Pagan and the Pit(bulls)

The political musings of a Pagan and her dogs.


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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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A Song of Endurance

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When I was a child, I met La Llorona. I was playing in the river and slipped and fell in. The water was deceptively still, so the current took me by surprise. While I was, and am, a decent swimmer; the current carried me downstream, and I could feel fingers wrapping around my ankle and pulling down. Surrendering to that firm tug was the most comforting thing to do. It was a small thing, just follow it down, don’t fight it. Above the surface is difficult and hot, just sink down. It was only after I scraped my hand on a rock, did I come back. My stinging palm reminded me to swim, so I did. Because I had to. I had no other choice.

I’m entering the first harvest after my divorce. And there were many times during the disintegration of my marriage and later adventures in the legal system, where it was so much easier to sink. To sink into depression and anxiety. There were sometimes I did, and my two pit bulls were great sources of strength for me at the time, but they were more “keep my head above water” strength. Other things, such as hecatedemeters Prayers for the Resistance, scraped my hand and reminded me to swim.

Now, a year after reading the Prayer for the Resistance, I’m writing a response to that post. This is a Song of Endurance.

 

This is a song of Lughnasadh. This is a song of Endurance.

 

Lughnasadh: when the wildfires send ash into the air, when the harvest is beaten by hail, and we dream of the cool in the dark. Here, Lughnasadh is when we share and share alike: frying green tomatoes broken from the vine, and neighbors watch the river to protect what we have. Lughnasadh is the song of Endurance.

This is the song of the green witches, who grow communities in the rich bosque soil. Who build arches of peas and plenty, even in the high heat of a desert drought. This is their song of Endurance.

This is the song of children making lemonade as taught by their mothers and the song of women making Lemonade as taught by Beyonce. This is their song of Endurance.

Lughnasadh is our fire festival when ash graces our hair and clings to our taste buds, and we crave the clean taste of winter and fall. Lughnasadh is when we share and share alike, for that is how we survive. Lughnasadh is the song of Endurance.

This is the song of the scientist working against disbelief and lack of funding to bring light to the dark places. This is the song of the teacher who tries to protect students from swastikas. This is the song of waiting for Mueller Time. This is the song of Endurance.

This is the song at the food bank, giving rhythm to sorting good food from bad. This is rhythm reverberates in typed letters to Senators, dial tones to Representatives, and the endless march of feet. This is the song of Endurance.

Lughnasadh is our fire festival when the heat of fires miles away make it too hot to sleep and exhaustion pulls our bones into Skeleton Woman’s embrace. Lughnasadh is when we share and share alike, for this is how blessings grow. Lughnasadh is the song of Endurance.

This is the song of the women’s group, moving one step forward through all setbacks. This is the song of the mothers who push back against encroaching normalization. This is the song of Endurance.

This is the song of the nagging reminder: they/them not she/her. She/her because she was always a woman, even when she isn’t here. And he was always a man. This is the song of Endurance.

Lughnasadh is our fire festival when the rainbow lightning touches trees bringing rain and fertile ash to the dry, sandy earth. Lughnasadh is when we share

and share alike, for this is how rain falls and the wheel turns. Lughnasadh is the song of Endurance.

My song isn’t for tomato cravings, or gorging cucumbers, or rambling vines, or sharp-witted eggplant. My hands aren’t made for plants, only the hardiest survive my home. Aloe, pothos, bamboo, and an oddly defiant orchid. They endure through my neglect, and my unskilled watering. My wheel never centered the agrarian.

Lughnasadh is our fire festival when the ash has settled, and the monsoons unleashed; a second quiet growing season begins with curling sprouts around charcoal foundations. Lughnasadh is when we share and share alike, the gifts I bring combined with yours means we all survive. Lughnasadh is the song of Endurance.

Lughnasadh is how we endure. When the hardest hail punishes growth, and the lightning strikes those who dare to touch the sky, and the fire burns all but the hardiest away; Lughnasadh sings, Endure. Endure. Endure. Hold on, and hold out. Sink roots deep to the hidden water, let the broken branches protect new growth. And when you have survived all this, reach once more for the sky.


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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.