Blank Page (Post-Hidey Ramblings)

I’ve been staring at the screen for a few minutes, listening to my Samhain playlist, and wondering what I should write about. There’s plenty of dust ups and politics that I could write about, but I feel like I’ve said all I really need to say about things. I mean, how many times can I write some version of “don’t be shitty to people”? On the Internets it feels (to me anyway) like banging one’s head against a brick wall. Or shouting in an echo chamber.

Facebook has been really bad for that. That’s a big part of the reason that I’ve been taking a Facebook sabbatical. It’s not that don’t care about any of the issues that people talk about, far from it, but there’s only so much I can take before the depression sets in. Which it did for a couple of weeks, as I kind of “disappeared” while the Olympics were happening. (Here’s a good video about this and why those of us with depression and anxiety do it.) Although, spraining my hand also forced me to stay off the computer since typing was hard (although, I did get practice with Google Dictation in Google Docs).

What I’m realizing, though, is that the most stable and happy I’ve been (and the wife confirms this) is when I maintain a somewhat strict monastic schedule. Get up early, meditate for 20 minutes, take care of altar, pull cards, then get dressed, have breakfast, and go about my day. At night I clean up the altar from the morning and meditate or ground, depending on how tired I am when I get to it. This schedule works, along with my swim training, and I’m finally getting back to it.

It makes me wonder why people tend to think that a monastic life isn’t a legitimate form of work, particularly when it comes to social justice. I get that “prayers aren’t enough” but there are some of us that, for whatever reason, just can’t do all the activism that some activists think that everyone should be doing.

Then again, most of my ministry really stems more from being an example of radical inclusion. I hope that most of the time people can feel included in my home or at any public event that I help to run. I’m far from perfect and I know that some people don’t really subscribe to my ideas of inclusion or even my theology. I don’t always get it right, and I don’t need a cookie for my work. But it’s how I roll.

I pray for the Dead and the Ancestors every day.
I pray for all those who need a light in the darkness every day.
Some days I do more.
Some days prayer is all I’ve got.
I try to be as inclusive in my being as I can.
I hope I get it right more than I get it wrong.
So mote it be.

Owie (I sprained my hand.)

So I sprained my left hand slightly around 4th of July. I thought it was getting better but I recently made it much worse. Now it’s all wrapped up so I can’t type for a couple weeks. I am dictating this through Google dictation, which works really well, but takes a bit of practice.

I will not be doing blog posts or much typing in the next couple weeks. Just be aware that I will be dictating a lot or using a handwriting keyboard on my phone so it might be a bit slow to get texts/emails back from me.

I guess the gods really do want me to take this month off!

Don’t want to vote for President? Ok, but PLEASE STILL VOTE! Here’s the reasons why:

1. THE ENTIRE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, all 435 seats, are up for re-election.
2. 34 SENATE SEATS are up for re-election.
3. 12 STATES are electing new governors: Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, (my home state of) New Hampshire, North Carolina (the infamous “bathroom bill” state), Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virgina.
4. EVERY STATE has state elections: 42 out of 50 state senates are holding elections, and 44 out of 49 state houses are holding elections.
5. EVERY CITY will have city elections. You should learn who’s up for election in your town.

What I want to make clear here is that YOU DON’T HAVE TO VOTE FOR EVERYTHING ON A BALLOT!! Not voting in a section of your ballot DOES NOT invalidate it.

IF YOU DON’T WANT TO VOTE FOR PRESIDENT, BUT STILL WANT TO MAKE SOME CHANGE, PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, OR FOR LOVE OF LITTLE GREEN APPLES, OR EVEN FOR THE LOVE OF COOKIES, ***VOTE!!***

Need help registering? Click the “Rock the Vote” link to the right there, or send me an email.

Recent Reflections (with expletives)

  1. I like makeup, and I’m having fun with it, even though the butch side of myself is going “huh? wut?”
  2. I am an activist for some things, and I’ll do the work when I need to, but I’m not so keen on the community around activism sometimes. There are times when the very far left sounds quite similar to the very far right, especially in the “I will shout at you until you believe like I do” school of activism.
  3. Speaking of politics, I am not an anarchist, even though I’m pagan. I love all you Anarcho-pagans out there. Keep doing what you do. I just am not. I’m very much a New England Yankee Democrat.
  4. I’m not Hillary’s #1 Fan or anything, but I also don’t think it’s the end of the world that Bernie didn’t get the nomination. I don’t think there was any actual conspiracy on the part of the DNC to see him not win, either. Having grown up in New England with history nerds for parents, I’ve lived and breathed politics from the cradle. What the DNC has been doing is what usually happens during elections. Unless you get a surprise winner like Barack Obama in 2008, most of the time they have a general idea of who’s going to end up with the nod.
  5. That said, the Republicans have gone batshit crazy, and what they have is certainly not normal. Trump is nasty and should not get in office.
  6. Personally, I think a third party vote is throwing votes to Trump. But you know what? You don’t have to give a fuck what I think, and I don’t really give a shit who you vote for as long as you actually vote. There are plenty of down-ticket things that still need your attention, even if you leave the presidential vote blank.
  7. I keep wavering about running for office. Sometimes I think I should and sometimes I think that way lies madness…of the bad kind.
  8. Working with Ereshkigal keeps the “give a fuck” tank low and the bullshit meter set on high sensitivity. The extra helping of hormones does not help this.
  9. It’s rather fun watching my wife watch the DNC. She’s getting a real education about American politics this year.
  10. Pink is my favorite color. Most of you know this already. I am just reasserting my pink-loving identity. 🙂

Dancing in the Dark

I was reading an anthology about people’s experiences with Ereshkigal the other day, and I realized that I must be kind of weird when it comes to the “dark” Goddesses. Ereshkigal is new as a patron, but I’ve worked with Her before. I’ve also worked with Hecate, the Morrigan, Cerridwen, Lilith, Kali, and several other of this class of deity, and while I have a healthy respect for Them and what They can do, I don’t fear them. Most of the anthology had people talking about how “scary” Ereshkigal is. Other adjectives were terrifying, hard, cold, angry, etc.

It may be weird, but when I work with Them, Their realms feel comfortable to me. Binah on the tree of life feels more like a sanctuary when we do work there than an echoing emptiness. Sure, Ereshkigal may be cold and stern, and even angry at times, but Her cuttings are purposeful. She can be comforting, but doesn’t coddle you when you’re not doing what you should be doing. Same thing with Hecate. She’ll be honest with you while you’re standing at the crossroads, making sure you know the gains and consequences of each road, but She’ll gladly dance with you and cheer you on once the decision is made. As hard as the Morrigan is, she also shows the ultimate compassion and mourns the waste that war can bring.

My wife says that it’s just who I am and how my particular calling manifests (I do work with the dying). I know that there are many folks who don’t work with these deities, and sometimes what you don’t know about can be scary. For me, these deities aren’t scary, they’re beautiful.

I will say, though, my heavy metal playlist is getting a good workout these days while I’m getting to know Ereshikigal…

Why You, Yes You, Should Still Vote #millennials #genX #geny #progressives

Before I head out to the east coast for a nice weekend with family, I am directing you to this Medium piece by Michael Arnovitz called “Thinking about Hillary — A Follow-up” which makes some excellent points. The first set of points it makes is about the sexist, misogynistic crap that Hillary gets just because she’s a woman running for office. I’m not going to really go on about that, since I’ve already made that point in many venues, and frankly, I’m kind of tired of pointing it out.

But the other thing that Arnovitz talks about is the young vote:

“You know those old people you like to make fun of? The conservative, tea-party seniors who watch Fox News 24 hours a day and say crazy, racist shit at Thanksgiving dinner? Quick note on them: they vote. They always vote. They vote like it’s a goddamn religion. Meanwhile, the vast majority of people in your age group couldn’t find a voting booth with a state-of-the-art GPS stuffed up their ass. Take a look at the graph above again. See the information on the right? It was put together in 2014 by the Pew Research Center. At the bottom of all of those bars you’ll see a segment called “Bystanders.” This refers to people “On the sidelines of the political process who are not registered to vote and pay very little attention to politics.” With seniors that segment is at only 3%. In your age group that same segment skyrockets to nearly 20%. Do you see a pattern developing here?

I realize that it’s difficult to appreciate the value of historical perspective when you’re too young to actually have any. But you know who does have a little historical perspective? Seniors. And maybe that’s one of the reasons they are so serious about voting. Because unlike you, they’ve been around long enough to know that voting booths are the place where shiny new political movements go to die. And maybe they also know that rallies with twenty or thirty thousand people may seem amazing and powerful while you are at them, but voting is the real difference between a large political movement and a large political circle-jerk.

And in regard to so much of the attitude I’m seeing — No matter how much we plead for you to get involved and no matter how fiercely you are courted by politicians, the majority of you steadfastly refuse to express any interest in voting. And yet somehow there is no end to your bitter and entitled disappointment with the American electoral system. Really, it’s like watching a bunch of vegans bitch about how pork doesn’t taste as good as it used to. And quite frankly, it takes a particularly special pair of stones to vote this badly and then have the fucking gall to claim that your vote was suppressed. So here’s your free wake-up call from Uncle Mike: nobody needs to go to the bother of suppressing your vote. You’re doing that just fine on your own. Quite frankly, all anyone who’s worried about the “youth vote” needs to do is let you be you.

History, as the saying goes, is made by those who show up.

You don’t.

I bolded the important bits for you.

I think this is equally true for the progressive vote. There are so many people in the progressive movement who are quite willing to bitch about the system, and yet they won’t vote, especially in off years. Nor will they consider running for office. That is just a shame. I mean, we’ve just seen with Brexit the importance of voting, and yet people just give up on voting because they think that it doesn’t count.

But if the people you don’t want making the decisions about this country are showing up to vote and you aren’t, then well, we get what we have now.

Yes, some states have crap election rules right now, so now is the time to help each other get to the polls, or get an absentee ballot, or vote by mail, especially if there isn’t a “time off to vote” law in your state. Help people get their IDs so that they can vote. Drive them to the polls.

But seriously, vote. I don’t really give a shit if you like Hillary or not. I don’t really care if you decide not to vote for president at all, but there are other elections that are down-ticket that are just as important, if not more important.

THE ENTIRE HOUSE AND 1/3 OF THE SENATE IS UP FOR GRABS. IF YOU DON’T WANT THE SAME CONGRESS AS WE’VE HAD THE LAST 8 YEARS, THEN GET OFF YOUR ASS AND VOTE!!

Show up and change history. I will.

This Is Where We Are Now

The world is a very weird place right now. This morning I woke up to my British friends, and my British wife, angry and freaking out about their country. I don’t blame them. They woke up this morning to see just how far bigotry and xenophobia is entrenched in their country. What’s hard for me is that I try to be hopeful, and in this…

It’s hard to find hope when we’re facing a similar situation here.

I’m not talking about the leaving the EU part of the equation here, but the bigotry and xenophobia part. I keep thinking about whether I’m going to wake up on November 9th either having to make plans to leave the country for my wife’s safety, or will I be able to breathe a sigh of relief? Will I have to worry about those we’d have to leave behind being killed because they’re queer and/or people of color?

I’m not joking. This is something we’ve discussed in the event of a Trump presidency. The legislated xenophobia won’t happen right away, but it will happen. Trump is endorsed by the KKK, anti-LGBT evangelicals, and other radical Christianist and nationalist groups. I don’t doubt that if Trump held the presidency, many of these groups will take it as a sign that their godly mandate is approved. Before we know it, we’ll be seeing people saying, “OMG! I voted for Trump, but I didn’t expect THIS!” while people of color, LGBTQA are either deported or shot.

What’s harder is that I have family members who support Trump who don’t see the implications of Trump’s bigotry and xenophobia. Which is the same bigotry and xenophobia that was behind the Brexit vote. Seriously, my wife and I have had to discuss a Plan B in the event of a Trump presidency for our personal safety.

Think about that before you pull the Trump lever on November 8th.

 

Words are Bullets

Every TERF that tells my wife and other transgender women that they aren’t real women or tell transgender men that they are traitors to their gender;

Every Christian Fundamentalist that rejoices when LGBTQA people are abused or killed, or any Christian who “loves the sinner, hates the sin;”

Every white cisgender man who makes rape jokes, queer jokes, and spouts other misogynistic crap;

Every person who says that all black people, or Latinx people, or all Muslims, or all of any other group should be rounded up and shot;

Every person who decides to denigrate another group of people for the sake of “protection” or “jobs” or just because you think they’re “icky” in some way;

YOU are the ones who encouraged Omar Mateen, Dylan Roof, Adam Lanza, and all the other shooters known and unknown.

YOU are the ones that encourage the Cathy Brennans, Donald Trumps, MRAs, Neo-Nazis, and other hateful people.

And if you’re OK that, if you’re OK with people dying because of your “dearly held beliefs,” then may God have mercy on your soul.

If this statement makes you uncomfortable, then maybe you should think about why. Maybe you should think about what you post on Facebook. Maybe you should think about your racist, anti-queer, anti-women blatherings. Maybe you should think about why you think rape jokes, trans jokes, or other jokes made to denigrate people are ok.

Maybe you should engage your brain and think before you speak. Every “just mouthing off” or “boys will be boys” or “stop being so sensitive! It’s just a joke” lets others know that their violence is OK. You give permission to others to hurt and kill someone.

YOUR WORDS THAT YOU SHOUT ONLINE, OR IN PERSON, OR TO YOUR FAMILY TELLS EVERYONE ELSE THAT YOU THINK THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE DEAD. YOUR WORDS TELL PEOPLE THAT THEY ARE WORTHLESS. RIGHT NOW YOU COULD BE TELLING PEOPLE YOU LOVE THAT THEY SHOULD BE DEAD.

Do you really think that’s OK?

I don’t.

Excerpt from “Jailbreaking the Goddess” by Lasara Firefox Allen

I just got my copy of Jailbreaking the Goddess by Lasara Firefox Allen in the mail today. I’ll admit now that I read an early copy of the book and was thrilled by this re-visioning of the cycle of the Goddess! Even though I’ve read it before, I’m reading it again, because I think this is incredibly important. This moves Goddess spirituality away from being defined by cis-gender biology into a fluid system that is inclusive of everyone, including those who are gender-variant.

The most radical chapter, and in my mind and experience the most important, is Chapter 2: “More Than Our Biology” where Lasara discusses how the Maiden, Mother, Crone cycle is inherently patriarchal:

“In adhering to a biology-based model for the feminal divine, we have carried the seed of inequality forward, disguised as worship of the feminine. At the core, the maiden, mother, and crone model for the feminine divine is a patriarchal system rooted in the ideology of ownership and utility. When our utility is our meaning, our bodies are community property.”

As a woman who has PCOS and a uterus that she doesn’t need or want, and the wife of a transgender woman, this chapter makes me incredibly happy. In fact, this is something that has always confused me about TERFs, really. Why should anyone’s womanhood be predicated on their ability to breed?

But I digress…

If you are looking for a new way to look at cycle of the Goddess, or looking for a more inclusive Goddess spirituality, you should get this book. You should also listen to when Lasara and I talked about the Five Fold Goddess in the interview I did with her on This Week In Heresy.

Go get this book. Read it. Read it a couple of times. Give it to your friends….

 

Cursing and Social Justice

When we teach about cursing in our coven, we tell students that if they feel that doing the curse is right in their soul and that they are completely willing to take the consequences if they are wrong, then they should go ahead. We also teach that if there is any doubt at all or any trepidation about taking the consequences, then they should wait for awhile or not do it at all. The other recommendation we typically give is that the object of your curse, especially if you are utilizing a Spirit (be it deity, demon, ghost, or angel), should always have an “out”: a chance to change and stop doing what you ended up cursing them for. This is the greater compassion because no one needs to be punished for eternity when they realize that they have done something wrong and decide to work to change it.

What does this have to do with social justice?

There are many social justice activists that don’t allow for people to change. They don’t allow for people to make mistakes and learn from them. In their minds, there is no room for someone to have a change of heart if they’ve done something wrong in the past. They did or said something that was racist, sexist, homophobic, etc in the past and that’s it. They are branded for life as “bad people” and are not given the chance to atonement.

Now, are there people who just won’t learn and refuse to change? Of course! There are some people that no matter how hard you try to educate them or tell them that they are doing hateful and bigoted things, they won’t change at all. It would take a miracle to make them see the harm that they are doing.

But there are those who know they’ve done wrong and try and change. There’s a tendency in social justice circles to default to “eternal damnation” when someone makes a mistake. There is no “out” or chance for that person to atone for their transgression or to learn what they did wrong. And for some social justice people, even when you do have a change of heart and try to atone, nothing you do will ever be good enough. For some people it may take them years, or a lifetime, to undo the mistakes they’ve done. For others, it might be more of a matter of apology for an immediate mistake made. Yet, there are plenty of social justice activists out there who will decide that a person’s change of heart may not be genuine enough or that they won’t trust someone because of what they’ve done in the past, no matter how hard the subject of their ire has tried to atone for their bad behavior.

I can’t deny that I’ve done this myself. A lot of the time it comes down to the fact that I want to be right when I think that someone is wrong. But I’ve been learning in my work and thinking about radical inclusion that it is important to allow for others to grow because not everyone has the education or experiences that I do. I’ve learned that there are people, including myself, who will say or do stupid things out of ignorance (and boy, have I done some really stupid things in social justice circles). I have had things pointed out to me that have made me feel bad for having done said stupid things. However, I’ve been lucky that I’ve had patient people around me who not only helped me learn, but allowed me to atone for what I’ve done wrong. This has made me want to be a better ally.

Unfortunately, absolutism happens in all levels of social justice work, and transcends whatever marginalization someone is. Are there histories, atrocities, and systemic injustice that needs to be acknowledged by those who make the mistakes? Of course. But we can’t forget the humanity of the people involved: our own humanity, and those of the people who we are trying to reach. Those of us who work for social justice should let our passion and emotions around our issues be known and visible, but if we disregard the humanity of those who we are trying to teach and don’t allow for their growth, how much are we really going to change? And, more importantly, if we completely dismiss the work that someone has done to grow, learn, and change, why are we doing social justice work in the first place?