2013

Happy New Year everyone and be safe out there!

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Words, Words, Words…

I really like the word “majik.”

I mean, I like the aesthetic of those letters in that order.  It feels mysterious, like something transliterated from an exotic Arabian dialect.

I don’t, however, have any idea what it’s supposed to mean.

People tell me it’s supposed to have something to do with using occult/psychic forces to achieve concrete effects – but we already have a word for that, “magic.”

“Magick” at least makes some sense if one is into numerology (the 6, 11 thing), or referring to Aleister Crowley, Thelema, or the kind of art they practice.  “Majik” has no real use that I can think of.

In the old days I would have referred to myself as a “grammar nazi”, before it was pointed out to me that this trivializes the atrocities committed by actual Nazi nazis.  So, since I’m not planning on invading grammar-Poland or murdering millions of grammar-innocents, I’ll just say I’m a stickler for language.

Ironic, I know, since my grammar and spelling are hardly perfect.  I am a frequent user of neologisms and Whedon-speak.  But I’m not talking about honest mistakes or even playing with language for amusement.

What bothers me is sacrificing clear communication in favor of pretentiousness or political statement.

Back in the 80’s (I don’t know if this is still happening, but I sincerely hope not) there was a movement within feminism to remove the sexism from language by experimenting with alternate spellings, etc.  We could no longer be called “women” because that word was derived from “men.”  (I don’t know how correct that etymology is, this is just how it was explained to me at the time.)  We were now “wimmin” or “womyn” or what not.

Now, there is sexism inherent it language.  I’m all for pointing it out and making changes when possible.  Referring to a female writer as an “authoress” instead of simply an “author” makes her gender an issue where it shouldn’t be.  It is too easily understood as saying “she’s as much of a writer as a mere woman can expect to be.”  Simply using the term “author” remains within the realm of clear communication, and takes the sexual politics out of the equation.

Similarly, referring to the person who delivers one’s mail as a “mailman” could imply that only men are qualified to do the job.  The gender neutral “mail carrier” makes perfect sense to me.  But if you insist on calling that person a “postal carrier” because “mail” sounds like “male,”  I have an issue with you.  Choose your battles, sisters.

I’ve come to a point in my life that when I see the word “wimmin” I think “superficial feminist”.  When I see the word “majik” (after my initial “ooo pretty”) I think “superficial pagan.”  This may be an unfair bias on my part, but I really don’t think the people using these words are doing themselves any favors if they want to be taken seriously.

Why I Celebrate Christmas

christmas 2007

Aubs at Mystical Bewilderment made an interesting post recently about pagans and polytheists attitudes towards Christmas.  I touched on the following briefly in the comments to that post, but I wanted to elaborate here.

I had a great time celebrating Christmas this year. It was the first Christmas I got to spend with my mother in over 20 years, and she really enjoyed how much we were all getting into it.

So, part of the reason I celebrate is because Christmas is fun and it makes the people I love happy. And though, while I was growing up, my mother never let us forget that Christmas was about Christ first and foremost, our family’s celebrations were never overtly religious.  She’s the quiet sort of Christian.  We did all the secular stuff – tree, lights, cookies, presents, dinner, more cookies – but we never went to church.cookies The closest we ever came to actual religion on Christmas was one small nativity scene (a gift from my paternal grandmother who was afraid for me being raised by “heathens”) and some of our favorite carols. So, like Aubs, I don’t come with the religious hang ups many people have about the holiday.

For the last few years prior to this one, I’ve been feeling a strong desire to celebrate Christmas.

Not in spite of my religious beliefs, but because of them.  This is not from some misguided idea that Christmas is “really” a pagan holiday and should be reclaimed in the name of the Goddess – or whatever.  Rather, it has to do with my feeling of obligation to my community and a henotheistic, pluralist view of deity.

It started about the time I began looking towards the Ancient Greeks as an inspiration for my practice.  One of the reasons I’m skeptical about reconstructionism is that many of the ancient polytheistic faiths, and certainly that of ancient Greece, were religions of the polis.  The whole city was involved in each festival, every citizen was obligated to play their part.  With the exception of the few household practices that we know about, this does not translate well to a few thousand practitioners spread all across the globe.

But my physical community does have one holiday a year that a large percentage of the population participates in.  Even many who aren’t Christian partake in the festivities.  Living in Arizona, when most of my neighbors were immigrants from Catholic countries and I was spending a lot of time socializing with an – also largely Catholic – Irish community it seemed only natural to join with them in their celebration by attending midnight mass on Christmas eve.  This year, back home in California, watching the lights go up all over the neighborhood I felt as though I was neglecting some sort of communal obligation until I put mine up.

Many ancient polytheists were pluralistic, to varying degrees.  It was OK to honor the Gods of one’s neighbors as long as one did not neglect a duty towards one’s own Gods.  I personally believe that more Gods exist than those I worship, and it’s never a bad idea to be on a deity’s good side.  So, unless expressly forbidden, I see no harm in singing an occasional hymn to the Christ Child.

Even less harm in decorating a tree and seeing my mother’s smile when we light it up.

Well, I’m Back… I think

Olympian moon

Olympian moon (Photo credit: Greg Gladman)

It’s crazy here right now. Literally crazy – but I seem to have adjusted well to the medication. And figuratively crazy – the holidays, the job search, the landlord expecting rent money… But I think I’m back to a place where I can start writing again relatively regularly.

I’ve signed on for the Pagan Blog Project for 2013 and am excited to be able to start from the beginning. I’ve got the first several weeks worth of topics pinned down. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Some New Year’s resolutions: Though I make no claims to being a reconstructionist, I’ve been wanting to add more practice to my practice. So I’ve made myself a copy of the Hellenion calendar and have promised myself I will start making monthly libations to the Olympians using their schedule. I’ve also committed myself to making monthly offerings to the Agathos Daimon (my first 2013 PBP topic) and a few other practice related things. Will keep y’all updated here as to how that all goes.

More details on the VT custody case. I realise this is one side of a complex story. The Gods know the truth of it. I pray that Their justice prevails.

Son of Hel

So, I’ve been told I can actually post the names of those involved in our journey.

These our our foes.

I suppose I will start off with the boy’s father: Paul Vallerand. As mentioned the lawyer, hired by his parents (for the illegal resistance to a lawful order to terminate temporary custody), attacked mine and R’s religion as a reason to be unsuitable for the care taking of her son. Well, Paul was the one who introduced R to Paganism. In fact, he was something of a priest at the time they met. Not to mention that he engaged in the art of exorcism with R supporting him, and according to R potentially made several pacts with high level demons and devils. He has since become “Christian” and while swearing (as reported to us by the “best friend”) had no idea the Lawyer was going to use religion to…

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A terrible story everyone should be aware of. Religious freedom apparantly doesn’t apply to minority religions in Vermont.

Son of Hel

I’m gonna start us off with a song.

Epic adventures in stories are something we all enjoy. We dream of living them. Sometimes we get to. The last three days were such a journey.

But such journeys are often marked by tragedy, and ours was as well.

My girlfriend, business partner, and love, R has a son. When she come to live with me, she left him behind because it was supposed to be a temporary stay, that became the effort to bring a new life. As soon as it looked as if she would be putting down roots, she wanted her son back. But her son’s father, and his father’s parents, did seek to deny the return of her son, though by law he should have been as it was a temporary guardianship that could be terminated at any time.

Last Tuesday, the Day of Tyr, we set off…

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