Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy Lughnasadh! Here's a She Scripture.

Alona 26:22

"Yea, she that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of Goddess; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given  unto us to bring these our sisters to repentance."

Stay tuned for pictures and a report on a double Lughnasadh celebration :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

And there it goes...

How long should one indulge in sorrow and self-pity over a perceived rejection?  Something that very probably means absolutely nothing, and yet hurts anyway?  How long does the heart get to trump the intellect before awareness and reason reassert control of experiencing?

Forthcoming: words on why so many of us feel kicked down in to the litany of "I am not good enough."

Monday, July 25, 2011

An Ode to Tree

Nature's Embrace

My husband, that is.  Though I do love trees.  And not really an ode.  It's too late at night to write an ode.  I just wanted to gush a little bit about the awesomeness of my Tree.  Yesterday I was made aware of something that is so incredibly difficult for me emotionally that I completely shut down for most of the day.  Tree took care of Sprout, dragged me out of the house to make me be human, and was kind and gentle and sensitive the whole day long (this is hard for manly men sometimes, and it deserves recognition. forthcoming: a post on what I mean by manly men).
Today he got up early with me and Sprout to go on a desert hike instead of sleeping in like he really, really wanted to do.  I can see him making huge effort to patient with both of us, though he has been dealing with a an awful lot of stress and emotional difficulty himself.  I know well how HARD it is to be patient and loving when you are feeling like you're duct-taped inside a refrigerator box with an angry bear (thank you, Hyperbole and a Half, for that potent description).  So this is just a small list of little things that add up to one great big warm fuzzy in my heart.  I feel loved and appreciated, and relieved.
Even when we argue, he is still Tree, and I am his Dryad.  He's in my corner when it matters most, and he's a fierce defender and stalwart companion.  I love you, Tree.

I borrowed the picture from:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

That's it. I'm having my cake and EATING IT TOO.

I am just starting classes for a degree in anthropology.  I adore anthropology.  It took me twelve years to realize what it was that I wanted to study in college.  So here I am, mother of Sprout, wife of Tree, proclaiming my freedom from the vision of the domestic goddess I thought I'd become.  I want to be an anthropologist.  I want to pursue graduate degrees.  I want "Dr." to be a part of my name (though really, that's just a pride thing, I really don't know that I want to spend THAT much time on my own education...)

I don't want ten children.  I have a hard enough time with one dear child.  He's a handful, but not as insane as some children I've seen.  I want him to have a happy, contented, loving mommy--not a screaming banshee who stays repressed and creatively shut down and resents her children and then feels guilty.  I'm thinking two will be enough because I don't believe in creating a child and then not giving him any siblings.  It's just mean.

I want to travel to distant places, using my education to help people--mostly women and mothers who need better nutrition or freedom from oppression so their children can grow healthy and strong.  Starving and malnourished/obese children make me angry.  That should not happen.  WE KNOW BETTER. (but that's a post for another day)

I want to bring my family with me--all two of my children and Tree.  Tree is going into green energy.  The things we could do together!! We could save little villages, or improve a slum.  Our children would learn by BEING places, not just reading about them.  They would learn charity and selflessness and hard work.  They would have freedom to pursue any academics or education they desired instead of having it shoved down their throats behind a desk, surrounded only by children their own age who don't know anything.

In between traveling, I would return home to our little house on a homestead owned by friends and we would do hard work on our little farm and contribute to our own community.  My love of cooking and canning and even hanging laundry outside to dry would be satisfied.  My children could milk their own goats or cow, and collect eggs from the chickens after weeding the organic garden.

And then I'd go inside to write.  I want to write fiction fantasy from a feminist's perspective.  I want to be published as a scientist--for what, I don't know yet, but I'm sure I'll figure something out in the next few years!

This is my ideal life.  The exciting thing is that it's all possible!  It's even probable!  We have been so blessed in having what we need financially, even during times of want and strain.  And we are blessed in our freedom of mind and spirit and heart, despite the somewhat restrictive culture we live in.

It is such a relief to acknowledge that the dreams I've spouted for years (and secretly worried about) are entirely cultural in origin.  My search for acceptance and love has always pointed in the same direction: a whole bunch of children, clean house, organized finances, organized and full pantry, home-sewn clothes, farm animals, and a garden that actually produces.  In other words, I wanted to be my sister-in-law.

The fact of the matter: trying to become something I'm not, even if I do a fabulous job at it, will never earn me the love and acceptance that I crave.  I cannot control the emotions of people in my family or of my peers.  I can only be the best me that is possible.  I can only follow the driving passions that are in my very soul, untouched by the crust of my past and the expectations of the ones who raised me.

Monday, July 18, 2011

To spray, or not to spray

A couple of nice young men who reminded me of missionaries came to our door this evening selling pest control services.  They're organic-based, great customer service, and only $30/month.  Apparently around here pest control is something pretty much everybody does--it's like a utility bill.
My first inclination is to say "YES YES YES! Get rid of the creepy bugs and the scorpions that I can't see!!"  But then I have a couple problems:
1) We are starving college students right now and really don't need the bill when we haven't even seen any pests around the house except a couple ants that aren't bugging us (get it? get it? hahaha)
2) Shouldn't I be trying to live IN nature?

So the first problem pretty much means we aren't getting pest control because the husband has control of the purse strings (which I have absolutely no problem with, btw.  We'd be in a cardboard box if I was in charge).

As for the second problem.  This is not my natural habitat.  I don't belong in a desert, I belong in a forest on a mountain somewhere overlooking a lake.  Lots and lots and lots of trees.  But I do believe that every creature and creation has a spirit.  The earth has a spirit, plants have spirits, the creepy bugs have spirits.  They all have the right to a life and pursuit of happiness.  They deserve to fulfill the reason for their existence.  The fact is, they really aren't hurting me.  I don't even see them, so there's no serious anxiety problems.  They aren't biting us, or eating our food.  Shouldn't I just let them alone?  Live in harmony with all living things?  How can I proclaim to love nature when I am at war with little creatures just because they make me want to run away screaming or jump on a chair?
I can't relax in nature if I'm getting attacked though.  Going out at night in a green area around here is just asking to be swarmed with something.  I can't even take a walk because there are cockroaches skittering across my path every two feet.  It's not a very peaceful thing, and makes meditation difficult, to say the least.  Large bugs make my skin crawl.  Especially when there are a lot of them.
So now I'm at war with myself.  Fortunately I don't have to find a resolution to this war any time soon, but it's really making me think.

Sticks and Stones

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!"
My dad used to make us recite this in a singsong voice after getting into a fight.  I believe his intention was to disarm the antagonist, or whoever was spewing nasty things at the other.

And it was a big, giant load of HORSESHIT.

Words hurt more than sticks or stones.  I'd rather be beaten or stoned than have someone I love say something nasty to me.  The sister closest in age to me while growing up was a master at saying something nasty that provoked me into hitting her.  Guess who got punished after that interchange?  It didn't change when she grew up either.  She just became better at it--using a tone of voice, or a particular attitude instead of actual words to convey her disdainful superiority regarding something I was talking about.  Unfortunately, there are others in my life who have the same talent.  It's not always passive aggressive either--sometimes it's blatant.  And when they choose to exercise this talent, I want to hide in the corner and lick my wounds.  Or hit them.
I am not excluding myself from this problem, however.  Over the past year or so, my own language has gotten nastier.  Out of self-defense sometimes, but really it's just me letting my inside-my-head voice take a little too much control.  There has to be a way to find the middle road.  We should all be ok with expressing feelings and communicating in an emotionally healthy way and not repressing ourselves to be 'nice'.
But please don't call me a bitch.  Even if you think I'm being one, all it does is knock me down for the rest of the day.  If you love me, that will never be your goal.  If you love me, your goal will be to see if I'm suffering and then alleviate what you can.
And if I love you, I'll also try to tame the knee-jerk response that makes me want to call you an asshole and walk away.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Is Her Glory so Unspeakable?

Oh my Father
Oh my Brother
where is my Mother?
They tell me She is unreachable
That I cannot speak to Her
You are my only divine connection
They tell me She is too sacred
That I cannot know Her
You are my only family
They tell me we know nothing of Her
That I shouldn't waste my time
You are the only ones I need to know
but my heart cries for my Mother
Oh my Brother
Oh my Father

Oh my Mother
are you there?
They tell me you are
That there's nothing else to learn
You are not there to answer or guide
merely existing?
Oh my Mother

Saturday, July 16, 2011

For my sisters in the military

I didn't completely switch this one around, because it worked better that way.

From Alona 56
 43 And now, whether they were overtaken by Antipus we knew not, but I said unto my women: Behold, we know not but they have halted for the purpose that we should come against them, that they might catch us in their snare;
 44 Therefore what say ye, my daughters, will ye go against them to battle?
 45 And now I say unto you, my beloved sister Moronia, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.
 46 For as I had ever called them my daughters (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Mother, behold our Goddess is with us, and she will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.
 47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, Goddess would deliver them.
 48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

reading and writing

I finished a quick re-read of Dance of the Dissident Daughter this morning, and picked up Women Who Run With the Wolves.  Again.  I had to set it down and go back a little bit because the concepts introduced by Dr. Estes are so densely packed with meaning.  I only made it through a page before I was consumed with a fiery desire to write again.  Ideas started to flood into my head about a story plot that I thought had no hope.  I followed the advice to light the raging fire under my creativity and to CREATE.  And so now I've been awake far too long working on a story and generally wasting time on the computer.  But it is so good to let the spark grow in the temporary absence of fear.
Why do we let fear stop us so often?  I know it's a common malady among women, but I've seen it in men as well--just in different forms.  Fear of failure shrinks our potential and does nothing to protect us from harm.  It only protects us from success and joy.
And on a very good note, I was witness to the birth of an awake woman today.  She came alive, expressing raw emotion without taming it or caging it out of fear.  It's exhilarating to watch from the same path as a good friend joins you with fire in her eyes and determination in her belly.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dryad, authenticated

I had a lovely evening with someone last night who is sure to become a dear friend.  We have an age difference, different pasts faith-wise and otherwise, but we are a we.  Most definitely.  We shared as much of our stories as we possibly could in the short time we had together, talking and listening  and talking some more.  I may have found a circle!
So anyway, one of the things we talked about was becoming authentic, or true to ourselves.  Me being true to myself involves a lot lot lot of communication with these:


And also this:

But it's more than that.  The fact is, I've never been able to give myself permission to feed the aching hunger to make nature a significant part of my life and worship.  I am still active in the faith of my birth, but it has become a complement to my Self, not its definition.  A part of me grieves for the loss of my security, for the things I've always known.  And the other part is dancing with wild abandon in the joy and ecstasy it has been missing out on for decades because of fear and guilt.  I am finding myself, and that self is spending a lot more time with Paganism than I ever would have thought possible.  I am also a newborn feminist.  I can see the harm that a strictly patriarchal society/culture/religion can do to women.  (But just so we're clear, I still believe the mother's place is in the home the vast majority of the time.  I just think that the way we define home needs a HUGE overhaul.)
I used to be disdainful of young adults who would leave responsibility behind to 'find themselves', or of parents who neglected their children because they didn't know 'what they wanted'.  I'm starting to understand the search now.  It's hard to conduct the research necessary to reach the deepest, darkest corners of myself and light them brilliantly while I have a husband and son to care for.  So it's now a balancing act because I would never put them aside to focus solely on myself.  It's unfortunate that I couldn't take the steps on this path when I was single and searching for a purpose, but the experiences that I've had along the way were vital to the understanding I have been able to reach.
I am ME!  I am not defined by my life or experience or even belief system.  I am an evolved intelligence, unique and beautiful and growing ever stronger.  The inner me that has been silenced for so very, very long is speaking in a cracked whisper, begging for nourishment.  And I am feeding her.  At long last, I am feeding her.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fasting: the aftermath

My original post on fasting can be found on the Motherwheel blog site:

I weighed myself this morning, and found that I had lost six pounds.  Fasting for a full twenty-four hours cleansed me in different ways than I was expecting.  I haven't done it in so long, and I've never given myself permission to drink water along with my fast.  It was the perfect combination, and this whole week I've been feeling much less inclination to drown emotional difficulties in food.  I'm excited about this new development, and true to my character, I'll probably try to go overboard with it and fast every week until I lose momentum.  Or possibly I'll just stick to phases of the moon.  I like the idea of fasting with the new moon.  It's a sort of empathetic connection--the moon hides her face and gives no light, no nourishment, and so I participate in the darkness by refusing nourishment from other sources until she begins to turn back.  (I am taking artistic license with this--I am well aware of the scientific realities of the phases of the moon...)
My phases, while not in sync with the phases of the moon, deserve to be recognized.  A true connection to the nature around me, with the spirits that inhabit every last molecule of this earth, is my ultimate goal.  I seek to know the Parents by fully embracing Their creations.  Fasting has become a surprising way for me to accomplish that.  I almost look forward to another day of hunger.  I just have to decide how often I want to torture myself.  I mean, cleanse myself.  ;)

I have insomnia, so..

Here's another she scripture.  Thanks for both of this week's scriptures go to Jenni.

Helene 5:12

And now, my daughters, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of Goddess, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth her mighty winds, yea, her shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all her hail and her mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if women build they cannot fall.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When it's something you can't actually fix...

Finding serenity to deal with something huge that I have absolutely zero control over is starting to feel like getting my liver eaten out every day by a giant bird.  It's nothing that anyone can see, nothing that anyone can help with. The only thing I can do is try to find the serenity, the calm, the objectivity, the empathy to stop living it and start to let it go.
Here's what I actually want to say:
IT'S NOT FAIR!!! I HATE IT!  How the HELL am I supposed to just LET THIS GO?? When there's no end in sight, all I want to do is break things, scream, cry, and hide in a corner until it stops.  This is NOT what I signed up for, and I want to quit.  Time to start over.  I'm signing up for a different life now.  Goodbye stupid old life that is pissing me off and making me depressed.

Oh well.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Likening the scriptures to my Paganish little self

Sariah 3:22-3

Now the Lady had shown unto me, Sariah, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And Goddess saw these souls that they were good, and she stood in the midst of them, and she said: These I will make my rulers; for she stood among those that were spirits, and she saw that they were good; and she said unto me: Sariah, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.


Here's a good essay on patriotism.

Here's my take on patriotism:
I'm not a huge fan.  I did 8.5 years in the military, and I would still gladly give to my country, or even die for the benefit of others (so long as my death meant something).  But I did 6 months of those years in Iraq.  I didn't feel like a patriot.  I felt like a liberator.  I was still fine with it, and I was happy to sacrifice for the good of others.  I helped make the country safer by helping to find insurgent fighters who were killing not only coalition troops, but innocent Iraqis every day.  Was I a patriot?  I don't know.  I felt more like an Iraqi patriot.
The point was that I was sacrificing for the benefit of others, because I could.  I had the skills and training to help, even though it was dangerous to do so and it took me away from home and family.  People thanked me for serving my country every time I walked around in public in uniform.  I appreciated that, but I also felt a little weird accepting thanks for it.
In this country, my concern for others and my nation (which happens to be whatever nation I am living in and off of) should be motivating me to be politically active, involved in food banks and other charities, serving my neighbors, etc.  That's part of the definition of patriotism, but I don't really care.  As far as I'm concerned, this whole world is a family.  Some of us are violent and misguided and horrible, and need to be kept from harming others of the family.  But is my neighbor's life worth more than a child in Southeast Asia? Or an old woman in Canada?  Or a young man forced to serve in the military in Romania?  No.  It's not.  The world might be better off withOUT patriotism.  Maybe we could see each other clearly as humans, and brothers and sisters instead of hostile nations.  Well, probably not, but I can dream.
I guess I'm not a patriot.  Excuse me while I go feed the hungry.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions By Joyce and River Higginbotham

Book review time!

I went to the library a few days ago, armed with a list of books I wanted to read about women and pagan religions and goddesses.  I couldn’t find any books on my list, but I did a search for paganism, and this one popped up.  So I took it out and started reading it.  In between nursing Sprout, cooking dinner, hanging laundry to dry, and occasionally sleeping, I finished it in two days.  I couldn’t put it down.
The book is divided into seven chapters: What is Paganism?, You Are What You Believe, A Pagan View of Deity, What About Satan?, The Living Universe, Magick, and Ethics and Personal Responsibility. 
The first chapter dispels myths about witches and paganism and the people who practice any of the myriad of religions that fall under the umbrella of paganism. The book is generalized toward the type of people who consider themselves pagans without focusing on one particular religion.  Some of the religions mentioned that fall under said umbrella are Celtic paganism, Druidism, Ceremonial Magick, Santeria, Voudon, Asatru, Shamanism, Eclectic paganism, Solitary paganism, Blended paganism, Wicca, and Family Traditions.  There is a brief description of each and its roots.
The rest of the book mainly focuses on finding what you believe.  It has exercises in each chapter—journal writings, meditations, group discussion questions, etc.—designed to help the reader find her way to whatever practice and/or religion fits what she believes.  There is a strong emphasis on personal responsibility, accountability, the sacredness and interconnectedness of Earth and all her living creatures, and ethics.  While different religions come to light in different sections, it gives a very interesting objective view of them and mainstream religions. 
My favorite part of this book is the emphasis on personal worship.  The meditations and exercises are designed not to ‘convert’ one to paganism, but to unlock what you truly believe in your heart and to remove limitations that keep you from practicing those beliefs.  The chapter on Magick compares spells and rituals to what other religions call prayer and divine inspiration—after reading the chapter, I agree!  Sending a thought or intent or ‘spell’ out to the ‘universe’ and expecting things to happen while going about doing everything you can to help it along is just about exactly the same as sending your prayer to Heavenly Parents and having faith in your righteous desires.  The authors even specify that if the inspiration you receive during meditation (or prayer, or whatever you want to call it) involves hurting someone else, or breaking the law, or hurting yourself, it’s not true inspiration and you should ignore it.
I highly recommend the book to anyone who wants to know more about paganism in general, or is seeking to bring more pagan ritual into her life but is concerned about the implications for church activity, or even anyone who is lost and looking for any religious or spiritual path. (please go through The Amethyst Network if you want to buy this book, as they get a percentage of each sale:  just use the amazon link on the right of the page)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Energy healing, anyone?

My mom has a reiki healer that she's been going to for a couple years.  The healer is a member of our church, and she feels called to work with healing and angels and has a prayer before every session.  My father hates it.  He believes she's working with the devil because she doesn't have the priesthood.  So I asked him point-blank if he thought women could have the gift of healing.  He said he didn't know, which is big of him.  I know he's a product of the patriarchal society that is our culture, and it's hard to let that go--especially when the church is also patriarchal.
So I've been thinking about this for awhile now.  I really do like the idea of people given the gift of healing--it's listed as a gift of the spirit.  So which ones can you trust?  Are there people actually working with dark angels out there, creating false miracles and drawing people away from Christ?  Probably.  I would like to find a healer that has a positive aura and radiates spiritual power that I can feel.  I'd actually like to BE an energy healer, but I don't feel the calling for it and so I don't think it's one of my gifts.  I know my chakras, or nerve endings, or whatever you want to call them, are out of balance.  I'm unhappy with a happy life, and faithless in the face of a multitude of blessings.  I don't want to depend on drugs again, I want to fix the root of the problem.  I think a serious and skilled energy healer would be able to help immensely.