Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Am Only A Little Crazy and Alot Gluten Free

So no updates on the home-front for now.  We had a few major road-blocks in the new house come up that I really don't want to go into right now.  Perhaps another time...
  Since everyone is stressed out, including those who helped us move, things got a little heated around these parts...
  Mom got into one of those tirades where she started throwing insults etc. that didn't even have anything to do with what she was supposedly mad about, but during this bout she informed me that she thinks I'm crazy. 
  Proof of this? I don't eat gluten (and I'm pagan).
  If being Wiccan makes me crazy then I guess I am guilty as charged.  Right now I'll just focus on the Gluten free part..

I'd like to go into this bit of gluten-free craziness, just in case anyone else has similar troubles. I follow a blog on occasion where a woman is trying through trial and error to cure her disease--endometriosis.  This disease is supposedly incurable, and I have/had it too.
  I didn't just have it a little, I had it a whole bunch.  The pain was so unbearable I could not enjoy any aspect of life.  One of the great myths about this disease is that it just means you have "hard periods".  How I wish that were true!
  After many  years of it getting worse I became unable to sit or stand for very long, could no longer ride a bike and could not have sex without resorting to prescription opiates.  I had excruciating 24/7 pain.  I considered getting on disability (good luck! that myth people have about endo. exists in the disability world too! why give someone disability for "hard periods??).  I also contemplated (albeit in passing) suicide since my life was filled with nothing but pain.
  I think this is very difficult for someone to imagine if they don't have it, or are one of the (lucky?) ones who seem to experience no pain from it.  These "lucky" ones often have very severe cases and only find out when they are so full of scars they cannot conceive a child...
  I finally got a diagnosis after about 6 years of doctor visits.  I went in for the laperoscopy (the only definitive way to get a diagnosis) and they "lasered" off the scar tissue strangling my colon and burned off the tumors/implants/lesions --whatever you'd like to call them, that were covering the insides they could reach.  Like most women, they were back in short order and growing and spreading again.
  I was told I'd need to be on Lupron (a no bull-shit drug also used for cancer with bad side effects, some permanent).  When I refused, they said I should try Depo-provera since it was just a lower dose.
I tried different natural treatments and was finally so miserable I opted to try the Depo thinking that maybe if I could tolerate that I'd move on to Lupron. 
  I took one dose, and lost a ton of my hair, among a host of other nasty side effects.  Now, me and hormonal treatments have never got along.  I understand there are many who like Depo--I am not one of them! I never got another shot and resumed my search for a cure or something to alleviate my pain without the side effects.
  I started going vegan for inflammation.  I went to aryuvedic doctors. I had acupuncture.  I eventually came up with a routine of exercise, yoga, sauna for detox and a barage of herbs: yerba mate for allergies and fatigue, pao de arco for fungus, chasteberry for too much estrogen, maratime pine bark for pain mitigation.  On my period I had to still resort to the prescription opiates, plus ibuprofen and a combo of cramp bark and valerian root. I did rituals to rid myself of disease.  I prayed alot. I still barely got by.  I found all these herbs that helped, but they just covered up the symptoms, took the volume down a bit, the same way western drugs had (at least they didn't have the nasty side effects...)
  Funny thing about endometriosis, it comes with ALOT of complications and it tends to cascade and cause other things like thyroid troubles, cancer, allergies etc.
  Many years a later I accidentally went gluten free for a couple of days after a trip to the asian market for rice-goodies.  I felt great for a change.  I examined what I'd was gluten.  I'd seen online others with endo felt better after being GF, and I thought I'd tried it before.  But I didn't know at the time how many things gluten was hiding in.  Who knew most soy sauce had it??  I now check labels religiously. After a year of being gluten free, I now only have a twinge of pain from time to time.  Periods can still be a little bad, but only 1 month out of six requires a prescription.  It's pretty damned much cured.
  Also my stomach pain is gone, my gas, bloating, joint pain, the numbness going down both arms and an improvement in allergies.  I can eat meat again ( kinda feel like I have to since going gluten free leaves one with little options at times).  I still watch dairy as it bothers my sinuses.  Does this sound crazy yet??  With all of those problems I think it is easy to label someone as a hypochondriac (the word my dear mother was actually looking for when she threw out "crazy").  Having a gluten intolerance also causes those things.
  Is going gluten free the only thing I have changed to keep my health in check? No, but it is 80% of my recovery as far as I can tell.  I have breast-fed my son long-term now, so I cannot be certain how I will fair when my estrogen is no longer kept in check.  In his first year of life my endo returned with a vengeance as soon as periods returned.  It was not until I cut gluten that I began to improve.  It took a year to get feeling back in my left arm/hand. If I get a "dose" of gluten my numbness returns.  My various health complaints on gluten could fill a book I imagine...
  The woman whose blog I follow still hasn't found her panacea, but for me, it seems largely due to cutting out gluten.  Did I do other stuff in the years-long journey, yes! Am I still trying other stuff to feel even better--hell yes!
   I think that a cure can be different for every woman.  It is whatever is causing her particular imbalance (possibly more than one thing!).  It is a daunting task to try to figure it out on your own.  One that is nearly impossible, I think, without providence.  But that doesn't mean it is impossible.  Remember we are talking about a supposedly incurable disease that I (and many others) have all but cured, or eradicated using natural means.  The blog I am speaking of "" was recently hacked and someone posted all over it about how she is crazy and should just take Lupron.
  It's not crazy.  When something doesn't work we simply take our own life, our own health, into our own hands.  The alternative is to lay down and die, or watch yourself get progressively worse,which is the same thing.  This disease attacks younger and younger ages.  Even as early as teens.  That is a sad time to have your enjoyment of life, your actual life, over. I had symptoms as long as I can remember that got progressively worse, since age 11.
  I don't see lying down and giving up as an option. And it is not crazy to take control of your own life, even if it looks strange to others.  For any other women out there suffering, don't give up hope, and don't worry if you look crazy, your health is so much more important than all that...
love and light,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Move, Underground? Views on Polytheism...

  We moved last weekend, and are making some headway on unpacking.  My parents were, as usual, indispensable.  No one else is as hard-working or as loyal as they are, I really don't know how we can ever repay them.
  The neighbors stopped by, they are apparently Evangelicals and are just across the fence here.  You might call me prejudiced but I am a little leery of some possible bad interactions with them.  They are very friendly people, brought cookies and tools to help us fix the facet (apparently when you move it is the neighbor's job to come bring you food and introduce themselves etc.  in big cities people often times won't do this..  Good thing my mom is here to tell me that stuff!).   I grew up in a small town, and being a different religion was not received well.  If we make enemies of our neighbors we could make things very difficult for ourselves for a very very long time, if not permanently.  We now face the dilemma of whether or not to go underground or semi-underground.
  To top it all off, getting a rep as a witch and thus part of Satan's Army would affect my business prospects as I try to open up a studio in the area (an up-hill battle here anyway, with yoga also having a reputation for being associated with Hinduism and thus, at odds with Christianity--which by the way, it is not--I can go into this more another time).
  At best, I could say we are agnostic, but that may only get us proselytized to, which I will not tolerate.  UU churches, which I will go to on occasion, are seen about as badly! I am amazed at the bad reputation they have among the general Christian population.  I don't feel I can argue much with a church that is all-encompassing, accepting, supportive of their community, and believes that you should do good to your fellow man because they deserve it, and not because you will go to hell if you don't.
  The only churches my son will go to would be Orthodox church with his Grandparents, or the UU church.  And when he gets home from Orthodox church, there will be a big talk before and after.  He will need to learn to take the teachings with a big grain of salt.  While it is fine for him to learn about Jesus, I don't want him to think that he will go to hell if he also celebrates Samhain with us... you get the picture. Most witches I know believe that Jesus was probably a powerful Magus.  He is definitely a deity in his own right, and we see nothing wrong with him in general. It is when Christians won't let us worship the divine in a way that is personally meaningful to us, that we find fault, not with Jesus, but with the way the faith is pushed upon it's "flock".  If the leaders of the churches stopped the closed-minded preachings, their people would change too.
 Back to the point:  to underground or not to underground? It doesn't seem like a real choice at this point. Keep in mind, my decision would not just affect me, but my children and husband as well. But how underground? Perhaps just avoiding the topic will do it for us...
By the way, I feel I should amend an earlier post about Paganism and community.  I was not saying that being out of the broom closet is for everyone and for all circumstances.  I truly believe it is not.  While it would be great if everyone could practice their own faith without persecution, it is not possible yet.  If you live in a big city, you will be fine for the most part, but small towns or country, or even if you are a teen in your parents house (or many other circumstances) warrant caution even in this day and age.  Not all of us wish to be pagan martyrs.  I know some who have done this in smaller towns, and had windows smashed out, unable to get a bank account, or had their small business run out of town.  Their kids also payed the price.  I do not feel ready to have my family pay the consequences for my faith.  Wicca was underground a long, long time, and it is not ready for mainstream in smaller communities just yet.  Who knows, maybe in 20 years? I can hope!
  I really believe that each of us worship a higher being that is more or less the same, but we are individuals and as individuals see that deity in different ways, whatever way is most beneficial to our soul and our spirituality.  Call me a "soft polytheist" if you will, I think I'm actually more "moderate polytheist" to coin a term.  If I were christian, I would venerate Saints extensively.  To me, it makes more sense to approach the God*dess by her individual parts.  If I am my father's daughter, I'll call him "Dad" not "John", which will "evoke" a different feeling and approach from him.  When his friends call him "John" he probably feels more carefree, or if his hunting buddies call him "red" he might feel in the zone to hunt.  It's probably much more complex than this in reality.  I believe the individual personalities evoked are more individual than they are One, which is why I say I am a "moderate polytheist", not hard, not soft...
 Okay, now that I've been rambling all over the place, my time is out! Until next time..

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

All Hallows Dumb Supper

I'd like to write a post on Samhain, but I don't think I'll go into what it is, or how we celebrate it in specific.  There are plenty of blogs out there, I imagine, that cover that.
  We are just about to move, I am unsure if I will get time to write my October post after the move so I'll need to write it now.  I'm not really sure what to write, however. I'll start with the dumb supper we held a few years back.
Our coven usually holds large gatherings for Yule, so I decided (this was before the move!) to start large gatherings for Samhain as well, arguably, a more appropriate time for our spiritual tradition. 
  This only lasted the one year, because I was pregnant after that, then had our son and was too exhausted by the time the next year rolled around.  My husband was also in the last semester of his school, and we had a newborn! Not the easiest of times for our family..
Anyhow, the idea was to host a dumb supper.  Ideally, it would be at midnight, which would only work for people in the best of circumstances.  I really feel if the dumb supper had been held at midnight, or even after dark, we would've felt much more, it has great potential.  While the dumb supper itself is not part of any Wiccan ritual, it is something that we often do to celebrate the season outside of "circle'.
  A little research will tell you that a dumb supper is eaten backwards, at midnight, a very Ozark-sounding tradition that just warms my witch-heart!  In yoga, we practice Shirsasana (head-stand) not only to bring blood-flow to the brain, but to help get our consciousness used to balancing when the world is upside down.  At Samhain the world is in the process of doing just that.  I think it is a very powerful psychological mechanism to be eating a supper (with the intent of eating with one's deceased relatives), meal backwards, at an unusual and transitional time.
  At a Renaissance festival a few years back I acquired some medieval-style spoon and fork (in bronze), the fork has two tines and the spoon is engraved with a green man.  I was told bronze was probably not the best thing to be eating with all the time...Then the same year I hosted the dumb supper I found their use.  There seemed nothing more appropriate than to set the seat for the deceased with those gorgeous bronze-ware that should not be used by living human hands.  I could imagine a "dumb" seat set for each person deceased that year, but we also wanted to include deceased from previous years, so we set one place and had each person who had lost someone take something from the potluck that they thought their relative would've enjoyed and load up the plate.  We set up two black candles at the table spot and those who had lost someone recently or that year, set at the main table, there was also a pet-plate for pets who had passed away, under the table.
  Then we ate our apple-crisp first, put on some low, mellow music, ate in silence, opening ourselves to the season and to our deceased relatives.
  I would imagine that this scene might seem disturbing to the vast majority here in America.  If any of that vast majority has managed to read this far I applaud them...Please understand, that for the Wicca, ghosts are not necessarily creepy.  They are simply a manifestation of those we lost. What if your Grandmother died, but you could still be with her, speak with her, have supper with her, if only for one night? I cannot tell you if the superstition on speaking with the deceased is "bad" for them or keeps them tied here, or even if that is a bad thing.  If it is a bad thing, Samhain is the perfect time to reconnect with them without any perceived cost.  The gates of Death are already open, then they should be able to step out, then step back without repercussion on that day.
  Now to be honest, Halloween is not the only night that this can happen, or the only night where it is seasonally appropriate.  The Scandinavians felt that Midwinter was even more appropriate,and I have to say some hard winters here, when the snow is blowing and the temperatures arctic-low, I can see where they are coming from.  The gates of death must be yawning at that time, open-wide to take in those creatures who cannot withstand the hard winter.
  Ghosts can appear at any time, especially strong right after death, or other powerful astrological events etc.  but I find it comforting to have a day, a specific Wiccan Holiday, in which the dead are honored, remembered, and supped with.
Perhaps next time I'll write on holiday timing, if I remember!
Merry Samhain everyone!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bad Witch, Bad

So we've been here for several months now, and I just got around to warding my child's bedroom.  I know, I know, that should've been one of the first things that I did, but as formula follows form, it takes me awhile to get around to some things.  These next two moves have and will be particularly harrowing for me. While I've moved many many times over the years, I've never moved with a toddler before.  It is particularly exhausting for me.
  Usually I sage the place out before we even move in.  This time was different.  Try taking the sage bundle out (that your mother- in -law thought was a massive Dooby) and chanting, while going about your husband's late Grandmother's house.  It just wasn't going to happen.  While I am out of the broom closet to my family, I only bring it up in special circumstances and carefully, they don't see me practice--ever.  I am after all, going to hell, and bringing out something even as innocuous as a sage bundle simply reminds them and brings up the whole mess again.
  Back to my point though.
My son has been having nightmares, I can only assume.  Since we've been here he's been waking up screaming.  I figured he was unsettled by the move.
  One night, a few weeks ago, he awakes wailing. I run up the stairs and find him staring, wide-eyed, at the "attic" door. Now, this place is a 1 and 1/2 story, there's no real attic, but there are  three doors in his bedroom.  One leads to a little dwarf-sized door that he plays in and has been cleaned out.  The other houses century old bed frames, clothes and other items to be stored, from my husband's grandparents.  The place is so crowded it is impassible, and we are not to move the things in there.  We sort of live around all their old stuff, our stuff is just in the way...
  I conclude that something is living in the storage/attic space.  No, not a racoon, something else.  I really have no idea what, I've never seen it, or even heard it, but even getting close to that door bothers me in a way I can't explain.
  My first Wiccan teacher once told me if you invite and maintain relationships with healthy nature spirits etc. in your home, there will be no room for the nasties, they will chase the nasties out.  In our case, we can't even get in there.  So what is a concerned Mommy-witch to do?
  I sealed the door and did an LBRP for good measure.
That night as I crawled, dead-tired, back into bed, my also magickally-inclined husband says to me "you know honey, that room always used to scare me when I was little, I thought I could hear or see something in there, both the little door and the attic door."
Why didn't he tell me earlier??? Wouldn't you think that was important? Especially after weeks of torment. I am sure he didn't remember until just then.  Really though, the lesson here, is purify first and ward asap...maybe next move!
  No more nightmares or screaming so far, weeks later.  I did, however, come upstairs one day and find that attic door slightly ajar.  I found this odd, since my son could not have pulled the door open, he wasn't opening doors at the time, and the doorframe was swollen and it was difficult for me to close fully again.
I re-warded it and do so regularly.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Is Traditional Wicca too Masonic/Ceremonial?

Something to mull over for you all.  I am struggling with this as well, and also whether or not I actually should care.
  I'd like to set aside the debate as to whether or not Traditional Wicca actually follows the traditions and Gods/Goddesses of our "original" pagan ancestors. I think I can safely say it does not, and it doesn't take much delving to figure this out.  I'd like you to read some Ronald Hutton, Donald Micheal-Kraig, Aleister Crowley or even some of Doreen Valiente's books if you disagree and then we'll talk more...
  While I strongly feel that there is a magickal current that is Wicca, and that is ancient; the practices, traditions and words we use today would be unrecognizable to our ancestors.  Then again, so would our bathrooms, I-phones, cars, and stoves be confusing as well.  We live in a different world than they did, and our practices need to be different too.
  Our practices evolved as our worlds changed.  They are unique to each country they developed in. Traditional Stregheria from Italy is different from British Traditional Wicca, and rightfully so.  Each place that Wicca grew it had to change to be effective. 
  Due to dire circumstances, Wicca blended with ceremonial magick, from the city.  Our groves were torn down, so we learned to create our own grove in our hearts, by making any space we chose sacred.  While it is unfortunate, it ended up being our saving grace.  During dark times, we have been able to move our sacred space indoors, in a time where we have no land to worship on, and the climate is not always friendly to any faith but Christianity.  This makes our faith highly accessible in a time where most of us live in cities.
 In this blending, I think, we have forgotten much. The importance of worshiping outside, the direct link to our craft ancestors, agricultural lore and calendar etc.
Discovering what we have lost is key to our continued survival.  So we should add things, should we ever consider subtracting?  If we subtract, what do we have left, and what replaces it?
My son is at the end of his self-entertaining.  Just ponder this till next time...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What do Dust Bowls, Moving and Reusing Have In Common?

It's been weeks, so here is some rambling.  Maybe you can make sense of it.
Well, it seems forever since I've posted anything.  Moving, particularly when moving again in short order in some unknown but close period of time, kinda sucks.  But you all probably know that. 
  Our son apparently is having trouble adjusting, and his world is rattled by the new concept that his Daddy, and thus anyone else he likes, can leave him at any time, for weeks or worse.  I am no longer allowed to leave his sight for more than mere seconds at a time.  He may  not be traumatized for life, but he is certainly traumatized right now.  I know this whole ordeal is making me feel traumatized...
    I am trying to bring some sort of normalcy to his life, but global warming is making that difficult.  Sometimes I want to pray for leiniency  from the Goddess, and I usually don't, because I don't think anything short of food shortages or dust bowl, will get anyone to pay attention.  I fear we are getting close to the latter here in the midwest.  I am not sure how much longer these temps can go on with no rain without more dire consequences.  Add that to the fact that people have systematically removed every tiny bit of tree line that was left in the past few years and we have some real dust bowl possibility.  It makes me feel like screaming.
  Getting our boy out in this heat, even in the water, can be too hot.
I  know, your little violin is playing just for us.  I'm not really trying to be dramatic, just writing what I am living and observing.  I'll try to post something more positive in the next few posts to make up for it! Promise!
   I can't think of anything direct to do about the upcoming famine and dust bowl, except to say keep eating your cheese-burgers so you can outlive the skinny-folk, assuming you can find water; BUT, I would like to mention something about recycling while we're on the tree-hugging track.
   Recycling keeps things out the land-fill, but other than that, it is a HUGE waste of resources and creates even more pollution.  Did you know that? I had never thought about it before.  Paper recycling can be a real bad one, as they use bleach to get the paper white again.  Goddess only knows why we can't use hemp that would be easily renewable within a season unlike trees!!! Political/greed/bullshit.  In any case, people used to just reuse things.  Milk was delivered in glass bottles, then picked up, steralized, used again.  This is not as viable now since glass is so heavy to transport, but there are plenty of other things you can re-use.  Those grocery bags are one.  And plastic grocery bags are nasssty.  They get everywhere and clog everything.  Unlike "American Beauty" I cannot find anything spiritual or beautiful about those things.  Give me leaves blowing around any day.  Maybe I am just not enlightend enough.
  What do you re-use? Any thoughts?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bedtime Fits and Moving

Okay, so not a ton to write about and not a lot of time to write it...but, here it goes.
I've decided to make friends with the boxes that share my home with me.  They have their own culture and ambitions and things to do and eventually places to be.  In order to get along I have decided to box and let box, it's the only way...
  Who knows when we will be moving again? It feels pointless to get too wrapped up in the War with the Boxes.  I just wish they would move themselves into corners, or the garage.  They just sit there in the middle of the floor, right in my way, like they're pissed at me or something. I just step around them, there's no sense in causing a fight.
  The kiddo is taking the move fairly well, although now after the ruckus has calmed, his new bedtime has transitioned to10 pm which is NOT going to work. It is yet unclear though, how to get him to bed before this time without screaming, snot-flying fits that still result in the bed time being 10 pm. The only advice I can get is to start a routine, I wish kids were that simple.
 We'll try starting a more elaborate night ritual and see what happens. I'll let you know if it works, but I have to say right now it is hard to see how anything will work until our lives calm down a bit in like 2 years.
Here's to hope'n.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Inner Spirituality and Babies...

So I had this thought today after running a measly mile and then chasing around my toddler all day...that I just had this intense desire for someone to exercise for me.  What if you could hire that out, you know, like hiring someone else to mow your lawn or something?...
  Man am I tired.  Now several weeks of running my household sans husband, and being here all day alone, constantly trying to stay upbeat, while somehow managing to get things done.  My patience is thin, and my exhaustion complete.  I realize that there are military parents out there, single moms/dads, family's with truckers etc. that end up doing this with many more children...and I can't imagine it.
  Why then am I thinking of having another child?  I could be sittin' pretty at 40 years with my one kid and my life would be relatively back to normal.  If I have more that time gets pushed back and pushed back.  But I can't seem to get that animal that makes up my flesh to be convinced that 1 kid is a good idea.  It says to me "your son will be lonely", or "what will Yule look like when he comes home and there's just the 3 of you".  And (perhaps some of you geeks out there will find this amusing) who will he have to play D&D with? Although my husband informs me we would really need to have 2 more to make a good party...
  And honestly I can't tell you for sure that it isn't just that Animal growling to me in the background saying 1 just isn't very good odds for keeping your DNA floating around on this planet.  I feel like I need the answer to that question.  What part of me is yelling "stop!", and what part is saying "go!"? And should that answer change my actions?
  I am on this spiritual path, and each child I have ups the difficulty setting immensely.  My spirituality is very important to me, so this is truly a situation; and yet, I feel very sad to think of having only one child.  I think I have always imagined that if I had any, it would be two.
  People could tell me you can make do with the little things, but try getting into a deep meditative state, when you have a newborn that could need you to rush in at any moment to save his/her life.  And really, when they start bawling, any concentration goes out the window whether it is life/death or not.  I strongly believe women are hardwired  to not be able to stand the sound of crying like that.  If you want proof, I bet many of you have experienced your male better-half snoring soundly beside you while your eyes pop open at the tiniest whimper of your baby.  I dunno, maybe that's just me...
  I know that eventually I would have my 2 kids and get back to my spirituality, but having seen others through this process before, it is 10 years or so after the final child, that they are really able to delve deep again.  How many years will it take to truly experience the Gods? To experience Enlightenment, and take that with me through most of my days. 
  There is a reason that people have traditionally sequestered themselves when they are Seeking.
The Norse had a concept of meeting your fate with courage, not just dying the good death, but understanding when you are swimming against the current.  I just want to know if I am trying to swim upstream by having another baby...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why We Need Pagan Community

Having spent a lot of time active in the pagan community in the Midwest I can say there are plenty of pagans here.  That being said, they rarely come out of the woodwork to actually get together.  For years I've watched pagan group after group and networking community die from lack of participation, especially at the leadership level.  The same people doing the same jobs year after year, eventually burn out and leave.  Part of the burnout ends up being because not enough people are actually attending group meetings, holiday/sabbats.  If more people come and the leaders see there is a point to all their work, they are willing to work longer and harder.
  It would be easy to say that there simply aren't enough of us to get the job done.  I know for a fact though, that's not true.
  In years of running a pagan group we would get maybe 6 people to show max, with several of those people being those in charge (and thus, having to attend).  However, when bringing in a guest speaker on Hoodoo in one of those years, I suddenly had over 20 individuals. Hoodoo isn't seen much here, people came because they were interested in something new.  I can only assume they were not interested in attending other meetings because they didn't want to be a part of a community, they wanted to be entertained.  They cleared their schedules and made efforts to attend the Hoodoo workshop in a way they did not to create community.
  If you read my last post you may already understand why I think this is a problem. We have a unique situation today in which we could form organized groups to help us connect, to help us form real communities to be there for each other.  Pagans are beginning to do this all over as opportunity exists, if not, they are certainly talking about it, from one coast to the other!
  Why is community important? Can't we get lasting friendships and help outside of our faith? I encourage you to watch the original Wicker Man just for fun.  It will give a little food for thought as to how a real pagan community might function. Please omit in your imaginings the creepy parts of the movie, oh yeah, and the very end too...but I digress a little, back to friendships etc.
  People in a good religious community back each other up on their faith. They allow each other to explore their faith by offering a listening ear and their own veiw points, and help them to raise their kids according to their values.  Pagan values can be a little different than mainstream beliefs.  For instance, if we were to grow our children up in a number of Christian churches, they would be taught that being gay is wrong.  In every pagan creed I've seen, diversity is celebrated and encouraged.  If you want your children to grow up with your beliefs, you can't just tell them about your values, throw them out into the world in Kindergarten, and expect them to fully understand.  They have literally thousands of other beliefs directly contrary to what you're teaching them.  With no community to help you, well, back to raising a barn by yourself.  Doesn't work well.
  When you've been delving into your faith, meditating, doing workings on your own and suddenly, you begin to see strange things, or hear things that aren't there, you could think you are becoming schizophrenic.  Maybe you are, or maybe you are just moving along the pagan path and have acquired the ability to see spirits or hear them.  If you go to a doctor, you will probably end up on some heavy-duty medications with health risks involved.  Without someone else pagan to talk to, lots of someones actually, you are unable to properly assess whether you are going crazy or not.  With help, these same people could help you to use your new abilities to help others, to help yourself, and make sure, they didn't drive you insane. 
  Perhaps you're not interested in any of that meditation crap.  Maybe you just like wildcrafting and learning about the healing abilities of herbs.  How much more quickly and effectively could you learn from others who have already walked the same path 30 years before?
  How about getting together and pooling money for small business loans, childcare, scholarships, outside meeting places?  Christian churches do all of these things and more.  Why shouldn't we? Why should we, because we are pagan and not church attendees, be left out of all of these really important things?  Guess what? They have those because they are willing to make a commitment to their community.  Maybe they're not very interested in the sermons each week, but they make an effort to go to church when they can, they pool money when they can, and they make connections with each other there.
  A friend of mine has told me his thoughts on the pagan lack of community.  He feels that pagans have had to ostracize themselves from society in order to be pagan in the first place.  They are not Christian, and not mainstream, so they have steeled themselves against friendships and connectedness with others.  That is what they have had to do.  But you know what? Paganism is growing up, and the United States more religiously diverse.  We don't have to exist alone anymore.  We do take risks by being openly pagan.  But isolating ourselves isn't helping.  Perhaps it is time for the pagans, heathens and witches to go mainstream.  Attend Pagan Pride, seek out your local pagan groups or create one. Take risks, live dangerously, so that we can all truly live.
Thanks for listening,

Monday, May 7, 2012

Raising a Barn by Yourself (er wait...a baby)

     As I sit here typing this, my young son is just getting up from a nap.  I have a few precious minutes to myself.  (I know, I know, I am supposed to cherish every second of his youth but guess what? That's just not realistic.  We cannot live in constant child-rearing bliss despite what parents of older children will tell you...)
I just finished reading a book on Amish barns.  The Amish apparently don't put lightening rods on their barns because it shows lack of faith in God.  Actually, I think it would show them lack of faith in their community.  If a barn comes down due to lightning etc. The community will come and simply raise a new one.  It usually only takes a day, and their community comes out of the country side up to a 1,000 strong.
  With all our modern conveniences we don't need to rely as heavily on our community, and yet, what has this afforded us? We've all drifted apart and no longer have the ties necessary to get jobs like raising kids done right.
   I spend day after day doing what I feel is the right thing, staying home and raising my kid, because someone has to do it, and I feel I am the best qualified since he is, after all, my own.  But to do this, I live in relative isolation.  I won't yet delve into what this means for us a society that we don't allow our homes and public places to be accessible to small children, or why we don't seem to value community anymore...
  The fact is we've spent the vast amount of our evolution with our tribe around us. Even if I had his Grandmother at hand all the time to help out, it cannot compare to what we are hardwired to expect and hardwired to need--a thousand people to come help build a barn in a day.  Is it too much to ask that we have a couple of children and somehow manage to have a life also? I don't think it is.  Only recently have we had to give up so much of our lives to rearing that little Joy-bundle.  Don't get me wrong, I love my boy more than I can say, but we could all stand to do more living and less running ragged....