Circle of Joy and Sorrow

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

Thursday, May 25, 2006

RIP Kilted Liberal

Now this is the kind of bedtime story where the moral gets laid out in the front. Pagan blogrolls recorded the un-forewarned demise of Kilted Liberal this week, whose owner came into a nasty shock during employee review. One of his co-workers with whom he shared the existence of his blog, and there by his religion, history of addiction, and sexual interests, printed out pages and pages of juicy content to share with his boss. Who docked him from a 5% yearly raise to 3%.

That was just to make you all gasp. His evangelical Christian boss said it was nobody’s business about the content of the blog. But. But Andy had posted 6 times from work, and well, that is a issue of employee misconduct. I even had to sign statements against blogging when I started with Homeland Security, and I don’t even have access to a computer at work. So he gave Andy a slap on the wrist that totals to about $500 per $25,000 base salary. Kilted Liberal lies in its grave under the banner “You know who you are… and you suck.”

You can contact Andy for the location of his new blog, and I’m going to wait a little while to blogroll his new one so it’s not so obvious. (Though I will spoil that he’s on blogspot!) Reality exists somewhere between fearmongering and fluffy bunny love for everyone. I loved Kilted Liberal, but I really can’t get past the idea that someone with evangelicals in the office would share the addy of their pagan blog where they talk about a longing for a liquid lunch. Sigh. Best to remember that the world is full of Don Quixotees- adorned even in pearls and pumps.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Epona's Modern Worship

Now if you love horses you already know of the tragedy that struck the second leg of the Tripple Crown last Saturday. 6 p.m. saw post time at the Preakness here in Maryland, where Derby champion Barbaro broke three rear leg bones and dislocated his ankle in one single misstep.

Career ending, the three year old colt stands only a 50-50 chance of survival after 5 hours of surgery yesterday. Looking closely now, the catastrophic level of the injury becomes far more apparent than it did that evening, broadcast at a distance. Even though Barbaro pulled up in the first 100 meters, the Preakness went on and upstart favorite Bernardini won by 5 lengths.

I find it difficult to continue on with my forecast, which I started with the Derby. Watching all the pretty horses in their pre-race lap, I predicted that Barbaro would not even show. The only thing that matters in horse racing are the three fastest in the field: Win, Place, Show. My heart went still watching Barbaro's ears and gate; perhaps there was nothing more in my feelings than an equestrian childhood, but something told me this was not Barbaro's day. Instead, it proved to be his sunset.

I picked Bernadini to Win, Sweetnorthernsaint to Place, and Hemingway's Key to Show. And that's exactly what they did. I feel a little less awful that I don't believe in gambling, considering the tragedy that befell Barbaro.

Waiting for news on Barbaro and watching poor, excited Bernadini's star muted by the shadow of another, I have been thinking of what it means to have your faith shaken. People often speak of tragedy as making them question the favor or power of their god or goddess. And yet I am pagan, and that means something quite radical. While others pray, "Give us our daily bread," it is pagan to say, "Give us our toil and our rest." We rise into the day, we drive on the highways, we race our horses, and we accept the risks we make for ourselves. Pain of defeat, or the winner's rose.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Thich Nhat Hanh

Now I have this old good friend (hi you) who won't get herself a Blogger identity so she can be perhaps my one and only regular commentor. I shall have to intervene and give her a name like one of those D.C. sex bloggers who nickname their conquests. So what's on the table? Hardcouch. Or else something to reflect the single life. No, the first has nothing to do with my current drought and her flood. Blah. ;)

So in her honor, I'm going to blog about something that happened during my day. (Just because you mentioned that's what you hate about bloggers.) I'm sitting in the waiting area, which they don't even bother to call the waiting room anymore, thankfully. Reading Thich Nhat Hanh. And there's a 16ish unmarried teen mom with her year old boy and her very fat cousin. In their very loud Young Life shirts. La la la. So I'm reading about anger, and this fat girl's engaging in about every act of cruelty towards this baby she's learned in her short life. Which may actually be about half mine.

Buddhism helps me to understand evangicals. Crazy I know. Saved girl took the pacifier from the baby so she could toss it across the room, pinched the baby to make him cry, told him he was ugly in front of his mother, and mentioned that men who have only daughters aren't real men. Rounded off with loud complaints that he wasn't fat yet like the both of them. The mother assured her that her son had just had his first fast food. Saved girl also mentioned the sacrifice this was, missing a day of work and having to let everyone in 300 square feet of office space know this interesting fact. At the top of her lungs. This.

So I get a little closer to the idea where some people are willing to denounce other members of their own religion as not being true believers. Although I may rely in this case on the evidence of grace over the profession of faith. Why can't Hardcouch make a better poster child for who gets to be a member of the eternals club?

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Pagans Invented Big Government

Now tonight's bedtime story will be about why none of you should take up breaking and entering this summer, no matter how desperate you get to experience some AC. Two uniforms responded to my mother's house this evening after she entered 911, but hesitated to press send. In less than three minutes, one fist pounded on the front door, and one cop could be seen weaving through the pricker bushes surrounding the basement windows. We sheepishly opened the front door, clutching a wood bat and a 17th century genuine Portuguese pirate sword, which had definitely seen action. And one very recalitrant cat, who had knocked over a vacuum cleaner in the front hall closet and started the whole sortie.

So yeah, you should think about that before you try to slip into some random house to catch a few zzz's sprawled out on the linoleum of someone else's kitchen. You could end up having to choose between getting bashed or chopped up for dinner. I have yet to decide what ransom I will extract out of my mother that will keep me from mentioning that she accidentally dialed 911 (even though it technically dialed itself, which is awesome). Ah let's see. No, can't think of anything good enough. Not yet anyway.

So like every good bedtime story, there should be a moral around here, one simple enough for me to type out around three glasses of cheap Argentine red. I'm not sleepless for the excitement; I'm sleepless because to cool the house ran about $300 a month last year, and my mother would rather have money. A 72% rate hike has been approved for the state of Delaware, and Maryland is next. We will spend all summer asweat in the purgatory of deregulation. Competition in business is the comparison of the sharpness of one wolf's teeth to another, in the fleecing of us the sheep. So this summer, everytime you pump your gas, and you pay your electric bill, and you watch your whole life bleed out so that some rich corporate guy can buy a tropical island, or his fifth... Well, just remember how much more you hate big government. Pagans invented big government... and we did it for a damn good reason.

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Epona Runs the Ponies

Now there's this little part of America that I love so dearly called the Kentucky Derby. My life, my own life, has been so deeply a part of something that is less than an orgasm in the spans of time. And yet it makes me think of so many who will pretend perhaps to power or to thinking of how much one might pretend to know the future. In one moment, why are we not able to make ourselves kings in this "sport of kings" or simply go to the local liquor store counter and gain all the future of the world for a simple string of numbers. We might never get run off by the cops again.

What was my choice for the Win, Place and Show? Not enough to win a million dollars as promised on the banners for the Kentucky Derby website. I did not choose four of the horses, only the traditional three. Bluegrass Cat for running fast over cool dirt courses. Steppenwolfer for his ability to maneuver through traffic like my brother. Causiously, Barbaro (who took the Derby in 7) simply because he was not a placer against the other speed horses. And who won? Barabaro. Bluegrass Cat. Steppenwolfer. Epona pleased with the natchos and left over spirits from the 5th of May (namely the second pack of Coronas I had in the trunk, hee hee) felt the whole show was worship enough in Her name. Which, oh yes, for those blinding moments it proved!

While I had to console my heart over the fact that while I did not pick the winner horse, I choose Bluegrass Cat who was not chosen for the top ten by any of then better staticians on the Kentucky Derby website and was not favored to win in event the top ten. Steppenwolfer was favored for the top ten, though not consistently. No one else favored Barabaro to win except my mother, who loved the story behind his trainer. The trainer of the Brother was favored by the newscasters merely because he flipped his dirt bike and paralyzed himself. Terrible, but what is it real courage to need to pay the morgage?

Michael Matz, who trained the Barbaro, saved many people, including the three children seated beside himself on United flight 232, that terrible morning 17 years ago when it crashed into an Iowa cornfield during one of the legs of the Triple Crown. Those three children where there to see him win today, and I ask all the pagans and wiccans and witches who read this whenever they do, can anyone they know sing such praises for them?

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pagan Convert

Now it’s never a casual thing to scoff at the well-toned preaching of others who will claim to have been pagan right from birth. So where shall I start? The subject arises from the recent technorati tagging of a Christian blog in the Wicca category, “Stumbling To Bethlehem.” At which I begin to serious start to consider the subject of cross-pollination. Yet I digress.

We are born where we are, and yet it may take some years for us to awake. Awake to the fear of the earth betraying us by crumbling under our feet. Awake to the poison in the clear water being raised to our lips. Awake to the idea that every good thing we do alive, we do to have destroyed by a jealous god. Awake to the purpose in more than the corners of the human heart. Awake to the song of the crickets in the fields.

The moon falling over the swaying winter wheat. The stars gleaming as the blue sky’s shroud faded into a liquid black, giving back to me the whole universe. The night wind bringing up into my face the scent of pink and white and lavender I could no longer see. The relief to know how many other generations would lean into that same night wind, brush their palms against the same heads of grain, rise up again at dawn into an endless resurrection of only more and more days.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tomb of the Unknown Guard

Now I spent some time stomping down mole holes in my lawn today mulling over this old essay on 'Reflections on Old Guard Paganism.' Written back in 1988, what's most noticable about it is how little good it did the state of anything. Once you get past the whiney tone, and the effacious grandstanding. Blah Blah Blah. Most pagans I know choose crystals over charcol filters to purify their water. Most Wiccans aren't up to creating an initiatory experience that sticks.

While some smaller groups of pagans have begun to form their own traditions (Hellenismos) in response to Nichols complaints, for the most part these have begun to rise up from the younger generations. Nichols may slaver through many of his paragraphs at the idea of having younger pagans properly worshipping prone before his old, encrusted boots. Still, there is the hint of salt. Yet did his essay change anything?

Where Nichols went right he still ended up wrong, because whatever forms of traditional divination he used, didn't work any better for him than a quartz crystal ball. Youth itself is not a reason for unreason, and the need for community drives people apart more than it unites. Elders of the 'Old Guard' considered themselves elders at an age they now insist in others leaves one a Seeker. Anti-intellectualism rooted deep in the Craft through astrology and the old love of dear dead grandmothers.

The pagan fields lent themselves well to all that the 'Old Guard' bemoans, every bit of foolishness and folly. And many are the 'Old Guard' rituals I've attended that were in the nicest term possible, pure drivel and deadwood. If there are moles lurking under the surface, they have only been drawn to the feast so well prepared in their honor.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Sabbat Aloha!

Now I should first explain why I love Pele. The divine mare may be my constant companion, but the volcano goddess can drink her under the table. Pele and I met at the Maryland version of Mardi Gras (Tiki!) when she got me plastered and tricked me into picking up a guy. Now I swear still I thought I was supposed to be inquiring about his necklace, but she made sure it went many other places.

Why Pele? Why do some gods still wander through the rough edges of our society, and others stare out only from art textbooks with lifeless eyes? What did the gods turn to when their temples were torn down and their people converted? The New York Crossword Puzzle? Perhaps these thousand odd years have served to cut away the deadwood, or burn away the brush, and like the firecone pine, the gods are shaking themselves free as seeds over the fertile and barren earth.

So this Beltane my circle met to honor this aspect along with the desire for a bit of romance. ‘Cause that’s never an underrated cause, right there. Pele, trolling along the beaches, flirting and snagging a dark haired emigrant named Kephera. Lady of the lava lamp, and the beetle to the rescue. Seriously, who do you think was behind that whole Egyptian fad that ran for several years, but the common golden bug you saw for sale at every turn?

For Pele, we built a mandala of Hawaiian sugar. For Kephera, we laid the sacrad wood on top. Alight, both the wood and the sugar char to the same carbon, and contain the same minerals that will bring fertility to lawn and garden. We pull a burning stick from the flames to honor their courage, and step over the danger that passion can be. In this Kephera teaches us of our strength to face danger to fulfill the desires of our hearts. We share bread and beer and fellowship. Spreading out the embers of our fire, we build again another mandala for Pele, this time of the sweet coconut, whose shell we have broken through to the sweetness inside.

We honor and ask for Aloha. And on and on we turn the Wheel.

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