Pagan and the Pit(bulls)

The political musings of a Pagan and her dogs.


Leave a comment

Taking a Breath

Wow, a whole lot happened since I posted last. Like, Jesus Christ on a stick, could it not have slowed down just a little bit?

School started and my schedule changed, twice; my wedding plans blew up; Teddy’s family is attempting to resolve the residual drama from the break and the wedding; I completely forgot about a test; job description changed, again; the car dumped a full tank of gas into the parking lot; a former lover and I figured out that we are a hot mess but we’ll be ok; and my brother finally told my mother that he is joining the Army. He shipped out for basic last Sunday. Whew.

To say things are a in a state of flux is putting it mildly. But I think that this is the time when things start to become really clear, especially how people handle difficulty. Hot damn, that was cliche. If I weren’t so exhausted, I would try and fix that. So, I’m doing what everyone has always told me–take a breath. Sort things out.

School and work are a bit beyond my control. The work/class schedule will be what it will be, and it’s early enough in the semester that I can do a little badly on one test. Breathe, let it go.

The wedding will happen regardless of any stressors and weird that go on before we get there.  The important thing is that Teddy and I will be married. Breathe, let it go.

I’ve taken the car to the shop, and they are trying to fix it. This is all I can do about it, breathe, let it go.

The former lover is a little more complicated. Different choices, and we could have been something wonderful. And, even though he said it first I have to agree with him, he will always have a little bit of my heart. That was something we never really shared until it was completely over. I love him, but we aren’t meant to be. Breathe, mourn, and let it go.

My brother has finally achieved his dream of being in the military. It’s what he’s wanted for years, and I have to commend him for doing what he seems to love. Comforting my mother is a little bit harder, but it can be done. We’ll all get through this. Breathe, let him go.

And now everything seems simpler, easier to handle. I know I probably should have posted the next Pagan definition post but I needed to get this off my chest first. Now it’s time to cuddle the puppies.


Leave a comment

pagan vs Pagan

“The Dark Arts are many, varied, ever-changing, and eternal. Fighting them is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, every time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible.”—Professor Snape, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

 

Ok, so Paganism is not the Dark Artsquestion mark; and as yet I make no claims to be “She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named”. But sometimes providing a definition for what exactly Paganism is, and who and how you practice it seems exactly like that quote—defining that which is unfixed, mutating, and ever-changing. However, I’m going to do my best. Mainly because every Pagan blogger tackles this question at some point, and also because I’m doing a presentation on it in February, and I need a place to get all my thoughts in some semblance of order. So, here goes. I promise, I won’t be cursing spiders.

 

Since this will be the first of posts on this topic, let’s start with definitions. For the grammar geeks, capitalization is super important for this discussion. “Pagan” and “pagan” have very different meanings, as you’ll see soon. Bear in mind that these definitions are not gospel truth, and someone else in the wide world may very well have set of definitions that works better for you. This is merely a starting place for conversation.

 

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “pagan” as a follower of a polytheistic religion. Which is a huge set of religions, and breaks down into three sub groups: paleopagan religions, mesopagan religions, and neopagan religions. Paleopagan religions began in the period of pre-history to the Dark Ages; mesopagan religions began between the Dark Ages and 1900; and neopagan religions started after 1930. The kinds of religions you’ll most often see in the day-to-day are the paleopagan and the neopagan ones. Paleopagan religions have a strong sense of identity (they would have to survive this long), and typically don’t identify as “Pagan”, if at all. If you want to find out more about paleopagan religions such as Hinduism and the religions indigenous to your area I suggest going straight to the source.

 

The neopagan religions include Wicca, Thelema, and the various forms of reconstructionism. The practitioners of these tend to identify as Pagan or Heathen. See where the capitalizations start to come in handy? It’s a great opportunity to be Grammar-Nazi.

 

Thus ends the first point in “definition of paganism” series. “Pagan” is not the same as “pagan”, and it’s the best stopping point before jumping into what Paganism actually is. Odds are, no matter how I define this, someone somewhere will be offended or disagree with me. Which is totally cool, everyone can self-identify; this is just my take on it.


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

This Weeks Food for Thought

Just so we are all on the same page: I’m not on top of things. It’s the beginning of the holiday season (a time I have issues with anyway), finals and final projects are coming up, I’m mega behind on several side projects, and registration for next semesters classes tend to give me a week of nightmares and panic attacks. So, super sorry for the late update. I swear, I do have thoughtful and relevant posts coming—there is one on why we should give libations to Ares during the holidays, and one about a charge of Hecate and why I think it works. But right now, this is a going to be a little bit more “stream of consciousness” than anything else, so we’ll see where this ends up.

When I first started writing this post, it was on Thursday and there was a craft fair at my university. Normally, I’m a anti-holiday creep—because Thanksgiving is its own holiday and deserves respect; and nothing gets my goat like hearing ads for the Nutcracker on Labor Day and seeing Christmas decorations the day after Samhain. Just sayin’. But this time I was more ok with the annual craft fair happening before Thanksgiving, the academic calendar is a little fucked up wonky this fall, and there were at least 5 Pagan vendors there (possibly 6, but I’m not sure if that woman is Pagan or just one of the New Age-y people who show up all the time to festivals and smoke tons of pot).

Which meant I went around taking pictures of all of their wonderful things (and getting a free neck rub score!) to post on the Facebook page of the university’s Pagan student group. Somewhere between “thank every single god for caffeine and the local coffee shop” and “holy jesus look at that Minion hat, I need it” I thought about what being a community means. During my lunch breaks, I’m normally not a deep thinker; I just want to sit down with some mind numbing fiction and eat in peace and quiet. But this was my exception.

Because community is more than just the people you go to ritual with, drink and dance with at festivals, eat with, laugh and cry with. It’s the small things that tie us all together. It’s knowing the stories of the local vendors (one has a son who is the most adorable boy I’ve ever met) and supporting them through the hard ones (one vendor was robbed while he was at a festival, so his stock is super limited). It’s posting their businesses on a Facebook page, because that’s how they need support right now and as a community it’s up to us to support them sustainably how they need (and within our means, don’t be going out to spend money you don’t have). We weave our own community tapestry, but we don’t weave it in grand sweeping patterns and bold colors. We weave in single threads and touches. These singles threads, these small contacts are what build us up and hold us together.

Which makes this post somehow better than I thought it was going to be, minus the overabundance of commas and parenthesis, because it reached a point. It also meets it’s criteria of being a post for this week, so I’m going to leave it here and then tackle my load of homework. I might cry into my wine while I do it, but it will actually get done.