Sometimes….


So I started working in my new field.  Well really, an extension of what I was doing before, only now I’m accountable to myself and the board of nursing and my malpractice insurance issuer and my boss.

I’m an independent contractor and I get a straight percentage of the collections on patients I see.  Not a bad gig, I don’t get benefits, insurance, or retirement – but I set my own hours, and my income is limited by how many patients I see and how much income my billing brings in.  The worst part is I only get paid once a month.  And our old biller, who hopefully will fall into a great chasm and never been seen or heard from again, hadn’t even begun to bill for July 29th as of Sept 1.  Jerk.  I’m so glad we have a new biller!

Well the other office got broken into last month, the safe was stolen,and the checks for the business account were in the safe.  My already meager check bounced because the office manager apparently forgot to include my name on the list of checks that were supposed to be allowed to go through on this account, which had been frozen due to the checks being stolen (and four forged checks have already been presented and refused).  So I did not get paid at all this month after all.

I haven’t had a paycheck since July but I’ve been working my @$$ off! The July paycheck is from the old job…the new one hasn’t paid my a penny that I’ve actually gotten to keep.

Sometimes…I think I must be wearing a “kick me” sign on my back, spiritually speaking….

Still waiting.


Our camping trip was amazing.  We met some people, including someone (who shall remain nameless) that I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined meeting at a little tiny camp out in Northern Arizona!  We also met several Arizona heathen families, some wonderful New Mexico heathens, along with a fellow mead maker/brewer, and lots of other people, all of whom were talented and giving of their time and skill.  It was, all in all, a lovely weekend.

We got an incredible amount of rain!  Mr. TF and I were married in Grand Caymen during Hurricane Michelle in 2001.  I don’t think I’ve experienced sustained rain with winds like what we had on Friday since we were in the hurricane!  People’s tents got filled with 2 feet of water!  A few tents collapsed!  We were luckier – we were camped out farther from the common ramada, but on not such a steep slope and thus avoided some of the problems others had (and that was purely by chance, I assure you).  We did get water in the tent, but it was because the wind was blowing the rain horizontally and it lifted the rain shield, allowing rain into the tent.  Not so bad, though.  Only one half was actually wet (with about an inch of standing water in places) but most of our stuff was still in the plastic totes and thus dry.  Most importantly, our bedding remained mostly dry (yay wool!) and we were cozy every night.

I took not a single picture.  In fact, our phones remained either in the truck’s glove box or charging with the solar charger on the hood.  We were pretty much technology free during our 3 days there.  I didn’t miss it much either.  I did notice I had missed a phone call from someone very important when I finally picked up my phone around 10pm on Friday night – luckily said person also sent an email and I spent an agonizing 15 minutes trying to sign into my email and waiting for his letter to load…but it was good news and well worth waiting for.  Mr. TF and I drank two drams of scotch each (LaPhroaig) to celebrate, and sat outside in the beautifully clear night, watching the meteor shower and the stars.  Other than sharing the good news with family and close friends the next day though, no phones for either of us.

I did NOT win the antler handled, hand forged skean dhu I had hoped to bid on….I was too busy running my mouth visiting and missed the auction for it entirely!  Ah well, not meant to be I guess.  There will be others.

All the crap that has gone on since January…if it all hadn’t gone down the way it did I never would have met any of these people, at a time and a place in my life when I really NEEDED to meet them.  I humbly apologize to the Universe.  Things do in fact happen for a reason.  And sometimes wyrd/karma takes really some really strange twists to get us where we are supposed to be and in contact with those we are supposed to know.

But now, home for nearly a week, I am like a caged panther.  I’m not particularly good at waiting.  But wait I must.  I guess the Powers are making sure I get some actual rest time in before I start my new job with its associated stress and all consuming lifestyle (if my fellow workers are any judge, that is).

images

Maybe some time to knit while I pet the cat….

ohkd

Or knit while I chat with friends….

 

A'Knittin' while you work

A’Knittin’ while you work

Or knit while I get this amazing craphole of a dirty house back into shape 🙂  Are you sensing a pattern here?  Of course, I also have wool tweed on the loom I need to weave off to make a vest with, and POUNDS of alpaca and wool to spin up – including a commission for lace weight suri yarn.

I’m behind on holiday gifts too…

Yep, waiting is hard, but I think I might be able to fill my time.

 

Just hanging there…


ATU12That would be me, currently.  Just hanging there.  Waiting for a decision.

Time is running out, I have been in this limbo for six months now.  I need a decision soon.  Events have conspired to force a decision.  Hopefully it’s a positive one, or at least a neutral one.  Anyone who feels motivated, please light a candle/say a prayer/send energy to the Universe.  Closure is hopefully coming soon.

Community, Personal Responsibility, The World Isn’t Fair, Gods.


Atheist alert: this has a lot to do with spirituality and yes, religion. Deal. In my mind science and ‘woo’ co-exist in a dynamic relationship that causes occasional cognitive dissonance, but forces me to continually re-evaluate my worldview. In my view this is healthy and necessary.

Pagan alert: Not Politically Correct Commentary on our community. Deal. If it angers you, perhaps you need to take a good hard look in the mirror.

I’ve been through the wringer for the past six months. In that time I have been places that boggle the imagination. I’ve been a specimen under a microscope. I’ve been betrayed on a fundamental level by those closest to me, and by some of the very systems our society is predicated on as well. And. The truck was stolen, trashed, totaled, rebuilt. I lost a job. I spent money I didn’t have (thanks FIL for the help, more grateful than you’ll ever know) and am in debt to the tune of thousands of dollars with nothing to show for it. I have a degree for a career I can’t work in. And I’m becoming more and more convinced I don’t want to work in it anyway, the way things are moving (see going places one doesn’t want to go, or my previous post). I have discovered, the hard way, that standing up for right doesn’t always mean you will be protected, or that things will work out. Sometimes you will be punished in the worst ways imaginable, and evil WILL prevail in spite of an individual’s or a community’s best efforts.

I’ve maintained a minimal level of spiritual practice through this, even if it has been nothing more than a simple acknowledgement of Deity and thanks for getting through another day. It has been nothing approaching the level of an actual devotional practice though, and I’ve felt that lack ever more keenly as I approached the end of my degree program. Once I finished, and had nothing else to occupy my mind but the drama and tragedies of life, it became a yawning chasm that contributed to my ennui and depression.  I literally couldn’t summon the energy to pray, let alone believe it would work.  I felt as though I just wasn’t worth it, that the Gods had better things to do than deal with me.

I believe in synchronicity. I believe in the fractal nature of the universe – As Above, So Below. I do believe that there are other entities, other dimensions, other realities than our own see/taste/touch/hear/smell reality, and that sometimes we reach out to those other entities/realities – and other times they reach out to us. I believe that things often happen for a reason, and that reason sometimes isn’t readily apparent for a very long time, if ever.  This faith was seriously shaken as a result of the happenings since January.

My children are fundamentalist Christians. Two, at least, were Pagan/anarchists earlier in teenaged life. I believe that they became Christians not because of the actual religion, but because of the structure and community it offers. This is something that very little of modern NeoPaganism offers, and I have seen that over and over and over again in the nearly 20 years I’ve been a Pagan.

In nearly 20 years as a Pagan, I’ve met more people who are trying to get on disability than I ever thought possible. I’ve met people ON disability who constantly cried about how poor they were, and who were no more disabled than I am, who ran side businesses based on cash to augment their disability payments and who actually had nicer things than Mr. TF and I do. I’ve met people who can’t keep a job, who can’t keep a relationship, who can’t keep an apartment, who can’t keep a car, who are using/abusing illegal drugs – and I’m not talking about marijuana here people – or who are abusing prescription drugs. When I worked in the ER I saw more than one person – significantly more than one – I knew from the local Pagan community come into the ER for problems directly related to prescription or illegal drug abuse or as “seekers.” It made for uncomfortable questions from fellow staff members, at the very least.

Many people who are drawn to the Pagan path often tend, in my experience, to be less than reliable on a personal level and tend to make very bad choices. These bad choices are ones for which they tend to not take responsibility. They misuse magick, in my opinion, as a tool to overcome lack of personal responsibility for bad choices rather than as a tool for self-development. Or they use it as a substitute for an actual spiritual relationship with Deity. Magick does NOT substitute for spirituality. And one does NOT need to do magick to enter into a relationship with Deity. Magick is a tool, it can sometimes be a vehicle, but it’s not the object (unless you are a Ceremonial Magician which is another conversation entirely). It’s as though they are drawn to Paganism because they perceive it as the one religion/practice for which they have to take no responsibility, and they can espouse beliefs that NO ONE can tell them are wrong. Cuz personal gnosis, you know.

Because of my experience (and that of my husband as well, I am writing this as an individual but we have shared this conversation many times between ourselves) we have mostly withdrawn from participation in and organization of Pagan events, particularly events like Pagan Pride, public Pagan holidays, Pagan meetups….you get the idea. The embarrassment of being associated with the crazies just simply began to outweigh the benefits of the participation.

And yes, I know there are those in the Christian community as well. However, they tend to be reined in by those who are around them, and either drawn into the fold or shunned. They are self-selecting in their long term participation.

As a side effect of withdrawing from public gatherings, my own spiritual practice has suffered – it’s not just the business of life/school/work/stressors, it’s been that I no longer go to events where I can get my spiritual batteries somewhat recharged because I’m participating in a community of believers. The very thing my children currently have. The thing I envy, even though I do not think a patriarchal herding religion from a desert region from 2000 years ago has any relevance for them – or for me, for that matter. I do ‘get’ why they turned away from a religious practice that *did* and *does* have relevance for them (and me). Because community. It’s important.

I have suspected for quite some time that the Pagans who were serious about their practice, at least in our area, were very secretive, or at the least insular, mainly because of the above. They are responsible adults and take their religion and spirituality very seriously, and they don’t want to associate with people who don’t. So, while believing firmly they’re out there, it also makes it very hard to find or connect with them. Friends of course excepted, but because of school/work commitments it’s made it hard for us to connect with them as well. When we’re all on different schedules and none of them coincide for all of us….you get the idea.

So why am I going on and on about this? Because I am going to a Pagan event for the first time in nearly a decade next month. I’m terrified. And excited. I don’t know if Mr. TF will come or not. He’s much more laid back about his spirituality, and doesn’t feel the need to actually connect the way I do – at least to hear him tell it.  And the way I found out about this event is nothing less than synchronicity.  It’s a Rube Goldberg nest of interconnected coincidences that defy logical explanation.

It’s not just any event though. It’s a Heathen event. I’ve shied away from heathenry for my entire time as a Pagan due to bad press about skin heads and racists who identify as heathen. I didn’t, and don’t, want to be associated with those who think the color of one’s skin denotes one’s worthiness to worship the Old Gods. When I first became a Pagan (or more realistically, realized that my spiritual beliefs were Pagan and I just didn’t know it) I was strongly advised against my interest in Norse spirituality by a Pagan friend who had recently spent 10 years in prison. His experiences there didn’t encourage me to try to follow up.

But recently I’ve been forced to rethink my blanket painting of this community thanks to blogs and websites devoted to heathens, as well as books I’ve had (and read previously) in my library. A recent re-reading of them revealed nothing that actually allows for this view, regardless of the views of a certain vocal percentage of heathens. And as far as I’ve read (which isn’t a lot, but also not nothing), there’s nothing in the lore that allows for this view either. As I stated earlier, I believe in synchronicity. And I believe the Gods call who They call. Regardless of skin color.

What I do know, is that the values Heathens espouse:

Nine Noble Virtues

are the same values I live my life by, and I want to associate with people who share my spiritual outlook as well as my ethics.  ETA:  because it doesn’t embiggen:  Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Self Reliance, Industriousness, Perserverance.

Illustration courtesy of   My Journey into Midgardr

I am hopeful that I can find a group of people with which to share community and spirituality. Gods know I’m ready after the half year I’ve had.

Have you ever realized after the fact that maybe you just shouldn’t be doing it anyway?


That’s how I feel about my career.  I have banged my head against a wall, struggled for so long, only to be denied at the last.  I’ve realized I just wasn’t supposed to be doing this to begin with.

I knew I wasn’t meant to do this when I was still in school.  It’s taken this long to really get it through my head that the entire field is exactly the same, from basic to advanced, and not meant for me.  Why I kept on I don’t know – Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing and expecting a different result.  I guess I thought getting my master’s degree would make it all different.  Not so.  Just more of the same.  And more.  And so, by Einstein’s definition I was insane.  I think I’ve finally come to and become sane.

When Mr. TF gets a job in his chosen field, I will resign my position.  I will not renew my license when it comes due.  After all this I have come to realize that some things are just not worth it.  This is one of them.

I’m listening now Universe.  What do the Gods have to say?

What do two wrongs make?


Every religion has its behavioral standards. Some of these include behaviors of the mind; the Ten Commandments for instance include physical behaviors – thou shalt not steal – as well as mental behaviors – thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s … Buddhism has its Eight fold Noble Path, Asatru has its Nine Noble Virtues, Wicca has its Rede; all deal in part with making sure motivations and actions are for the betterment of oneself and/or one’s community. Of course, some of these also deal with rules for approaching ones’ God(s) and with proper worship and sacrifice, it IS religion after all, but in the main these, to me at least, deal with proper mental orientation producing proper physical behavior.

I’ve been thinking about this recently and trying to examine motivations vs. actions in whether an action can be wrong in the lens of religion, morality/ethics or the law even when the motivation was pure. Is it in fact possible to act from pure motivations and still err in behavior? Meaning, can one do the ‘wrong’ thing for the ‘right’ reasons? And is it acceptable to be punished for one’s wrong action even when the motivation was pure? If one does act from pure motivation and commits a wrong action, is the punishment that ensues just? Or is it always that wrong actions come from mixed or impure motivations? Is it error that produces the wrong action, or lack of knowledge?

And what about the other person(s) who were involved and the fact that they were committing wrong (and possibly illegal) actions with patently wrong motivations: does this person deserve karmic retribution? Justice? Punishment? Or is their wrong action ‘cancelled out’ by the wrong action of another?

Consider for instance telling a lie. In Christianity, this is always considered wrong. I was brought up not as a Christian, but I was involved in it when I was younger. I was brought up in a family that valued honesty for the simple reason that even poor people can possess honesty as a form of wealth that cannot be taken away. In Asatru however, this doesn’t necessarily apply, if another person has lied (and been caught in it) to you. There’s a standard of behavior one is expected to uphold, as a general rule, but if the other person violates it, one can choose to behave honorably or not based on one’s own assessment of one’s situation. Now, I’m not Asatru, but this is how I interpret it.  And I believe that telling the truth, being honest, is a value that is central to my life.  I may be many unpleasant things, but a habitual liar is not one of them.

Take Thor for instance. He dressed up as a woman, as a bride, to be wed to a giant. He went through with the ceremony. This is a pretty big lie!! But he did it to get his hammer back, and to prevent a larger wrong. His wrong actions were in response to another’s wrong actions, and the motivation was at least in part pure: to save another from a bad marriage, and to get back what was his and wrongly kept from him. Does that mean two wrongs make a right? Or have they cancelled each other out? Does the fact that Thor is a God mean the same rules do not apply? Or is this to be taken as an example for the people of Asatru in dealing with others who do not have the same standards?

I know there are many questions in this post. I have recently been through a great deal due to a ‘wrong’ action that arose from pure motivation. My motives, I believe, were pure, but I let my frustration with the other person’s illegal and unethical behavior, and apparent immunity from consequences get the better of me. Not only that, but I acted from incomplete knowledge and this in itself was critical to what followed. Does allowing emotions to be involved mean I did not have pure motivation? Or was it that I had incomplete knowledge and therefore could *not* have pure motivation? How does one go about making sure motivation is pure before acting?

I have been punished physically, mentally, legally, financially. The punishment continues for a currently unknown amount of time; it may be up to a year before my punishment will end. All of this because someone stuffed a ballot box, repeatedly denied the right to free speech at public meetings, and intimidated people. The back story is that this same person cost a neighborhood association their non-profit status from illegal activities and has a pattern of rights violating behavior. In addition, there have been irregularities in the financial accounting, the potential use of the association for illegal land transfers or zoning changes, and more. Nevertheless, this person and this board remain in power to do what they will, and I remain the one punished. I have been questioning my motivation as a result and have spent a lot of time pondering these questions.

This is a poor way to end a post, but I welcome thoughts on this subject.

Yay.


Several things.

1.  I did very well on my final exam, which was a mock board certification test.  I bettered my score on the initial mock certification test at the beginning of class by 11 points – both of which were passing scores, but I wanted to do much better for my second test.

2.  I had official transcripts emailed to the Board of Nursing on Friday Feb 20th.  They received them, according to the school (meaning they actually opened the email) yesterday, Feb 25.  They still have not acknowledged receiving them on the website.

3.  I sent official transcripts to the certifying body on Feb 25.  They acknowledge it and have it posted as of today.

4.  Which means, between 3 and 4, I will have paid for a temporary certification for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON at this rate.  Because as soon as I get the authorization to test, I plan to schedule my exam.

5.  My truck got stolen from a public library parking lot in broad daylight on a weekday!!!!!  THANK YOU TO OUR SOUTH OF THE BORDER FRIENDS….YAY OBAMA AND HIS DACA’S.  It was found the same night, sans tires/rims/exhaust system/splash guards on the front end, clutch burned out, transmission possibly trashed, steering column and ignition system trashed.  ETA and one of the running lights duct-taped to the body.  It’s at the shop now, hoping they will not total the vehicle if the cost to replace all of that is too high.  I called Discount Tire this morning, they gave me a quote of $1290 for replacement tires/rims of exactly what I had.  The insurance company is questioning the rims/tires, wanting a receipt.  We keep telling them, WE BOUGHT IT THAT WAY.  Good thing I have a photo of the truck with the rims that I texted to my son or we would be screwed. 

6.  I have other things going on right now, stress upon stress.

7.  I just have to have faith that this is going to make us stronger in the end.  And that fighting for ‘right’ will win out over evil in the end.

The Great God Pan is Dead….or not.


Over the past several days I have been confronted with multiple references to Pan.  Yesterday I was confronted with direct references to him three times in less than 18 hours!  I took this as a sign that I should make a post on the subject.

According to Greek mythology, he is the son of Hermes the Messenger who is one of the ruling Gods of medicine.  I say this via his function of conducting the living into the realm of the dead; his staff with two snakes coiled around it is the caduceus of modern medicine.  Regardless of his later notation of parentage, Pan is most likely one of the earliest Gods of human civilization.  He rules over the mountainsides, pastures, sheep and goats.  As a God of the wilds, it can be expected that he embodies revelry, fruitfulness, open sexuality, health, and fun.  In Roman times he was identified with Dionysus, God of wine and revelry.

Pan, like all ancient Gods, has a darker side.  In his kinder mode he plays reed pipes known as syrinx, or panpipes.  In his darker aspect he embodies Panic and Pandemonium and plays, not pipes, but a conch.  These are two sides of the same coin; revelry can degrade into debauchery, madness, and chaos.  The mountainside in spring is beautiful and holds the promise of the summer’s fruit.  Winter storms hold death.  Sexuality holds both the promise of birth and the certainty of death.

Pan represents the eternal lust for life, and serendipity of fate.  Which nymph will mate with him this time?  Who will chance his anger by waking him from his nap?  It seems fitting that a spinner should post about the ovine, caprine limbed God of goats and sheep.

Lord Byron wrote an ode to Pan, titled Aristomenes.  Ostensibly, it was about the hero of the Spartan war; in reality it seems to be about the loss of innocence and love of simple pleasures that the death of Pan entailed.  He wrote it in 1823, but it was not published until 1903, I would guess because of the infamous nature of the author.  He and his works, like Oscar Wilde and his, were not particularly appreciated until many years after his death.

I present to you Lord Byron’s lament for Pan:

The Gods of old are silent on their shore

Since the great Pan expired, and through the roar

Of the Ionian waters broke a dread

Voice which proclaimed “the mighty Pan is dead,”

How much died with him! false or true–the dream

Was beautiful which peopled every stream

With more than finny tenants, and adorned

The woods and waters with coy nymphs that scorned

Pursuing Deities, or in the embrace

Of gods brought forth the high heroic race

Whose names are on the hills and o’er the seas.

I too mourn the loss of the certainty of spirits in the waters and the woods.  I too share Oscar Wilde’s plea for Pan to return and his assertion that He is desperately needed in these times:

                       I

O goat-foot God of Arcady!
This modern world is grey and old,
And what remains to us of thee?

No more the shepherd lads in glee
Throw apples at thy wattled fold,
O goat-foot God of Arcady!

Nor through the laurels can one see
Thy soft brown limbs, thy beard of gold,
And what remains to us of thee?

And dull and dead our Thames would be,
For here the winds are chill and cold,
O goat-foot God of Arcady!

Then keep the tomb of Helice,
Thine olive-woods, thy vine-clad wold,
And what remains to us of thee?

Though many an unsung elegy
Sleeps in the reeds our rivers hold,
O goat-foot God of Arcady!
Ah, what remains to us of thee?

                         II

Ah, leave the hills of Arcady,
Thy satyrs and their wanton play,
This modern world hath need of thee.

No nymph or Faun indeed have we,
For Faun and nymph are old and grey,
Ah, leave the hills of Arcady!

This is the land where liberty
Lit grave-browed Milton on his way,
This modern world hath need of thee!

A land of ancient chivalry
Where gentle Sidney saw the day,
Ah, leave the hills of Arcady!

This fierce sea-lion of the sea,
This England lacks some stronger lay,
This modern world hath need of thee!

Then blow some trumpet loud and free,
And give thine oaten pipe away,
Ah, leave the hills of Arcady!
This modern world hath need of thee!

Oh, for the loss of innocence of simpler times.  Oh, for the loss of connection to the land, its spirits and its stories.  Yes, Great God Pan, this modern world hath need of thee!

*”Pan” copied from Victorian Web dot Org, other material from my own personal library.

 

RIP Michael Ruppert. You deserve it.


I didn’t know him personally, but I was a follower of his original website From the Wilderness since its inception in the late 90’s.  He was a brilliant, flawed, tortured man with a message that is too hard to hear (i.e., understand and act on) for most.

May he rest in peace.  He deserves it, for he found none in this life.

Words can’t describe how sad I am right now.  He will be missed, both by his friends and family, and by those like me who heard the message.