It seems this post I made after watching the hot mess of a NatGeo Taboo episode they were featured in, I’ve gotten a lot of hits from people searching for them. In fact, in some searches, that post goes back-and-forth between the #2 or #1 spot on a search for them.
Click on the purple text directly above this very line —I know that you can.
This blog has nothing to do with either of them; DO NOT use my contact page in hopes of reaching them to tell them you love them, cos it won’t reach them. Aloma’s email is clearly given on the frontpage of their website —use that. Remember how to use e-mail? I know it takes a little more effort to go back to your email, type an e-mail address into the proper line, think of a subject line, etc…, but oh well, that’s how they do it. She also has added Twitter and FaceBook contact options.
That said, because of my nice blog post saying nice things about them, I’ve since become a friend of Aloma’s, so I do not in any way condone sending them nasty letters and hate mail any more than I approve of you mistakenly sending hatemail to me that is intended for them. If you have nice things to say to them, please tell THEM, not me; they were very disappointed with the Taboo eppie, and have very mixed feelings about people contacting them because of it, so if you liked them, READ THEIR SITE (Taboo left out a LOT of what they’re about), and send kind words and energy their way. If you didn’t like them? Seriously, get a new hobby. I acknowledge that Discord’s energy has a place in the world, but these are two lovely people I’m proud to think of as friends (though regretfully not very close) and they DO NOT need discordant energy.
So let’s recap:
I am neither Aloma nor Matthew. I’m a casual friend of theirs, I plan on eventually meeting them, but my name is Ruadhán J McElroy, and I do completely different things, and have a completely different calling. I may love them, be inspired by them, and share some common ground with them, but I’m a completely different person, living in a house, with cats, writing stories about the Mod subculture and making badges (not making improvisational tribal music), eating meats and drinking absinthe…. I’m *so* not them.
Aloma and Matthew have THEIR OWN WEBSITE, and also their own E-MAIL, and FACEBOOK, and TWITTER, that can all be used to contact them. Using MY CONTACT PAGE will only annoy me, I will most likely reply to you as if you are quite simple, I will forget to forward your e-mail, and later, when I think about maybe forwarding your e-mail, I will remember my nasty reply to you and assume I’d only be making them look bad by association. IN OTHER WORDS: Don’t use my contact page in hopes of reaching Aloma and Matthew, as it may never reach them.
(be warned: Site has embedded muic player that defaults to “On”; you can turn it off, if you like)
Thanks to the magic of television, I have just learned about this amazing couple based in San Francisco. They’re fruitarian, freegan, artists, and urban nomads and just amazing.
At least 80% of their possessions are scavenged, and according to their own website, most of what they do buy is purchased second-hand. Even the episode of National Geographic’s Taboo I first learned about them in, one of the academic panel brought in for a professional analysis of the behaviour, just commended them for their scavenger lifestyle, verbally applauding even the tiniest dent that they can make in reducing waste in this society.
I had to see if they had a website before the episode even ended, and I’m glad I found it. Everything they eat is scavenged. Most of their clothing is scavenged. They’re into ritual music and dance, and also energy and herbal healing, but will accept that modern medicine is an acceptable avenue if and when ritual and herbal medicines have failed. Their musical instruments are most, if not all scavenged —either as-is or scavenged and repaired or created.
The fruitarian thing was not a new concept to me. In fact, I’ve said that if it weren’t for the fact that I’m anaemic, and I physically cannot eat that much in one sitting without getting ill, I’d be not just veg*n, but fruitarian. I don’t see a huge difference when evaluating the life of a spinach alongside the life of a cow — and considering how many more spinach need to die to get the same amount of nutrients from a cow, it’s argueably more ethical to eat the cow, if one wants to bring up that whole “least harm principle”. And don’t try and lecture me about central nervous systems and sentience, either; animism is not only an historically valid aspect of Hellenismos, what with nymphai literally connected to every plant imaginable, thus meaning is a cow has a sentient spirit, so do the flowering plants, like broccoli, but recent studies published in peer-reviewed journals suggest that there is a scientifically measurable sentience in plant life. Thus, even if one is to remove spirituality from the equation, the only truly ethical diet is fruitarianism, eating that which a plant gives freely, as it’s designed to be eaten —and not just from centuries of genetic modification by human hands, but because that’s just how it is —shitting out seeds from eaten fruit is a far better fertiliser than simply letting the fruit rot where it falls. But, like I said, I have a lot of medical issues, and as of now, I’d rather take fewer pills and supplements than I’d need to to maintain myself on a strict fruitarian diet, even though I clearly believe it’s the most morally sound choice of diet.
Their scavenger lifestyle, I gotta admit, is something I both greatly admire, but am reluctant to. I’m in admiration for what should be obvious reasons, at this point, but my reluctance is very much tied to my own history. As I’ve said before, my father was a rag-n-bone man by trade, and this involved a lot of dumpster-diving —that’s right, hipsters, my father was doing that long before you decided it was “cool”. At some point, he decided that, while diving for scrap he could sell, might as well get anything else that was good. This is how my family had a microwave in 1987, on my mother’s RN salary, while my father was between construction gigs; he looked it over, realised it needed a bolt to keep the door on, tested it out in the garage, and then brought it into the house. A fair amount of the household’s furniture was salvage, either intact, or repaired, or built from salvaged bits. During any given week, between 20% and 70% of the groceries were dumpster-dived; we made a lot of preserves and had two huge chest freezers to accommodate any surplus. As much as I admire the salvage now, for ethical reasons, as a kid who’d already been branded “weird” on personality alone, this was just one more weird thing about me and my home life. Now, at first, I didn’t realise it was something that was so weird, I think I realised that most people didn’t scavenge (cos really, if everybody did, what would be left to scavenge?), but I was under the impression that it was generally accepted practise; I remember mentioning something about it at school, and in addition to unintentionally grossing out some classmates, my teacher that year decided it was something to be concerned over, and called social services to investigate the household, and after that, I got a pretty good talking-to about why I should never, ever, ever talk about the family’s dumpster diving again, or my sister and I would get taken away and put in foster homes or something. So yeah, it was pretty embarrassing, and I’m still trying to get over it. I think I’m at a point where, if I tried it myself or with a friend, I would finally be over it, but the nearest dumpster is behind a liquor store at the corner, and the cops are regulars at that corner due to prostitution, and most days, I’m in too much pain to mosey on over the the good spots all by myself.
The Taboo eppie stressed their matching outfits a little more than I can see on their website, but if memory serves me, Aloma did regard it as an important aspect of their relationship, as it gives visual aide to their connected spirits.
Just watching them, you can see so much love, like one soul in two bodies.
It’s kind of been bothering me in recent months how utterly devoid of any real meaning the word “pagan” is.
“‘Pagan’ means ‘person of a non-Abrahamic religion’”, says the dictionary. Oh, but here are Christians and Muslims who want to be pagans, too, and here’s some people appropriating Kabballah, guess we can’t say that any-more. See, I used to think that the wormer was called “folk Christianity / Islam” and the latter was “cultural misappropriation”, but I guess not.
“Alright, ‘pagan’ means ‘some-one into nature, and maybe but not necessarily religious and/or ritualistic about it’.” Fuck. OK, scratch the first part, because “pagans”, by the dictionary definition, have loved their cities and been trying to get away from ‘nature’ since ancient times. And there are these guys over here who don’t do rituals at all.
“So…. ‘Pagan’ means you’re socially and / or politically left-leaning, and just want people to get along?” You obviously haven’t met some of the same recons I have.
“So then what is paganism?” Nothing. Nothing at all. It’s an empty word, rendered devoid of any real meaning, except to empty people. It’s root, paganus used to be slang for “country dweller”, and then it became a pejorative word for polytheists, and later that included old women living on the outskirts of town who still practised herbalism, but “witch” was more common in the latter case. In the 19th Century, the word “Neopagan” was coined to sort of give a playful ribbing to Hellenophiles and Platonists, like Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley and similar people, usually associated with them, but some of them were atheists who just dug on the imagery, though there’s evidence sometimes even the atheists among them would dig on communing with nature, or at least what passed for “nature” in the English countryside; later that century, the term was reclaimed by the whole “back to nature” fad, but a lot of them were actually Christians. In the Midtwentieth, “pagan” was readopted by people into the Wicca thing and other similar movements, polytheistic reconstructionists, and similar, but those who were actually religious preferred their own terms.
“But what about the pagan community?” Hell if I know…. Most of them, in my experiences, really don’t get along with each-other on even the most basic levels, but still put up with each-other because we’re all simply “not of an Abrahamic religion”, except the handful of us who are. Sometimes I think we’re vaguely united by social and political interests, and then some Fucko into Nazi Mysticiam, or Robin Artisson, has to take out his dirty clown cock, and shatter that illusion I’ve put up for myself. I’ve met an appalling number of Libertarians, some of whom desperately cling to the Republican label in spite of all the Dominionists ruining that train, in the reconstructionist movements, but then it’s not like I’ve ever been a “pure Marxist”, more of a liberal Socialist, so I’m really not surprised.
“There’s nothing that unites you guys?” Not that I can see.
“So why do you still cling to the label?” To be perfectly honest, I’ve been less and less attached to it, lately. I read certain bloggers who self-identify as “pagan” because their writing interests me, but I don’t read all “pagan blogs” I know about, because some of them annoy me, and either way, I don’t always share much of anything in common with those bloggers. On the occasions, maybe since March, at least, that I’ve self-applied the term “pagan”, it’s just been out of habit, and an empty one, at that, since I realise the term is completely devoid of any real meaning at this point.
“Why do you think others do it?” Probably the same kind of habit for some. For others, I imagine it’s cos they’re just empty people who need something, anything to identify with, and the pagan community is kind of notorious for accepting and tolerating damned near any bullshit from anybody, even if it’s supposedly against their own ideals and “ethics”, they’ll tolerate that bullshit because they’re all so empty-headed that they think “follow your bliss an’ harm none” means that as long as people aren’t being physically violent, certain concepts like dignity and integrity shouldn’t matter, because Johnny Rahowa is just “following his bliss an’ harming none” and we should be tolerant cos it’s just his belief, but if I “follow my bliss an’ harm none” by leaving the same room that shit’s allowed to be spewed in, and go home and do my own fucking rituals, I’m being intolerant and should be prayed for —don’t even get me started on saying things like “paganism should mean something.”
You have made my blog Tumblr-able! Just like the blogs hosted on WordPress.com can be! It’s kind of silly that it took so long to upgrade the JetPack for us weirdoes on private hosted blogs to do that, since it’s been quite a while that wp.com bloggers have been able to pimp their words on Tumblr, but the fact is that you FINALLY did it. Yay!
Gonna go practise my religion, masturbate, and hopefully get some sleep now.
5:24 …and there are people who are serial monogamists, I’ve known people who are deeply committed to the principles of polyamory on paper, they’ve read all the books, and they fall in love with one person and then immediately they lose for the person they’ve been with, and they don’t like it, they’re unhappy, and they don’t understand it, they wish it wasn’t that way, but they just can’t get it up for that other person anymore, because something about the way their pheremones are hooked up, their wiring is made, when their focus shifts to another, it turns off for that other person, it can only be on one at a time. And I suspect that serial monogamy may be the most common and fundamental pattern among people…
Originally, I’d planned to just VENT about a certain air of self-righteousness I see amongst polyamorists, and how they paint us monogamists in a negative light. We’re somehow all selfish, jealous, make all these unrealistic emotional demands upon our lovers, and (especially if we’re Pagan/Polytheists, to boot) we’re only monogamous because of Monotheistic (and/or Patriarchal) indoctrination —even when that cannot be further from the truth, for many people1, don’t'cha know? I could vent, but I think a couple of lines of dry cynicism is better.
I take comfort, though, in knowing that some-one considered so integral to the polyamory movement, especially as it exists in the pagan community, is completely OK with people who love my way, and even suggests that it might be the human default, and that that’s OK, there’s nothing wrong with that, it just how some people work.
A lot of the ideas and such I see in many a polyamory manifesto make sense, and ideologically the ideas aren’t terrible, even often worthy and good ideas toward approaching life in general, including romanti-sexual relationships. I’m open to the idea of polyamory as a concept, but life has taught me that I’m just not wired that way; if I fall for a new person, I’m simply no longer interested in the first person romanti-sexually —with one exception, where I managed to briefly fall back in love after the other romance ended.
For an extrovert, I introspect a lot, and I’ve come to the notion that I seem to know myself fairly well for some-one of my age. Might I suddenly find myself in a situation where some sort of polyamorous lifestyle could work for me? Sure, just as much as I just might find myself in love with and sexually attracted to a cisgender woman someday, even though I don’t foresee that happening any time this decade. As a general rule, though, it takes a major upset to one’s life, something that makes one really sit down and re-think not just their ideals, but their whole concept of their self to change that drastically. While I’m not saying “it couldn’t happen” that suddenly one day polyamory and I could work, I am saying that it would take a lot more than “meeting the right people”.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with only feeling that romanti-sexual love in a serial monogamy format. It simply means that you’re only in love with one person at a time, and that while you may agree with polyamory, it clearly doesn’t agree with you.
1: I’m not saying that there somehow aren’t any monogamists who fit that description, but I’m saying that description is not unique to monogamous relationships.
“The dancer’s body is simply the luminous manifestation of the soul.
The true dance is an expression of serenity;
it is controlled by the profound rhythm of inner emotion.
Emotion does not reach the moment of frenzy out of a spurt of action;
it broods first, it sleeps like the life in the seed,
and it unfolds with a gentle slowness.
The Greeks understood the continuing beauty of a movement
that mounted, that spread, that ended with a promise of rebirth.” Isadora Duncan
I’ve been fascinated with the 1920s since I was a little kid and delighted in the occasional Chaplin film on cable, so it’s not at all surprising that I’d come across the career of Isadora Duncan.
Duncan is regarded as the creator of Modern Dance (though in dance communities, this is sometimes hotly debated). While Modern Dance performances are clearly similar to ballet in some ways, the Modern Dance movement in the early 1900s was born from a distaste that many dancers had with what they perceived as a rigidity and “unnatural movement” in classical ballet. While there are now several schools of Modern Dance, Duncan’s dance was based on the dance depicted in ancient Hellenic pottery, sculpture, Graeco-Roman mosaics and neo-Classical Renaissance art and sculpture.
If we seek the real source of the dance, if we go to nature, we find that the dance of the future is the dance of the past, the dance of eternity, and has been and always will be the same… The movement of waves, of winds, of the earth is ever the same lasting harmony.” Isadora Duncan
Though she did have formal teachers giving her a background in classical dance, she ultimately rejected much of this training for improvisation and a sort of Neo-Pagan Romanticism. She once famously proclaimed that the Goddess Aphrodite Herself taught Ms Duncan in the art of dance on the beaches of California.
Her parents were once wealthy, but became rather poor shortly after Isadora’s birth, when her father lost his bank; her parents later divorced when she was seven-years-old. The experience of growing up impoverished, she and her mother and sister giving music and dance lessons to support the family, likely bred her Communist ideals, which would later lead her to defect to Russia. In spite of gaining Russian citizenship, she lived her last years in France, as well as a significant portion of her life prior.
“There are likewise three kinds of dancers: first, those who consider dancing as a sort of gymnastic drill, made up of impersonal and graceful arabesques; second, those who, by concentrating their minds, lead the body into the rhythm of a desired emotion, expressing a remembered feeling or experience. And finally, there are those who convert the body into a luminous fluidity, surrendering it to the inspiration of the soul.” ~Isadora Duncan
Despite being clearly a subversive influence on the world of artistic dance, she never completely fit in with Bohemian crowds, but her free-spiritedness and natural draw to shake up convention kept her from truly assimilating into high society. In some respects, her nature could be seen as Dionysian.
Though posthumously, she’s been idealised by some as a sort of radical femme-inist of the school of “sisters doin’ for themselves” because her dance schools were famously all-girl, early on she sought to include boys amongst her pupils of dance and philosophy, but ultimately, it was financiers who made the decision for her single-sex education in dance, and men trained in a lineage that can be traced back to Isadora Duncan herself, while increasing in number, are still rare; I know of only one male dancer to have ever been directly taught by Duncan herself. While examinations of her personal life definitely show many feminist sympathies (and also a bisexual with at least one noteworthy and passionate affair with another woman), she refrained from identifying her socio-political ideaologies as anything more than Communist, Socialist, or Marxist, which is easily argued to be inherently feminist, if not explicitly, much less radically so. The ultimate downfall of her schools, though, was her idealism; even her school in Moscow at a time of the early days of Russia’s totalitarian form of Communism suffered financially because the state had not yet made a suitable provision for the arts that could keep the school afloat, and Duncan was so firm in her belief that commercial performances cheapened the artistry she taught students to value, that she’d just as soon close a school left in the charge of a star pupil than tolerate her students performing on a commercial stage. In honour of her value of art over money, Duncan legacy dance troupes are largely non-profit.
Love is an illusion; it is the world’s greatest mistake. I ought to know for I’ve been loved as no other woman of my time has been loved. -Isadora Duncan
Her style of dance she always stressed to be very natural in its approach to the movements of the body, and improv is a major element to Duncan’s style of modern dance (though the choreography is often surprisingly intricate). Emotion and the expression of through the whole body with dance is another defining characteristic of Duncan’s style. Unlike ballet, which tends to place greater value on women dancers who are especially light-weight, and often with an unspoken mantra of “the lighter the better”, Duncan dance values any body that can move with the natural grace and convey the emotions integral to a piece; though this often means fans of ballet and some other dance regard Duncan dancers as “fat” and “out-of-shape”, the inherent athleticism in Duncan dance illustrate that Duncan dance not only keeps one in good physical condition, but also that the movements celebrate all shapes and sizes of graceful. Typically performing in bare feet, hops, skips, leaps, and arm movements tend to be regarded as the most basic elements of Duncan dancing, and Grecian-inspired dance costume is clearly preferred by Duncan herself, and those continuing to dance in her lineage.
The only surviving / known film taken of her dancing is not only extremely short, but clearly gives more attention to Isadora’s costume adjustment than her dance, which is shown as little more than a few hops. The circumstances under which this film was shot, I do not know; it’s likely that it was an experiment taken by a friend, or perhaps setting up the equipment took so long she had become tired. This is certainly not representative of the great dancer that shook up the art world and caused a sensation in the Early Twentieth. For more representitive video, there is no shortage of video of dancers of the Isadora Duncan legacy.
Interestingly, for all of Duncan’s glorifications of the Greeks, Aphrodite, Eros, the Moisai, the Khairetes, and all her applause for the wisdom of the Greeks and the inherent natural beauty of her reconstructed Greco-Roman dance, the music she selected, and that is still popular with dancers of the Duncan legacy, is movements by Romantic composers, and often music not written with dance performances in mind. This rather odd choice, all things considered, still lends to a graceful and beautiful interpretation of the music, I can’t help but wish to see Duncan dance performed with reconstructed Greco-Roman music.
Off the stage, Duncan was a flamboyant character, being practically immune to the typical ill effects of scandal, and a well-regarded eccentric. She rejected Christianity for Classical and Neitzchian philosophy, eagerly entertained Romantic Neo-Pagan imagery of her own character, and often read tarot cards for friends, strangers, and herself. Still, for all her fabulous life, it was marked with great tragedy; her marriages ended bitterly, her children died in a tragic automobile accident, her own life cut short when her excessively long scarf she regarded as something of a trademark wrapped around the axle of her Amilcar, choking her, then snapping her neck, then nearly dragging her body down the street just as her lover realised what was wrong. She died at fifty, but not before leaving an indelible impression on not only dance, but all of the arts (having inspired painters and sculptors).
As a worshipper of Eros, I encounter a fair number of real-life characters, some directly, some indirectly. Possibly the most famous of these is Dr Susan Block; she’s obsessed with bonobos and has created something known as Eros Day, a holiday celebrated on whatever day of a calendar year that a vaguely phallic planetoid in the asteroid belt named 433 Eros by astronomers happens to be closest to Earth –usually late in January. I don’t think she’s pagan in the anthropological sense of “polytheist”, and she might only be pagan in the broadest, loosest modern sense —I’m really not sure; if she is, she keeps her practises and even religion a rather personal matter outside of her very public Eros Day celebrations. This doesn’t matter to me any more than it matters to Dionysians that the most “pagan” thing about Jim Morrison was a for-shits-and-giggles hand-fasting he had with a woman whose grip on reality is… tenuous, on a good day —while some may argue that possibly is rather Dionysian, it also says nothing about what he actually believed. This doesn’t matter though, because I do believe that the gods lead us down certain paths whether we believe in Them or not. So do Dr. Block’s religious beliefs matter? I say no. She describes her philosophy as “ethical hedonism”, and it very closely resembles some of the post-Kyreniac Hedonist schools, and she’s also a syndicated columnist who’s written sex columns for several weekly papers and magazines.
Her fascination with bonobo chimps is, too, a philosophical pursuit; according to her, it was Bonobo chimps that inspired her Ethical Hedonism. In her observances, bonobo chimps resolve disputes and frustrations with each-other sexually, suggesting that if we’d all just learn to either fuck away, or at least masturbate away our anger, there would be a reduction in violence; her belief is that our species is as violent as it is amongst itself because of learned sexual repressions that we can and should free ourselves from. I’m not in complete agreement with that, but I can definitely applaud her efforts and see that in at least some people repression leads to frustration, then to anger, then to violence, and so letting go of that will lead some individuals to be less-violent or even non-violent; even leading psychiatrists tend to agree that repressing one’s sexuality can eventually lead to violence in some people.
In the Helios solar system (this would be ours) in the Gregorian year of 1898, there was an object in the asteroid belt discovered and now known as 433 Eros, and it’s the second-largest Near-Earth Asteroid after 1036 Ganymed. It’s also one of the closest, is a “Mars-crosser” (meaning its orbit crosses that of Mars periodically) and in as few as two million years, may become an Earth-crosser. It belongs to the Amor group of asteroids, and unlike 1036 Ganymed, is not occasionally considered a “minor planet”.
“Offcially”, 433 Eros is “peanut shaped”, but seriously now? No, seriously: That thing is phallic.
NASA has sent the NEAR Shoemaker probe to Eros twice, in an effort to learn more about the formation of the solar system, and it’s the first asteroid to be orbited by a probe. Every eighty-one years (the next occurrence will be in 2056), 433 Eros is close enough to Earth to have a magnitude of +7.0 (its typical magnitude is +8.1), appearing to stop and giving it a brighter appearance than any other NEA, excepting 4 Vesta. It’s also noteworthy that 433 Eros never goes retrograde.
The reason I bring these two up is because on the date that 433 Eros is nearest Earth, usually in late January (this year 31 January), Dr Susan Block has designated that date as “Eros Day”, and hosts a party celebrating love and pleasure. Of course, perusing her site, she seems to have set a fixed date for the celebration for 19 January, which doesn’t make much sense to me, but then again, I’m sure she has her reasons.