Pagan and the Pit(bulls)

The political musings of a Pagan and her dogs.


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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Happy 2019 everyone!

2018 was a bit of a doozy. Rephrase, it was a bit of a hell ride for a while, and then it evened out. My divorce was granted. I got my Masters. I moved to South Korea.

I got more time to devote to the blog. My viewership numbers went up exponentially. Thank you to everyone for your support. Your comments and views mean the world to me. Thank you to all my followers as well.

For the next year I intend to keep working on the blog. Hopefully, I’ll have a solid rhythm I can get in to for a regular posting schedule. I intend to really get started on the book I’ve wanted to write for the past 8 years. I intend to eat healthier, work out more, and have a better practice. I honestly had no idea how many spoons and forks grad school was for me. I’m going to eat less meat, and take more public transportation. I can’t stop climate change on my own but I can still do my share. Of course I’ll still be writing about politics and paganism here. The dogs will still be lying on the bed while I do.

Thank you everyone! And have a great 2019!


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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.

 


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Turning the wheel at Samhain

Honestly, I have no idea what to write right now because Samhain is a loaded time for me on a good year. While this is a good year: I’m successfully divorced with only a few details remaining and I’m living in a place I’ve dreamed of; it’s also a very bittersweet year. A year ago exactly today I packed all my things and left.

There are a lot of things that influenced my decision to get a divorce. One of the ones that played no small part was my ex-husbands politics and his family’s politics. They’re a special kind of libertarian that will see the world burn, as long as it never touches them. As I read the news about gender being strictly defined and the tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue, I can’t help but be reminded that to my deep eternal shame I was once part of them. Even if I voted blue, and donated blue, and tried to persuade them blue, I was still part of that tribe. (Although as my mother noted, that tribe and my wedding into that family were some of the coldest we’ve experienced.)

But I pulled my way out. And that means something. So maybe as we head into the new year, we should pay tribute to the beloved dead, and then honor them by trying to pull our way out of the national mess we’re in. The first step is to vote. The wheel won’t turn unless we turn it.


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A candle for Tree of Life Synagogue

My deepest condolences and prayers goes to the victims from the Tree of Life Synagogue. May you rest in peace and return in power.

My deepest condolences and prayers go to the survivors, and to the surviving families. I see your grief and pain, and I hold space for you in your mourning.

While I hold space for them, let us not forget: this is why we need gun control; this is why Trump’s stochastic terrorism from the “campaign trail” is dangerous; and this is what America will become if we don’t turn things around.

Don’t let their deaths be a bloody footnote of insignificance. These victims are more canaries in the coal mine of Trump’s America, and we would do well to heed the warning.


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Mabon: the Dark revisited

Image result for light and dark cliff

Here Lughnasadh is a pure light holiday; the sun is still high and hot, temperatures are broiling, and we swim in a dammed creek. Samhain is a dark holiday; the temperatures are cooler, the days are shorter, and we hold the vigil through the night. But Mabon, Mabon is something in the middle. The temperatures are still brutal, but dawn comes a little later each day.

Hecatedemeter has an eloquent Prayer for Mabon, and Mabon is a time of resistance, where we say there is a place at our table. But Mabon is also when we choose whether to resist the Dark or to freely fall into it knowing we’ll eventually fall out into the light again.

The Dark of the Year, the Dark of the Earth, the Dark inside ourselves, the Dark inside others. All of these are facets of the same jewel, but it’s a jewel you can’t explore without knowing yourself. For if you cannot find the strength within you, you will never find it without. To have a nerdy moment in a meditation, it’s a bit like the Devils Snare in the first Harry Potter movie: the more you fight the Dark the harder it holds on, but if you relax into it, you fall through to the next floor. (Before we go there, yes, I’ve read the books. Yes, the books hold an incredibly dear place in my heart. But in this case, the movie has the better visual.)

Last year I chose to get a divorce at Mabon, that was my Dark that I was fighting for years and my marriage had become a choking force in my magickal, and mundane life. I could feel myself dying. I chose to fall into the Dark and the crucible last year, and I’ve come out with a few more scars but definitely a more refined and freer being. After all, what do we say to that which impedes our higher being? Not today.

Again, this year I’ve chosen to fall into the Dark again.  I’ve fortified myself at the Witches Thanksgiving: with cornbread and collards, cheese and ale, turkey and turnips. I’ve stocked my larder with mead and cider, wheat and pumpkins, cherries and chestnuts.

And I’m ready to fall again.


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Hail to Persephone and Demeter, goddesses of agency

Personally, I don’t hold onto myths if they don’t serve me or the world I live in. Yesterday was the offering to Demeter and Persephone, and I decided to share the Persephone myth I believe in.

Demeter, as an earth goddess, spent much time in the beginning underground encouraging the roots to grow; and beloved Persephone often came with her. But since you can only wat your mother work for so long, Persephone began to explore the world underground and the underworld beneath it. On her explorations, she came upon Hades, overworked and overtaxed by the demands of the dead.  Persephone offered help, and Hades gladly took it. The work of bringing justice and order to the dead gave Persephone purpose and in the light of the silent flames, she blossomed. Eventually, she fell in love with Hades, the underworld, and the dead; refusing to leave. Demeter, as mothers do, refused to believe that Persephone (her bright spring child Persephone) would rather stay in the dark underworld and flew into a rage that destroyed the gree growing plants of the earth. Demeter refused to go underground to tend to the roots. The dead flocked to the underworld in droves and told Persephone of the famine and her mother’s cruelties. Kind-hearted Persephone went to the border of the underworld and underground, where the seeds sleep and the roots grow. Slowly, because she had little of her mothers powers, Persephone pulled the roots from the seeds directing them to water and rich patches of soil before pushing tentative shoots up to the sun. During this time of famine, Demeter grieved on Hecate’s shoulder. Demeter mourned her daughter and all the dreams she had for her. With time and Hecates care came acceptance, so when the first brave shoot came through the earth Demeter was ready to begin again. But grief is something we live with, not something we conquer; and on the anniversary of Persephone’s absence,  Demeter falls into deep grief again.

Some men I know, have an issue with this version of the myth. They say I don’t know my gods appropriately, or that I have never bothered reading about them. When I show them my collection of classic writers: Apollodorus, Diodorus Siculus, Hesiod, Pausanias, the Papyrii, Strabo, Oppian, Ovid, Pseudo-Hyginus, Virgil, Cicero, Propertius, Seneca, Valerius Flaccus, Statius, Apuleius, Claudian, and both the Homeric and Orphic hymns; I’m accused of keeping them on my shelf to make myself look smarter. Even though some of them aren’t in neatly bound books, but rather were pdfs I printed and put into beat-up binders.

Those men do exactly what the classic myth does: they take away the agency of the women around them and diminish them to something smaller. That’s why I love my myth so much. It’s pure women’s culture, and you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands before I let it go.

Women’s culture is the art and stories women make around their identity as women. Here at the Pagan and the Pitbulls, this culture is intersectional. In the middle of that intersection of gender, sex, sexuality, race, age, ability, and nationality is our agency.

Our agency to live in our bodies, to modify and dress them as we see fit.

Our agency to not only decide if and when we want children; but also to raise those children in a place with good housing, clean water and air, healthcare, and education.

Our agency to choose the careers and jobs we want, to follow our purpose and desires. Without others putting arbitrary barriers to accessibility.

Our agency to choose as many or as few partners we desire, and to form bonds with them in ways that fit our lives.

Our agency to grieve our beloveds fully.

Our agency to call for justice for harm done to us and our communities, and to have those calls be heard.

Our agency to choose our religion, philosophy, or beliefs without them being questioned.

Our agency to simply exist.

Demeter and Persephone are goddesses of agency and to them, I give an offering.

XXVIII. TO PERSEPHONE

Daughter of Zeus, almighty and divine, come, blessed queen, and to these rites incline:

Only-begotten, Plouton’s honored wife, O venerable Goddess, source of life:

‘Tis thine in earth’s profundities to dwell, fast by the wide and dismal gates of hell:

Zeus’ holy offspring, of a beauteous mien, Praxidike, with lovely locks, infernal queen:

Source of the Eumenides, whose blest frame proceeds from Zeus’ ineffable and secret seeds:

Mother of Eubouleos, Sonorous, divine, and many-form’d, the parent of the vine:

The dancing Horai attend thee, essence bright, all-ruling virgin, bearing heav’nly light:

Illustrious, horned, of a bounteous mind, alone desir’d by those of mortal kind.

O, vernal queen, whom grassy plains delight, sweet to the smell, and pleasing to the sight:

Whose holy form in budding fruits we view, Earth’s vigorous offspring of a various hue:

Espous’d in Autumn: life and death alone to wretched mortals from thy power is known:

For thine the task according to thy will, life to produce, and all that lives to kill.

Hear, blessed Goddess, send a rich increase of various fruits from earth, with lovely Peace;

Send Health with gentle hand, and crown my life with blest abundance, free from noisy strife;

Last, in extreme old age the prey of Death, dismiss we willing to the realms beneath,

To thy fair palace, and the blissful plains where happy spirits dwell, and Pluto [Plouton] reigns.

XXXIX. TO DEMETER ELEUSINIA

O Universal mother Deo fam’d august, the source of wealth, and various named:

Great nurse, all-bounteous, blessed and divine, who joy’st in peace, to nourish corn is thine:

Goddess of seed, of fruits abundant, fair, harvest and threshing, are thy constant care;

Who dwell’st in Eleusina’s seats retir’d, lovely, delightful queen, by all desired.

Nurse of all mortals, whose benignant mind, first ploughing oxen to the yoke confin’d;

And gave to men, what nature’s wants require, with plenteous means of bliss which all desire.

In verdure flourishing in honor bright, assessor of great Bacchus [Bromios], bearing light:

Rejoicing in the reapers sickles, kind, whose nature lucid, earthly, pure, we find.

Prolific, venerable, Nurse divine, thy daughter loving, holy Proserpine [Koure]:

A car with dragons yok’d, ’tis thine to guide, and orgies singing round thy throne to ride:

Only-begotten, much-producing queen, all flowers are thine and fruits of lovely green.

Bright Goddess, come, with Summer’s rich increase swelling and pregnant, leading smiling Peace;

Come, with fair Concord and imperial Health, and join with these a needful store of wealth.