Latest blog entries - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! http://www.witchesandpagans.com/latest.html Tue, 23 May 2017 17:28:25 -0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb The Path of Possibilities: New Moon in Gemini http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/diotima-mantineia/the-path-of-possibilities-new-moon-in-gemini.html http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/diotima-mantineia/the-path-of-possibilities-new-moon-in-gemini.html b2ap3_thumbnail_gtstar.jpg“Some people see things as they are and say ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and say ‘Why not?’”
~ George Bernard Shaw

In the Tarot, The Star is the card of hope, healing, wholeness, and inspiration. In this card from the Gaian Tarot, the stars reflecting in the water show us how far we can dream, show us what’s possible in the vast expanse of the universe if we will only look. Cupped in our hands, dreams become light and manifest in the world. But we must actively seek them first. We must go to the sacred spring, connect with a larger reality, with possibility, with joy, with recognition of and gratitude for the extraordinary adventure that is life. Then we can tuck the light of our visions into our hearts, and carry them back to a world much in need. This is the essential message of this month’s Gemini New Moon.

The times we live in are stressful and demand our full attention. We walk on the knife edge of climate change, resource limits, and communication overload. But we also have remarkable, ongoing breakthroughs in science and technology, as well as the ability to put our heads together over global distances to create solutions (not to mention art and community). More than ever before, we are able to work together to dream what could be, discover new realities, help steer the changes inherent in these times in the direction of our dreams.

Whether we slice our feet up on the knife’s edge or learn to fly will depend on how we use our minds and emotions — our mental awareness, attitude, and focus, our willingness to expand our emotional depth and expression. Magicians of all stripes will recognize these skills as the basis of any magical discipline, but no matter where you fall on the continuum of “strict materialism” to “magic happens”, it is undeniable that our minds — our thoughts and emotions — directly affect our bodies and drive our actions in the world.

Gemini and its ruler Mercury are all about the mind, information, and communication (including travel). The key to working with this month’s sky lies in disciplining our minds, expanding our awareness, exchanging information, and talking about what’s possible — the best outcomes we can imagine. Fortunately, Mercury, Neptune, and Pluto are playing well together in this chart, offering us the ability to dream big and bring those dream realities down to Earth.

Deciding between likely paths and considering consequences means we need to at least acknowledge the more problematic possibilities of whatever we are planning, and how we are likely to be affected by events in the world. But let’s not get stuck there. It’s easy to get discouraged when we have to deal with institutionalized greed, misogyny, racism, and all the other manifestations of a fear-based, materialist culture, but resistance only gets us so far. At some point, we have to offer better options. It’s hard to create something new and better when your whole focus is on resisting something else.

We need to imagine, to dream, to keep our eyes on the prize of a just and caring society. If we focus intently on what we deplore, we will lose sight of what we love, even drive it away from us. Our thoughts affect the reality we experience on a number of different levels, from the strictly material to the intensely magical. The world needs more of our dreams and visions, not more thoughts of worry and despair.

Working with our thoughts this way does not involve mindlessly repeating affirmations while ruthlessly repressing the unintegrated fears of our Shadow as we clutch our crystals. It involves mental discipline, emotional courage, and deep work to release past programming (in this life and others) that has left so many of us swimming in a toxic emotional stew of shame and fear. Our culture is unhealthy, and our culture affects us deeply.

But we also affect our culture, and we can make a difference. People who have trained their minds, explored their emotions, integrated the power inherent in the Shadow, have a much stronger psychic effect on the zeitgeist. Their circle of influence is wider, though a desire for influence is not what drives them. It is the work of a lifetime to heal ourselves, share the healing, and manifest at least some of our dreams. But it starts, always, with learning to harness our thoughts and emotions in service to our personal, soul-level vision.

Here’s an exercise you can explore while we are working under all this Geminian energy. Decide on several times during the day when you are likely to be able to take a break for a minute or two. Then set alarms for those times. As soon as you hear the alarm, note what you are thinking about, and begin tracing your thoughts back — what came before that thought? And before that? Do you remember what set you off on this train of thinking?

This practice, if you do it regularly, helps you discipline and become more aware of your mental processes, while giving you insight into ingrained habits of thinking, and illuminating concerns that bubble up from your subconscious and unconscious. This work is particularly effective if you take the time to journal about what you discover, and spend some time at your altar confronting what needs to be confronted, and transforming what needs to be transformed.

Keep your ideal outcomes center stage in your mind this month, even if — especially if — you find yourself having to slog around in some of our cultural mud.

Here’s a quote from the Buddhist scripture The Dhammapada you can keep in mind through the month ahead:

“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.”

And on the national stage:

The New Moon chart cast for Washington DC indicates the issues at hand for the country as a whole this month, but also offers insights for individuals. Keep in mind that individuals can work with whatever energies are in play to discover creative answers to challenges and manifest positive outcomes. (If you want to find out what’s going on in your life and how you can remediate any astrological challenges you are under, contact me, and we’ll set up a consultation.)

(Astrologers: The national New Moon chart is cast for May 25, 2017, 3:44 pm, Washington, DC. Ascendant is 10 Libra)

Jupiter on the Ascendant (which rules the people of the country) in Libra tells us right off that social justice is going to be a major theme this month. There’s going to be conflict, and a lot of calling people to account. (Venus, Libra’s ruler, in detriment in Aries in the 7th, tightly squaring Pluto, conjuncting Uranus, in a separating opposition to Jupiter, tightly semi-square the New Moon).

If you are an activist, this is your month, if you can be diplomatic and empathetic. There is an aspect that points to violence in this chart that we need to watch out for. Mars is fanning the flames of Saturn in Sagittarius (a tight, approaching opposition aspect), and this is a extraordinarily difficult combination to direct into a positive manifestation. Diplomacy and empathy are the keys to doing that.

The violence might be environmental (such as earthquakes, tornados, possibly drought or fires in some areas), since Saturn rules the 4th, and Pluto is in that house. But this also indicates a strong tribal, “patriotic” (what goes by that label often isn’t), focus on the “good ol’ days” (which usually weren’t). The way to counter this narrative is to frame yours in terms of nurturance and real family values (in other words, people who live in close, loving, committed relationships with each other that may or may not involve blood ties). Don’t let violent, vengeful attitudes take the lead.

This information shouldn’t frighten you, just keep you alert to possibilities if you find yourself in a situation that seems like it might be edging towards violence, or if you live on an earthquake fault or in Tornado Alley. Take precautions, pay attention to your intuition, don’t ignore warning signs.

(The square of Venus to Pluto — indicating women, art, diplomacy, and big money, among other things — further emphasizes the importance of the 8th house in this chart. The New Moon itself falls in the 8th, Venus rules the 8th in this chart, Pluto is the natural ruler of the 8th, and Mercury, ruler of the New Moon is in the 8th as well.)

The chart’s 8th house emphasis suggests a focus on taxes, debt, and financial relationships with foreign countries. (Hmmm…no I’m not going to speculate on where that might go). The 8th is also the house of death, and death will be very much in the public eye, in a number of different ways. The death of at least one prominent person is generally foreshadowed by an 8th house eclipse (the symbolism suggests a woman prominent due to her wealth, or in the banking, luxury goods, or communications industries, possibly the military), and an event may spark a public conversation about the unhealthy and avoidant ways we approach death in this country. (At least, one can hope.) OTOH, we could just find ourselves mired in a morbid national mindset. If that’s how it plays out, don’t fall into the trap! Revisit what I wrote above.

Venus conjunct Uranus and trine Saturn in the 7th heralds sudden upheavals in foreign relations and warlike posturing. Relationships in general will be full of fireworks. The path to peace will involve setting clear boundaries.

Our minds are tools of both magic and mayhem, and they can make magic out of mayhem. Keep your mind well-sharpened this month, and make some magic happen.


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diotima@uraniaswell.com (Diotima) Culture Blogs Tue, 23 May 2017 12:07:10 -0700
Turning Around A Bad Day http://www.witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/awakening-goddess/turning-around-a-bad-day.html http://www.witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/awakening-goddess/turning-around-a-bad-day.html

Recently, I had a day that was really rough for me emotionally, so much so it gave me a bad headache.  I felt so drained I didn't get done anything I'd planned. I felt worse and worse emotionally as the day went on, and fell in depressive habits of trying to distract myself by scrolling through Facebook until my phone died and trying to self-medicate with sugary junk foods.

When I was depressed, I would often get like that, where I felt so down and drained that the little voice in my head going, "you could do this and that and such to feel better," made me feel resentful and resistant.  The resentment was a source of irritability; the resistance an expression of anxiety.  Instead of recognizing my unhappy feelings and acknowledging them, I ran away from them, avoided them, suppressed them, did my best to numb myself.

When my husband got home and asked me how my day was, I ranted and said aloud to him all the things I had been distracting myself from. I heard the anger and frustration in my tone and words, and those feelings surprised me. I thought I was just feeling drained and down. I hadn't realized it was frustration and anger from my own unmet needs draining me.

My 8-year-old son's attention diverted by Dad, I retreated to our bedroom with my journal and my newest deck of tarot cards (Deborah Blake's Everyday Witch Tarot, a birthday gift.) I gave myself a reading using her fun, whimsical deck.  The cards helped me tune in to my feelings, figure out why I was feeling so off and what I needed to think, feel, and do to process the feelings and turn them around.

Then wrote in my pregnancy journal for the first time in ten days, detailing all the stress I'd been dealing with, and remembering in writing all the exciting and beautiful things too.

My husband came to snuggle, and I told him I realized that I was grieving. My sister and niece had moved to the other side of the country. I said goodbye to them Monday night, again Tuesday night, and they stayed Wednesday so they could say goodbye to my son, so we said goodbye all over again Wednesday. Thursday, instead of giving myself space to decompress and grieve, I tried to jump right in to finishing all the things babysitting my niece 5 days a week from the time she was two months old until they moved had gotten in the way of.

I felt much better after expressing all this, both to myself and to my husband. My feelings and needs were heard and understood. I took a bath with my Nourish blend of bath salts and some of my favorite crystals. I soaked some legumes and nuts so they'd be ready to cook with by morning. I went to bed deciding that I would take as much time as I needed to take care of myself, and only when I feel truly recharged would I get back to creating my online Reiki III class and the Family Secrets memoir I am writing. Not to mention all the cleaning, getting baby stuff ready for our son's arrival next month, etc.

I felt so much better the next day, it amazed me. I slept in until 10am, got some groceries, discovered that I'd made my last car payment on Cinco De Mayo (my car is paid off so we have more money than we thought!) and I played in my kitchen, making some amazing nutritious delicious foods.  My son and I played together, and I even got some cleaning done.

 

I wrote about this experience and posted it to my Practical Radiance group on Facebook, in part to help me process it, and also in hopes it might help others figure out how to turn around their own bad day.

I have a big list of Things To Do To Make Me Feel Better, but I forgot to put the most important thing at the top of the list.  The most important thing I can do to feel better is to feel my feelings, recognize them, acknowledge them, without judgement, instead of running away from them. Judging my feelings as "bad" makes me want to run away from them, but examining them as an accepted part of myself breaks me out of that depressive pattern.

Thinking "I feel like crap," or something along those lines leads me into depressive patterns of distracting myself and numbing my feelings.  However, if I check in with that feeling and ask myself why I feel that way, where that feeling is coming from, move into the feeling instead of away from it, the feeling shifts.  Instead of a vast, deepening pit of "bad" the feeling becomes if I suppress it, moving into the feeling, allowing myself to feel it and analyze it causes it to shift.  The emotion moves and changes, like water breaking through a damn, or the ebb and flow of a tide - inevitably feeling better.

The better I feel, the more self-care I can put into practice.  All day I'd thought about giving myself a reading and writing in my journal to feel better, but I'd skipped the step of feeling my feelings, so I had no motivation to actually do either.  It wasn't until my husband asked me how my day went that the damn of repressed emotion broke and all the feelings flooded out, to be heard by him, and finally acknowledged myself.  Then, the depressive pit of feeling "bad" drained enough, its weight lifted, and I finally had the energy and motivation to try my favorite self-care practices (in my case, tarot readings, writing, essential oils in a magnesium and sea salt bath, playing with my crystals, food prep, and sleep.)

 

If you are feeling tense, stressed, irritable, anxious, numb, overwhelmed, or any other form of unhappy unpleasant feeling, tuning into your feelings, accepting them as allowed, giving them a name and recognizing where they come from, giving yourself permission to feel them for a moment may be just what you need to get them moving, so you can take action to make yourself feel better.


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authorashleyrae@gmail.com (Ashley Rae) SageWoman Blogs Tue, 23 May 2017 11:18:54 -0700
Comparison of Heathen and Romani Spiritual Words Part 1: the Soul http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/gnosis-diary/comparison-of-heathen-and-romani-spiritual-words-part-1-the-soul.html http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/gnosis-diary/comparison-of-heathen-and-romani-spiritual-words-part-1-the-soul.html

Comparison of Heathen and Romani Spiritual Words and Concepts

Part 1: the Soul

When I took a class by Melissa Paige Eggstaff on Romani spiritual words and ideas, it amazed me how many similarities there are between Asatru and Romani concepts. This was the first time I had encountered any other culture besides the heathen cultures that had the idea of the multipartite soul. I kept thinking, hey, that’s just like us! And so is that! So I wrote up this comparison.

For the heathen words, I use the word most commonly used in Asatru, my sect of heathenry; some of these words are in Modern English and some are in Old Icelandic. The Romani words are from Melissa's class. Note: there are many different Romani families, dialects, and even religions, and the words discussed in the class and in this comparison are specific to Melissa's own. 

Both Asatruars and Romani have different words for different parts of the human soul. In heathen mythology, the trinity Odin / Honir / Lodhur sculpted humankind from driftwood and gave us certain gifts, including ond (soul, breath, or spirit) from Odin, odh (sense, breath, inspiration, or spirit) from Honir, and la ok litr godha (being and color, or blood and blush) from Lodhur. Sense can be considered as self-awareness; to become self-aware is to be a sentient, intelligent life form. Being can be considered aliveness, and the red color of living flesh is the look of a living person.

The various soul parts split apart at death. The soul that makes you who you are, with your memories, is ond, and ond can go on to an afterlife. The heathen ond is like the Romani dji. In heathenry, the soul can have many possible destinations, including halls of various gods, rebirth, staying in the grave mound as one of the mound-dead, or becoming a dis. The mound-dead can be either helpful or dangerous, but they are placebound. They can watch over nearby family, but they are part of the landscape and can’t leave the area. There is no clear line between mound dwellers who are the dead and mound dwellers who are the elves (alfar.) Mound dwellers who are improperly entered into their afterlife or mound could also become undead animated bodies, the draugr, which are dangerous, and considered evil due to being sprititually wrong or unnatural.

Disir (plural of dis) are female ancestral spirits who watch over and help their descendants. Disir are not placebound, but can be invoked by their descendants wherever they are. Disir are honored on several heathen holidays.

The Romani also have a concept of dead souls who stay near their living relatives to help them, called mulo or mule (plural.) The mule are like the disir, except that only women become disir and anyone can become mule. In addition to mule, there is also a Romani word that specifically means the spirits of dead Romani, which is choxani or choxano. Spirits in general can be called spiriti or spirito, and evil spirits are bengorri or bengorro.

Disir = choxano or female mule

In heathenry, the other soul parts don’t go on to an afterlife. Odh, the divine breath, goes back to the world, or to the gods, or to the universe. Self-awareness is transmuted into something else, which might be aware but will be a different thing. This is the soul part that bears talents, but it does not bear memories. Some heathens believe talents can be reborn in the family line, but when odh is reborn, no memories come with it. The Romani also have a concept of a part of the soul that returns to oneness with the oneness of everything, called lesko.

Ond = dji

Odh = lesko

La and litr just stop. They are soul parts that begin and end with the body. Asatruars call the body the lich. All other parts of the soul besides la and litr are supposed to exit the body upon death. A soul that remains in the body after burial is called draugr, a form of undead.

The Romani call the body trupo. The body and soul are supposed to be contiguous while alive, but can get out of balance, leaving the person soulless. A person whose body and soul are contiguous is in spiritual balance, kintala. A person in kintala is kintari or kintaro. The heathen and Romani concepts regarding the relationship between the body and the soul are not the same, so the heathen and Romani ideas about the soul don’t quite match up perfectly, but there are enough similarities to be remarkable.

Kintala has broader application beyond the relationship of body to soul. It also has the connotation of right conduct. A person who has upset the balance by wrong action experiences misfortune called prikaza, sometimes translated bad luck. This is somewhat similar to the Asatru idea of wyrd, sometimes translated luck, fate, or karma. Wyrd is a system in which action results in reaction, and can be either good or bad.

Asatru also has other spiritual concept words that describe parts of a human being that are not necessarily soul parts, but which are sometimes included in lists of soul parts. These include maegen and mod, also called might and main, that describe mental or magical strength, the hugr or heart, the hamingja, sometimes translated as aura, and the fylgia, sometimes translated as fetch, skin, or totem. The hamingja and fylgia are also sometimes translated as guardian angel.

Both heathens and Romani also have a number of different words describing personal honor or lack thereof. For example, the Romani call an honorable person pachivali/ pachivalo and a dishonorable person bipachivali/ bipachivalo. A disgraced person is pukelime. The Romani words gonime, blokime, and bolime all mean what heathens would call an outlaw, a person banished from the community. Neither culture considers honor to be something that one can be born with, and is therefore not technically a soul part. 

Image: Asatruars visiting a Romani vardo, photo by Erin Lale 

Part 2 will deal with concepts of the universe such as cosmos and chaos


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erinlale@hotmail.com (Erin Lale) Paths Blogs Tue, 23 May 2017 07:44:48 -0700
Music's Magic and Power http://www.witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/a-faerie-haven/music-s-magic-and-power.html http://www.witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/a-faerie-haven/music-s-magic-and-power.html

 I'm having my own private Stevie Wonder festival. 

When I'm giving clients shamanic treatments (click here for info about them), I might listen to his music. It is so happy that it makes my spirit soar, which feeds my magic. 

 

Or, when I'm doing physical therapy exercises, the sheer joy in Stevie Wonder's music loosens my muscles and joints, so the physical therapy is all the more effective. 


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outlawbunny@outlawbunny.com (Francesca De Grandis) SageWoman Blogs Mon, 22 May 2017 10:25:02 -0700
MainStreet Media Lies ARE Domination & Exploitation...As Democracy Swirls Down the Drain http://www.witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/her-sacred-roar/mainstreet-media-lies-are-domination-exploitation-as-democracy-swirls-down-the-drain.html http://www.witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/her-sacred-roar/mainstreet-media-lies-are-domination-exploitation-as-democracy-swirls-down-the-drain.html

The Media’s Role in Domination and Exploitation…

 As Democracy Swirls Down the Drain

By Rev. Dr. Karen Tate

Humanity has been very adaptable, which has probably led to our success rather than the extinction of our species, but could that adaptability also be our undoing?  Have we as humans, as Americans, accepted too much as normal, from sexism and racism to corporate domination in its many forms, including the corporate-owned media shaping the narratives and steering the ship?  Interesting isn’t it suffering and sacrifice seem to be themes lauded by some major organized religions, which many see as institutions of control and power over the masses?  It seems we are indoctrinated to accept suffering and sacrifice – isn’t that convenient for the oppressors?  

For the last decade I've been speaking about partnership as a value within Goddess spirituality and as one aspect of Sacred Feminine liberation thealogy, because I realized it could save the world.  As a partnership practitioner of Riane Eisler’s Center for Partnership Studies, we examine partnership within ourselves, with our friends and community, between employers and employees rather than the current exploitation found in predator capitalistic domination.  I’ve spoken and taught about partnership between countries to prevent war, and between humanity and Gaia to save species on the planet from mass extinction and to prevent the continued and on-going rape of Mother Earth, in all its many forms.  That’s brought me to pondering how many might recognize the rise of corporate-owned media promoting their agendas and narratives, ignoring or relinquishing their role as the Fourth Estate to keep democracy secure, in the name of profit, as a form of domination and exploitation – or do we just accept it as normal?

Sure I knew about Fox News and the damage being done from that news outlet, but we had MSNBC, and sometimes CNN, to counter all that, didn’t we?  I probably should have been fully awake long before the 2016 presidential election, but I was busy.  I had things to do!  I was writing books, teaching, and doing a podcast.  There were still real journalists somewhere upholding their role as the Fourth Estate, protecting democracy, weren’t there?  It all wasn’t “bread and circuses” to placate the masses, was it?  Surely not!  Right?

Wrong! 

With only a few exceptions, hackers included, increasingly it seems, the people are rarely exposed to what is in their best interest by the media, especially if it’s not in the interests of the very diversely invested monopoly that is corporate media.  In fact, subtly and not so, Americans are brainwashed to vote against their economic interests!   The monopoly of corporate-owned media and what guarantees their profits totally dominates the narrative.  Remember the narrative of “you can’t tax the job creators?”  Democracy, patriotism, honor, integrity, and facts are ideas and values lost in the spin of operations designed to focus on what serves investors, Big Money, multi-national corporations, and the 1% with their insatiable greed who never seem seem to have a big enough piece of the pie, caring little for those starving on the few meager crumbs of incrementalism.  There is little to no partnership with the middle class, workers, the poor or elderly in our corporate oligarchy of media moguls.

Better late than never I guess, the full magnitude of losing investigative journalists and an unbiased press did not really hit me in a truly meaningful way until I watched the unfolding of that assault on our democracy (and the role most media outlets played) in that debacle that was this last presidential election train wreck.  Not only did media outlets distort facts, spew disinformation and shamelessly come out and support one candidate over another, they did so as if were normal and there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.  The media literally became arms of certain candidates’ campaigns, keeping valuable information from the public and when they did cover the candidates, the coverage was far from fair and balanced.  This should be of concern no matter who your candidate in that election was and if they won or lost.  This sets a very dangerous precedent for the future of democracy and the ability of the electorate to cast their vote with proper scrutiny.

I was not surprised to learn from an independent and not widely publicized study done during the course of several months of the presidential campaign, Donald Trump, the reality television star turned President, who was never asked probing questions about his policies by the media, who was bringing in ratings (aka money) to the networks, had been mentioned on-air 187,000 times.  This was free coverage, as the media hung on to his every word, even cutting away from important events to have cameras focus sometimes on an empty podium, awaiting his arrival. 

Hillary Clinton, the darling of the Establishment Left, neoliberals and the favorite of MSNBC, spent twice as much on media as Trump and had been mentioned about 87,000 times, while Bernie Sanders, who could fill stadiums on a tweet, and who many believed best represented the under-classes, disappearing Middle Class, workers and the “real Left,”  with policies to restore the social safety net, (that were certainly at odds with corporations, including the corporate media), was mentioned an anemic 29,000 times.  Most of these comments were from news readers offering “talking points” provided by their employers that marginalized his campaign and distorting his policies, with media even attempting to convince viewers of his unelectability.  His amazingly successful run for office, speaking truth to power, giving voice to the “everyman” was a the phenomena of the presidential campaigns, but you would never know it because the mainstream media avoided Sanders’ populist stadium-filled rallys like they were infested with plague, no doubt because if his policies became law, companies like General Electric might have to pay their taxes.  Fortunately for Sanders, his grassroots movement paid less attention to the “news readers” disseminating the evening "news" - the tone of which was spun to benefit their employers, which was a real conflict of interest, but for the low information voter, who might not know Sanders and who would most benefit from a Sanders Presidency, this was a true thwarting of democracy.  Wouldn't people want to know we truly did have free college tuition decades ago and it's been taken away from us.  Shouldn't we remind people employers used to make only fifty times more than employees and now it is three to five hundred times more?  Wouldn't people want to know how laws have changed to allow corporations to deregulate Wall Street and risk pensions and economies rather than treat Wall Street offenders as untouchable gods?  I could go on and on how the media controls the message of greed is good, corporations are the untouchable job creators and the social safety net is welfare for the lazy.

It's not that this corporate media domination was totally new, but they weren’t even pretending to be journalists anymore and the disillusionment was demoralizing.   A year later, I can still vividly recall the red-faced Chris Matthews of MSNBC, ranting about the evils of socialism, misinforming the public about Bernie Sanders, rather than honestly discussing the aspects of democratic socialism, which Bernie Sanders actually represented, that seeks to have government work for the people, rather than for corporations.  Here was the perfect opportunity to have a real discussion about the success of democratic socialism, free public college, and medicare for all, actually being achieved in Scandinavian countries, where people enjoy the highest quality of life.  Many called for Matthews’ resignation when it was revealed his wife was running for office and needed the support of the Establishment Left and it would not bode well if he did not vigorously back Hillary Clinton, Sanders’ opponent.  Still chastising MSNBC, we saw their obvious overt corporate turn as we slowly lost the independent anchors that spoke for the people and unions, the “honest dealers” who refused to “tone it down” or just spew corporate talking points.  Even Rachel Maddow became a corporate tool.

Why are so many like sheeple and accept this as benign and normal?  Again, no matter your politics or political affiliation, why are we not seeing this for the cancerous domination and exploitation of the masses that it is?  Of predator capitalism?  Some actually are resisting the temptation to be manipulated and have turned to social media and attempt to separate what’s true from what’s fake.  No easy task sometimes, but at least important issues are being discussed instead of swept beneath the rug for the benefit of the “haves” over the “have nots.”

Yes, it’s daunting, but we can change it. It wasn’t always this way and this cancer of corporate domination can be eliminated.  Let’s start visioning what that looks like in the world of corporate controlled media.  If we can vision it, then perhaps we can manifest it, but we have to know what to want and how we might get there.

Imagine we start to control the narratives in our tweets, facebook posts, letters, slamming the media for having no pride in that important job, being the Fourth Estate, protecting democracy from exploitation, lies and manipulation by those practicing power over, domination and exploitation.  We can boycott their corporate owners.  Stop watching and tell them you’ve stopped watching.  Let’s push our politicians to restore regulation that at least some segments of the 24 hour news cycle must be allocated to unbiased facts, rather than bias or corporate talking points.  Imagine having more PBS-like programming teaching people how this great income disparity came to be and how we can fix it.  When you’re calling Congress, demand they serve YOU, and push legislation mandating programming that uplifts and informs a dumbed-down electorate so they might vote based on facts and evidence.  We might actually discuss important issues that benefit the people.  And before you think this is impossible, one tweet from Bernie Sanders encouraging his supporters to focus on this would result in a firestorm outpouring from the public like the corporate owned media and their news readers have ever seen.  We simply must organize this "statement" or "demand" from the people.  Let them know we're awake and there will be consequences in how we spend our money or our viewing habits.

Film makers are already doing their part spoon-feeding an uninformed electorate of history and alternative economics – because apparently in many cases, challenging the benefits of capitalism in college can result in teachers not getting tenure, so benefits of economic policies beyond capitalism never get fair play.  During the past presidential campaign, Michal Moore's new documentary, Where to Invade Next was released and showed very clearly in an entertaining way what could happen to our quality of life if our tax dollars were used for the people instead of waging war and giving corporate welfare to companies that don't pay taxes – like is done in other countries around the world.  That might have been a wonderful way to enlighten people about what can actually be the norm instead of brainwashing people to always settle for less, or the crumbs of incrementalism.  Why was that not widely shown across the air waves? Or imagine if Entertainment Tonight might tell you the story behind the movie Truth and the domino-effect of the lack of journalistic integrity at CBS that affected the outcome of the Bush-Kerry election that led to the continuation of the Iraq War, that destabilized the Middle East. Or how Trumbo - a great refresher reminding us of the consequences of allowing ignorant bigots to have power over public discourse and policy.  At least portions of the film industry are trying to do their part but we have to get away from regurgitating super hero films and lead people in the direction of more informative and uplifting messages.  Imagine if these films won the Academy Award or at least had be lauded for the service they provide, instead of disappearing into obscurity or getting a bum rap by the media. That would have been an important statement from the Academy of Motion Pictures.

Large portions of the public have totally lost faith in the mainstreet media’s credibility as they seem to laud war and acts of aggression without thinking through the effects or give us the full story.  Everything is about short-term profits or filling the coffers of the Military Industrial Complex.  The missiles targeting a basecamp in Syria come immediately to mind.  Likewise during the presidential election Left-leaning cable networks like MSNBC preferred to shoot the messenger, as in Wikileaks, when they revealed the DNC’s bias and mishandling of Bernie Sander’s campaign.  Of course Russian tampering is an important issue, but what the DNC was doing behind the scenes to stack the deck for Hillary Clinton was also tampering with democracy fairly running its course. How many know about the lawsuit being heard right now about the DNC rigging the election between Clinton and Sanders?  Not many because the mainstream media is mum on the subject because of their collusion.

Call me an idealist, but I think all the news outlets need to come clean or perish.  Outlets should be required to regularly give full disclosure on subjects, saying what issues would benefit corporations like their employer and vice versa. Corporate media is invested in the military industrial complex so of course war is always wonderful for the economy, just not for the little guys and gals who spill their blood.  Programs should be labeled news or opinion.  We should press to have shorter election cycles and the mainstream media should have to give equal and free time to all candidates, not elevate one and have a media black-out on others whose policies would be detrimental to the cable or news network’s bottom line.   Debates should be held with meaningful questions with follow up and the “news readers” need to be educated on topics so they can challenge politicians lying on air.  The public deserves no less. 

Okay, maybe I’m dreaming, but let’s set the bar high. I, for one, am sick and tired of our politicians bringing a knife to a gunfight for the last three decades and wearing blinders as our democracy swirls down the drain.  Let’s aspire to achieve great things, not settle for crumbs, or less.  Let’s demand this kind of transparency and insist partnership be a part of Corporate America, not just the corporate-owned mainstream media and let us have the courage to open our eyes and see what is currently transpiring as the domination and exploitation of democracy that it is.  And in case you haven't gotten my meaning, that also means those on the Left afraid to stand against the Establishment who has abandoned the worker to keep their corporate donors fat and happy and filling their campaign coffers.

Karen Tate

www.karentate.com

 


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karentate108@ca.rr.com (Karen Tate) SageWoman Blogs Mon, 22 May 2017 08:51:47 -0700
When the Wights Are Angry, Everyone Suffers: Mythologizing Climate Change http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/paganistan/when-the-wights-are-angry-everyone-suffers-mythologizing-climate-change.html http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/paganistan/when-the-wights-are-angry-everyone-suffers-mythologizing-climate-change.html

Imagine that we were to discover an ancient Keltic tribe living in three isolated valleys up in the Alps.

Imagine that, through all the intervening centuries of the Great Interruption, they had, nonetheless, somehow managed to hold on to their Old Religion.

Amazingly enough—specifics aside—this not an imaginary scenario.

As the Indo-European-speaking peoples first entered the Indian subcontinent, groups broke off the main migration and settled along the way.

That's how the Kalasha, the last surviving pagans of the Hindu Kush, came to live in three isolated mountain valleys in what is now NW Pakistan.

Their religion, practiced continuously since antiquity, strongly resembles the religion of the Rig Veda, modern Hinduism's oldest scripture; some of the gods are even the same.

Alone among the Indo-European peoples, the religion of the Kalasha has never been subsumed by one of the Big Name religions. This small tribe of 4000-some people is as close as we will ever come to touching the old paganisms of the European ancestors.

As such, they have much to teach us.


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swposch@iphouse.com (Steven Posch) Culture Blogs Mon, 22 May 2017 07:16:06 -0700
The Mountain Mother: Reading the Language of the Goddess in Ancient Crete http://www.witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/cretan-musings/the-mountain-mother-reading-the-language-of-the-goddess-in-ancient-crete.html http://www.witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/cretan-musings/the-mountain-mother-reading-the-language-of-the-goddess-in-ancient-crete.html

Before he told the story of how his people received the sacred pipe, Black Elk said:

So I know that it is a good thing I am going to do; and because no good thing can be done by any man alone, I will first make an offering and send a voice to the Spirit of the World, that it may help me to be true. See, I fill this sacred pipe with the bark of the red willow; but before we smoke it, you must see how it is made and what it means. These four ribbons hanging here on the stem are the four quarters of the universe. The black one is for the west where the thunder beings live to send us rain; the white one for the north, whence comes the great white cleansing wind; the red one for the east, whence springs the light and where the morning star lives to give men wisdom; the yellow for the south, whence come the summer and the power to grow.

But these four spirits are only one Spirit after all, and this eagle feather here is for that One, which is like a father, and also it is for the thoughts of men that should rise high as eagles do. Is not the sky a father and the earth a mother, and are not all living things with feet or wings or roots their children? And this hide upon the mouthpiece here, which should be bison hide, is for the earth, from whence we came and at whose breast we suck as babies all our lives, along with all the animals and birds and trees and grasses. And because it means all this, and more than any man can understand, the pipe is holy. [italics added]

In this passage Black Elk illustrates the multivalency of symbols: the sacred pipe does not have a single meaning, but many meanings, in fact, more meanings than anyone can understand.


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cpc@otenet.gr (Carol P. Christ) SageWoman Blogs Mon, 22 May 2017 01:19:22 -0700