Thursday, June 24, 2010

Movie Night

   I don't generally watch tearjerkers but I watched Michael Moore's  Capitalism: A Love Story last night and I cried the entire time.  Seeing people getting thrown out of their homes, homes that had been in their families for generations.  Seeing people out of work with no notice.  Seeing the people who prey on those lost homes.  It was all so sad.  One of the things that surprised me was the fact that, even though I have usually kept my head down when it comes to things like these, I actually had a pretty clear idea of what went down.
    The stock market and the real-estate market crashes, these were not accidents.  It's so vile to think that these were orchestrated and that people profited on these losses.   I remember when the stock market fell apart but I don't remember anyone telling us exactly what happened to cause that problem.  All we knew was that our savings, retirements, nest-eggs, our plans were suddenly pulled out from under us along with our security.  Then the banks had the nerve to ask the government for money.  Our money.  After they had done so much to loose it all.  When the bail-out was first proposed, I knew it wouldn't go back to those who had lost everything.  I don't understand how this happened but it was the expected course.  When we stood up and shouted, "No! Don't bail those banks out!", congress listened.  They voted it down.  Then got pressured into going forward with it anyway.  There were no restrictions.  The banks were not instructed to give back the money they lost.  They weren't even asked to report on what they did with it!  It was like giving a 16-year-old a great car, watching him crash it and then giving him another, just as nice.  But the kicker is that this crash was constructed.  I'm not sure what would possess a person to devise a way to steal so much money from an entire country.  Especially since, undoubtedly, the persons behind this mess were already some of the world's elite.  What I do know is that they got away with it and it makes me sick.      
     I've not been learning about the political climate or financial structure of our country for very long. I've kept my head in the sands of self-preservation for most of my life.  This stuff hurts me on a very person level.  It's a reflection of what I talked about in the "Being and Aquarian" post.  What's happening to the country and the world can often affect me more deeply than what is happening in my own life.  I don't think I'm the only person who experiences this.  So all of this outrage, all of this information that angers me so, only leads me back to that constant question simmering below the muck of what is: Why?  Why has this gone on for so long? How did it get so corrupt?  Why haven't we risen up to make right?  And I think of the 60's.  Those people who rallied and protested had real faith.  They believed that this was their country and that it was supposed to work for them, not the other way around.  They believed that by raising their voices and signs, they could get others to understand their position, gain support and momentum.  They knew right from wrong and they were prepared to fight with all they had to shift the status quo towards health and sustainability.   This sheds a little light on where our complacency comes from.
     My neighbor was talking recently about the differences between the social climate in the  60's and the 70's.  The 70's brought about a real distrust of our government and that's no big surprise.  The didn't listen to us!  We worked SO hard and very little changed.  Then we sidled into the 80's and some weird fluorescent version of the American Dream emerged.  We only wanted to have a nice house in the suburbs, a car, 2.5 kids, maybe a dog, and cooler toys than our neighbors.  It became all about being a Jones.  How many social causes were active in the 80's as compared with the early 70's and 60's?  It was like they just had to hold out and eventually we would quiet down and go back to keeping the hamster wheel spinning.   
    Back to the movie, since I'm not sure the point.  I keep coming back to a scene near the end.  Michael is sitting with a priest and he asks- directly from his inner child- why we haven't changed things.  He says that in a country so great, with so many resources and so many great people, why haven't we found a way to not go to war, to stop the grip of Capitalism as it is surely going to be our ruin, to provide health care.  Simple things.  That's what I want to know.
     I realize that the world is very convoluted.  We seem inextricably bound to the structures we've created in terms of government and finance.  But somebody, or many somebodies out there must see a clear path out of this insanity.  When Jimmy Carter said in 1979 that we needed to readdress our priorities, he was dead on.  We've lost or misplaced one of the things that makes us human beings, our compassion for and connection to other humans.  Money and power have blinded many of us and the rest of us are so busy trying to make ends meet that it's hard to find the time to look up and see what's real.   I'm only starting to learn and I won't look too closely because I refuse to let them make me believe that it all makes sense.
    If I had a platform,  I would call for a global strike.  We need to stop.  Stop making, stop buying, stop chasing and looking for 'things'.  We need to stop and sit and think together.  I know how crazy that sounds but we're capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for.  We don't need to be policed by laws and politics, we need to figure out how to formulate a world where everyone is cared for.  If there is balance, there is no reason for crime.  If we are all seen and heard, if we all are considered to be of equal value, with equal votes and fair shares, then we will have finally found a stable foundation on which to build a strong society.  As unlikely as this eventuality is, I believe in it.  It know there are enough of us who care, who want something better, and who see through the veil of  "Everything is fine, just watch some more T.V.".   Everything is not fine.  The most I can do from my little life is to live with love and hope.  I wouldn't get so angry if I didn't love this place so much.  I'm going to do my best to let go the anger and lead with love. Fighting things tends only to perpetuate those things.  I'm going to love as loudly as I can and hope that others will take up that call.  Maybe we can love some sense into this world!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Searching for a Heart of Gold

  I've written a lot about things I'm very passionate about but not much about my emotional life.  For some reason today I feel drawn to share something I've been thinking about that brings up a lot of emotion.

I've been single for a little over six years.  I was, I guess, a serial monogamous since adolescence.  It seemed no matter how a break-up went, within months I was un-single again.  I didn't have a lot of relationships, but several long term.  I always seemed to start living the man's life, in terms of hobbies and friends.  I so wanted to spend time with him that I would become involved in whatever he was interested in.  I've been a fan or observer of everything from motor-cross and wrestling to Star Trek and RC cars.
       This is the first time in my life I've been single for any length of time and it's really grown on me.  I've taken the time to learn more about myself and what I like to do.  I've learned about my needs when it comes to relationships of all kinds.  I've remembered how much I love to be alone.  I've developed and cultivated lasting and meaningful friendships.  I've learned a lot more about the world, both the outer and the inner.  I've found some semblance of contentment within.  I would love to say that I love myself fully every moment and that I'm always the best Witch I can be, happy and smiling and helpful but that's not true.  What is true is that I've found a kinder baseline.  I've found a space within where I know that I'm ok, where I remember that I love myself.  I've found a much closer relationship with Deity and the love I feel flowing through that helps sustain and fuel me in difficult times.
      I've also spent a lot of time considering the type of partner I would like.  I've slowly cultivated a clear picture of what a healthy relationship will look like.  I've asked myself a lot of tough questions about the things I've done in past relationships that have caused me to lose myself.  I've become comfortable on my own, shedding that quiet feeling that I was somehow less valid without a man.  I've also thought about what would be important to establish for myself before becoming involved again.  This is where it gets sticky.
    I see the perfectionist I try to deny when I look at my expectations.  I feel the need to shed all bad habits, a few pounds, and have all the things that feel unorganized organized.  I tell myself I should be practicing Yoga and meditation more regularly, exercising too.  I should have a better system with my house so that I don't get behind in cleaning, laundry, dishes etc...  Sometimes I even think I should have a better job.  If you haven't already guessed, I'm trying to call myself on my own shit.
   Yes, it's important to feel like your life is in order when entering a relationship.  However, exactly how "together" can a single working mom's life feel?  I may be amazing some days but I'm not Superwoman.  And I see myself making very slow progress in some of these areas.  When I ask myself why that is, I realize it has a lot to do with lack of time and energy.
   I'm beginning to fear that I'm making excuses to stay single.  The only reason I am even entertaining these thoughts today is that I've recently had a welling up of feeling for that not-yet-met guy out there and I realize that I really miss having an other.  I wonder if it might be a little easier to manage my life if there was someone else I could count on to help me through it.  I have wonderful, supportive friends but there is something so unique in the support that comes from a partner.  There is something about being held by a loved one that is so deeply healing. 
    Then some bully related to my inner perfectionist tells me that this is weakness.  It's weak to expect a man to come along and "rescue" me or make it all better.  There is something to that.  I don't want to be dependent.  I do, however, want to slowly build a strong co-creative partnership.  The question seems to be: Am I ready yet?
    While driving home from work today, pondering whether or not to even write this post, I was listening to CBC Radio 2 (love!) and they played "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young. 

"I want to live,
I want to give
I've been a miner
for a heart of gold.
It's these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old..."

Neil Young was not yet thirty when he wrote this song.  It made me think about how, in the search for 'the one', we can start to feel old.  Sometimes I feel worn thin.  I guess it's just a good expression of loneliness, something I've denied even to myself.
    As I read the first lines, "I want to live, I want to give", it woke me up to the fact that it's not just what I miss having that makes me miss someone I haven't met yet, it's those things I so yearn to share.  I want to nurture and teach and learn and laugh.  I crave balance. I look forward to creating something I've not yet experienced with someone who is like-minded.

    I apologize for the circular rambling nature of this post but my mind (air) tends to be much more organized than my heart (water).  If you have any thoughts, please feel free to stick a hand out to catch this revolving door.


Happy Summer Solstice!!

Why I'm a Witch

   One of the things that immediately felt so right when I first studied the craft was the holidays.  Our Holy Days equally divide the year, hence the term "The Wheel of the Year".  I love this for so many reasons.  First it underscores our connections to nature and the passage of time.  These are not arbitrary days.  If we start today on the Summer Solstice, we know that this is the longest day of the year, the day with the most hours of daylight.  Exactly opposite this holiday, we have the Winter Solstice or Yule which is the longest night of the year, the day with the fewest daylight hours.  The Sabbats that fall between these two are the Vernal (Spring) Equinox known as Ostara and Autumnal Equinox known as Mabon, being the days of the year when there is an equal amount of sunlight and darkness.  There are four other major holidays that each fall between a Solstice and an Equinox.   Imbolc falls on February 2nd and is a celebration of the coming sun, a fire festival to celebrate that warmth is on the way.  Beltane is celebrated on May 1st in many cultures and is a fertility festival.  This is related to fertility of crops and livestock, of humans, and also of ideas and ventures.  (Witches always look at the big picture when it comes to symbolism.)  Lammas is celebrated August 1st and is the first of three harvest festivals. It celebrates the bounty of the harvest.   Samhain, our New Year, is the third and last harvest festival of the year and focuses on our passed loved-ones, taking time to honor and remember them, and often on divination for the coming year.
   This is a very broad overview of Pagan holy days.  (I hope to go into more detail about each holiday in the future.)  There are probably no two celebrations that are alike but there is a common thread running through them each.  There is something about celebrating in this measured way that helps us connect to the passage of time, being, hopefully, a little less surprised by it. What I love the most, or what really connects me to these days, is the fact that when these holidays were first celebrated, it was in a time when all people were so much more aware of our dependence on the land, and the sun, and the seasons.  In early February, there is no part of me that can sense the coming spring, but thousands of years ago, people were so keenly aware of the rising and setting of the sun that they realized that day as a turning point.  I very much honor and respect the ability (I admit, necessity) our ancestors had to live close to the land, having real and lasting respect for our Earth.  As much as I love technology and the connectivity it can offer us, there is a part of me that longs for connection to Earth, to the way my food grows, to the passing moments.  In a world where we're so consumed with what's happening next that we can't remember our drives in to work, it's nice to re-member a time when life was really all about living!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's About Power

   Why I'm a Witch

      I love being a witch because it has taught me about my own power, and the fact that I am, indeed, a powerful person.  I'm not refering to the patriarchal, business-crushing, over-taking, outright taking, self-serving, unthinking, un-fulfilling force we tend to think of as power in this culture.  I'm talking about the life-mending, self-healing, earth-tending, nurturing, sustaining, loving, growing, learning, compassionate power inherent in our descision to live for everyone.  To live life every day as if you can make a difference, because you can.  We all can.  To be kind is something that has become almost profound in our society.
    When I started to study witchcraft, I didn't immediately sense how much inner-work this would encompass.  If I haven't already mentioned, responsibility is HUGELY important in the craft.  If you're going to be working with energy and trying to affect reality, you had better have clear and harmless intentions!  This is why you hear the rule of three: whatever you send out comes back to you threefold.  That should be enough to make anyone think.  With every freedom or power, there comes equal responsibility.  When you realize that every action, every interaction in your day is what builds the future, you become keenly aware of the importance of walking your talk.
      I am not a Witch in circle or ritual or at Pagan gatherings, I am a Witch every moment of every day and I do my best to live up to what that means to me.  That's a pretty tall order some days.  It means that I love everyone and everything as it is.  I see Divine energy in all living things and I believe all humans are my brothers and sisters.  I also acknowledge the darkness inherent in all light and, to keep safe and healthy, do my best to avoid people or places that feel threatening.  I try to open my vision as I open myself.  I make time to spend outside and take time to pray.  I know that I'm always growing, that there are always things that need improving, and I love myself as I am and the path this growth allows.  I have deep gratitude to an endless list of teachers, many in the craft and many in other traditions.  I see the world as a school but I see life as an opportunity to make our world better.  If right now that means working on my self, I can see the power in that, as I know the ripples my healing will create.  In that vain, I have great gratitude to everyone in the world who is working to better themselves, who is working to heal, who is learning, who is kind, who is becoming every day...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Being an Aquarian

Why I'm a Witch

   I remember reading that one of the usual qualities of Aquarians is that we are aloof and can be cold and dis-connected.  I wanted to say, "No, that's not me!", but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it can be very true.  It seems that my subconscious has the ability to withdraw and cut-off from any situation that starts to feel dangerous - especially emotionally.  I've been aware of that for several years and I think I've found a flip-side to that coin.  I can clam-up quickly in a protective fashion when dealing with personal things, but when it comes to the interactions of the whole world, of humanity as a whole, I am utterly bare nerves.  
   Ani DiFranco has a poem called Self Evident which is about the 9/11 tragedy.  Every Single Time I listen to that poem I break down.  It's almost as if I feel every bit of sorrow and horror that accompanied that day, along with all the pain and fear we have felt about it since.  There's this open channel that allows the pain of Everyone to come through my heart, and perhaps it's a type of healing.  Perhaps, as these things are felt and worked through by individuals, the collective consciousness heals a little each time.   
    I'm not sure what this means in my life yet, but if I can be of service by helping to transcend pain, I'm more than up for it.  I was also thinking about the way we tend to try and define ourselves, how we look for what makes us "stand out" from the rest.  What if we thought, instead, about what part of the whole we are?  We're certainly all individuals and very unique, but that shouldn't make us feel separate.  
   For me, working with the Craft has shown me a multitude of ways to connect, to remember to be humble and to work towards healing things NOW, HERE, on THIS EARTH.  I'm not here to try and appease or impress some far off idea of Deity, I'm here to help co-create a world like we've never even imagined. Here, now, in this life.   I believe in peace and love and brother/sister hood.  I believe in ONE, in ALL.  I believe in the potential of each and every one of us to do something great that will, in some way, help all the rest.  I have been fortunate enough to learn the way to commune with nature, with Deity in a way that feels personal.  It is possible to make these changes.  When people say that intention is powerful and that thoughts are things, these are not concepts to be taken lightly!  We are literally making the world we're living in.  It's called 'consensus reality' because, by consensus, we've agreed to this.  Then we wonder why there is suffering, war, hate, rape, hunger,  why there are so many have-nots.   It's because we've grown up here and we've let ourselves believe that this is the way it is and it's too difficult to change.  We feel powerless.  We think it will take too long, there are too many things in the way, we're too small to affect change.  (At least, these are the things I feel weighed-down by in less optimistic moments.)  That belief is a part of consensus reality, ironically.  So we believe that this is the way it is and we believe that we are powerless to change it.  
   I urge anyone who feels dis-content at the state of the world to learn more about the power of thought, intention, the Law of Attraction, The Secret... whatever label you choose, this principle is available in many forms through many traditions.  And believe it or not, this is "magic".  These are the principles used by witches for centuries to help us through our lives.  
  Consider that 500 years ago, someone who saw a light-bulb or a car or an airplane would surely have thought it was magic.  They had absolutely no explanation of or experience with that type of thing.  Now think about our future.  If we decide, it could be a place where we can clean up a gulf with focused intention.  Where crime and hate are in history books.  Where we are capable of things we can't even imagine right now.  We're here at a pivotal time in human history and it's impossible to ignore that.  I have faith in the light that we each carry within us.  I know that our species is very tarnished with greed and plagued by tunnel-vision, but once these tendencies are shaken loose, there is no limit to the things we will be able to do!

I've never heard this version of the poem, it's much more musical, which makes it a little easier to listen to.