Lughnasadh


In  Your Own Words: This time of year is always a bit hard on me, being that it’s near to the anniversary of my mother’s death. One of the reasons why Lughnasadh has always been one of my favorite (well… not quite the right word, but it serves in this case) Sabbats, is that it the time that Lugh bade us celebrate in honor his foster mother Tailtiu, and as such it’s somewhat of a “mother’s day” celebration for me as well. It’s made even more poignantly appropriate by the fact that my mother-in-law and my mother’s best friend (who was like a second mother to me growing up), both also died during the month of August.

So tonight I will raise a glass in honor, tell a few stories, and try not to make it a total cry-fest, because that sort of defeats the purpose of celebrating a life well lived and loved. However even after all these years, it’s sometimes difficult not to break down completely at the thought of just how much the world has been lessened by the loss of these three amazing women. You are remembered, and loved – for now and forever!

On a bit of a lighter note – I did not bake any bread, however I did make pizza… does that count?

Musical Musings:

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Wow… Is It That Time Already?


Seriously, I have no idea where the time went this month. I had a few things to post, and then just somehow never got around to it – Mercury reverse throttling into retrograde on the 14th didn’t really help matters either. So after a bit, I think I just gave up making any sort of coherent posts for most of the rest of the month. Thankfully we are nearing the end of that mess, and with any luck my brain will commence functioning again.

In the meantime, just wanted to let you all know that I was still around. Will post something relevant soon, I promise!!!

❤ ❤

 

(O) Being Open-Minded


Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out!

A friend used to be rather fond of the above quote, and as we used to find ourselves frequently in discussion with those who were often accusing us of being “close-minded“, it really became a mantra of sorts. A rallying cry for fighting the good fight. It’s a variation of one that many often attribute to Richard Dawkins, however a closer look shows that the original author is unknown.

It’s one thing to accept that almost anything is possible, but it’s quite another to blindly believe every single thing that you read, or hear someone say. While there is a lot of UPG, and “doing your own thing” when it comes to many Pagan paths, there are still many things which can be verified, or that have historical facts/evidence associated with them. It’s also good to remember that “traditions” are not called such just for the fun of it.  Most importantly, we need to keep in mind that it is not “close-minded” to challenge those who attempt to claim otherwise, in fact it really comes down to a matter of common sense.

If someone asks you why you believe in something, or why you hold a certain view point to be true – you should be able to rationally discuss (even if you don’t give out personal details) at least some of the reasons which led you to feel the way you do. If you can’t, then maybe you need to take a bit of time and really think about it. This isn’t just important as a means to satisfy someone else’s curiosity, but a serious means of gaining a deeper understanding of your own beliefs and practices.

If someone points you to sources or information that contradict something that you thought you knew – don’t dismiss it out of hand. No one likes to be wrong, but a large part of life is growing and learning new things – take the opportunity that is being given to find out if you might have missed something. At the very least you’ll come out with stronger convictions, because you are able to support your own beliefs, but on that slight possibility that you are wrong, here is your chance to learn something new.  In either case you come out better for it in the end.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t believe in whatever you want to believe in, but using critical thinking skills in these situations goes a long way to ensuring that one’s practices, and beliefs are built on a solid foundation, rather than something a bit more tenuous.

(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.