Tuesday, January 24, 2017

10 Actions in 100 Days Protesting Tyranny

Saturday 21 January 2017 3 million women marched against tyranny in the US. They were joined by women of every continent including Antarctica. Some of us feeling too old and decrepit stayed home, but joined the on line march and a series of 10 actions in 100 days. I am one of those.

Why do I join the Action plan? Because I believe our democracy is in jeopardy under this new administration and Republican Congress (both houses). I believe the balance of the world economy is likely to teeter and fall because of their power and influence. I believe we all could be in deep shit. I believe women and people of color in particular are at greater risk in terms of health, general welfare and protection under the law than they were a week ago.

Actions taken already are steps to remove health care from people, undercut and change Medicare and social security in significant ways, disempower environmental protections, remove basic privacy guarantees for women, the internet, government employees, and who knows what else.

Donald Trump and his staff have already set about lying to the press, giving them "or else" ultimatums and misrepresenting simple things like how many people were at the Inauguration. To their credit the press has pushed back and called a lie a lie. They may find themselves moved out of the West Wing and into another building off premises. To bolster his brand and make a fictional support from the CIA Trump took cheerleaders to the CIA to laugh at his jokes and applaud. He announced there we might take another crack at Middle East oil and go back in and fight to get it. He made it sound like an aside, but people were appalled. I am appalled.

He has denigrated the UN, NATO and other major alliances. He is renegotiating NAFTA, a trade deal I don't much like, but to take a frontal assault on all these at once is destabilizing. I suspect that is what he wants. A confused and disorganized political and economic world might be his for the picking.  Note I say might. The level of protest right out of the gate gives me hope that this man and his right wing fascist associates can be stopped. Not in 4 years with another election. Not in 2 years by regaining the House and the Senate. But Now! Trump has lied about removing himself from his businesses. He has lied about his close association with Russia. It seems clear Russia intervened to get him elected. He has never revealed his tax returns. I think when all of that is investigated there will be so much evidence even a Republican Congress will impeach. I hope so.

Meanwhile Trump complains through his mouth pieces that all this criticism is demoralizing. I hope it is. We mean it to be. We mean it to be so uncomfortable that the thin-skinned demagogue finds the job too much trouble and quits. That won't solve all the problems, but it solves one. The Russian resource will be out of the White House.

As I write that I wonder if I have gone too far. Surely such things cannot be true--the president a traitor? Then I review what he is and what he's done. I often think that can't be true either. Yet in many cases his remarks are made in front of a camera. I saw them. I heard them. I see him for what he is and he must be stopped.

10 actions in 100 days to protest what he's done. The first action asked post cards be sent to our Senators. Done. The organizers suggested we write our hearts out about this. I just did.

Join me? Write your post cards and diary your thoughts. Then tell social media you did it.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Creative You

Identity and the Quartered Circle: Chapter 1 In the Beginning

Creativity and Identity intersect. The shape who you are.

If you think you are not creative, take another look. What creative actions do you have in your job, in the kitchen or workshop and with your kids? When do you think for yourself and jump out of the box? What is quirky about you?

In looking at ourselves as creative spiritual beings, we pagans claim creativity. People who follow the crowd don't end up identifying themselves a pagans and witches. Such a thing is unthinkable to a conformist. So if you are a modern day neo pagan, you are being creative every time you celebrate the full moon or a sabbat. Even if your ritual is lifted whole cloth from a book or website, the act of affirming yourself as someone who honors the earth, moon and seasons is far far from the herd mentality of organized religions people inherit.

I'll take that a step further. The rush we get from creating art, whether it is music, graphic arts, crafts, dance, visual arts, drama or written works, that rush is the opening of spiritual channels of kundalini energy. It is connected to our love and passion with our lovers. It is woven in to our spiritual ecstasy under the full moon and in the act of grounding. Spirituality, Creativity and Sexuality are fibers in the same cloth.

I doubt there is anyone reading this who is not interested in spirituality, asexual and blind to the arts. Not all three at the same time. The creativity you find in one of those areas can awaken your creativity in the other areas. Come join the discussion. Have faith in yourself. Be a creative consciousness. You can do it!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Magic in Many Forms: Candle Magic by Lucya Starza

Magic in Many Forms

Lucya Starza wove a fine little grimoire in Pagan Portals Candle Magic: a witch’s guide to spells and rituals published by Moon Books. Candle Magic jumps right in from the first page supplying the reader with hands on teaching about spelling with candles. All my favorite spells are in there: money, love, health, happiness. She encourages the readers to trust their instincts and to use colors and scents that are meaningful to the practitioners. I think that is important.  For example, she typically uses yellow and gold candles to symbolize wealth since the pound coin is gold color. She acknowledges many people use green, perhaps because US money is green.  She’s right, but there is something so fitting about a gold candle and a money spell. I fortify mine with a little vial of gold flakes on the altar. Now I’m going to add citrine and a gold candle with the green.

Starza says she writes for the beginner. In many ways she does. Her style is upbeat and readable. She levels her information and sends it directly to the reader with a clear shot to the soul. Yet even an old experienced witch like me can find a new idea. I was particularly pleased to read about the fondue pot spell. You anoint the warming candle; write your group wishes on it, perhaps for harmony, healing or a decision that needs to be made together. Then you prepare the fondue chocolate, supply the long forks, strawberries, bananas or marshmallows and dip away together. All the while, everyone focuses on the wishes for the spell. When the food is gone and the candle burns down, the spell is done. I’m teaching a Wicca I class this spring, and this feels like a good opening or closing ritual. I think they will love it too.

Candle Magic provides more than spell formulas. The reader learns color correspondence, gemstone significance, herbs and aromatherapy uses. Starza packs a lot of information about magic in a little book. In addition she holds to a responsible ethical standard, directing people to add “an’ it harm none” when formulating spells. She’s not afraid of a hex now and again to bring back stolen goods and take justice to a thief. I general discourage new witches from doing that, but the truth is they do it anyway. All in all there is much to admire in this book. I’m adding it to the reading list for my next class, Wicca II: To Will the Magic coming this autumn.  I recommend Candle Magic that strongly.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Names and Identity.

The beginning of self=knowledge is in naming.

Some names are given. Some are chosen. What do your names say about who you are?

What are the names in your ancestry? They can be significant. My family surnames are Abrams, Russell, Lyon, West, and Parkman  for starters. Oh and Hagenbrach.

The Abrams shortened their name from Abrahams around 1800-1810. Were they Jewish before that? not immediately but maybe. The rumor persists. Seven generations back John Abrahams was a carpenter in Newburgh NY. The book of British surname indicates that the name came from Adburgham, a place name in Lancastershire. That is an interesting possibility too.

The Russells were British but which country or county? I'd like to know. My great grandfather Russell was an immigrant from Canada but his father was born in Vermont to David Russell and Keziah Plympton, she of Sturbridge MA. The Plymptons were named for a city in Devonshire England. The Russells  appear to have been farmers and perhaps investors. I don't know if they were successful investors in Canada or not. I suspect they were there because they backed the Royalist side in the American Revolution. People lost their fortunes and their lives doing that. They were given passes to Canada, short term passes which meant they left everything behind.

The Lyons were likely Irish, but I haven't proved it yet. The name comes from the French city of Lyon. They ones I can trace were farmers in central New York, Michigan and back to New York.

The Wests all came from southern England. Our branch landed here in 1640. My immediate ancestors were Wests in Oswego County. They ran a saw mill as a family venture.  The name could be Norse, Flemish or English. Vestarr, for example. It might mean a person lived west of a given settlement. Or it might be linked to the old county of Wessex.

The Parkmans were an old and revered family out of Boston, many of whom were ministers. Before that they were English. One of them founded Parkman Ohio and his progeny went on to settle in Mexico. My branch ended up in central New York as farmers. The name comes from the occupation, a park man ie gamekeeper.

The Hagenbrachs were German immigrants who moved to Oswego NY in the 1850's. He was a butcher/grocer who closed up and went home for lunch trailing change from his pockets for the neighborhood kids to find. I think he did that on purpose. This is from a place name in Germany.

What does your name mean? Dorothy means gift of the gods.

Why do you have it? My mother and her close friend who died just before I was born were Dorothys. I never like being named for a dead woman. It felt creepy. But I liked the meaning. I tried to live up to it from an early age. A gift from the Gods does good stuff for other people. It is my aspiration.

How do you name yourself? Webweaver and Anemone. Eric calls me Lulu which is what one grandfather called my grandmother to annoy her. It really was her name but she didn't like it and went by Pearl. Can't say as I blame her.

What about you? You may not want to share info on line but write it down in your journal. Check it out on Ancestry. Find out who your grand parents, great grandparents and great great grandparents were. It is their love that formed you. If you need me to check something on Ancestry, I can do that. Google the surnames and find their meaning or origin. But be advised. You might get hooked on the research.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fourth Thursdays: Book Discussion on Identity and the Quartered Circle

Beginning February 25th, I will hold Fourth Thursdays at the Web PATH Center, 2 William St. Lyons NY 6 pm to 8 pm for book discussions. Leading off with Identity and the Quartered Circle, going chapter by chapter through my own book. You can get one through all major book sellers including Amazon, e books or hard copy. For those who can't get to Lyons, I'll post some discussion questions on my Facebook writer's page and along with my favorite replies from the group. You can join in through the comments over there.
One of the differences you will find in Identity is in the journaling and artwork projects included with the chapters. I included those because I believe creative expression is an important part of spirituality. We will give the discussion group opportunities to do the projects that interest them. Perhaps we can post some of them here on the Blog.

So come on out and have some fun. Chapter of the month and projects will be announced here and on Facebook. Tell your friends! This is open to the public.

We won't start until next week but here's the first teaser. Keep private what you wish to keep confidential. This is the internet after all.

The beginning of our new self-knowledge is in naming.

Do you know anything about names in your ancestry? They can be significant
What does your name mean?
Why do you have it?
How do you name yourself?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Announcing Sacred Sex and Magick

Publication Release date: June 26, 2015

This book is for people who want a spiritual path that involves the physical ecstasy of sex and the dynamics of magick that works.

Pre-order now from your local books store, Barnes & Noble, Amazon or from the publisher, Moon Books.

  Eighteen of us from the Web PATH Center, a pagan church and spiritual community in Lyons, NY, wondered what would happen if we wrote a book about sex.

o The book needed to be spiritual.

o It needed to be sexy.

o It needed to be explicit.

Sacred Sex and Magick is the result.

We describe how ordinary ritual practices like grounding and creating a cone of power involve sensuality and rising kundalini energy.

We explain how to use that power in making magick happen.

Then we share secrets of the Great Rite and how to include the power of the sacred marriage at home.

Solitaries, pagan partners and spouses, and people with spirit lovers all dance with the ecstasy found in this book.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Writing Horse

Writing is not so very different from other processes. One has some success, one falls off the horse. One gets back on. Additional achievements follow. I am at the point or scrambling back up on the horse after a whole year of disruption.

In 2014, my partner Eric who will be 78 this month had a year of medical issues culminating in a hip replacement. He's fine now, though still regaining his vigor and stamina. Yesterday he was out on the tractor plowing snow so we could get out after yet another impressive blizzard. Today he is doing desk work because his body is protesting. People who have never driven a tractor fail to realize what a physical workout that is. First you have to get up into the damn thing....kind of like remounting the horse we fell off.

So here I am back up on the horse. Well, that isn't exactly me in the picture, but that is how I feel. I'm writing again, everyday. This is really a new start. My blog Books and Ideas rises up from the ashes with my promise to write twice a week. Look here for my thoughts about books I'm reading or writing, books and stories by my friends, and current events which I must skewer with my feminist wit or temper. Look for something every weekend and again mid week.

To that end, I invite you to follow this blog. I know I link it to FaceBook and you may think that is sufficient, but in the world of writing and reviewing, publishers want to know how many followers one has. So step out of the shadows and be counted on my blog. You do that for me, and I will do my best to be entertaining. Promise.