Friday, September 22, 2006

The morning after

So it's the next morning after my earth ordeal. I intend to go into more detail once I am back home in NH but I'll hit the high points now.

1. Yes it sucked. A lot. I think it is safe to say that last night was one of the top 5 worst experiences of my life.

2. Obviously I survived.

3. Magically and spiritually the damage from last night will be a long time healing. I don't think the scars will ever fully fade. There was some stuff taken out that I won't ever get back. I think time will tell what those things were.

4. Physically I am not all that fucked up. I have a bad abrasion on my left hip. Small puncture wounds on my neck and both arms and legs. A scalple cutting on my pubic mound. And a scalple cutting which has had ash rubbed in it to make it stay in the skin on my lower back just above my ass.

5. For those of you keeping score, Herne the Hunter and Hela both had a part in orchestrating the ordeal.

6. Raven and Josh were wonderful to me afterward and got me warmed, fed, grounded, and re-seated in my body before I went to sleep.

I'll give a blow-by-blow account of everything at a later time. For now, I'm back and I am still largely with the world of the living.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Getting Hela's Help

I was supposed to leave this morning to go to Cauldron Farm for my Earth ordeal. Clearly I didn’t. Raven called me this morning to tell me that “the bitch” woke him first thing this morning and started downloading shit into his head about the ritual. My first question of course was “Your bitch or mine?” As I expected, he was referring to his Lady. Raven is a servant of Hela, the Norse goddess of the underworld.

Although I hadn’t really thought of it this way until recently, I guess you could say that Hela has been an integral part of my ordeal cycle. She was present at my Fire ordeal when I crossed the snow covered field completely exposed to the elements and offered blood and a measure of my humanity on the stang. She has given Raven the info on the Earth ordeal, which he is administering. And she will likely be present in Lydia when she puts me up on hooks for Air in just over a week.

I am conflicted as to whether or not I think this is a good thing. Hela is a hard and in some ways cruel goddess. That said, I have a significant amount of faith in Her. I have seen enough of Her people to know that She is effective in what She does when She takes a hand in a person’s life.

I love my Lady. In a very real way She is the reason I exist. I am who I am because of Her. She gave me the name Wintersong and She gave my people the name Tashlin, which I have now also taken as my legal last name. For all that I complain, there isn’t another goddess who I would choose to serve (if I had a choice, which I don’t so that’s good then). That said, I am glad that Hela is taking a part in this process as well. For all that they may work in the same “office complex” there are significant differences between my Lady and Hela.

My Lady is about death and creation, productive destruction, rot and decay becoming new growth and other radical (often violent) transformations. She is implacable, and elemental in the way of death. But unlike Hela, my Lady takes little note of souls. Hela is a goddess of death and the guardian and master of the underworld. She is almost certainly better suited to this kind of remaking than my Lady is. Don’t get me wrong, my Lady has made a great deal of changes and modifications to me over the past decade. Those changes tended to be technical, and functional, rather than spiritual.

I don’t know exactly or even roughly what will transpire tomorrow night. I know that tomorrow night will be difficult. I know that “difficult” will seem like an understatement when the time comes. I know that I may not make it through the ordeal in one or more of several senses. But I have faith in my Lady and I have seen the work that Hela does. If I fail tomorrow night it will be on my head, not because the gods haven’t given me as good a chance as possible.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I don’t mean to go all political in my second-ish posting but I’m going to anyway. This article hit a bunch of my trigger points so I’m going to bring it up. Both and carried this article and it also can be found through the Associated Press website.

Conservatives Say Religion Under Attack By Gays


To quote the most irritating part of this particular article:

Perkins and others are building a case file of anecdotes where they say religious people have spoken out against gay marriage only to be punished. Perkins specifically cited the decision by Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich in June to fire his appointee to the Washington area transit board after the board member referred to homosexuals as "persons of sexual deviancy."

The board member, Robert J. Smith, said he was expressing his personal beliefs as a Roman Catholic.

To make one thing perfectly clear from the start: I don’t personally agree with the decision to fire Mr. Smith. I don’t think it does the gay community or civil rights movement any good whatsoever to encourage the punishment of people who say mean things about us. Honestly, it has very little bearing on my life if Mr. Bob Smith of the Washington Transit Board doesn’t like that I fuck my boyfriend in ways that my him feel icky.

If Mr. Smith was going to be fired for anything it would be not understanding the appropriate way to express one’s beliefs in public. I would have been far more offended if I was on the transit board with this fellow and he disrespected the board itself with this kind of unnecessarily inflammatory language (granted I just said “fuck” a bit ago but there is a difference between a blog and being on a government committee).

All that said, his argument is awfully weak. “I was expressing my beliefs as a Roman Catholic” is a shaky argument, which at its core undermines the foundation of civilized society. That may sound a bit like that inflammatory language I just complained about but hear out my argument. Mr. Smith has never met me, and I doubt that his interactions with the GLBT folk he has met has had much influence on his thinking. However, I feel relatively comfortable saying that he is a small minded bigoted idiot. I could say that I know this is true because he is a self-avowed Roman Catholic.

If I said this on the Washington transit board, I could argue that as a figure of leadership in the pagan community it is my obligation to point out that strict inflexible monotheistic belief systems with little room for personal interactions with deity are in fact small minded and bigoted in their essential nature. I don’t personally feel this way, but I could make a strong argument if pressed.

If Mr. Smith and I both made these arguments at the same meeting I doubt much work would be done of vital concern to Washington commuters. To paraphrase a famous author, “Civility is the glue that holds society together.”

As an American, Mr. Smith should have the right to say what he thinks and feels, without having to retreat behind the skirt of protection of religious expression. If he is to be reprimanded, let it be by his peers who could point out that he is being a jerk and ignore him if he persists. However, as a member of polite society, people like Mr. Smith whose religious beliefs devalue members of that same society need to learn when to shut up.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

See... I was going to spell check that last post but I went to extract the puppy from being tangled around the filing cabinet and accidentally posted. Sorry about that.

I'm sitting here in my living room trying to make sure our 10 week old puppy doesn't mess on the floor and contemplating the strange nature of my life. Less than two hours ago I got off the phone with an adjustment councilor of a upper class elementary school. This comming Monday I'll go out to their school and consult with a young boy's teachers and aide about managing his Tourette in the classroom. What is surreal is that less than 24hrs after I do that I'll be in the back field of a friend's farm undergoing the 3rd ordeal in the course of a four ordeal shamanic cycle. Unlike my previous two ordeals, one orriented around the element of Fire, the other around Water, I do not know what this ordeal will entail. Each of the ordeals has some form of strong traditional element (no pun intended) to it, as this ordeal is part of the initiatory tradition, and as such is being administered by another sprit worker. Given that he is a self-identified sadist, I think it is fair to say that the experience will suck. Also, it is likely to last about three days.