Well, I’m getting the itch to blog more Erotic and Boeotian polytheistic goodness again, and coincidentally, assuming AccuWeather stays correct, the last super-hot day of the year jusr passed us, meaning it is again reasonable to pick more than one or two days a week to write a load of pre-dated posts to a single blog. I’m probably going to start blogging on here again later this week. In the meantime, since I’m updating from the humanoid meat-based house-mate’s tablet, I’m just going to tell you to go to http://oddmodout.peacockfairy.com and click on the link to the IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for a circle punch for my badgering. I asked Sannion to plug it, and while he agreed if I’d add to his dithyramb project, I’ve been a tad on the uninspired side of Dionysos lately —as in this last two or three years— so I figured I’d say something here, since I’ve got the polytheist blogging itch. Also, check out my new tumblog at http://modpagan.tumblr.com
The stranger Eros comes,
alighting like a black crow on the branch
amid the early morning mist.
His eyes are blue as the first violets of spring,
his hair golden-brown as a jar of honey on the shrine of the nymphs,
his lips soft as satin sheets on bare flesh,
and I know that his kiss would be tart as a cherry
just before it reaches ripeness.
The others standing there
(too engrossed in their recriminations)
do not see him, but I do.
And he smiles at me,
a sad and longing smile,
before disappearing once more.
The couple clasp hands and cross the street,
their worthless argument forgot.
So, I’ll start this week off with a recent PNCMN Letter to the editor: When Religious Discrimination Hits Home:
by Dr. Todd Berntson
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.
So… What else did I read this week?
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.
Sannion has posted a review of a Totes Recon beer:
This stuff is the shit. That’s what the children are saying today, right? Right?
This has nothing to do with anything else posted here, but it was amusing and I thought I’d share with people who aren’t my FarceBorg friends:
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.
Oh, and just in case you didn’t know, GWAR and their crew are a demi-Socialist collective. No, serious, it’s there in the article.
And speaking of being parted temporarily from one’s beloved (this will make sense if you watch the film), here are a couple of great blog pieces on Fallow Times:
Fallow Isn’t Just About Fields and Dreams:
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?
Ah yeah…. Never mind what he’s say.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me who sees this, but while I can understand wanting to do something different as a cultural identifier (one of the reasons I don’t protest too loudly over Jewish circumcision, I just personally think it would be more meaningful if the boy had a choice in the matter), I think it’s rather dubious to eschew one other’s cultural identifier for another other’s cultural identifier when one is otherwise clearly a part of neither culture.
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.
Oh, and speaking of headscarves, did you know it’s Wear A Hijab Month? Neither did I.
Also, like Orthodox and otherwise traditional Jewish women, apparently traditional/orthodox Hindu women also veil, apparently in the form of a sheer portion of the sari pulled completely over the face. One article I’ve found on Hindu ghoonghat claims that this practise is originally foreign to Hindu women, and was created under the first majpr wave of Islamic rule.
Just in case you were curious:
As always, I update my Etsy store on Tuesdays; here, take a look! (And please buy some of my top-quality crap!)
Shit you’ve probably read already:
* Now That You’re Big, a beautiful Dr. Seuss parody
Your New Word For the Week:
Bearcat – a hot-blooded or fiery girl (1920s slang)
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.
What?! It’s a puppy!
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.
Oh, and did you know that Sannion hates women who get abortions? Oh, wait…:
At any rate I do not want to see people going around saying that Sannion believes Dionysos hates women who get abortions, because that is so not the point of this post.
The Barking Shaman has some words about that HuffPo article from the mother of a 7-year-old who came out as gay:
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!
Shen Hart at Ink-Stained Pawprints asked Atheists to be a bit more tolerant. I may have arrived late, but I think I “totes pwnd” a troll.
I’m glad to see some-one I don’t believe I know (on-line or off) who enjoyed my post on urban spirituality facts and the pagan community.
Just in case you were curious:
This has been the first week (to my knowledge) that this blog has had a minimum of 100 views a day.
I also learned the hard way that ReBlogging does not work with privately hosted WordPress blogs, no matter how much you’ve hooked up said blog to your WP.com account.
Shit You’ve Probably Read Already:
* Survey on Pagan Prayer
* Galina Krasskova: C is for Cultural Misappropriation
* Hark! A Vagrant – Greek Couples sketches
* Something Positive: Seasonal Spirit (I really wish those things existed)
* Oglaf: Obligation Day (NSFW)
* ETA! Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell: Valentine Pin-Up Boys! (sorry about the last minute add, but I had to)
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.