Wednesday, June 12, 2013

30 Days (or so) meme: Why I am Pagan

Well, I figured it's high time I joined in the 30 Days meme.  That's me - join in after everyone else had done it and moved on.   Plus, it's hard for me to talk about my beliefs.  Faith is such a personal, private thing. 

So...I've got the headphones on and Voltaire's singing Oh Lord.  Let's rock this thing, shall we?      

Day 1 - Why Paganism?

Short answer?  It's one of the few faiths I explored that allowed me to be myself.  It also allows for the mystery of the world to be real, without excusing it as simply being an illusion. 

When I was a kid, we went a nearby Cumberland Presbyterian church.  Except for my grandmother, we weren't a very religious bunch.  Church was just Something You Did.  I remember Sunday School could be interesting - the older kids would start talking to the teacher about the latest horror movies they've seen or something they did during the week.  Surely, we worked through the lessons but I don't remember them.
I do remember some of the mystery of the church.  I remember at Easter when the "juice and crackers" were passed around.  The preacher would talk about how they were the body and blood of Jesus but whenever I saw them, they'd change back into crackers and grape juice.  I also remember constantly looking up at the sky because I had been told "God is watching you!"  It was like always being under the gaze of a third parent was way more stern than my mom or dad.  He'd send me away forever just because he didn't like something I did.
When I hear about seeing the world as a child would, this is what I think about.  Never did catch a glimpse of that guy that was always watching, either.

I started questioning things when I was about twelve.  My parents had divorced two years before and my dad was going to a Southern Baptist church.  I did. Not.  Like. It.  AT ALL.  There was no mystery.  No wonder.  Just a bunch of people who came to See and Be Seen.  Oh yeah, there was some guy standing up front talking about how we were all wrong too. 

This was also about the time I began walking the woods behind our house after school.  I couldn't wait to get home every day because I had a good three hours before my got home from work and I could go looking for a mystery.  I would have at least one cat journeying with me, usually more.  The trees were my friends.  I once followed the path of a turkey vulture flying overhead and found a spot I had never visited that was very sacred and magical.  The pawpaw tree growing through a pile of rocks was a faery mound.  Where did the water in the spring come from and were there caves in the bluffs at the top of the hill?  Where would they go if I found them?  What lived in the woods besides the cows and deer?  (I longed to catch a glimpse of Bigfoot but hoped I wouldn't too.)  The world was alive and full of joy.        

This is why I'm Pagan.  Now, not only the world but the universe is alive and full of joy.  The sky is full of bright, distant stars but it is part of the body of Her as well.  The sun is not simply a flaming ball of gas but it is also Ra on His Barque, protected by Set and Khnum as it travels through the Underworld at the end of the day.  At the same time, I sit vigil every Yule so the Sun will rise. 

Someone has to.  If the world forgets its stories, it forgets its reasons for being alive.  Life just becomes drudgery, a ceaseless routine of colorless chores.  I don't want that to happen on my watch, mister.                    

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A little helpless...

Yesterday, upper Sumner County and parts of Allen and Simpson Counties in Kentucky were under the gun.  Tornado warnings lit up the map.  I was sitting with the kids when I heard those words no one ever wants to hear:  "The rotation is right over (the road I was on) so if you're in that area, you want to get to your safe area right now."

 I stood in the front door at the one point and said a small prayer: "Oh, Set.  Turn Your Eye away from here."  I had to wonder too if we had time to get to the neighbors - there was no way I wanted any of us to be a cliche.  "All those houses and that thing went straight for the trailer!"  Been there, done that.    

Once again, I found myself feeling a little helpless.   The oldest kid started getting scared and wanted the two of us to go hide from the storm.  Apparently, he felt his little brother could fend for himself (then again, he wasn't even fazed.  He put his shoes on and wanted outside to play before he got distracted by a video game.)  I've tried to help this kid deal with his fears in the past but it hasn't stuck.  I'm not even sure I know what I'm doing anyway plus they get such conflicting messages from their parents.
I know he's four years old.  I know he's not capable of understanding things like an adult would.  I also remember being terrified myself when a storm would blow up because of the tornado that blew away our trailer when I was four.  I would nearly wear the floors out where I would walk from window to window, trying to keep watch so the tornado wouldn't sneak up on me.  I wasn't able to deal with the fear until I was in my 20's and I would hate to see him having to do the same thing.  I would hate it even more if he stayed terrified for his entire life. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Dream Fragment

I am at home in Bethpage, in the living room. The room looks like it did in the late 70's/early 80's and it is well lighted. At least one lamp is on, casting a warm yellow glow around the area yet most of the room is lit by white, midday sunlight. I am watching an adaption of a Neil Gaiman book on TV and I am loving it. 

  My mom is here as well. We are watching one segment of the show and I get excited. I know they are about to show Dream but I start almost yelling, "Oh my god! Death! They're going to show Death!" Then there He is - Dream. Instead of the 'adult' Dream, they show a young one. 

During a commercial break, we talk about the show and she asks, "Have you ever seen him?" I know she means Neil. I say that yes, I have seen photos of him. She makes a face of disgust and implies that she did not like his looks. I say, "Oh yeah!" but I can't find the words to say exactly why I like him.

 The show comes back from break. Now I am a part of the story instead of an observer. One of the characters has to do some kind of ritual. One part is to wash something in hot water, which she does with no problem. Next, the ritual calls to bathe the something in cold water that has been carried in three baskets, a small red one and a medium white one and a large white one. None of them are not water tight in the least. I am the one who has to figure out how to do it. I am in a kitchen that exists both inside a building and outside. Against one wall is a steel sink with a wooden island across from it. I pull my copy of the book out of my pocket (I don't know the name of it but it is not an existing book in waking life) to see how it is done. I am trying to fill in a steel sink the baskets when I wake up.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Reboot v. 941547244AppleDeltaFish126458.3

Well, it's cloudy with a chance of rain today.  I'm assuming Set was successful in protecting Ra and His solar barque on the journey through the night.  We're all still here and the world isn't slowly being covered in ice...yet.  That rain may still prove otherwise, if it comes.  

I've been trying my best to get back into the blogging spirit for days.  It seems that if I'm not just sitting and staring at the screen, I'm way, way into TMI land.  While I'm sure the TMI has potential of  grabbing me ones of new readers, I've had entirely too much grief this past year and don't want or need any more.  It's been nearly too much to deal with as it is.   That's not to say that I won't have a fit of...something or another and the TMI will show its face anyway. 

"Anything worthwhile is dangerous." - Victor Anderson

The last twelve months have certainly proved that.  While it has been very tough - mentally, emotionally and spiritually - I have to say I wouldn't change it for the world.  I thought I knew what I was made of before.  Now I'm more sure.  Of course, this knowledge comes with a wish to go back several years in time  to those folks who gave me no end of grief and insisted I was an "Earth Mother"...and kick the everloving shit out of them for being right.  Hell, they needed kicking anyway.  They were jerks. 

Some of the lessons I've dealt with in this past year involved strength.  I found myself in a situation where I had to deal with bullying and verbal abuse while caring for a loved one.  I had never seen this side of the person, although I had certainly heard about it.  I was shocked when it reared its ugly head to me.  While I didn't exactly deal with it with grace and aplum, I did my best.  I do not put up with overgrown, obnoxious brats. 

Other lessons are harder to deal with.  They are hard because they deal with the heart.  Again, I have not dealt with them with grace and aplum...more with tears, incomprehension and depression.  Although  I have been engaged in the past and certainly cared for that person; I wasn't sure that I was really capable of love.  Well, I'm sure now.  I found someone that, after everything, I love more than anything but I can't give him the one thing he asked of me.  I can't just be a friend to him.  At least, not now.  Not after all those trips to the movies, to church and to the mountains.  Not after all that laughter and silly stuff we've shared.  Not after the conversations we've had while driving down the road - even the serious topics he couldn't believe I got him to talk about, like what heaven would be like and whether anyone other than Christians would go there.  I can't just be a friend after trying to be there for him when he got down after a friend's wedding or those rare times he talked about his dad's alzheimer's.  I can't be a friend after seeing how he got when they tried to screw him over a job he absolutely loved and his trying to decide whether to stay with it, find another job or possibly even striking out on his own with a repair shop.  I can't be a friend after knowing how much he wants kids and realizing, after all these years of being an avowed child free person, that yeah - kids with him would be great.

Don't get me wrong.  He isn't perfect.  He is bossy and can be fairly critical when things aren't done the way he would do them.  He is hardheaded and sometimes sees the world in terms of black and white.  Sometimes, he can't see what's right in front of him for things that are in the distance, be it in the past or the 'could be.'  There are a few things I'm not even going to mention for fear of the dear readers' fragile - or even not so fragile - stomachs.  No, he is far from perfect but perfection is overrated anyway...but at the moment, I guess it doesn't matter what I think. 


I guess I finally got something written, huh?  Even if it's a soliloquy on that guy (I hope it doesn't sound stalkerish!)  Now to keep the writing up for more than just one entry and get more sketches and paintings up here.

Have a good day, y'all and thank you for reading this far.  I'll leave you with a prayer from T. Thorn Coyle:

Holy Mother, in whom we live, move and have our being, from you all things emerge and unto you all things return...

Open our hearts this blessed day.  Touch our bodies and our minds.  Walk with us through the gates of power, in shadow and starlight, in fire meeting earth, in wind on the ocean and the sweet kiss of life. 

Blessed be our journey.