Friday, December 21, 2007

The War on Christmas and Discrimination

So last night I caught NBC's War on Christmas update.

I dunno. I don't have a TV, but I was in a waiting room and it was on. I can't remember what station it was. Anyway. I was a little perturbed because they were talking about Green Bay, Wisconsin and they did not mention once the pentacle issue there. (I can't find the clip on their website, though I found it last night and wrote them a letter about it too!)

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, apparently a few days ago Green Bay, Wisconsin's city council decided to put a nativity scene on top of the city hall, but the mayor said anybody else who wanted to add their own religious symbols to the display was invited to do so Circle Sanctuary, being local, stepped up and offered a pentacle wreath. It was added to the display and shortly thereafter taken down in the dead of night and destroyed by some random person who is, apparently, still at large. (The nativity is undamaged) Circle Sanctuary immediately moved to replace the pentacle but the city council then had another meeting and voted to retain the nativity but put a moratorium on any additional symbols.
You can find more details at

So yea, NBC said, and I roughly quote "The nativity above city hall in Green Bay Wisconsin will stay because the city council voted tonight to keep it there." With NO mention whatsoever that they voted at the same time NOT to allow anything else until further discussion. So they had a meeting last night (while the news was being broadcast) and I'm not sure of the results of that. According to what I've read, it was just a bunch of people voicing their opinions and no decisions were made. Whatever all that, the nativity remains above the entrance to city hall, under which anyone who goes there for any sort of business is forced to walk (and be slapped in the face with how they are abnormal if they don't revere it) and no additional symbols have been put up. So, of course, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State jumped in the fray and there's now a lawsuit pending.

It's really rediculous how these things happen. I bet it will be reported by the mainstream media as "Green Bay Wisconsin forced to remove Nativity or face lawsuit" rather than "Green Bay Wisconsin mayor faces lawsuit for showing preferential treatment toward the majority religion."

Honestly though, I don't think the Mayor and the City Council mean to be assholes. I think they acted hastily and should have had all these meetings before they started putting up religious symbols. They admit as much themselves in the stories if you read them closely. They said "Hey, we're going to let people put whatever they want up." and didn't set down any guidelines for it. So the question arises, what if other religions want to put up displays for other times of the year?

I found this discussion about the subject
Fellow Pagan blogger at the Wild Hunt has also been following this issue.

Of course, this isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened. It just so happened that Circle Sanctuary was involved this time and Rev. Selena Fox & Co. are media whores. They make sure everyone knows what goes on with them- to their credit and often to the benefit of Paganism as a whole. (They were deeply involved in the quests to allow Pentacles on gravestones in military cemetaries). A smilar incident took place earlier this month in New York.

I am really tired of hearing about the war on Christmas. There is no war on Christmas, it's a war against religous hegemony. The reality is that many of the symbols people associate with Christmas and many of the traditions people associate with Christmas are Pagan or secular. They've been around since before the birth of Christ. They have been observed independant of as well as alongside Christianity for centuries, and they are enjoying a resurgance under the new Pagan movement. The tree is not JUST a Christmas tree, it is also a Yule tree, or a Solstice tree. Nobody insists on calling it that in the public eye. We are happy to call it a Holiday tree so as to include Christinity in the tradition, even though the trees have nothing. NOTATHING to do with Christianity, Christ or the observance of the birth of Christ. Some of the very religions that are screaming now once condemned Christmas as a Pagan holiday. I don't care if polititions talk about opening gifts on Christmas morning, because that's what they do. They don't have to call them Holiday presents if they're Christmas presents. I don't call my Yule gifts Holiday presents. I call them Yule gifts if they're for the Pagan folks, and Christmas gifts if they're for the Christian folks, and Holiday gifts if I don't know. It's just common courtesy not to make assumptions. You know.

Ergh. I'm ranting again. I'll stop now.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

On Ron Paul

Never in my life have I seen a candidate so enthousiastically endorsed by the Pagan community. I had originally thought it was just local. At Pagan events "Ron Paul, Ron Paul", I go to visit my Pagan friends and "Ron Paul, Ron Paul." But lo, it's all over the internet too.

Here are some examples:
An Open Letter to the Pagan Community and at the Pagan Temple Blog, and RitualMagick's Pagans for Ron Paul

While I'm pretty confident that I (sadly) know politics well enough to know that this guy is going to go roughly nowhere, it sort of disturbs me that Pagans should so strongly through their support behind this guy. Granted, most of the really enthousiastic folks are male, but not all. Now Ron Paul may have more Pagan-friendly stances on things, but they aren't exactly woman friendly and he seems to think the Earth is badly in need of overpopulation. What else could a man with FIVE kids and SEVENTEEN grandkids who adamantly opposes abortion and supports legislation that says life begins at conception? Think about what this means; to end a pregnancy even at less that four weeks- when you're dealing with nothing more than a bundle of cells- could be considered murder. Forget about the hard won morning after pill. And IUDs could theoretically be outlawed as well because they prevent implantation, but not fertilization. What is conception? Is it implantation or fertilization? I don't know! What I do know is that outlawing abortion is dangerous and wrong. For someone who claims to believe in medical freedom and personal responsibility, this is quite the oxymoron, isn't it? Where are all those extra, unwanted babies (especially the drug addicted and handicapped ones) going to go? Who is going to support the families who end up with one too many kids to support? What about those women in abusive relationships who are repeatedly impregnated as a control measure. You think I'm making this shit up? It's very real, I assure you. Pregnant teenagers are the worst of our problems when talking about abortion. And let's not miss the biggest point of all. The last thing our Mother Earth needs is more human children. The human population is estimated at 6.6 billion and is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. That's rediculous, and unnecessary. What do we need all those people for? Of course, I would like to see artificial means of conception outlawed before I saw abortion outlawed. But I care about the Earth and you should too. Have two kids. If you can't, adopt. If you want more, adopt. What we need is adoption laws that aren't so weird and convoluted and biased toward Christianity.

Now it's all very fun and exciting to talk about freedom, liberty, personal responsibility, etc. However, this guy is talking about pulling out of the UN. All I can say is, "What the fuck?". You don't just pull out of the UN. The UN is about international cooperation. Does he have a plan, something to replace the UN? No. He just wants to be isolationist. That's not a Pagan value at all. We are the world (to quote an old and rather annoying song that will now, unfortunately be stuck in my head for the rest of the day now that I've typed it.) and there are some issues in the world that cannot be solved without cooperation. He talks about the environment, which we as Pagans have top on our lists of issues to care about, but real environmental impact is beyond a single nation. We need to cooperate with other nations to protect the Earth. They are our brothers and sisters, we cannot just turn out backs on them and we can't make a difference without them!

Finally, the idea of educational freedom is great and fantastic. He wants to abolish the Department of Education and he wants us all to build and send our kids to private schools. Great. Who is paying for that? Oh yea, $5000 tax credits (but he wants to abolish income taxes, so what taxes exactly are we talking about?). But private school is $20K plus a year. And he's a huge proponent of Homeschooling. Well, guess what, so am I! But I don't have time to do it and I would starve if I quit my job to do it. (You all that do it, Kudos to you!). So now we have no federally funded public schools, they're entirely under the state's financial umbrella?(I guess that's okay if you're not from Michigan) Or are we doing away with public schools altogether? I agree with him. Public schools are failing our students. But there has to be a better option.

Finally, he wants to lift a bunch of firearms bans. Okay, great. I support the right of sane people to have guns and I agree that the current gun laws are pretty much bullshit. They are too restrictive in one way and not restrictive enough in another way. We need background checks. We do not need to lift all laws. That's silly. Guns are silly. I hate guns. They are loud and inelegant. Yet you can get arrested for an atheme.

In summary. I think Mr. Ron Paul lives in fairyland. Just because we are Pagans, doesn't mean we have to join him there.

But don't listen to me. You need to decide for yourself.
Be sure especially to check out

Unfortunately, we all have to vote for the lesser of evils and he may well be it. But do vote. Democracy is a Pagan ideal. It honors our Gods to engage in it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Hanukkah

I would like to take a moment to wish all of my Jewish friends (like my brother-in-law and my buddy of the bees- he knows who he is!) a blessed Hanukkah. This day honors a very important period in both Jewish and Pagan history and we Pagans would do well to remember it. You see, about 2200 years ago, Jerusalem was ruled over by Greece. Greece was a Pagan country at the time, of course, and they considered the Jews to be heretics and atheists- and trouble makers. They put severe restrictions on Jewish practice. Antiochus IV outlawed Judaism outright. It is true that this isn't typical of a Pagan society, but Antiochus did it.

Part of this "get rid of Jews" project included the take over the Second Temple in Jerusalem and sacrifice a pig (you know, unclean) on the altar. I have been told by Jewish co-workers that they also installed sacred prostitutes. I am not sure I believe this part either, of it was added later to make it seem worse to modern ears. Sacrificing an unclean animal on an altar of the Jewish God is bad enough. Trust me.

So anyway, the story goes that the Jews rose up against the Greeks and routed them from the temple and basically baracaded themselves inside. There was no getting supplies from outside for awhile because the Greeks were out there and they were pissed. The Jews wasted no time cleansing and reconsecrating the temple, but they found that there wasn't very much consecrated oil available for the eternal flame. Apparently the Greeks had taken or defiled the stores on hand and only one container remained sealed. They lit the menorah anyway. The menorah continued to burn for 8 days while the priests worked busily to prepare more. (My Jewish co-worker, the same one who says there were prostitutes in the temple tells me that the Greeks were outside the temple trying to get in and they were fighting them off for 8 days, which is why they couldn't get more oil. I don't know if this is true or not, but it's certainly more exciting than the Wikipedia version!)

Hanukkah is not the celebration of the battle or the victory. This is an important distinction. It is the celebration of the rededication of the temple and the miracle. It is a time for Jews to celebrate the victory of light (the Torah) over darkness (*cough*Paganism) and a time for us to remember that Pagans weren't always the victims in history that we modern Pagans like to claim them to be!

Of course, I'm not all about my view and being fluffy. Some people don't agree with me, and that's cool. Here is a completely different take of the whole situation, and a few more...

And here's some more history to chew on, for geeks like me
All of this is rather combattive, yes, but I like my history that way.
I want to know how they uncircumsized themselves.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Marshall University Recognizes Pagan Holidays

This is odd to me, actually. I mean it's good, but it's odd. Now, I'm a Pagan and I work at a University. (everyone here knows I'm Pagan) and I went to school at this same University. And I transferred from a two-year college before that. And I never went to class or worked on a Pagan holiday.
Well, maybe that's not exactly true.
Quite often I would, but we had observances planned for the weekend, so the day itself just went by and the weekend was the big deal. But I usually took that Friday off, or at least a half day.
This year I took Halloween off. Sometimes I take the whole week.
I just say, "Hey, it's a holiday in my faith, and I'm taking it off." and they say "Okay."
Nobody has ever argued.
I have never been penalized. But I also volunteer to work on those days that other people don't want to work due to their faith practices.

But now at Marshall University, it's official.

I wonder if other schools will follow suit.
I wonder if they should. Why should Pagans be singled out? Why not say "Hey, nobody can be penalized for missing a day for religious observances (Provided of course they make up the work)."

My school.. Now I love my school. Last year we had an irate parent write in about the fact that we're not closed for Good Friday or that Holy Monday or whatever it's called. Sometimes our Spring Break covers it, which I'm sure they're all very happy about, but not always. Our President wrote her back, and I loved him. He said that in order that the University should not show preferential treatment, "We do not close for ANY religious holiday." and it's true. Yes, Christmas happens to fall between semesters, but that's not closing for a holiday. That's a break between semesters. And Yule usually falls into it too, and Kwanzaa, and sometimes Hannukah, or at least a portion of Hannukah.

So yea. Whatever. I think it's great. But I also think it's silly to finger out a single religion and say "We're not going to discriminate against you." Great. Wonderful. You shouldn't discriminate against anyone. And now you've shown us preferential treatment, which is sort of discriminatory in and of itself. Isn't it?

Saving Sherwood Forest

I think it's sad that Sherwood forest of legend has shrunk to a mere fraction of its old size. Down from 100,000 acres to 450. Wow. But, I'm not surprised. It seems these things are inevitable. Lucky for Sherwood forest, 15 organizations in England are banding together to save it and its ancient oak trees.

It's good news for Sherwood Forest. It pays to be famous, I suppose. There are many forests shrinking to nothing all over the world. I won't step on my urban sprawl soapbox. I'll just baby the pathetic half acre of woods in suburbia I have been given sacred charge of. Every little bit helps.

So let's raise a glass to Sherwood forest and its caretakers. May the Gods keep them.
And maybe we should get Bunky over there to cast a little lottery spell for 'em.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Witch School Under Fire (Again),0,2136716.story

So Witch School has moved again and once again, people don't like them where they landed. I think they need to stop moving and pick a spot. People will get used to them eventually. Well, this town wants them out, big surprise

"Among the tactics that several locals have taken against the school is a anti-Wiccan billboard that reads "Worship the Creator not Creation.""

Everyone has the right to their opinion. Billboards aren't hurting anybody, but what they are do is wasting money that can better be spent elsewhere. If the Christians are so upset that the public schools are closing and a Witch school is opening, why don't they create some private Christian schools instead of wasting money on billboards?

PS The Wiccan God/dess IS the creator, and the created- self-created and exists both within and without of creation. Pretty damn impressive, isn't it? Ya'll need a new slogan.

But they have an excuse. It goes like this: ""Rossville has fallen on hard times," Thomas told the Tribune. "The (public) school closed. This is a popular place for meth. We're like, 'Great, now a witch school.' It feels like we're being attacked.""

How dare they take their meth & education issues on on the Witches -which they aren't really of course, they're just making excuses for their inhospitable behavior- Pagan sin. But that's okay, they aren't Pagan. If anything, they are bringing business into the town, not to mention paying taxes. They should be happy. I assure you, education is esteemed highly by Pagans in general, and Meth isn't. Wine, on the other hand...

Donald Lewis says it simplest ""They're trying to make us scapegoats," he said as he slipped into the meeting unannounced."

""Remember the Salem witch trials?" Marganski said. "That's what is happening here.""

Don't you think that's a little mellowdramatic? Nobody has died yet, and there were no witches at Salem. (Well one, but she didn't get hung- there were certainly no Wiccans there.) The Witch Trials were marked with suspicion, neighbor on neighbor. It seems clear to me that the people of Rossville know who their enemy is.

Not everyone there is being a butt though. Methodist Pastor Keith Micheals took a brave stand when he said ""Leave 'em alone," Michaels said. "They have a right to be here. Do I agree with them? No. But as a Vietnam veteran, I fought for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country."

Gods bless our Veterans.

Another well-meaning individual, Robert Kurka also discouraged the townspeople against open hostilities. "Kurka encouraged the crowd to try to convert the Wiccans rather than drive them away." There's another Pagan sin. Not to mention plain rudeness. But again, he's not Pagan. So we have to put up with it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Insanity in Salem

Once upon a time when I had a baby girl in my belly, I visited Salem and I thought- It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live here.
Now I say
Thank Goodness I don't live in Salem!!

Here's why

And that's only the latest of the media circus that their witch wars down there have become. What is wrong with those people?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Real Witches Craft

I just finished reading The Real Witches Craft by Kate West. I tell you, I did not have high hopes for this book. I thought "Real Witches" eh, what an arrogant title. Probably a bunch of Wicca-fluff. And yes, there is fluff. She tells you to research Gods and Goddesses and to look for triple Goddesses in various Pantheons. I hate that. HUGE pet peeve. She also encourages rewriting myths with a feminist bent, insisting that they were rewritten by Christians (I don't think Homer was Christian, but whatever) and presents a decidedly fluffy interpretation of the story of Persephone (You can see my version at I'm not saying it's better, but I did try to keep it slightly unfluffy). BUT the rest of the book is absolutely fabulous. I gave it to my daughter. I highly recommend it. It does assume you know a few things and it is decidedly Wiccan (which I am decidedly not, if you hadn't noticed) but if you ignore the dogma and the history, it has good solid information and is definately worth checking out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wiccan Wins the Lottery

So I'm a little late in commenting on this, but last week a Wiccan man won the lottery. There's been alot of speculation about his persecution in the forums and talk about religion all over. I say Pah. He won the lottery, and he happens to be Wiccan. I am just glad the money will finally go to something worthwhile. He's going to invest it in his local Pagan community center/shop. Good job. Unfortunately, he says he's going to continue channelling money (more now that he has more) into corporate sharks like McDonald's and Walmart. Ugh. Anyway, here's the article

Of course, this has gotten me thinking about what I would do if I won the lottery. So I must indulge in a bit of fantasy here. First, of course, I would pay off my student loans. And the credit cards (of which I am most ashamed). I figured out the other day that my credit bills (including student loands, credit cards, etc.) come to about $1150 per month. That's $1150 per month I could be doing other things with if I had SAVED ahead of time instead of charging! $1150 I could be saving... instead of charging at the end of the damn month!
But I digress.
Once I've got all those paid, or arranged to be paid, I will call up my landlord and say, "I know you don't want to sell this house, but I really really love it. Assuming you would sell, what would you ask for it?" And then I'd double it, and buy my house.
Then I'd buy the church on my street. It's really quite a lovely bit of property all surrounded by woods. And the manse is cute too. I'd buy them for whatever price was presented. If I couldn't get that one, I have a second choice, the one down by my mom's house. That one is actually set back further from the street and more secluded, so it might actually be better. Anyway, I'd buy one of those. And I'd name it the Church of the Sacred Hearth and make it an all-path church where Pagan groups of any faith could gather. There would be both indoor and outdoor gathering areas, and a marvelous heirloom herb and vegetable garden. We'd have a day care center, and invite the local Spiral Scouts to take up residence, open up a Pagan lending library and establish Youth Groups. We'd have dances, socials, etc. I would hire a caretaker couple to stay in the manse and handle day to day business of the Church.
I would, of course, stay in my beautiful house.
I would quit my job and I would then settle in to be a full time writer and, of course, focus on running the church.
As for the kids, I'd set them up a trust to get them through college. I want them to become strong individuals and I think college is so important. I want PhDs! Whatever happens then depends on the choices they make. If they want to volunteer to travel to Africa to observe Apes, well, I guess I'd have to donate to the expedition.
In my will, I'd leave whatever was left to the Anthropology department. If I've done my job right, the kids won't need it and the church will have a trust set up to run it indefinately, so that should work out.

And now my brief foray into the fantasy realm is over. My co-workers, upon learning that a Wiccan had won the lottery, asked me if I was Wiccan. I attempted to explain the difference, but, for the most part they don't get it. It's fine. But they want me to join their lotto pool now. Haha. I never (or at least very rarely) gamble, which is odd since Hermes is one of my patrons. It's not a moral thing. It's just that I'm too cheap. Not too cheap to buy a book from on credit with 21% interest though!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sanity Reigns in Washington (for now)

Thank goodness. My world can now fall back into an understandable state where Presidents care about their constituents feelings, or at the very least, how their public perceives them.

Although I did not see this particular development anywhere in the public media, it came across on the Circle Sanctuary ( news group.

President George Bush personally called Roberta Stewart to apologize that she was not invited to the meeting held in Reno, Nevada yesterday for families of fallen soldiers. He also told her that he admired her spirit and thanked her when she accepted the invitation.

Now, you may know that I am not the biggest Bush fan in the world, but I call it like I see it and I see this as a good and noble and right thing to do. Thank you Mr. Bush, sir, for doing the right thing and restoring my faith that there must be a decent human being inside you somewhere. I realize that that sounds as much like an insult as a statement of apprecitation, and I'm sorry for that, but like I said, I'm not a big fan. I wouldn't invite the man out for drinks, but I'd be polite if I encountered him at the bar.

Follows is the entire article sent out to the Circle Sanctuary News Group. In case you can't find it elsewhere:
(Note particularly the highlighted section that brought tears to my eyes. Thank the Gods that I have not had to face the challenges Mrs. Stewart has. I am not sure that I am a strong enough person to go through what she has.)

President Bush Apologizes to Wiccan War Widow Roberta Stewart

At midday today, President George W. Bush met by phone with Roberta
Stewart, a Wiccan from Nevada and member of Circle Sanctuary. The
president apologized to Roberta for her not being invited to the meeting he
held in Reno, Nevada on Tuesday with families of Nevada soldiers killed in

Reports about Roberta not being invited to this meeting began appearing in
the media yesterday and have continued today:

In the press articles, both Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans
United for Separation of Church and State, and Rev. Selena Fox, senior
minister of Circle Sanctuary, called for the president to apologize to
Roberta Stewart, and to give equal respect to soldiers and their families
regardless of their religious orientation.

During the phone call, the president said that he admired Roberta for her
spirit and thanked her for accepting his apology. He also offered his
condolences for the loss of her husband, Sgt. Patrick Stewart, who was
killed in action in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on September
25, 2005.

Following her phone meeting with the president, Roberta told Selena: "I am
thankful that President Bush offered his condolences and his apology. This
has helped bring some much needed closure for me regarding this recent issue
as well as the struggles I have endured in the Veteran Pentacle Quest
seeking to have my husband properly honored."

Both Rev. Fox and Rev. Lynn have expressed their appreciation for the
president's phone meeting with Roberta:

Rev. Fox: "I am glad that President Bush provided this support to Roberta
-- it has helped remedy this recent problem as well as helped heal the
stress that Roberta has endured since her husband was killed in action.
It also is a positive development for Wiccans and other Pagans who are
serving and who have served in the US military and their families in the
quest for equal respect and equal rights in society."

Rev. Lynn: "The president has done the right thing, and his apology to
Stewart should be commended. All veterans of war, regardless of their
faith, should be honored and treated with the utmost respect, especially
from their commander-in-chief. We are pleased the president recognized his
slight of Stewart was wrong."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has issued a press
release commending President Bush for apologizing to Roberta:

Rev. Lynn interviewed Roberta for his Culture Shocks show shortly after the
President apologized to her. The show will broadcast today and will be
archived on-line tomorrow:


Rev. Selena Fox: 608-924-2216
Executive Director, Lady Liberty League

Angie Buchanan: 847-456-4833
Public Relations Director, Lady Liberty League

Paula Johnson: 954-471-1435
Media Relations Coordinator, Lady Liberty League

Background information on the Veteran Pentacle Quest Success:

Adding Insult to Injury in Nevada

I am a simple girl. I gain joy from simple things. I am also annoyed by simple things. And as open minded as I claim to be, I sometimes have a very difficult time comprehending when people do things that are completely outside the scope of my experience. For example. My boyfriend hates cucumbers and melons. What? Okay, cucumbers I can imagine, but it's a stretch, especially when it's grandma's cucumber salad, which is soooo good (and my aunt just explained to me the secret of how to make it because she watched grandma next time, so I can't wait to make it now, though since it was a secret, I guess I can't post the recipe.) but melons? How can you not like melons? Did you try salting them? I can't imagine. That's like not liking chocolate. But then, I guess I have put things in my mouth in the past that I was assured was good and people eat it all the time that caused me to twitch violently in an effort not to spit it out. One thing that pops to mind is a fruit from asia that resembles eyeballs. I can't remember what it was called (it was traumatic, I blocked it out) nichi or something like that. And I suppose it's annoying when people go on and on about how good meat is and they can't believe I don't eat it and don't I crave it? (I don't. It's not good. I do like fried fish, but chicken smells gross and beef is like chewing on shoes. What's to like?)

Where was I going with this?

Oh yes. People who function so completely differently from me that I can't understand it.

Oh and George Bush. Yes. George Bush. Here is a man who is so different from me in his behavior, and aparently, his thought processes that he may as well be from a completely different species.

And it's not a primate. Primates make sense. George Bush does not.

So we all remember Roberta Stewart. She may wall go down in Pagan history. If we ever get Pagan private schools, Roberta Stewart will certainly get mention in our Great Pagans in History classes. Let us hope that her name doesn't completely overshadow the others who came before, like that one woman who died before the fight was won whose name I can't remember... see. It's happened already.

So, earlier this week, our fearless leader, George Bush Jr made his way to Reno to meet with families of fallen soldiers from that area.
Check the story
Now, this would have been an excellent opportunity for Mr. Bush to meet with Roberta Stewart and say "I appreciate the sacrifice your husband made. I am sorry that you have to fight to get his emblem of faith put on his tombstone. I congratulate you on your victory. You stand as an example to all Americans and the world of what the American spirit is all about. Freedom, equality and the willingness to stand up and fight for both if they aren't freely given."

But no. He didn't do this. What did he do instead? He ignored her. He pretended she didn't exist. He invited her husband's parents and brother to meet with him, but not Roberta. What?

Okay, so maybe it was a mistake. A simple oversight. Not the President's fault at all but the fault of his secretary. Maybe it was. And maybe said secretary just flubbed it. Or maybe he thought surely the President didn't want to be bothered with that woman, but didn't check on it. It seems like the administration likes to do things to curry favor with the President without actually checking. If words can be believed. The VA did make the excuse after all that part of the reason the Pentacle didn't get approved for so long was because they knew the Pres wouldn't like it. But that's really a load of crap too, because this fight has been going on since the '90s and though it may seem like an eternity, Ole Bush Baby hasn't been Pres that long.

You would think at the very least someone would have said, "We better make damn sure to invite that Stewart Woman or she'll be screaming religious discrimination again."

It's really unthinkable that our President said to himself, "You know. If I meet with this woman she'll ask annoying questions. Maybe if I just ignore her she'll go away."
Or that one of his aids or secretary thought that. To think that, and act accordingly would be mindboggling. And mindnumbingly stupid.

Maybe there was no thought involved. Scan the list, come to Roberta Stewart's name, Ohh that's a bad name, skip it and move on.

This administration loves to embarrass itself.

I would like to go on the assumption that this was just a terrible mistake and all the King's men are horribly embarrassed.
I would like that.
Because I cannot fathom that our Commander in Chief is that giant an asshole. And I don't want to try to fathom that anymore than I want to try to convince myself that those eyeball shaped fruits from asia are edible.

Friday, August 17, 2007

More Crazy Pagans in the News

Now, my boyfriend has told me that I shouldn't rant about Pagans on a website for Pagans and I say, why not? Should we not take a good cleansing look at ourselves once in awhile. Besides, when I see a loon, I'm going to call it a loon. I am not going to prance around issues because the people involved happen to claim to be in the same religious family as I claim to be in. If you're crazy, I'm going to say it, and Brenna Barney from Wisconsin is a lunatic.

I just want to point out two pieces of the article. First: He (Officer Babe) said Barney at one point poured lighter fluid on the fire, in which she was burning rubber car mats and a cooler. Barney refused to cooperate with police and was belligerent, and her breath smelled of alcohol, Babe added

Followed closely by the obligatory Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons.

Okay, now I don't want to be one of those people who cries "He's not a real (insert religious affiliation here) because real (insert religious affiliation here)s respect (insert moral value here)." But damn. The article just said it, didn't it? Rubber car mats and a cooler? From a practitioner of a Nature-based religion? Nobody better ever scream religious discrimination on behalf of this lunatic. She is not representative of Pagan religions, any Earth-based religion, and especially not Wicca at all.

The whole burning-toxic-materials-for-an-Earth-based-ritual notwithstanding, she was in her underwear, belligerant, and loud- firecrackers?? *sigh* This was nothing more than a drunken debacle. What makes people do things like this? What white trash planet is this girl from? Here's more from the neighbors

(Of course the doll in the fire bit makes me chuckle since we just threw a man made of old boxes, newspapers and paperbags in the fire on Saturday. But we did it quietly, and far away from any houses, and there were no rubber mats on our fire. People see the dolls get thrown in the fire and freak out. I had a friend who had the cops called on her group when they were doing this on a beach on Lake Huron. Of course, the cops came, looked around and left- no disorderly conduct there.)

It is people like this that make me nervous about having rituals in my back yard. I am not concerned that the church next door or the neighbors on the other side will peep into my backyard and see me dancing around my firepit and call the police until I read articles like this- knowing full well that they might be reading them too. Because until someone acts like a fool and makes a big scene, the police just come, look around and decide that they are wasting their time and go home. When people act like idiots, it gets around, and the police get nervous and show up on the defensive. So I must ask each of you Pagan brothers and sisters- please don't be an idiot!

Thank you.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Long (Wo)man at Wilmington

The Long Man is yet another of those sacred sites reviered by modern-day Pagans, especially Druids, which may or may not have any ancient spiritual significance. There are many such sites. The most famous, of course, being Stone Henge. Whether or not these have ancient significance is really pointless to argue- though it is difficult for one to imagine why they would exist if they didn't- because they are significant today.

Because of this significance, it's not hard to understand why Druids in Europe have reacted with outrage to the Longman's sex change for the sake of a film.

Even if there was, and remains, no spiritual significance to this site, it still has incredible artistic and archeaological significance. You don't have to be Pagan to appreciate the Longman and of the millions who make the pilgramage to Stonehenge, only a small fraction are making pilgramages of a spiritual nature.

The Longman suffers damage every year due to erosion and animal activity. It has been in the care of the Sussex Archaeological Society for almost 100 years and because of its sensitive nature, it's been closed to the public for some time. They are supposed to be caring for it, protecting it. Nobody begrudges them their exclusive rights to the site because everyone can see it for miles around. It's huge.

So why was a film crew allowed access to the Longman? Who cares, let them film there. But my Gods, they let them move the stones around and make him into a woman?? They gave him pigtails and a giant ass for crying out loud. Couldn't they have found a hill somewhere to make a woman on? Did they need to dessicrate this site? Who allowed this? And I hear no money exchanged hands. The Archaeological society just let them go to it without even a proper bribe? Not that that would have made it okay, but it would have at least made sense! The archaeological society says that the activities described as "sitting and laying down" on the monument could not possibly hurt it, and perhaps this is true- but moving the stones? And before that, driving stakes into the ground to mark the areas they wanted to change? Perhaps I do not have a clear enough understanding of this monument to not understand how these activities can't possibly damage it...

When I first heard about this I thought the Druids were being silly, but then I saw the pictures and I joined their outrage. I agree that this film should not be released. It sends a message that it is okay, even fashionable and fun, to dessicrate ancient archaeological sites (religious significance notwithstanding). With all the trouble they have trying to maintain Stonehenge with people trampling all over it year in and year out, you'd think they'd try to discourage that sort of thing on more sensitive sites.

And while I maintain that in this case the spiritual significance of this site is irrelevant, or at least far outweighed by its archaeological and artistic significance, let's talk about its spiritual significance for just one moment. We are Pagans. Paganism is an extremely feminist path in many cases. The ancient sites are often pointed out as being devoted to Goddesses. Even archaeological finds which the average person would simply label abstract are seized upon by the faithful and dubbed "Goddess images". The Longman, however, is one of the few unmistakable male images in the Western Pagan collection of sacred images. And now it's been feminized? The "fashionistas" who have done this claimed it was "empowering". Why do those who wish to be "empowered" insist upon "un-powering" (yes, I just made that up) others?

So, if you're into it. Here's the petition.

And of course, what kind of Pagan would I be if I couldn't laugh at this little outrage. And of course, I'm not the only one. As usual, The Spoof has seized upon this fertile gem
The Onion, however, disappoints.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pagan Perverts

The need for unity in the Pagan community never hits home so much as when you hear about young people being drawn into dangerous situations by the "lure" of Pagan religions. If every community had a Pagan temple, youth groups and youth outreach programs, I believe we would see a great reduction in victimization of young seekers. The problem, I think, is that Pagan religions are made out to be glamorous and mysterious, providing a power that's difficult to maintain and Pagan groups can be selective and are very much family-like once you're in. Young people, full of hormones and angst, may be willing to do just about anything to gain that sort of acceptance, or to gain mysterious, glamorous secrets in their search for identity, worth, and self esteem.

I do not believe it is the Pagan youths who were raised by Pagan parents who are in the most danger. Instead it seems it is those who are curious, experimenting, digging into something new and exciting. A Pagan temple would provide a safe, welcoming place for young people to learn about Pagan religions. It would be staffed by trained volunteers who would be held accountable for their actions.

But we do not have this. Instead, we have a number of "training" sites on the web that require entrance fees. We have a ton of books to wade through, some of which are pure tripe (have you ever tasted tripe?) and many of which shamelessly play up to the whole glamorous/mysterious thing we could simply do without. And finally, we have people who are willing to train young people, for a price. Or, who brainwash them and use them for their own purposes.

Here in Michigan we had a scandal a few years ago when a teacher married a young student in a Pagan ceremony. Well, you see, Pagan religions allow same-sex marriages. But do they allow underage marriages? I dunno. Maybe some do, but in this case, we were talking about Wicca, and I don't think that's part of the tenets. That all being said, what goes along with marriage is sex- so we're married now, it's okay? No. It's not. Adults should not have sex with children. Period.
Here's an article about that

Not long ago there was also an issue with a man who was luring young women to a Pagan commune in Africa. I don't think I need to elaborate on how mindnumbingly horrible that scene has a potential to be. Unfortunately, I can't find that article again. Maybe it never really happened.

More recently we have this guy out in Arizona who has recently been arrested for molesting a girl for six years, since she was six years old. (Can you imagine someone having sex with a six year old? It makes my skin crawl!!!) It's speculated, and not unreasonably so, that he may have molested other girls and that he may have used Wicca to spark their interest and lure them into his clutches.


This, while certainly not being the least of our worries, is not the only danger the new seeker faces. Members of our community are often faced with a confusing variety of conflicting information and many end up paying a bunch of money to charletons. Drugs are also a big problem in the Pagan community. And there are those who claim to be Pagans, witches, etc. who prey on innocent and naive non-Pagans, such as the Salazar brothers . Some organization of the community would provide training and accountability for people claiming to be working under the auspices of the religion. We could create schools and offer certifications...

Now I don't think that organization and building temples is going to solve all of the problems with the Pagan community. Not by a long shot. The Catholic church has its share of perverts and a long history of cheating people out of their money and they are one of the best organized religions in the world (if not the best period). I'm not a big fan of organized religion. But I am a big fan of accountability. Right now no one in the Pagan community is accountable to anyone. We turn our heads away from those we know are guilty and pretend that they have nothing in common with us, and those who might possibly be innocent, we leap to their defense. We can't do this. There must be accountability and I believe that having multi-faith Pagan temples with council governance will help provide that to a great degree.

Another issue that this would solve is the ever-present issue of intolerance. Now I tend to be skeptical when people come to me whining about intolerance. Oh, I was fired because I'm Pagan, it's not because I was always late, or because I refused to honor the dress code, it's because I'm Pagan. Oh, I was evicted because I'm Pagan, not because I had 57 familiars in my one bedroom apartment.... you understand. But there are some cases of discrimination and intolerance that are very real and true. The Pentacle quest for instance, did not received alot of attention until Circle Sanctuary picked it up and got the ball really rolling. Before that it was just a bunch of muttering in dark corners and on Yahoo groups. Here is a case that is clearly discrimination
A temple, a (loosely) unified group, would provide her with backup. Church members could go with her, other people in the community could go to the temple and get more information AND the temple would provide charity services, youth activities, etc. to the community and build a positive reputation giving all of its members a bit more backup.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Soldier and the Pentacle

Now is a time of great rejoicing in the Pagan community, as the VA has finally added the Pentacle, the symbol of the Wiccan faith to their list of approved symbols for veterans' memorials and headstones. Here is a lovely article with a tearjerking picture to go with it from Nevada, the home state of the late Sgt Patrick Stewart and his brave wife Roberta.

Here is a briefer article out of Wisconson, home to Circle Sanctuary.

The statement may seem a bit mellowdramatic, and it feels mellowdramatic as I say it, but it's a serious issue. The United States is built upon the foundation of equality and the VA having the right to chose who is equal and who is not is rediculous. Roberta Stewart will be remembered, and so will those who faught alongside her. Circle Sanctuary and many other military wives and families. Let us especially not forget Rosemary Kooiman who went to her grave without seeing her husband Abraham's properly marked.

Most important is that the VA has admitted that the reason the pentacle wasn't approved after 10 years was pure straighforward religious bias. Beautiful. That is so important because it means that when other Pagans apply, they will have this behind them. When the triquetra, the ankh, the hammer and others are requested, this case will be there to hold over their heads. The Pagan community won't just sit down, because we know that this is a fight we can win, and win we will. And when something else comes up, some different religous bias case, we will have the memory of this victory to stir us on.

And here is the key quote from this article
"When President Bush was governor of Texas in 1999, Katskee said he commented on "Good Morning America" television show that Wicca was not a religion and criticized the army base in Fort Hood, Texas, for allowing the religious group to meet.

"What we found is that they (the VA) took his comments into account and made a political decision, not a legal one to exclude the pentacle," he said."

I knew when he said that it would kick us in the ass. I have never understood how Pagans could support him after he said that (and many do), but clearly it hasn't done him any harm. It has, however, done us harm and we as a community would do well to remember it. I would be very curious to hear his comments now.

Of course, all this press has gained the attention, not only of Pagan bloggers, such as myself, but others as well. Mark Oppenheimer is quick to turn attention away from the issue of religous rights to debunk Wiccan history, but I can forgive him this, because he is, after all, mostly right and he does finish up by pointing out that a religion need not have factual history supporting it to be valid and meaningful. His commenters make similar points.

And the tabloids have gotten ahold of it too. Check out The Sun (I actually really really like this article.)

Echoing another writer's sentiments as I wonder why the US VA has an approved symbols list anyway, here is the list.

Last fall my friends and I evoked Hermes and asked Him to stand behind Circle Sanctuary and Roberta Stewart in this matter and to help all of our voices be heard. I have prayed to Him many times alone as well. I would just like to thank Him. I don't have an eloquent prayer for Him at the moment, but I believe I now owe Him a bottle of wine and some honey. I'll get on that right away!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Happy Feet

So Happy Feet (Full Screen Edition) was recently released on DVD and I pre-ordered it, so it came right away. I hadn't seen it in theatres, but my sister had and she recommended it. The funny thing about Happy Feet is that it's really not that entertaining and it doesn't make alot of sense. And yet, we love it. It's strange. Robin Williams is fantastic in it. He plays a number of characters. Steve Irwin is in it too.


So I wanted to see Happy Feet because there was a controversy. For one thing, the Christian Right had had a brief rant about what a terrible thing it was. Check out the Rooftop Blog and True Believers out of Kansas for some of these views. I had also read on another blog that it had too many heavy issues for kids to deal with, (but alas, I forgot where) that kids should be kids and not have to worry about things like global warming and over fishing. So I watched it, to see why it was so bad. And, let me tell you. Happy Feet is all about Pagan family values. There were some rants about sexual inuendos out there too, and, while there was definately flirting... the whole point was to find a mate and make an egg... the idea of penguins trying to get laid just doesn't offend me that much. Isn't that what penguins do, after all?

It's about accepting people for who they are, about not blindly following the crowd, about seeking truth for yourself and following your own path and it's about the inter-connectedness of things. It illustrates in a somewhat silly way how the actions of humans can affect the lives of other living things. It's very Anthropomorphic, and alot of people don't like that, but I do. I want my kids to see animals as people, because they are our brothers and sisters, all children of Gaia and should be respected as such. Humans are no less animals than penguins. They are no better, no worse and because we feel things differently and so can't understand how penguins feel does not mean that they DON'T feel. The same is true for all living things, even plants.

Last night I went and got my hair cut (all off totally short. Somehow I felt like it was the thing to do since I'm about to embark on a new phase of my life. Going to meet the future in-laws next week, going to sign a joint lease with the boyfriend soon. I like to mark these major changes, and getting my hair cut all off seemed like the right way to do it)


So I went to get my hair cut and the hairdresser asked me if I had only two children (they got their hair cut too) and I said, yes, just these two, and my son corrected me and said, "We have a dog and a cat too." and I said "Oh yes, just these two human children." I like that my children understand that animals have feelings and emotions and are an important part of our family. They will extend that beyond our family into the world at large so that they will care about our eco-system, our food chain, and all those things that are going to be so important to the future of our Earth.

Someone had also commented in a blog that they didn't agree with the way the skua and the leapard seal were portrayed- as villians. But I don't agree that they were portrayed as villians. Certainly not the killer whales ("What are they doing?" asked my daughter "They play with their food, like cats." I replied, and when the penguins got away she said, "That's why Fidget doesn't get to keep her mice very often.") who had boat scars on their backs. They were just animals being animals and animals have to eat. Of course, if they had the fish screaming "No, please don't eat me!" when the penguins caught them it would perhaps have been more balanced!

In the end, the humans weren't really villians either. They were simply ignorant. They didn't understand. And it was a little child who was first able to open the lines of communication. And that is the gift of little children, that they can see things that grown ups have learned to ignore. They anthropomorphise naturally, and that is a gift to a Pagan, since the root of so many Pagan beliefs is animism.

One another note, if you saw March of the Penguins (Widescreen Edition), Happy feet pretty much parallels it for the first half of the movie, except, of course, the Penguins are talking (singing) instead of just making penguin noises. And the narrator mimics the March of the Penguins' narrator through the whole movie. I loved March of the Penguins. But it's the kind of thing you can only watch once.

The end of Happy Feet was very anti-climactic and they all lived happily ever after. I was disappointed there. But what can you do?

Monday, March 12, 2007

The War on Easter

Yes, you knew it would come. In what may seem like a step forward for political correctness, several retail locations and cities are renaming (or rather, re-renaming) their floppy-eared crowd-pleaser the Spring Bunny or the Big Bunny or the March Hare or whatever in order to appeal to a broader audience and avoid offending people. Of course, they have offended people.

As a Pagan, I am not at all offended by the name of the Easter Bunny. I also could care less about Santa Claus and Christmas, for the record. They're nothing but marketing gimmicks anyway. But it one case it was the Jewish community that complained, which is fine by me. I mean, they don't run around insisting that every candlelabra be labelled a menorah, do they? In this case (which is the same as the other case) a the city agreed with the Jewish community when it was pointed out to them that tacking the name of a religious holiday to a city sponsored event could possibly be construed as a violation of the Constitutional separation of church and state. Apparently this took place five years ago. It took awhile for people to notice, but notice they did.

Anyway, one guy is so het up over this issue, he's actually set up a website devoted to just this issue. It's at and you should check it out! I mean, if you don't have anything better to do, of course.

As for my family, we'll be enjoying our Equinox Egg Hunt this weekend.