the baggage with Catholicism that some others do. I think coming from a practice that started as a very small child and then making my peace and breaking off from the Church, I don't want to try to find loopholes to get at their tasty Catholic magic because . . .I'm not Catholic anymore. JC as much as I do revere Him is not on my altar. When I left, I left which meant leaving behind everything that could have happened for me magically with Catholic magic. For some people, the line isn't so clear in a good way, they can use both a more pagan magic and a Catholic magic together (as santeria sometimes does) but I haven't been able to meld the two. And if I can't make my washer machine won't wash *and* dry my clothes, I need to move on and let it just wash my clothes.

I don't want to put in the time, energy and sacrifice to become a saint to get a saint's powers and frankly I don't expect to get them by finding a loophole to get at them. For yet another dig at Tim Ferris, his pleased recounting about how he got better grades in college because he would wear down some poor barely paid teacher's assistant until s/he acquiesced to him makes me ill. Maybe that's the way the world does work, but I don't want the things I've earned to come to me that way. I don't want to bully my way into blessings at other people's expense. It's gross to me and I just . . .won't. When I ran my own business, I had to make a lot of decisions about what would happen at my events and I am incredibly proud to say that I never compromised my integrity and what I believed in along the way.

For me, I see magic as a simple input output. Sacrifice = power. How much are you willing to sacrifice for your power?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Patchwork Soul

I generally will be open to discussion and debate about a lot of stuff ranging from politics to food to shit my mom wants me to consider and generally willing to change aspects of my opinion due to more education and intellectual discussion as well as said topics just rattling around in my head. This breaks down whenever we get into the idea of the soul not being one piece. Don't get me wrong, I think it's perfectly fine for *you* to have more than one soul a triple aspected reclaimist buddhist thing of wonder, I'm sure, but I'm not interested.

I tried the triple aspected soul thing through Thorne's Reclaimist theory and I really wanted to believe it. Jow would try to re-explain all the . . .stuff about a stickyself and I don't even remember the other parts to be honest and I would try to process it. But at the end of the day, I felt a resounding, nope.

I'm usually (despite strong opinions) pretty go with the flow and open to discussion, but this is like when the part of my yoga dvd tells me to let my mind be a distant observer, my brain just locks that shit down. Jow finds this curious as to why I'm so reluctant to consider . . .this soul being a patchwork of shards of different lives all converging to this one new soul or whatever.

I just don't believe it on a visceral level. I guess this is where my vague Shamanic training and experiences become less vague and more absolute. The way a Shaman sees a soul (at least as it's cobbled together in my brain) is that you have this one soul being that's the you that (for me) lives in my stomach. It doesn't need crazy amounts of enlightenment and book learnin' and meditation, it's going to sit there and be. And sometimes it does stuff - dreams, spirit walks, falls apart a little, etc. And when shit falls apart, you have specific ways of fixing it.

Maybe you go through a trial where the gods and your spirit guides throw shit at your stubborn head until you get what they're saying and that it's important. For me, a trial has never been AND NOW YOU WILL DO WHAT YOUR LORDS YOU GODS HAVE DEEMED AND I WILL KEEP HITTING YOU HARDER UNTIL YOU COMPLY.

As an aside, going with the whole gods argument I've been vaguely following, I side with RO's general outlook on the matter and go a little further with, seriously? You think you are that important in the scheme of the world, you, ant #656 who lives in NJ that your gods are going to spend a whole lot of time FORCING THEIR WILL UPON YOU UNTIL YOU COMPLY oooooooor are they going to find someone who is more pliant and less of a pain in the ass and/or really focus on bothering people who are changing the entire chess game (here's a hint, that's probably not you)? I mean, frankly, I don't seen MY DESTINY as being important enough for my gods to have anything more than a parental reciprocal relationship - I make them mud pies and cry about what I want and say thank you for feeding me and sometimes as they are bigger and have more stuff they will then halp me or let me flounder if I need to be taught a lesson and/or irritated them a lot that week with my piddling requests and/or I dinged their car. I mean, what do I do in a day? I try (try) to be nice and not bite, I go to work, I make dinner, I spin yarn, I watch like five episodes of Degrassi, maybe a small magic working or creative endeavor and I call it a day. This . . .is not the stuff of need for EPIC GOD INVOLVEMENT really.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnyway. So as my life does not require EPIC GOD INVOLVEMENT, neither do my trials. My trials can be painful, don't get me wrong, but I think it's more like, No. No, Marge. We are going to let her put her little hand in that hot water. It's not boiling and we've told her no a million times and tried giving her a little whack with a wooden spoon on the hand and saying no bad, but she keeps doing it anyway. Let her learn. And then I'm like, OMFG! OOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW! That's hot!!!!!!!! And then I think perhaps my gods do an I told you so dance. This usually translates more directly as, you're not headed in the right direction in your life, killer. Here are some signs so you can think about what you're doing. And being slightly older and slightly wiser by the second sharp whack across my knuckles with a wooden spoon, I'm like, okay, okay I get it. Stop hitting me! Jeez. And then I work really hard on figuring out what I'm supposed to do and get some kind of Scooby snack for my effort.

I'm not a great or even good spirit walker. I can do a little before bed but generally it needs to be spoon fed to me through my dreams where it's very, DEB! THESE ARE YOUR GODS SPEAKING! PAY ATTENTION! YOU NEED TO HEAL THIS THING/WRITE MORE/THINK ABOUT THIS. Sort of like when your mom gets on your case about buckling down about something. I can chose to not follow their advice, but typically it's at my own peril. Not because THEY WILL END ME FOR MY INSOLENCE but because they're usually annoyingly right and not following their advice ends up with me learning my lesson the hard way and the Told You So dance.

I also feel like, okay, if I have this one soul that's had many lives, maybe I have a shot at fixing some things this life. Not everythang, but some things and maybe next life I can fix a couple more and so on and such forth. It seems perplexing to me to attempt to fix like sixty shards' problems that hold like eighty past lives each. I like things linear and organized and frankly no one can empirically tell me otherwise so I figure if I want to believe we're all sort of like Daxes (or fine, a Doctor), only like . . .human and not a conscious continuous memory stream of past lives, it's my prerogative.

It also makes sense to me as U2 sings, "and you give yourself away" in terms of your soul. You give people big and small pieces knowing and not knowing it all the time. Sometimes you give people too much and you need to reconfigure and sew yourself back together, ideally finding the pieces you gave away and need back. But to me, as someone who also sews, it's sort of the difference between cutting up one piece of fabric and reassembling it and getting a stack of fat quarter quilting blocks and assembling that. As you can see, it's not the same fabric. This is where I find Thorne to be *extremely* helpful and I find myself back on the same page with her with the Iron Pentacle Meditation which has helped me immensely to piece stuff back together.

Right now? I'm piecing myself back together and it's a boring laborious process requiring magic, journaling, talking, more talking and a lot of exhaustion. But I know it will be worth it when I feel myself again and can go back to my usual Stepford wife/Courtney Love hybrid where I can smile at you while I'm cooking poison into your soup.

Chop wood, carry water.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I am who I am who I am who I am/ Requesting some enlightenment/ Could I have been anyone other than me?

Gather around, my children of the corn, it's time for a personal statement of purpose. I'm not talking a magical one, though my PEH summed up my magical one quite nicely as radical practicality. We're talking about me.

Some magicians/occultists/your cat who does magic/whatever would prefer to see magic more as science, factual by results and comforting through the written word. But here's the thing, nothing is unbiased. Not science, certainly. After all science once believed the sun circled the earth, men were smarter than women due to brain weight and that people of color were empirically less intelligent than white people.

Not you, not me, not anyone is unbiased. When you step into your magical circle, into the forest, into the kitchen, you don't magically shed your biases. Neither does anyone else. Susan doesn't stop being mad at you for boning her husband, Alan doesn't stop thinking that you're a cheapskate because you always bring dessert and never a main dish for feast, etc., etc, etc.

Where I am going with this is that a big part of who I am as a person is a feminist (in case the Dianic Wicca part didn't tip you off). I got my college degree in Women's Studies. I've worked for and been paid by the National Organization for Women. I'm part of the Amethyst Circle of Sisters (my Dianic group). And when I do magic and when I write about magic, this doesn't turn off.

I am the first to say I come from a place of privilege - I'm a white middle class American citizen and I do constantly examine my place of privilege. But that also means I'm constantly contemplating others' privileges and the places I come from that aren't privileged when I am treated as lesser for my less privileged aspects. And I can't shut that off. Jow and I have had many discussions about privledge, to the point that he can recognize when Not Cool Shit is Going Down. And it can be a drag. We were minding our own business watching Warehouse 13 when he said, "Oh man, it's totally happen on my show! Noooooooooooooo! There are these three women of color who have magical capabilities and are bad ass in their own right but here it is, random white dude coming in to supervise and he's not even magical! Why is he in charge? Oh man! I can't shut this off! I can't stop seeing it! Grrrrrrrr!"

And for some of us who have spent a lot of time examining our own privledge and all the ways big and small various people get treated as lesser, that's exactly what it is. I can't shut it off. Not just because we're talking about magic and here in our safe little corner of the blogosphere people have disagreements and hissy fits but we all respect each other as equals, not because it makes you uncomfortable, not because you don't want to talk about it here, not because some of my experiences of being treated like crap by my so called magical brothers and sisters make you feel awkward. Never. I can't shut it off until everything's right when it comes to race/gender/sexuality/class/ableism and um that's not going to happen any time in my life time in all likelihood, sadly.

And you don't have to like it or agree and you don't have to read me if it bothers you, you can't all like me or love me as charming as I am. But it's not going away in any of my writing. And some of my bias *is* when it comes to the larger occult community and higher magic, because of how I've been treated there. Maybe the "battle" about how people treat each other magically and who is respected more than who due to their lineage and teachings is over for you and that's cool. But it's not over for me, I still fight it every day. I still get treated like I do Barbie magic every day of my damn life (among other things) and I won't pretend the battle is over to make you feel comfortable. Because you know what? It's not over for me and that's my experience which is as valid as yours. This blog is about my magical experience and my views on privilege is part of it.

Don't get me wrong. I got upgraded to Business Class for the first time and dear goddess, it's awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwesome! There's, like, as much booze as you can pour down your throat in a three hour flight, more leg room, as much tv as you want to watch, bejeweled to play, food, real actual good food that's not chock full of fat and served on plates. Who the hell would willingly want to give it up? There are some feminists who would argue that one must in order to be a good global citizen. I don't think it's possible though, honestly. What I *do* think is possible is to be honest with yourself about your privilege, to examine it and to realize that just because you may see Ted as Ted, not Ted the gay black dude, that doesn't mean that Ted feels the same way. Ted may see you as Arnold the white dude who is my friend but gets out of traffic violations much easier and has a larger dating pool and has not been disowned by his family for being who he is.

It's the instinct of many to want to downplay others' negative experiences from being treated as lesser, whether on the street or in the work place or in the magical community because man, you're not like that. But it's much harder to consider that just because *you* aren't like that doesn't mean that Ted doesn't get treated like shit in big and small ways in a lot of other places. And to my mind, the best way to deal with your privilege isn't to fall on your knees and apologize for others' douchebag reactions even if you have a lot of privilege personally. The right thing to do isn't to tell Ted that he's being too sensitive either and people aren't like that anymore. The best thing, the most right thing you can do from your place of privledge is simple. You say, Wow, Ted. That really sucks. I'm sorry you had to go through that. And hug him if that's your thing.


Friday, August 13, 2010


Okay, I've held my tongue for a while now. I've asked people who are into him to explain what they see in him. I attempted to see it. I attempted some of his suggested exercises. But I can't hold it in any longer.


1.If Tim Ferriss wasn't already on my sh*t list to begin with, he is now. He totally ripped off Katt Williams about haters! Sure it's all nicey nicey white boy business lingo, but the point is the same that Katt's been making better and funnier and more succiently for yeeeeeeeeeeeeeears (with more cussin'). Booooooooooooo!

If you want to get in touch with your star playa, go here (again, lots of cussin')





2. I tried taking a friend's general advice about reading crap (i.e. read it in the bathroom where you crap anyway) and I can't even get through the book there. I'm sure he'll be thrilled to have me among his haters, I can't even articulate talking about him without getting into a frothing feminist rage.

3. None of his teachings that I've read have had *any* bearing on my life. He has *no* clue what it means to be really honestly middle class though the re-write claims to. He is so chock full of privilege it makes me want to kick him in the shins. I tried outsourcing small projects. You know what? I COULDN'T AFFORD IT! Not even using third world labor, etc. He slimes his way past the rules, he treats everyone in his life as a lamprey time sucker (yeah, I'm sure that makes you an awesome friend, family member, etc), he claims everyone can be part of the new rich by working less but um I'm paid BY THE PIECE LIKE A FREELANCE SWEATSHOP LABORER so how *that's* going to work is beyond me, he claims to not be part of the "rich walking dead" but is constantly talking about goals such as getting an ASTIN MARTIN and how everyone could use an extra 500K a year. Sure, it's true, everyone could. But man, I am *no where* never a six figure salary. So okay Timmy, for us hourly people who have no commission how exactly are we supposed to make more with less work? If I pranced up to my boss in this economy demanding that, you know what I'd be? FIRED. It's all well and good for him to tell us to do that when he's made MILLIONS in a good economy to fall back on. I don't have shit to fall back on but my skills. I'm grateful I have enough skills to support myself without disability, with fibromyalgia but none of my skills are going to net me a posh salaried job that I could manage to work without killing myself in the process which doesn't seem to land me in the "new rich" category.


That is all.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I don't know what he meant to me/ I just know he affected me/ an affect not unlike his art/ I believe . . .

ADF has confirmed that Isaac Bonewits has passed this morning. I didn't know him well, but I did know him a little. I attended his lectures, etc. Years ago, when I was a much more nubile young pagan, my grove decided it would be fun to have him sign bits of us like a rock star at a pagan picnic. He signed my side. I think that picture will be resurfacing shortly, at my grove's Lammas if nothing else.

I have been away a lot in the last couple weeks, I need to catch up on the blogosphere. I've been dealing with a lot of stressful life stuff, I will likely blog about the magic aspects of it here in a separate post.

I'm leading Lammas for GoG which is part of ADF. In January, the idea was to do something fun, a carnival theme, it was before things started going awry. When speaking about it again a month or two ago, the senior druid (SD) and I started talking about the theme being A Carnival of Sacrifice with the tagline being, Sacrifice, hooray! As it got closer and Isaac got worse and the general weather in many of the grove's heads got cloudier, we quietly packed up the carnival idea.

I started getting instruction from a deity I didn't recognize. Usually deities show themselves in a dream or I get enough cues that I could put it together. He (I was at the time pretty sure he was a he) had specific requests: lots of bread, cheese, branston pickle, and sacrifice. I was like, um, that's not a ritual per se with a v. small hot kitchen. ::radio silence:: Hoooooooookay.

I started researching sacrifice from an ADF standpoint and while it was informative from a historical standpoint and why we're not supposed to do public blood sacrifice/juggle hedgehogs, it wasn't helping me until I got to the wicker man part.

I started thinking how lots about how festivals do huge wicker men (like Burning Man) and I started thinking about how we could maybe do tiny handsized wicker poppets symbolizing the sacrifices we each made through the year and then ask for something back from our gods.

I wasn't sure if my SD would go for it. I insisted on Jamaican food for our pre-planning meeting because I felt we needed to eat at a place that serves goat for this rit. We talked, we figured out that the god in my head was Cernunnos which she found pretty funny on a lot of levels:

1. My Wiccan experience is strictly *not* dickly - Dianic. So we really always glossed over the whole Great God aspect as in, we ignored Him. So I've always expressed curiosity about the whole Great Rite/Stick in Cup/Co-ed Circle thing, but have never managed to make it one. My Dianic circle's crone and my SD think it's funny that it's honestly a product of being third wave/never having to fight The Man in a Wiccan context that I only have the vaguest idea about all of that, so it makes me a pretty blank slate when it comes to Cernunnos.

2. I'm vague at best when it comes to Celtic stuff. I can't keep who's who straight in my head, how to say the names, what story is what. The only thing that has stuck at all is The Morrigan and it's still a pretty foreign concept, this idea that Cernunnos and The Morrigan isn't (1) deity per se, it's more like a job title and it's a bunch of horned deities and battle chicks who work for Cernunnos, Inc. and The Morrigan-Co.

But, I got a similar signal as Buffy did in the original movie, when Cernunnos' name came up as a possible deity to work with, everything inside me heaved. I don't typically feel a damn thing or see anything magically, it's not where I excel. I wanted to be more visceral in my magical pursuits, I guess He figured it doesn't get more visceral than that. I felt the light bulb click on as I felt the oxtail move in my stomach, so victory I guess. We decided on the likely course of action for the rit would be to make a traditional bread man with a hole inside him for all of us to put joss paper in for the holiday/sacrifice/asking something of the gods/etc and then burning the breadman vessel. It will be much less time intensive than making a bunch of small wicker people and safer for the fire.

I found it interesting that the SD shied away from the idea of sacrifice some, probably due to a lot of unpleasant mandatory connotations in a bunch of religious context. I don't want to make anyone do anything they don't want to and I am a *huge* fan of the "pass" option in a religious context but I also don't want to water down what the intent here is. I'm not going to make anyone do anything, at the same time "sacrifice" is a very large concept. You sacrifice just to show up, you know? I'm not going to make this a druidic holy roller drag of a rit but sacrifice *is* part of the ADF rit and we've been downplaying it in my grove for a long time. It will be interesting and there will be a group planning meeting for the rit this Sunday, so that will help get a stronger grasp on everything and where the larger group's collective head is. If you don't care enough to show up for the planning meeting then don't bitch about the rit is our grove's unofficial motto.

On a more personal level, there's been a lot of stuff going on in my personal life that has brought up a lot of personal baggage for me, mostly stuff to do with being comfortable in the body I'm in. Since the divorce, my self confidence and my self image have plummeted a lot and I haven't fully recovered.

I didn't really need to get into a whole post-divorce slutting around phase, it wasn't anything particularly new or interesting to me. So I didn't get a lot of sudden stranger validation like a lot of new divorcees get (Jow said my reaction was to hiss and basically be like, YOU'RE ONLY INTERESTED BECAUSE YOU THINK I'M VURNERABLE AND LIABLE TO MAKE BAD CHOICES RIGHT NOW BY SLEEPING WITH YOU! BACK OFF!),

Also, I'm trying to get rid of my post-divorce baggage hardcore. Because, I still have a version of myself that's keeping me down - The Bad Wife Who Did Everything Wrong and Drove My Wasband to Madness and Divorce. And fuck a whole lot of that. I took responsibility for the things I did wrong in the marriage and how to become a better person, as the always lovely Sars said, just because someone hands you a bag of rocks doesn't mean you have to carry it. And I've been carrying that bag of rocks for almost two years now. I'm going to make a small wickergirl dressed as The Bad Wife Who Did Everything Wrong and Drove My Wasband to Madness and Divorce. Then I am going to mother. fucking. burn her in my cauldron and keep moving. I'm too fabulous for this shit.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Date, Shamate.

Okay so *technically* Lammas was yesterday. But I honestly tend to believe more what my grove believes which is our peasant punk asses probably had what could be liberally called a loose grasp on the calendar year. Holidays were based on what was supposed to happen agriculturally and then when you had a minute you said, yay! And had a peasant party about it.

To further enable all of you dilettantes, it can be argued that Lammas actually comes from the Welsh phrase Gŵyl Awst which can be liberally translated to "Festival of August". So really, you have all month to pull your shit together because let's be real, it was based off of whenever you were done hauling all the grain in and whenever that happened, it happened.

Going from what my PEH said, feel free to use it as an excuse to poke around your farmer's market. I did! I bought some pretty fresh flowers for $4 and tasted some locally made cheese. It was fab. Also, wheat beer drinking, it's for religion, n'est-ce pas? Also? A great time to bust out the bread maker, go carb crazy!

But there is more to it potentially, if you would like though you of course have the right to say "pass" here as you would in any of my religious gatherings. In the Dianic School of thought, we've taken it to be interpreted as an Amazon holiday because you need to "believe in hard ship/ and hard shit" if you're going by the view of the holiday that while it is no fun to die for your crops even though you'll come back, it's also not terribly fun to kill your lover-consort who you are presumably fond of for the good of the land and the people either.

At the end of the day, Lammas is about sacrifice. It's sacrificing to bring in your crops and hopefully not starve to death over the winter. It's sacrificing yourself for the good of the land. It's killing your lover for the good of the people. That's a pretty hardcore holiday.

It's unlikely that you're going to need to kill your lover or die for the land and you probably don't haul crops in every day to not starve in your life. But you do sacrifice, every day. Christianity often asks one to reflect on the big JC's sacrifice, which was indeed big, but I invite you to really think about what you've given up this year in the name of (familial/friendship/relationship) love. The time you've sacrificed, the money, the annoyance. What did you harvest from it? What does it feel like to willingly sacrifice for those you love? What Amazonic feats of strength have you shown in the face of adversity? When have you done what's right, even when it was hard? When did you give something up to help someone else?

I know you all have. It's important to reflect on this and to reflect on what it means to do this really and truly *willingly* and to reflect on how you can give the things you chose to give (time, love, attention, money, etc.) more willingly in the coming year.

And then pat yourself on the ass (what do you think you'd be doing after hauling in all that grain?), have a beer and chow down on some of that bread. Extra butter please.