Saturday, May 28, 2005

I Loves Me My Messiah

(Note to the RoF: The reason for this post I will discuss later.)

Probably more magic is done in my part of the world invoking Christ, Mary and the saints than is done in the name of any other pantheon. This is not the sort of thing for which real statistics exist, but I know, because I've been at the site of so much of it -- despite the fact that my particular, early indoctrination denied flatly the existence or religious permissibility of such things as a whole.

The day when I was twelve years old, dressed in my favorite (although embarrassingly tacky in retrospect) dress, white cotton bodice on top of a primarily fuschia tropical print skirt, with a hat I'm probably better off not remembering -- this was the early nineties -- and "went forward" to be baptized, and then to receive Communion (from my own father, although that wasn't the standard practice), in an auditorium full of 500 families, was the day I first understood magic -- first understood how the mundane (getting wet all over, which I had done at least once a day from childhood -- I've been a bathtub reader since I was old enough to bathe myself) became the magical, and changed you. I was a lot too young to know the difference between transubstantiation and consubstantiation, young enough that I had started to get curious about the other, "incorrect" faiths -- especially the entirely forbidden Catholics, whose rituals and churches had appealed to the aesthetic and historical senses I was just beginning to develop. But that was the day I understood that magic is real, even if I didn't call it that, or know that name for it.

After that there were "games" that weren't, quite -- games where Mary's name came up. The first written, intentional ritual I ever did, as such, performed in tense and unneccessary fear at the back of my mother's garden, involved a rewrite of the Hail Mary I wish I hadn't burned in a fit of adolescent pique. I can't date that experience to anything other than "adolescence", but I can still see the moon and feel myself naked under my bathrobe, my legs shaking not from cold but from Fear of Being Found Out. I had read the anti-Satanist scare literature that enjoyed spurts of popularity amongst the parents of Christian teenagers, and I knew that this would definitely be misconstrued. Even then, I knew it wasn't wrong. I still didn't call it magic.

Since then, after the discovery of a lot of history, literature, and concepts, and after getting rid of the anger at the flaws in the institution that had raised me, I began to see the individual goodness. More psychically aware, I began to see the Godliness in the people who still love me, on the rare Sunday I show up with my mother and father. Eventually the universe started dropping Jesus in my path until I had to reexamine Jesus entirely.

When I was 16 years old and on a school tour, the central statue of Sri Ganesha Temple in Nashville spoke to me. I learned of, and eventually saw made flesh, Cernunnos. The cycle of the God-that-dies was a part of my year, after a short while, once I linked my fascination with the moon to the Wheel of the Year. But I bore resentment for Jesus -- Jesus who, in my mind, had become wholly associated with the repression of women, the fall of paganism, the ill-treatment of ethnic group after ethnic group, the inherited racism of my parent's generation.

I am a student of philosophy, however, and studies in logic eventually made that mental association untenable, once I had become able to forgive the wrongs done to me personally in the name of Christianity. I was a hot pick for Bible Bowl back during my Church Camp days, and I had too much information about the mythical Jesus to not, eventually, be forced to examine Jesus just as I had examined other regenerative gods. (My corresponding fascination with Mary is another matter that will be dealt with later.)

When I divorced Jesus from his cult -- the original ones, the post-Crucifixion interpreters and Church founders (with St. Paul foremost -- I must say in the interest of full disclosure that he will probably never grace my altar) -- I found the power of my religious understanding strengthened by the reconnection to the deity to whom I had sworn, over ten years before, my allegiance, and to whom I had been bound in the first act of magic I had ever actively participated in. It was as if Christ and Mary -- Mary who remains the first representation of the Triple Goddess who ever made herself manifest to me -- threw the rest of my belief in magic into high relief. It broke a barrier I wasn't even aware of.

I discovered a man who was well versed enough in the religion of the day to successfully contend with both elders and politicians about the meaning of the commandments, yet whose views were sufficiently divergent to make aforesaid groups uneasy -- much like myself. I found a man who told stories that boiled down to "Heaven is when everyone treats one another decently." I found an egalitarian. I found a man with views on racism and sexism that converged with my own, a pacifist, a man who mostly got pissed off at hypocrites and corporations -- a guy like me. Most importantly, I found a pagan Christ -- that Christ did and continues to die and be reborn as a lesson about the nature of the Universe with which he was one being. I could make the statement "All Gods, which are one God, and all Goddesses, which are one Goddess, and which God and Goddess are also One Being" along with my Wiccan sister and speak Truth, a truth I had given lip service to, and possibly even thought I believed...while mentally discounting the deity to which I had first been exposed, an act of hypocrisy I hadn't even recognized as such until I stopped, like Peter, denying Christ.

Everyone encounters God in a purely individual way, and practitioners of magic tend to draw the deities they need. As most of the aforesaid practitioners have found, those deities can be somewhat insistent about needing to be recognized. With my Christian background, it was inevitable that I either accept Christ, or lose faith -- because I could not continue in a lie of unity while making exceptions based on bigotry and fear, even my own. I grok my God now, more fully, because Jesus is contained within it.

Hail Discordia.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I Really Do Have A Readership Of Five

And that's OK, because I love each and every one of you. (See the comments to my last post for details.)

Anyway, I hate Comcast and working. Everything else is going along quite nicely. Nothing to report worth reporting.

But I am still out here. Just for the record. I can't get the cable fixed until next week at the absolute earliest, so it's Secret Squirrel Season, and when I get somewhere, I have nothing to share.

Keep watching; I'll be back in full force. Soon.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Just checking in. After minor drama too petty and ultimately irrelevant to relate, I am checking in from one of my super secret locations. There's another post waiting at Parce Central, but I haven't been home in over 36 hours due to aforesaid minor drama, so instead I thought I'd catch up with my ET while I had the opportunity. And, true to form, she piqued my interest with her version of the Tomato Nation Personals Ad Experiment.

I haven't ever placed a real profile of myself online, and don't think I'd care to. Much as there are physical places in this city that I've pretty much given up visiting because of the incursion of the people I think of as the "visibly cool". With my water brotherhood, I am utterly naked. Around everyone else, I tend to be clothed like my upstairs neighbor, metaphorically speaking. I'll talk to almost anyone, but won't show you anything truly important without feeling you out with all of my senses.

How would I even begin to describe myself in 25 words or less? Does bi-polar count as 2 words?

You know, I thought I could. And I can't. Hell, my faithful Readership of About Five (hi y'all!) don't even grok me in fullness, I don't think, with the possible exception of CDHSarah, and she's admitted that she doesn't grok with fullness on more than one occasion. We don't speak Martian. We're not telepathic enough to live in a nest where Discordia has been transcended. But we do all right for the only relatively trained.

I realized trying, you can't advertise for a water brother. A water brother meets you when cusp is. In alternate and more general terms, I discussed that with the Artist just tonight. It goes back to my oft-cited thing I'm going to write a book about someday, my theory that everyone's personal experience or life, if viewed from the fourth dimension (which would allow you to see time as a unified whole, the way you can see one surface of a piece of paper as a whole), would act as both a wave and a particle within the closed system of the three-dimensional universe, which would go a long way towards trying to answer the free will vs. predestination argument...but as my ride beckons, that's a subject for another day.

Note: ignore all broken links, will be fixed at Parce Central shortly.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Buddha Tells Us That Life Is Suffering

The Buddha doesn't fuck around.

Where Have All The Flowers Gone is playing, the sun is almost set, I'm in my apartment, which is lit solely by the screen of my computer.

I'm lonely, and I'm tired, and I hate spring.

But that's not what I came to talk about, so much -- I come to talk about the draft.

Not really. I came to note for my mostly concerned membership that there is very little chance of y'all seeing hide or hair of me over the next several days, which include in their delights 6 hours of OT, two doctor's appointments including the dreaded GYN, an a phaeresis appointment (Donate blood, bitches -- fifteen minutes with one needle is NOTHING compared to an hour to hour and a half with both arms needled up and your blood in a centrifuge behind your head, so I don't want to hear your excuses. Go donate blood right now), a Radiant Star meeting, a "go hang out with Patrick and learn how to make an Ellegua" session, nicely capped by Friday (13 hour shift), Saturday (11 hour shift) and Sunday (6 hour shift), going straight back into the work week.

I'm not going to have time to wipe my own ass, and I just now realized I had done that to myself, and am seriously wishing I had just taken Wednesday off like I usually do every other week.

I'll try to update as it's possible -- write the html and email it home -- but I really have no idea how the next seven days are going to go in terms of my personal time, which I have a feeling are going to consist of "throwing together edibles", "bathing the night before" and "passing out with a book in my hand". Especially since I have fifty-two working hours in six working days, and my "day off" is going to consist of specula, needles, and other unpleasantries. I don't know if I'm going to want to look at my computer. But after the rant I didn't want anyone to think I had gone totally AWOL or taken a trip to the Psychiatric Hilton if I pulled a me and didn't post until next Wednesday.

In the meantime, whatever that meantime may turn out to be, go read CDHSarah's blog, which might include a me-sighting every now and again, and be good to yourselves.

Monday, May 16, 2005

And Now -- The Sabbath Day

After all that bitching, you must know I had a truly awesome (in the sense of "inspiring awe") and most righteous (in the Bill & Ted sense) Sunday, to cap off my week of despair and suckage.

I got up early, put on my awesome bright-stripes polo that I usually wear when going to an event where I might lose my people, wrapped up the locks, watched the Eldest and Middle Kitties cleaning one another's necks, and then rolled out to Goddess & the Moon.

I was meeting ConservativeWiccan and BellyDancinBeth to go to the Sri Ganesha temple on the other side of town to hear Karunamayi speak. Since some of us were leaving our cars, we met at a place where we knew we wouldn't get towed. CW showed up first, so we walked across the street to get sodas because BDBeth was late.

I mention this only because it is a part of this coincidence that I got to spend most of yesterday in the company of the also most righteous PerryfromtheArmy, who was in Nashville, had found G&tM, and would have figured out in about 5 minutes that the place wasn't open yet. He told me later that he almost stopped at the store, too, and didn't. I totally assumed someone like the Artist or CDHSarah had forwarded on the temple event to his email and he had just shown up. Turns out he didn't know anything about it, but he was game, so I took a bag of carrots, hopped in his car, and we headed off to Sri Ganesha.

When we got there, the Germanic hexenmeister/powwow and his wife that I met briefly at PUF but hadn't really had a chance to connect with, despite how awesome I've been hearing they are for two years, turned out to be the couple we were meeting there. GHP led us around the upper sanctuary, giving those of us with no Hindu knowledge and those of us with a little bit a running commentary on the shrines, their origins, and proper etiquette. (We all knew to take off our shoes!) I communed with the 2-ton, beautiful Ganesh, who I hadn't seen since he spoke to me when I was 16 and on a school tour. It was good to see my old friend, dressed in fruit and flowers. I found out that Nashville's temple is unusual in that it has a multiplicity of shrines, some of which cater to different Hindu sects, and that all the people come in and hold worship at different parts of the shrine on holy days. (The child-Krishna was fascinating; I'm going to go back and visit him.)

About the time we got done touring the upper sanctuary, the procession to welcome Amma (the other name of the guru, meaning "mother") had begun. The priests and the worshippers led her around the shrine (always clockwise, according to GHP) singing songs of welcome, as she greeted the shrines, and the central Ganesh. While I must admit that it is odd to see worshippers wipe up the dust where a person has stood to transfer a bit of that person's holiness, it's not invalid; better a person who tries to be holy than a person who is merely famous, or infamous.

We followed everyone downstairs to the auditorium for the program, which was periodic -- the 9-Om chant, the Saraswati mantra, followed by the guru speaking, then a new chant, song, call&response, or mantra. The fact that they kept turning on & off the lights for silent meditations made things distracting. I didn't care, though; I was transfixed by Karunamayi.

Karunamayi is supposed to be an incarnation of Saraswati, the Divine Mother, representative of limitless compassion. She was born in 1950, but having seen her up close and greeted her during the processional I would have placed her age at about 35, maximum. Her talks were on universal energy and the love of the Divine Mother. It annoyed some people that she constantly referred to all of us as "her children", but that's fully consistent with someone filling the Saraswati role. She's round, has a self-effacing way about her -- even when she was greeting us during the processional, she looked like she was kind of embarrassed by the pomp and circumstance. Mostly, I was just entranced by how beautiful she was -- it's rare, any more, for me to love someone for their beauty with no sexuality involved.

Maybe I'm easily rooked, maybe I'm just gullible, but I could believe in her. I could feel her love. Hell, I could see her aura, and I almost NEVER see auras, I just sense them. When she stopped speaking and people started lining up to receive her blessing, I looked at my Palm to find out what time it was and was shocked to see that only 2 hours had gone by -- I guessed three, PftA guessed four.

We waited until close to the end to receive the blessing, because it was crowded. She placed her hands on my head and most of the bad physiological results of the medication adjustment stopped -- they had continued throughout her talk, but they were gone when I left her presence. Don't worry -- I don't think she cured me of my depression, but I do think she took the horrid adjustment symptoms of the medication away, which is pretty strong juju as it is.

She gave us all a blessed piece of fruit, a bag of sacred ash from her ashram, and some simple mantras. After we had all been blessed, we decided (surprise surprise) to go to Taste of India for lunch.

All day long people fed me. I owe so many dinners coming up, but it's worth it.

Along with us came the Hindu Honkies, a couple that knew the GHPs, and lunch was a fascinating dissection of the experience, and the type of people who attach themselves permanently to a spiritual leader as opposed to the people who just experience that person and carry that experience back out into the world (her Caucasian followers were, without exception, assholes -- we compared it to a permanent childhood, to live and follow the Divine Mother is to always, always, ALWAYS be a child, to always approach God in that way, and that's the spiritual equivalent of a disability.) CDHSarah showed up briefly because she wasn't sure she was going to make it to drum circle and wanted to tell everyone hello.

After lunch we went back to the HH's apartment, which is one of the most beautiful apartments I've ever seen -- it's the attic of a converted, turn-of-the-century building, which they had painted beautifully. They restore and recreate furniture -- I covet their Klimt coffee table. They are repainting a two-D Saraswati for the temple and she looks beautiful.

While we were there I finally got the chance to talk to the hexenmeister about the issues with my back. He's been wanting to take on a distance healing, as he hasn't done many, so he took a lock of my hair home with him to Kentucky and is going to get back with me in a couple weeks to do a hands-on healing if the distance working is ineffective.

Perry and I had planned to go to the Centennial Park Sunday afternoon drum circle, and we did, but not without much getting-of-the-lost. Turns out "the hill across from the Parthenon" is actually in West End Park, even though it's across the street from Centennial. CDHSarah did end up showing up, even though she wasn't feeling well, and she TOTALLY DISRESPECTED THE SACRED BANANA by throwing away half her piece. (Kidding!)

We almost thought there wasn't going to BE a drum circle, because we were half an hour late and the drumming hadn't started. It wasn't the best one I've ever been to once it did get started, either -- the major problem in a drum circle is that you need at least one and hopefully two Really Big Drums, to carry the simple rhythms. Otherwise it gets cacophonous. But really, it was good because BellyDancingShamanismLady showed up and we actually got to have a real conversation, which I thoroughly enjoyed. We talked about I Ching, which she had wanted me to explain, and laughed about PUF and where to get the awesome outfits she wears (similar to the traditional Hindi male dress, with the long tunic and loose pants). Perry slept in the sun and I made plans with BDSL and HeathenryLady, who assisted at the blót and turned out to live in our neighborhood. They advised me on the best intro to bellydance classes for the least money and may be coming with me to the African dance introductory next month.

I feel like yesterday was PUF family reunion or something. It made me so excited to see all these people again, the ones I don't normally see.

After BDSL and CDHSarah both decided to head out, Perry and I decided to head back to G&tM so he could head home. Just so turned out that CW and BDBeth were pulling up to get BDB's car at that moment, so I tagged along to the Evil Rabbi's acupuncture clinic.

The Evil Rabbi isn't really evil; he's a Jewish Kabalist who is also well versed in Chinese medicine, energy work, and acupuncture. This is another guy I've been hearing about from everyone for forever and a day, and he is pretty awesome. I could see the energy coming off him too -- he gestures a lot when he talks, and silver streaks come off his fingers when he gets excited. We talked about religious internal consistency as a validating factor for the spiritual path, why tongue piercings aren't the best thing for you in the long run, and other things, as well as eating delicious Turkish food and drinking apple tea. When I pass up the baklava because the lamb chops and rice were so good that I can't eat another bite, you know the food is awesome.

I didn't want my day to end. But it did, as days do. I went home, to my (blessedly) working Internet, and talked to LadyAlambil, who I miss sorely while she's home on college hiatus. I took a bath and went to bed and slept better than I've slept in years.

Sometimes it's good to have a Sabbath of your own.

Told y'all the day more than made up for the previous week.

Also, I sold the first of the Venii today! Woot!

Big shouts to my Elvis Twin -- thanks to her, I have kitties blissed out on catnip and stuff to read. She's my hero.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I Hate Comcast Two: Electric Boogaloo -- In Other News, Full of the Light of God

I have been on extended absence, and I hate Comcast. Right now I love pretty much everyone, but Comcast is the exception.

After four calls to 3 separate tech support lines, I now have internet connectivity. I still don't have broadband phone access, but since it's due to a defective box, I'm being shipped a new one for free.

It's been a bad week for your old friend parcequilfaut. The phrase I use as my moniker roughly translates from the French as "because it is necessary that", which my brother and I use idiomatically as a "Because I must/you must" -- if I'm trying to get him to do something and he's dillying about deciding, for instance, I'll look at him and go, "Mais, il faut" or something of the sort. This week, the completion of the phrase has been "suffer".

The Buddha teaches us that life is suffering and that we can escape it by cultivating mindfulness and joyful detachment. I haven't been feeling very joyful or detached. Mostly, until today, I've felt like shit and acted like a pissy bitch, mostly due to the need for the nearly-inevitable early spring medication change. Unfortunately, for the first couple days I thought it was just a particularly shitty case of the menstruals and didn't recognize the early warning signs, so after a particularly hellish Thursday, which included the forementioned calls to various tech support guys as well as a drastic uptick in the price of aforesaid medication, I basically had a mini-nervous breakdown, in which I think I damned several major pharmaceutical companies and at least one insurance company to the eternal fires of Hell, and in which I blasphemed God to my mother, which I feel bad about as blasphemy isn't really my nature, and especially where my mom is concerned. When I yell until I'm physically exhausted, it's sufficiently uncharacteristic to drain me for the next day or two.

May I just plug my mom? When she found out I had spent my grocery cash on medication, she totally took me to Kroger and bought me all kinds of comfort food, including Double Chocolate Milanos, which I never buy as they cost the earth. I love my mom. And I'm sorry I blasphemed God, but I think I made up for that today, or at least I had been punished enough for it. (Basically, I went off on a rant about how God made misery on purpose because he's a bastard, which is not really part of my belief system, but I was pissed off and on a roll.)

The next two days were horrible, physiologically. Shaking, messed-up depth perception and color sense, total inability to get warm and stay that way -- I was up until 3 am Friday night because I couldn't stand the sensation of fabric on my skin and was too cold to be without a blanket. It's been bad, but not nearly as bad as I have felt. My card for this month was the inverse Fool, which means being able to avoid the obvious pitfall with a near miss -- another week without an adjustment and it would have been the hospital, so I'm grateful. All hail the Fool.

Everything hinged on today. Not to pull the cheap cliffhanger crap, but it's late and I have to work in the morning, so, knowing I've had the week from hell, watch eagerly tomorrow as I tell you how I had the best Sunday since I got baptized, spiritually speaking. I'm fine now, absolutely, so don't worry. I wouldn't even do this, but I have to bathe and hit the sack.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Who Loves You? ERIS LOVES YOU! (Fnord)

All sorts of goodness surround me, even when the world is annoying me half to death.

I worked today and then, due to having accidentally sent my OT request to the wrong person, had a three-hour break between times. So, of course, I went to Tish's.

I got fed while I was there because she had had such a busy day she hadn't had time to get food. When I inquired what had kept her chained to the computer all day so much that she hadn't had time to walk across the street, she reminded me that she is leaving tomorrow for her buying trip to New Orleans, which in turn reminded ME that she probably hadn't noted that I had asked her to pick me up an Ellegua down there. It's in her phone now. Hail Discordia. Good sense would have told me to hang out closer to work, not to waste the gas (which I found 3 cents cheaper than I've seen in 2 weeks by taking the route I only take from work to Tishs'), to be sensible. But now I have a better chance of getting what I need, so thanks, Eris.

I thought seriously about taking advantage of her Dumpster and cleaning out my car while I was there. But it was a good thing I didn't, because when I returned to work I found out Scheduling had a.) misread my request for sick time for two weeks ago to encompass days when I was neither sick nor absent, and b.) lost the doctor's note for the days in question. Luckily, said piece of paper was smiling up at me from the passenger seat of the filthy van, and I was able to lay hands on it and put paid to that nonsense within 15 minutes. Down with order. Order would have left me high and dry...that's not my regular doctor and I doubt a copy of the excuse is in my chart there, even though my regular doctor and I keep every piece of paper we ever send my work for just this reason. That done, though I do need to clean out my car...filth and Discordia are not necessarily the same thing.

Now the only chaotic source of distress is the continuing difficulty I'm having in getting in touch with CDHSarah. But I'm sure that will resolve itself as well. Oh, and the network at the house, which will not resolve itself without help. (Help would be welcome, if anyone's listening, hint hint.) If I can't find a phone tonight, I'll ask the G-man (Ganesh, not G. Gordon) to take care of that as well as Saucey's job and the Artist's new job. And every other obstacle.

Also, I just realized, working the OT I was complaining about also probably kept me from binning that note, because if I hadn't done it tonight, I would almost surely have done it over the next 2 work-free days.

Which reminds me...y'all may not see me until Friday, unless the network gets fixed. So don't freak out. I'm going to try to get a library card on Thursday, it's on the list, but given what happened at the library last time, which is a story for another day, I'm not entirely confident. In the hopes of inspiring good mojo, and for the Alanis-irony of it all, I'll save that story for when I'm using their computers (that my taxes pay for, but I am not currently permitted to access. Chuh.)

I love y'all. Give me some love back, and send wellness vibes to the CDH, who is full of Vick's goodness right now.

Monday, May 09, 2005

I Am Working & Smoking & I Feel FINE

So a funny thing happened.

I spend a lot of time at Tish's place these days...once she has her website up I will link her so all of you can see her fabulous wares and buy Venii (kidding)...mostly because I'm always happy when I'm here. I rarely want to leave unless I know I'm in the way, but the way the shop is set up, that's rarely the case. I can be hanging out in the sacred space/Reiki room, the reading room, the porch, the display room or the office with equal impunity (now, that's not true of everyone, but since I used to work for the Ineffable Patrick, I pretty much have the run of the place.) And I usually "work" when I'm here -- I fetch things and answer the phone, nothing that is paid, or needs to be.

Today I happened to show up at just the right time, as Tish and another associate were getting ready to close the shop early. ConservativeWiccan bowed out on watching the shop because he had dinner plans. I said, half-jokingly, "I'll watch the shop."

Now, I've watched the shop before, for about 15 minutes while Tish or Elf ran to the bank or to get lunch. But right now, I am Watching the Shop. I have keys, and authorization to use the credit card machine, and permission to give readings (I only) if customers want them since she's not here to read Tarot. I'm not really getting paid, although I could -- I just asked her to knock off the price on one of the items I've been coveting, and that sounded just dandy to her.

There are so many people I'd like to grow up to be, and Tish is one of them -- well, sort of a Tish/Patrick combo. I'd love to do what Patrick for the state during the day helping people, then come to my own little shop at night and read and chat with folks until the early evening. And I just realized that the first step is almost mine, if I get the job with the courts that may or may not be mine in July.

I mean, I'd love to be a professor. And I may do that. And I'm definitely going back to college at some point, but at this point I seem to have so many areas I could be happy studying further, and they want me to pick one. You don't ask the girl with six books in six different genres literally in her bed at the moment to "pick one". So if I go back to school it's going to have to be some double major, triple minor, professional student venture. And in the meantime, I'd like to have something to do that doesn't often make me feel as if my soul and will to live have been sucked out my aural canal...not the work itself, but the hours required to make it pay.

But for right now I'm not stressing that. I'm listening to the fountain, and the bird imitating the ring of the phone, and watching the wind wave the grass outside the window (another thing I don't get to do enough, in the current work situation), and waiting. Waiting for someone to walk through the door and need me. Right now, though, no one owns my time but me. No one is watching me.

And that feels awesome. Not Bill & Ted awesome, but the real meaning that has been obscured by the popularity of the phrase. Filled with awe. I may be a wage slave, ladies and gentlemen, but I am free. Right now, I am free.

And CDHSarah is on her way, full of sickness as I expected, to bring me dinner.

However much I bitch, my life is awesome. And I am free.

Just Call Me Veruca Salt

I want a cigarette, and I want one now.

With the new policies, the smokers are coming under particular watch with the supervisors, to make sure we're only indulging during our scheduled breaks and lunches.

I want a cigarette. I want one so bad.

It's curious how psychology works. Normally (even if I had ever smoked during a nonscheduled break, which OF COURSE I have NEVER DONE), I wouldn't want a cigarette this early in my shift, only an hour and a quarter in. It usually takes at least another half-hour before I start to shift and wiggle in my chair, and part of that is not nic-fit but sheer-boredom related.

I want a cigarette. Want want want. I'm turning into that guy from Airplane!

Outside in the smoker's purgatory, a pathetic, stunted little tree on the divider of the property between us and the bank, the sun is shining. Out there it is warm and I would not need to be wrapped in a knit blanket printed with sunflowers, the one that used to be on my bed when I was a kid, back when I had the bedroom with the exterior door that meant I could go smoke whenever I wanted to.

Cigarette. Want. Parce want cigarette.

The smoker's purgatory is almost like heaven compared with inside. I'm freezing, to start eyes are burning from tiredness as my all-important final hour of sleep was interrupted by the guys who MUST start mowing the grass at 7 AM OUTSIDE PEOPLE'S WINDOWS instead of on the parts of the property that DON'T BORDER ANYONE'S PRIVATE SLEEPING SPACE...outside there is grass! And honeysuckle! And one stunted little tree! And people! People, with cigarettes!

I want it NOW.

What I'm wondering is...who narced? What smoker told on the other smokers who may or may not have been seeking a little extracurricular nicotine? Why would someone do that? Don't they understand karma and realize that they will now be off sneaking a smoke when something REALLY important happens, like the birth of their first child, or the cancellation of Charmed, and it will be because they told on their subordinates. I happen to know that one particular department is comprised entirely of smokers, and I've seen the entire department take a smoke break at the same time. Somehow I don't think they're complying with their regularly scheduled breaks and lunches to make sure all departments remain at maximum efficiency throughout the day.

Give me a cigarette before I get mad. I'm already thinking about crawling under the desk and lighting up just long enough to taste it.

At CDHSarah's work she can take the phone OUTSIDE WITH HER so she can smoke and do her job at the same time. If I hadn't broken the compy, I could be sitting at home, not taking calls and smoking. (There are no calls right now. I haven't had a call in 20 minutes. I could have had a cigarette and been back and not dropped call 1.) Plus, there would be kitties there.

Give me a cigarette. Give me one now.
Or leave me a comment, because I? Have an hour to go. And I? Am not pleased.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Validating CDHSarah

Not exactly, but that thought was the starting point, so hang with me.

Last night I went and hung out with my neighbor, friend, and fellow group member, whom pretty much all of you know as the lovely and talented CDHSarah.

We have both had kind of a stressful week, and Friday is always bad for us...because she is finishing out her work week, where I'm having a "case of the Mondays" because I usually don't work my regular job in the middle of the week. The potential for tension is high, and we had been quite snappish with each other through the afternoon, but once we had a bit of down time we stopped being evil for the sake of evilness and just went back to our normal, somewhat feline, sensitive selves.

A portion of my Discordianism, I realized, was inadvertently hurting my friend.

Because I don't believe in absolute truth, I see the ridiculousness in everything. It's part of being a Discordian. Faith defies logic and intellectualizing, and therefore can be self-contradictory and not subject to the rules of logic. If it makes you a better person, closer to the Divine, it doesn't necessarily have to make sense.

That said, I like to laugh a lot. I like to poke fun. I think there is a lot of silliness in the world, and that goes double for the world of religion. I think it's silly that there's a huge fight about families that go away for Pesach to avoid the stress of the holiday. I think it's silly that people are getting disfellowshipped for voting Democratic in one incarnation of the Baptist church, just like I thought it was silly when my mother's church got rid of a guy for not believing that the 7 days of creation were 24-hour periods. But I'm most likely to point out the silliness in the community closest to mine, which is the Wiccan/pagan community. Not that I'm worried about passing judgement, because I'm not -- when you think everything is both equally true and equally ridiculous, you can't be worried about that -- but it's what I know the most about, and I'm likely to get the least flak for talking where I know what's up.

Do I think using your Craft name as your public name is silly? Yes. Yes I do. (Silly Ravenjuice and Shakti Gawain, my attention is focused in your direction, because I've already made fun of ZStN.) Do I think the persons unnamed who told CDHSarah that the bad weather at PUF was due to her casting her circle in the wrong direction are funny, as well of full of what makes the grass grow greener? I think that's HILARIOUS. Do I think that people who get all sanctimonious and claim they're practicing "the religion of their ancestors" in embracing Wicca (est. 1957) are historically inaccurate, and silly because they won't admit that what they practice is, at best, a reconstruction of European paganism with more roots in ceremonial magic than any ancient tradition? Yep. Does that invalidate the religion? Not in the slightest. God is big, and there's room for silliness with God. In fact, I have a God/Dess pair devoted to that very idea (Dionysus/Eris). It's one of my tenets of faith. It's how I avoid the curse of Grayface.

Does this make me a huge bitch? Probably. You aren't supposed to think other people's beliefs are silly. It's not nice, and I'm about nice. But I don't mock the seriousness of the belief to the people who hold it, or their right to have it. I just call them as I see them, and when someone introduces herself to me as Raven Kali Earthchild (not anyone real, I assure you), my first inclination is to snort. When someone waxes rhapsodic about the "unbroken pagan traditions of my Celtic forebears", I really want to snort, and snorfle, and do whatever it takes to keep from rolling on the ground laughing. But, that's what makes me a Discordian.

I judge people individually and ideas in general. I have some ideas that seem ridiculous even to myself, but hey, they're ideas. Who gives? If you believe that your Spirit Guides are whispering in your ear constantly telling you what lotto tickets to buy, that's fine with me, as long as it's benign nuttiness and not SGs who are whispering for you to kill your mom. It's no nuttier than believing that bread and wine become flesh and blood, or leaving a chair open for a prophet that was supposedly carried into heaven in a flaming chariot over 2000 years ago, or not eating certain types of animals because you're afraid God will get mad, or believing that the multiplicity of the universe came about because of a series of chemical accidents, or believing that the Goddess of Chaos is your personal BFF, like I do. All of these things are illogical. All of them work for the people that believe them. So when I say that something is silly, it's not to be taken personally...because it's all silly. Valid, but silly. If I drop (well, if I transport myself back in time pre-Vatican II and then drop) a Communion wafer on the ground, it means nothing to me. But it's a serious action because of the people who give it credence. Objectively? Silly. It's a cracker. But it's more than that, because we are a species who works with symbols, and we confuse symbol (bread, chair, wine, statue) for referent (God) all the time. Not bad. But silly. Doesn't mean I'm going to start getting funky with the Host to challenge those peoples' beliefs, because that's not cool. Doesn't mean I'm going to be sanctimoniously and obsequiously "respectful" by continuing to confuse symbol with referent. I don't think the ward in my pocket, the altar in my purse, or the statues in my home ARE God. They only have as much power as I give them, through belief. And I laugh at myself, when things happen like the kitten chewing on my best Ganesh and I start to get all flustered and upset about the statue, before I realize that God is not damaged in the slightest by a teething baby kitty with an affinity for high places.

People don't get that. At least, non-Discordians don't. And I hurt CDHSarah's feelings inadvertently, and had to spend some time explicating the very same thing I've just ranted on about...only while tired and intoxicated.

I take CDHSarah seriously because she takes her faith seriously without becoming a sanctimonious prig about it. That's my general litmus test for people. CDHSarah has never ranted about a ritual being useless because the lighter didn't get blessed before the candles were lit, or anything else that would lead me to believe that she is turning into Grayface. So I take her seriously. I wouldn't practice with her otherwise. Ditto SFGod, the Artist, the RenReb, and most of the other sensible people of faith I've ever encountered. They take their faith seriously -- they're not religious when it suits them -- but not so seriously that it acts as a blinder instead of a source of enlightenment.

Wiccans get the brunt of this in the pagan community. They get it because their faith has become pop-culture, HotTopicized, and the starting point for a lot of people to either discredit earth religion as a whole or to move on to other types of practice, and because those who are most public about it are often the most prone to being Grayface -- to taking themselves TOO GOSHDARN SERIOUSLY. CDHSarah had taken some of the (admittedly harsh) comments I've made about these grayfaces to heart.

It's all good now. But I thought I needed to talk about it. So there it is. I realize I've probably offended every person of faith, ever, but rest assured, I think not having faith is equally, if not more, silly than having it. It's just that...not a one of us is special. Not a one of us has universal truth. So we ought to just laugh, and drink, and have a good time.

Which is what I'm going to do, as soon as my work releases me from ongoing torture of too many people being forced to work overtime, when there aren't enough calls, which means I want to go to sleep instead of sitting here for another 2 hours before my dinner break.

Jeezus, Get Off the Notorious

I'm really tired, y'all.

I have mandatory OT today which means I will be at work (although not working the entire time) for 14 hours today. So I'm just reading Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix and sulking.

Things I'd Rather Be Doing Than Sitting Here:

*shopping for new books at Ms. B's in Hendersonville (maybe in a couple weeks, since my commission check should be juicy)
*playing with the Middle Kitty, who tried to love me 'til I agreed to stay home on my way out this morning
*fixing my wireless network
*cleaning my house
*scrubbing my toilet
*going to Centennial Park for a nice sunshiney nap in the van
*cleaning out the van to make a sunshiney nap possible
*taking the recycling from the woods property to the Can Man
*hanging out with Tish
*deciding what kind of goddesses I want to make with the pound of terra cotta in my car
*learning to play the sitar

I'm pretty much going to read all day in a half-awake stupor. With over 100 people on the phone, there should be plenty of time for that.

You see where this is going. I just keep telling myself that as soon as the wireless network is back up I'll have a phone and can start telecommuting. A fourteen hour sentence to stay home with the cats isn't nearly as difficult to swallow.

Who wants to bet I go home and listen to rap?

Leave me a comment so I know you folks with free time and real weekends love me back.

Friday, May 06, 2005

If We Could Fix Stuff, Why Would We Be Discordians?

Just as everything negatively chaotic fixed itself, the thing I wanted to happen least happened.

I broke my compy.

Not permanently. I somehow fucked up while installing the wireless router so I could hook up my phone. So now I have no phone, and no internets, until I either get ComCast out to my house to fix whatever I did while installing the @#$% wireless router (sometime next century) or I find one of my poverty-stricken friends and make them fix it for me.

Send my puter love, because all it's good for right now is Winamp shuffle. And I still don't have a phone. Dammit. Also, anyone with my Secret Squirrel email needs to email me at parcequilfaut at yahoo dot com until further notice.


In the good news, Tish loved the statues, I did my first ever paid I Ching reading, and my kitties are precious. Really! Scroll down and look at'em! And then go give ET love, and the Evil one. And CDHSarah, too, I guess.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

In Lieu Of Ethics, Today We Will Show Pictures

Venuses! The big one is technically WV 2.0 -- she's terra cotta colored like the others, but I can't get the pics to come out right.

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A really good pic of Middle Kitty...see his pretty markings?

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Please, no pictures.

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Eldest kitty doing something other than lying around? Surely you jest!

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Standing up and almost posing....about the best the Eldest Kitty can do.

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Scary panther kitten...ATTACK!

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Monday, May 02, 2005

That Ol' Black Magic

Well, it's over.

After work yesterday I went over to CDHSarah's, not really sure of the plan for the evening. The poor Artist had done 3 doubles in 3 days and was hardly conscious once he got home, and it didn't help when LokiKP came up with a semi-smelly tale about having tripped the alarm and frozen the starter on his Jeep. (Since my mom's loaded 2003 Town Car doesn't even use that feature, none of us are really sure about that.) After some stern talk from StarFucksGod, explaining the seriousness and that we couldn't just "fill him in later" on the meeting, he found a ride.

Now, I was in a dither, because DesignSchoolHomie and her husband, and KoreaArmyBuddy and his wife, were at DSH's house, cooking turkey burgers and waiting for me. Those plans had been set long before last Wednesday ever came around, and I wasn't about to let the drama keep me from seeing them, since all of us have been working pretty much without respite since KoreaArmyBuddy came home -- not to mention that he'll deploy very soon, and then we won't get the chance. So, while we were waiting for LokiKabbalist and the Artist, I went over to DSH's place and ate a ridiculous amount of turkey and roasted potatoes.

DSH also gave me an awesome present...a hammer! (It's one of the householdy things I don't have and always need.) I immediately christened it the Malleus Maleficarum.

Once people were trickling in, I headed back to CDHSarah's place, WV 2.0 in hand. I knew I would need something to keep my eyes away from LokiKB and to keep me grounded and centered during the process.

We all gathered in the living room, kind of somber -- not too somber to note that I really like what the Artist has done to his beard, however. :)

CDHSarah started, then StarFucksGod, then the Artist, then myself. Each of us shared our concerns -- the black magic, the constant talk of violence and retribution, the paranoia, the way that ceremonial magic is taking him over, the black leanings of his original teacher and his stubborn refusal to move off that path, the intrusiveness on innocents -- everything that boiled down to "We don't think you need to practice any more, and that means you can't be in the group any more other. Oh, and also, you need psychiatric help." (And we don't like your sexism or the way you judge paths you know nothing about, either.) I spent the entire time smoothing the surface of WV 2.0. She looks beautiful.

He sputtered. He told us we were bullshitters to even dare to claim that he was practicing black magic -- that stopped quick when we quoted the Aleister Crowley definition back in his face. When he conceded any point, he feigned helplessness as to how to stop it. He claimed he couldn't afford a doctor (he has health insurance and is a college student, which means that was a double lie). He claimed. He babbled. He thanked us really insincerely for our concern, then spent thirty minutes easy trying to get us to say we wouldn't do any workings against us, claiming he hadn't done anything against us (blatant lie, that, as he was raising power around himself quite consciously while sitting in the room). Eventually, once everyone had said what was to be said, the Artist volunteered to take LokiKB home, since he was dragging and had to do another double today (and, I believe, had things to say to LokiKB that didn't belong in the group).

CDHSarah and her husband and I were kind of shell-shocked when it was all over, and not a little freaked out, especially since LokiKB had pulled the "I'm not going to do anything to you, so don't do anything to me....right? Right? Because that would be black magic..."

Protective spells abounded, although I won't reveal details here. Instead, let's talk about black magic, what it really is, and how you protect yourself from it.

Black magic is the magic you do solely to benefit yourself, solely to assuage your ego or satisfy your desires, without regard or care for the potential effects on others. Intent informs the "color" of magic, purely speaking -- you can do the right spell for the wrong reason and be practicing black magic. It's complicated and requires a serious introspection on ethics, but here's an example.

I have ongoing permission to visit the Artist during spirit journeying, and vice versa. This is based on our knowledge of one another (and respect of one another's boundaries.) But I will still usually ask, if I get a chance, when I intend to go looking for him while pathwalking, and especially if it's for a specific purpose such as healing. (Sometimes I just show up where he is, a result of the psychic bond, but as I have a standing permission, the "door" is usually open to me. Sometimes it isn't, and that's one "door" I'll never try to force, as that means he has some kind of psychic shielding up for reasons that may not have been made aware to me.) Because I have permission, that action shades from white (done for others, as when I borrow his energy and thus some of his Charismatic ability to lay on hands) to gray, which is the in-between where most magic falls (as well as most ethics in the physical world). It's not black to heal yourself, or to help yourself, as long as it is also done with respect for the greater good and with the Chao (universal will) placed first in your estimation. (One never does a spell "to bring wealth", for instance, without placing conditions on it -- think back to all the fairy tales about too-general wishes and their disastrous consequences -- because you could, however inadvertently, kill your Uncle Fred because there was a bequest in his will that exactly matched your need.)

LokiKB told us last week that he "decided" he "wanted to see what was going on" with a girl he had been interested in, and got a nasty reaction when he "went looking" for her (pathwalking). It's wrong to do that to someone who does not practice. It's wrong to do that to someone without their permission. He tried to slough it off as "but I just wanted to see if she was OK." That serves only his ego, and is done without permission, which makes it black, and disgusting and stalkerish -- people who don't practice are usually almost entirely undefended in their sleep, because they don't believe in or don't know how to set up guards around their psyches while their spirits are elsewhere and minds are relaxed. Even thinking about that makes me shudder. Ugh.

Irina asked how one defends oneself from black magic, or how one protects oneself in general. CDHSarah gave a general outline. Basically it all has to do with intent, again. One can cast a circle of protection, do a visualization of a wall or tree, create an amulet, paint a protective symbol on hand or forehead, bind the person doing the threatening from doing harm, bind oneself from harm....there are a million and one ways to focus that idea. My home is protected in many ways from unwanted influences...I have a ba-gua mirror (the red and green mirrors bordered with the 8 trigrams of the I Ching) with bells on the front door, which serves the dual purpose of alerting me to people entering and leaving, and reflecting bad energy back as well. The bells dispel negativity. Also, there is a red tassel hanging on the outside of the door; if evil tries to enter, supposedly the tassel confuses it. (All this is feng shui based.)

Over the door, inside, there is a Green Man, the nature guardian, who watches over the cats when I am not there. And soon there will be a fiery Cernunnos (now that I have a Malleus Maleficarum to put him up with) on the bathroom door, which is on a line with the front door, to frighten anything that might make it past the ba-gua, the bells, the Green Man, and three cats who are reasonably psychically aware. And I sleep next to my altar, although I'm about to change that arrangement once it warms up a little, and then I will put protective wards on my bed. There's a small altar next to my computer, also, featuring St. Isidore (patron saint of the Internet) and the child-Ganesh. When I start working from home that one will get better. These serve as foci to create the idea of safety, the intent of it, which in the end (when combined with locked doors, as I'm not so hippy-dippy as all that) is what is really required to protect yourself -- the belief that you can, tempered with the intuition that tells you when you are not safe and need to add a layer of protection.

I'm just rambling now, and I'm sure CDHSarah has plenty to add to this. But we are all safe, for now, and WV 2.0 has not been sat upon as far as I know, and all (for now) is well. And tomorrow is Beltane! Happy!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Happy Beltane (Sort Of) (Thanks, Pope Gregory...Not)

Happy sort-of Beltane, guys! (This is the fixed date of Beltane, which goes sundown to sundown 4/31-5/1. We celebrate the lunar Beltane this year a few days later.)

Hurrah for Beltane.

Not hurrah for a cat who shall remain unidentified, who found the Venus I made and decided life would not be perfect if s/he did not SLEEP on it, all night, squishing it basically beyond fixin' as the clay is self-hardening. I'll smooth the cracks and keep her, but she's not all gorgeous, so I'll have to show you version 2.0. Hail Discordia, even when it means more work for me.

More later once I know if I'm going to a cookout tonight, or to an expulsion, or both.