Pagan and the Pit(bulls)

The political musings of a Pagan and her dogs.


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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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Sacred Hair, and When Not to Cut It

Photo Credit: Daniella Zalcman

Hair is sacred in many cultures and religious expressions. If it isn’t your hair, don’t cut it.

Those two sentences sum up this entire blog post. But since some people apparently don’t know how to keep their hands to themselves, I have to break this down.

In November, a teacher at Cibola High School in Albuquerque cut a Native student’s hair and called another one a “bloody Indian”. Mary Easton threatened the student with a box cutter before asking if the student liked her braids. The student said she did, and Easton put down her box cutter, picked up a pair of scissors, and then cut the students braids and sprinkled the cut hair on the desk.

Now while my godmother is Dine (thanks for the Nambe and AMAZINGLY warm sheep skin slippers and ear muffs, Memaw!), I am not; and my knowledge of the Navajo culture is passing at best, but even I know that their hair is something you don’t mess with. Jacqueline Keeler at Indian Country Today has a very eloquent article about it, that explains it much better than I can. What makes this so much worse than a teacher being rude as fuck and unfit to be in the classroom is that when the United States government forced the Navajo children to go to their federally run schools, the teachers cut the childrens hair without their consent.

Hair is a sacred thing for many people, and many cultures have specific guidelines for how it’s worn or styled. Whether it’s covered with a veil like the Muslims, the Catholic nuns, devotees of Hestia, or Hindu women; or worn long with no restraints; or tied back in braids as many native cultures and even my own magickal practice dictates; hair isn’t something you can just mess with because you feel like it. We teach the kindergardeners to keep their hands to themselves, more people need to remember that.

Don’t touch a Black persons hair without permission.

Don’t touch my braids without permission.

Definitely don’t cut someone’s hair without permission.

If my little nuggets can remember that, why can’t most adults?

 

 


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Grief and History: how to hold space for George H.W. Bush

I spent most of my childhood riding horses. This is where my tight bond with horses and dogs as magickal animals came from. After all, horses and hounds go together like peas and carrots. I remember watching the riderless horse during Reagan’s funeral. I will watch the riderless horse at Bush’s funeral, and we will have come full circle.

On a personal level, my heart goes out to the Bush family. They lost a husband, a father, and a grandfather.

On a national and political level, my heart fills with rage at the sterilizing of his legacy. The Smithsonian released an article about his life long service to the country. I disagree. No president is perfect and, perhaps with the current administration as an exception, they all occasionally get something right. But we don’t get to whitewash Bush’s legacy just because he’s dead. Death is inevitable it does not get you a free pass.

He originally campaigned against civil rights.

He supported Vietnam.

He was fiercely loyal to Richard Nixon, even when it was clear he was guilty.

As a director of the CIA, he supported Operation Condor and the military dictatorships in Latin America, decisions whose repercussions can still be felt to today.

The family members of the soldiers who were killed or injured in the first Gulf War don’t get to forget Daddy Bush’s legacy.

The loved ones of the victims of the AIDS crisis in the 80’s don’t get to forget his legacy.

The LGBTQ community doesn’t get to forget his legacy.

The victims of the “War on Drugs” don’t get to forget his legacy.

We can’t forget his legacy of Clarence Thomas.

We can’t forget how he ushered in the current era of Evangelical Republican, and the irreparable harm that has done to the country and the world.

My heart goes out to the Bush family for their loss. But more of my heart goes to the victims and survivors of his policies. I see you, even if it feels like the rest of the country does not.

 


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A day of Thanksgiving

Image by Ts’uyya Farm

Today in the States it’s Thanksgiving. In my own home state of New Mexico, there are 23 tribes so I have a slight understanding about how fraught the holiday can be for Native peoples. While none of the tribes in my state are the Wampanoag from the Thanksgiving myth (to my knowledge), there is still an extensive history of trauma and genocide under the colonial and later United States governments. A trauma that continues to this day. It makes Thanksgiving more uncomfortable than it already is. Although to think of it, nothing is so Americana as a Trumpy uncle screaming about making America great again as Native lands are stolen and Native women are raped while a roast turkey sits on the table.

Sean Sherman of the Sioux Chef wrote an article for Time explaining his conplicated and evolving relationship with Thanksgiving. In it, he brings up a truely excellent point: Thanksgiving is made with indigenous foods like turkey, corn, beans, pumpkin, etc; perhaps it’s time to embrace those foods and step back from the Thanksgiving narrative.

Thanksgiving falls in the no-mans land between Samhain and Yule, and it’s an excellent time to reconnect to the land as the year spirals into winter. It’s also a time for shadow-work and reconciling our dark past and present actions, and paying for them.

While its probably a little late to change your Thanksgiving menus to support Native chefs (Thanksgiving at a restaurant anyone?) you can still buy their products, support their farmers, and donate to their efforts to reclaim their foodways.

Get inspiration for leftovers from The Fancy Navajo. Buy The Sioux Chefs Indigenous Kitchen or Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations (Lois Ellen Frank, Kiowa) or Original Local (Heid E Sherman, Ojibwe).

Visit restaurants with Native chefs like Ray Naranjo, Karlos Baca, and Freddie Bitsoie.

Support Native farmers like Ts’uyya Farm.

Support the Dine Food Policies, the Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Project, the I-Collective and Gather, and the North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems.

At this time, give thanks for what you have. And give back to people still suffering from trauma.


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Transgender Day of Rememberance

Today is Transgender Day of Rememberance. These are only the reported deaths, the number is likely much higher. In this administration, where malice is the only agenda, our trans brothers and sisters are suffering. On this day of rememberance, consider supporting them by supporting trans resources. And if someone says some bull shit over turkey this year, you push back. 3 of these deaths were in New Mexico and that’s unacceptable.

Selena Fox and Nature Folk are hosting a special live podcast to commemorate.

Say their names.

May they go in peace, and return in beauty and strength.

14 Sep 2018
Nikki Janelle Enriquez
Laredo, Texas
shot

8 Sep 2018
Londonn Moore Kinard
Port Charlotte, Florida
shot

5 Sep 2018
Shantee Tucker
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
shot

30 Aug 2018
Dejanay Stanton
Chicago, Illinois
shot

30 Aug 2018
Vontashia Bell
Shreveport, Louisiana
shot

23 Aug 2018
Jamel Pierce
Denver, Colorado
suicide

Aug 2018
Casey Hoke
Pomona, California
suicide

19 Jul 2018
Sasha Garden
Orlando, Florida
not reported

2 Jul 2018
Daine Grey
San Francisco, California
suicide

27 Jun 2018
Dr Laura Mas
San Diego, California
suicide

24 Jun 2018
Cathalina Christina James
Jacksonville, Florida
shot

24 Jun 2018
Keisha Wells
Cleveland, Ohio
shot

19 Jun 2018
Chloe Sagal
Portland, Oregon
suicide

18 Jun 2018
Diamond Stephens
Meridian, Mississippi
shot

1 Jun 2018
Antash’a English
Jacksonville, Florida
shot

21 May 2018
Gigi Pierce
Portland, Oregon
shot

13 May 2018
Nino Fortson
Atlanta, Georgia
shot

13 May 2018
Roxana Hernández
Milan, New Mexico
died in custody

12 May 201
Name Unknown
Dallas, Texas
not reported

9 May 2018
Karla Patricia Flores-Pavon
Dallas, Texas
strangled

28 Apr 2018
Grayson
Columbia, South Carolina
suicide

1 Apr 2018
Sasha Wall
Chesterfield County, South Carolina
shot

31 Mar 2018
Chance Houle
Bismark, North Dakota
suicide

26 Mar 2018
Amia Tyrae Berryman
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
shot

6 Mar 2018
Hope Verbeeck
Tampa, Florida
suicide

4 Feb 2018
Celine Walker
Jacksonville, Florida
shot

10 Jan 2018
Viccky Gutierrez
Los Angeles, California
burned

5 Jan 2018
Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien
North Adams, Massachusetts
beaten and stabbed

16 Dec 2017
Rhiannon Layendecker
Englewood, Florida
shot

13 Dec 2017
Brandi Seals
Houston, Texas
shot

27 Nov 2017
Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson
Oklahoma City
shot

Nov 2017
Natalie Nguyen
Seattle, Washington
suicide

28 Oct 2017
Candace Towns
Macon, Georgia
shot

21 Oct 2017
Stephanie Montez
Corpus Christi, Texas
shot

*Reporting period October 1, 2017-September 30, 2018. Transgender Day of Rememberance