Do you truly value your work?
This weekend I gave a lecture at 2nd Star Festival in Florence, OR. Originally the idea was to give my "Visual Alchemy" lecture, which looks at the history and intersection of art and magick - but at the festival itself, there wasn't much description for attendees to read besides the time and "Tempest, artist/dancer", so I decided to go off the rails a bit, and hope no one complained that I wasn't dancing as I lectured.
2nd Star is a neat fledgling festival that is a cross-section of steampunk, fairies, pirates, mermaids, and other sorts of myth/creative folk - a little of everything fantasy. Just before I took the stage, the previous lecturer Josh Kinsey was answering a question about the title/use of the word maker. I think that seeded the field a bit for the direction I went.
I started off with my basic introduction of defining art and magick, showing some slides of various kinds of art from early civilizations. Then I talked about art that is temporary - such as sand paintings, and art that is long-lived (temples, henges, etc), yet they are linked by intent and both equally important. And then I talked (ranted) about the value of art in today's society.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of today's society does not recognize the importance and inherent value of art. Art is more than something that matches your couch and looks nice, or is tucked away in a museum. It's essential for human expression and well-being. It defines and advances civilizations, building cultures. It bridges the gap between different people and finds a common soul. It connects us and teaches us.
When you, as a maker/creator/artisan/artist/master of the ephemeral exist in a society that doesn't understand the value of art, you're most likely going to have a hard time valuing your work. When the artist doesn't value their work, then the society doesn't see value in the work or the worker for that matter. It's a vicious ouroboros.
So in my rant--err--lecture, I challenged the folks present to reconsider art as something that is integral to their lives, and especially to the creators present - to re-evaluate how they see their work. If you value your own work, then others in turn will start to see the value in it. It should be priced with respect to the quality of the work, the materials, the amount of time, and true market value - versus what you think others (especially yourself, your friends, etc) may pay for it. Nor does it matter if it's what you do for a living or as a hobby on the side, the effort and the result is the same.
Just the simple act of believing and acting on the sense of value of your work causes a shift - in yourself, as well as those who interact with your work. If you define magick as the art of changing consciousness in accordance with will - then valuing your work is also a form of magick. You see value in your work, your work will be empowered, and others will respond to that shift in value, and see it for themselves.
Success in the arts is never overnight. It doesn't come through one perfect connection, but rather years of hard work and dedication. However, that sparkle of success rarely comes without belief in one's work, and a dedication to value. Go forth and do some magick.
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Do you truly value your work?
Uluru: the Great Red Rock, Australia's most iconic holy place.
Held sacred by local First Nations peoples, it is considered by them to be a men's shrine, and hence forbidden to women.
So, can a pagan woman, in good conscience, go there?
Well, different peoples, different ways. I can't rightly expect you to act in accordance with my people's ways, nor you me.
Still, it's always best practice to be respectful of other people's stuff, especially their religious stuff. In the old Witch language, there are two words for "peace." Frith is peace within a community. Grith is peace between communities, and maintaining grith is a cultural value of great (although not overriding) importance.
And when it comes to religious rules, peoples vary. So what to do when your people do things one way, and mine another?
A Big Leap: From Portal Jerusalem to Little Fort, British Columbia, Canada, Population 100.
Our marvelous mind-blowing two year sojourn in Israel and the Middle East was over. September was commencing and we were back in Canada. My husband had completed his military releases in Ottawa and we had patiently traversed across Canada, now to locate a new home in the British Columbia wilderness....
Science fiction influenced me to expect that the next step in the evolution of humankind is to ascend to become a being of pure energy. That philosophy is called transhumanism, and it saturates popular science fiction.
I was born a science fiction fan; my dad was a Star Trek fan, and if I had been born male my parents had intended to name me DeForrest, after DeForrest Kelly. The classic Star Trek had several species of energy beings, and humans were on the path to becoming like them. Many of the science fictions I encountered later in life had that idea in them, too. In some of them, a very advanced human could evolve during his lifetime. In Babylon 5, a character who was a telepath turned into an energy being (and blew up, dangerously for everyone around him, but well...) Characters in Buffy and Stargate ascended and became energy beings, and chose to come back to Earth. I even wrote ascension into my own fiction. In my Punch series, a character ascends upon death. A character ascends in Some Say Fire, too, but that's symbolic; it represents the unification of the conscious mind with the subconscious and the inner child....
The word "harvest," immediately conjures up the calendar pages of September and October in the mind's eye – replete with dried corn husks, gourds, pumpkins, red wine, and tart juicy apples. Although all of these images are thoroughly justified, the first of the harvest fests technically begins August 1. Lammas/Lughnasadh has come and gone, but you can feel the full ripeness and end of the summer all around you. It is there in the rich green leaves and vivid colors of plant life and flowers – their lush smell from the warmth of the summer sun at its peak. The corn moon rises this Thursday the 18th. What better occasion than to gather some of your clan near and toast to the changing of seasons, then?
If you have a craft brewer in your midst, by all means, this is the time to invite them to share their bounty! Likewise with anyone who dabbles in home fermentation in the way of kombucha or wine. Definitely roast some ears of corn from a local farmer's market over an open flame, and toss some fresh Caprese salad with bursting cherry tomatoes (surely a guest had good luck in their garden this year), fragrant basil leaves (ditto), creamy mozzarella (cheesemakers step up) and drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil and a good three leaf balsamic vinegar. Plump blackberries or plums (anyone's backyard pickings), would certainly be appropriate at this gathering, as would any just-caught perch that the fisherperson in your group would be willing to pan-fry for the crowd. Make it a true Pagan potluck where each guest can bring to the table some of their own personal harvest for others to sample. As host/hostess, you could bake up some little "Wolf and Moon Cookies" for dessert. Here's a favorite recipe that I like to go to:
LEMON WOLF COOKIES
*If you don't own a wolf cookie cutter, have no fear! Just make little full moons, half moons
and new moons by rolling out the dough and firmly cutting the shapes out of the bottom of a
shot glass. If you do own one, make the wolves first, and then the moons out of the left-over dough.
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
6 oz. cream cheese
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Stir dry ingredients together and set aside.
Cream butter, sugar, cream cheese and grated lemon peel. Mix in fresh lemon juice. Add dry ingredients a little at a time, until well blended. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1/2 to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8" thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour and cut out your wolf cookies.
Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes.
2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
2 1/2 - 3 tablespoons water
food coloring (optional)
Mix sugar and meringue powder in large mixing bowl. Add water and beat at low speed for 8-10 minutes until icing forms peaks. Add food coloring a tiny bit at a time, stirring until you have the color you like.
Spread on cooled cookies or pipe designs on with a pasty bag. Keep icing tightly covered when not being used.
(Recipe from Patricia Lynn Bradley, Bark & Bradley®, Inc., adapted by Colleen DuVall)
Sing some songs around the fire pit. Pass one chalice of the last of the home-brew that everyone takes a sip of to further bond your friendship. Finally, partake in a bit of communal moon-watching together. According to space.com, "The next full moon will be the Full Sturgeon Moon of Aug. 18. It will peak at 5:27 a.m. EDT (0927 GMT), but will appear full to the casual stargazer a day prior and after the peak day. August's full moon has also known as the Full Red Moon (because the moon can look reddish through haze), as well as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon."
Photo, "Corn And Mazie Field," by franky242 at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
India being India, there's an entire genre of Bollywood films about gods and goddesses.
They're called “the theologicals.”
Some are overtly mythological in nature, but the vast majority tell the story of how our hero N manages, with the help of deity G, to overcome what at first seem to be virtually insurmountable obstacles.*
This, of course—as pretty much any pagan can tell you—is how things really do work in a polytheist world. Small wonder that it plays so convincingly on screen.
As America moves towards its own irresistibly polytheist future (ex uno plurimus), realistically we can expect something similar from the US film industry.