Well, I’m finally getting more or less accustomed to the new system on the new computer. Still a lot to get used to, and I’m afraid it is slowing me down.
Well, I’m finally getting more or less accustomed to the new system on the new computer. Still a lot to get used to, and I’m afraid it is slowing me down.
The Pagan community is going through a period of upheaval around the issue of sexual predators in the community. It's not an easy topic and as the shock of recent events falls away, we're left with a question of, "What do we now?" In a recent discussion on Pagan Musings Podcast, I suggested that one action the community could take involves documenting situations where non-consensual sexual activities have been reported. In such cases, it can devolve into a he said, she said scenario, with neither side able to conclusively prove what happened. When this occurs, its important to have a process in place that protects everyone, while still allowing for the possibility that the offending person made a mistake, as opposed to consciously doing something offensive. By documenting such situations, it makes it easier to track what is happen and do something about it before it blows up into an even more harmful situation than it may already be. Actually, this process of documentation can apply to any type of infraction that occurs at a pagan convention or festival, but it does require that people organizing the event be willing to take on the task of documenting whatever has occurred, keeping it in a database, and also sharing it with other organizers and leaders in the community. This may seem like a lot to take on, but I think it would also help to cut down on behavior that is harming members of the community.
Recently I was reading Romancing the Brand, which is a book about marketing. However, there's an interesting rule in marketing and customer service: The rule of 3. The way the rule of 3 works is if you hear about an issue, person, problem, etc. from 3 different sources, then you take it seriously because it means there's a problem. If we were to apply this rule of 3 to our community, through documentation and through the understanding that an issue shouldn't be buried or ignored if it continues to happen, what this would allow us to do is effectively monitor situations before they got out of hand. The rule of 3 provides enough verifiable information that we can't continue to put our heads in the sand and ignore what's happening. The rule of 3 also establishes that a pattern of behavior is happening and not being changed, even though concerns have been expressed.
The rule of 3 can allow our community to proactively address problematic issues by showing a pattern of behavior that needs to be addressed in a manner that protects the community over the offender. At the same time, the rule of 3 provides a person a chance (2 actually) to change their behavior, to address the problem...which sometimes is possible to do. Sometimes a person makes a mistake or has a realization that causes them to conclusively change their lives and actions. The rule of 3 allows for that without tolerating continuing behavior that harms people....
what are we leaping towards
what wants to push up from cold ground
what wants to open to the sun
what is it that we need to know
Trees are wisdom keepers. They stand in a single place on the earth’s surface and faithfully witness the unfolding of time. Like people, trees observe their surroundings, root where welcomed, reach toward nourishment, and hold close where limited. They form scar tissue when wounded and can adapt to change. Examining the lives of trees offers critical insights for human wellbeing and survival, showing us when life thrives and falters.
“Witness tree” is an expression used for trees that mark boundaries, act as signposts and directionals, or witness key events in history and local culture – celebratory and tragic. Trees also witness the in-between moments that are precious and informative in their own right. Through this collaborative witnessing of trees and people, we hope to foster a world that is richer and more sustainable for both.
My dear friends Rebecca Power, John Steines, and I partnered over a year ago to create Witness Tree, an art exhibit at Commonwealth Gallery in Madison, WI – with the two of them as artists (along with many others they invited) and me serving as facilitator of group activities and community conversations. The above is our statement of purpose, and below is a picture of our world tree gallery where we gathered for circles of story, poetry, meditation, conversation, and leaf-making.
More recently Rebecca and John joined with other tree-minded artists in a fabulous follow up Tree of Life art exhibit at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, WI. Again, my role was to support the artists by facilitating a community conversation at the gallery to draw people into a more intentional experience of the Tree of Life exhibit. To kick of the conversation, we guided participants to reflect on their experience of the art and then to share in single words on slips of paper how the art inspired their personal connection with trees and the Tree of Life as metaphor for the connectivity of all living things.
We then collected the words to create a word cloud as a collective representation of everyone’s experience of the Tree of Life art. Perhaps you can imagine the diversity of art in the exhibit through this “reverse experience” of viewing the visitor’s words rather than the works of art themselves.
As you view the trees in your home place over the next days and weeks, you might collect your own words of response and create a word cloud as an alternative, or in addition, to a journal. You can create your own word cloud with the tree or other shapes at http://www.tagxedo.com/
In alliance with the trees,
Credits: Thanks to Math Heinzel for the Witness Tree panorama, Amy Fenn for creating the word cloud, and the many others who contributed to the art exhibits and associated programming.
I heard an interesting story on NPR about women and investing the other day. The points which jumped out at me were:
More than a decade into the 21st century, we haven't reached gender parity in how we relate to money. How much of that difference is cultural and how much is biological isn't clear to me, but differences there certainly are.
Whatever the reasons, each of us have different strengths. Gender is one way to describe those differences, but what's important is to recognize that we can support one another in saving for the future (which can include investing). Some of the ways I have touched upon in the past, such as Pagan investment clubs and community savings groups are more likely to be successful the old-fashioned way, face to face. Groups of people working together can shore up weaknesses and amplify strengths....
One of the best movies ever made: 1980's "Resurrection" with Ellen Burstyn, Sam Shepard, Richard Farnsworth and Eva Le Gallienne. I saw it when it was first released, and it is just as beautiful and inspiring, and the ensemble acting performances are just as extraordinary, today. After many years not being able to find it at all, you can now finally purchase it on DVD and download it on the Internet. (But for best picture and sound quality, I recommend the DVD released in 2010 by Universal Pictures' Vault Series.) http://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Ellen-Burstyn/dp/B0033PSHDG/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1396846309&sr=1-1&keywords=ellen+burstyn+resurrection
The pivotal woman who first gave us the story of ancient Goddess worship in a peaceful world that predated the masculine war societies of the Indo-Europeans by thousands of years: "Signs Out of Time - the story of archeologist Marija Gimbutas." A documentary by Donna Read and Starhawk, with narration by Olympia Dukakis. Colleagues of Dr. Gimbutas have attacked her vision as being too personal - wishful thinking that is lacking in scientific proof; and, in fairness, some time is given to a couple of those detractors - one of whom gently chides her for thinking "that she had a direct line" to the ancient knowledge. But when you hear the full account of this amazing woman's credentials and impeccably exhaustive research, you will very likely suspect with me that her detractors are wrong - and her direct line was real. http://www.belili.org/marija/aboutSIGNS.html...
Lover, tell me if you can/ Who's gonna buy the wedding bands/ Times being what they are/ hard and getting harder all the time. . .
I. Christmas Prepping: Like Apocolypse Prep but Way Less Fun
Right before Christmas, I can never sleep. It's like my body knows how close it is to the Solstice and wants to be awake for the return of the light. I try to console myself -- with food, with intoxicants, with television. My house was a mess, the boughs that I have in mason jars are dying and my house is undecorated....
One of the things I love about working with Kris Waldherr's Goddess Inspiration Oracle is that she includes Goddesses from many cultures, including nonWestern and indigenous ones. This deck has really expanded my awareness of different Goddesses, and I always smile when one I haven't pulled before comes up. (And though I've been working with the cards for nearly three years, I still have new ones come up!)
So I smiled when Benzai-ten, Japanese Goddess of Talents, came into my life for this week. And I chuckled when I saw her message, which is
"Your talents can bring you wealth....
I'm sure most everyone in the Pagan community that pays attention to media issues is aware of the situation concerning the arrest of Kenny Klein and the subsequent fallout in the community and elsewhere. I'm not going into it, and it is not on my agenda to do so. Everything that has been, or can be said is being communicated in a better way than I could on the subject.
I recently asked several of the musicians and artists that I play on my show to tell me some things about themselves that most people don't know about them. I intend to do this as am ongoing feature of the blog.
My first responder was Lindie Lila. Lila was a finalist in The Magick Jukebox's 30 best Pagan Albums project, coming in at #4 with Return of the Goddess. Her music is hauntingly beautiful and genuinely comes from the heart.
I have known some people in my life that seem to ooze beauty and love from every pore. Lila is one of those people. She genuinely cares for everyone and has a spiritual connection with everyone she meets, human and otherwise....
This strange little Goddess found on an altar in the early Minoan village of Myrtos Fournou-Korifi, which was inhabited in the third millennium BCE. She is a pitcher Goddess holding a pitcher. Liquid can be poured on an altar from the jug she holds in her snakelike arms.
The long neck of the Goddess puzzled me until I saw turtles stretching their necks in the pools at the archaeological site of Kato Zakros in Crete. When one of the women on the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete suggested that the Goddess of Myrtos could be a Turtle Goddess, I immediately nodded my head.
The little turtles that are found in Greece in ponds and spring sources are incredibly curious: they swim over to “greet” visitors with their heads out of the water, pause to stare, and then as if to say “I’m scared now,” duck quickly back down into the water, only to emerge again.
Did I ever tell you about the time I saw the fairies in Ireland?
Now, I'm not one of those that “sees” things left and right. Oh, I've had my share of visionary experiences over the years, to be sure, most of them that momentary irruption of an image so vividly unexpected as to be of nearly visual impact, and no less transformative for all that. If I talk about such experiences at all, it's generally in a poem. This is intimate stuff, not to be touched upon lightly.
And then there's the time I saw the fairies in Ireland.
This past week I have had to hold my tongue. Sometimes it felt like I was holding my tongue so hard all I could taste was blood....
If you’re one of those Pagans who socialize on the Web, you’re no doubt aware of the current shitstorm in the wake of the arrest of prominent Pagan musician Kenny Klein for possession and distribution of child pornography.
The way I see it, this occurrence has brought out the best and the worst conduct on the part of Pagans.
Among the worst are (1) screaming for his head; (2) protesting in his defense because there’s been no adjudication yet, just an arrest; (3) dredging up all manner of rumor, founded and unfounded, from the past; and (4) untenable ad hominem attacks on other prominent Pagans....
Have you ever been the only person to show up to an event early? Your just standing in a big empty space wondering if maybe you got the day wrong, while you check your phone again to see if anyone else is on their way. Well that is what writing this introductory blog post sorta feels like, the only difference is my empty room is virtual and I am pretty sure there is an echo in here.
But like any empty space it will eventually fill up, others will come and conversations will begin. Well as long as it really wasn’t the wrong day, that would just be awkward. Lucky for me blog posts are fleeting and don't stick around long, so if no one comes to join my empty space I wont know because I will have already moved on to the next post.
“Gold lion’s going to tell me where the light is…” Yeah Yeah Yeahs
"The Delphic priestess in historical times chewed a laurel leaf, but when she was a Bee surely she must have sought her inspiration in the honeycomb." Jane Ellen Harrison...
(For anyone who might be wondering, yes, this is a rant. However, it is not aimed at any one specific person; it is more about a general trend I have been witnessing. Accordingly, the examples given below have all been either doctored or entirely made up, and I am not calling anyone out; names have been withheld to protect the guilty.)
A couple of years back, overwhelmed by the depth and range of talent I saw around me in the pagan community, I made a resolution to myself: that I would support my fellow pagan artisans whenever possible by commissioning spiritual items directly from them, rather than going outside of the community or attempting to make everything myself. Yes, there are a number of different crafts and art forms I am passingly good at, and others I could probably learn, but why take time away from my fiber arts to produce something fair to middling for myself in oils, or clay, or metal (or herbal salves, for that matter) when I could pay someone with more skill to produce something amazing? After all, the only way any of us are going to make it in our respective highly competitive fields is if we support each other in some way, and the most immediately useful way we can do that is with our pocketbooks.
For the most part, this arrangement has worked out pretty well. But on those occasions when it fails, it seems to fail spectacularly, and to do so for reasons I would not even have believed possible if you had warned me about them beforehand. As a part-time customer service representative by day, in addition to being an artisan myself, customer care matters to me and I am seeing it ignored or shoved aside in favor of the artisan’s own urges in too many cases. This is not good business practice, because without your customers, you don’t have a business. Sadly, many artists (and pagan ones in particular, for some reason) tend to be self-centered and to consider their customers rarely, if at all; this is one reason why many artistic start-up businesses fail. And so, this brief list of integrity guidelines is designed not only as a public service announcement of sorts to my fellow artisans, but also as a list of reminders for myself to adhere to, and lastly as a courtesy for the general pagan consumer public: caveat emptor, as they say (let the buyer beware).
There's a saying one hears (with variations) in Old Craft circles: Words are seeds. A word is a seed. Every word's a seed.
Old Craft is big into hiding in plain sight. Back when, you wouldn't be hanging a woodcut of the Old Buck on the wall, now would you, not even if you had one. So when it's time to be Doing and He's not to be there in his own self, so to speak, what do you do? Well, you take down that old wooden hayfork hanging there on the wall in the barn and you stand it to the north for the dancing and all. And next day after the doing's done, there's old hayfork hanging on wall again and none to know but them as do.
Never mind the pentagram big enough to crucify a toad on. One of the powers of the witch is the power to hide in plain sight.