Faith and Family

My younger niece was christened today at the local Episcopal Church. Funny thing is, her parents (my sister and brother-in-law) are both atheists. They attend to please my grandmother, who is a devout Christian, as was my grandfather. I will say that it does please my grandmommy to no end to have not only her son and his wife (my parents), but also grandchild and now great-grandchildren to fill an entire pew around her, when for so long, she did not have that support.

The service itself was perfect. There was no other way to describe it. I was frankly surprised by the amount of energy it raised, because as a former Catholic, I still can’t shake the view of Episcopalianism as “Diet Catholicism.” (For pity’s sake, this church has an altar rail!). The energy actually knocked me off balance and made me dizzy. This of course means that I’m now terrified of what would happen should I go to an actual Catholic Mass where Communion is being taken…

Case Study of an Egregore Pt.I

I hesitated to post this, since it’s much more woo than normal.

Have you ever had an idea come to life? I mean, really…not figuratively, literally. If you’re a writer of fiction, you’re probably (dare I say “certainly”?) aware of this phenomenon. The people on the page start talking to you, and doing things you don’t want them to do, and for some reason you can’t tell them no.

I make stories. It’s what I do. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. I’ve been trying to write them for probably twenty years or so, maybe a little more. That’s honestly the vast bulk of my life, since I’m not yet thirty years old (will be sooner than I’d like, though). I began to have success with these stories when I was about twelve (I think). That’s when I created the character Aurora, or Rory.

Rory was an OC, even though I was writing fanfiction fairly closely based on a popular anime. She was supposed to be like me: unpopular but loyal to her (very) few friends, irritable but always quick with a joke. But…that’s not what happened when I started actually writing her. She trotted onto the page shy and anxious, without a mean bone in her body, and dead serious.

As I grew older, I lost interest in anime, but not in writing, or in Rory…excuse me. Aurora. I continued writing with her through my teenage years, creating my own world for her, and a fantasy boyfriend for both of us to obsess over. She was pretty docile , and did whatever I told her to do. As a consequence, the stories absolutely sucked.

I must have been eighteen or nineteen when I finally got serious about writing her. I renamed her Joren, and started a novel I called Queen of Hearts. It was a pretty cliched epic fantasy, so it was going to start with some episodes from Joren’s childhood.

That’s when she broke away from me. Joren became truly real in a way that Rory and Aurora just weren’t. The intended “episode” became fifteen chapters. They went around in circles. They made no sense. The plot went nowhere. But…they were fucking awesome. Everyone I showed them to loved them. They were dark. They were brooding. They scared the shit out of people.

I still write with Joren, just to work with her. She helps me feel things I don’t normally let myself feel, and she also helps me resolve those feelings that I keep locked inside. She’s worth it. I’m worth it.

End War. Aid Warriors.

I’m going to start this post with a little family history: both my grandfathers were veterans of WWII. My mother’s father served in the airforce; he fought in North Africa and Europe. My father’s father was in the Navy and Marines. He was stationed in the American territories where he tended the sick and wounded.

My maternal grandfather’s main “war story” was of gaining his future college tuition by cleaning out the doctors in a North African hospital at blackjack. He had a photographic memory and was capable of “counting cards” as it is called today.

My paternal grandfather was fluent in German, and after the War was over, he helped process refugees by serving as their chaperone and guide in New York City.

***

I am a pacifist, and also very passive by disposition. I am also Buddhist, and I hold to the value of ahimsa. Yet warriors are I believe the most human of us, because they have seen humanity at its worst, and also its best. I almost said “I could never be a warrior” but I know that is a bald-faced lie. Everyone has it in them to fight, to kill even.

What I say next is not going to be popular: we should not place our veterans, our soldiers, our warriors, on a pedestal. The current valorization and glorification of the military in US society erases the humanity of…human beings. And in many cases they are human beings who need help and support.

Yellow ribbons and bumper stickers, black flags and parades mean nothing, ultimately. Say “support our troops” all you want. That means nothing. None of it can feed the hungry, house the homeless, comfort the grieving. You want to support the troops? Don’t support war.

white_poppy

Broken Wings

I cry out to you, My Lady:
come and lift this fallen angel,
who tries to fly on broken wings.

Come and lift me now, My Lady.
Raise this foolish fallen bird,
who tries to fly on broken wings.

Raise me in your hands, My Lady.
Heal me, your brittle butterfly,
who tries to fly on broken wings.

I cry out to you my Lady!
Come to me, heal me, lift me up!
I cannot fly on broken wings.

PSA: Karma

It’s time to talk about karma again, which means I get to drag out Inigo Montoya

Inigo Montoya

I see karma get romanticized a lot, even identified with the Wiccanate “Rule of Three.” In the pagan community, it’s widely misunderstood, and talked about as some sort of universal balancing principle. Instances of poetic justice are pointed to as Karma in action. Case in point:

glinda

karma3

Let me say something right now: STOP IT.

Karma has nothing to do with poetic justice, or the just world fallacy. It is not victim blaming or the law of attraction, or the power of positive thinking. It sure as hell has nothing to do with the Law of Threefold Return. I have encountered people who rejected the concept of karma because it was linked with these ideas.

Karma has been reduced to a punchline in NeoPagan spirituality, twisted into justification that allows the privileged to enjoy their comfortable lives without question, because hey, they must have earned it somehow. When you strip karma from its original framework, you lose the next half of the equation – pleasure now means pain tomorrow.

My Lady the River: UPG Alert

My Lady Saraswati began her life as a river. The Saraswati River was a sacred ford in Vedic times, famous for the might of its rushing waters. My Lady is insistent that she was not some detached river spirit; she was the river. She and the river’s waters were one. Vedic sages petitioned the river itself, hoping that their words would come unbound and flowing, like the waters of the Saraswati, on whose banks they performed their rites.