Pagan and the Pit(bull)

The adventures and musings of a Pagan and her dog.


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Happy New Year, Queen of Heaven

queen of heavenHera starts off the New Year in terms of devotionals, and I will be the first to say I think Hera gets a bad rap and that isn’t fair to her. Hera is the best example of the oversimplification of the gods to fit a cultural narrative. Let’s lay down some truth here: Hera is pretty bad ass. She has a pretty strong realm of dominion; Hera is the Queen of Heaven, the goddess of kings and empires, goddess of marriage, of women’s fertility, one of the three goddess of child birth (she is the protector of the mother, Artemis is the protector of the child being birthed, and Eileithyia the patron of the act itself), and the goddess of dynasties. Quite literally, she rules. Hera fights in the War of the Titans, and the War of the Giants, Dionysus Indian War, and she sponsors Sparta in the Trojan War. If the idea of Hera as a warrior queen seems counterintuitive, consider that Pausanias describes a strong cult to Hera Aigophagos (Hera the Goat-Eater) in Lakedaimonia and its capital of Sparta. Hera takes no prisoners.

But wait, her detractors say, Hera treats Zeus bastard sons and other consorts pretty shittily. My response to this is yes, she does. But look at those actions in light of her realms of dominion: she is Queen of Heaven, goddess of empires and dynasties and women’s roles in them. She isn’t going to let others come in and take what is rightfully the jurisdiction of her and her children. After all, even though Hera is considered the last consort of Zeus and tricked into marriage, she was Queen of Heaven in her own right before he got there. No upstarts allowed. It’s even debatable whether all of her divine children have Zeus as a father. Of her children, Typhaon and the Charities don’t have a mentioned father in myth; Hebe, Ares, Hephaistos, Eris, and Eileithyia have disputed paternity.

And through it all the ups and downs of enforcing her dynastic claim on Olympus, Hera does some very kind and loving things. Philostratus the Elder describes Hera welcoming Athene into the company of the Olympians. Hera fills the rivers with rain water of Argos for the devotion Inakhos after Poseidon dries up the island in rage. When the daughters of Pandareos are left orphaned she blesses them with wisdom to lead. And she sponsors Jason on his search for the Golden Fleece and his journey to bring prosperity to Argos.

Despite of all of this Queen Militant badassery, and kindness and support to her devotees, Hera is remembered as “that bitch who gets in the way of Zeus fun”. Hera is reduced from mighty queen of heaven on a cerulean throne to…shrew.

I’ve always thought that the Wiccanate Triple Goddess of Maiden, Mother, Crone to be heinously limiting. And that we need to reclaim the goddesses who embody more than the young nymphet, the voluptuous mother, the disfigured old woman. Women deserve goddesses who represent womanhood in all of its forms, not just the forms that are palatable to the public or described and defined by the older and sexist Pagan writers. Hera is the goddess of leaning in and while she may not be the goddess every woman needs, she is one of the goddesses that everyone deserves. So this month, I’m raising a glass and starting to bring her back.

O Royal Hera of majestic mien, aerial-form’d, divine, Zeus’blessed queen,
Thron’d in the bosom of cærulean air, the race of mortals is thy constant care.
The cooling gales thy pow’r alone inspires, which nourish life, which ev’ry life desires.
Mother of clouds and winds, from thee alone producing all things, mortal life is known:
All natures share thy temp’rament divine, and universal sway alone is thine.
With founding blasts of wind, the swelling sea and rolling rivers roar, when shook by thee.
Come, blessed Goddess, fam’d almighty queen, with aspect kind, rejoicing and serene.


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Old Year’s Food for thought

new yearsOnly one more day left of the old year before we see the new one. Which is a little crazy when you think about it, so much has happened so quickly. So here is a quick break down of the good, the bad, and the “ugly” of the past year.

Good:

I started to do more self-care. This one is a hard one for me to do, which is a little ironic since in some ways I’m super selfish. But by starting small, I think I’m on a better path to being happier and healthier.

I started this blog. Again, a hard one for me to get started. This blog seems to be a living example of inertia—when I’m going, I’m really going; when I’m at rest, it’s hard to restart. But I’m really glad that I have, it is a project that I’ve been wanting to do.

I dedicated officially to a coven, and I did my first degree initiation. Super exciting stuff on that side.

I passed all of my classes with good grades! Excitement all around for that. Now to keep going and to study for the GRE.

Bad:

Merkel (my car) broke down again. I think that this is a serious lesson in buying cars that are low to the ground. On the up side though, I have become a much better driver.

Teddy (I finally decided on a name to protect my fiance’s innocence) and I drove into Texas for the funeral of his great aunt. We actually got back on Sunday, so it was very recent. Grief is never an easy burden to share.

I was in a car accident in May. No one was hurt, thank the gods, but it still was a bit sucky.

My job description changed. True, I’m lucky to still be employed when a great many aren’t, but being sent back to the job description and duties that I left over a year ago is kind of miserable.

“Ugly”:

Teddy’s sister is maintaining her status of bitter-pain-in-the-butt. It’s nothing that is super serious, more like a long string of snipes, jabs, and unresolved arguments. But it’s still an unpleasant experience.

My father got a job in Nebraska. It’s fantastic that he’s employed again, and since he works in construction it’s a sign that the economy is pick up. But he’s very far away and it’s difficult to stay in communication with him

Our parents finally met each other, after Teddy and I have been together for 4 years. The only word for that experience is “surreal”.

The wedding plans became official. It’s not an ugly thing, but this is more of a miscellaneous category than anything else. The panic attacks have begun and are occurring with some frequency now. Be still my heart.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad year. I had to actually think hard of 4 things to put in the bad category, which is probably a good sign. I’m beginning the process of physically cleaning the house, and soon there will be the aroma of sage and lavender to help magickally clean the house. Tomorrow I’ll make black eyed peas and pork, and we’ll play poker and dominos until it’s time to light fireworks and start the new year.


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A canine and human creation myth

Finals are over! Party at my place! Read: break out the trashy TV, the red wine, and neurotically check for my final grades.

Because I’ve been so busy lately, and my mental capacity is practically nil, I thought that I would write about the pitbull half of the blog title.

I come from a farming family. My family did the 4-H thing, I rode and did Pony Club. Horse and hounds go together like peas and carrots, so I’ve been around dogs my whole life with a pretty good connection with them. They are my magickal animal partner of choice: canines can see the dead, were probably some of the first animals to have a magickal connection with humans, and black dogs occur all over the place. But that’s not why I was adopted by Roxy (and it was very much that she adopted me).

I didn’t plan on getting a dog, though to be honest, I didn’t plan on getting my first dog either. I had held out on getting one for two years. I had just moved out of my parents’ house and to a new city, and the living situation hadn’t been ideal for puppies. But then my fiancé and I bought a house, and he prepared to go to law school. I wasn’t entirely comfortable being by myself in a new house, I was used to being around living things all the time. I wanted a dog, but my fiancé wanted to wait so I did. And then I didn’t.

A woman in the community rescued a red nosed pit bull named Roxy, and took her to my then magickal mentor to foster. I saw the posts on facebook he put up looking for a good home for her, but no one took her. I went over to his house for his lesson, and before I left, my fiancé told me “don’t come back with the dog”. As I drove up to my mentors house, Roxy jumped his very tall fence and bounded into the front yard to sit at the gate. She sat there until I came in and then stayed near me for the entire lesson. My mentor lent me a leash to take her home, and a few days of dog food for her.  As we drove home Roxy sat in the front seat and howled to the Oldies station.

Owning a pit bull comes with its own pit falls (pun intended). We will only be able to have homeowners insurance through Allstate. People are suspicious of Roxy when we go to the dog park, or even when we go for a walk and she opens her mouth in a big pit bull grin. But I love her, and she’ll have a home here as long she wants it.


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Grateful vs. Thankful

A lot of my Facebook friends have been doing “X days of Gratitude”, and since we have just entered the holiday season (a time of year that typically makes me border clinical depression) I thought that maybe doing one of these challenges would help give me a boost. Except, it doesn’t really seem to be working out. Because, right now, I’m 0% grateful. Not 1.0×10^-n grateful, 0 grateful. Here’s why.

The full definition of grateful according to Merriam-Webster is:

1.a. appreciative of benefits received

1.b. expressing gratitude (e.g. grateful thanks)

2.a. affording pleasure or contentment

2.b. pleasing by comfort supplied, or discomfort alleviated

Right now, I’m not receiving an benefits. I’m in po-dunk town with a family that I kind of hate to take family pictures, when I could be at home with my fiance and my pittie puppies. This situation also affords little pleasure of contentment, and causes more discomfort than it alleviates. In many ways I’m not grateful right now, and I probably won’t be until the family/holiday season is over. Some times (like now) I feel so outsider to them it’s hard to feel like I get a benefit from them or that they offer some pleasure or contentment to my life.

On the other hand, I do feel thankful for them  Because to be thankful is to be glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists. I’m thankful that they exist, and I’m thankful that I know them. I’m thankful that I get to spend time with them, even if we are all kind of grumpy and waiting to leave as soon as it’s socially acceptable.

So I think I will practice being thankful rather than being grateful this holiday season. Because I am thankful, every day.

*Edit: I am however deeply grateful for my puppy. Like ridiculously so.