For anyone who took classes of any kind there was always the lowest common denominator. I am not going to be PC about this, some people are just average and that’s fine. There were those kids and the ones who messed up the bell-curve by doing simple things like studying, doing extra credit, reading outside of assigned school texts, and sometimes genuinely loving learning and exploration. These kids, ultimately, suffered as the LCD took up the most space, the most time, and most of the teacher’s attention.
I feel the pagan umbrella has pretty much become just this, with most of the community being nothing more than a giant classroom where the LCD make the rules, the most noise, and get the most attention. And it’s not just the fact that this umbrella trumpets the cause of “acceptable mediocrity”, it demands that everyone should do so for the sake of “community.”
The past 24 hours have been almost surreal. I was sitting at the dinner table with some friends at an Indian restaurant when I received a call from my father that my cousin Brad was dead. Brad was four years older than me and had been my superhero while I was growing up.
As a kid I used to tell my friends incredible tales about the amazing feats that my cousin could do, as though he was some mythical figure with superhuman powers. Truth be told, in a lot of ways he kind of lived up to that. He was very good looking, smart, funny, incredibly strong, and was one of those guys that everybody liked. So, when I was told that Brad was dead, I was in shock. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of the bad news.
I’m sure even from this excerpt, you can probably see where this is going, but don’t take my word for it.
St.Patrick was much more likely to be a slave trader rather than a slave says a new research survey by a Cambridge University professor. He was also a tax collector, fleeing for his life as the Roman Empire collapsed in Britain.
Dr Roy Flechner, research fellow at Cambridge University’s Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC), said the accepted story of St Patrick was “likely to be fiction”, according a report in the Irish Independent.
Alcoholic beverages have come in many forms over the years, and gone by almost as many names. “Social lubricant,” “liquid courage,” “mother of bad-decisions”… the list goes on and on. Many of these names stem from alcohol’s most noteworthy quality: it’ll get you drunk.
But alcohol — and ethanol, in particular — has many interesting effects and applications that extend well beyond the walls of your local bar or restaurant. Here are ten things alcohol excels at that don’t involve getting you properly sloshed.
I don’t know about you, but I like my Sundays slow and quiet. The bustle of another busy week leaves me in need of replenishment, and lazy Sundays are just the ticket for recharging before tackling another seven days of business challenges. A day on the sofa with our dogs suits me just fine, and winter weekends in Vermont are all about the art of hibernation. We do it well.
Much to my dismay, on this Sunday, a large, annoying feline had different plans for me. I knew the day was destined for mediocrity when I was jarred from a restful slumber by my wife’s screams. “NEIL, WAKE UP NOW – THE POLICE ARE HERE AND THEY WANT TO SPEAK WITH YOU!!”
(looks at date-stamp on previous link) OK, yeah, should have gone in another section, but it’s my blog and I can break my own rules, if I want to.
OK, back to shit you’d rather see on this blog, like Scary Sex Toy Friday. One of the least-scary items is The Squildo, which really reminds me of GWAR’s magnum opus, Phallus In Wonderland,:
All in all, my definition of the Fallow Times is taken right out of the dictionary. The definition I chose for this was “not in use; inactive.” (And just because I like to inform others, fallow is also a color.) The concept is similar to the concept of shifting cultivation in which a farmer uses a plot of land for a while (it looks to be a two to three years, maybe) before moving on to another section of land to start farming that. And even though the farmers leave that land for a bit (or in this case, the OTHERS™), they do eventually come back.
This is something everyone on a spiritual path will encounter – some more often than others perhaps – even those of us who have built strong and long-term relationships and are deeply engaged with our practice. But it can be so hard to talk about – there is doubt, and shame, and reluctance to even face it at all. But facing it is exactly what will eventually bring you closer to Them – working through the roughest times will teach you more than all the pretty festive days and cool magic you do.
I’d also like to add something to her list of possible reasons one might enter Fallow Times:
Also, while I’m generally ambivalent about a woman’s choice to veil as a religious act, no matter what her religion —and indeed, some of the head-coverings I’ve seen on ostensibly Muslim women (an assumption I made based on the style of their scarves) have been very pretty— I can’t help but wonder if anybody else noticed what I noticed in Ms Foster’s Patheos post on the subject:
Most of the women said they weren’t comfortable wearing the hijab, mainly because it tends to label them as part of a religion other than their own. The Jewish tichel was a popular choice.
Did you see that?
Clearly, identifying oneself with a religion other than one’s own is totally fine, as long as that religion isn’t Islam.
What Would The Artist Formerly Known As Cat Stevens Say?
I’m not telling any-one that they’re necessarily wrong, I’m just saying that I find the juxtaposition of the popular reason against one style of scarf with the popular choice of another style of scarf to be highly illogical and possibly symptomatic of a certain common prejudice, all things considered —but then, I can’t really see any intersection between those two answers on the Venn, because Ms Foster doesn’t create articles as in-depth as she thinks she does.
As I mentioned on Memnon’s Day, I wrote a further poem in the last few days that would have perhaps been most appropriate to have posted on the day devoted to Herodes Attikos’ children.
I have to admit, I’ve not always been particularly kind to the memory of Attikos Bradua, because Herodes Attikos himself was not kind to him and his memory. He was the only child of Herodes that survived to later adulthood, and actually outlived his father; but, Herodes disinherited him, and they never seemed to get along. As I’ve said previously, I suspect that because Herodes was renowned ….
It also seems that Zsuzsanna Budapest is still on a lot of people’s minds because she just won’t stop digging herself deeper. Her fan-club better known as her lineage of “Dianic witchcraft” hasn’t really been doing her any favours, either. My best friend even had something to say about Budapest:
Thought on a marvellous post about Z Budapest’s most recent flagrant display of queerphobia and mysogyny.
Yes, I just called Z Budapest, Dianic OG “feminst”, a mysogynst. She has styled herself the arbitrater of womanhood, to the exclusion of women’s capacity for self-determination. I’d say that’s pretty fucking mysogynist.
In conversations with trans feminists, I have continually assured them that many Second-Wave radical feminists were NOT transphobic, and actually empathetic to trans people. However, I’ve had trouble finding any proof, other than my own memory and a few trans friends of Kate Millett’s. Depressingly, the more I searched, I found much more proof that radical feminists were mean and vicious (i.e. Robin Morgan’s lynch-mob rhetoric concerning trans women in her book titled Going Too Far). The Janice Raymond/Robin Morgan/Mary Daly faction seems to have “won” the transgender round of radical feminist theory, by default.
And so, it brings me great pleasure, after a very long search, to finally have the following quote IN MY HAND, not just from memory. Thank God for Amazon.com and the used books option, since this is long out of print.
…I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I still find the Dworkin quote exerpted problematic, as part of her conclusions are not only open to interpretation, but her final suggestion for a post-revolution future rests on a gendered, rather than skin-toned, form of the false idea of “let’s all fuck until we’re the same colour”; in reality, the alleles that are responsible for skin colour do not work that way, and “colour-blind” procreation between human skin-tones, in reality, simply produces a greater variance of skin-tone. If a multi-sex species can come to truly accept that fact, then “the end of transsexuality as we know it” may simply be the proliferation of far greater variance in sex, gender, and expression of said (and not to mention the fact that Body Dysmorphic Disorder will not necessarily be eradicated by the fact that some bodies have become more-acceptable): The key words thus should not be “the end of transsexuality”, but the end “as we know it”, and as such, her speculations on what that end-as-we-know-it could mean are too over-reaching. Whether this was to satiate the feminist status quo of the day or was her actual post-revolution dream, I know not, but I have to agree with DaisyDeadhead that —at least for the feminism of the 1970s— this isn’t really transphobic. It’s unfair to hold the excerpts to the same standards for “anti-transphobia” that we have now because for a lot of reasons, the standards we know now just didn’t exist to any useful measure then, and thus I cannot in good conscience call Dworkin transphobic, especially while many of her contemporaries very clearly ARE; to say Dworkin was inherently transphobic (rather than just pointing out that she had some transphobic ideas that got the best of her) is like modern people erasing Al Jolsen’s history of actively promoting the careers of African-Amerikan contemporaries and speaking out against racism because one of his most-remembered career moves was performing in blackface, even when its popularity was waning in the late 1920s.
(I debated making the above a separate post, but decided against it as I’m feeling this blog is getting too over-swamped with gender stuff, lately, and I need to re-focus on my relationship with Eros.)
And speaking of “ill-thought moves and ideas that overshadow one’s legacy”, it will never cease to amuse me this this is not one of those, but considering Yusef Islam’s 2004 detainment at a U$ airport, I can’t help but wonder why it’s not:
So, I know this post is scheduled for March Eighteenth, but whatever, here’s a beautiful article from Cracked than my humanoid meat-based housemate sent me, noting that I could have very well written this thin myself:
On March 17, millions of people take the piss out of Ireland by taking the piss and every other bodily fluid out of themselves, as publicly as possible. The Irish don’t celebrate Independence Day by guzzling hamburgers until we throw up over crates of machine guns, and even if we did it would be more respectful. Because at least we imported those things from the U.S. For a country so worked up about immigrants a lot of Americans are absolutely desperate to claim any other nationality. Every St. Patrick’s Day drunken North Americans stagger up to tell me their great-grandmother was Irish, and I say great, if she turns up I’ll buy her a pint.
No, seriously, my name is Ruadhán J McElroy, and what my father named me is about as ethnic; I am sick to death of the annual bullshit known as “St. Patrick’s Day”. The only way I deal every year is with a home-made t-shirt proclaiming my identity as “Ultach”, a smug sense of superiority that I was raised mostly by my English maternal grandparents, and the fact that I’ve re-purposed the day as the Feast of Hibernia, who I recognise as the Greco-Roman interpretation of the tutelary Goddess Ériu.
That said, St. Patrick is unfairly credited with “converting Ireland”; this is, at best, a half-truth. He was just the first moderately successful missionary to Ireland, and there were far more successful missionaries to Ireland after he died. The misconception, even among pagans and polytheists, that he managed to somehow single-handedly convert Ireland lies in the likely-allegorical tale that was popular for centuries of how Patrick somehow “banished the snakes from Irieland”, with the assumption being “snakes = Druids”; this is not a universally recognised allegory, but all things considered, it seems the most likely.
By the way: Druids? Word on the street is that no-one knows who they were or what they were doing:
Earlier this week, I noticed that Pantheacon has officially declared that from 2013 onward, all single-gender rit and workshops are to include anybody who identifies with that gender —I then promptly wasted three days commenting on The Wild Hunt, because Budapestians simply cannot help but dodge perfectly reasonable questions and then whine about how us transies and our cheer-leaders are FMPPHs. If my computer had a “boot to the head” button, I could have saved at least one day and spent it watching NCIS marathons on USA or finally recording all those old delicious Ramón Novarro films off the DVR —or at least watching the cats collect dust. Here’s a link for posterity.
Just In Case You Were Curious:
I’m going to be doing some spring cleaning over the next week, so that’s an official reason why I might not be posting so much in the next week, and might even skip a round-up for the 25th, in case I don’t get a chance to do much reading.
Your New Old Word for the Week:
Geneclexis, n, from the Greek genos (sex, birth, origin) and eklegein (to select): selecting a marriage partner on the basic of physical appearance, regardless of intellect or character.
You speak of freedom of religion. You say “this is their Tradition and they have a right to it.” And this is true.
You speak in generalized platitudes about religious tolerance, of freedom. You say nothing of the pain caused to the individual. My “beef” with Z. Budapest and Dianic Wicca is not one of generalized platitudes. It is personal.
And, to be honest, I think this move comes at a very opportune time. The transphobic remarks of Z. Budapest caused enough harm and upset in the community, but recently she’s written something which I don’t think has had as much attention but that nonetheless has me a little worried that she’s also moved into good old-fashioned homophobia as well: rapists are really just gay men. (Let’s ignore for the moment that it’s not only males that perpetrate rape, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual abuse…) Despite the provisional acceptance of gay men that Z. had expressed in certain situations in the past, this is doing something entirely different. I’ve written about the fallacy that ‘homophobia = homoeroticism’ previously, but this kind of twists it into an even further strange territory. Yes, rapists are horrible people, I think we can all agree on that. But, to make this tautological claim that (male) rapists are really just gay, because that means they’re not “real men” and are kind of even scummier than just “regular men” as a result, is pretty over-the-top in a ton of ways. Unlike some of the commenters on Z.’s blog post, I’m not inclined to see this as anti-men so much (although it is) as much as it’s anti-gay men. Given that this blog post came at a time not long after Hyperion and others refused to “defend” Z. at PantheaCon, I can’t help but wonder if that might be a contributing factor to the overall tenor of her remarks there…
Just In Case You Were Curious:
…about the music, six weeks ago or something, someone on the goth.net forum, who clearly doesn’t know music as well as they think they do, once (apparently seriously) described Ska as “punk mixed with jazz”. Er, no honey, “punk + jazz” equals No Wave. And whatever you’d call Rig Rig + Panic (some purists believe that “No Wave” is strictly whatever was coming out of New York between 1979 and 1985 that fit that punk-jazz-avantgarde-minimalist sort of schtick, while RR+P were British, but personally, I think if you’re going to call No Wave a genre and not a scene, then RR+P fits, even if they’re considerably less noisy than some, and more complex than others in the No Wave genre). Ska is the evolutionary link between Mento and Reggae. Sure, some punks discovered Ska around ’78 and thus the Ska Punk fusion was born, but talking to a Ska purist about Ska Punk is like talking to a Metal purist about Glam Metal, and not even the watered-down, “can you really call it ‘metal’ of any sort any-more” crap, like Poison —a comparable band to a Ska aficionado would be No Doubt.
Your New Old Word For the Week:
IDIOPATHIC: adjective, from Greek idiopatheia (idios-, one’s own, personal; -patheia, from paschein, to experience, suffer): 1. peculiar to an indicidual; 2. (of diseases) arising from an obscure or unknown cause. His idiopathic associations with that particular song by The Supremes led him to cry whenever it came on.
You notice how the URL for this section of the Pagan Newswire Collective has the word “nature” in it? Of course. It’s specifically for nature-based pagan religious and spiritual discussions and ideas. I would bet that the majority of people who think of “nature” are thinking of open areas that have a minimum of human impact, where the signs of humanity are reduced or even almost entirely eradicated. And I feel that’s a grave shortcoming in our perceptions.
I want to share with you one of my very favorite quotes. It’s a statement by Richard Nelson, quoted in The Sacred Earth: Writers on Nature and Spirit, edited by Jason Gardner (emphasis mine):
It’s dangerous to think of ourselves as loathsome creatures or as perversions in the natural world. We need to see ourselves as having a rightful place. We take pictures of all kinds of natural scenes and often we try to avoid having a human being in them…In our society, we force ourselves into a greater and greater distance from the natural world by creating parks and wilderness areas where our only role is to go in and look. And we call this loving it. We lavish tremendous concern and care on scenery but we ignore the ravaging of environments from which our lives are drawn.
This is a perfect image of how we have separated ourselves from the rest of nature. Not separating ourselves from nature, but separating ourselves from the rest of nature.
So much of that post is quote-worthy, and I just don’t have the space to do it, so GO! READ! NOW!
…but if you want any evidence that everything I listed here is true, then look no further than the comments from readers. On the good side, it does seem to cut about 50/50 (though in part for myself, but still a reassuring percentage with self removed), but there are still some of the nastiest, most hateful, prejudiced, and frankly uneducated comments are from those who extol the assumed “purity” of the pastoral existence. No such thing from any-one who has voiced communing with the city.
For those who could not discern some of the finer nuances of Lupa’s first post, she made a more recent follow-up, which (to those who’ve read neither) may also lay to rest most gut reactions made in bias against the concept of the city as an ecosystem and the urban divine. Keep in mind, there is FAR more to read than just this quote:
–Telling urban dwellers that they’re bad people for living in cities, or that they can’t be as good a bunch of environmentalists as rural people, or otherwise playing who’s superior to whom, is counterproductive. Insulting someone or insinuating that you’re better than they are is a great way to alienate them. Not a good idea with potential allies. If you assume that cities are full of people who are self-centered, materialistic, corrupted, etc. then you’ve already started on the path to alienating them. Same thing with assuming all rural areas are full of nothing but small-minded hyper-conservative bigots. And so forth.
Adonis looked up at her, his dark green eyes inquisitive. She knew he wanted to hear the story. She was certain he had heard it before, but she knew he liked to hear her tell it.
“Yeah. It is all Aphrodite’s fault. My mother had made it quite clear that I was never to be married off like some commoner. She wanted me to be elevated to the very pinnacle of the Greek pantheon – an eternal virgin like Hestia, Athena and Artemis.” Adonis smiled a little and so Persephone responded, “you better believe I’m glad that didn’t happen!
The Barking Shaman shares his photo gallery. Here’s a taste of one of my favourites from the “Manmade” section —and that abandoned theatre he shot is seriously full of nymphai:
(clicking the photo should direct you straight to the gallery in question —I tested it to make sure!)
Fuck it, if you haven’t read those posts by now, I’m not going to subject you to them. Too many people just fucking angered me, and I’m stepping AWAY.
Just in case you were curious:
I spent most of this last week on my humanoid meat-based housemate’s computer, because my motherboard and/or CPU died, though technically, I got the replacement of the ones I got a little over a year ago at this time for the same damned problem used, so it’s not that surprising. My hard-drive was still intact, so yay, but the computer is now less-functional to my needs (like music, as in making it) than I’ve had in a whole year now. I’m finding myself waffling between making up for slow progress last year with the garden or basically replacing what I need to on the computer to get it back to where I need it to be. I will keep you posted.
Your New Old Word For the Week:
Macrography: n, from Greek makros (long or large) and graphein (to write): abnormally large handwriting, sometimes indicating a nervous disorder. Jules is pretty obnoxious, so his macrography doesn’t surprise me in the least.
I now seriously believe that very few self-identified “pagans” are as committed to “sustainable living” as they want others to think they are. Oh, you and your hubbie made cheese in your basement that you shared with your “poly family” while you spend oodles of cash at the local No We’re Not Whole Foods But We’re Not a Farmer’s Market, Either? These people are living on 1/3 of an acre or less, and are producing a majority of their own diet.
I also suspect Jane Jacobs had an urban-focused spirituality. Too bad she’s no longer around for me to ask.
in the first few generations after Octavian cemented his sole rule of Rome there was very little for a politically minded Greek to do. You got nowhere without extensive social contacts in Rome – and the wealth to travel in such circles – and even then there were limits on how high one could aspire. Many Romans looked down their noses at their Greek subjects, except when it came to the arts and philosophy where they were grudgingly accepted as their superiors. Thus many cities such as Athens, Alexandria and Antioch became little more than college towns where wealthy Romans sent their sons for proper education, deeming them worthy of little else.
This is the era into which Plutarch was born. At one point he even moved to Rome seeking a promising career. Though he made many close friends and met with modest success he eventually bumped into the glass ceiling and grew frustrated with the realization that he could progress no further. So he returned to his hometown, once the shining star of Boiotia but now a pitiful backwater, and spent the remainder of his days active in small-time local politics, serving as a priest at Delphi and pursuing antiquarian and philosophical studies.
While discernment is extremely important, and certainly some things that appear to be messages are just random coincidences, I think we often err too heavily on the side of skepticism because of our preconceptions. That face we saw in the pattern of leaves on a tree must just be our imagination, even though it looked so much like a familiar god, even though we had prayed for a sign, because a real vision of a deity will manifest out of nothing before us, undeniable and life-altering. But why do we expect that the gods and spirits would use, as the medium of Their communication, anything other than the elements of our own physical world, when those elements are ready at-hand (and, as a bonus, easily processed by our sensory organs and brains)?
Normally, I’d put this follow-up interview of Ronald Hutton in the “Shit You’ve Probably Read Already” sub-heading, but I wanted to include a quote that actually got me interested in reading Hutton’s book:
Will you publish on the history of modern Paganism again?
Probably not. I wrote Triumph to suggest an answer to one specific question: why Wicca appeared in England, of all the places in the world, and in the mid twentieth century, as opposed to any other time. To put it another way, I wanted to show why it was that one of the most industrialised, urbanised and densely populated countries on earth happened to be the one to produce a religion drawing on ancient pagan roots and centred on nature deities, at the threshold of late modernity? In providing my answer, I also believe that I achieved three other objectives. One was to explain the national and international success of the religion concerned, and another to reassure those who knew little or nothing of it of its essentially benevolent character. The third was to show that, far from deriving from ideas and impulses which were the preserve of a fringe element in society, they drew on several which were mainstream to modern British culture, and involved some of its most familiar and admired figures. In particular, its deities, although present in the ancient world, were not those who were most central to that world’s religions but those who had become most important to the modern British in general, in a way which has not been adequately appreciated and honoured.
The Huffington Post ran a piece a few days ago from a mother whose 7yr old son recently declared that he was gay. It was a lovely essay about love and acceptance, with a bit of parental concern in there too. The parents are being supportive of his identity, while at the same time, understanding that what he feels at seven may or may not be how he feels in the months and years to come. They seem quite content to take him at his word and see what does or doesn’t change with time.
There have been quite a lot of people on internet message boards saying that this is ridiculous, that this child can’t know at such a young age that he is gay. I’ve seen this particularly on LGBT message boards, where people are holding up their own coming out at older ages as proof that seven is “too young.”
I’ll probably say something about this, myself (assuming I haven’t already, and then forgot to come back here and edit appropriately).
And I also found Hêrakleion, a Herakles blogger. It’s a relatively new one, but so full of good posts already!
Your New Old Word for the Week:
Rhathymia (ruh-THY-mee-uh): n. from Greek rhathymos (light-hearted, easy-tempered, carefree): the state of being carefree; lightheartedness. The modern person often mistakenly sees Aphrodite as a Goddess of Peace and rhathymia, but that role belongs to Eirene.
…and while I’m on a Jazz Age / Art Deco sort of kick, have you ever heard of Gerda Wegener? She was a Danish illustrator and painter, and apparently seemed to have done a lot of lesbian-themed stuff —not my cup of tea for eroticism, but gorgeous illustrations, nonetheless. The reason she came to my attention was, oddly, not as an Art Deco illustrator, but because her first marriage (of nineteen years) was to to “Einar Wegener”, the assigned-at-birth name of the first-ever documented male-to-female transsexual Lili Elbe. Elbe lived as a woman through most of the 1920s (possibly the whole decade, the biographical info I’m finding is sparse) and started “dressing full-time” in 1912/13, after the couple moved to Paris. Elbe also modelled for Wegener’s paintings at some time prior to the move to Paris, and in 1913 Wegener’s audience was shocked to learn that her favourite petite femme fatale model was legally her “husband”. Elbe is commonly believed amongst TS/TG history circles to have technically been intersexed, possibly a form of Kleinfelter’s syndrome (though this specific is mainly believed because it’s the most common IS syndrome affecting those determined to have a “male” physiology at birth), because one of the known documents of her surgeries describes rudimentary ovaries or possibly ovotestes; at this point in medical knowledge, it’s uncertain to say much with such certainty about some-one who died eighty years ago. Elbe died within a week after a final, far more experimental surgery, implanting a uterus; her body rejected the organ and went septic, but she reportedly died happily. Gerda was reportedly completely supportive of Elbe’s transition, some contemporary accounts even suggest that she’s the one who encouraged Elbe’s transition. A year or so prior to Elbe’s death, their marriage was annulled by the King of Denmark, and soon after Elbe’s death, Wegener remarried despite her lesbian preferences. Her career as an illustrator and painter soon faded into obscurity, but what she did do in the few years afer Elbe’s death suggest that Elbe’s memory continued to be Wegener’s muse for some time later.
Wait, what? Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Ghost of Gary Coleman?
Oh, that’s right, this is a polytheism blog —how dare I forget?
Cara Schulz quoted and linked to a post of mine. Hijinks ensue. I lose respect for pagans who comment on blogs. (Apparently, some-one who admits that they are more able of body, and rank higher on income and “straightness” than I do is experienced enough with disenfranchisement to tell me I don’t know disenfranchisement. Gotta love the SuperAlly™!)
And just in case you were curious:
I finally passed 200 hits in a single day this past week! Took long enough, too.
Your New Old Word for the Week:
Acritition: sexual intercourse without orgasm. Some believe the orgasm is the only climax in love-making, but I can tell you of times of acritition that have been far more passionate than most times including ejaculate.