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From Lewellyn newsletter (highlighted by me). This person could have been writing from inside my head.




Living Paganism and Witchcraft: Meaning, Purpose, Identity and Integration

Date: 2009-03-16   By:  Gede Parma

I was 12 years old when I first discovered the world of
Paganism and Witchcraft. I had been raised in a household that cherished and honored the mysterious and the spiritual, and though I lived an ocean away from my father, his mystical, animistic Balinese spirituality was ever-present in my life. I was that child who found solace in the tangled roots of trees and spoke to invisible beings in the garden. I knew, if not consciously, who and what I was and still am; this was crystallized for me in my adolescence when I dove head first into the Craft. I embraced its teachings and traditions; after all, they have been mine for as long as I can remember.

The Pagan life cannot be typified by the superficial or the skin-deep. Paganism is not a new age label of convenience, nor is it a fantasy role-playing game. Paganism is being in the raw moment, treasuring and revering the natural flow and tides and continuously celebrating the gift of this divine Earth. Our deity is here and now, timeless and in all places. Many call this immanent divinity the
Goddess, and yet it is equally illuminating and valid to identify this powerful presence as the Horned God who dances, dies, and is reborn. The divine evolves and changes just as we do – and so does our spirituality. We too must, as the Goddess, have our anchor: the Earth upon which to stand. Like the Horned One we must allow ourselves the sacrament of movement, to dance and attain ecstasy. This can all be done in the simplest of ways, or we can choose to indulge in ceremony and symbol. It is all true and good as long as we are true and good to ourselves and others.

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If we are to “be the change we wish to see in the world” then we must actively, and with passion, live our lives as we have always envisioned and dreamed. Do that and you will be free.

wow

so i just watched the movie Religulous by bill maher. man, i want to hang out with this dude and suck up some of his ability to just say it like it is. He really sticks it to some of the people in this movie, in kind of a rude way, but some of his points so efficiently spell out things i've had in my head for years, i can forgive him the rudeness. especially since he's being rude to mindless morons.


the thing he said that stuck in my head the most was "doubt is humble." this is something i've been saying for years, just not with such eloquence and economy of words... that I DONT KNOW what or who or where "god" is and that it seems absurdly egotistical and self-aggrandizing for anyone to say they do... and even more so for them to have the nerve to tell me that *I* should think so, too! this is not to say i think any and all people who have any kind of faith or beliefs are delusional... far from it, as i too have my own version of spirituality, as anyone who knows me, knows. but those who blindly walk in the well worn paths of others' beliefs do not earn my respect. it is those who follow their own hearts and minds to their own conclusions or explorations who i can relate to.

the other really interesting idea he posits is that the religions of the world all seem to point to some disastrous end to human kind, yet it seems to be the religious that are leading us to those ends, to the armageddon and fire and brimstone... it seems to be those people MOST steeped in religious culture that are bringing the world down on our heads, resorting to judgement, rash action and violence.

if you don't have time to watch the whole movie, the end sums it up pretty well... turn to the final chapter where bill is narrating and you'll get a pretty good chunk of rational agnosticism to last you through the day. in his own dry, melodramatic doomsday-esque way, the movie winds down (up?) with scenes of the end of the world being brought on by leaders who use religion to rule, and as he says, "the hour is getting very late to be having key decisions made by leaders who steer the ship of state not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken."

some more nuggets of wisdom:

"faith means making a virtue out of not thinking."

"religion is dangerous because it allows human beings, who don't have all the answers, to think that they do."

"the only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion; but doubt - doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering human history is just a litany of getting shit DEAD WRONG."

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Wednesday March 18

Spring Equinox Magic
with Diana Disimone
7pm $20

The Spring or Vernal Equinox, Ostara, Rite of Eostar, Festival of Trees, Alban Eilir, Day of the Furze, Iduna and Summer finding. All these are holidays of the spring! Join us for this hands on workshop in which we will learn some of the traditions and celebrations of this much venerated season.

You will create your very own magical supplies and learn how to put together your own special celebration of the Spring Equinox and get the most out of the energy of this time of year!
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possibly going to this event this evening.

considering inviting someone with me, but, not sure if it will be taken seriously. and this leads me to muse....

i think part of spirituality is the suspension of disbelief... entering that place that you spent most of your time in as a child, a place of imagination and make-believe and pretend, where the fantastical was just as real and deserved just as much attention and respect (if not *more* so!) than the real, mundane world around you... like the real world was this dingy, utilitarian shell surrounding the the glittering, ephemeral, magical substance that was what we were REALLY here to experience, like the plain, grey stone surrounding the crystals of gemstone inside.  i think this is why, as a child, i had such a hard time understanding church and organized religion... all these people around me who needed all these trappings and other people to get them to a place that i occupied more often than not, in my young, head-in-the-clouds years. grown-up, why do you need someone standing on a pedestal in a large building with lots of other stuffy people around you to make you believe in the wonder of the world and the universe, when there are WONDROUS magical things like animals and dirt and thunderstorms and forests and clouds all around you all the time?? so much beauty and so many things to be marveled at, and there you are stuck in your building with your eyes closed trying to reach the unknown, when there is so much to be learned outside in the world.

and then i found paganism, as a young sprite of 8 or 9, and had a YES! moment, that THIS was what made sense to me, honoring and enjoying what we have and see and can touch and be awed by in everyday life. and of course i was excited about it and ran to my best friend and didn't think to hide it from my mother who unceremoniously shut the door on that path for me, forbidding me to visit the pagan shop and taking away my books on Earth Magic. but knowing that there were other people out there in the world who felt, if not the same way i did, then at least in the same neighborhood as i did, made it a secret worth harboring until i was old enough to actually get a job working in the same pagan store years later :)

now though, i have been neglecting that place of imagination and appreciation, and this workshop i want to go to tonight feels like a baby step at the beginning of a very long journey back to the mindset i used to have at age 8, ten, twelve, before adolescence took it's toll on me. but it's a step i feel compelled to take, simply because it DOES require that sense of wonder, and suspense of disbelief... and i want to find my way back to that place of being ok taking seriously the parts of the world that no one else can see but me; and also the parts that only a few see, and finding connections with others through that shared experience.


OMG the insanity

did you ever have one of those moments where you just want to turn the clock back like, 2 minutes... not even.... just to keep something from altering the course of your life? 

that was me yesterday as i was coming home from work. got bag out of car... carrying a hundred things into the house... turning corner to go up stairs and CRASH! Suddenly my bag is much lighter and my laptop is on the cement, looking forlorn yet strangely defiant. AHHHHHH!!!! then picture me dropping EVERYTHING and squatting on the ground in the alley behind my apartment next to the garbage dumpster, opening my laptop and trying to turn it on. i must have looked like a crazy person.

NOW i am a pariah at work, and i know my boss was already frustrated with me BEFORE i killed the computer, now he's like dear god where did they find her and why did i get stuck with her? Seriously... i'm like Ugly Betty over here.

so i'm probably not going to have a computer for a while, using the intern's/bookkeeper's computer at work, thank god most (not all) of my work info was on a flash drive, not on my hard drive... but still i am basically at square one, with none of the software i had on the laptop, none of my internet links saved, etc.

*sigh*

it's rough being me sometimes.



can't sleep... art instead *updated*


the morning after....



the dried crumbly paste gets scraped off and the stain underneath lasts about a week. as it oxidizes it will become more brown and less red, and will fade in patches as the skin renews itself. Henna dye molecules bond to the keratin in skin and hair and the dye itself is permanent though fades over time. It wears off the skin due to cellular regeneration. the skin on the hands and feet is the most keratinized and therefore takes the darkest stain, with the palms and soles often showing up almost black with a good henna mix.
 






what i've been up to for the last few hours...







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luzazul

this is my new zen room.

and, the img number from the camera is IMGP00733.





chocolate biscuits

yes, that's right. biscuits.

i've had this idea in my head for a while that i wanted to TRY chocolate biscuits... there's nothing quite as satisfying as something SO starchy and stick-to-your-ribs as a biscuit, and add chocolate and you've got a whole new dimension of yum. So today i tried.

I took Fanny Farmer's basic baking powder biscuit recipe (my personal favorite and SUPER easy) and took out some of the flour, and added instead some brown sugar and 2 tbs of cocoa powder. the result? yummy... but still needs tweaking... they are a little *too* baking-powdery... and could use another helping of chocolate. the sugar ratio seems to be good though, not too sweet, and it didn't mess up the texture any by substitution, which i thought it might. So, back to the drawing board... er, cutting board... but it's nearly a home run!


stillness

cultivating stillness is like learning to relax muscles you didn't even know you had, let alone knew were tense. it's like when you were little and a friend said, can you twist your tongue around like this? and you looked in a mirror and tried and it was impossible until one day you just did it without thinking, and without the mirror. it's like trying to feel yourself fall asleep, to notice the moment it happens. it's not something you can force, you just have to let it happen when you're doing something else, and it shows up as the absence of stress.

stillness has become elusive for me because it feels like the antithesis of productive, and productive should always be the priority. in yoga practice i have come to know that the stillness does, in fact, recharge your abilities to *be* productive in other areas of life... but that, too, takes practice... it takes actually DOING the yoga... and that, too has become elusive.

mostly i'm thinking about it today because it's the weekend and i've been going non-stop... a drastic difference for me since january... and not what i expected about living alone. the going going going is good good good.... but i've let stillness slip away and so now i am thinking about it and needing to reconnect. it's interesting how a simple meditaion can put so much perspective on life... even if only in small ways, they are powerful none the less. i used to burst into tears during the meditation at the end of yoga, just from the feeling of having released so much burden i put on myself, and the absolute lightness of it. that feeling then in turn makes the doing of things for a while after feel so much less useless. now, i am able to find that place on my own, when i need it... though as i said, lately it's been a while since i've put it into action.

off to bed now after a jam-packed day... and another one ahead of me tomorrow!

~j

work

ugh. what is it with my job? something about it just makes me twitch and want to run away in a completely temper-tantrum kind of way. i've been thinking about it lately a lot... and i think the thing about it that's different from my other jobs is that it requires much more 'proactive' thinking processes than, say, customer service, which tends to be mostly 'reactive'.

i'm not sure if it's a bad thing, or a neutral thing, that i find myself much better at 'reactive' jobs... all my life that's been my strength, reacting to things. being an artist you would think the creativity would kick in and send me off in many directions with my work... but really, that only kicks in when i am totally in charge of whatever the outcome is going to be... as in, no one else is really depending on it.... OR if i'm collaborating with someone who's input is of equal importance to mine. but when it comes to taking projects and running with them, and then having my boss and my board members pick them apart, it's really, really not my thing.

i'd much rather be fire-fighting issues from fifty unhappy ferry passengers, or fending off shoplifters in EMS, than this. Here, i just feel... like i'm not blooming where i've planted myself, and it's time to figure out why and what to do about it.


UPDATE:

Open - interior of HBIA office. BOSS and OFFICE LACKEY working away quietly.

BOSS: hey i'm having an interview with a potential intern in 20mins.

ME: mrrrh?

(i thought he wasn't hiring an intern after all.)

well she comes in and she's fantastic, just what we need and he hires her on the spot and she starts monday. She's mostly going to be helping me (yes!) AND the best part is, she's graduating this summer and not sure what she's doing after graduation....

ME (in the near future): Ahem. Allow me to make a suggestion? I happen to know of a job opening up soon that happens to be very similar to what you're doing as our intern..... step into my office....

argh

ok. i'm a designer. and i'm convinced that there is some diabolical committee out there designing things JUST to piss off the rest of the world.

for example, the *uber-complicated* technology of the Pouring Device. come on people, this has been around for CENTURIES. I've seen pitchers from the 1600's that still pour without a missed drop. but my fancy schmancy "Cafe Noir" coffee pot at work looks like it was made by a blindfolded monkey. And now, there is coffee all over the counter!!

maybe i should make my coffee in one of these: