Saturday, April 30, 2005

Jubilate, Gaea (Sort Of) (Fnord)

Auuugh. Where to start?

Pantheistic pagany types like myself are no less prone than anyone else to meteorologically based whining. We probably SHOULD be, but, well, we're not.

It needs to stop raining, and it needs to warm up. Period. It is friggin' ridiculous for there to be forecast for hail the day before May Day. (Happy sort-of Beltane, Beltane is today, but we won't celebrate until the third.)

The Artist and I were out at the Boss' Wednesday and Thursday. I also ended up spending the afternoons at BGTysh's, and most of the evenings at CDHSarah's, so I haven't been home all that much -- long enough to pet the kitties, basically.

As CDHSarah has already pointed out, LokiKabbalist is out of the group. We made this decision after the last meeting, when he tried to do the blackest, most left-hand (not being a sinistrist here) meditation and ritual for which I've ever had the misfortune to be present. I couldn't participate, and the visions I had while not participating frightened me badly. I was shaking after he left. I was scared.

I don't scare easy. I've been through a lot of bullshit and a lot of hell in my life, and not much frightens me. Nuclear war, somewhat. The fate of my kitty when he gets out. The idea of losing my parents. But I'm rarely made afraid by individuals. LokiKB makes me afraid now. I've had an ache in the pit of my stomach since Wednesday night that won't go away. I've spent almost every night since then in company, because this whole thing has me in a flutter. But he is a danger to himself and others, that classic shrink line, and we can't continue to ignore it. He has to go, tomorrow night, it looks like, if we can get him into town to let him know that he's out.

Needless to say, I am not looking forward to this.

To channel the energy in a positive fashion, I made a primitive Goddess (I may be selling them for BGTysh before too long), Willendorf-Venus style, for my own altar. I was gonna photograph it to show y'all, but sometime between getting home and going back out, I have misplaced her. (Good on me, but hey, hail Discordia.) When I find her, you will get to see her. She may be in the car, but it's late and dark and wet out there, and honestly I don't really want to go look too much.

So I've spent a lot of time doing nothing the past few days, and made up for it by going in and working a thirteen-hour day for the network's all-jewelry day. I made the serious money tonight, but it did nothing but remind me why I need to work from home sooner rather than later.

But soon there will be rebate checks and books from ET and other goodness in the mail for me, and Eris helped me out and got Comcast to disconnect the wrong service, which means no service interruption for me, so hahahaha jokes' on the universe.

Goddessy goodness soon. In the meantime, give me the love. I have to do another 8 hours tomorrow morning and then kick someone out of my religious group, so I could use it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

God Sent Me A Telegram And All It Said Was Fnord

It's fun to be a Discordian.

First things fifth: CDHSarah has her blog up. The first post as of this writing has not been copyedited because she had to rush out of work today to meet me.

Went to dinner with another who is often mock-accused of being Discordian -- ConservativeWiccan.

Well, first I went to dinner with CDHSarah, actually. We ate fajitas and talked about...girl stuff, I don't know, just hang-out chat about PUF and the people we met and what we want to do next year and how there's some shady shit going on at one of the other alternative religion bookstores in town and how it's fortuitous that we know BitchGoddessTysh and can fall back on shopping at her place, which is smaller, but family-run and not nearly as shady. (Plus, her whole family pretty much kicks ass. She is married to The One and Only Patrick, after all, not to mention having raised the Elf.) Later, I'll post the pic of the fiery Cernunnos I got at her shop to balance out the energy of the passive Green Man over the front door, but I can't get a good shot at the moment.

When I dropped her back at the shop, ConservativeWiccan was there, and as Tysh was in the middle of a consultation, we ended up sitting on the front porch and talking Discordianism, mantras (new mantras huzzah), Cosmic Egg theory, Chinese elemental use, high functioning autism, pantheism versus panentheism, the current nasty undertone of Muslim-hate and how to confront it, parables, and the reasons why people call him a Discordian despite his complete unfamiliarity with the Principia, including his self-confessed desire to have the Gideons bible up the cabins one year before PUF to force people to confront their prejudices. We took the decision across the street, where he got some grub and I got a cherry Coke (the real kind, with grenadine and floating cherries) and the conversation ranged over psychiatric conditions, the human capacity to pigeonhole, and the I Ching some more.

Also, got in a good conversation with Sars about her recent post on Laws With No Names, and told another friend how I use the Net of Eristothanes (set of conditions which can be used to test prime numbers) in determining the magical value of things like measurements. And found out that I'm not alone in determining that ZeShad is Ze Nutbar.

God, thank You for my brain, because without it, I would be awfully bored. Is it this fun to watch TV?

...Lived By The Sea: PUF, Part II, In Which The Lunatic Fringe is Annoying and We All Share Water

CDHSarah says I'm not giving y'all the half of it. Tell her ass to write about it too if she has something to say. ;)


At Oh-my-God o'clock in the morning, when BellyDancingShamanismLady and I were just settling down to a nice long discussion about...stuff...I honestly don't remember what...when out of the darkness wanders a crazy drunken person of the female variety.

ZebraShadows the Nutbar had arrived.

She drank Bailey's. She was loud. She lost her keys in the field. She demanded that we look every time she saw something different in the clouds. We got to hear about her husbands and her drug life and her hookerdom. We didn't get much talking done ourselves. We did manage to talk about a few things, but most of them are lost in intoxication. The psychic vampirism of this woman would not be denied; it was practically palpable. I did manage to get a lot of validation from BDSL on the pathwork I've done this year -- one of the first people I talked through the whole thing who didn't already know me, and that was valuable, but I finally went to bed just to get away from the Nutbar, which I regret, as BDSL ended up leaving before dark and not having a lot of time to talk later, but I have her email, and ZStN doesn't have mine.

There's something distinctly unsatisfying about being pointed in your opinions on introducing yourself by your spirit name or spiritual name when the person it's directed at is too clueless to get that you are, indeed, talking about her. I do think it's a silly practice, generally. I don't usually laugh at the people who do, even behind their backs (except the authors Silver Ravenwolf and Shakti Gawain, because girls, please) because they're all on their own Path, but when your Path is the path of Annoying, I may help you further down it by bolstering the aggravation energy. Or something. Fnord. I managed to stay calm. I actually sat next to her in ritual later that night (albeit not by choice), and it was OK. I just knew not to engage her in conversation after that, because there wasn't conversation, just monologue.

I went to bed and slept beautifully, and woke up just in time for BDSL's first class, "Celtic Shamanism?" I only went because she had given me a heads-up that it was a discussion of the phrase (hence the question mark) rather than a workshop on it, because I have very little interest in that direction. I'm not ready for shamanism just yet, I'm still getting good at being a pantheist and just barely recognizing my potential as a healer.

BDSL traced the origin of the term "Celtic shamanism" back to its verrrrry recent roots, in one of Caitlin Matthews' books. Her objection to the term itself is twofold -- first, "Celtic" refers to a group of languages common among a diverse people. It's a linguistic term that has very little relevance. The Bretons, Manx, Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, and the rest were in no way monolithic; they're distinct cultures with similar customs. Calling them "Celtic" is kind of like referring to Asians as "Orientals". Not politic.

Second, while there are shamanistic and estatic practices in those cultures, there is no "shaman" figure. It's an example of one of the major downfalls of writers in the field -- and I know this is a logical fallacy, but I don't have my symbolic logic text to check which one -- that they will take a model from one culture and interpret another to fit that model as if it has historical significance, instead of studying and judging each path individually. You can be a shaman who practices "Celtic" in terms of your pantheon or field of study, but that does not mean there was a previous history of that which somehow "validates" you. You have not rediscovered some lost art or joined some great tradition. Which is OK. Look at me, I don't have a tradition to fall back on. But then, I don't claim to, or feel I need one. I know the Principia was written less than 50 years ago and that Robert Heinlein never intended to start a religion. Doesn't make the things I've incorporated less valid because there's not history backing them up.

Shamanism incorporates four distinct practices: possession by spirits, spirit journeys, faith healing, and estatic practices. In a true shamanic tradtion (Native American, for instance), these four practices will be the province of an individual or group of individuals, in toto. "Celtic" societies were too stratified for that; some of these were available to everyone, some not. You cannot equate a Druid to a Native American shaman, it's just silly. Were there shamanistic practices? Yes. Were there shamans qua shamans? No. There were not. Not until Caitlyn Matthews decided she wanted to sell more books. Go ahead, be a shamanistic practictioner in a "Celtic" pantheon, but don't tell me in all earnestness that you're in the "Celtic shamanic tradition", because there ain't one. There's barely a second generation yet.

Now, what were these shamanistic practices, and why weren't there shamans? Society was too stratified for that. Each role was usually filled by one group, with little overlap.

You do find all four elements. On the spirit possession side, there were the felidh, or vision poets, who were Divinely inspired, it was believed, when they spoke poetry. The spoken word being so important in terms of its power, those who could extemperaneously compose in the torturous forms of Gaelic poetry, for instance, were considered to be doing a holy thing and imbued with a holy power. There is evidence of rituals inviting Gods to assist in this inspirational process, but the historical record isn't definitive on whether or not it was considered or followed the standards of what is considered true possession.

Tarbhfeis, imbas forosna, and dichetal di chennalb were the main estatic practice-type things; these were vision quests which one couldn't be a felidh without first grounding in, but they weren't limited to that. (We ran out of time on this topic, but I have the name Nora Chadwick in my notes out to the side, so I'll have to check that out. The Artist has the bibliography for that class, and I have to cadge a copy.)

Spirit journeying was an all-invited affair for those peoples, however; anyone was considered to be able to step into the spirit world due to its extreme proximity, and these things often happened purely by accident. The stories of people who went under the hill and emerged hundreds of years later are innumerable. Specific rituals existed to help someone control going in and coming out of the shadow world. The three types of spirit journeying known to them were aishling, prophetic dreams where people ventured out-of-body in sleep; eachtra, the spiritual journey to the underworld, and immrama, the physical journey to Tir Na Nog (one name for the Otherworld, the Summerlands part). Since they believed for the most part that Tir Na Nog was both across and under the ocean, periodically people would take a journey onto the ocean and come back with tales that seem to eerily mimic the practices of some of the islanders on this side of the globe. (Insert Twilight Zone music here). There was also animal metamorphosis, which everyone had the potential to do, but was mostly the province of the Fianna (think Finn McCool). For those who don't know that story, think of the Rangers in Tolkien -- spent all their time in the woods until winter came, then found a tribe to take them in for the winter. They often told stories of becoming deer or other creatures.

Of the healing and faith healing information, almost none remains. The Church historically disapproved of herbalists and healers, preferring people to get their healing from Church-approved sources, but there are veiled references to spirit healers and people who got killed later for it whose stories are recorded in monastic texts, as well as the odd tale of a Christian who had to resort to using the herbwife for healing.

After that invigorating discussion, we decided to venture into town, thinking we were going to get all-you-can-eat quail. When that turned out to be Tuesdays only, we elected for Cheeseburger Charley's instead. Only problem was, the Artist was navigating, with PerryfromtheArmy and the Champion following.

We got through a light and there was a black car following us, but it was the wrong one. And we were on the wrong street. We found our way there, and then they found us there (They had turned off behind another red Cavalier, one that was, curiously, going the right way). We had a good lunch, and headed back, them to Ritual Prep, me to children who were logy from the drizzle and basically just wanted to watch Shrek until they decided to fingerpaint. A birthday party and attendant cake for one of the teens broke up THAT activity, Eris be thanked. Without a table, it's not really a good idea. Shortly after that we got littluns matched up with parents and went to the feast.

The feast, the feast. Like the church dinners of my youth, with less macaroni and casserole dishes. I ate a lot of roast and a shitload of the Artist's famous potatoes sans meat and some of my favorite Jello salad that my mom makes for me with the pistachios and marshmallows. Yummy, and excellent. (Can I mention how cool it is to go to an event like this and, say, accidentally leave your REALLY REALLY COOL pint glass in the great hall, for hours, and have NO ONE touch it, much less stroll off with it?)

After dinner, the people from Adventure Wicca did their Flower Power/Give Peace our Chants ritual.

Now, I will confess. For all my hippie-dippie tolerance crap, I actually have very little patience with Wicca, generally because the practictioners are all so earnest and gung-ho It just leaves me cold, Wicca does. I like Wiccans, but I rarely feel at ease in their rituals the way I did at, for instance, the blót. Perhaps it's because myself, I am not terribly ritualistic. I rarely need to cast a circle, because I carry my circle and my sacred space with me everywhere I go. I rarely use ritual tools, preferring literal representations of the elements to athames and chalices. A really earnest, overly memorized Wiccan rite feels to me about like how I used to feel when the Artist and I had to go to church with his mother and people would "get the Spirit" and start speaking in tongues; I don't doubt their faith, or the reality they create therewith, but generally it just makes me kind of fidgety. But the whole approach of Adventure Wicca is kind of Church Camp Wicca -- lots of singing and fellowship and good stuff, lots of laughing, nothing too terribly ridiculous and a healthy sense of humor. I approve of this approach to Wicca.

The Artist, CDHSarah, LokiKabbalist, and the God of Starfucks (that better, CDHSarah?) were all working in the ritual; the Artist cleansed the space with salt and water, and each of the others called a corner. (I hung out with the girl who called the other corner, who was also one of the horn maidens at the blót, but I don't remember her name or really anything descriptive about her, so she is now IvoryDressChica.) The folks leading the ritual, O'Gaea and Canyondancer (see what I mean about sacred names? They always sound SILLY to me. The people were perfectly nice, but I don't even think I could call CDHSarah "CDHSarah" all the time without laughing my ass off at myself because it sounded silly) called the Lord and Lady. By the point where we were all repeating "We are between the worlds," I was wondering if I needed to leave the circle, because with my somewhat elitist dislike of the hippy-dippy Wiccans, I wasn't sure I was adding anything positive, and that's pretty close to a sin, for me, personally.

Before the ritual, fake daisies had been passed out, and Patrick came in his ritual garb like the worlds' oldest male flower girl, throwing the extras, which was worth seeing. (I think this ritual may be going up at the AdWicca site at some point on video, but no promises.) We sang Waltzing Godzilla, then passed flowers. Campfire songs rule, y'all. I was OK after that. I was raised on Church Camp, and PUF is like that, only with more smoking and swearing and sex, because it's mostly grownups. And I do love to sing. There were a couple more songs, these more serious; we did a three-part Goddess chant consisting of Goddess is Alive, Magic is Afoot/We all Come From the Goddess/Isis, Astarte (all semi-well known simple chants), and then their Jubilate, Gaea, which is a rewrite of a Lutheran tune, I believe, in a round, passing flowers on between each song. I was feeling pretty good by then -- and then when the Artist came and presented me with cakes and ale (gingersnaps and apple juice, since this was a family ritual) while telling us all "Never hunger, never thirst", I was beyond OK (and pretty wowed that that had been in the ritual as written and wasn't his suggestion during ritual construction, when I found the fact out later), and even managed to give the friendly embrace to ZStN that was required by politeness, with much more friendly love for Bethums and ThomaswiththeFang(Earring). We were instructed to keep our flowers (hence the use of fake ones) until the time came to pass on the peace and community with which we had infused them.

After ritual, Skinny White Chick was playing, but we didn't listen to a lot of her show because we were all really, really tired, and as the weather had gotten bitter, we had been instructed to move our things down to the main hall for sleeping -- BitchGoddessTysh's brother apparently died of hypothermia complications, so she's super bitchy (in a good way) about we tenters who think we're immortal -- and, since the dance for the evening had been cancelled due to extreme freezing -- the Artist, king of the shirtless ones, was wearing 2 shirts and a blanket -- we knew we had a drum circle to prep for.

When we came down for the drum circle, SWC and her manager, who also taught the Poi Spinning class this weekend, were doing their fire-spinning outside to the tune of the drums inside. The Artist, fire sign that he is, went into active trance almost immediately. It's rare that we hear him speak tongues. This did it. He's going home and making poi, because he saw in his trance the rituals he could do with fire-spinning (the Artist is shamanic, and a dancer), and saw that they were good. Since he'd been nigh-on pissing everyone off with his attitude for most of the day and not-quite-right even after ritual, this was a goodness. He was raised Charismatic and (lucky bastard) goes into trance easier than any of us because of it, even though sometimes it's scary when you realize how far out he's gone. (He was speaking fluent Japanese at one point, or I'm a monkey. Wait, I am a monkey, I was born in 1980. But trust me. That was Japanese I heard.)

Once the fire-spinning was over, I went in and warmed up and talked to EphiWitch while gumming up the heat from the oven until I was sufficiently thawed to drum and dance. And drum and dance we did, from 10 at night 'til 4 in the morning. The Artist stayed in active trance, and I went there...drummed blisters on my fingers without feeling it, feeling all my anger drain away into the drum and become happiness in the circle.

It's weird about a drum circle. Even when you're in a hurry to get out of the way because you need water/a cigarette/another pair of spoons, you dance as you're hurrying, and you keep dancing until you leave the circle. I didn't see a single person walk straight out of that circle all night.

So I danced with the beautiful CDHSarah, and the beautiful bellydancers (not BDSL, but another), and LovelyGeorgiaGirlFromTribe, and everyone else. Even though my throat was sore, I ululated and howled and chanted until I couldn't any more. I kept trying to sit down, then dragging my body back onto the floor and dancing frenentically again until I reached the other side. As soon as drums were through, we all sacked out next to the fire, and I slept so deeply and well that the next morning I was poked by an interested party who claimed people had been walking around me for 2 hours without my so much as turning over, and they wanted to make sure that I wasn't dead. I wasn't happy about being woken up, but I was hella all right, even with blisters and aches and pains of various sorts. I just didn't give a damn.


Nothing worth talking about really happens on the last day of camp. It's a "Where's my...Where did she go...Whose is this?" sort of thing and always is. There was a bit of personal drama from the high-stress occupation of getting out of camp by noon, which, again, there always is. We all said goodbye, those of us that hadn't already, and rescued the Chihuahuas from the rafters.

Let me explain the Chihuahuas. Every year at PUF there is apparently a different animal mascot, and in recent years it has become a tradition that, over the course of the weekend, the "mascots" (dolls and toys) end up "dead". This year a Chihuahua ended up in the microwave, duct-taped and drowned in a sink, and all the remaining Chihuahuas got hung from the rafters during the group sleep-in. It's pretty fucking hilarious, actually; whoever finds it gets on the staff channel and lets them know about the "casualty". The Artist and I were packed and on the road before noon, home shortly after with just enough time for raucous listening of mix CD on the way home, and I went to work at six croaking, but still dancing slightly. Today I was too croaky (edge-of-voice-loss croaky) to go in, so went to the clinic and got a Z-pack (Z-pack=My Hero) and spent the entire rest of the day hanging with Elf, BGTysh's son, at her shop. Also, I have a line on a used drum! Woo!

Other than suspecting that I have Australian Huntingdon's Chorea (where one cannot stop either listening to Waltzing Matilda or dancing), I am just great. And I have been saying the words "jumbuck", "coolibah" and "billabong" for days as a result. (Doesn't having "a jolly jumbuck in your tucker bag" sound horrendously dirty?)

When I told ParceDaddy (who is, shall we say, not all about his daughter's "heathen" tendencies -- he called me that jokingly when I was 17, I don't actually practice heathenry -- that I had drummed for six hours and chanted and that's why I sounded like a frog, he asked me if my daddy's Cherokee blood had anything to do with that. And, you know, it just might...although the thought of my cracker-ass daddy at the drum circle is just funny to me, I could totally see my granny there if she weren't Church of Christ.

PUF is through, and now I'm so pumped for Beltane it's not even funny. If I have a drum, I might not even care about being celibate.

Hope Pesach was happy for the Pesach-celebrators. I know I'm happy, and I'm running a slight fever, so everyone else ought to be gravy. Feel free to ask for elaboration if you have additional questions -- some of these posts are a bit jargony and I'm not trying to alienate, but educate...especially since CDHSarah and I are both plotting how we might get to teach next year instead of doing the children's cabin activities all weekend.

Hope I did it justice. Questions? Answers? Comments?

Monday, April 25, 2005

PUF The Magic Festival...:Part I, In Which We Study Heathenry And Sing Songs

OK. Sounds like my loyal readers want the whole thing.


Since the group was basically going up there en masse, we all stayed at CDHSarah's the night before we left. So I woke up Thursday morning, already basically packed since I was riding with the Artist, and showed off the "We're Going To PUF" mix CD -- featuring such greats as "Whiskey in the Jar" (real one, not Metallica), "Scotland the Brave", "You're Drunk", "Pick a Bale of Cotton" -- good roading songs -- along with classics like "Fire Water Burn" and "Many Men (Wish Death)", and new ones like the Bauhaus version of "Spirit in the Sky".

We were basically ready to go an hour before we left. I came home, gave the kitties last-minute, emergency skritches, picked up an extra blanky or two, and hopped in the Artist's car.

The campsite is less than an hour outside Nashville, close to Dickson, at Montgomery Bell State Park. We got there, said "Hello" to BitchGoddessTysh (who is married to Patrick, who will figure in this tale later) and asked where she thought our group should go, with 2 large tents, a hammock, and a pavilion tent.

We snagged a key spot inside a circle of trees right next to the shower rooms. I was sleeping in the pavilion, which had not yet arrived, so I sat on my yoga mat and read The Boomer Bible for a while.

PerryFromTheArmy showed up and tented near the Artist's hammock -- he's a former scout, now a call center slave by myself, who came up to take some classes and experiment a bit with his path. He's probably going to be the next member of the group if he wants to be. We hung out and talked stuff until the pavilion tent showed up. Once we got that in place, we all just kind of wandered about, running into people, talking about how we were going to juggle the children for maximum class-availability. Not a lot goes on Thursdays as a rule, and we found out the stove won't get quite hot enough to boil water when our macaroni was an hour late. We also saw the rain coming in and ended up in the pavilion tent quite early, just hanging out and talking with PftA, and eventually I crashed, to wake up and have the beautiful shower to which I made reference.


Friday was busy-busy -- we got up early, had bread and fruit for breakfast, and headed over to the Children's Cabin to get child-care started and kids checked in. Once checkin was over, I headed out to Germanic heathenry class, taught by Swain Wodening. This was a basic class, but I still have an assload of notes (mostly for the Artist's benefit, as he was going to the ritual construction class and I wanted to trade), and I'll try to condense.

Heathen derives from the Latin for Country Dweller. Germanic heathenry covers a lot of different groups -- the pre-Norman Angles and Saxons, the Icelanders -- a whole list of groups my pen gave out in the middle of. There's not a plethora of information on this stuff because of monastic repression and later CoE interference with the same monks who had copies of the sagas, etcetera. These people use a Norse pantheon and have 2 major rituals, the blót (sacrifice ritual, either blood or mead, usually the latter in modern times), and the symbelle, which is not precisely a deity-based ritual but instead a community-building ritual, where the community gathers to toast first the Gods, then their ancestors, then their friends and family, and continues with the toasting as long as the spirit moves. (I successfully compared this to a Quaker meeting w/o all the silence, and made Swain laugh.) The toasts after that fall into 2 groups: gielp (from which we get the word "yelp"), meaning "bragging", where one recites one's family line and one's great deeds (Swain said a lot of the hall scenes in Beowulf contain classic examples of gielp, but I haven't read it since 8th grade), and beot are things you wish to do, which you commit to by stating them at symbelle (which binds your community both to help you, and to give you encouragement if you begin to fail, forget or back out. Information about the blót comes primarily from the History of the Danish Kings, and shows up in the arrangement of Anglo-Saxon Christian feast days prior to the Norman invasion...they blended Catholicism with their own rituals, and were "corrected" later by the Normans, who wrote down a lot of the "corrections" they imposed, which allows modern scholars to trace back exaclly what was going on.

The Germanic peoples had 3 primary "holy ties", or feast times -- Winter Nights, which lasted 4-5 days around October, Summer Day, which is pretty much Beltane and became Walpurgisnacht in the Christian feast calendar, and Yule, which they celebrated for 12 nights, beginning with Matersnacht, Mother's Night.

Roman soldiers in the area, the "Celtic" peoples, and the Germanic also shared the "Cults of the Mothers," altars featuring matrilineal histories of tribes which appear on Hadrian's Wall, as well as in about 1000 other scattered sites, often with the same names in different languages. Swain also discussed types of deities in Germanic tradition, letting us know that while the assir (sky gods -- Thor, Woden, &c) were the same across a large geographical area with only slight differences in pronunciation, the vanir (fertility gods -- Frigg, Freya) had less crossover and were more likely to be localized, and that went double for the landsvaater (elementals and nature deities), some of which also became Christianized saints later, including St. Walpurga and St. Lucia.

The Maypole that one still finds for Summer Day or MayDay was probably the irmunsul, or holy site of the Sky Father -- we have records of them being cut down, and villages used to steal them from each other.

He discussed in brief saythe, which is not precisely a heathen rite and comes from only one Icelandic saga which only gives the outline -- it's a divinatory rite involving semi-possession by the Gods (similar to the priestesses of the Delphic oracle, except theirs was a primary possession where the God speaking spoke in first person, and saythe involves a communion, with the person's individual spirit still present.) This rite belonged primarily to women, because women are all holy in the Germanic tradition -- at symbelle women must touch and drink the mead first before it's served, to sanctify it. A holy woman experienced in saythe (there's a name, but I wrote it down phonetically), advised people re: wyrd orlog and the future.

Wyrd is a hard concept, because it means both the Void and something similar to "world's karma. -- it's controlled by the Norns, similar to Fates, who are Wyrd (what has come), Werthende (that which is becoming), and Scyeld (that which is obligated). The Norns hang around the World Tree, Yggdrasil, and water it from one of the three wells at its base, Wyrdsbyrn. While watering it each day, they "speak orlog", which sets basically the primary layer of reality with which the people of the world will cope that day (it's a neat tie-up of free-will vs. predestination IMHO, because orlog is predetermined but what you do with it is not.). The deeds you have already done go into the well, which means at some point they will be drawn up again and you will face them and their consequences. The Norns also attend most births to set a person's individual orlog (except for certain heros where the Norns got overruled by the assir), This is the Old Norse model; the Angles and Saxons had the "loom model", more similar to the Greco-Roman Fates -- the Goddess Frigga spins the threads of life (or so we infer, as we have nothing that states that directly) and gives them to Norns to weave. Because your thread can be woven back into the tapestry once it's cut, there is a primitive form of reincarnation, where a descendant may receive an ancestor's orlog and fetch (totemic spirit) -- their soul was complex, so orlog and fetch could be passed on while main stayed unchanged in Valhalla.

That's most of the information I got from that class, which was a shitload. After that, I went on child care until lunch, and that's really boring. I colored a Green Man and helped make crafts, then went and ate turkey and cheese sammiches in the pavilion and dried out my socks.

After lunch it was back to child care again, this time with BellyDancingShamanismLady and BigMrChris: we sang "The Waves Over the Ocean Roll" and painted faces, and just about the time my head was about to explode, it was time for the "Conversations with an Eclectic Black Witch" class.

This was not really a class, just a discussion of EphiTraditionWitch's class, and of what she's experienced of the racial rift in the Pagan community -- it is a truth that there are very few people of color who come out to participate in things like PUF, or shop at some of the local stores. She talked about Ephi (I think that's the spelling) which is the base religion from which Santeria, Vodon, and those Diaspora religions come, in very, very brief, but more than that she wanted to talk about her personal path, and where she has been led by allowing herself to listen to orisha (spirit) -- how she didn't even want to come here, but once she accepted it, the situations fell out so that she basically had to show up and teach. Ephi is very like many other pagan tradtions -- use of herbs, importance of solar and lunar time, and candle magic. That class got truncated by an extreme blowing wind, so I spent more time talking to her over the course of the weekend, and we have a tentative date to sit and discuss Ephi in more detail, which I will, of course, share. Patrick got there about then -- way back in what seems like a previous life, Patrick was my boss; I worked for his smoke shop -- and there was kissing. I heart Patrick and have missed him more than I realized.

I got back to get the kids packed off to dinner, went down, ate tacos, and went and got the pavilion tent ready for more rain (predicted) before the nightly ritual, which was a non-blood-related blót done with mead. Swain and his wife, whose name I do not recall at the moment, did the ritual with some help from BDSL and a few other folks -- the circle was cast to Thor and Ing, we were all cleansed with mead (thrown off a clump of leaves), and then the horn was passed by the horn maidens, and we all said Wassail about fifty million times. The Artist was very blessed by this (he had been in a bad mood alllll day because after his nap he woke up with an insect sting that swelled his lip up to twice its normal size). It was a good ritual, but after that I was so tired I almost skipped drum circle. Which would have been a mistake.

The weather was clear, so we went down to the firepit beside the lake for drum circle. One of our friends, the before-mentioned Champion, was the facilitator, with CDHSarah and StarFucksGod casting a simple circle before then. The Artist had brought "drum lubricant" (blackberry wine, kasher for Pesach), of which I, of course, only had the TINIEST bit, and the Champion talked about how we were creatures meant to make noise before we drummed for 2 1/2, 3 hours. We did the Fire Chant 2 or 3 times. We did "We All Come From the Goddess", which is kind of the Pagan-campfire version of Kum Ba Yah in that everyone pretty much knows it or can learn it in under five minutes. I thought I was tired. Then I danced, and when I was too tired to dance and my hands too sore to drum, I fell into a chair, was handed the tambourine, and beat it on myself, and CDHSarah's ass, and the Artist, and anything in reach. The rain gave us a false start, which was enough to end drum circle so the drums didn't get ruined. At literally the last minute, I got told that BDSL and the rest of the "Moonie" camp (they believe in the showing of man-ass over at that camp) had invited me to come smoke shisha, the fruit-molasses dipped tobacco I haven't gotten to smoke in forever. which is smoked through a hookah. Between the blót and the fire dancing, the Artist's lip stopped swelling and returned to its proper size.

Since that was technically Saturday, you'll have to wait until next post to find out about ZebraShadows the Nutbar and all the other good stuff from Saturday and Sunday. I need to get dressed and go get something for this cough.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Waltzing Godzilla

Normally when someone tells you that she is dirty, hungry, tired, has been wearing the same pants since 4 AM Friday (at 2 PM Saturday), has blisters on her fingers and aches in every identifiable body part and muscle group (including small bruises on most extermities), and smells like a satyr...wait, that doesn't happen normally, because most people don't tell that. But if this anonymous someone did, you'd probably think s/he wasn't thrilled about the whole deal.

You would be incorrect.

PUF rules. Supreme.

What did I do this weekend? I watched a bunch of little girls, which means that I sang, fingerpainted, colored, made coin purses, covered booboos, lifted little hands up to sink level to wash and little faces up to mirror level to admire their facepaint. resolved know, child care.

I smoked cigarettes. I kissed UnkyDunky every time I saw him. I kissed Patrick almost every time I saw him, when I wasn't loudly promising to give him head. I smoked other things. I drummed. I danced. I sang. I beat on a table with spoons. I chased CDHSarah around the fire dance smacking her in the ass with the tambourine, and she laughed so hard she nearly fell in the mud. I have hit every part of my body I can reach in order to make noise this weekend.

I hunched around an oven with my hands out to the warm, talking about dreadlock-stereotyping with a Black witch in the Ephi tradition. People gave me free cigarettes. People brought me back Coke from the store in my own, easily portable, bottle.

I got hugged. I got kissed. I got feted. I found out one of my close acquaintances with whom I'd had only random contact got a job at The Network on third shift, and we spent a long time wrapped in blankets on the porch, trashing the program hosts to hell and back. I took classes in Germanic heathenism and Ephi and dissected the "Celtic shamanism" movement with a scholar of the Celts in a public discussion. I spent much of the night smoking shisha (not hashish, look again) and talking to her about everything and its mother, which went on until Oh-myGod-o'clock in the morning (which in turn is my new favorite phrase.) Patrick told me again (during head-massage) that I have healing hands, which is always nice to have reaffirmed.

I sat through a very hippie Wiccan ritual -- one of the ones that usually leave me cold, if not actively fidgeting -- without feeling disconnected -- I thought the Artist had added the touch of Heinlein in it, but turns out it was written in. I met BellydancerLady and BigMrChris and Bethums and Swain and HexCraftGuy....and ThomasWithTheFang, MikeTheEMTGuy, CCTheBroomLady, Zebrashadows the Nutbar, and PerryFromTheArmy. I got lost in Dickson, and found again. Plus, the aforementioned Wiccans taught me the song referenced in the title.

I got to be a peculiar type of warm I've never been before...waking up in a tent, misted because I was too close to the pegdown, and electing to get in the shower at 4 am, run it for twenty minutes, dress for the next day, mummify myself in hospital blankets, run ten yards or so back to the tent...then snuggle in next to the Artist under the down waterproof sleeping bag, because he had crawled his exothermic ass onto my air matress when he woke up and saw I wasn't in it. Mmmm.

I had a total Beowulf moment last night, when BitchGoddessTysh had determined it was too cold for any of us to tent, and told tenters who weren't being put up in cabins to sleep in the Hall, which meant we were sleeping in front of a fire, in a Great Hall....with the remains of a feast still visible on the table. After the quasi-blot on Friday, it was awesome. In the original, not the surfer, way. Of course, in Beowulf, your friends' guts are hanging from the rafters instead of stuffed chihuahuas, so I'll take PUF.

I got home, and it's Round Three for GetupGrrl

I did so much stuff, I really can't summarize. Tell you what...comment on what sounds most interesting and I'll tell y'all 'bout it. In the meantime, I need clean clothes and warm socks, and ET needs love.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Because I Don't Have My Own Thoughts

Well, of course I do. But today they're all at the bottom of the Maslow hierarchy: "Where food? Where sleep? Why so cold in springtime? I want my bed/pizza/blanky."

So today I am going to share the things that have made me laugh out loud recently...

Sars combats racism and bad grammar over at The Vine.

The American Idol recap that describes the song Bohemian Rhapsody perfectly. I read that recap 2 days ago, heard the song on the radio driving to work, and nearly did a spit take. I'm not going to tell you what quote I'm talking about, because if you RTFR you'll totally get it, or know that you are clueless.

The Ren Reb and her pre-Pesach tantrums cracked me up.

The ongoing saga of GetUpGrrl's meditation class over at Chez Miscarriage is great.

Vote for Christopher Walken, right now.

I'm out for now, y'all. To keep yourselves happy, go to Go Fug Yourself and read the latest Letter from Britney. Actually, read them all. That ought to keep you busy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

OK, OK, So That's Funny

A poorly caricatured Mob boss telling Amy Brenneman (of Judging Amy "fame", that she "looked like she was hungry" and that's why he sent her 50 lbs of raw meat...that's funny. (Because girlfriend could use a cheeseburger. Or three.)

Totally "face"-ing one of the senior sups when she couldn't remember the word "traitor" to define who Benedict Arnold was? That's hilarious.

Playing the "Are you calling me fat?" game with another sup just long enough for her to think I was serious? That's heeeee-larious.

Nearly giving the same sup a heart attack when putting a customer on hold and venting at the held call about the myriad consequences of calling me stupid one more time (when said sup thought I was still on phone with customer, but was actually holding for another agent)? Not to be precious and quote commercials...but that? Priceless.

Also priceless: the sleep I wasn't getting at 5:30 am when the MK decided that the "cool place" to be in the house head. While yowling. At, apparently, nothing at all. Which started off the kitten on a rampage of "I can see the birds, but I can't get out the window, so I will sing to them of my prowess as the Huntress".

Being a kittymom is tough. I can't imagine being a kidmom. Or a Ren Reb for that matter.

Y'all be good. (By the way, the card for yesterday was the Page of Cups, and for today and tomorrow, the Devil, which is overconcern for physical and material things...kind of interesting, considering that I started out today with $11 and that's all I'm going to have, until Friday.)

I'll update later on the new issue of Bitch and all the goodness therein, but for now, do what I can't do from my current location, and go look at the Dirty Tarot.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Don't Try to Be Funny...

I'm not in the mood for funny. Even To Sail Beyond the Sunset can't stand up to this foul mood.

Jack McCoy is badgering the crap out of a doctor who's faking mental illness to get away with killing a dude. The fact that what he's doing would never be allowed in court is completely irrelevant to the fact that I? Love Sam Waterston.

I actually got to watch Desperate Housewives last night and loved it. I loved it already, from the recaps, but now I love it even more. KimberBree being a big old homophobe kind of bothers me, but it's to be expected from her character.

New episode of Law & Order with Lenny, so I must go now and pay slavish attention to the box, and not my customers, because with few exceptions, I hate them.

(But I don't hate the numbers my sup just emailed me...nearly $800 on the long-held commission check, which is just about enough to pay off the apartment manager. Someone remind me to check my Tarot when I get home and see if today was the ADJUSTMENT card.)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Persistence of Memory: A Conservative Made Me Think...

No, I'm not harshing, I'm shouting out the latest post over at Irina's, sort of a thought experiment about amnesia which got me to thinking about my own memory loss. (And I swear, I wrote my title without even looking at hers, because I was reading quickly due to ass-early reveille tomorrow. Great minds...)

There are parts of my life missing, reduced down to a few hazily remembered fragments. I didn't have a childhood horrific enough to make a bestseller out of, but I did have sort of a Cat's Eye time of it in school.

If I think about it, I know I got paddled in fourth grade, for cheating, and detention too. I don't remember if I actually cheated or not. I don't remember getting hit. The only piece of that memory I have is that at some point afterward I sat in a beanbag chair and read a book about cats while I was waiting for my mom to come rain down the wrath of God on me. But I don't remember that rain.

There are a lot of things in my life, repressed I suppose, that I reduce only to a tiny fragment of memory -- that is the only part of that experience that I can relive, that isn't just a story about someone else.

In more recent years, there are legitimate holes in time in my memory, times I don't remember at all, times that what stands for memory could quite possibly have been a dream. Luckily, there aren't many of those.

This is a function of my disease, and to some extent the drugs they use to treat it. It is the thing I hate most about the reality of my circumstances.

More and more often now I'm aphasic, "seeing" simple words in my head (for those who are interested, words in my head appear in Courier font) but being unable to say them for the life of me. Being a verbal and literate person, this drives me bugshit.

The memory loss mostly relates to events rather than facts. I can call up most anything I've read a few times in near-perfect detail, and my boss, who has been reading Robert Heinlein for about thirty years longer than myself, has gotten me several times to consult my head for a game of "Which Book, Which Aphorism?" when his own memory failed him. It's the stuff most personal to me that I lose, often without realizing it.

I compensate by having near-perfect recall on most of what I can remember. I have details about high school locked away in my head that sometimes amaze Design School Homie. I can remember most of the happy times perfectly, if in a bit too high relief. I know who instituted which catchphrase Like everything in my life, it's either too much, or not enough with me.

This season is about balance. Unfortunately, it appears that this particular imbalance is (hail Discordia) hardwired. The question is, what else must be unbalanced to negate its effect?

Thoughts to ponder...thanks, Irina.
Another fourteen hour day tomorrow...time for bed.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Discordians Do It Randomly And With Joy, Except Me: It's Almost Beltane!

I am of a split mind about God's nature, if not God's existence, most of the time, but the ability of the human mind to hold contradictory ideas simultaneously is pro-evolution, so I go with that. (Plus, Discordian. Duh, Kind of.) So I basically celebrate the holidays I want, and I like to mark the solstices and equinoxes, certain Saint's days, certain days of the depends on what aspect of God I am walking with as to what I end up doing, but the awareness of the moon never seems to leave me, whereas I've missed Lent for two years. I don't give me any points for giving up sex during Lent this year, because that's double-dipping. And bad karma.

Beltane is almost here.

Now, Beltane is probably the pagan holiday of choice. It's about getting fucked up and fucking, on one level. It's also one of the most joyous holidays of the year, the one that we celebrate with the most joy. (Won't say the fucking and the getting fucked up don't have something to do with that.)

Nonetheless, much of the joy is that IT'S SPRING IT'S SPRING IT'S SPRING. Most people with any kind of depression are season-sensitive. Even if you're not severe enough to really have seasonal affective disorder, depression and winter love each other. And I look forward to Samhain, Yule and Imbolc in their turns to get me through each time. Beltane, however, is the sap rising in the earth, the young feeling, the feeling that made you so damn impatient for school to be over when you were a kid, the feeling that makes you look at the flowers and start thinking thoughts about propagating the species.

But I love Beltane. And for Beltane last year I was in a horrible place, but it's the one bright spot I remember in a spring that mostly sucked donkey, a spring so ridiculous and full of pathos and coincidence that if I wrote it as a spec and sent it to Query Letters, I'd get roasted like an Episkopos' bratwurst on a Friday. (That link is not dirty.) This year, the one element that made my Beltane last year hell on earth (well, there was more than one, but they were sort of symbiotic) is missing. I am not sharing water, even indirectly, in falsehood. And even though I get sharing-water without growing-closer this year, I want it to get here so bad.

I still love it this year, when I'm not doing any fornicating to honor the Goddess. I'm so looking forward to it and hoping that something doesn't happen like last year that forces us all INSIDE on a night when we are supposed to be skyclad and as far from civilization as possible (and no, that's not true of everyone, but the people that are going? We are skyclad in the woods nature children. Even those of us who hate hippies understand the fun of being in the woods with a sarong and not much else.) We did have a good time last year though....torrential downpour precluded a fire, so we made one with herbs in my burning bowl and jumped it like it was a bonfire, drummed for two and a half hours, ululated like Yoko. We ruled. This year it's going to be even better.

I'm going to get naked. I'm going to dance. I am going to the woods to look for Goddess, and when I find her she and I are going to throw down in good fun, and wrestle, and have a good time. Because it's Beltane.

I love Beltane. I love it.


For some people, Beltane's all about sex, just as Christmas is purely secular to some people. Even if you try hard to remain spiritual, it's such a sexually charged holiday that It turns into sort of this Valentine's Day displacement experience when you're single, like Bridget Jones' Book of Shadows. This year I'm free of all that, and I wonder if the Spring makes even God horny (our legends would say yes.) Cernunnos will run the woods on Beltane as Cernunnos does, sometimes named Pan, sometimes other things -- but always running through the woods, sometimes for love, sometimes for trickery. Of course, God is in the woods at Beltane, and every other day of the year. But on Beltane in the light of the moon with the earth and moon balanced at a particular point, it's like the light of God hits one particular spot on a prism and all of a sudden -- BAM -- you look into the trees, and see God, and feel God, and it's so much easier, and you wonder why you ever were depressed, how you could ever lack serotonin when God is in and around you. Or Goddess, for that matter...but the Goddess is so much easier to see when you see Her as Chaos.

I don't know why the conjunction makes it easier to see than the Artist charming deer to let him walk within fifteen feet of pregnant broad daylight. One would think I get enough proof, just hanging around. But keeping faith isn't virtuous because it's easy, I don't guess.


Happy Shabbos, by the way. I've become oddly aware of the Jewish calendar and weekly observances recently, thanks in no small part to the writings of The RenReb and our own Irina, not to mention the Voices frum ladies, one of whom helped pull a frum version of a scene from Inga Muscio that is so awesome that you must go and read what they did for Leah Klein right now. I realize that, at least in the first case and almost certainly in the third, that I shouldn't check for posts in this dead Friday night time while I'm waiting for it to be TV Time, my own personal Friday night ritual.
Because of these awesome ladies, I know when it's Shabbos. So, Shomer Shabbos, ladies. I'm avodah zorah, but I live in awe of you nonetheless.

So Many Gay, In College...

Listening to the Junior Vasquez remix of Margaret Cho's piece about her mother and her father's gay friend from college....

....and lookin' at where Sars put up the info I sent her at This is Not Over.

Go see it. It's funny in that funny-not sort of way.

On second thought, Sauce, maybe you and Stephranger don't want to flee down here after all.

The gay, they like to eat outside....

I gave blood today on top of bleeding, and I think I had some renegade aspirin in my system, because I bled like a muhfuh. So I am going back to bed to read something that requires only 30% of my attention, because I need a catnap before TV Time.

Fair warning to my beloved readers....I am working over fifty hours in the next five days so that I can afford to go to PUF, so if I appear here, it will probably only be briefly. Or it will be because my job has driven me to the brink and I have quit. Which doesn't need to happen, so wish me luck.

Also, go give ET love, and Evil too. I have to see if my upstairs neighbor will water the cats while I'm gone, and give them scritches.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

What You Crave

"I hate the gray box with the blinking light."

Posted by Hello

It is a lost cause to continue trying to keep the MK out of the laundry. For the record, that Jack Daniels' box is full of Norton Anthologies. (Suuuure it is.)

Posted by Hello

The Elder and Kitten in a rare moment of repose. The cats have claimed that pillow, which I originally lifted from the detritrus a failed business had left in one of the offices in my building, and it pisses me off, because anything that covered in cat fur can't go in my bed without running the risk of giving the Artist a huge asthma attack on the occasions when he stays it's Cats 1, Me 0, as usual.

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MK is a teenager now for real...look at him curled up with the cell phone! This is the best pic of him yet, in terms of showing off his gorgeous markings.

Posted by Hello

Predictably, as it's just like the one in which his daddy keeps his magical tools, the MK likes the new trunk in the hall, and has claimed it. Unfortunately, there's no light to speak of in there, and this was the best I could do.

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Only Stinky Women Bleed

I'm too sensitive when I am menstruating.
A seven year old told me I was "stinky" outside the store today. I was recently bathed and deodorized, so I'm pretty sure he was just using the fact that there was no parent in sight of him and his 2 sisters to make a grown-up unhappy.
Nonetheless, he hurt my feelings. (sniff)

The ParcePad is much, much cleaner than it has been in months. I've washed my spring clothes -- shorts and short skirts huzzah! -- although it'll probably be a little while before it's consistently warm enough to risk them...I wore shorts yesterday, and once I got to meeting and left to go home, I was FREEZING.

Speaking of Meeting, all goes well with it, and next weekend we will all be at PUF together and all wi'be well. I'm really glad my period decided to get itself completely over and done with before that time, too, as even a little hippie like myself would rather not have her period in the woods. We named our group last night, finished up with the rules, and made plans for PUF and Beltane. (I found us a piece of woods property to use for Beltane, so I am the shit, as it's really no fun to have that holiday in an urban environment where you can't get naked and crazy, and where your fire has to have a permit.)

In keeping with the synchronicity between myself and my ET, I may soon be getting a different job, and turning the hold music into a very part time sideline.

Back in my younger days, before I was legal to drink, I used to work as a Deputy Clerk in the Circuit Court. I went back to college and stopped working that job, but the Court Clerk herself loved me, didn't want me to go, and has given me awesome references for a pack of years since then.

Now, ParceDaddy and the CC are colleagues, and I happen to know that a position very similar to the one I vacated is coming open at the beginning of the new budget year, sometime in the summer. (County government does it that way because of election season.) And she's indicated in every way possibly ethical that I should come talk to her about taking the job as soon as the new budget is approved.

Regular work hours! Salary! A job that matters! Hour lunches! WOOOOO!
I am so excited at the thought of getting to go back to work there. There were more reasons than college why I left, but none of them had to do with the work environment, and I'm old enough now that that one asshole from Legal Aid probably won't try to treat me like a 16-year-old any more. (I was not sixteen, obviously.)

And I will keep the Hold Music, from home, on weekends and evenings, for extra cash so I can get out of debt.

This is going to be a really good thing, if it happens. Last time, she didn't even make me pee in a cup, since she's known me since I was born.....

Anyway. Hope you are all well. I am going to read the fifth Harry Potter until I find out if CDHSarah and I are going to dinner or not. I was going to watch Kill Bill, but the DVD player currently has audio and no video, and I can't figure it out without the Artist, because I am an electronic 'tard (and probably a bad feminist because of it.)


I went back to the gas station and the little bastard did it again. Why is that kid running around this neighborhood after dark by himself? The fuck?

Jeru tha Damaja is preaching on the WinAmp

Knowlege, wisdom, understanding like King Solomon's wealth,
You a playa, but only because you be playin yourself...
Actual fact like tight jeans cause yeast infections
And sistas with good minds get no respect when
Their ass is all hangin out playin the bar section
Of the club -- shake what your mama gave ya
Back to the lab. I drop the truth, cause rhyming is more than just my craft
Or a way to get ass or fast cash or blasted--
Black women, make sure you're respected...

I hearts me my Jeru.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Blogger Rules...Not

I had this post all spanking and ready, and Blogger went fucknuts on me.

So here it is, much belated.

I am not afraid of my neighbors.

My upstairs neighbor is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. Of course, all I've seen of her is her face, and a collection of headscarves that I envy. She has told me that I could find beautiful ones "in her country", but has never specified where that is, exactly.

She beams a smile every time she sees me, asks how I am. I do the same. Her two children see me in the parking lot sometimes, and sometimes when they are particularly excited, share a sentence or two about their day, of the "We went to the PARK" variety. Her husband is very quiet, very correct -- makes way for me when we pass in the breezeway, says "Hello", sometimes asks me whether I'm going to or coming from work because we have similarly strange schedules. He also smiles at me every time he sees me.

I know the family upstairs is Muslim, and African. I don't know what country they come from, and as they are very private, I don't know that I'll ever ask. But they are something I am grateful for.

Every stereotype I've ever heard is untrue. Discordia does away with stereotypes -- in the end, it all comes down to five, which means you can blame anything on anything, instead of understanding that everything turns out exactly as chaos causes it to, that every explanation is at best, a guess (including of course the one you're reading). I don't understand how people who go around hating people so passionately ever have any fun. I don't understand the allure of yelling about "im'gnts" and "A-rabs" and "Mohammedans". I don't fear my neighbor. My neighbor does not fear me.

Perhaps it's also that I'm surrounded with cynics, but most of the fun I have comes from playfully poking holes in the fabric of reality in good company, rather than joyously clinging to my own hearty and self-serving illusions with the likeminded. Not that I never do that, because I am not an Episkopos, but really, I have more fun making my mind work than letting it sit home.

CDHSarah took me to get a decent meal last night and we spent the entire dinner in a perfectly harmonious, laugh-filled, yet nonetheless significant, discussion about ideological consistency and some ongoing tension in the reforming group -- which is going along Very Nicely, and is one of the reasons I've been remiss here, because a lot has been happening -- with reference to the significance of the Sabbats, as not all traditions included use the Sabbat calendar, and the inclusivity of our first holiday as the New & Improved Group is important to us. Now, when CDHSarah and I have a Discussion, it's often punctuated by cries of "Oh, bullSHIT," and the like. The tone is light. Sometimes we laugh until we cry. But for a minute there, I think we scared our waiter into thinking we were about to have a dykey bitch fight at seven on a Friday in the smoking section. Then he realized we were giggling irrepressibly. Nonetheless, we came out with more understanding.

Fun is important to Discordianism, which is why the Curse of Discordia is the Curse of Grayface. I am not going to look up the page number right now, but will link it later from Fnord, which has the entire text of the Principia scanned for your perusal. Suffice it to say that the Curse of Grayface is the curse of No Sense of Humor, which if you extensionalize it can be taken down as one of the maybe causes of most ills perpetuated in the name of the Right Thing to Do -- no sense of humor means no ability to laugh at yourself, or "That's what fundamentalism irony," as the late Bill Hicks so eloquently put it.


Sorry for my long absence, and more about it later. It's been a really rough month, guys, and I'm sorry. Plus my lungs are inhabited with green aliens born of the fickle spring weather (TMI) and I think it's time for more Theraflu and Vick's. And Harry Potter. I am getting into the epic fantasy series thing. Maybe eventually I'll write one. More likely, I'll sell my soul for copies of the Narnia books, since even though my mother expressly promised it wouldn't happen, my copies got donated to her school when she retired. Not that I begrudge the chillun or anything, but those were the copies I'd had since childhood, and sentimental value, you know. I only dwell on it when I want to read it, like now. (A lot of my good children's lit went that way, including my copies of The Great Glass Elevator and The Witches, dammit.

I am going to end up a spinster librarian, y'all. That is my New Goal.

The above was ready on 4/9. For the record, I am feeling much better. And I still wanna be a Spinster Librarian, or at least get the bumper sticker, which I don't believe has yet been made. PROJECT!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Not the Works, Just A Fill


It's been one of them weekends.

The pope died. OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA , JPII. You tried to be good, and even if you were the spokesperson for a lot of stuff I don't agree with, you were the "poverty and war ain't cool" Pope, and I loved you. May your spirit not have been confused by the light; may you never move towards the darkness, and be reincarnated as a bodhisattva even more capable of enlightening others than you were this go-'round.


I took some mental health time, got started on indexing my divinatory work (links here soon when there is summat to see), and rubbed an entire tube of ointment on the new tat, which is peeling right on schedule. That part isn't the hard part; now I have to keep from scratching it, or playing with it. I'm better about the former than the latter; the scars are still very raised on new pieces, and I get to messing with them just because they feel neat, and they're not quite ready for that. And I do not want to go get a fill, because having work on both biceps is hell when you prefer the fetal position for sleep.

I may be doing some comp-time photos for Immortal Inc Dave, so tattooed and non-tattooed bits crossed for that, because comp time to a tattoo junkie is like just-got-busted-gotta-get-my-homies-to-sell-my-shit-and-make-my-bail sale down on the corner back when I used to love lines more than myself. And they're legal.

New trunks are here. I kept the large and small and gave the medium one to the Artist, who, as he has the fleur-de-lis on his forearm was quite pleased. The MK has now claimed the top of the large trunk as his exclusive domain.

I am getting a random check for $10.26 in the mail this week, which is cool, since I am broke.

The only really, really interesting thing I have to add is that you should check out this post over at the RenReb's blog. There are interesting things going on and the comments thread just keeps growing.

Oh, and stuff. Hit me up tomorrow when I'm more sober and more full of sleep.

Friday, April 01, 2005

You Think A Diamond Is Forever...

My new tattoo! Whoo!

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A blurry pic of my Gate to All Worlds, tatted about 4 months ago. Dave added a new black to some of the angles, which is why my skin is red.

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Those Boys With Their Tattoos & Their Long Hair & Their Rock'n'Roll...

The Greek I spent forever transliterating, now on Bass Playing Junkie's chest! The fill work is a nice light blue that refused to show up. And the next night, that nipple got pierced. Oh, yeah. We've got him addicted now.

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Another blurry pic...this is the Artist's fleur-de-lis, which I believe is the first piece Immortal Inc Dave put on the Artist.

Obligatory tattoist famewhoring: Dave says if any of you in and around Nashville want work done, he'll give 25% off for out of towners. He's north of Nashville about 20 minutes. This was the piece that made Dave our Tattoo Guy. And Dave is the shit; he's got a perfect health record, he plays good music, and I will read Tarot off his shop floor without a ground cloth. Plus, he has N64 while you're waiting. We heart Dave, even if he does look at every piece I bring to him and shake his head, saying "All those lines, girl...why do you bring me more complicated shit every time!"

Of course, II Dave also warned me that those long, straight, exterior lines on the Mandala were going to hurt like shit to hold still through, because they'd have to be done with no let-up and then filled. Yawn.

When the bruising and bleeding on his chest pieces go down, the shading will look more like the shading on this one. This piece is about 6-8 months old and has had plenty of time to heal, and hasn't needed touch-up.

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The Artist's Mjollnir (Thor's Hammer). He got this at the same time as my Gate to All Worlds, about four months ago.

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The Artist's nearly-finished new chest piece. Dave had me take a picture, let the swelling go down, and did another little bit of shading. The Horus on the right was done by a different tattoo artist; Dave did some cleanup on it, then matched the Eye and added the Bast. The scarab was done the day before. If I can get his permission, I'll post the shot with part of his face in it so you can see the placement. BTW, the redness in the scarab is blood, not ink; it will all be grayscale and graywash once it heals.

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The pirate tattoo pics did not happen, because we couldn't get a good shot of them. Next time: Ganesh! & Arrrrgh!