Archives For A Sense of Place

Naked With Non-Humans

May 23, 2014 — 1 Comment

hoh river nickKnow when everything sort of coalesces into meaning?  Like synchronicity, but more so, every fucking thread of your existence weaves into some breathtaking tapestry (I need some new metaphors, but weaving always screams at me when talking about this stuff) and you feel like you’ve just taken in some strange wind from other worlds and other times?

Yesterday was like that.  I describe a bit of it in this week’s A Sense of Place post, the first in a five-part series on where I’ve met the gods:

Or you can be standing outside work on a break, thinking about how you’re gonna write something about Bran, and then a crow feather falls at your feet, and all the crows cackle and laugh and wheel around you as you bike home.  And laugh a bit when you get off your bike to look at this really strange and particularly beautiful spot along the creek and finally notice you’re in front of a very old Alder.

The next four will be about the other gods I worship–Arianrhod, Ceridwen, Brigid, and Dionysos.  I’ve met a handful of others, but these have been in passing (Maponus, The Morrighan, Hestia, Cernunnos) and so I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable writing about those experiences in a manner to help others meet them.

Also, one should note that this piece is probably the only post on Patheos ever to be tagged with “Outdoor Gay Sex,” and to recommend that people looking to meet land-spirits consider traipsing about the woods and parks where men fuck men.  I swear I heard Dionysos laughing at this inclusion, and it also needs to be said that, regardless of what thinks of the ethics of such thing (I’ve never done it, because I like knowing a guy’s name when we’re naked), it’s a very old thing.  There are a few historical judicial accounts of bridges and old oaks where men gathered to commit sodomy (being homosexual is a very new concept–it wasn’t until the 1900’s that people began to associate sexual behavior with innate traits).

So, yeah.  I’ll be writing four more.  I’ve got a lot of other stuff going on currently.  Another Wild Hunt piece in two weeks, the presentation for the Polytheist Leadership Conference, an impending move (I’m returning to Seattle after almost a year, likely by the beginning of July), the end-of-the-bardic-grade review stuff, work on the book, and a really, really, really fantastic man-love who is kinda the best thing ever and sometimes makes me lose my words in that happy sort of way.

I keep thinking I’ll have to pull back on my writing a bit.  In fact, that last long piece I wrote? That started with me sitting in my bed thinking, “you know? Maybe I should take a break from writing.”  That’s what my breaks look like.

Meantime, I’m thinking about compiling a couple of lists of other people who’s writing inspires me to pieces.  The Wild Hunt stopped doing the Pagan Voices spotlight, and though I’ve hardly the readership of said employer, there’s a lot of really awesome stuff being written that should be read, or I think so.

And an awesome final note.  I’m now more than half-way to my total fundraising goal for the conference.  I’ve a lot of thank-you notes to write today, and I’m all utter gratitude to all you who’ve donated and/or reposted my plea.  Thank you.

Part two of my fiction series for A Sense of Place was just posted.

“I first heard of them from a witch.  Her cards had said she should help the Muslims, and she hadn’t believed it at first.  But  her coven had heard the same thing, and had heard of Animists dreaming of animals speaking of the same matter.  There were several shrines in this city, and their priests had heard a new demand from their god.  Ceremonial mages had heard from their spirits, Shamans and spirit-workers from the land and the dead.  They all heard the same thing: we should stop the violence against the followers of the Prophet.

Also, I just found work in Eugene, which is good.  I fell in love with this place two days ago after walking outside the city (a very short walk, happily) by following a creek into a vast, quiet, and numinous stretch of wetlands.  Work means I’ll be able to stay and do so again.

I’d sort of been keeping myself on hold a bit until finding work, finding myself unable to focus on things too deeply.  I don’t own a pillow yet, as I’d been waiting for work, now have I had anything approximating good tea.  Likewise, I don’t have a library card, because I figured it’d be a disappointment to have access to what, on all accounts, is an incredibly good library system and then have to leave.  And most of all, attempting to work on a book about Capitalism while looking for work?  Not as easy as it sounds.  Each application to someone who might agree to purchase (exploit) my labor felt a little…tragic.

But that’s settled now.  Also, I recently started reading David Graeber.  I’ve been out of direct study of anarchism and critical theory for the last year and a half, and I somehow missed him during that time.  Reading him I discovered a funny thing I’d forgotten–we, Pagans, with our general Naturalist bent (Naturalism the way it’s defined by others, not theologically), aren’t reading much Kropotkin.  He’s responsible, more than any other, for critiquing evolutionary theory by presenting an alternative, non-Capitalist thread into it, suggesting that co-operation rather than competition is a primary influence on the development of species.  Of course, he was an Anarchist, so there’s a reason most people haven’t heard of him.

If you’ve the time, I highly suggest this essay by Graeber: Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit. He does an excellent job at one of the things I’ll have to do in my book: showing that Capitalism is not responsible for technological “advance,” but is rather a hindrance to it.  I’m hardly a futurist, but it’s something I’ve noticed significantly–what we see as “progress” (new information technology, new medicines) is often mere re-working of older forms in a way which presents an illusion that we are “advancing” as a civilization.  Each new iPhone is merely a slightly better version of the one before, presented as a “revolution” when all it often ends up being is a reason to throw something away and consume something else remarkably like the thing that was just tossed.

Fiction/non

March 7, 2014 — 6 Comments

You know I used to write fiction?  A lot of it?  But I haven’t really been able to write any new stuff since all this happened.  I wonder if others have this experience, where the world of fantasy suddenly makes no sense when everything you thought was fictional actually turned out to be true?

I wonder at this sometimes.

That being said, here’s the first piece of fiction I’ve written since everything exploded into brilliant meaning.  Part one of a four-part series on A Sense of Place in answer to the question, “What do we Pagans hope to build?”

The students looked at each other, discomfort and nervousness evident on their faces. “Uh,” said the woman after a long pause. “Our professor told us we should ask you about this place, about how banks become groves, and…” she shifted, quite uncomfortably. “How we used to clean our…um, anuses with paper?”

This never failed to make him laugh.