American Pagans and the Pursuit of the Millennium


This is written about Pagans specifically but applies to those who voted for Clinton in general. And yes, the writer really *did* have a wall fall on her, it’s not a metaphor.

Neptune's Dolphins

When Hilary Clinton lost to Donald Trump, quite a few people fell into deep despair. They simply could not understand why would someone vote for Trump for U.S. President. One group greatly affected by the outcome were the American Pagans. On social media and in various blogs, many warned of the coming tribulations that would occur. Moreover, some notable Pagans painted a troubling picture of how hellish life would be from now on.

Usu One underlying thread in their expressions of melancholy is the assumption that the U.S. had been progressing towards a more ideal society. Known as “Millennialism,” the belief that the U.S. is “the Shining City on the Hill” permeates American culture in various forms. Usually associated with Fundamentalist Christians who long for the Second Coming of Christ, there is also a secular version of Millennialism as well. According to Secular Millennialism, America would evolve into a state of…

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The end of an era.


My husband is … away.  Whether it’s temporary or permanent, I don’t know.  I suppose it depends on things that may or may not be in either of our control.  It feels a little weird.

The house is very quiet.  I’ve been doing some cleaning projects that I simply haven’t had the energy to get to until now.  It’s shocking how much chronic resentment and anger can sap one’s energy.  Today I feel tired, but it’s because I’ve been working on and off all day, scrubbing dishes, cleaning the stove, the outside of the fridge and dishwasher, getting on my hands an knees and scrubbing in the corners before mopping, moving things and scrubbing counter tops.  Vacuuming in corners that haven’t been touched in a year.  Dusting.  Organizing.  The sad thing is it still looks like crap.

When one works 6 days a week (and at least 3 of these days are 13-14 hour days) these are the things that get left undone. When one spends free time avoiding confrontation, and letting resentment/anger/horror at the situation build, these are the things that get left undone.

When one watches one’s life partner slowly lose their sense of self and purpose, and slip into a nether region, with no independent identity, it’s frightening and stressful.   When one watches them crawl into a deep pit, and they refuse to come out even when you throw them a ladder, it’s horrifying.

These are the things that make one lose sleep in the middle of the night.

 

Localizing your heathenry.


So, back to the promised topic of localized heathenry.

At the heathen meetup barbeque Mr. TF and I went to several weeks ago, we were invited to go camping for a heathen moot in the middle of the month, and they will be celebrating Winter Finding at this moot.  We had to decline because we are already committed to a Samhain campout at the end of the month.  We in turn invited them to come – and they declined because it’s not a heathen holiday.  Eh?

This is exactly the reason I think heathenry should be local to your region.  Because I live in Arizona and let’s face it – even at my altitude mid October is nowhere near winter!  As a long time gardener I know my local climate conditions.  The first frost comes usually the last weekend of October or the first weekend of November.  The last frost comes usually Mother’s Day weekend.  So for me, Winter Finding is the weekend of the first hard frost – tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers all die from that frost so as far as I’m concerned it’s the official end of the canning season as well as the official end of summer.  And that’s what Winter Finding is supposed to be all about.  The ending of summer, the beginning of the cold, the start of the Wild Hunt, retreat indoors to fires and stews and quiet contemplation.

Where I grew up, in N. Michigan, the first frost was usually the second week of September, and we usually had over a foot of snow on the ground by Halloween/Samhain.  So it would be ridiculous to celebrate Winter Finding mid October, there’s already snow on the ground.  It would be logical that they celebrate it at the time of the first frost, which for them happens to generally coincide with the fall equinox.  Which is on a very different schedule from my first frost!

And vice versa for Summer Finding.  We don’t have much of a spring here – our weather goes from a late snow in April (that doesn’t stick) to 90 degrees in about a two week time period.  I have never yet been able to grow spinach – it gets too hot and it bolts long before it’s big enough to eat because of this.  But it continues to frost on and off at night until the second weekend of May.  Realistically, our celebration of Beltaine on the last weekend of April/first weekend of May is too soon for our local climactic conditions but we’ve been celebrating with our friends/local tribe of Pagans but not heathens for the better part of 20 years so we will continue to do this.  It too is “not a heathen holiday” but it’s a part of the ancestral culture of my people (Irish).  Summer Finding for me is celebrated best by planting feverishly with dirt under my nails and imagining the harvest to come.  Which happens as it should after Mother’s Day weekend and my worries about frost are pretty much nil.  But if you look at the heathen calendar Summer finding is celebrated in March.  That might work somewhere else but it really doesn’t work here.  As far as I’m concerned if I can’t grow stuff it’s not summer yet.

Disablot and Yule are pretty much the same regardless – the 12 nights of Christmas are a direct reflection of the Christianization of the Mother Nights.  Same prohibitions even, like for instance no spinning during the the Yule month.

The Wheel of the Year makes more sense in a locality where there *are* four seasons.  In Scandinavia, as here in Arizona, where we basically have two seasons, it makes less sense. Our ancestors would have celebrated (or not) the holidays based on their local area climate and traditions.  We should too.

Busy days, or Good Fences Make Good Neighbors


It’s harvest season, which means that in addition to working 6 days a week (3 for my business, 3 for someone else) I have harvesting and preserving on top of work.  Thankfully, my day is light today.  I have an excision biopsy to perform this afternoon but other than that I’m free.  Which is good because I’m going to need the time.

When I finish my coffee and this blog post, I will be girding up my loins (so to speak) and wading into the tomato forest to harvest another probably 6 or 7 gallon sized bags of tomatoes.  Which doesn’t sound like much until you factor in that most of my tomato plants are cherry tomatoes – they fit a lot more into a bag than Romas.  I planted Cherokee purples, Romas, some sort of Italian plant that give fruit that are Roma-esque but smaller, yellow pear, and orange cherries.  I figured at least one variety would produce.  WRONG.  They all have produced FAR more than I ever anticipated.  This year has been AMAZING for tomatoes!

Then, after I finish in the tomato forest it will be time to venture into the prickly pumpkin jungle.  I bought 6 pack flats of honey dew melons and pie pumpkins – one of each.  Except that the honey dew flat apparently was mostly also pie pumpkin, so I have three honey dew plants which have not produced very well, and 9 pie pumpkin plants which HAVE.  I believe I will have at least 25-30 pumpkins by the time the season is done, not including the ones I’ve already given to the chickens.  Good thing my family likes pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, pumpkin soup … you get the idea.

Now keep in mind that I do raised bed intensive gardening.  So my tomato plants, all 12 of them, are in a total of 64 square feet of space (2 4×8 beds) and share some of that space with cabbage and eggplant.  Though I haven’t seen the cabbages in 2 months…   And the pumpkins and melon plants are in a 32 square foot bed (1 4 x 8).  We have all our beds set up with soaker hoses and an automatic timer as well as deep mulch to keep the moisture in.  We fertilize with manure from cattle and our chickens.  That’s really it.  I don’t weed very much once the plants get established, the deep mulch helps with that and mostly they suffer from benign neglect.  I don’t pinch off suckers either, I just let the plants do their thing and other than some tying up that’s really the extent of my care.

Then I need to prep a bed for garlic.  I got organic Italian soft neck garlic to plant later next month.  Supposedly we should plant in November for harvest in July but I’ve found that just doesn’t work well here.  So I want to try planting it earlier to allow it to get a better hold before the frost hits, so the bulbs may be bigger next summer.

Then there are still the harvest of figs to deal with…I let go to waste probably twice as many as I was able to harvest and get into the freezer, and there’s likely 30 pounds or more in the freezer.

Then we have to finish putting up the bamboo 6 foot fencing around the back yard.  I have 4 foot garden fence but I am tired of the skunks, dogs, and cats trying to dig under it to get into our yard – just going to wire the bamboo fencing to what’s already there and put rocks along the base on either side.  We’ll have a little bit of shade in the summer for the more tender plants as well as somewhat of a wind break plus maybe a little more privacy.  Our county code requires a permit for anything over 4 feet but since this is in no way a permanent thing I do not plan to get one.  I’m pretty sure biodegradable fencing wired to an existing fence is not cognate to putting up a 6 foot block wall or to putting up prefab 6 foot wooden panels.  So I’m just not going there.

The one main reason for the fencing in the first place is this:  our money hungry county workers have decided to go to the poorest areas of the county looking for obscure violations of codes that no one knows about and start fining people for these violations. One of my patients, a disabled elderly woman, got a citation for “weeds.”  That’s what it said.  Well duh, it just rained every day for 3 weeks straight and you are going to fine her because she has an overgrowth of weeds????  So the county is saying that if it can be seen from the road, they will fine people.  People who have building supplies in their back yards are getting citations because it can be seen from across the alley on the street behind them.  People who have piles of wood are getting fined because it’s an eyesore.  Yes, I’m serious.  We got a citation for ‘trash.’  Yep, all those nested planting pots, piled bags of mulch, manure, unused raised beds, sliding glass doors and windows for the greenhouse neatly leaned against the house next to the greenhouse, neat stacks of walkway bricks, are all trash… stupid jackasses.  Money hungry bastards.  If I had planned on living in an area with rules like this I wouldn’t have moved where I did.  Hence the fencing.  Keep your damned nose out of my yard.  And out of my neighbors’ yards too.  I know one guy that wants to build a garage but the county won’t give him a permit.  But they were sure happy to give him a citation for the building supplies in his yard!

And, we need to get rid of our van with the blown transmission.  6 years of it sitting is plenty long enough.  Then we need to move our travel trailer over about a foot so we can install fencing along our side border down to the street.  Our neighbor has a pit bull they don’t keep in their yard, they let him wander, and he attacks our cats and us.

Then we need to look into getting a permit for wood so we can replenish our wood supply for the winter.  $20 for a permit for up to 4 cords versus $180 for 1/2 cord delivered…that’s an easy choice.

No, all of this is not going to be accomplished today!  But it has to be done soon….winter is coming and the harvest won’t wait.

Next post will be regarding seasonal harvest feast traditions and localizing one’s traditions to one’s climate zone.

 

 

 

 

Some of the things I’ve been thinking about.


Being an *actual* polytheist, meaning I actually believe in the individuality and agency of the Gods, makes for interesting conversations at nearly any Pagan gathering. Given that where I live at least, those who share my religious belief (regardless of their particular practice – Wiccan, Hellenic, Druid, Heathen etc) are definitely in the minority, at least among the people who attend the same sorts of functions I do.  There may be other hard polytheists out there, but they’re not attending the meetups and public gatherings as far as I can see, not in any great numbers.

I have met up with some local heathens, and while they are very nice people, we don’t seem to have much in common with most of them.  We disagree on what constitutes racism, we disagree whether or not European cultures are worth saving, whether a girl identifying as a boy is a thing that should be encouraged, whether UPG (unverified personal gnosis aka the Gods speaking to you personally) and SPG (shared personal gnosis aka the Gods telling many people the same thing) is a relevant part of building a tradition or in deepening one’s spirituality and should be spoken of in mixed company, and more that may nor may not be actually relevant to forming a lasting religious tradition.  Something that struck me was that, while they have read the lore, and are more experienced than I in the actual lore by at least a decade, was that they seem to have picked and chosen which parts of the lore they use to support their belief (and twisting a lot out of context) while ignoring those parts that do not agree with their views.  That is my opinion based on very limited interaction so don’t take what I say as face value, it may be that further talks would reveal a different understanding.

So it was with pleasure that we met a husband and wife at our first large “interfaith” gathering this past year.  They and we had a lot in common. Because of them we (OK I, it was my decision to go and Mr. TF went along) went to the already existing local meetup.  Over time we began discussing our personal philosophy and spirituality.  We found a lot more in common with them.  One of the most important things being that at least two of us are actual hard polytheists and have had spiritual experiences that have convinced us of the reality of the Gods.

All of us have experienced the disappointment of going to ritual only to have frivolity and disrespect be a part of the ritual.  All of us, both the agnostics and the polytheists, have felt that it deters from building an actual living religion that will grow into something more, something that has an entire culture integral to it.  We all have experienced the desire to be a part of something more, something that would actually sustain a people.

It seems to us that people make the jump into Paganism as a rebellion but that’s where they stay.  They don’t grow, they don’t take to heart “know thyself,” they don’t take responsibility.  So when crisis hits, as it always will, they have no reserves, nowhere to turn, nothing to sustain them.  And for some of them crisis remains a permanent part of their existence – because they don’t understand the personal power they have to change it, don’t understand the power the Gods have to help them change it.  As at least two of the four of us are believers in the Old Gods of the North, we have a baseline that helps us understand the expectations the Gods have of us.

So we have been talking.  And we have no firm ideas but we have a starting point.  At the next large interfaith gathering, we are going to make sure the left over catered food goes to the needy.  In OUR community.  Not to the food bank or anywhere else.  And we are going to set up guidelines for this for all future gatherings.  If we’re going to talk good words about hearth culture, then we’re going to make sure our hearth is cared for.

 

 

 

“Suffer Not the Heretic, the Folkish, or the Native, to live.”


“Now me, I’ve been a Heathen half my life, and you know what I say when people start ranting about racist heathens? I shrug. I look them in the eye and say, “I don’t give a fuck.” Because after way, way to many years of watching the term racism being applied so unequally, the term means nothing to me.”

This. Exactly this. Brilliant essay! Reblogging because the nonsense being put forward by other supposedly tolerant groups of heathens is nothing more than racist culturalist bullshit.

I literally had a heathen tell me this past weekend that she could care less if European cultures die out. Really? The culture and ethnicity your ancestors came from, that produced you, is worthless and not worth saving? Ok….so tell me how that honors your ancestors….?

Son of Hel

Why is it that I constantly find myself in actions of defense for groups I do not belong to and don’t even always agree with? Seriously, I’m trying to mind my own business, but this divine nature that insists on holding people to their own standards, or even the spirit of those standards, just keeps driving me to speak up. It’s gods damn annoying, what it is. I’m not even Folkish or Universalist as a Heathen. Of course, as the Havamal says:

havamal127“When you see misdeeds, speak out against them, and give your enemies no peace.” – Odin

So when I come across the following post by Grundsau Burrow entitled There is No Folkish and Universalist Debate in Heathenry I can just tell that I am about to experience a wondrous new world of hatred and bigotry tolerance and diversity. Because you can bet that of the two optional meanings…

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Egyptian TV Imposes Mandatory Diets on Women Anchors to Maintain ‘Appropriate Appearance’ — Egyptian Streets


Ooh, I am so of two minds about this….one, that’s kind of draconian.  Two, well…we KNOW obesity is unhealthy.  These women *are* role models due to their positions on national TV, and have huge influence over their viewers.  Keeping them at a healthy weight encourages viewers to maintain a healthy weight also, ESPECIALLY in light of the publicity over this issue.

Notice I didn’t say “model weight.”  I said “healthy weight.” Models today are no healthier than the obese, if your body fat content is so low that you aren’t menstruating on a regular basis you are TOO THIN.  Osteoporosis awaits you my friend, among other things.

Yes, I know I’m going to be accused of fat shaming or being racist or something.  Frankly, I DON’T CARE.  Obesity kills.  Period.  It limits your life.  Period.  You may not like facts but they are facts nonetheless.

Photo: Al-Ahram The head of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) Safaa Hegazy issued a decision on Tuesday preventing eight women anchors from appearing on screen, pending the implementation of a mandatory diet to achieve an “appropriate appearance.” According to Aswat Masreya, SHegazy also issued instructions to the women anchors in the TV sector…

via Egyptian TV Imposes Mandatory Diets on Women Anchors to Maintain ‘Appropriate Appearance’ — Egyptian Streets

Sad.


It must be terrible to go through life being convinced that everyone is out to get you, that everyone is out to cheat you, that everyone is out to take advantage of you.  It makes life Oh so much harder than it needs to be.

And it makes being honest and standing on principle with someone who thinks that way oh so very hard.  Because they are always convinced of the above, even when you are not remotely trying to cheat or mislead or take advantage.

I need an MD or DO.


Thanks to Medicare stupidity, I need an MD or a DO to sign off on home health orders or on DME — home oxygen, a hospital bed, a wound vac, etc.

Anyone out there willing to sign off on these?  I’ll happily pay you more than the Medicare rate along with a stipend.  Given that most of my patient population is elderly, this is a really important thing.

You will have access to all my records via the electronic health system so you can sign on the electronic orders, and review my notes regarding patients.

You do have to have a US NPI though.  :)