Went out to Corbett yesterday to look at a job, up the old highway along the Sandy River… Beautiful up there. Amazing what 20 minutes on the road in Oregon will get you. From Deep Urban to Deep Country: Flash
On the way back in, we hit a monsoon, the rain was so thick that we were very quickly hydroplaning along. Argh.
This is an eclectic entry today. This and that, cobbled together in some sense of order. I hope you enjoy…
On The Menu:
Discrimination Against Pagans – Starhawk….
25 Laws About Cats
From Ireland: The Poetry of Vona Groarke
Artist: Ferdinand Hodler
Ferdinand Hodler was born in Berne but worked mostly out of Geneva. He is known as one of the greatest Swiss painters of the late 19th to early 20th centuries. However, his early work consisted of uninspired landscapes.
In 1890, Hodler had a shift in style with his painting Night and began painting in the dark, allegorical theme. These paintings contain stylized figures in patterns of color, form and lines.
Hodler named his approach to painting Parallelism but was also seen as a member of the Symbolist, Art Nouveau, and Expressionist movements. Towards the end of his life, he returned to landscape painting.
Think Different…. 8o)
When my youngest stepdaughter was ten, she was warned by her mother not to be too open, in school, about the fact that she comes from a Wiccan family. About ten minutes later she came running in, waving a dollar bill, and pointing at the words, In God We Trust.
How come they get to put their God on the money, and we cant even talk about ours? she asked, outraged.
We laugh at that story now, but it hints at what it feels like to grow up in a family that fears to openly proclaim their religious identity. While I cant speak to the issue of discrimination against Catholics, I can say that religious discrimination against Pagans and Wiccans and indigenous religions is omnipresent in the U.S.
Many people still associate our religions either with worship of the Christian devil (hes not in our pantheon) or with the spell-casting, broomstick riding witches of fairy tales. Either were evil, or were unreal, satanic or deluded, the victims of the modern day inquisition or the butt of jokes. Many Wiccans and Pagans remain in the broom closet, fearing harassment, persecution, the loss of jobs or custody battlesall of which have happened in recent yearsshould they come out publicly and proclaim their faith.
Pagans in prison have faced restriction of their right to have chaplains of their faith minister to them and perform ceremonies, and restrictions on receiving books and materials. No Pagan who openly acknowledged her faith could run for public office, beyond the local level, and expect to win.
Pagans in the military have faced harassment, at timeswhile in other situations the military has supported their right to practice their religion and to celebrate their religious ceremonies. Currently, widows and families of Pagan soldiers are struggling to get the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow the Wiccan pentacle on their grave markers. The most active case is being pressed by Roberta Stewart, the widow of Sgt. Patrick Stewart, a Pagan soldier who was killed in Afghanistan, aided by Circle Sanctuary and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Personally, Ive found discrimination but also openness and true fellowship from other religious leaders. In the 80s and 90s, I taught in Dominican Matthew Foxs Creation Spirituality program at Holy Names College. There I met many priests, ministers, and religious sisters as students and fellow teachers, and found great commonalities in our faith and values.
The current Pope, who was then the head of the Commission on the Doctrine of the Faith, silenced Matthew Fox, because of his courageous writings and progressive theology, but in part also because he employed a Witch. The college refused to fire either him or mebut Dr. Fox eventually left the Dominican order and entered the Episcopal priesthood.
Many Wiccans and Pagans are deeply involved in interfaith work. Some are members of their local interfaith councils. Others devote their volunteer time to public education. Very slowly, the prejudice is changing. I look forward to a time when no one in this country need be afraid to be open about their religion, when every prisoner can be comforted and challenged by a chaplain of their faith, and any soldier who dies in action can be buried beneath the religious symbol of their choosing.
More information can be found on the following websites:
Military Pagan Network
Matthew Fox: Friends of Creation Spirituality
Covenant of the Goddess
25 Laws About Cats
1 – Law of Cat Inertia
A cat at rest will tend to remain at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force – such as the opening of cat food, or a nearby scurrying mouse.
2 – Law of Cat Motion
A cat will move in a straight line, unless there is a really good reason to change direction.
3 – Law of Cat Magnetism
All blue blazers and black sweaters attract cat hair in direct proportion to the darkness of the fabric.
4 – Law of Cat Thermodynamics
Heat flows from a warmer to a cooler body, except in the case of a cat, in which case all heat flows to the cat.
5 – Law of Cat Stretching
A cat will stretch to a distance proportional to the length of the nap just taken.
6 – Law of Cat Sleeping
All cats must sleep with people whenever possible, in a position as uncomfortable for the people involved as is possible for the cat.
7 – Law of Cat Elongation
A cat can make her body long enough to reach just about any counter top that has anything remotely interesting on it.
8 – Law of Cat Acceleration
A cat will accelerate at a constant rate, until he gets good and ready to stop.
9 – Law of Dinner Table Attendance
Cats must attend all meals when anything good is served.
10 – Law of Rug Configuration
No rug may remain in its naturally flat state for very long.
11 – Law of Obedience Resistance
A cat’s resistance varies in proportion to a human’s desire for her to do something.
12 – First Law of Energy Conservation
Cats know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and will, therefore, use as little energy as possible.
13 – Second Law of Energy Conservation
Cats also know that energy can only be stored by a lot of napping.
14 – Law of Refrigerator Observation
If a cat watches a refrigerator long enough, someone will come along and take out something good to eat.
15 – Law of Electric Blanket Attraction
Turn on an electric blanket and a cat will jump into bed at the speed of light.
16 – Law of Random Comfort Seeking
A cat will always seek, and usually take over, the most comfortable spot in any given room.
17 – Law of Bag / Box Occupancy
All bags and boxes in a given room must contain a cat within the earliest possible nanosecond.
18 – Law of Cat Embarrassment
A cat’s irritation rises in direct proportion to her embarrassment times the amount of human laughter.
19 – Law of Milk Consumption
A cat will drink his weight in milk, squared, just to show you he can.
20 – Law of Furniture Replacement
A cat’s desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.
21 – Law of Cat Landing
A cat will always land in the softest place possible.
22 – Law of Fluid Displacement
A cat immersed in milk will displace her own volume, minus the amount of milk consumed.
23 – Law of Cat Disinterest
A cat’s interest level will vary in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest him.
24 – Law of Pill Rejection
Any pill given to a cat has the potential energy to reach escape velocity.
25 – Law of Cat Composition
A cat is composed of Matter + Anti-Matter + It Doesn’t Matter.
From Ireland: The Poetry of Vona Groarke
A gap-minder on the Gortmore road
when the cattle are on the move,
I am flap and holler, borrowed bluff
and none of it will last long enough
to see the heat of them scatter,
the brown of them take any hold.
Wait on a while, say thirty years,
for one to stray through the gate
of my sitting room, to come to a standstill
by the hedge of the window sill, to squat
and haunch, to lie low as a brown heat
splayed for refuge in the gap of four a.m.
The Round House
The hump and clatter of an older sisters sex,
the father putting out to sea in a burlap sleep;
the heft of pelt that is ridden with lice and a spoor
of excrement or semen or caked blood;
the wheeze of that most distant cousin,
the slump of one persistent grandmother;
the general accretion of foul breath:
postholes for the home that draws itself
from the inside out and round again, from the hub
of the hearth to radial sleepers under their communal skins,
out over the heads of the banded oaks reeling in
the doglegged flight of geese that knows its way
by the grain of the wood in the centre post
where the circle kinks when the child turns over
once in his sleep so his arm falls crook
on his mothers side, as though to clasp
or to sweep up these relatively parabolic lines
and to brush them clean away into the corners
that come later on with their allowances, reprieves,
and their straightforward (if too pointed) pecking order.
In the shadow of the windmill, we put down our lives.
Something about its girth and ballast, the sun on its back,
the shiftless, amber absolute of it, foreclosed on other options.
We put down our lives as if for a momenta break for tea
or to deal with an enquiry in the yardand something about
its stalwarth dereliction shut at once the chance of things
ever picking up again. Now, seven years on, this is us
finding the storeys equal to our time and too ornamental.
Even its decay does not refuse the compliment of sunshine,
the way the moon rubs up against it, or clouds distract
themselves upon its brim. What we were after then was a stopgap
for the lives we thought wed live, that wouldnt be banked
in small-talk, disappointments, lack of cash; the intended,
blue-sky lives that would have us tilting at an evening do,
with arms like French film-stars and mouthfuls of moonlight
to slip us downstream into bed. That was then. I lie. It never was.
This instead is the relief of getting nowhere, of knowing
from the start how it must end. The same momentum,
self-same pace that drags itself and all its consequence
over the bones of another rattled year. I suppose, at some point,
it will stop, and all the shunt and grind of the day-to-day
come creaking towards another new conclusion, a new plan:
the last sacks loaded, the carts dismissed, handshakes,
gates pulled shut from the outside and then a silence
gaining on the sails, settling there, the way birds do, and the air,
the damp, the mould will all do now. How long before the wood
lets itself down on willowherb that finds itself at bay in shuttered light;
before the doors give up the ghost; the floors shrug the way the windows
cannot bring themselves to do, until lads with slingshots
and deadeyes see to them? How long until the ivy takes a hold
and starlings, like quicksilver, like silverfish, like a fastness
of silver spilled out on the stones? And us? We dont move.
Our way of holding on, of saying, weve stayed too long,
is like the way the children have of stopping play
to stand stock-still under the whir of starlings hide-and-seek.
That whats missing should be called the coping makes me
want to lay my face against the stone; let ivy root in my teeth;
weather grout my skin, my eyes take on the evening and its down.
Let my children stand within an inch of my life, so the way
their breath aspires could be the sky, or something close, to me.
Vona Groarke was born in the Irish Midlands in 1964. Her poetry collections with The Gallery Press include Shale (1994), Other People’s Houses (1999), Flight (2002), shortlisted for the Forward Prize (UK) in 2002 and winner of the Michael Hartnett Award in 2003 and Juniper Street (2005). In 2004 Flight and Earlier Poems was published by Wake Forest University Press in the US. Poetry Prizes include the Hennessy Award, the Brendan Behan Memorial Prize, Strokestown International Poetry Award, the Stand Magazine Poetry Prize, and runner-up in the Times Literary Supplement Poetry Competition (2003). She has been Writer-in-Residence with the National University at Galway and at Maynooth, and with Cavan County Council. She was co-holder of the Heimbold Chair in Irish Studies at Villanova University (Spring 2004). She now lives with her family in North Carolina where she teaches at Wake Forest University.