(M) Mandating Ignorance


I want to start out by saying that I have issues with both main political parties, and at this point I am more or less fed up with both of them. However given that the GOP keeps saying the most ridiculous things EVER – they are slightly higher on my “shit list” as it were, than anyone else at the moment. I also know that there are good people in our government, who are working as hard as they can, but I also recognize that it is a very uphill battle for anyone at this point. I also need to point out that I don’t actually have any issues with most Christians – I do have issue with anyone who is trying to shove their beliefs down my throat, or who is trying to impose their beliefs as being more “moral” or “just”, or in any way better than mine. In short, I just really needed to vent and get this off my chest, so here it is…

I’m not entirely sure when this was released, though I’m guessing fairly recently as it’s just now making the news. At first glance, the official 2012 State Republican Party Platform (of Texas) might not seem related to my path, or even Paganism in general. However on closer inspection, it contains language that could (at some point) affect all of us, as it gives unsettling insight into just how far the ultra-conservative Christian politicians are willing to go, in order to insure that any child born in Texas (or potentially other states, that are led by those who are like-minded) is kept as ignorant as possible to anything outside of what their own family deems important, or worth knowing. It’s worth noting, that the national GOP Party Platform (at least from previous years) contains many similar statements as well.

There are a number of issue that I have with many of their stances, however in particular is the section relating to EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN. The official stances noted here (and to be sure there are actually quite a few more in the document, but these are some of the big ones) are all disturbing to say the very least.

American Identity Patriotism and LoyaltyWe believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive. We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups. Students should pledge allegiance to the American and Texas flags daily to instill patriotism.

Early Childhood DevelopmentWe believe that parents are best suited to train their children in their early development and oppose mandatory pre-school and Kindergarten. We urge Congress to repeal government sponsored programs that deal with early childhood development.

Knowledge-Based EducationWe oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

Sex EducationWe recognize parental responsibility and authority regarding sex education. We believe that parents must be given an opportunity to review the material prior to giving their consent. We oppose any sex education other than abstinence until marriage.

While I have issues (as mentioned), with all of them, it’s the “Knowledge-Based Education” one that concerns me the most, and is the main reason for this post. In particular – the idea that teaching someone to think critically, and ask questions is in some how detrimental to a person. The idea that we should teach our children to literally be sheep, who should follow anything said to them by a parent (and in turn any authority figure) without asking the eternal child’s question “why?”  The idea that we should turn our children lose in the world, when they have grown to adulthood, ripe for being taken advantage of. Because someone that they trust, or who is in a position of authority will come along and they will accept at face value what that person says, because they were never taught the critical thinking skills necessary to determine that what is being said, may not be an accurate reflection of how things really are (or in some cases may be outright lies).

What this particular stance also speaks to (as well as the “Early Childhood Development” one), is that they want [Christian] parents in their state to be able to indoctrinate their children from birth, in their particular faith, and then make sure that they don’t encounter anything else that might cause them to question that faith. Or if they do encounter other ideas, that they have been “groomed” so well from birth, that it doesn’t occur to them to ask questions. To be fair it could be a parent of any faith, but clearly this seems to be a response to what these particular members of the GOP have seen as a direct attack on their “good Christian values” of late.

I’ll be honest – that there are people in my country, worse people who are in positions of power in my country, who think like this scares me. I don’t understand how we went from a country that valued Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, to a country that is moving full on towards denying those basic human rights. They say that they want less government involvement in things, then look to use that very same government to limit the rights of those they deem unworthy.

So of course the choice is to fight back, but it is clear… oh so very clear, that things that worked in the past  – such as protesting, no longer have any real effect on anything. If you don’t have the support of the media, or a large pile of money funding you – it’s like you are completely invisible. It’s really enough to make me despair for my children, and their children – of the country that they will inherit. As the current one seems hellbent on mandating ignorance, and I for one find that totally unacceptable.


(I was going to include some other stances that I had issues with, however in the end felt that it would potentially distract from the main focus of this post, so have chosen not to include them. Just note that there is a large number of other issues that I have with this document, and in many cases they all do have “ignorance”… in some way or an other, as a core component.)

Feathered Friends


Today there were a couple of hawks hanging out in the back yard. Unfortunately I’m still taking pics with the crappy cellphone camera, but wanted to share one of the better pics. This particular one stayed in the yard for quite a bit, alternating between the ground, and sitting top of the fence around our neighbor’s garden. I think they have a nest nearby though, because I do often hear them when I’m outside, even if I can’t see them.

 

 

Hawks are one of my favorite birds, so it was a real treat to see them up close like this. Especially since at best, they are usually just flying by over head, or seen in passing as we are out driving.

Happy Solstice


Apparently it’s really hard to find good “Summer Solstice” music on YouTube… you’d think it would be easier, but there’s really not much to pick from.

I do really like this song  though, so despite the soft poly feel, and the fact that Herne is actually a forest spirit/ghost, rather than a God, I thought I’d share it with you all.

Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful Solstice!!!

Lyrics can be found here, plus you can check out other music by Dahm the Bard as well.

Enjoy!!

Note: Apparently for some of you, there is an advertisement video below – near as I can tell it’s something that is auto-populated every time I post a link to a video. Just noting that it is not something that I added, or that has anything to do with the rest of my post, and I have no clue how to get rid of it. Sorry for any confusion.

(L) Loki =/= Loki


Huh… whaaaaa?

As anyone who has a tumblr account can probably attest, it’s hard to get through a day without at least one Avengers related image zipping through one’s dashboard. After seeing a bit of a trend regarding some particular images, it occurred to me, and especially after I saw a friend mention something similar, that there are potentially thousands of fangirls out there right now thinking that Loki is just the coolest damn thing since sliced bread. Which for some he really is… however in this case they are really all squeeeeee-ing over Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of (Marvel’s version of) Loki, not Loki himself.

In truth who can blame them… he’s got that cheeky grin, and the devil may care attitude (among other things), and there’s just that little (or large) part of us that is always attracted to that sort of thing.  It occurs to me as well, that the same could be said about Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, so with Heathenry suddenly looking oh so sexy, it really seemed like a good time to bring front and center the fact that Marvel Asgardian mythology and actual Norse lore are two very different things.

I think it’s great that some people may find themselves truly called to a Heathen path, because of these characters. However it’s cringe-worthy to think of those who may not do their “homework” (so to speak), and who might think that the mythology from the movies/comics is accurate, or that the way that the characters look/act in them has much to do with anything of how these particular Gods are actually described in the lore.

Just something to keep in mind, and to pass on to those that you think may need the reminder. Nothing wrong with being a Loki fangirl (or any other God’s for that matter)… just make sure you know who it is you are actually honoring.

Parting Ways


If you feel the need for a spell to ensure a successful break up or to ensure an amicable parting of ways, you can use the following. But in my book break up spells are on par with  love spells (just reversed) – you are still messing with someone’s free will, especially if they aren’t the one that wants to break up. However, there are definitely times, particularly if a relationship has turned ugly, where such things may be necessary. So, if you still want to use it I suggest adding a little personal note (*) allowing for “if it is meant to be, then it will all work out in the end”.

In most cases though, I would advise just breaking up with someone the regular way. Sure…it can be a hard thing to do, but it’s generally better to go for mundane over magic, unless there is a specific reason not to.

PARTING WAYS

our paths diverged
new lives to start
what once was merged
here now must part

with blessings bright
we’ll start anew
the time is right
we know it’s true

*(see note)
As I will, so mote it be.

While normally you would do an “ending” spell with the waning moon, since this one is focused more on starting fresh, you could do it with either. The spell is fairly simple – just say it like you mean it. Also, either have a picture of the person (or have a clear image of them in your mind) while you say the words. You, of course, are welcome to add any additional materials – candles, incense, oils, etc… that you feel will help increase and focus the energy behind the spell.

disclaimer: As always, spells are not an insta-cure or guaranteed. There are many outside influences that can affect whether or not a spell works, despite our best intentions. Use at your own discretion and be aware that all actions have consequences. Any spellwork should be considered carefully before attempting.

Amazon.com Hates Me


Eureka!:

Not entirely what these sort of posts are supposed to be about, but I didn’t really have any true “A-HA” moments this month, and I didn’t want to start a new one without hitting all the Pagan Insights Project prompts at least once. Between my dad being up visiting and work, it’s been a bit of a crazy month, so I haven’t had a whole lot of time to focus on much else for the last couple weeks. However this is at least somewhat related to my current path, so figured it could count – just this once.

What I have discovered this month is that Amazon.com does not want me to own a copy of Rudiments of Runelore by Stephen Pollington. Twice now I’ve ordered it (the first time actually back in April), and it was showing “in stock” both times. However in both cases it’s taken them so long to ship it, that it went out of stock while waiting.  The first time I threw a big fit, and they actually credited my account for the difference it was going to cost me to buy from someone else. However while I was deciding where else to get it from, Amazon showed that they had it back in stock, so I ordered it again. Then waited… and waited… and waited… and again still hadn’t shipped. Finally got a message yesterday saying that it had been canceled again because it had gone out of stock.

SO WHY THE FUCK DOES AMAZON KEEP NOTING IT AS “IN STOCK”, IF THEY ARE NOT GOING TO ACTUALLY CARRY IT!!!!! (or ship it in a timely manner – and yes, I am just a bit cranky over the whole thing XD)

It really wouldn’t be such an issue, but when they list it, the price is WAY less than what everyone else has it for, and as someone who doesn’t have a whole lot of $$, clearly I don’t want to pay a crapton of money for the book if I don’t have to. I feel like they are just playing some sort of cruel joke on me, and at this point I think I’m rather done playing along. Not cool Amazon.com… not cool at all!!

 

It’s Nice to be Acknowledged…


Action, Action:

While the event itself was not Pagan related in the slightest, I had an interesting experience earlier this week, and felt it was worth sharing. I went to a memorial service on Monday at a large government agency, and though “God” was often mentioned by the various clergy members who were present, I was pleasantly surprised during the Invocation when the Senior Cantor made a point of acknowledging that there are many different ways of seeing Him, and of worshiping Him – to the point of specifically mentioning the word “ritual”. Which clearly that word is not specific to Paganism, but it’s also not one that you hear as often in conjunction with Christian rites or services, so (despite the possibility that I’m a bit biased on the subject), I took it as a slight nod to those in attendance who might be of a Pagan faith.

I really wish I had a transcript of the entire thing, because it was very well spoken, and went a long way towards recognizing those of various faiths, other than Christianity. Normally I am a bit uncomfortable during things like that when it’s “God this…” and “God that…”, not because I have any issue with Him, but I sometimes feel like an impostor when He is invoked, and I don’t like to just mouth words that I don’t really believe in. That there was  purposeful acknowledgement of other faiths during this ceremony, went a long way to making me (and I’m sure some others as well) feel that sense of inclusion, that is often missing at these sort of events. This is especially important, as it comes at a time when we sometimes desperately (due to the sadness we are feeling at the loss of a loved one) need to feel that we aren’t so alone in our grief.

(J) It’s All About the Journey…


One of my favorite quotes is “Faith is a Journey… Not a Destination”, and it is a good reminder that while where we are going is important, it’s what we do while on the path to get there, that really matters.

Ok… so… I was going to write a whole thing related to that statement, however to be honest – where I was going with it just sort of flew right out of my head (hence the WAY lateness of the post), so I’ll journey in a different direction instead. XD

I wrote this a while back for a solitary Eclectic Witch who was interested in finding a craft name, but really it could be modified so that one is journeying to “find” any number of things – a gem of wisdom or a bit of clarity regarding a current issue, a spiritual talisman to carry within for a particular purpose, or just a journey to recharge and balance oneself. If it seems like it would be useful to you, please feel free to modify it as necessary.

Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can sit or lie down and not be disturbed. Take a few moments to ground and center. Then take a few deep cleansing breaths and allow your body and mind to completely relax. When you are ready…

Imagine yourself at the edge of a forest, it’s mossy green and cool, there may be birds chirping and you can hear woodland creatures moving through the trees – in front of you is a path. It is narrow, but well worn by those who have come before you. You pause here for a moment, allowing yourself to become attuned to the earth around you – breathing in the scent of the trees and feeling the ground beneath your bare feet. For at this moment you are one with the earth.

(pause for a few moments)

When you are ready, you start walking down the path. Your purpose is clear – you are on a journey to find that secret part of you that has been hidden. You know that at the end of this path is a name that will unlock that secret and through your perseverance you will find it. As you continue to walk, you again notice the smells, sounds and feel of the forest. Suddenly you notice a gentle breeze, you stop and let the breeze flow over you. You feel its fingers ruffle your hair and your clothes, you notice the scent of the forest that is carried with it. Pause here for a moment, and allow yourself to become attuned to the air around you – breathing in the freshness and seeing how the breeze makes everything dance – for at this moment you are one with the air.

(pause for a few moments)

When you are ready, you continue on your path – feeling the ground beneath your feet and the breeze through your hair. You walk for a while and soon the temperature around you begins to get warmer. You come to a clearing and before you is a fire pit, and to the side there is a table with food that has been prepared. You sit for a time and eat – nourishing you body and basking in the warmth of the flames. As you look deep into the fire there is understanding – for out of destruction comes renewal…and out of renewal comes destruction…and so on, such is the cycle of life. Pause for a moment and allow yourself to become attuned to the fire – breathing in the smoky scent, hearing the crackling and feeling its soothing warmth. For at this moment you are one with the fire.

(pause for a few moments)

When you are ready, you continue on your path – feeling the ground beneath your feet, the breeze through your hair and the warmth from the fire still on your skin. You walk for a while and soon you hear a sound in the distance – a laughing, bubbling sound, and you find that the path has lead you to the shore of a little river. You notice that in order to continue your journey you must cross, and so you slowly walk into the water. The sparkling water is cool and refreshing – it is deep in spots so you float through those areas, allowing the water to wash over you and cleanse your body and you mind. Pause here for a moment and allow yourself to become attuned to the water – drinking in the coolness, feeling it as it flows through your body – renewing and refreshing, washing away all negative energies that surround you. For at this moment you are one with the water.

(pause for a few moments)

When you are ready, you leave the river and continue up the path . You are so completely attuned to the elements, that the forest around you is now swirling with energy – light and color is everywhere. You could stand here forever and watch the spiraling dance that is life. However you know you must move on – your journey is almost complete. You move forward into another clearing and see that your path ends at an ancient stone altar. It is simple and unadorned, but you can feel the power that surrounds it. On the top of the altar there is a box, and that which you seek is inside – you have only to reach down and lift the lid to receive the knowledge. Pause here for a moment – feel the elements swirling through you. For this moment you are one with the universe.

(pause for a few moments)

Your purpose is clear – and you know that when you lift this lid that you will have the name that you seek. When you are ready, place your hands on the lid of the box, and lift. Inside there is a small piece of parchment – you take it and then slowly unroll it. Written on the page is your name – take a few moments now and accept your gift. Feel the changes that are occurring as your secret self awakens – attune yourself with this new awareness. For at this moment and forever more you are one with yourself.

(pause for a few moments)

When you are ready you may begin your journey back to the mundane world. Though you have gained the knowledge you were seeking, know that this forest is always here for you. Whenever you feel the need to recharge your connections – you have only to walk the path for it to be so.

When you are ready…open your eyes.

(As mentioned above, you are welcome to re-post or modify the above as necessary, however I would ask that you please credit me when doing so. You can use either of the following when doing so – “posted with permission” or “modified with permission“. Thanks!! )

A Beautiful Moon & Some Music To Match


I meant to do this more around the time I actually took the pic, but got a bit sidetracked with some other things, but better late than never.

Post A Pic:

Supermoon – well almost as it was taken on the night before the full moon. I’m glad I got the shot when I did though, because (as is rather par for the course around Sabbat time here) it was overcast and raining for the next couple of days.

belmoon

Musical Musings:

Fittingly, if we are looking at a beautiful moon, then music about the moon would be the most appropriate choice as well. I stumbled across this song not too long ago, and really liked it, and would encourage everyone to check out Omnia. They are a Pagan folk band that has been around for quite a while actually. Some of it’s a bit hit or miss though, I was excited to see that they had a song about Lughnasadh, however that particular one gave me an almost insta-migrane (which is very unfortunate, since it’s one of my favorite Sabbats). Overall though, they do have some nice music, so still worth giving a listen.

(I) Introducing Oneself to the Gods


I’ve noticed that there are quite a number of books out there, such as the Farrar’s books “The Witches’ God: Lord of the Dance and “The Witches’ Goddess: The Feminine Principle of Divinity, that often suggest just plopping down and introducing yourself to random Gods and Goddesses – just to get to know them. While these are both great books for getting to know more about the various attributes that a particular God or Goddess can exhibit, the idea of just calling on a particular God or Goddess out of the blue, is disconcerting to say the least. I fully admit I about fell out of my chair, in the chapter about Loki, when they made such a suggestion.

While I understand completely that Loki is not the “evil” God that many make him out to be, he is still one not to be taken lightly, and it’s generally not a good idea to bring oneself (purposefully) to his attention, unless one is prepared to deal with the bits of chaos he is likely to bring along with him. This is something that is true for any number of Gods and Goddesses, even ones that are generally considered benign. So I just can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that so many authors seem to think that it is ok to advise new practitioners to just jump right in like that – well before they have had any opportunity to understand the potential consequences of such an action.

Recently, as mentioned in my previous post, I was preparing to introduce myself to Odinn. To be fair it didn’t go nearly as bad as I thought it would, but the potential was there. Which is why it is important to know and understand who you are introducing yourself to. Just randomly showing up on someone’s doorstep, and saying “hey… wanna hang for a bit?”, not always going to go over very well. I don’t know about anyone else, but I really dislike it when people just drop by, especially people that I don’t know.

So what should you do if you feel that you are ready to get to know a particular God or Goddess on more intimate terms?

  • The first thing is research – read all (or as much of) the available myths/lore as possible. Find out if there are particular items or foods/drinks associated with said deity, so that when it comes time, you can properly represent them, and have an offering that you know they might like. Make sure that you have a good idea of the customs that are appropriate to said deity as well, – such as purity standards (like the ones required within Kemeticism).
  • Once you feel you have exhausted the academic route, take some time to really think about the potential consequences of bringing yourself to the attention of a God. In many cases one may do an intro ritual (for lack of a better word, though it may not necessarily be that formal), and not much will happen – in other cases it can have profound, life changing consequences. Be absolutely sure that you are ready whichever occurs – as each can be just as devastating, if unprepared. Being unexpectedly claimed by a God or Goddess can be a scary thing, however the same is true if one attempts contact and said deity ignores you completely. It can leave you wondering about your path, and how to move on, especially if one truly felt that there was a connection to be made.

Once you are ready, the process itself is fairly simply – though you can make it as formal or informal as you like. Some will go with more of a guided meditation type exercise, and others will have a full on ritual. The choice is entirely personal, and really it’s whatever feels most comfortable to you. For me it was a matter of a candle, a chant and a bottle of mead to share. For others it may be more involved, the key is that it comes from your heart, and is sincere. You don’t want to approach the Gods under false pretenses, or with a lack of humility, or humbleness, for in doing so you would definitely be starting out on the wrong foot. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be having to look over my shoulder for the rest of my life, for showing such a lack of respect to the Gods – and if ever there was a time for making a good “first impression”, this is it!