Skipping Lunch

The title of this post probably seems rather strange, but it serves a purpose in providing a strange sort of analogy. Recently, I was involved in a discussion surrounding secular Paganism, something I heard of before but ignored because “Who cares?” But during this conversation the way it was explained to me was “utilizing pagan teachings but not believing in deities or the supernatural.”

Now I’m not saying you need to watch Ghost Hunters or stand in a fairy ring in the morning while butt naked but can someone explain to me how you’re pagan if you’re not involving pagan deities in your spirituality? Can someone also explain to me how one can be pagan but have no spirituality at all? Modern paganism (and past paganism) put a pretty big focus on deities, spirits, and the unknown so…where is their paganism tho?

During this conversation I made a comment that made a few people kind of upset;

Secular paganism sounds like some shit created so that people don’t have to deal with being accused of believing in “woo” by Atheists.

There are plenty of people who live by “pagan teachings” (whatever the fuck that means) and generally they could be considered philosophers. I read the writings of Stoics (and ask questions of them) because I’m ridiculously flawed and the meds can’t always fix crazy, but that doesn’t make me a Stoic, it makes me a grimy voyeur. Those who practice are quite fine with stating that someone isn’t a Stoic unless they actively practice but they don’t consider themselves part of Religio Romana just because they’ve read Meditations.

And this is also part of my whole thing about the Pagan community just accepting anyone. These people aren’t pagan in any sense of the word, at least not the people responding to my comment. They’re interlopers, feeding off of the fact that the pagan community will accept them regardless of the fact that they have absolutely nothing to do with paganism at all.

It’s like skipping lunch (actual pagan practices) to get to dinner (elbowing themselves into the pagan community).

Here is the Wikipedia entry:

Secular paganism is a form of Neopaganism in which the worshiper accepts pagan teachings, but rejects the belief in any deities. Secular pagans prefer to view gods and goddesses as metaphors for different events in the human life, rather than literal deities that created earth. Instead they focus on the positive teachings such as respect for all living creatures and the earth itself.

Respect for nature? That’s called the Green party. Vote accordingly.

This is why I call myself a polytheist because the word pagan has no meaning. Paganism is a term coined for people who followed religions other than Christianity. Note the key word there is “religion.” If you’re just working off metaphors and donations to Sierra Club, that doesn’t make you pagan it makes you a chill person someone would probably smoke weed with.

They can do what they want though. I know my opinion means nothing  but these are my words and thoughts.

Over and out.

 

 

The Sleeping Hours

Due to having manic states sometimes I don’t sleep. At 5:00 AM I was still awake.

While surfing Google+ I came across a meme shared by some guy;

Every woman believes that they are the epitome of what a woman is supposed to be.

He commented on his own meme as “Ironic.”

So I responded;

I am the epitome of what a woman is supposed to be. Flesh, blood, and water. I am human, fragile, and creeping closer to death. Deliriously and deliberately mortal. I was born as I was meant to be as we all are.

I was asked to write more. To give them another taste. But these are the ramblings of the sleeping hours and the words are fleeting. They’re the words of being delirious with fatigue when my mind and body claim they’re not tired at all. At 8:14 AM, after 3 hours of sleep, I have nothing left to give them.

sleepless

 

So Heated (A Rant)

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I know I said I wouldn’t discuss political shit on this blog, but I am so heated right now I literally have to get this off my chest. Please note this blog post contains profanity and may hurt some feelings.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I started a group for Pagans of Colour in my area. In fact it’s right in the groups title who the target audience is. To save myself the time of having to write all of this out again (I vented on Google+) I will just paste what I said there, here;

I started a group for Pagans of Color in my area and, as expected, some white dude joins to tell me that I’m racist for doing so.

But here’s the dealio, he’s a member of a pagan group in the area that is open to all pagans so I don’t understand the problem. Is he big mad because he’s not included in something? I’ve felt “not included” in the pagan community since I entered it. Whether by being slandered or being told “I’m so glad you joined. I don’t know how to talk to black people.” as if I’m some kind of subspecies.

So yes, random ass white dude, I DID start a group for Pagans of color. I started it so we wouldn’t have to deal with dumb ass questions, assertions, or assumptions. I want a space where we can discuss our world views and how it shapes our practice without some white person getting up in their feelings and making it about them.

I want a space where I, a black woman, can be passionate and hold a discussion or debate without someone making it seem like I’m “angry” or “combative” because I don’t mammy for them or their delicate liberal sensibilities. I ain’t your mammy. This isn’t Gone with Wind. Fuck your feelings and get off my dick.

“That’s about as racist a group startup as I’ve ever seen. Yes I’m a Pagan of colour. I’m white.”

Bitch bye and have a cathedral full of seats.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. If you read “How Pagan Tumblr is Pretty Accurate”, you will know how I feel about the pagan community at large. It’s a space for, mainly, white people. I’m fine with that. It is what it is. I don’t generally go into spaces that aren’t for me because a) I don’t like drama and b) I’m too old for the games. It’s not my job to play magical negro for white pagans. It’s not my job to put myself in awkward and wholly unsatisfying situations so someone else can feel tolerant. It’s not my job to soak up passive aggressive bullshit from white women and men. I ain’t no fucking handmaiden.

I also mentioned in “Are You of the People?”, that I see nothing wrong with tribalism per se. It’s why I’m not yelling and screaming about Asatru groups not wanting minorities in their midst. I’m of the mindset of “Do you boo.” If you’re not feeding, funding, or fucking me shits given =0. I find people of like mind. I find my own tribe and offer my loyalty, resources, and anything I can give.

But what I don’t like is people trying to come into my living room and shit on my carpet. I will throw you out and I threw that dude out like a used tampon. I am not, and never will be, the one. I am not all forgiving. I am not all loving. I am not about peace,light, or turning the other cheek.

So far there are a few members who have joined, which means there is a demand for the this kind of fellowship and I’m glad of it.

I’ll always get in where I fit in and get my life.

By any means necessary.

A Canvas for a King

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Mercury has gone retrograde once again and this time it’s doing its dance with my natal retrograde that happens to reside in Virgo as well. Interestingly enough, the hiccups that have come to be expected with this transit hasn’t struck me quite yet. In fact, at this time, I have a clarity and focus that has me pushing toward new goals that have entered my life entirely out of the blue.

I joined the Ordo Aurum Solis and have begun my Pronaos work. I started a group for Pagans/Polytheists of color in my local area, and Writ, Ritual, and Revelation is being shredded and revamped so that my URL actually matches my content and ditch the older energies associated with the first blog.

Did I mention I’ve actually started reading through an inbox with over 600 emails? Most of which are blogs I’ve subscribed to but just haven’t had the energy to read.

These energetic changes coincide with the current astral weather affecting my personal environment as outlined by Dark Star Astrology:

[…] your personal identity is up for a revamp, one that expresses more truthfully how you feel inside. The problem is every new thing that you express about yourself seems to shake up your partnerships.

[…] The truth is you have actually felt the change internally for some time but only now is this ‘new you’ starting to blossom. As your image changes so do the people you attract and by the same token, this means there are people that you might find you are starting to repel also!

But let’s rewind. Change is inevitable and Dionysos has always represented change for me. Sometimes I get the sense that he finds the changeability of human nature entertaining. As we shift and strain on the skein of fate he becomes that ability to slightly change the woven threads.

He fosters metaphysical death and requires us to be reborn in some type of way, whether for the better or worse. I’ve never gotten the sense that he has my “best interest at heart”, merely that he has interests period and expects me to fulfill them. Some of those interests have gone completely against where I imagined I would be.

I’ve mentioned before how I spent years working in live theater even though I disliked the environment and was completely uninterested. For some strange reason (wink wink nudge nudge) they were the only jobs I could get during that time.

Now I get the sense it’s now time for me to expand after a period of sitting in silence and withdrawing from the outside world. This group for people of color feels like another step in my service to him. It’s a gathering of the outcasts, those deemed worth less in our society.

Gather those who are outcasts.

Gather them in the damp, in the low lights, in the streets, and in the mountains.

The essence of my purpose to him has always been service oriented which isn’t too surprising considering service has always been the way I’ve shown love.

I sit here at 7:21 AM on a Saturday morning; coffee in hand, eyes on fire, lips warmed from the steaming cup and contemplate my next move. But I have no anxiety and I am not lost. I know he will guide my steps and push me forward whether I am ready or not.

Fortunately, my steps will be as solid as earth beneath my feet.

Are You Of The People?

Catching up on blog posts always gets me thinking which always gets me writing. Basically, without others this blog would not exist.

One such blog post is one of Ruadhan’s from a little over a month back (I told y’all I fell behind.) particularly one of his bullet points surrounding tribalism.

The sync of this post is excellent when it comes to this discussion as I’ve been wrangling how to write on this subject (from a pro-tribal stance) and he managed to touch on the subject with the kind of nuance I probably would not have been able to achieve with an entire blog post written on my own.

In the past, I did only associate tribalism with neofascist contingencies believing it to be the purview of white nationalists, Black Hebrew Israelites, and the Nation of Islam; the latter two I’ve had brief encounters with due to my ethnicity and the fact that, apparently, I look like ripe recruitment fodder. I’m blaming the Afro.

But now, I tend to think tribalism may actually have a positive, and necessary, place. When one looks at most tribes they are usually not completely closed off but there generally IS a period of initiation. wodaabewoman

How does the newcomer handle the cultural practices? What are their reactions to the food and language(s)?  How do they contribute to the community as it stands? Do they follow the rules? Does the tribe actually want that particular newcomer? All of these criteria may not need to be met, but at least ONE of them will need to be and once they are one can gain some form of acceptance into said tribe even becoming a “full member” with time.

Could paganism use more respect for tribalism? I’d say yes. I mentioned years ago that the pagan community tends to just accept who ever comes in regardless of whether they can actually contribute anything to said community. We take the refuse and it seemed like an attempt to be more Christian than the Christians so we could say “Ha! Look at how much more Christlike we are!”

But if we are to be viable tribes as pagans, polytheists, bad hair cut worshipers(I’m looking at you Samurai topknot for no damn reason) than there NEEDS to be some kind of initiation. There needs to be standards of inclusion and there needs to be people we can say “No” to.

samuraitopknot

No. Just no.

Tribes do this to survive. They do this to preserve their cultures which form the basis of who they are.

It’s why I stopped calling myself a Hellenist as my practice drifted away from pure Hellenism.

I actually caught some flack in a pagans of color discussion for saying that yes, folkish Heathens have every right to say who they DON’T want in their tribe. Z Budapest had a right to say who she didn’t want in her tribe. Those who are focused on piety and polytheism have a right to say who they don’t want in their tribe.

 

And the good thing about a tribe is that because of that dash of exclusivity the they are willing, and able, to provide the physical/emotional/psychological/spiritual support those in the tribe actually need. I see nothing wrong with that.

This is a gross oversimplification of tribal dynamics. You’ll have scapegoats, charlatans, and power hungry usurpers but you’ll also have people capable of ostracizing because they know who their people are and how to deal with them.

I’ve been a member of a few tribes. Some I’m still a member of some I’m not. Some I’ve left because fuck that noise and some I’ve been booted from because fuck that bitch (the bitch being me) and rightfully so on all counts.

So all in all?

Yes to kith and kin.

Yes to tribes.

If you’re in you’re in.

If you aren’t? Get in where you fit in. There are hundreds upon thousands of tribes and billions of people to form tribes with. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool or delusional.

 

Some Things are Unstoppable

One of the ways I like to expand my practice is by reading material that have absolutely nothing to do with my practice. I tend to think gods and spirits can speak to us through a variety of mediums; music, literature, movies, and the completely random. In some ways, these aspects of my religious life mean more to me than all of the devotional texts in the world.

I just finished one such book titled “Nuns Behaving Badly” by Craig A Monson.

One of the chapters that most struck me were the stories detailing the scandalous behavior of a group of nuns during the festival of Carnival. Despite the rules they lived under, the allure of the Dionysian presented itself to these ladies much to the chagrin of the male clergy tasked with keeping them in line,

[…] the Council of Trent , righteous reformers repeatedly complained that whole convents would forget about God for the two months of Carnival. The women danced, sang songs, presented plays and pageants, even played cards and threw dice.

Oh the horror! Not singing songs and throwing dice! What could possibly be worse?

Some nuns went so far as to trade in their habits for lay clothing-and not just female clothing, either!

To the church,this gender bending, rule breaking, borderline ecstatic behavior was not only an affront to God but to the very social order and well-being of humanity. In 1704 the Pope attempted to ban the celebration of Carnival out of a desire to procure deliverance from a series of earthquakes that had struck Rome during the previous year.

carnivalVSlent

That looks like a whole lot of unsanctioned singing/dancing Sirs and Madams.

But these women were touched by a god; just not the god the church fathers considered worthy of worship. If anything, the Dionysian influence of maskers, singers, debauchery, and levity represented the Devil’s influence made manifest. A presence sent to wreak havoc on a pious Catholic populace. But as King Pentheus of Thebes discovered, some things are unstoppable even with golden chains made of rules and tradition. The two months of Carnival provided an outlet for the creative and rebellious spirits of women locked into roles that ignored their desire for passion, artistic license, and expression.

Perhaps the chasing of the bull, a regular practice during the Carnival season, impacted them more than they knew.

In the end, women will go into the mountains whether polite society offers consent or not. And while I won’t say that the War against Carnival™ led to devastating consequences, one has to wonder just how caged a group of women have to feel to attempt burning down their convent so they can go home.

Through these kinds of stories I am reminded of my own ventures into civilized society to spin and weave. An imbalance occurred where I felt chained to duty with no outlet and when it finally became time for me to go out to the mountains again; the breath of freedom, the rapture of song, and the return to the balance I needed through divine madness and contemplation far outstripped whatever consequences came through my actions.

It was these actions that led me to a new chapter of life that fulfills some of my dreams while keeping me rooted in the traditions of ancestor veneration, worship, and sorcery that have come to represent the pillars of my faith and practice.

Women behaving badly are women who are unpredictable and embrace the inner chaos of the human experience. There is a little Dionysos in all of us. Some things are unstoppable.

The Many-Faced God

It’s been requested that I split the sacred space I’ve created in my home. The larger altar I once had was moved into a smaller space following my divorce and the current one, while still holding the statue I purchased as a representation of Lucifer, is undoubtedly Dionysian. Covered in images of the vine, serpents, phallus, and jewelry I’ve offered as gifts, it’s a constant reminder of the god who’s led me through the mountains, into civilization, and back out again. Many-faced-God

For these reasons, things have to change. Lucifer will need to have his own space and, at this point, I’m unsure how I will provide it to him. When we initially began this…thing (I can’t call it worship as it’s never been that kind of relationship) it was always with the distinct understanding that my all belongs to Dionysus. While I can always travel and meet new people, new beings, and experience alternate “realities”, in the end, I will always come back home. This wasn’t so much a commandment from Dionysus himself but a sense, an inner promise, I made and while I sometimes fail…I generally attempt to pay my debts.

I am glad to be getting the feeling that it’s time for me to reenter the fold again so to speak. But on the other hand, I feel a strangeness in all of it. It’s not that Lucifer will no longer have a place…I just don’t know where that place will be.

I’m blessed to not be as god-bothered as some. The insights and instructions provided to me tend to come from dreams, flash-in-the-pan insights that come out of nowhere, or syncs. My inner life is quiet so I may listen and sometimes quiet so I can hear nothing at all and be blissful in the silence.

For the past couple of weeks, part of that silence has been nudging me toward ending blogging in the spiritual/religious sense and, instead, focusing on my passion for Gastronomy, food-history, and home-brewing. If there’s one thing my life has shown me, it’s that many of my talents/interests are directly connected to the deities and spirits I’ve built relationships with.

I’ve thought to ask Dionysus why this “silence” is necessary but why question something that has led to so much freedom and blissful liberation?

Dionysus is more than just a god of revelry and wine.

He is a god of many faces? Is he not?

 

 

Always Pay Your Debts

moneylenThe ancestors and local spirits with whom I have a working relationship aren’t picky per se. They like beef and lamb but scoff at chicken or fish. They prefer Orange Water, or rum, with their meals and two candles, if you please, during offerings. I go to them when I require aid and, in return, they get their meal or sacrifice and everyone goes about their business happy.

Except when someone doesn’t uphold their end of the bargain.

In this case, the one who failed to do so was me. It had been weeks since we had struck the initial deal and one thing or another always came up, or I’d simply forget, and their altar remained unadorned with what they had been promised. The spirits won’t sue, but they’ll sure as hell get what’s theirs.

Following my cleansing work things seemed to be going well, but when you unblock a roadway there’s bound to be some debris and considering the Mercury Retrograde that kicked off the week before Memorial Day weekend — that debris came in the form of paying off some debts.

Cue me finding out that my apartment was set to be demolished on June 1st. They said they had tried to call me and had sent a notice. Funny that I received neither of those. My partner and I had one week to find a new place for BOTH of us as he was set to move into my place the very day we stopped by the rental office to put him on the lease.

The search was frantic and fraught with one mishap after another, a tough and unfulfilling week at work, having to face the consequences of putting an apartment in my name for my mother years ago (she was evicted and never told me THAT little detail while attempting and failing to reconcile with me following our falling out) and falling behind in some very important endeavors.

In other words…I got my ass handed to me this week. HARD. Without lube or remorse.

Then I remembered. I owed a debt and there was no way I could even go to those who live with me without acknowledging this fact. Dinner that night was lamb shawarma, one of my favorite dishes, but some of it was not for me.

Lighting the two candles, I poured a glass of orange water and dished out their meal before my own; taking time to thank them for the assistance they had offered before. I apologized for being neglectful and forgetting to give them their due and left the candles burning for a few hours while I watched Hercules: Legendary Journeys with my partner and fretted over an impending move that wasn’t set in stone yet.

No requests. They had done their part and I had slipped.

The next day, things started falling into place. Our application for the new place was approved after a 3 day wait and constant hassle. The movers were scheduled with ease and were accommodating toward our circumstances (signing the lease and moving in the same day requires a bit of time-finagling). Tomorrow we physically move house and end, what has probably been, one of the most stressful periods we’ve weathered as a couple.

I was kind of wondering what that 5 of pentacles was referring to when I did a personal draw earlier in the week.

Not all debts are physical, but even non-physical debts can have repercussions.

I won’t go all out and say that my bout of bad-luck came wholly from forgetting to uphold my end of a bargain.

But I can’t deny the high-strangeness of it all.

It appears even the high-strange doesn’t want you writing checks you can’t cash.

The Underworld Takes Visitors

The whole world seems to be collapsing. I think human beings have felt this inclination for as long as we’ve had conscious thought. This kind of makes the whole concept of a final Rapture or “Judgement Day” all the more ridiculous from a spiritual perspective. Granted, many religions have their deity derived destruction myths; the warning from our forefathers and their gods of just where our societies are headed.

"Orpheus in the Underworld" - Jan Brueghel the Younger

“Orpheus in the Underworld” – Jan Brueghel the Younger

And it’s happening soon! SOON! Within our lifetimes even! Can’t you see the signs? And the signs are often behaviors and actions of human beings that didn’t bring about any global destruction within the past few thousand years. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and plague notwithstanding; human beings have managed to be pretty damn resilient considering how divinely doomed we are.

When Orpheus travelled to Hades he must have been terrified. The underworld is a liminal space, overlapping our own reality instead of being distinctly apart from it. If the living world is the top coat on a wall of paint, the Underworld is the wall itself; the canvas from which the material world is vomited up and then composted when the time comes.

As a world that once seemed so vast has shrunk considerably due to technology, we get to see its children’s motions. Communities and nation-states break apart, coalesce, and murder each other in a rite of passage older than when ancient wisdom seemed modern. Through all of this, it seems the best we can hope for is to make it through our own initiations, our Dark Nights, our fleeting glimpses into the ash-filled mouths of the dead as they yawn before us in a bittersweet chorus of regret, or epiphany, or worse.

Sometimes you leave the underworld with a revelation.

Sometimes you’re lucky if you get to leave at all.

A Sovereign for Your Silence

Recently I’ve become less than impressed by noise. I’m not talking about the sound of sirens that blare outside of my window during the wee hours of the night. The background hustle of urban living tends to fade into a distant hum once you’re used to it. I’m talking about chatter, or more, the incessant need for human beings to fill a space with their voices.

King Henry would later use this tendency to create one of the most paranoid courts in history.

King Henry would later use the human-chatter tendency to create one of the most paranoid courts in British history.

This isn’t just in my walking life either. Even online I’ve pared down from being a member of several forums and groups to barely going to one forum (Studio Arcanis formerly Evocation Magic) and whittling down my Facebook friends list to just people I actually communicate with on a fairly regular basis. I guess since my divorce I’ve realized just how superfulous so much commentary actually is

I like quiet. I like it to the point that I took an extremely early shift at work just because it gives me three hours of blissful silence in which I can actually be present.

Amma, my mentor, would say this state is a combination of a few things; taking myself off of a medication that was doing my body so much harm that any benefits weren’t worth the cost, backing away from spaces that seemed to worship trigger-warning-happy victimhood over self-reliance or plain common sense, and taking steps to achieve a goal I’ve long held but thought unobtainble. In other words, as I’ve made the decision to take control over that which I CAN control, I have little interest in listening to a steady drone of largely stagnant voices constantly voicing the same complaints and reading from the same scripts they have been for years. In silence goals are set, discipline is formed, and “talking just to hear yourself” becomes a nuisance.

Taken from The Springs of Contemplation; A Retreat At the Abbey of Gethsemani by Thomas Merton;

We have to realize that sometimes human beings deliberately create noise. People with frustrated wills come together to make noise that cause others to suffer while they themselves do not suffer. This is one way for a frustrated person to “get even.” We have to resist this.

Since moving away from the noisescape even my dreams have become different. They’re less fragmented, easier to remember, and longer in duration. The faces and stories seem to manifest on a grander scale; spanning countries and dimensions moreso than before when they seemed to be Youtube-esque preview clips; strung together only by the thin link of having occured in my own head.

As the outer world has been muffled by discernment my inner world has begun to blossom.

It’s quiet here.void-of-silence

And I like that.

This isn’t to say I’ve withdrawn from everything completely. Even after paring down of my Facebook activity there remain close to 200 people who add their insights, opinions, and passions to the tapestry I weave out of my everyday existence. I still have my favorite blogs; Rune Soup, The House of Vines, Beloved in Light, and The Secret Sun just to name a few. My inbox swells with offerings from The Renaissance Mathematicus and Disrupt and Repair.

The difference lays not in the quantity but the quality of the offerings; these other individuals drinking from their own wellsprings of contemplation often far longer than I’ve even entertained having some form of a spiritual life. Their offered cups have only inspired me to take a step back and really examine what they’re listening to and why.

2015 will likely be no different from this year. I have no resolutions, no parties or gatherings I intend to attend. I’ll likely spend the New Year hunkered down with a good book and glass of rum and rootbeer.

I raise my glass to you and hope you find your bit of silence in the year to come.