Thursday, December 6, 2012

Where oh Where have I gone?

Well. I haven't disappeared. However, I don't think I'll be blogging here for awhile. Probably at least until Midwinter, possibly the turn of the year. Currently, I am swamped. My darling infant has turned into a daring toddler AND I am working on several other projects (because I always overbook myself) in those brief moments when he isn't crawling full speed toward disaster, injury or at least a big mess. Not to mention trips to in-laws and other crazy holiday stuff.

For the curious, here they are:

  • I just finished porting the Pagan Michigan website over to a new server because the old one was just too expensive for me. But that's done now. Thank goodness. 
  • I am working on making the Witchipedia more interactive. This involves creating a subsite with forums, a directory of resources, and I'm thinking of doing some fun group activities as well. Thinking. I have no deadline for this. I'm just going to fiddle around with it till I like it then launch it.
  • I am also working toward making The Kitchen Witch Corner more interactive. Like... cook-offs & such. I dunno. We'll see.
  • I am also working on a series of children's books. I am in the market for an illustrator who would like to go 50/50 with me on this project, by the way. I'm looking for black and white coloring book style images and diagrams, plus color cover work. I can do this myself, but I am not a confident artist so it will take forever if I try. This is the most important thing I'm working on right now.
  • I am working on a Pagan Parenting networking site scheduled to launch the first of the year 2013. Anyone who wants to help me out with that would be most welcome. Guest bloggers and forum moderators are especially needed.
  • I train dogs for my "day job". Normally I trying 3-4 a week, but lately I've had more clients than I can handle. Spring and fall are my busy times. I am looking for an apprentice, by the way. In Oakland County, Michigan, to train to take over the after 4pm clients.
So, that's what I'm doing instead of blogging here. I promise to get back in the swing of things in a few months. If you want to be involved with any of my projects, just shoot me an email at and, no I do not need help with SEO or marketing at this time. Only content and moderation.

I am also rethinking this blog. I mean... what's it all about really? I am thinking I would like to make it more personal. A sort of public journal. Would you hate that? I used to blog about dating and college and work and raising wild & crazy kids and people used to laugh. But then people saw themselves in my blogs and got angry. Or people I knew saw too much of myself in my blogs and got suspicious. You know. SO... anyway. I'll sort it out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Where Will You Go When You Die?

Discussing the recent one-year anniversary of my grandfather's death, a friend of mine asked me where the old man was buried. As it happens, my grandfather has was not buried. His body was sent to a medical school anatomy lab to help a new generation of doctors learn how the human body works. When we talk about it in our family, it's as if it was just another adventure the old man's body was taking. Grandpa, who went to work when he was 11 and never graduated High School has gone to college. We haven't got him back yet, but when we do, he'll be in an an urn which will be interred with my grandmother whenever her body finishes its journey.

Anyway, all this got me thinking about what I would like to have done with my body when I go. Being buried is just so boring and cremation isn't very exciting either. No, my body needs an adventure. I was an Anthropology major in college and I really would have liked to study forensic Anthropology (like Bones) but the college I lived near and could afford (not that I really could afford it) had nothing like that. Another college nearby has a field where corpses are laid out in different biomes so students can see how they decay, now that would be cool. But a cadaver lab would be cool too.

My friend told me about a book she read on the subject called Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers that she and her husband both enjoyed, recommended to her by her mother in law. I haven't read it yet, but there's three recommendations for you. It's on my list.

I was there when my grandfather died and there was a state of blessed confusion. (Blessed because everyone was too busy being confused to be overcome with grief, that came later.) Although his will stated his wishes, although we had told the doctors, nurses and chaplain what his wishes were, when the time came to have him sent on his way, nobody was sure how to go about it. We had to contact a funeral home to sort it all out and, since there wasn't going to be a funeral (he did have two memorial services, but no funeral) nobody had thought of this. And since he'd been transported by helicopter to the hospital, we had no idea whether to use a local funeral home, one by us, or one by their house. Meanwhile, grandpa was getting cold.

So I thought it would be a good idea for me to handle as much of the particulars ahead of time. I am working out my will (a free service with my Legal Shield membership) and registering with LifeQuest and I will also consult my local funeral home to make sure everything is in place ahead of time.

But then there's the rest. Where to lay my mortal remains. I'm not sure how much I care about all that... Circle Sanctuary has a cemetery in Wisconsin that's somewhat attractive, but I'm not sure the family wants to travel to Wisconsin on Samhain and Memorial Day. There are several green cemeteries throughout the country but I believe cremation is the ultimate destination for a donated body so I'll let my loved ones figure out what to do with my ashes. If my husband outlives me, I'll probably end up in a storage unit with all of his other priceless treasures he can't find room for and doesn't have any immediate use for...

So... where will you go when you die?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Up From the Archives

Google's switch to this Google Drive thing had me going through my files just because it reminded me they existed. I have lots of files. When I want to write something and I know I don't have time to finish it right away I put them in Google docs and, as often as not, forget about them. So, I'm going through my files and what do I find? Old journal and blog entries(I have had a few blogs and online journals in the past that I've taken down for one reason or another and I apparently stored the contents in Google docs.), stories (mostly retellings of folk tales and myths) and rituals in various states of completion.

So I'm going to spend the next few days putting old journal entries into this here old blog (I hope it doesn't mess up my feed because I'm backdating them properly, they're from 2008. I am not sure how that works.) and putting rituals and stories onto my online Book of Shadows at


Friday, June 1, 2012

K is for Kindle

For Mother's Day this year I got a Kindle from my (amazingly awesome) sister-in-law and I have been reading like crazy ever since. For the past few months my reading has gone downhill. Between the austerity measures that I have inflicted on my household and the lack of space since our new arrival, purchasing a book would mean guilt. I don't handle guilt well. It would also mean that I'd have to think about getting rid of books I already have to make room for more. Since I have hoarder blood, that doesn't set well with me either. I know what you're going to say, but I am also terrible at returning Library books. So, for the past few months I've been re-reading what I already have and borrowing the books the teenager borrows from other teenagers (mostly zombies and Hunger Games).

So you can see why a Kindle is like a miracle to me.  All the books I could possibly read in one slim little volume and all on discount. Some of them are free! The best ones are free! I just spent the weekend dismantling the leaning tower of bookshelf (which was a baby proofing nightmare anyway) and boxing up books to sell at the neighborhood yard sale in two weeks. Yay!

As a Neo-Hellenic Polytheist, I am obsessed with ancient Greek literature and those giant tomes took up much space on my leaning tower of bookshelf. Not anymore!
Check it out.

Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, and Homerica  FREE! Yes, I will have my Kindle with me when next I chant the hymns in their honor!

Those interested in the history of Witchcraft and Witch persecutions in Europe might be interested in A Treatise of Witchcraft by Alexander Robert. Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft by Sir Walter Scott, A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to 1718 and they're charging a dollar for The Malleus Maleficarum (Illustrated). (Be aware, none of these are friendly books.)

Granted all of these free books are public domain, and that's why they're free. You can go to a half dozen different websites and read them. But reading from a computer screen is not the same as curling up in bed with your Kindle. I can even breastfeed while reading it and the little click as I turn the page doesn't disturb the baby like the sound of a paper page turning and he doesn't yell at the Kindle demanding that it show him something interesting like he does the computer screen.

In addition to the public domain books, a bunch of folks have made their Books of Shadows available in the Kindle Store (I am thinking this might be something I'd like to do.) and some aspiring fiction authors have put some books up for free too. Though there tends to be some editing issues, some of them are pretty good. Some more established authors have free Kindle "teasers" out there too, like  T.L. Schaefer's
The Summerland (fiction) and Bob Makransky's Magical Sampler (nonfiction).

I've only had my Kindle for a few weeks, so I'm not prepared to give a lot of recommendations, but I will be doing reviews in the future.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Thoughts on the Infamous Time Magazine Breastfeeding Cover

By now everyone's gotten an eyeful of Time Magazine's latest cover featuring a MILF suckling a 3-year old boy standing on chair. (If you haven't follow the link and then come back here so we can continue this discussion on equal footing.) If you're like me, you had a bit of a shocked and confused initial reaction and then you scolded yourself for being shocked and confused about something so natural and then, if you're like me, you wondered WHY you were shocked and confused. That is, again, if you're like me. And so this post is all about WHY I was shocked and confused and maybe a little bit annoyed by that picture.

I've read the comments and I know why other people are shocked and confused. They see this boy dressed in grownup clothes standing in a grownup stance suckling on a grownup woman and it seems somehow sexual to them. This is not my issue. To me, this picture is not sexual at all. This child is nowhere near puberty and the pose isn't the least bit sexual. It's not even intimate except for the mouth to boob contact and that, I think is one of the things that bothers me. Because nursing is intimate.

It took me a minute to realize exactly what was going on in the picture because the pose is so discordant with the idea of nursing a child in my mind. I have nursed three children now, my mother nursed us all and I was well past the age of knowing what was going on as she nursed my younger sisters and I've never seen such a cold, impersonal, nursing stance. That kid could be nursing off of any woman off the street. When you nurse your child (in my mind) they should be in your arms. You should be looking at them and they at you, not at a camera. (Or their eyes should be closed, rolling back in that blissful state approaching the milk drunk.)  I mean seriously, if you're going to nurse like that, you might as well pump.

This picture is provocative in so many ways. This kid in his cammo pants and his mom almost look combative, challenging. And they don't look challenging to all the "cover your boobs" people; no, the message here is not to people who can't stand the sight of a breastfeeding woman. The challenge is for the rest of us: Those who do breast feed our children but under cover and in the privacy of our own homes; those who wean at 6 months, a year, even two years. The message is, "You are inadequate, you are not the mom I am." And of course, I believe that's exactly what Time Magazine is going for. I haven't read the article (I probably only will if the magazine makes its way to the free stack in the pediatrician's office.) but I suspect that's what it's about- The ridiculous contest this generation's mothers seems to be having to adhere to the most extreme parenting style imaginable.

Now I agree with most of the ideas behind attachment parenting. I always have, even before I knew it had a name (and WHY does everything have to have a name these days?), but parenting isn't a competition. Even Dr. Sears says you have to do what works for your family. My teenagers co-slept till they were 3, but only nursed for a year, until my milk dried up from too much formula supplementation - I had to work to support them and they just didn't have very good pumps in those days. I tried co-sleeping with my current little one, but my back was killing me and he just wasn't sleeping at night. I set up a crib next to the bed where we can gaze at each other and we both sleep perfectly. I feel confident that he and I will nurse much longer than a year, since I now have to work only one day a week and my double electric breast pump fills TWO bottles in 20 minutes flat - especially when I'm engorged after spending 5 hours training dogs on Saturday morning and that's all he needs for the week because I'm with him every other minute. Same mom, different infancies, different moms... well, you get the point. We work with what we've got.

But I digress.

The other thought I had viewing the this image was - she's been breastfeeding for three years and her boobs look like that? Damn genetics. Damn airbrushing.

Still not a freaking contest.

Friday, May 11, 2012

J is for Jewelry #paganblogproject

Many witches and other magic-users wear jewelry for various purposes besides simply adornment. The pentacle worn by many witches symbolizes their beliefs and identifies them to others of similar belief systems. It's also a protective amulet. Other symbols such as Thor's Hammer and the triquetra serve similar purposes, but these aren't the only types of jewelry we witches wear.

Starting with the most basic, the wedding ring is a plain band. An unadorned circle with no beginning or end. There is also the promise ring, often with a Celtic knot design to symbolize two wondering paths that always converge, over and over through eternity, and, of course, the engagement ring with its diamond - the hardest mineral known to man. It can cut through anything, amplifies energy and is virtually indestructible - and don't we all hope our love will be the same.

Many of us also wear a quartz crystal wand on a chain. Quartz crystal wands are very useful in magic as they can be used to cleanse and charge other crystals as well as direct personal energy, so wearing one around your neck, you always have one handy if you need it. However, quartz crystals are also powerful amulets just hanging there minding their own business. They help keep the aura clear and strong, thus protecting the wearer from psychic attack and the affects of others' negativity.

Other crystals are often worn around the neck or wrist in the form of strings of beads. Depending on the size or shape of these beads and how they are strung, this can be a classic, even conservative look that also incorporates the magical energy contained within the crystals. Bloodstone makes a lovely bracelet and can be worn by women to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Beads of jet look quite elegant worn around the neck and protect against attacks of many sorts.

Some stones lend themselves well to being carved into shapes, such as rings and bangle bracelets. Agate can be worn this way to protect the wearer from contagion and poison - including the sort that comes from gossip and the negativity of others. Jade is another that can be carved into a beautiful piece of jewelry all its own for luck and love and it is said that wearing jade while gardening will increase the fertility of your garden plot.

 Many stones are cut and faceted and set into metal rubies, amethysts and of course diamonds are some examples of these. Metals carry their own magical energies as well so consciously combining stone with metal can make for a powerful amulet.

You can find alot more information about metals, crystals and other minerals in the Witchipedia's crystal section.

Remember when you are wearing your magical jewelry that it doesn't work in a vacuum. You must help it along by cleansing it and charging it when its new and wearing it with intention. You must also behave appropriately. Do not expect your obsidian bracelet to protect you in your travels if you habitually drive in a reckless manner!

Friday, March 23, 2012

F is for Familiar

I don't claim to be an expert on familiars or even really and truly understand what they are. I just know I had one, and it was a relationship unlike any other. And now it's over. My familiar was a dog. And while I should probably be writing something educational or profound, instead, I'm going to be writing an ode to my dog. My familiar.

Although I've been a Pagan most of my life, I only got to experience a relationship with a familiar once. Oh we had guardians, spirit guardians on the Astral plane and a family guardian cat that keeps reincarnating into our lives (and haunting us in between). But a familiar? That was something I never really believed in. It was either metaphorical, or something made up for witch hunt evidence.

I got my dog on impulse. I was thinking about getting a dog as we had just moved into a new house after living in apartments all of our lives and my children were eager to get a dog, but I was not in a hurry. Providence brought us to him and we had to bring him home.

There wasn't really anything special about Griffin at first. He seemed healthy, he was friendly and playful. He potty trained easily, he everything trained easily. It was almost as if he could read my mind. One day I was tired and dozed off before it was time for his evening walk. When he came to bug me about it, I just let him out in the yard and groggily thought "I will take you for a walk tomorrow morning before work if I wake up early enough." He did his business and hopped into bed and I gratefully fell asleep for the night. The following morning, before the sun came up, there he was, ready to walk. Griffin was never a morning person. I knew then that he could read my mind.

It was also obvious that he was very tuned into me emotionally. When I became upset he would bark and howl and jump all around like a maniac. If someone I didn't like was around, he would be aggressive toward them, no matter how hard I tried to pretend. Even if I was only temporarily annoyed with someone, Griffin knew and behaved accordingly and was friendly to them later.

Griffin and the Peanut Butter JarHe was about two years old when someone referred to him as my familiar. I didn't think much of it. It was just one of those things that people say to Pagans, you know. I soon realized it was true, but the physical evidence scared me just a little and I didn't share it with anyone for fear of being, well, fluffy.

Griffin really enjoyed being part of my magical working. He always sat at attention in the Circle and I could feel his energy alongside mine. He was never disruptive, and always helpful. My spells have always worked, and they continued to work. I have also always experienced rebound, but that stopped after Griffin started joining me. It was sometime before I realized that he was internalizing it. He began to get sicker and sicker. When I ran afoul of another witch and he made it very clear that he was cursing me, I saw no effects, but Griffin got sicker. He no longer slept at night, his coat became dull, he had trouble walking and his skin was extremely itchy and often covered with sores. He also became more irritable and snappy the more uncomfortable he got.

Although I've done dozens of successful healing spells for other people and their pets, there was nothing I could do for him. I spent thousands of dollars on vet bills, tests and medications. In the end, we couldn't help him and had to put him to sleep.

Griffin did not fight his death and he did not suffer. In fact, those last few moments were the first in a long time that he was calm and not trying to get an itch or moaning in pain. He also has not been back since his death. Having experienced a lot of post-mortem visitations in my life, I found this odd and somewhat painful. Oh I still expect to hear him bark as I approach the door and I still expect to feel his fur on my toes when I stretch out on the couch and my eyes still naturally fall to his nap spot but he is not there even in spirit. I feel a sense of guilt when I take a walk or go for a ride in the car and he's not with me. I feel a whole lot of guilt associated with Griffin.

PhotobucketGriffin changed my life. He is the reason I became a dog trainer. His issues required so many specialists that I soon felt I needed to share what I had learned to help others. He inspired my mother to get her dogs and they inspired her to become involved with various canine related social and charity organizations, which inspired me right back.  Griffin loved me in a way that I have never been loved by anyone. He was always there for me with comfort, affection or a bit of clowning to cheer me up.

When he died, I was devastated and, without him, I didn't know how to cheer up. I didn't talk to anyone about it, because it was too painful. The loss of him coupled with the guilt that I couldn't help him was too overpowering to put into words. I considered quitting my job as a dog trainer, but my boss wouldn't hear of it. He informed me that I had a class to teach and it was either go or be that person who lets other people show up and be left standing. I can't even consider at this point getting another dog - aside from the fact that I have a new baby and can barely keep up with the housework as it is - the idea of bringing another dog into this house, one who isn't Griffin, one who I might love and screw up just as much and have to watch die someday, is just too much. But I do know that one day I will get another dog, and he may be my familiar. But at least this time I'll know it when I see it and I can take the necessary steps to protect him as well as truly enjoy the relationship for what it is.

PhotobucketWell, this whole thing is getting me all emotional, so I'll just end with a brief eulogy. Griffin was a good dog, for the most part, and he was so much more than that to me. He was a friend and a partner. He enjoyed sitting by the bonfire, snuffling around in snow, pestering geese, french fries, and long naps at the end of the couch. And also the accordion, apparently. His life was brief, only 7 1/2 years, but it deeply impacted ours. And though everyone I know says I gave him the best life he could possibly have had given his issues, I still wish I could have given him better.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I Believe...

Posting about fluffy bunnies and the comments I have received has made me think about beliefs. One of the things that people throw out the fluffy bunny phrase over is belief. Either you believe too much, or not enough. As in, those who believe in pixies, unicorns and instant karma verses those who don't really believe in spirits as entities with their own personalities and who scoff at the idea that your magical actions can come back to bite you in the ass. Either one of these can be labeled fluffy bunny and the two of them might just point fingers at each other.

Which leads me to the question, what do I believe?

And, of course, that answer isn't simple.

You see, I haven't led the most traditional life as an adult. I was already divorced with kids when I started college and graduated at the age of 30. I had already experienced my fluffy bunny days and had thought a lot about my beliefs and values and was somewhat set in my ways. I majored in Anthropology and minored in Biology. If you have ever spent any time in academia, especially in the sciences, you know that the cattiness of that community makes witch wars look like the Three Stooges. One thing I had a problem with was belief. That is, what you were expected to believe if you were a scientist and the idea that if you did not believe appropriately, you could not be objective.

In the Social Sciences, the idea is that if you believe too strongly in your religion, your beliefs will cloud your view of the culture you are studying. (Never mind that we've got a ton of really good information about pre-conversion cultures from the Jesuits.) This idea has given license to your various rabid atheists to tear into anyone who is anything but contemptuous of any and all of what they call "superstition".

(The Biology corner had its own annoying rules about beliefs, but it doesn't really come to bear on this discussion so I won't go into it at this time. )

So the time came came that I felt I needed to make a decision. If I was going to pursue a career in science, could I be an atheist? There was no way. I simply did not want to live in a world without magic. I can't believe that all of it doesn't exist. After all belief has a profound effect on societies and the way they interact with the world. To say that people are only affected psychologically- that it is the fear of a spell is the only reason for its effectiveness, for example, that causes its effects, seems awfully disrespectful to me and ignores evidence to the  contrary. After all, haven't I cast spells on people without telling them and haven't those spells been effective?

As a student of science I was taught to base my view of the world on evidence. So how does dismissing things out of hand fit in with the scientific method? And so I decided I would believe in everything, unless I encountered proof that it wasn't real.

So do I believe in Gods? Sure. There's lots of evidence that Gods exist. How bout the Christian God, Jehovah? Sure there's at least as much evidence for him as the rest. I don't think anybody's got it right. Spells? Yep, lots of evidence.

One day my daughter asked me if pixies were real. The very idea of believing in pixies seems incredibly fluffy to me. But was a scientist, right? So I said, "I have never seen a pixie, but I have no reason to believe they aren't real."

Yea. Total cop out. But those four years of college had to count for something, right?

I didn't become a scientist. I became a dog trainer. But my kids might, and I'd like to see the next generation of scientists have minds a little more open then some of the last.

Friday, March 16, 2012

F is for Fluffy Bunny

Fluffy bunny is a derogatory phrase I have heard as long as I've been a part of the Pagan community. I believe it refers to those bright eyed and bushy tailed young witches eager to believe everything they're handed and take it all to extremes. The problem I have with it, besides the fact that it's derogatory, is that I believe we are all fluffy bunnies at some point.

I have been a witch and a Pagan just about all of my life. When I was about 24, newly divorced and newly moved to a new neighborhood, I decided to reach out to the local Pagan community and see if I could make some connections. I answered an ad and joined a Wiccan coven. Understand that I had zero experience with Wicca at this point and really didn't know what it was. As it was explained to me at first, I thought it was what I was. After a few Circles with my new coven I realized that I was not, in fact, Wiccan already. But I was willing to make a go of it, I just needed a little guidance. My questions got on their nerves and I soon learned a new word, Fluffy Bunny. Now I had more experience with herbal magic, kitchen witchery and spell casting than any of them, but I

I see fluffy  bunny trouble in our future
didn't know how to call quarters, was completely mystified by their concept of deity and needed more clarification on the rede. They considered me naive and immature and perhaps it was true when it came to their religion. They confused me, embarrassed me, and made me feel stupid and that was a fluffy bunny mistake I would make over and over. For a time I went by the policy that if you were Pagan, I would be your friend and I got burned by it until I finally got over it.

Spotted a whole busload in Baltimore!
My daughter was raised Pagan and was doing her first spells in kindergarten. My children ate empowered breakfasts over which we discussed the symbolism of their dreams, kept magic charms in their rooms, celebrated every Sabbat at home if not with a group and basically lived as out Pagan as one can. She's 19 now and she is a Fluffy Bunny, stumbling through the challenging task of integrating the beliefs she was raised with with the beliefs of the other Pagans she's gotten to know of her own generation. I cringe just a bit, but what can you do? There really are no two family traditions alike and the established traditions aren't like any of them. So whenever a Pagan child goes out into the world, she's going to experience a little friction with the other Pagans until she finds those few she can comfortably Circle with.

This fluffy bunny terrorist infiltrated
our Lammas celebration in '07
The funny thing is, although we are "out" Pagans and have been my children's whole lives, I can only remember one incident where another child teased my oldest son about being Pagan. The teacher put a stop to it and the principal asked if we couldn't call ourselves something other than Pagan. I laughed and told him we are actually Neo-Hellenic Polytheists following a self-defined family tradition that was hard to define and had no official name. He paled and said Pagan was fine. There was one incident in Girl Scouts when my daughter called another girl stupid for saying that all witches could fly, but that blew over. We have faced very little, if any, discrimination from the general community but from within the Pagan community we have been called fluffy bunnies, puritanical, fake Pagans, posers, etc. In my case it's been more than 10 years since I've had to deal with it and I thought it was dead, but there it is again.

No wonder the economy
is in the toilet
Why is it that those most eager to learn and discuss those things that most conflict with what we already believe suffer the most derision? It's as if disagreeing or questioning the status quo is heretical. I have been told that fluffy bunny is applied only to those who hold tight to those beliefs when they are wrong. Without getting into the discussion of whether anyone knows who is right or who is wrong, I can't help but point out that sharing your conflicting opinion does not constitute holding tight to it. Sometimes discussing different viewpoints can lead to a change of viewpoint, but it doesn't happen all at once. It shouldn't. If you're going to flop your opinion from one short conversation then your opinion isn't worth much in the first place.

Our family, and some of our friends, have embraced the term "fluffy bunny". We have quite a few stuffed bunnies that we take with us to Pagan gatherings and announce that the fluffy bunnies have invaded. These bunnies have had their pictures taken all over the place and sent home with messages like "As expected, the fluffy bunnies are all over Salem" and "uh oh, it seems the fluffy bunnies are attempting to take over the capital". They've become something like a "flat Stanley". We have had so much fun with it that I've been thinking of setting up a website to share our pictures on, but I lost interest when my camera broke. Perhaps it's time I got around to it.

Addendum: I added some of our fluffy bunny pictures, at least the ones I could easily find.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hello Gaia

Before you continue, I am going to drop a SPOILER ALERT for Rick Riordan's The Son of Neptune, though if you read The Lost Hero, I don't think I've revealed anything you didn't get from that book.

As I was reading The Son of Neptune to my infant son (he's not into pictures yet, so he's just as happy to hear my voice go on about Percy Jackson as the Runaway Bunny) my husband asked me "Wow, is Gaia really that mean?" and it got me thinking about the nature of Gaia.

First let me say that I've never been 100% happy with the way Rick Riordan portrays the Gods in his books, but hey, it's fiction and I'm not going to gripe. But back to Gaia.

Mr. Riordan has a few things right, or at least we agree on a few things. Gaia is a sleeping Goddess. She is not a Goddess who spends time worrying about what mortals are doing. Gaia is a primordial Goddess, born of Chaos. The children she created are forces of Nature. She had her husband castrated in order to release them. Then the second generation, the Gods of Civilization, rose up and subjugated them and She created more children to defeat them, and they failed. Then Gaia slept. Meanwhile, civilization grew under the Gods of Olympus.

So, if Mr. Riordan wants to portray her as vengeful, releasing primordial forces in an effort to destroy Civilization and the Olympians, well, I don't see that as so far fetched. Is She evil? No, of course not. She's just Nature and, frankly, Nature would be a lot better off without humans and civilization.

I do, however, think it's kind of far fetched that Gaia would open the gates of Death. (Although I realize it was necessary to release Her children trapped in Tartarus.) Death is necessary to maintain the balance of Nature and I would think that bringing and end to Death would only make matters worse.

So... the answer to my husband's question (from my point of view) is Yes and No. If Gaia awoke, people would die, hell yea. But I don't think Gaia would take a personal interest in who was dying and she likely wouldn't try to use any individuals to accomplish her goals. No, I think she'd simply shake us off like so many fleas and whoever managed to hold on would hold on and whoever didn't, well, that would be it.