Pagan and the Pit(bulls)

The political musings of a Pagan and her dogs.


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Project Blitz: Phase 1

Photo Credit: Hulu’s A Handmaids Tale

Ealier I wrote about Project Blitz and their playbook is online. Dominionists want Gilead. They’re working to get it with three stages of legislation. Just so y’all know, everything below comes from the playbook, link above. It’s their own words.

Phase 1 seems very straight forward. “Legislation Regarding Our Country’s Religious Heritage”. At this point, the very words seem like a dangerous double speak. The proposed actions at first blush seem very innocent and toothless. But they are part of an insidious framework. Phase 1 has 4 simple aspects, but it starts to lay the groundwork of some truely nasty shit. So let’s dig in.

First is are the display acts. They want “In God We Trust”, or some similar motto such as “God Enriches” or the Ten Commandments in classrooms, libraries, public colleges, universities, and government buildings, and optionally on liscense plates.  At first blush bills that propose this seem to have no teeth, all displays must be paid for with donations or with funds from private donors. No religious iconography or verbiage should be in schools, libraries, or governments. Just full stop, no. These are halls where the many become one in the eyes of the law. Dominionism and Christian Nationalism has no place there. Especially when you consider that people of color already experience disproportionatly negative outcomes in courthouses compare to white people, and that Dominionism claims that people of color are fundamentally lesser and full of more sin than white people. That’s how you perpetuate racism in the legal system, and it’s a human rights travesty as it is. It doesn’t need to be worse. Several states have laws in this vein, including Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Utah.

Civic Literacy acts are also part of the first phase. Again, this seems like a good idea, they define civic literacy as including familiary with “representative” documents of American heritage. Now I’m for improved civic literacy, but the representative options in the document are pretty exhaustive and school districts can select what they want to include or exclude. The best example is that the Articles of Confederation are completely ignored. This playing fast and loose with history leads to some bullshit like “the Civil War was fought over states rights” without adding the ending to that sentence “to own people as slaves”. There’s also a tenacious strain of Originalism that’s fed by this kind of education. It’s very easy to create an environment were people become dedicated to the idea that the US Consititution is this stable document rather than a living document. When you view the Constitution is viewed as a stable document, it’s easy to view non-cis, het, white, Christian men as less than human. Lastly, these acts say that civic literacy should start in high school. That’s a lot of elementary and middle school to lay some suspicious groundwork for document interpretation. Examples of states with this legislation: North Carolina, South Carolina, and California.

Of course to understand the civic documents fully, you need context. Then look no further than the Religion in Legal History acts. Not only does it endorse a presentation of the role of religion in the Constitution in the courthouses, it has some sketchy af readings. The required readings include the Northwest Ordinance. Now I have some personal history with the Northwest Ordinance. When I was taught the Northwest Ordinance in elementary school, I was told that it promised that the US government would treat all Indigenous peoples well (it didn’t) and that it outlawed slavery (only in the states it formed). I believed the teachers because I was in elementary school, and that’s what you do. So when I found out about how the Indigenous peoples were treated, and that the Civil War was fought over slavery, my world view took some strong hits. It’s not just that either, it’s also that the talking points in the playbook deliberately play lipservice to the “civil rights” in the Northwest Ordinance while at the same time reiterating over and over the “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind” part of Article 3.We’re meant to see the “civil rights” and ignore the emphasis on the Christianity. Not to mention, unlike the previous civic documents, this selection of historical documents should be taught early, at their recommendation.  To my knowledge, no states have legislation of this flavor on their books.

Lastly is the Bible Literacy acts. They claim that these are elective courses for students in high school about the history and literature of the Old and New Testaments. This includes “the influence of the Old or New Testament on law, history, government, literature, art, customs, morals, values, and culture”.  While the fill-in the blank act says the course “must be taught in an objective and non-proselytizing manner that does not attempt to indoctrinate students” there’s a lot of wiggle room for peer pressure and guest speakers to act inappropriately. It does also say that schools may offer a couse based on the books of a religion or society of a non-Christian one. But let’s be real, when was the last time you saw a high school class in Arkansas or Arizona about Islam? They also claim that so many of the American historical works can’t be understood with out understanding the Bible. Or that one can’t have a proper appreciation of literature without understanding the Bible. Which is funny, I can appreciate Salman Rushdies The Satanic Verses without having read the Quran. I can also fully enjoy Into the Badlands (which is based off of the Journey to the West) without a full understanding of Buddhist mythology. It’s almost like we can enjoy art, beauty, and philosophy without needing a religious framework to do so. States with this flavor of legislation include: Texas, Kentucky, and Georgia.

These are all things that seem simple, innocuous, and because they focus on education, they often slip under the radar. But if you mold the minds of the young, its hard to break the patterns of thinking later. This happens at the state level, where people traditionally pay less attention, so push back when they come to your state with legislation like this.

Up next: Phase 2 “Resolutions and Proclamations Recognizing the Importance of Religious History and Freedom”.

 


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What is Project Blitz?

Photo Credit: Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Today I engaged in the most noble day off activities: watching movies and scrolling through social media. My movies of choice were “Now You See Me” and  “Now You See Me 2”. I love cheesy B-rate sequels (hello “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny”), and the gender reveal of the floozy and the doctor in “Now You See Me 2” is one of my favorite things. At the same time, a meme about what feminists really care about during Christmas time came up on my feed. For the record, as a feminist, I don’t think “Baby it’s cold outside” aged well; when Santa tells me their gender I’ll use the proper pronouns, and I do think that everyone should say “Happy Holidays” to be polite. But I also think there needs to be a “War on Christmas” and I do think we need to be fighting it.

Let’s set aside for a moment, the many examples of Christian privilege which exist both inside and outside the United States as well as the fact that Christianity bases its identity around the cultural, spiritual, and literal genocide known as mission work; to Christian Nationalists in the United States, these are features not fuck-ups of the system.

Christian Nationalists are DYING to make America a more Christian nation than it already is, they and the Dominionists are all about that fascism; to the point that Christian Nationalism and Dominionism were the main reasons white Evangelicals voted for Trump. Who needs Matthew and Luke when you have the  Prosperity Gospel and Project Blitz?

Project Blitz is a concerted and dedicated effort to lay the groundwork to making America the ideal home for Christian Nationalists. They want to pave the way to Gilead where the wounded white men are made whole, at the cost of everyone else. We’ve all heard about the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, and there are several pending petitions to the Supreme Court coming up (two crosses, employment, funding churches, and school prayer). I expect with the current court line up, we’ll be hearing a decent bit about these cases. But that’s loud. Project Blitz is more like the magic tricks in “Now You See Me”. While you’re watching the cool tricks, you’re missing the theft. While we’re watching the Supreme Court and the drama about the War on Christmas, we’re missing the theft. But like the reality behind many magic tricks, the Project Blitz playbook is online.

I’ll be posting over the next few days the details about Project Blitz, from their own playbook; simply because it’s too big for one post to get into. Suffice to say, the War on Christmas doesn’t end just because it’s the 26th.


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Holding Vigil in the Sacred Dark

I think my covenmate started this experiment last year, but I could be wrong because in Trump adjusted and divorce adjusted terms 2018 has been a millennium crammed into 365 days. Regardless, she has the idea to only use candles during time around Yule. Her children were less than enthused, but it was a great idea and experiment, and I decided to join her on the Solstice proper. This is the photo of my altar last year. 25488288_10213661883839864_1552097363693229485_o

Obviously, things are a bit different now. The first of which is most of my statuary had to stay in the States with my parents (a lone Hecate statue made the journey because I couldn’t leave her behind). I’ve also modified the rules a little bit to suit my current situation now.

Sacred Dark Rules

  1. No electric lights between sundown and sunrise, with the exception of the flashlight for picking up dog poop or the shower. Because my shower is 100% Satan.
  2. The only allowed electronics after nightfall is the laptop for Netflix, studying, or writing. The only activities allowed on the phone are games or podcasts of a non-political nature for the night hours. Kindle is always allowed.
  3. This light fast is 3 nights long, starting tonight and ending after the all-night vigil of the Solstice.

The idea is to reconnect with the Sacred Dark, and it’s the end of my season of ritual grief from Samhain to Yule. The concept of going as fully into the dark as I can, before emerging into the light on the 22nd is a very powerful one and one that I enjoy embracing.

Honestly, after manufacturing holiday cheer for 7 years for someone who never saw it or appreciated has left me drained. And I will be salty for YEARS about The Tree Comment of 2017. The simple sacred acts mean the world to me as I work to recover from the past year.

Merry Yule, and may your journey through the Sacred Dark be safe one this holiday season.

 


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Hail Thalassa

I’ll admit, Poseidon as a sea god isn’t much on my radar. I was born and raised in a desert, so while the ocean was never a present thing in my life. Despite spending many vacations by the sea, and currently living less than an hour from the ocean, Poseidon is not an ocean god to me. He’s the god of horses, his rape of Demeter produced Despoine a goddess with a strong connection. When I rode, it was never with Epona (despite my Celtic family history) it was always with Poseidon. For me the hymn to Poseidon was Xenophons foundations of dressage: controlled energy and movement until the precise moment to release it. In this form, Poseidon still makes an appearance in my practice and I have two horses on my altar.

But if we use the Athenian devotional calendar as a foundation, it doesn’t make sense for me to include Poseidon as my December offering. The Athenians were to a seafaring people, the Acropolis gave the Athenians access to the sea and an advantage over their land-locked competetiors. Their naval supremacy lasted for centuries, and the Battle of Salamis is still taught in military history courses. Athens gets the most rain in December, and floods are at their most likely. To me, this sounds like the emphasis isn’t so much on Poseidon but on his control of water and the sea.

Because the sea was always so far away, it was a deeply inscrutable thing for my childhood and into my adult hood. As a scientist, I know a lot about the sea, more than the average bear. But this doesn’t make it any less mysterious, less the mother of life, or less grief stricken. The sea is Thalassa, and to her I make my offering in December.

Thalassa isn’t one of the more popular sea goddesses, but hear me out. She has the standard mother of the sea and all sea life aspect; and that’s cool. But she has this great sea witch look: a middle aged woman with crab claws as horns, dressed in sea weed, and holding an oar from a sunken ship. YAS QUEEN.

What makes her even better is she’s so salty, pun intended. When a shipwrecked sailor rails stands on a beach and rails at her Thalassa appears and says “Dude, don’t blame me. I didn’t blow your ship to bits. I’m as calm and as firm as the earth; but even the earth is whipped into fury by the wind sometimes.” When the river gods came to complain to Thalassa about they gave her fresh water, and she made it salty; she replied “don’t come near me and you won’t get salty!” When a farmer saw a ship sink into the waves, he scolded the sea calling her the enemy of mankind. To which Thalassa replied “Don’t tell evil stories about me! The winds make me cruel, when there are no winds you’ll find I’m gentler than your dry land.”

Thalassa is a feminist sea goddess. I am what I am, she says. My nature is firm and gentle, she says. The cruelty of the elements, the cruelty of the environment, shapes me into something harder than I am. Thalassa lives in the salt of each woman who is shaped into something harder than she is; no matter how far we are from the shore.

Thalassa I call, with eyes cærulean bright, hid in a veil obscure from human sight;
Great Ocean’s empress, wand’ring thro’ the deep, and pleas’d with gentle gales, the earth to sweep;
Whose blessed waves in swift succession go, and lash the rocky shore with endless flow:
Delighting in the Sea serene to play, in ships exulting and the wat’ry way.
Mother of Aphrodite, and of clouds obscure, great nurse of beasts, and source of fountains pure.
O venerable Goddess, hear my prayer, and make benevolent my life thy care;
Send, blessed queen, to ships a prosperous breeze, and waft them safely o’er the stormy seas.