“You’re in the memory not just of a poet, but of a land itself, ages intersecting at the crossroads of you.” A review of Lorna Smithers’ Enchanting the ShadowlandsContinue Reading...
Archives For Beautiful Writing of Others
The piece I’m writing for The Wild Hunt this week involves lots of Christianity. And maybe some anal-sex, though I was told that anal-sex and anal sex are different. Apparently, the hyphen makes it an adjective. According to my fellow Wild Hunt writer, Terence, the proper use of the hyphenated version might be, “Glad I wore my anal-sex boots today!”
So maybe without the hyphen. My boots are multi-purpose, anyway.
The piece is also about Capitalism and Brighid, though. And particularly about how Capitalism infects modern religions through the allure of power.
You all know I used to be a Christian, yeah? Not just a Christian, but a Southern Baptist, and one quite into it. I was always fucking up to some degree, though–I’d always take certain parts too seriously. I remember when I suggested wine might be okay because, well, Jesus turned water into it. And I was told by a pastor, with a straight-face, no–that wasn’t really wine, but grape juice. They didn’t drink alcohol really. It was like kool-aid.”
I was also an Atheist for awhile. In fact, most European-derived Anarchists tend to be, to some degree. Seeing all the abuse of clergy helped that, but particularly the way the church in Europe and America helped provide the moral and theological justifications for authoritarianism and Capitalist exploitation. Atheism is a justified and quite reasonable response to regimes who use the notion of the Divine as the foundation of oppression against the poor and workers.
I’m always surprised, then, to see Atheism used as a foundation to justify the exploitation of others and the supremacy of the Capitalist system. Therein’s the crux of most of my issues with Atheism within Paganism; not Atheism-in-itself (as I said, not only do I think Atheism to be quite honorable, I was an Atheist myself, as are still many of my friends), but Atheism which questions only belief in the Other as opposed to questioning the entire fucked-up system we find ourselves living within.
Same, though, with Christianity. I’ve many Christian friends, and they’re all anti-Capitalist. They, too, are confused by others within their own religion who use their belief structure to justify Capitalism.
What that leads me to understand, though, is that there’s another axis entirely in all most religions which is not measured but is significant enough that those of us who fall upon one side immediately recognize in each other that belief.
The rest will be in that article. There’s a funny thing, though, one I recently brought up to my co-writers at The Wild Hunt. I am not the only gay druid to have ever written about Christianity for The Wild Hunt. But don’t worry–I’m going nowhere.
A funny matter though–the last significant post said other-gay-druid wrote about gods at all was an almost panicked detailing of his experience with a certain goddess he encountered.
Which reminds me–there’s a really good post by Brennos at Strixian Woods about The Morrigan and proselytization that I’d suggest reading. It addresses both the matter of the ‘seeming popularity’ of a certain goddess in a way that neither privileges media portrayals nor ignores them. I think for many of us, the rise of The Morrigan indicates something portentous. My own reactions with her have thus far been scant and very cautious–she’s not a god I suspect I’ll ever oath myself to, but one it seems I still must offer support to regardless. Like The Dagda–he didn’t like me one bit, but that didn’t stop me from giving money to homeless people on the streets of Dublin and telling them it was from The Dagda. He might not like me, and maybe I don’t like him–I don’t know, we didn’t get much a chance to chat–but it is important to me that others notice him, regardless.
And is that not what much of this is about? A Christian mentioned to me that I’ve helped sharpen his faith in his god, and he’s not the first to have told me this. But I’m not a Christian and have no truck with their god. But still, people taking their gods seriously is important regardless of which god that is, especially for those who suspect their god(s) aren’t pleased ’bout how we’re annihilating ourselves by annihilating the earth.
And yesterday, I noted a third review of Your Face is a Forest was posted by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus. Not only was the review title my favorite ever, but I almost cried reading PSVL’s description of my writing:
But, there is nothing about this style that is “old” in any other sense than that it isn’t preferred by the neophile modern media; the words he uses, the expressions he has, the outlook evinced by all of the writing is not ancient or archaic or outmoded; it is thoroughly modern and post-modern, with roots deep in the places we inhabit now, in modeling a yearned-for responsible and environmentally-accountable way of life and viewpoint that has never existed before, and which didn’t need to exist in previous time periods, when environmental degradation was not at the current pace, when capitalism had not reached the apogee of its excesses, when hospitality was a cardinal rule rather than a commodified quantity and industry, and when telling a good story–no matter how long–was more important than making sure you got where you were going on-time.
E’s review’s called Does This Religion Make My Ass Look Like A Mountain?, and I’m still laughing heartily, a giant’s laugh.
And finally, have you seen Alley Valkyrie’s new design? We’re using it for the cover of “A Pagan Anti-Capitalist Primer” which we’re putting together for our presentation at Pantheacon next week. We’ll also be making the whole thing available online for download, internet reading, and possibly at-cost printing.
And, uh, peanuts? Do you have peanuts? Or other corvid food? 🙂
Be well, you awesome people!
This weeks’ A Sense of Place post is up–The Science of Subjugation:
I’m not just some Bard spinning human activities into rape metaphor. I’m emulating the ‘Father of Empiricism,” Francis Bacon….That is, the cherished founder of the ‘Scientific Method’ himself, the very tenet of faith upon which much of Modern Science is founded, compared Nature to a woman that no man should feel reluctant about ‘entering and penetrating’ into her ‘holes.”
It’s in some degree a response to the belief in the infallibility and a-political nature of The Science™ which one notes in certain anti-theist Pagan circles. The Science ™ cannot ever be white and colonialist, because The Science™ is pure and universal and all-one, because The Science™ can prove itself scientifiscally. Or something.
Didn’t know there was such a thing as anti-theist Pagans? They Exist, bro. I actually invited one of them to a public shirtless debate at Pantheacon, with interpretive dance. No reply yet.
But here’s what I’ll look like if said person accepts, except with tea mugs in both hands:
Also, fun! Dver’s at 360 dollars of her 500 dollar goal.
And Many Gods West registration starts on Sunday.
And I’ve got a shipment of books coming. One of them? Lorna Smither’s new book. Buy it too so we can quote it at each other over tea. We can wear shirts if you like.
And…one of the greatest things about reading the comments section of The Wild Hunt lately is that once gets a clearer picture of how many racist Pagans have mythic warrior art on their Facebook profiles but actually have lots of acne on their faces and couldn’t lift a half-full tea-kettle with both hands and thus are very, very, very terrified of anyone who doesn’t look as pasty/translucent white as them.
Wanna learn to be a warrior? Try reading this guy instead, and help him name his fox.
Be damn well, all of you!
I have an incredibly fond memory of hefting a Dionysian altar over my shoulder and riding 40 blocks from Dver Winter’s house along Amazon Creek to my home when I lived in Eugene. She’d painted it and used it for awhile, but after she altered her practice and no longer needed it, gifted it to me.
The altar’s kinda amazing and radically changed my magical and devotional practices. Enchanting items suddenly went very, very fast, like I was performing magic in a sacred grove rather than in my bedroom.
One thing I remember about visiting her humble home (one of the most under-statedly elegant abodes, artfully put together but not ‘interior decorated,’) was the fact she didn’t have much technology in there. Hand-made shrines, masks, pieces of forest and its denizens, bones and glass and painted-things but only an obviously old, possibly-found computer. It’d surprised me, frankly, that she’d done any writing on it at all.
I purchased my first computer about 17 months ago, by the way. Every other computer I’d used was one someone found in an alley and somehow made it work, or was a partner’s computer, or a work computer. I actually harangued myself for weeks before purchasing it, wondering if I could really justify spending 250 dollars on something that obviously many others long ago decided was an essential aspect of modern society.
That laptop, a discounted item at Target, is what I’ve done almost all of my writing on since, so I guess it was a good idea.
Dver could use one, too. She’s running an indigogo campaign to purchase one. From what I imagine, she likely harangued herself over the very idea of needing any such thing. Trust me–asking for money is very, very difficult.
So, hey–please consider donating to it. She’s giving away some awesome stuff, too.