Kicking the Hornet’s Nest

I spend a great deal of time poking at hidden things.  I open cans of worms; I kick hornet’s nests; I turn over rocks to see what lies wriggling underneath.  And, I ask questions – tons and tons of questions, sometimes to the dismay of my colleagues, and my family, and my friends.  I hold the flashlight and shine it right into the face of things that are more comfortable in darkness, in the secret places where they cannot be examined.

Some of this is innate – I am a curious person, and examining something from every conceivable angle until I *know* it fills me with the kind of ecstasy most ascribe to moments of a more…intimate nature.   And, don’t get me wrong – I enjoy sex as much as anyone, and perhaps more than many…but the perfect blend of the emotional and the physical that so many of my loved ones ascribe to it is, for me, found in that first perfect moment when I truly understand something new.

This, as one might assume, means that I am sometimes extremely difficult to be around.  When active avoidance of a topic is the MO, I have to deliberately focus to not only not see the elephant in the room, but also keep from asking it questions about how it got onto the elevator.

It also means, though, that I am a Very Useful Tool, and that some of the Powers That Be have a vested interest in keeping me in good repair.  My boss at my day job, for example, knows I will dig deeply into anything he asks me to investigate and bring back every single piece of information available.  My boss’ boss, the head of Quality Assurance for our company, has come to welcome me greeting him with, “I opened another can.”  They both know, as does anyone who works with me, that I will worry a thing until it breaks open and reveals its creamy center, and that benefits almost everyone involved.

Mmmmmm….creamy center….*drools*

Outside of my day job, I remain a Very Useful Tool.  This thing I do, this poking, and prodding, and questioning, and untangling, brought me the attention of the netjeru before I knew that they were available to me as more than a list of Names in a book of mythology.  It brought me Work to Do that was ecstatic and transformative, but wrapped to make it seem smaller and less critical than it turned out to be.  It is the primary way I uphold ma’at, the concept that is so critical to Kemetic practice.  It is integral to my FlameKeeping work – the Dark Flame Wayfinder guides through the nebulous so the seeker can see the infinite potential(s) waiting for them.  It forms the foundation of my web work – how can I know what to untangle and what to leave in place if I don’t ask the question, or at least get right up against the threads to trace where they are connected?

To ask, to kick, to nudge, to pry – these are not without consequences.  For every piece of knowledge gained, for every insight, there is something better left unknown, or untouched.  My head is filled with things I’d rather forget but cannot, and I’m reminded of some platitude about being unable to put knowledge back where it belongs.  Once opened, a box can never return to its unopened state…but then again, I’ve always found Pandora to be a kindred spirit, and wasn’t Hope at the bottom of that box anyway?

I am the one who Questions, and I have no regrets.  The reward is worth a thousand stings.

Advertisements

A Return to My (Gaming) Roots

Once Upon a Time, in days both ancient and forgotten, a woman sought to drag her pop culture paganism into the light by writing about the gods of Tamriel for the period of a year.  That project was never finished.  

<cue ominous and tense music>

In reality, not so dramatic.  There were mitigating factors, not the least of which was my online religious community changing in a way that made me leave it and the subsequent fallout from that.  After all, the stroll through Tamriel was part of a blog project that started in that very community.  And those ancient and forgotten days were actually in 2015 and the writing stopped almost exactly a year ago (last post was on Peryite, on the 26th of August, 2015).

Lately, I’ve been spending more time in The Commonwealth than Tamriel, and it was during a brush with the Children of Atom that I started thinking (again!) about the influence of video games on pop culture paganism…and it made me want to start the project up again!

(or, at least, finish what I started.)

I’m planning to complete the Tamriel project by writing about it, off and on, for the remainder of the year.  I started with ALMSIVI in January 2015 – let’s see if I can make it to Zenithar in December 2016.

My Polytheism

I wasn’t going to write about this.

I wasn’t going to write about this, because so many have said it, and said it well: that polytheism is not a monolith; that there is no “culture of polytheism”; that those who put themselves up on some holier-than-thou plinth are likely to have it crumble beneath them.

I wasn’t going to write about this, but…

But.

But, if I remain silent, I subvert my own beliefs and practices.  But, if I subvert my own beliefs and practices, I am allowing others to hold sway.  But, if I allow others to hold sway, I may as well strip the mantle from myself and go back to stepping exactly where someone else steps, and…

And.

And, fitting myself into someone else’s skin is not my polytheism. And, applying concepts that do not fit and adhering to arbitrary bullshit determined by those who do not believe what I do is not my polytheism. And, letting others speak for me rather than speaking myself is not my polytheism.

So.

  • My polytheism is Action – I must do.  I must make active choices.
  • My polytheism is ma’at, but not always Ma’at – I am concept-centric rather than Deity-centric, but both are present.  I keep them close to me in different ways, and they fit together like pieces of an enormous jigsaw puzzle.
  • My polytheism is Malleable – I will not stagnate.  I will not do something unless it works, regardless of how often it is mentioned in “the lore”, or how many others do it.
  • My polytheism is Mystery – I will not always understand what is presented to me, but I will continue to try until it is complete.
  • My polytheism is Personal – I do not expect anyone to believe what I believe, or practice what I practice, and I respect what others do until it incorporates applying a Universal Standard.  I believe there is no Universal Standard.
  • My polytheism is Tangling and Untangling – I will connect and disconnect, anchor and sever, expand and contract.  I will in-know and out-know.  I will set boundaries.
  • My polytheism is Vocal – I must speak up because no one else can speak for me.  I must speak until I am heard, and then again until someone listens.
  • My polytheism is Work – Encompassing all of the above, limited and unlimited by my own choices.

It may not be complete or understandable, but it is mine.

Sharing: Access and Justice: Disabled Pagan Activism

I highly recommend that everyone who reads this blog go on over to http://stoneontosand.weebly.com/disability-equality-training.html and take a read and /ora listen.  This is topic that, in my opinion, is never discussed enough.

Alternatively, you can hear the talk by clicking the video link below:

 

Slide below posted with permission:4996347_orig

Cloverleaf and Roundabout

Like last year, this year I got to Paganicon via a road-trip, and while I didn’t happen to see The Rider on my journey, I did unravel a piece of the web that I’ve been staring at for what feels like ages but has probably been around six months.

But I should probably back up a bit, and explain a couple of things before diving down the hole in front of me and urging you to follow, shouldn’t I?

2015 was a horrible year for many people, and for me it was filled with family tensions, work tensions, and religious community tensions that eventually drove me to leave the place I considered my religious home for six years.  And, after all that, came the time of No Computers, and I was driven to seeking out those I wanted to stay close to via Google Hangouts from my work laptop in between doing the things that comprise my day job, which is heavy on pointless meetings with people I don’t want to hear, much less see.

(Okay – done with the self-pity now.  I swear.)

At the time of the upheaval (last October, or therabouts), I was staring at a problem I’d been tasked to address – the untangling of a particular set of threads in the Web in front of me.  Staring wasn’t getting me anywhere, and I couldn’t figure out where I need to start, and then things blew up and I put the task aside where it sat.

And sat.

And sat, until I was smacked in the head by a not-so-velvet paw and reminded that the tangle was still there.  And, that I hadn’t said “No” when I was asked to deal with it.  And that it was going to stay right there until I figured it out.

I like to put my gods in the category of “tough but fair”, but they don’t always like to stay in that category.  This time, though, everyone took on that label, and everyone reminded me that there was a THING that needed DOING, over and over again until I finally decided to get off my ass and look at it again.  Which, I did.  I looked at it.  I walked around it, and looked at it from a number of angles, and tugged on a few things, and pushed a few more, and then sat down and stared at it again.

And then, I took a 21 hour (round trip) road-trip with my sister, and we talked the whole way.  Sometimes it was serious, and sometimes it was silly, and sometimes it would have made no sense at all to anyone listening in, but it was in the talking on the way there, and in Paganicon itself, and in the further talking on the way home that I figured it out and the threads unwound themselves as prettily as anyone could hope to see…and now they’re connecting just as they should.

It took two things, really: the realization that I am very very good at asking questions, and that the sigil I created in Thorn’s workshop is meant to remind me to Speak Up.  And once I connected those two things everything else fell neatly into place.  I am not meant to be a Hammer – I am meant to be a Lever.  I am meant to move things from passive to active.  What once I called a cul-de-sac, a parking lot, where we stop and wait and try to figure out which way to go is now a cloverleaf, or a roundabout, with exits that are there.   We’re just waking up and wondering where we are, how we got here, and why we’re in a hand-basket.

This, then, is the Introduction.

Reblog: Do We Act Justly? Disability, Mental Illness and Vulnerability

“Disabled people are routinely treated as a ‘vulnerable’ group, rather than as a marginalized one. But what if we were included under a social justice banner instead?”

Read the read of the post.

****************************************************************************************

Naomi Jacobs (AKA Léithin Cluan) tackles a critical topic with the type of openness and clarity that, for me, have come to represent her writing style.  This is a must-read, and a must-think.