Circle of Joy and Sorrow

Everything that exists is in a manner the seed of that which will be. -Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, March 30, 2006

You Cannot Be a Witch Alone

Now when a witch decides to commit heresy she should not go half cake. Should she commit heresy she should pour out the whole ale. So here it is- you cannot be a witch alone.

Get over that you’ve heard it all before, nothing new under the sun, and wait, isn’t that something they said back in the medieval ages? If you’re going to buy little books on Wicca, and if you’re going to light little candles when the moon is all round, and if you’re going to give yourself a really original name containing the word dragon or faerie or moon or wolf or silver or raven or phoenix, it should be just because you like other Wiccans.

The getting of the out and meeting people is nerve wracking. You drop a contact on the floor, you change your lipstick three times, you forget your driver’s license and have to hope they don’t card at the door. The first half hour you really aren’t going to be able to say anything worth remembering. But it does all get better from there on out.

This new moon was the first meet-up for my new ritual circle, and I got to meet two really awesome witches out of the odd 13 in the group. So it was more fruitful than the spring equinox online meet-up, squee. Very few Wiccan books give meaningful advice on how to hold a meet-up. There are simple rules. Be clean. Don’t get plastered; for those who need it explicit, one drink. Provide an ice-breaker activity where people interact, so not a movie but perhaps billiards or Frisbee. Make sure you give them a reason to expect that if they come they will be providing input into the circle or coven you are founding. Pester them to show up. Show up yourself.

There are a lot of bad arguments against the epidemic of solitaire practice in this country. A lot of them are along the lines of that witchcraft is more than looking good in black, and that Wiccans need initiation. All very boring. Fellowship is not vastly overrated; it’s a real spiritual need and we crave the company that a circle or a coven can provide, as long as we haven’t been brainwashed into thinking we should be proud we don’t deserve somewhere to hang our pointy hats.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Free with Pair of Shoes

Now I was in a shoe store last night shopping for an actual pair of heels. I told myself I wasn’t in there for heels to salsa. Yet there I was, one gold heel on foot and one in hand, when they rounded the corner. The mother stomps up the aisle with her terrible feather-wing hair and begins to shove boxes of shoes around. Her daughter shifts around behind her, clearly having meant to manage the shoe selection alone. “I don’t know what you want; I don’t know anything of what you want. You said you wanted a pair of shoes. Well, here are shoes!” Her daughter murmurs that she wanted clogs. “Clogs?! Well here are clogs, but I know they’re not what you want!” The daughter looks at the floor while she jerks her cross fish pendant back and forth on its cheap steel chain.

The woman figures out suddenly that I haven’t zoned her out drama, but I’ve sat down on the shoe stool to watch with one shoe in my hand. I smile like a neighbor who has no intention of going back to her roses. She looks back at her daughter for the first time, and explains that all there is to choose from will be on this one rack. All the other aisles have the same shoe, just in a different size. Her daughter touches one or two pairs, points to a pair of clogs with black flowers over the toes. Her mother looks at the price, looks at me. Her daughter’s not as grown up as I am, alone in the shoe store. The clogs are far better for her daughter than my sex-in-the-city heels. They’ll be cute with her daughter’s dress tomorrow night, so she takes both her daughter and her daughter’s new clogs, and she’s gone. I go back to admiring my ankles in the mirror.

Up at the cash register, the clogs have already been processed, and there’s no one else in line. The employee who takes my credit card and puts a rubber band around the box has textbook make-up. That’s what I’m thinking about when she reaches to get a store bag, and I tell her I don’t need one. Her hand pauses, and she looks at me as if I were speaking French. Here it is now, where I could speak of oil and the annoyance of driving to the recycling center. I could speak of a simple life with a pair of heels I’m hoping will work like Cinderella’s. Her head inches closer to me, and with a hushed whisper she inquires how I’ll plan to carry the shoes without a bag. I settle for, “I’ll just carry the box.”

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Epona Goes to the Movies

Now you might not expect to see a horse at the movies, but there’s definitely something of Epona in last year’s blockbuster “Crash.” There’s not your typical claim to fame as a pagan movie for the film, considering the portrayal of L.A. at Christmas time and the main spiritual icon being a statue of St. Joseph. But that little Catholic saint is the patron of travelers, and likewise is our Girl Epona. The central meaning of the film is given early, that we have so forgotten how to connect with each other that we can only fill our need for contact by crashing into other people- equal faith opportunity.

And it struck me how true this was, perched on a chair in the jagged circle of a post-movie discussion at “Spark of Spirit” tonight. 5 aggressive drivers dominated what turned into a panel of rhetorical hand-wringing about the media and the growing plague of young white professionals in urban communities. The rest shied away and its true, no one was touching anything let alone each other. It goes without saying there was the gleeful indulgence in the stereotypes of politicians, and white people professing their guilt.

I thought a lot about the idea of seeing racial identities like coins you find on the street. One side is bright and shiny in the sun, but pick it up and turn it over, there’s rust and grime. I thought a lot about the woman who caused a ruckus at my gas station last week because she decided I was parked too far away from the pump. I’m not going to waste time pondering her motives, but since the owner knows me in my Homeland Security uniform, she got told to shut her mouth. Even after going through meditations to give me a sense of loving-kindness towards that woman, I am no closer to understanding how I could have touched her, enter into dialogue, communicated or whatever one is supposed to do.

I thought about that since moving here six months ago I have been assaulted twice in public trans by adult men, whose race you know without my giving it. I thought a lot about the racial division at the federal agency where I work. I had a lot of time since I could barely get a word in edgewise. Epona took a phone call and snuck a chocolate candy bar, while they preached and I thought. And I still have to confess that I don’t know what to think.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Ostridge as Your Totem?

Now I had never met anyone with an actual ostridge as a personal guide. But there he was, proud as peas, voice reverberating up out of the sand in which he had buried his head, and flooding the pagan shop with his glee. I am not going to disparage anyone’s choice of political party today, but never let anyone tell you we are powerless. Never let it be said that self-sought disenfranchisement after centuries of struggle against kings and princes is the ticket to a good life. Everywhere the ostridge is seducing pagans away from a long and courageous history of civic involvement and governance.

Saying that we should eshew public life is akin to seeing a chalice of wine spill on the altar, and not getting towels to clean up because no one else is doing it (Democrats) and because it is someone else’s problem (Republicans). FEMA was rebuilt to excellence under a Democratic President, but fell victim to the war-mongering of a Republican Commander-in-Chief. Hurricanes off the Atlantic have increased in ferocity and number as global warming escalates. Citizens enamored of a perfect existence in an afterlife turn blind eyes to the welfare of their own people. The disaster of Katrina was forseen, yet all the oracles silenced. The ostridge sticks his head in the mud of a devastated city, sees it all go away and gives thanks. Do you heed the call of the ostridge?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Judge a Book and Uncover

Now I just saw the most amuzing thing. Precious. Blondie the Librarian leads astray a group of youngsters to the "history of ghosts" section which is apparently what passes for where the wicca books are in severna park. In one fell swoop these girls savage the shelf for all the books on witches... and toss aside the one book on the shelf actually written by a real witch. Currott's "Book of Shadows" as it happens. All poor P.C. rates for her white cover and ordinary winey dress is half a sniff. As it also happens, where I'd secreted away a flier for J/S a la guerrilla marketing tactics. Sniff. Moral of the story: men who make money know our brains freeze up at the sight of the color black. Judge, judge, judge.