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via Circle of Dionysos by DKCowan on 2/27/11

"What is forgotten is that “those people” are out there every day questioning the norm and so removing societal barriers for finding and expressing one’s true self for everyone.  If it were not for “those people,” then the “normal gays” of today would still be considered “those people.”  The cultural shift that “those people” enact is both more enduring and more profound  than any short term political battles that may be lost because of them. So honor your freaks, your transfolk, your drag kings and queens,  the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the leather daddies, and the dykes on bikes, for without them there could be no movement, no removal of obstacles."
....
"One must be memorable before one can become an icon.  Which of your icons is most memorable?  A congressman from Massachusetts?  No.  A former boy band member who was outed by his boyfriend?  No.  A round-bellied, dog shit eating Drag Queen who called herself Divine?  Now that one has possibilities."
--

I was attracted to Ganesh long ago, and started collecting the occasional image of him, despite naving only a college overview of Hinduism. Because he was about doorways, and reading, and guarding. Because he's a bit Other. And has cool clothes. The Circle of Dionysius' 'Yes They Are!' ritual theater on queer deities is awesome. Go read the whole thing, and catch the performance if you get the opportunity!
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Yeah, you're not surprised the Hebrew God had a wife, Ashera. She was pretty much edited out. Interesting new finds from Discovery.

It is weird stuff like this makes me so happy? ;-)
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Would be great. Save I doubt we'll be able to see it around here. rain rain rain.

Still, a nice way to slip into spring! Maybe we'll get lucky.

From the pagan news in Minnesota.
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from: A Small Shrine of Antinous. Thirdly, I found out via a friend that a prehistoric site in Scotland, which is currently threatened with destruction, and has been in more-or-less continuous usage for a long time in terms of ritual/folk significance, is seeking assistance. Here is the information/an article on the site in question (which I’ve heard elsewhere has similarities to a certain ritual ascribed to a group of Gaulish women on an island in relation to Dionysos according to Strabo, if I am not mistaken, involving a re-roofing of the house each year)…

Glenlyon Hydro threat to Celtic Heritage
by Jamie Grant, Secretary of the Glen Lyon History Society

Planning was recently lodged for four new run of the river hydro schemes on the Auch Estate in Glenlyon. One of these proposed scheme in Gleann Cailliche threatens an ancient and uninterrupted link to our Celtic heritage.

I have lived in Glenlyon, known in Gaelic as Gleann Dubh nan Garbh Clac (the crooked Glen of the Stones),for the past ten years. During this time there is one remote spot that I have loved to visit more than any other. To reach it you have to drive to the road’s end at Pubil, where the Lubreoch hydro-electric dam holds back the waters of Loch Lyon. From here a small track skirts the north shore of the loch, into the Glen’s most westerly marches.

This land between Loch Lyon and the Bridge of Orchy feels truly wild. Miles from anywhere the mountains, scored with tumbling burns, take complete hold over the landscape. Scramble to the summit of Beinn á Chreachinon a clear day and you can see the Ben Lawers massif, Rannoch Moor, Glen Coe and even the humped cap of Ben Nevis in the far distance.

But it isn’t just the views and rare arctic-alpine habitats that make this area so special. Tucked away in Gleann Cailliche, a hidden glen of boggy heath and mist, is the ancient shrine of Tigh nam Bodach. The shrine is made up of a modest stone structure that houses a family of bell shaped water stones from the river bed of the Lyon.

The largest represents the Cailleach (old woman), accompanied by the Bodach (old man) and their daughter, Nighean.

The Tigh nam Bodach is recognized as the oldest uninterrupted pre-Christian ritual in Britain, some say in all of Europe. For centuries the family of stones have been taken out of their house every spring and facing down the Glen. At the beginning of November they are carefully shut back up inside their house, where they shelter through the winter. The ritual coincides with the two great Celtic fire festivals, Beltaneand Samhain, and once echoed the annual migrations of the Highland cattle to and from the summer shielings.

The shielings may be long abandoned, but the practice of tending to the stones is still observed to this day. Residents and other visitors who know of the stones also walk to the site throughout the year. The Tigh nam Bodachis a unique part of Glenlyon’s heritage and an unbroken connection to our Celtic ancestors.

The Cailleach, or divine goddess, is a potent force in Celtic folklore. First recorded as the Cailleach Bhéarra of the Beara peninsula in southern Ireland, she was once revered across Ireland and Scotland. Commonly associated with wild nature and landscape, the Cailleach is credited with creating Scotland’s elemental fringes (including the Hebrides). A local legend says that Loch Tay was formed when she forgot to leave a flagstone lid on a magical spring well.

A fearsome Cailleach was said to live onPerthshire’s Beinn à Ghlotha. In legend she was a terrifying hag that could take the form of any wild animal and loved nothing more than drowning travellers in pools of water with the lure of false treasure. Glenlyon’s Cailleach is more benign, remembered for looking over the cattle that once grazed these high grounds. ‘Strange and terrible’ things are said to happen to anyone who dares disturbs her wintering grounds in Gleann Cailliche.

Planning permission was recently lodged for four hydro electric schemes that will forever transform the Gleann Caillicheand the surrounding landscape. Existing tracks will be upgraded to take heavy traffic. Power houses will be constructed, borrow pits dug and fresh tracks will be carved into the steeply sided slopes to weirs. An overhead power line will be run past the Tigh nam Bodach and down the side of Loch Lyon.

And what will become of the Tigh nam Bodach? No doubt a condition will state that the stones aren’t touched. The shrine will be cordoned off with a strip of high vis tape while the diggers work the surrounding ground. What the planners are unlikely to appreciate, for all their cleverly worded ‘mitigation measures,’ is that the Cailleach represents the whole landscape.

Of course these run of the river schemes have their benefits. They generate much needed renewable energy to help tackle climate change. They are far less visually intrusive than vast onshore windfarms. They also help support cash strapped estates at time of financial uncertainty. But for all the positives I am still convinced that a few of our wildest places should be kept free of industrial development. Surely Gleann Cailliche, with its unbroken link to our deep past, is one of them.

We would do well to remember that in Celtic legends the goddess of the wilds was not immortal. In one old tale from Mull the Cailleach immersed herself in the waters of Loch Bàevery one hundred years to replenish her youth and beauty. As she descended one morning out of the hills to take the loch’s elixir of life she heard the bark of a shepherd’s collie (representing the domestication of animals
and landscape). Pausing to listen, her hundred years timed out and she stumbled and died just short of the water’s edge.

To me the development that has finally reached the Tigh nam Bodach after centuries of seclusion in these remote hills is symptomatic of what is happening in so many of Scotland’s wildest places. Listen carefully and you might just hear the collie’s bark in The Crooked Glen of the Stones.

Send an email to developmentmanagement@pkc.gov.uk (quoting the reference 11/00061) if you wish to object to the Allt Cailliche Hydro Scheme. The closing date for comment is the 18th of March. Plans for all four schemes are available on the Perth and Kinross council’s website (www.pkc.co.uk).

Fire power

Feb. 2nd, 2011 09:49 am
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Since yesterday I was a bit out of it, today I am thinking about/celebrating Imbolc. Celebration of the Irish Goddess Brigid. 'The' goddess in some ways. In others, she's often talked about in terms of the fires of creativity. She oversees the new lambs and the forge, as well as healing. How intriguing is that? Her creative spark is found in deep cold wells and in hot iron.

So... what have you put your creative energies into in the last three months or so? Leave me a comment and we can admire each other. :-)

For myself... projects have included making new sacred candles, making a fire bowl (Brigid would approve!), and lots of energy into my self work, both meditative and physical; I am learning new things about my body, my past, and my possibilities.

What about you?  
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Boosting the signal... Lee Harrington, a long-time leather player, has shared a new Feri-style pentacle; Ruby/leather. Pentacles are ways of working with our common human experience/energies. I'm going to work it and see what I find.
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Last night after a mellow private celebration, [livejournal.com profile] inflectionpoint and I donned long coats to watch the lunar eclipse, the first time in 300 years the full moon/eclipse and winter solstice all happened at the same time, or so I have heard.

I leaned back against the car, so my neck could survive the upward peering. There were a lot of clouds, but they were pretty thin and scudding by relatively quickly. Not at all the predicted pouring rain! So it was a pleasure to be chilly and look up. Orion was huge and spread-legged to the below right of the moon. Somehow, his sword remained visible when everything else was covered by clouds. I took a bunch of no doubt unspectacular pictures; will have to check them out later.

We stayed up long enough for the moon to finally entirely 'disappear'; very three-dimensional at the time. Barely bloody. Midnight, and time for sleep, and await the sun.

Such a time of quiet beginnings, the longest night and waiting for the moon as well as the sun to reappear. It can be whatever we make of it.

Have a lovely day and a year of wonder!
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Listen to a 'trumpet' from 3000 years ago: http://www.sciencenews.org/musicfiles/ChavinPututusExample1.mp3

From Discovery. In addition to the fascinating ancient music itself, there's intriguing discussion of psychoacoustics. Something ritualists and movie theme writers know well. :-)
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What the heck does it mean to 'minister'?

Are those duties different than those of a priest/ess?

I have a couple half-formed ideas (and have checked a website or two), but would like to hear others' thoughts. I've been encountering the word in pagan contexts lately.
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Patrick McCollum has been tending to the religious needs of pagans in the CA prison system; often paying for such supplies as he can get in out of his own pocket, as well as not getting paid. He's been around since the '60's, just won a pair of interfaith awards, and still teaches with great passion and sincerity. I love his workshops at Pantheacon. He is suing to get equal access (and pay) as other ministers have in the prisons. CA prisons are saying paganism is a 'second tier' religion, and so don't have the "right" to such access and payment (I kid you not).

Pagan and like-minded peeps, if you can spare a little positive energy today, please send Patrick your blessings. :-)

from The Wild Hunt (awesome pagan news and occasional music blog):

In anticipation for what will most likely be a very trying and challenging day, Circle Sanctuary and the Lady Liberty League is calling for the Pagan community to send spiritual support and blessings.

“Send Spiritual Support and Blessings of Strength, Protection, Eloquence, Wisdom, and Success to Circle Minister Patrick McCollum and his legal team in the Quest for Religious Freedom and Equal Rights as they return to federal court — the Federal Court of Appeals on Thursday, October 7, 2010.

Rev. Patrick McCollum is currently engaged in federal litigation in the US 9th Circuit (McCollum, et al. v. CDCR, et al., C 04-03339 CRB) challenging the California Department of Corrections’ “Five Faiths” policy which recognizes only five major world religions for inclusion in California’s prison chaplaincy program. This important Pagan Rights Quest has been going on for seven years and has covered by mainstream media sources as well as Pagan media. For more information and to send messages of support, please go to Circle Sanctuary’s Lady Liberty League Patrick McCollum support page. This site includes a photo of Patrick that can be used as a focus.”

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As I drove in to work this morning, I rounded a curve and the golden hills of the narrowing tip of the valley spilled out on either side, just stunning in the clear light of the young white sun. Shadows deepening the definition of folds, occasional little groups of trees adding color, all the rolling potential of hills. I had a sudden moment of satisfaction and pleasure at being a Westerner, at that very moment, in these hills. It reminded me of the sense of place I used to revel in as a teenager reading Zane Grey in Tacoma.

It's a nice, centered feeling on the Autumn Equinox, with its full moon supervising.

Good morning! Have a wonderful day.

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ADF founder, herbalist, vocal pagan thinker Isaac Bonewits passed yesterday.

It's taken me a bit to decide to post this for some reason. Isaac was one of the first visible pagans I was around. He was thinking about how to serve the growing pagan community in terms of laity and ministers (forseeing the huge influx of new pagans, and the need to provide resources to them) and multifaith gatherings back when we were still a wee, scattered group of practitioners. He certainly got caught in politics. ;-) It's pretty cool that pagans were well-represented in the recent worldwide multifaith gathering.

Thanks Isaac.
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Check out today's Wild Hunt post. It includes a short video of Faith & The Muse currently in concert, links to other performers from the Faith & the Muse shows, and a link to his A Darker Shade of Pagan top ten pagan albums for 2009. ADSOP is my favorite music podcast these days.

Tasty!
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not 'just' art. Read the Discovery article. Going to be interesting to see where this goes.

Rob Lee: "In semasiography, the symbols do not represent speech -- such as the cartoon symbols used to show you how to build a flat pack piece of furniture -- and generally do not come in a linear manner."

Note: the posted Hadrian's Wall video on the page has nothing to do with the story. ;-)
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American Mystic

Includes Native American sundance and Feri among other slices of spirituality. Happy Lance. Hope the film makes it to the Bay Area soon!! 
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The Begining

The Circle of Dionysos do an awesome queer circle at Pantheacon.

Chewey blog entry.

awwwww

Jan. 13th, 2010 07:25 pm
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The Bodhi Tree is closing.

In the 1980's my coven/s would make holy treks from Santa Barbara to Melrose Street to visit the store. There was nothing else like it. I can still picture the jewlery cases, the center displays, the tall skinny pagan racks in back. There, I first found the Feri books... and put them back (so skinny, so expensive, so kinda crazy, and yet..). ! The pagan books were self or small press published, with simple or garish covers. They were treasures. To buy a pentacle - ! Likely that's where I heard about the first pagan gatherings, where literally all of us would gather in a room and chant together...

I am greatful for the founders, and their many years of community service and retail goodness.
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Pagan... Buddhist... Christian... Moslem... there is room for all, with a shared heart of compassion. That makes sense to me. ! 
 
http://charterforcompassion.org/  There are six short videos on compassion from different perspectives that I'm looking forward to watching.

Interestingly, this is associated with TED.
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At the open Feri circle at Mystic Dream last Friday, Storm used an new awesome star projector was used as a visual aid for meditation. :-) Much fun, and very, very cool. Now, this starfield ceiling; a guy punched wee holes in his ceiling and fed fiber optics through, which he can control remotely. 

in both cases: oooo, ahhhhhh
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San Jose's introduction to fall: the heat wave. Yes. Our seasons have their own rhythms, and this heat wave fits right in. On a bigger scale, we've moved into an El Nino year; something to look forward to - the rain! A balance.

May you see what's on both sides of the scales.

And f*ck like bunnies this week!

Woof!
 

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