PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
It is the season of the grape, and a wine gathering is in order. Not that you should need an excuse to enjoy this heavenly beverage with your pals. It's just that everything simply seems more potent and poignant during harvest time.
Here are some new spins on the traditional wine tasting shindig: Use blindfolds during a taste test and see how good peoples' palates truly are. Allow the winner of the most guesses to take home an extra bottle....
Having an illness is not a weakness. It’s not something to be ashamed of. Seeking out help is a show of strength. And there’s a certain grace to the person who finds themselves having to do this over and over again in an attempt to find the key that will unlock relief for them.
Let’s stop romanticizing the dangers of things like shaman sickness sending a person out into the wild to freeze to death. Or, at the very least, if we’re going to pretend that we’d be better off in tribal society, let’s look at how our society, our little religious community, treats those who are sick… We still send them out into the cold to freeze to death. Only we do it with shame and perpetuating the myths that modern medicine is never the answer. We do it with turning our eyes away and not speaking up when we’re worried about a friend who seems to be having a particularly hard time…
On Spiritual Emergency, Shamanism, Mental Illness, Therapy, and Anti-Psychiatry Sentiment in the General Pagan/Polytheist Community | Foxglove and Firmitas
I wanted to share this quote (and the entire post) because it’s important for the pagan/polytheist community as a whole to read. But I’m coming at this from a somewhat different perspective, that of someone whose shaman sickness/spiritual emergency took the form of a chronic physical illness (fibromyalgia) instead of a mental one. Except, I don’t know if I can even properly make that distinction, since many doctors refuse to see fibro as a physical illness, even with its primarily physical symptoms; many of them see it as a mental illness, a case of wires being crossed in the brain so that a person experiences pain where there shouldn’t be any. I understand their reasoning for this: they don’t understand fibro because although there are parameters for identifying it, it doesn’t show up in blood tests or any other sot of laboratory-provable way. Therefore, they shove it into that great abyss wherein resides all other things that they do not understand: the brain. (This begs the question of whether or not it even matters if fibro actually resides in the brain or in the myofascial tissues, since both are still part of the body.)
I'd like to talk about some troubling attitudes toward holistic health and healing. Beth Lynch wrote her own entry about this topic and received a troubling comment that pretty much embodies everything that Camille and Beth were talking about in their respective posts. I'm not going to rehash everything that I said in my comments to the person there, but I would like to discuss what really worries me when people start going on woo alone.
Is there a mind-body connection? Yes, absolutely. However, the people I know who are /actual/ healers working with the mind/body connection [in my personal experiences with hypnotherapy, reiki, etc.] have never discouraged me from using western medicine. You know why?...
I was reading comments about how Deepak Chopra and the male host of a show dominated over Riane Eisler in an interview, and it brought up these thoughts I'll share as food for thought.
First, I wish I'd seen the interview. I love Riane and owe her so much! She's one of my first mentors, having written The Chalice and the Blade andThe Partnership Way, which drew me to this path and I've never left. I learned about partnership and perpetuate that idea often because of her early teachings. My book launch party on Saturday has a theme of "celebrating partnership" and it's a shame the interview went the way it was described.
Myself, I've have worked in several industries where I have had to supervise men. I'll mention two. The first was when I was a Convention Coordinator for a large hotel chain in New Orleans. I actually was responsible for making sure a hotel with more than 10,000 sq ft of meeting space was turned over 3-4 times a day 7 days a week. Our "crew" was a dozen African American men. Me, a white woman, received more respect and enjoyed a team camaraderie with these men - more so than the white men in the administrative office. In fact the other supervisors couldn't understand their loyalty and our team work. They didn't get it was mutual respect, cooperation, partnership. Maybe I instinctively treated these African American men better than the white men they usually answered to here in the South and treated them like people. We developed a sense of pride in our work together and a team spirit. With the white men you had to hold your ground, stand up to them or some, not all, were more likely to steamroll you, overlook you, demean you. However, what was the most frustrating was the superior and entitled attitudes of the management (women and men) brought in from Colorado. They treated all the local management as if we were all stupid - both men and women, even though we had experience running convention hotels and not small boutique hotels like they had previously run. The Food and Beverage Manager - an older woman - treated me worse than any man in the hotel. All these years later I still shudder at the emotion - the tears - that woman provoked in me!
In California I manage property where I have to supervise a lot of white men and men of other cultures as well, a few of which would probably rather have me barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and despise having to take orders from a woman. I find again you have to stand up, hold your own, speak up. The rules of etiquette I learned in the South when I was growing up - be nice, don't make waves, defer, conform, well, they just don't get the job done. Sure I sometimes get called a bitch or a ball buster behind my back. Once to my face a Telephone Company employee screwing up on the job told me I needed "a good f--k" and maybe then I would shut up - translation: not tell him to do a better job. (Interestingly the phone company send out a representative to make a personal apology to me.)
Of course I get tired of the struggle. Always having to be assertive to be able to do your job effectively - because the buck stops with me. Some men still lack awareness of sexism and white male privilege - because its their normal and they benefit from it. My boss even had to be schooled. But again, here in CA, unlike in the South, I've experienced just as many women dominators as any men in my life - their methods are just a little more insidious. So while I certainly am aware of male privilege, patriarchy, domination - let's not kid ourselves that men are the only ones doing it. Both genders participate. Women have learned well from their male oppressors and engage in what I call patriarchy in a skirt. If I had to tally it up, I've had to endure more bad women than men.
I've read how feminist, Phyllis Chesler, (Woman's Inhumanity to Woman) got a lot of heat for bringing this up - I have her in my upcoming anthology, Voices of the Sacred Feminine: Conversation to ReShape Our World, and I've interviewed her on my radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine Radio on Blog Talk. I sincerely hope I don't get flack for saying this. I won't engage if it happens. I've got too much to do. But we have to face the elephant in the living room if we women are going to lead the charge to change the world. We have to figure out how to stop being jealous, petty, competitive and put our collective energy into dissolving the patriarchy. We need to put our personal slights aside and stand in solidarity and partnership. We have empower one another - be that lobster climbing out of the pot that turns around and helps the others out rather than be the one pulling the escapee back down into the boiling water. And women have to take the mantle of leadership and be assertive and not expect it to be handed to us.
Yes, the answer is partnership. It's mutual respect. It's fairness. It's justice. It's not competition. Among women and men. We have to try to empower one another as women and not have a scarcity attitude there's only so many pieces of pie so we keep fighting for the scraps among ourselves. I know I'm probably being politically incorrect here, but seems important to say. My Sekhmet heart demands it.
Love to you all,
As the Summer winds down towards the Autumnal Equinox, we are in between two seasons. In this time of transition, we stand at a crossroads, one foot in the Waxing Year, one in the Waning. Hot sunny days give way to cooler nights. The rains are more frequent and last all night, and out in the garden I am bringing in a harvest as well as getting ready to 'winterize.' Most trees are still vibrant and green, but here and there you can see a tinge of rusty red or a shock of yellow leaves. The light thickens like honey, and even as we are enjoy the last days of Summer's warmth and light, we already sense the slow steady pull downward, towards the Descent and the darkening days of the Waning Year. Right now we stand suspended between these two seasons, and for a brief moment we feel balance.
Balance is the law that governs all of nature, but it rarely shows itself as a static, tranquil point. The balance I'm talking about is a dance, a commotion of interconnected and interdependent parts that make up the living systems of our planet. The plants, animals, land and weather all interact and act upon each other, effecting the very shape of the landscape. Any change or disruption to one part of the web will be felt throughout it. Those changes can be for good or ill, but they are unpredictable and may take a long time to reveal themselves. At Mabon, we stand in a place of balance where many possibilities are open to us. We strive to come to a still point of balance, amidst change and potential, where we can take a moment and see where we are, in our lives and the Year, and the webs of connection that make up our own lives....
We have an interesting confluence of energies coming up this week. First, Pluto goes direct at 8:37 pm on the 22nd (all times EDT). Then, less than two hours later, the Sun enters Libra, giving us Pluto stationing direct in the Libra Ingress chart on a Dark Moon. Just over a day later, there is a New Moon, still on the sensitive Aries Point at 1 degree of Libra. (The Aries Point is zero degrees of any cardinal sign. Anything within a degree and a half or two degrees of that point is given strength and emphasis, and gets things moving)
The cardinal ingress charts — in other words, the charts of the solstices and equinoxes — are usually predictive for the next three months. (Occasionally, they will be in effect for longer — the influence is more like a tide than a line drawn in the sand.) A New Moon chart that is not an eclipse is predictive for the month ahead, and Pluto going stationary direct is…well, you know how hitting just the right note can set up a vibration that shatters glass? Listen as Pluto’s hum changes key and increases in volume now that he and Uranus are once again heading towards each other. They meet in their next exact square December 15th....