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church of all worlds Tag - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! http://www.witchesandpagans.com/latest.html Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:40:17 -0800 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Morning Glory’s “Wake” http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-studies-blogs/witch-at-large/morning-glory-s-wake.html http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-studies-blogs/witch-at-large/morning-glory-s-wake.html

My old friend Anna Korn and I drove up to the Zell compound in Cotati after I finished with the Wiccan circle at San Quentin, so we weren’t there from the very beginning.  When we arrived, there were cars parked up and down both sides of the country road outside their home and the place was packed.  There was a proverbial groaning board in the dining room that kept acquiring more and more dishes of food.  Platters of ham, beef, chicken for the carnivores.  All manner of salads and side dishes – beans, pasta, greens, tomatoes and pomegranate seeds, you name it.  Plus veggies, breads and many tasty chips for dipping in many tasty dips.  There were also food tables out on the various decks surrounding the house, with plenty of folks outside, too.  There was a seemingly endless supply of wines and other potables, including Pyrate Jenny with her lovely basket filled with about a dozen different flasks, each containing some kind of whiskey or rum.

People congregated in the two living rooms, the den, and in several seating clusters on the surrounding decks.  During this time Zack Darling, using a fancy video camera with a tripod and a handheld mic, recorded stories about Morning Glory from individual friends and lovers.

The stated plan was that small groups of people would be shuttled to the hospital for brief visits with MG.  Only two visitors were permitted in her room at a time. 

Anna is an old friend of the Zells and other Pagans at Greenfield Ranch, and in fact had lived there for a time in her younger years, so she was going up there to see MG. 

However, since I have never been involved with Church of All Worlds, although I’ve attended a weekend gathering now and then over the past 30+ years, I had planned to defer visiting to others who were either closer or who’d come from farther away. 

My former Holy Terrors coven sister Cerridwen Fallingstar had visited her only two days earlier, on Thursday, and said it was a really hard visit because MG was in such intense pain.  One of the first friends I spoke with when we got to the “wake” was Richard Ely, another old friend.  Richard told me that he too had visited MG a day or so before, and that seeing her in such extreme pain was difficult.  So hearing this news reinforced my plan to forego a face-to-face visit.  It seemed to me that, however much she appreciated a gathering in her honor, one in which people related loving, often hilarious tales about her, she had only so much energy in her weakening state.  There was only so much time, and there were so many people! 

So I spent the time visiting with old friends, becoming better acquainted with others, and meeting a few new ones.

When Anna and I arrived, Cerridwen, who planned to drive back to Marin with us, was off at the hospital with Morning Glory.  She told us when she returned that MG seemed much, much, much better today.  Evidently the medical professionals found the right painkillers for her.  I was relieved to learn this.

But it’s the other observation Cerridwen related that upset me.  It turns out that some of the visitors to Morning Glory’s bedside had never met her before!  Why would someone who’s never met the patient choose to take up limited time, space, and the patient’s energy to get some grand introduction?  There’s a carrion-esque feel to this situation.  Not that I don’t love carrion eaters; I am one.  But carrion eaters wait till their meal is dead before diving in.

Now I didn’t ask Morning Glory if she welcomed people who didn’t know her.  Perhaps she did.  One might reasonably assume that someone took on the role of figurative gatekeeper of access to MG, in which case some boundaries might have been set up.  Again, perhaps someone did and everything was copacetic.  I wasn’t there.  But I can tell anyone reading this right now: if I’m in any kind of state wherein my health is compromised and I need others to care for my daily needs, whether in a hospital or at home, please do not bring strangers to my bedside!

Farida, driver for that particular shuttle, soon left for the hospital with Anna.  While they were gone I mostly hung in the living room where MG’s famous collection of goddess statues are displayed.  Personnel shifted, but most of the time Julie Epona more or less presided.  Others I got to catch up with a little bit were Anodea Judith, Willowoak (who was super unsteady on her feet, had fallen more than once that day, and seemed to want her wine cup refilled often), Raina Woolfolk.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Cerridwen-Avelynn-Willowoak-et-al.jpg

During that period Zack recorded Cerridwen, a former lover of MG’s, reading a story she’d written about her early days with MG.  The scene was a park in a middle class neighborhood in the Los Angeles area.  I found it to be a magical piece, full of love and sensuality.  I was glad I happened to be there to listen to it told directly to MG via the camera lens.

Anyone who knows Morning Glory knows she’s a sensuous, sexual, loving being, so it’s not surprising that other lovers spoke, including MG’s “Filly from Philly,” Diane Nemea Laessig.

Hospital visiting hours having concluded, we loaded our car to leave when Oberon drove in the driveway with a car full of folks.

I hope that this tribute served to lighten the spirits of Morning Glory and all her loved ones and caregivers.

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Photos by Diane Nemea Laessig


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herself@machanightmare.com (Aline "Macha" O'Brien) Studies Blogs Thu, 24 Apr 2014 18:36:34 -0700
Open Letter to Pagan Libertarians, Part II http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/all-our-relations/open-letter-to-pagan-libertarians-part-ii.html http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/all-our-relations/open-letter-to-pagan-libertarians-part-ii.html
continued from part I.

What is wrong with libertarianism as a philosophy for Pagans?

While my chapter demolishing libertarianism treats every aspect of its ideology as failing its core ethical principles, I think its basic heartlessness should give any person pause if they adhere to any tradition holding values like love, compassion, harmony, and kindness.  For Pagans who see that our world as a whole is more than just a pile of goodies for the powerful to use, the lack of fit is even more fundamental.

The libertarian ideological conception of an individual is a fascinating mix of a deeply Protestant, and even Calvinist ethic united in strange cohabitation with European nihilism. Transcendental monotheism separates us from the world, which was supposedly created just for us.  We are superior to it even if we are inferior to God. This strain becomes even stronger in the Protestant, and especially Calvinist, emphasis on each person’s isolated soul which wins or loses salvation on its own. This view separates each person still farther from others.  The result, particularly in secular form, is a kind of a-social individualism, a caricature of real human beings.

Libertarianism’s connection to European nihilism is largely through the influence of Ayn Rand, who was powerfully influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche.  Her philosophy provides not so much a doctrine of rights as a doctrine of the superiority of the super man over the inferior.  They should not “mooch” because that makes them dependent on the weak, but they can legitimately run roughshod over those who stand in the way of their plans, as the Indians did. Indians had no rights. This is NOT a doctrine of rights, it is a justification of domination if you have the right qualities.

Libertarianism swings uneasily between Rand’s nihilism and secularized Protestantism, the precise mix varying with the libertarian. Many are fundamentally good people, but their intellectual understanding has become divorced from their humanity. People attracted to libertarianism because they favor legalizing pot and are anti-war assume the larger context for their thinking as a whole is OK. It is not.

Religion by definition situates us in a more-than-human context. It might be purely transcendental, separating us from the earth and ultimately from others because all important relations are hierarchical.  But any religion like ours which includes the world in the more-than-human cannot coherently conceive of individuals as libertarians do. From a perspective friendly to a Pagan outlook individualism grows out of our relations with others and with the world, as captured in Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s poem. 

In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight.
It goes with him.
 
There are left books and bridges
and painted canvas and machinery.
Whose fate is to survive.
 
But what has gone is also not nothing:
by the rule of the game something has gone.
Not people die but worlds die in them.

I think universally the Pagan ideal is harmony rather than salvation or enlightenement. Harmony involves relationships whereas we are saved or enlightened in isolation.

Pagan religions focus on our relationships with our deities, and with their manifesting within and through the world. Modern NeoPagans such as Wiccans see our world and its cycles as sacred and not simply resources to be used as we wish without regard for anything else.  The only exceptions of which I am aware are some moderns from Christian cultures trying to reconstruct older traditions without thinking about the cultural and spiritual contexts in which those traditions existed.  In other words, they are focusing on the icing and ignoring the cake.  (I do not include all reconstructionists in this statement, but some to my mind fit it very well.)

So is there anything right about libertarianism?

There is, a lot, and this is why I was once attracted, why so many others are, and why I still have happy relationships with some. The part that is in genuine harmony with the nonaggression principle is praiseworthy. The part of libertarianism that is in genuine harmony with the Wiccan rede is praiseworthy.  Work by contemporary libertarians such as Radley Balko  defending civil liberties and openness in government is valuable to us all. Others such as Kevin Carson   are trenchant critics of the corporate military political alliance that is destroying American freedom. Libertarianism in the 60s, when its Pagan connections were forged, was in many cases allied with broad humanistic movements against the Vietnam War, properly suspicious of arrogant bureaucracies, and interested in the expansions of consciousness drugs were making possible. Libertarians in those days did not have to think seriously about environmental issues, which are especially hard to make sense of within a libertarian framework. Those problems mostly arose later. But libertarianism’s valid insights are now deeply enmeshed with subtle misunderstandings and distortions that over time have led a philosophy of liberty to justifying voluntary slavery and allowing children to die out of convenience.

The heart was expelled.  Once the heart was expelled from uniting with the mind, it was only a matter of time until the libertarian Koch brothers were allying themselves with the most vicious forces on the Republican right and finding no significant violation of liberty in government’s minute regulation of women and their bodies. Indeed, North Dakota, which takes those violations farther than about anywhere in the country, is described by libertarians as America’s freest state

Once libertarians decide to really comprehend their ultimate moral principle, they will have much in common with a Pagan outlook.  Until they do when push comes to shove, with few exceptions they are no friends of either Pagan religion or individual freedom.


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gdizerega@gmail.com (Gus diZerega) Culture Blogs Thu, 04 Apr 2013 14:11:03 -0700