2.28.2010

if you haven't realized now...

....look above this post. Yes, there. That's where my main blog is. Really.

2.15.2010

the same page

The more I think about the fluffiness of Modern Wicca....really, the less I am inclined to just hang out with any 'ole witches.

I remember when I was much, much younger, and we did the Lughnasadh games at a public gathering in Houston. They had the competition going on, and I really didn't care to join - I just came along for the socialization. I didn't mind helping set up for the events (never look up when someone says, "Don't look up!" and they're wearing a kilt...but crap...some things are instinctive), but I didn't really feel the need to compete. They weren't really that well organized and I don't care for competing against mixed company.

Somehow, somewhere, they split the men from the women (which....as re-constructionist Celts, I imagined that they'd have left them together) and they didn't have enough women, so I was promptly volunteered for the wrestling competition. I really can't even remember the two or three girls I was pitted against, or how I won, but somehow, I got them out of the ring and was declared the women's champion.

Then the men fought. Funny enough, somehow, my husband won. People were highly amused by the whole thing and thought it would be funny if we wrestled one another. So...we did.

And I won.

I will skip the grueling details for you, but suffice it to say, later on he admitted to me that he underestimated my skill, thinking that he could pick me up and set me outside of the ring. *I*, on the other hand, envisioned this vast circle as a plateau from which, once outside the ring, the victor would fall to a horrible death below, having sufficient time to contemplate their errors before splatting somewhere outside of the scope of normal vision.

He commended me on this visualization.

But thinking about it, during that time, I come to the realization of the importance of how, when working magic, this is SO important for groups. If you're not on the same page, who knows what will make itself manifest?

If one person wants something specific to happen, getting together a group, no matter how small, you've got everyone envisioning it as something entirely different.

Example. You need some extra money somewhere to make some bills. So you ask your fellow practitioners to get together for a prosperity spell.

You think of it as making ends meet. Someone else thinks of it as gaining a new car. Someone else thinks of it as vast wealth. Soon enough, you've got a strange hodge-podge of energy going out, and geez....

Anyway... if you're going to get together to make something happen, make sure that there is clarity in your collective vision. If not...well, SOMETHING might happen, but it is not necessarily the something you're hoping for.

Just a thought.

2.14.2010

subtle differences

A few weeks ago, I was out at my Dad's place. We had very cold weather, but as soon as the snow touched the ground, it turned to watery slush, churning up mud. He lives at the top of a hill, the highest hill in the region, and it was turning into inches of mud (he's having the driving areas re-stoned).

We had a place to be, and soon, so we tried to get my father's mechanical wheelchair to the truck and up its lift. Unfortunately, I almost lost a shoe in the mud, because the dirt now was so thick and soft. We tried several things, even moving planks of wood, but we did not have enough wood and the chair itself is one of those electric, large jobs - we were afraid of getting it stuck.

This entire time, I'm trying to be helpful, but apologizing profusely. I knew he needed it, and I was unable to comply with what I saw as a simple request without getting the wheelchair or the truck with the lift on it stuck.

"I'm sorry," I said, probably half a dozen times, muttering at the futility of what we were doing.

After about the second dozen time, my dad yelled at me.

Now, I think that most people get beyond the moments of childhood when they grow up, save for the occasional paternal lecture. But this yell was sharp, taking me back to somewhere in the neighborhood of my daughter's age.

"Stop saying you're sorry!"

I was confused at first, because I'm am years unused to that kind of tone. I said nothing, but before I could speak, my father explained himself angrily.

"I just watched something on that. A report. But it talked about how people would say 'I'm sorry' and after a while, they believed they were sorry people. You're not a sorry person, stop saying it," he said vehemently.

Whoa. Go, Dad.

It was food for thought: a reminder of being careful of the words I use, the fact that my father is STILL constantly learning wisdom, and the awesome fact that no matter how old you are, a parent can still assert themselves.

All good lessons, yes?

Of recent, I've been going back and forth with a friend. I've felt that through his formal education, he still struggles with the concept that people who are not formally educated are perhaps not as intelligent as him. This is something that I've humored for quite a while. I haven't seen him recently, so we've bantered back and forth on the internet.

At first, it wasn't really all that obvious. We'd talk about the kinds of things he was interested in, openly debating, questioning, and disagreeing. Phrases like, "Well, I think I've read enough to know..." or "I've read plenty on that subject" started creeping in. These phrases were often used at the height of arguements/debates, and I took them in stride. For a while.

Then I found myself accommodating them. After a while, almost like "I'm Sorry", I started saying, "Well, I know I'm not as well read as you" or "I'm not an expert on the subject". I found myself apologizing for not being as well read, because some of his concepts he had to communicate without using the technical jargon. In essence, he was 'dumbing down' the ideas so I could understand them. I say 'dumbing down', because he was frustrated he couldn't use all the big and fancy words to communicate his new-found knowledge. I was frustrated that something he could have got out could have been half an hour shorter in conversation to convey a concept.

After several of these little mental skirmishes, one phrase set me on edge.

"Let me make this easy for you."

Don't ask me. I took it like a mental slap in the face. It occurred to me that my friend, a close and beloved friend, was treating me like a damn idiot. And after some subtle brainwashing, I was agreeing with him that I was an idiot. That my opinions were stupid and that my advice was stupid. All 'round, I felt like a complete moron.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Make that woman a witch and you'll have to head for a a fallout shelter.

It makes it all the worse when you realize the person brain-washing you into believing you're stupid is someone you love and trust beyond the scope of most people.

No, the jury is still out on that incident. We'll see what develops, won't we?

SO...in closing, be very careful of the words you speak. Be mindful of the words spoken to you. Words have power, and when you keep invoking the same essence in a nonchalant manner, you'll wind up getting exactly what you ask for.

2.10.2010

repost from another blog: Permission

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” Mahatma Gandhi

I am SO DAMN TIRED of people whining.

And it's not the usual personality-driven whine, which is just whining to whine. But whining over useless bullshit.

I whined I had to go to work the past two days. It was two very long days, and it was self-inflicted, so really I didn't have the right to whine....I was mainly whining because I was tired.....piddly.

BUT.....some whining, I can't abide by.

I think the last whining "Yes, I am!", "No, you're not!" fit I threw was when I was 16. I was trying to convince my best friend's mom that yes, in fact, I was just one of the guys like him, and I should damn well be able to sleep over and play D&D all night long with the boys. She tried to be very kind about it, but I was frustrated to tears. Did she not see that I was just gaming, just like everyone else? My mom wouldn't care! But she didn't hear of it and out the door I went.

Believe it or not, this crap happens in Wicca. A *LOT*. So, if you're not up on the who's-who of witchiedom, or you're not pagan, the following will probably not be of much interest to you, so you have every right to skip the rest of this blog. If you're open-minded, you'll probably be able to relate to this at least.

In 'western Wicca', the stuff that comes out of books and is all over the place in America, people struggle to live by values of earth-based religions, have deep and meaningful spirituality, and some sense of honor. This is all well and great, but it comes from over the seas, and those who have spent lifetimes learning, practicing, and perfecting their magical art known as Wicca as taught by Gerald Gardner do not agree - if you weren't initiated, you're not Wiccan.

Can you imagine the howls of frustration for some? Being told, "No, you can't."

I don't need someone to tell me what I am or agree with my self-inflicted labels for me to have peace of mind. I'm not going to argue with anyone, "I'm a witch!", "No you're not!". I know who and what I am, and the hell with everyone else's assumptions.

So, to BTW (British Traditional Witchcraft), I'm not Wiccan. I understand their definition, as a person who is supposed to be directly oathbound from Gerald Gardner himself (until such a time comes where they can find others from that branching tree, I suppose). I, like many of the other people in my generation, picked up a book and began to read. I can handle this. Because it is clearly their definition. And words, well, many words have multiple definitions. The one they own clearly states I'm not. I'm okay with that.

So many people, to be PC and keep things light and bright and fluffy, have rescinded their words, or placated the drooling masses who want drive-thru spirituality. "Sure, you're what you say you are, because you read the book to tell you so!"

Please. Come on.

I detest the idea of that. Spirituality shouldn't be set-and-serve. It's supposed to be introspection, knowledge, and wisdom. Growth of a person. Development. No fancy cardboard box to hold it in place while you're eating as you drive. I can read about Catholic Priests all I want...but that doesn't make me one. I can read about being an astronaut, but that doesn't make me one.

JUST BECAUSE I WALK INTO A GARAGE, IT DOESN'T MAKE ME A CAR.

So, please.....just understand that there are going to be people in the world that disagree with you. It doesn't really mean that you're right and their wrong, or vice versa. All it means is that you've a difference of opinion, agree to disagree, and leave it at that. Don't clog the Force with your piddly-babbling bullshit.

You are what you are, and no matter if someone tells you differently, it doesn't change a damn thing.

2.08.2010

While Supplies Last

I thought this was funny, so I like to share....



Pink Ouija Board Targeting Young Girls Riles Critics

Saturday, February 06, 2010
By Joshua Rhett Miller

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This pink version of Hasbro's popular Ouija board game sells for $19.99, but some critics say the game is a dangerous "portal" to reach spirits.

A pink version of the popular Ouija board game has some critics seeing red.

The children's sleepover staple — sold by Hasbro since 1967 — now comes in hot pink, an edition released two years ago that gets tweens to call on "spirits" to spell out answers to life's pressing questions.

It's designed for young girls ages 8 and older, but some say the mysterious product is a "dangerous spiritual game" that opens up anyone, particularly Christians, to attacks on their soul.

The game continues to be sold at Toys R Us locations in the U.S. and Canada for $19.99, although it's currently being "phased out," company officials say.

"There's a spiritual reality to it and Hasbro is treating it as if it's just a game," said Stephen Phelan, communications director for Human Life International, which bills itself as the largest international pro-life organization and missionary worldwide. "It's not Monopoly. It really is a dangerous spiritual game and for [Hasbro] to treat it as just another game is quite dishonest."

Phelan, who has never played the game, said the Bible explicitly states "not to mess with spirits" and that using a Ouija board will leave a person's soul vulnerable to attack.

"All Christians should know, well everyone should, that it's opening up a person to attack, spiritually," he said. "Christians shouldn't use it."

Asked how the game differed from magic kits or Harry Potter-themed merchandise, Phelan replied, "The difference is that the Ouija board is actually is a portal to talk to spirits and it's hard to get people to understand that until they actually do it. I don't pretend to know how it works, but it actually does."

Phelan also noted that the pink version of the game is explicitly marketed to young girls who may want to partake in "something dangerous" during a late-night sleepover.

"It's pink," he said. "That wouldn't appeal to me when I was 8."

The pink edition is also available for $33.99 on Amazon.com, where some commenters likened the game to occult materials targeting "tween" girls.

"Just unbelievable," one posting read. "Hasbro — you should be seriously ashamed — you have lost your way. Ouija boards are NOT 'games' and they certainly should not be marketing these to children."

Toy expert and consultant Chris Byrne said he found "absolutely nothing" wrong with any version of the game.

"And if something doesn't fit your value or belief system, you don't have to buy it," Byrne said. "There's absolutely nothing remotely Christian or un-Christian about it. I think people are projecting their belief system on it."

Byrne, who writes for timetoplaymag.com, said he was unclear of the origin of the notion that Ouija players can somehow communicate with spirits or the dead.

"That is something that people have made up and it became part of our culture," he said. "It's always been entertainment. What I remember is trying to brain my younger brother with the board because he kept moving it. It's just funny that people make up this stuff."

Hasbro officials say they have received a "couple of dozen" complaints following a recent report on the pink version. Patricia Riso, a Hasbro spokeswoman, defended the game as, well, just that.

"Our response is that Ouija is simply a game — and it is intended purely for fun and entertainment," she wrote FoxNews.com.

Bob Friedland, a spokesman for Toys R Us, said the pink Ouija version has been on clearance at its locations and is being "phased out" moving forward as new products are being introduced this year.

"There are very few pieces in our inventory in store and it is no longer available online," Friedland wrote.

In a statement to FoxNews.com, the Toy Industry Association said the game is among thousands of options to bring "fun and excitement" to children.

"TIA encourages parents to make their own choices about which products are most appropriate for their families," the statement read.

Byrne, meanwhile, said the current version of the game is not much different from the first Ouija-like game first patented by patent attorney Elijah Bond in May 1890.

"It's been a popular toy for years, and I've played it and I don't do any Macbeth-like witchcraft," he said. "It's no different from watching a scary movie or a good ghost story."

2.04.2010

unusual reflecting...

I don't know if I believe in ghosts.

I believe it's something. I mean, the pictures for 'ghost hunters' and stuff. Reason being is that reflective light acts a certain way, and I've captured some of these weird things on 35mm as well as on digital - over the years, I've had several different types of cameras and even archaic films. So I couldn't really say.

But it's something.

I think one of the most convincing pictures I viewed by complete accident. I flipped through a picture-book that someone brought back with them to work, after having gone to some sort of business convention. As I flipped through it, my boss was standing next to a very large, flat plasma. He beamed a cheesy smile, and next to him was one of those luminescent orb things.

I'll be damned it if wasn't reflected perfectly in the screen next to him.

I don't have any rational explanation of why it did it, because like I said, light doesn't behave that way. It means the thing itself was its light source, and that light source cast a reflection. Odd.

Anyway, my grandfather died Monday. I'm sad, because I didn't get to travel back to 'home' to commemorate him. In fact, I wasn't even sure that they were going to do anything at all. I loved my grandfather, even if we weren't so close as I grew up. He was a good guy, had a ton of people, and would give you the shirt off his back. A good man. I remember his deep, rumbly voice. His smiling face. The fact that he turned his head when I swiped cookies from the cookie jar when I was little. Sleeping idly on his porch swing. There's a lot of little things I remember.

And I'm flipping through pictures on Facebook, where my brother's posted some pics from the informal gathering at my grandfather's house....and inside is my Dad. And wouldn't you know? But an orb floating gracefully before him. I don't see anything else in the pictures. I suppose it could be reflection off the mirror...but I wonder how, being that the reflection is at an angle, and the orb is actually in front of him. So...the reflection from the light would be blocked.

Maybe he was just stopping by to say 'see you later'.
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