Out Visiting Folks


DFW Pagan Pride Day 2013
DFW Pagan Pride Day 2013

Em’ and I spent the better part of yesterday out visiting and shopping at some of our favorite shops in the area while dropping off what remained of our share of the DFW Pagan Pride Day 2013 postcard flyers and Pagan Pride Bracelets as well as a few wonderful posters and table top displays that Carter Bloodcare was kind enough to print up for us to promote our Pagans For Life blood drive. We stopped by Groovy Goods (formerly Feed Your Head) where Elaine was on her way out to pick up supplies but we got a quick hug before she left and told us to please go ahead and post our flyers and postcards. We shopped for a bit and picked up some nice jewelry before heading off. Then we too the town I grew up in, Fort Worth, to visit Owl’s Clover for the first time ever. Owner, Gail Carswell and I have chatted many times online and she has even stopped by here on the blog to comment a time or two but it was the first time we actually got to meet in person. She and Michael have a wonderful place which she told us all about. It used to be a doctor’s office but after the doctor retired he gave the building to a nearby school which he instructed to rent to Gail to run her business from and to treat her right. The rest is history but it has been an amazing trail of synchronistic turns ever since. You can always tell when you are following the path you should be on because the universe conspires to make it happen for you. We stayed and chatted for about 3 hours, Gail made tea and told us about the many wonderful things they do there at Owl’s Clover, yoga classes, spiritual services, astrology and, although it has been some time since they held the last one, reiki circles too. She had us sign the peace pole out front before we left so if you stop by see if you can find where we signed. I wrote down one of my familiar closing lines so if you follow me quite a bit you will probably recognize it. You will find plenty of bracelets and PPD postcards there now too if you are looking for them.


Next we were off to Enchanted Forest where I finally was able to meet with both Jack and James, well, mostly James who said he was more than happy to put a basket of Pagan Pride Bracelets on the counter with a request for $1 donations as long as I could leave him more of the large ones because the small ones are difficult to read. He’s right about that by the way. I have a feeling we will have a lot of the small ones left to use at Kids Village at Pagan Pride Day this coming Saturday. Are you excited? I sure am! It’s going to be great folks and I am looking so forward to seeing everyone there.

Bíodh  amhlaidh,

(Be shay owl-ee) It means, Let it be in Irish Gaelic (depending on the context is often simply Bíodh sé)

Troy


Evangelical Pagan Not Really A Thing

My God Is All About Love
My God Is All About Love

Ya don’t really run into many Pagan people who are out to try to convince others that their way is the only way and you have to believe what they do or terrible things are coming your way and your immortal soul is in danger and, and, and….Gasp! Yeah, you get my drift. It’s just not the way we think. Now when I first discovered that I was Pagan many years ago I got really excited about it. It was amazing for me to learn that there were others who believed so many of the things that I believed but kept to myself for years and years. I was so excited I wanted to share it with others because, surely if others learned about it they too would feel that they have finally come home and it would set their spirits on fire too. But, not so much for most folks. Most people are quite comfortable with where they are spiritually and aren’t looking to change the path they are on. Sometimes people are seeking and that’s why we say, let the seeker seek. Our spiritual path is our spiritual path, other people’s paths are their own responsibility to walk. Others may walk with us but no one can walk for us.

I can only remember one time running across a young, relatively new to the path Pagan person who actually expressed an opinion that he thought Pagan folks should go out and evangelize. Spread the good word of the gods and goddesses, our ancestors and the nature spirits. Ah, youthful exuberance! I wonder how that ever worked out for him? You know, it’s rather ironic, when you think about it, that you don’t see Pagans out going door to door, canvassing neighborhoods, making movements to bring our religious views more prevalent in the public sector, the classroom, the sporting event, etc. But oftentimes some folks will point the finger at us and say we are out to recruit people, indoctrinate their youth and all that. Hypocrisy anyone? But all that aside, no, we’re quite happy to live our way and let you live yours. If someone is curious about our way I and many others are usually happy to talk as long as the discussion is kept reasonable. But I don’t even force my religious views on my own kids, why would I care to take the time to force them on yours?

Rockin' at J. Gilligan's - Pagan
Rockin’ at J. Gilligan’s

Anywaze! With that said, I thought I might throw a little out there about what we did last night. (No! Not that part! Get your mind outta the gutter!) Em’ and I went to see Riddick last night at the AMC over at The Parks Mall. It was good! If you liked Pitch Black and The Chronicles Of Riddick then you’ll probably enjoy this latest installment too. Afterwards we wandered up to Groovy Goods (formerly Feed Your Head) where they were having their 4th Friday Drum Jam and reopening of the store with a great 30-50% off on everything sale. We bought some stuff. I was wishing I had my stack of DFW PPD 2013 Postcards with me to leave but I will be heading back up there today to drop some off so do get up there and say hi for me! 🙂 Then we decided it was time for a bite to eat so we journeyed up to one of my favorite places in Arlington, J. Gilligan’s where we found Jeremy Norvelle and Chad Cocuzza and Brendan M McGeehan along with a great saxophone player, whose name I didn’t catch unfortunately, jammin’ in the bar. They were really on last night too. It was a perfect night to catch them, Chad came over to our table and chatted with us a bit while they were taking a break. We talked about their trip to Burning Man a few years ago, an awesome Cruise Ship takeover they had and some of their upcoming shows. Spoonfed Tribe will be playing at C.M.A. on October 19th by the way! Go catch them, you won’t be sorry! Brendan tells me they will be playing tonight at Quaker Steak in Plano. So, if you’re up that way, go check ’em out.

Bíodh  amhlaidh ya’ll,

Cianaodh

Girls Will Be Girls Until They Are Women

This girls my daughter.
This girl’s my daughter.

Kind of going hand in hand with my post the day before yesterday regarding Gender Bias my Facebook friend Jolie Bonnette was lamenting the state of Halloween Costumes for girls these days. She makes some valid points.

What is it with costume makers that they INSIST that, if it’s a costume for a girl, they have to turn what would normally be pants or a coverall into a skirt or dress?? Since when are girls not allowed to wear pants?? For instance: look up a Ghostbusters boy costume and you find the normal jumpsuit. Look up the same costume for a little girl and you find this ridiculous looking cheerleader-esque sluttified version with a short skirt. And this is supposed to be a costume for YOUNG GIRLS. 0_o More and more I’m seeing the terms “sassy” and “sexy” tacked onto costumes for teen, tween and younger girls. Way to train them up for the onslaught of objectification they’ll be subjected to their whole lives. *smirk*

For the love of all that’s holy, parents of girl children, stop this cycle by not letting them wear these kinds of costumes. If they want to be a SWAT officer or fire fighter or a doctor for Halloween, get them the boy version of the costume which looks like the real thing rather than the nonsensical, often slutty girlified versions. Your tween should not go out on Halloween looking like she’s going to be sucking an acid lolipop at a rave and having sex after. If you don’t buy this garbage, they won’t make it anymore. Frankly, I’d like to see the costumers do what some of the toy stores are now doing: do away with the gender biases and have ONE costume for the character where it looks like the character and isn’t boy/girl polarized. Small children aren’t different enough gender-wise to require different costumes anyway.

You can see some examples of what Jolie is talking about on her Pinterest Page:

Halloween Costumes No Little Girl Should Wear

As I said, she makes some good points. What kind of message do we send to our young girls, even prepubescent ones at that, if the female version of some of these costumes is so overly sexualized? Take the Ghostbusters example for instance. You don’t see Venkman running around in a speedo taking on bad ghosts. Why? Because it’s bad enough getting slimed on your face and hair, who wants it all over their legs and down their shirts too? I have had the opportunity in my working life to work alongside some very professional female electricians. Did their work uniform consist of a short skirt? No! They wore the same kind of uniform I did with long pants and long sleeved shirts for safety on the job.

Granted, when these young ladies get older they might want to dress sexy for a night on the town or to go to a party but when they are still at trick-or-treating age can’t we just let kids be kids?

Bíodh sé amhlaidh,

Cianaodh

‘Tis The Season To Interview A Witch

Quick! Go find a witch! Halloween is coming and I need something ridiculous to put on the news.

Be A Nonconformist! Be a witch!
Be A Nonconformist!

The other day I noticed another Pagan blogger over on Google+ saying, “Yep, it’s that time of year again. The local news station wants to do an interview with me for their upcoming Halloween special.” It’s true though, when Samhain (the word most, but not all, of us in the Pagan community use to describe what mainstream society calls Halloween) comes around the local media outlets everywhere usually do pipe up and say “Hey! Let’s see what the local witch types are doing.” Which I guess is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. Like most of the popularly celebrated holidays it was originally a Pagan one to begin with so why not see what modern day Pagans are up to. It’s kind of a shame though that only Samhain / Halloween garners such attention but I guess ya gotta roll with what you’ve got. Witch or not.

There are certain caveats that come with the attention though. Sensationalism sells and more often than not reporters already have a story in mind that they want to tell and how they want to tell it. So, your facts be damned to use a Christian oriented expression (most Pagans don’t go around damning things and the concept of damnation as Christians understand it is foreign to most Pagan theologies. Although, ol’ Sisyphus and Prometheus can attest to the fact that Pagans of old weren’t without their own forms of punishment handed down from the divine.) But I digress, what I am wanting to say is. You know how a lot of times if the media decides they want to go interview, oh I don’t know, maybe rednecks for example. They will go out and find the most hillbilly, missing teeth, way back out in the sticks talking, caricature of a redneck they can find and ask questions leading the interviewee down the line to create the story the reporter wants to tell. Well, the same thing happens to us.

So, all I am saying is, if somebody sticks a camera and/or a microphone in your face keep this in mind and try not to let them embarrass you too much. Remember that the full interview you are given will be taken back to the studio and chopped and edited. Some of your statements can be taken out of context to paint a picture way different from the one you might have wanted to present.

I, personally have appeared on two of these types of seasonal news pieces and luckily both times I did not have a speaking part ( I was only a participant in a demonstration in one and a ritual in the other) Both times the story was presented in a respectful fashion with no negative spin. So I am not saying all reporters are bad and that bad things will always happen. But they sometimes do. Just sayin’!

Be Good To One Another Out There!

Troy

I’m Biased Against Gender Bias

Not Gender Biased Around Here
Not Gender Biased Around Here

There are certain organizations which I like for most things that they represent and do except for one thing. I have never been a fan of gender bias in any fashion. I don’t participate in activities like “Men’s Weekends” or “Boy’s Night Out” or any of that stuff because I feel the notion that someone should be excluded from something based on whether they came equipped with indoor or outdoor plumbing is odd. I like a lot of things that the Masons do as community service and mutual support activities go but I would not, myself, become a member because, even though they have the Eastern Star branch for the women folk the whole separate but equal thing just isn’t my cup of tea either.

Now I am not, by any means, knocking those organizations who do this nor anyone who participates in those activities. What I am saying here only pertains to me as an individual and my own personal bias. I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that after my father passed away when I was 8 years old I was left in a family consisting of my mom, me and three older sisters and that we did not practice gender bias in our family or what. But I just never bought into the whole, this stuff is for menfolk and that is for womenfolk mindset. Now granted, in the event that a couple wants to have a baby of course the woman will carry and give birth to the baby because her body is designed for that part of the reproductive cycle and in the case of ritual, where feminine / male energy is needed it only makes sense that the priestess role be filled by an actual female and priest by an actual male in my opinion. But anything further than that being governed by a person’s gender doesn’t make much sense to me and actually seems rather silly, again, in my own personal opinion.

As with most everything though it all boils down to a matter of personal tastes and experiences. But that’s me and again I don’t by any means intend to say anyone or any organization should change the way they do things. There are a great many organizations that I admire who practice gender bias. But it is not a fit for me personally.

My son, on the other hand, is quite different. We noticed at a very early age that when he is in the presence of girls who are younger than him he has had a tendency to be rude or even mean. Now with girls his own age or older he does just fine and we have been working on him with this little behavioral quirk so he’s not as bad about it as he used to be. I am not quite sure what to make of it personally. It’s certainly not a trait he picked up from me so I don’t know whether to attribute it to some past life spillover maybe or what.

With that said, ya’ll feel free to express your own opinions on that if ya feel like it. Be good to one another and start collecting those canned foods and such for the canned food drive at DFW Pagan Pride Day on October 5th as well as sign up for the Pagans For Life blood drive.

Blessing The Bees,

Cianaodh

Solstice Comings And Goings – Amy Martin

I was the boogeyman at Amy Moonlady Martin and Earth Rhythms‘ Winter Solstice celebration for about 4 years in a row. It was a fun gig that I really enjoyed doing and I regret that I was unable to do it last December for the final Winter Solstice Celebration. Unfortunately, there was a lot of turmoil going on at my work this past year and I could not justify the time off to be able to attend. But for the times I was able to come to them they were a wondrous event to behold. The Cathedral Of Hope, where it had been hosted in the years I was involved, I am told is able to seat 1000 people. Every time I recall attending it was filled to capacity and still more people were standing in the back.

The Boogeyman! At Winter Solstice Celebration.
The Boogeyman! At Winter Solstice Celebration.

I saw people of many faiths coexisting and celebrating the Winter Solstice and my own role as boogeyman was a rather fitting one for me I suppose. It allowed me the ability to wander around among the crowd wearing my cloak of rags which many people would touch to release any negativity they might be carrying so that it would not follow them in to the coming year. The boogeyman himself was a cranky old man who did not wish to be bothered so he would sometimes turn around and growl or even chase those who were following him to touch his cloak. Not everyone in attendance understood the role or the idea behind the boogeyman so I would explain it to them when I could. Others, especially the kids, thoroughly enjoyed it and would often pick at the boogeyman just so he would growl and chase them away. It was all in good fun but it served a magickal purpose as well.

I am truly going to miss Earth Rhythms‘ Winter Solstice Celebration and the way it brought our community together. I heard somewhere that it was the largest Winter Solstice Celebration in the United States. Perhaps something similar will come along to fill the great void left behind in it’s wake.

Also, yesterday, Tommy Elf announced that his Podcast, From The Edge Of The Circle, will be airing it’s final episodes in October but he also announced that in November it will be replaced with a new podcast and format On A Pagan Path in which he will be including more discussions and interviews with people in our community to talk with them about their own paths and how they practice their spirituality and incorporate it into their daily lives.

I am looking forward to this and hope to see lots of people step up to take part in it. I think that something this community could greatly benefit from is more discussion and networking, less gossip and isolationism.

Flowchart For Having A Proper Discussion

Thank you for requesting to have a discussion with me about this topic. Discussions are a dialog between people in which the participants are willing to alter their position if it makes sense to do so. Sometimes people confuse “discussion” with “sermon” or “lecture”. These non-discussions are a waste of time since all parties are intractable in their existing views. So that our time is not wasted please use this guide to determine whether we can actually have a discussion about this topic.

How to have a proper discussion flowchart.
How to have a proper discussion flowchart.

Kai Saffron shared this on Google+ yesterday and mentioned Gordon McDonald as possibly the original poster. Anyway, I agree with Kai that this deserves to be shared throughout the internet. If you would like to discuss something then by all means let’s discuss it but first there need to be some ground rules. Otherwise, don’t waste my time. 😉

Or, for the TL/DR version that Lynn Bird commented with…

Can you speak as a rational being and entertain thoughts other than your own?

Yes?

Then you are welcome.

No?

Then go away.

Remember a discussion is the action or process of talking about something, typically in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.

Health and Good Tidings!

Troy

Truth They Don’t Teach You In School

"If It Can Be Destroyed By The Truth It Deserves To Be Destroyed By The Truth." - Carl Sagan
“If It Can Be Destroyed By The Truth It Deserves To Be Destroyed By The Truth.” – Carl Sagan

There are so many things I learned about after graduating high school that I found out about and wondered… Hmmm… Why didn’t they mention THIS during our education? There are far greater resources available to us today through the internet than were available when I was growing up that, as one of my favorite phrases goes, in the age of information, ignorance is a choice.

Hel, almost the entire course catalog of M.I.T. University is freely available to anyone who wishes to educate themselves and that is just one example of many that are now freely and easily available to us. I grew up in Texas and was educated in the public school system which was available to us in Fort Worth at the time during the 1970s up until the mid 1980s. I’m not saying the education was bad by any means, I learned the ways of reading, writing and mathematics. As well as Social Studies, history and government which were part of the curriculum. Back then we learned from books which I understand are now banned from the current public school system. But what I found out later were some glaring holes in the history courses which were either not mentioned or glossed over entirely.

One thing to keep in mind is that the truth is public education has it’s roots not only in teaching pupils but also in indoctrination into the society that those who are administering the education intend to build. It is about social engineering. So, if you develop a society which knows only a smidgen about the McCarthy era and believes to the core of their being, things like “In God We Trust” has always been printed on all money in the United States then maybe only a handful of people who do a little more studying might know otherwise and the rest will follow the lead of those who keep perpetuating a lie. Or those who swear up and down that the Pledge Of Allegiance which was required to be recited by each and every student in the public school system in my day always contained the words “Under God” in it. (Guess again.)

But if you are aiming to develop a society based on monotheistic (Judeo-Christian) beliefs it might seem appropriate to teach children this and expect them to never learn otherwise. Regardless of the truth. But what happens if they do? What happens if at some point they find out you have lied to them all of these years? Then, might they not call into question other things you “taught” to them? Might it not be better to start from a place of truth and integrity in the very beginning?

When America was a newly formed country the vast majority of it was still largely settled by people who had always been here. People who had their own gods, their own beliefs and their own religious practices. The founders of this great nation had already experienced the horrors of a system of government which employed both the power of state and the power of religion in the same authority. They signed treaties stating that the United States was not founded on religious principles but that the government was a separate entity from the religious institutions. (Sort of like rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s?). They adopted a motto which included the words E. Pluribus Unum (Out of many, One) in the 1770’s not out of some New World Order conspiracy which is popular today but as the long understood meaning of the phrase, that out of many states (or colonies) emerge a single nation. However, in recent years its meaning has come to suggest that out of many peoples, races, religions and ancestries has emerged a single people and nation—illustrating the concept of the melting pot.  But since the 1950’s, long after many competing concepts were eradicated from the landscape, (Read, Indian Boarding Schools.) There has been a movement to tear down the wall separating Church and State, even to deny that it was ever in existence. In addition to the Congressional Act which required “In God We Trust” on all currency (An act which would have horrified certain earlier Americans who would have found it downright blasphemous to associate their God with money by the way.), The Congressional Acts which modified the original Pledge of Allegiance of the United States as composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and formally adopted by Congress in 1942. In 1956 (not 1776) the United States Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396), adopting “In God We Trust” as the official motto.

Now why do you suppose that is? From the time of this nation’s founding and for more than 175 years this country got along just fine letting government do the governing and religious institutions do their thing. What changed? Well, maybe not much if you look at things like Manifest Destiny which some people clinged to as a concept to give them divine right to take what was never theirs.

Yeah, it’s one of my pet peeves. I have always been a lover of truth, honesty and integrity. Personally I would not wish to live in a theocracy even if it were a Pagan theocracy because I know that the powers of religion and those of governance have no business being mixed together. Well, I guess I will close this rant out for the day. I have some picture resizing to do as a “Web Designer” friend recently pointed out my travel pictures came across too big causing the text to flow around the photos in a way that is not pleasing to the eye. I’ll probably come back and edit in a list of resources to the bottom of this post later for those who would like to check out the things I have said here for themselves. Or, you can just Google them. 😉

Bíodh sé amhlaidh,

Troy

It’s Not A Sham!

I Support DFW Pagan Pride Day
I Support DFW Pagan Pride Day

I have heard it said, even by a member of our own planning committee at one point, that Pagan Pride Day is a sham because everyone gets together that one day out of the year and celebrates their spirituality and gets along but the next day go back to bickering and arguing with one another. But I disagree with this opinion. Pagan Pride Day isn’t about whether or not you like each and every other Pagan on the planet or in your general area. It isn’t about whether you agree or disagree with a particular person or tradition. It is about whether or not you personally are proud to be Pagan and would like to show the rest of the community that Pagans aren’t always what you may have been led to believe. We are just as diverse a community as the rest of the world, maybe a little more so, but when it comes right down to it, we’re not that much different from everyone else. We might be your neighbor, your teacher, your medical care professional, your mechanic or the guy down the street who has funny yard art in his front lawn. But having met one of us doesn’t mean you have met us all.

Sure, we get together on Pagan Pride Day and for at least that one day, set aside any differences we may have with one another. Call a truce as it were. Sure we at least show some common courtesy to people we might not like for whatever personal reasons we might have or if we can not do that at least try to avoid contact with the ones we don’t get along with so well on that day. Hel, I have to do the same thing almost every day at work. It doesn’t make going to work a sham. (Okay, maybe going to work is a sham but for entirely other reasons. LOL!) It has a lot more to do with you as an individual and your feelings about your spirituality than it does with your feelings about the other people who come to the event. If, on that one day while calling a truce you manage to maybe work out some of the differences you have with others, great! Another win for the community as a whole because we are much stronger together than we are apart. If the next day you decide to go back to gossiping about one another or giving each other the finger when you pass by on the road of life, ah well. Maybe, next time.

But does this mean Pagan Pride Day is a sham or is it the individual who behaves this way who is actually being insincere?

Just my two cents. That, and about 5 bucks might get you a decent cup of coffee somewhere. 😉

 

Pagans Are Awesome – Many Faiths

There are a lot of different faiths and creeds that fall under the diverse Pagan umbrella.
Pagan Fsiths Are Awesome! Pagans, We’re Just That Awesome

Aside from the old joke about Pagans making the best friends to have because they literally worship the ground you walk on I find the company of most Pagans rewarding because (I’m talking in generalities here, on an individual level everyone is different in their own particular way.) most Pagans tend to have a live and let live philosophy of life. You don’t often find many Pagans taking a dogmatic approach to much of anything. No, fists slamming down on a desk stating, well this book right here says it so my favorite God must have put it there and if you don’t believe it then to the dung piles with you!

Nah, most Pagans say stuff like, well this works for me, I have tried that with some success so you might give it a shot and see what you think. We are quite happy to live our lives in a manner that suits us and leave others to do the same. Someone once asked me what the Pagan viewpoint on abortion was. I said, well, there isn’t really a Pagan viewpoint per say. It is an individual choice. One I would hate having to be in myself to have to make but also one I do not feel is up to me to make for others.

But what about ‘harm none’?

Well, first, while ‘harm none’ is generally accepted by most Pagan traditions in one form or another, it is not necessarily practiced by all. It comes from the Wiccan Reds and is specific to that particular Pagan religion but Wicca is just one of many Pagan religions and in this I am including Heathen and Earth Centered religious traditions when I speak of Pagans. Also, how you interpret harming none varies from individual to individual. If I am going to eat, some plant or animal is going to be harmed in one way or another.

Back to the abortion thing, if I am of one of the pagan faiths which includes ‘harm none’ (and I am by the way) then what about cases in which the mother will be harmed if she tries to carry the fetus to full term? What about a case in which the child will be born into a terrible life for one reason or another, be it medical, environment of who knows? Like I said, it is a terrible choice to have to make and not one I envy anyone to have to be involved in. But certainly not one I feel I have the authority to make for another. Also, what about that? If we as a society decide to make that choice for others, have we not harmed them by taking away their right to make their own decisions?

Just a few thoughts to chew on. I know there are no easy answers to any of these and I certainly don’t profess to have them all. I never know where I am going to end up going on these posts until I start writing them.

Have A Blessed Freya’s Day!

Troy