Wow. There has got to be a cheaper way to do this. Fuck you, Photobucket.
Wow. There has got to be a cheaper way to do this. Fuck you, Photobucket.
Turns out the pain I’ve been having is due to arthritis in my hips and lower spine. The work I was doing aggravated it into hardcore back spasms that put me in the emergency room one day. Since then I’ve been continuing to work and medicating the pain when I can, which isn’t as often as I’d like due to the fact that the meds make me sleepy. Medical marijuana is legal in Maryland now and I was hoping to get in on that, but I haven’t been living with chronic pain long enough to qualify. Larry did, though, which makes me a little resentful, not of him, just of the situation. I have to work. In order to work I need to effectively manage my pain so I can do silly things like walk and move around. There are four buildings on our campus and two more were just added about two miles away which will eventually be part of my nightly rounds as well. Add to that the fact that I am now without a vehicle of my own because so many things went wrong with it in rapid succession we decided to cut our losses and scrap it, and well…all of this presents challenges. John is spending more time at his dad’s, so Larry’s behemoth truck is the only vehicle open to me, and since the kids are back in school and he will need it during the day if one of the schools calls, he wants to take me to and from work.
Well, that’s awesome. Except for the fact that in addition to walking each building I have to take supplies to my staff. We can’t afford another car. If I can’t do the job, I won’t get to keep it. So I’m freaking out a little over it.
Other than that one thing, I love my job. The staff is amazing, I have the nicest, most understanding boss and doing my nightly rounds gives me the opportunity to interact with everyone and do some problem-solving, which I love.
It wears me out though. So most nights I either end up tv or the computer, too exhausted to even put the thoughts together to communicate.
Of course, that means my altar is gathering dust also. This has to change. If I don’t communicate with Deity, I feel as if something is missing in my life, and the uncomfortable feeling of something missing has been growing ever stronger the last few months. I’m going to have to find the energy to do something more than flop into a chair when I get home at night. After playing with the cat, of course. It doesn’t take much initiative to swing a string on a stick. Lucky for moi.
This weekend looks like a good time to clean the altar off and decorate it for autumn. That feels like a marvelous start.
His name is Angus McCool and we adore him. He wandered into our yard one afternoon last August. Hungry, sad and making the most mournful sound Larry said he’d ever heard. It took about two weeks of feeding and speaking softly to earn his trust and he’s been our baby ever since. According to the vet, he was five months old then. He’s a sweet, lovable little guy, and very playful. I have been deathly allergic to cats my entire life but Angus doesn’t trigger any reactions in me or the children. That in itself is amazing – they’re allergic to everything. I knew very little about caring for cats and my Facebook friends and groups have been an enormous help. Other Witches in particular. There’s one stereotype with a basis in truth: wanna know about cats – go to the Witches.
Update: I just heard back about the security job. Didn’t get it. My interview went so well I seriously don’t understand why. I am qualified and able to work the hours they want. I also have reliable transportation and flexible child care so I can work weekends and holidays.
It makes no sense. I guess that interview sort of lulled me into a false sense of security. I was so sure I was going to be hired.
Oh well. The search continues.
On the whole, the Pagan community is faced with bullshit every day from (sometimes) well-meaning but poorly informed people who have either read or been told things about who we are and what we believe that are untrue. Some of them take what their pastors feed them at face value, others have been taught in childhood that to explore other religions is bad because everything that isn’t Abrahamic is ‘of the devil’. Generally, I let it slide. I have grown past the need to try and educate everyone who comes up to me to comment on my jewelry or visits my Facebook or blog. It’s far too often a waste of time and energy because they already have their beliefs about us set in their minds. Since they have zero chance of changing my beliefs and I see no chance of them changing their minds about anything related to Pagan religions we are at an impasse before the discussion even begins. What’s the point? However, I have the occasional displeasure of happening upon someone so loaded to the brim with misinformation I feel the need to speak up, especially when the person attempts to present him/herself as an authority. Far too often, the content of their writing or spoken conversation shows they know absolutely nothing about us. That doesn’t stop them from spreading lies.
Dreams Of Dunamis is such a site (and that post is only one example). This person is fixated on demons and Witches. Those of us who have been practicing Witchcraft for a long time (and even novices become aware of this early on) know that demons and Witches have nothing to do with one another. Granted, the Pagan community is a diverse bunch. Traditional Witches, Wiccans, Druids, God centered, Goddess centered, Asatru, Eclectics – our beliefs and Traditions are many. However, in my almost twenty years on the Pagan path, I have yet to meet anyone who claims the title of Witch, Druid or Pagan that consorts with demons or the christian Satan. Satan is part of the christian pantheon. Most of us have come from christianity. We don’t want to align ourselves with the christian god, why would we have any interest in his counterpart? It makes zero sense and doesn’t reflect who we are or what any of us believe, except for perhaps the Christo-Pagans, but even they have no interest in Satan or demons.
One of the problems is the christian belief that anything outside of their religion is by default ‘of the devil’. Interesting belief, but that argument is easily defeated, even by novices. Pagan religions and the vast number of Deities honored by the various Traditions predate christianity. Some (Celtic and other European Traditions, for example), were around for thousands of years before christianity spread across Europe. Even in the bible other Gods are mentioned. If Satan wanted to lead the Witches, he came woefully late for the task. Christianity has only been around for about 2000 years, give or take. It certainly doesn’t predate Celtic Traditions or Druidry. We don’t have faith Satan even exists, much less a desire to honor him. This is true of NeoPagan beliefs as well, who have simply taken the ancient beliefs of our European ancestors and reworked them to fit our world as it is now.
The primary problem I have with Dreams of Dunamis and others who believe this ridiculous tripe about us is that they present it as fact, as if they are somehow blessed with knowledge that practicing Pagans don’t have. How they manage to gain this without doing any actual research is anyone’s guess.
The author of Dunamis claims that we all not only consort with/worship their devil, but that we practice human and animal sacrifice and kidnap christian children to use in ritual and for those sacrifices. That is nothing but lies. Actually that claim goes beyond misunderstanding, lying or being misinformed. It is old-fashioned blood libel. It is ridiculous in the extreme, even more so than Rebecca Brown’s claims that Witches have a big meeting every few years and we take werewolves along for protection. If that were the case, I am extremely disappointed, as I have been years without an invite and have not been issued my werewolf companion. Maybe UPS forgot to poke holes in the box and s/he suffocated en route?
The one thing both of those false claims have in common (besides having no basis in fact): other christians believe them. Others accept them as fact (ironically while also not doing any research) and the misinformation and fear continue. Isn’t lying supposed to be considered sinful?
Without reading anything by Pagan authors, getting to know any of us personally, or even contacting a Priest/ess and asking questions, people like this have decided that every awful thing that is said or posted about us must be true. Worse still is that they don’t even want to learn the truth. It will be more difficult to demonize us and they need a bogeyman. If I were to say things of that nature about christianity, I would be just as wrong. While admittedly I have no love for the religion due to the grief both it and christians themselves brought into my life, I have no desire to slander it that way. I was christian for twenty-seven years. I know what it’s about. Dunamis and people who think like him/her have no experience with Paganism, Witchcraft or any of our Traditions.
I left two comments for Dunamis, politely worded, attempting to explain that what s/he had written about us was wrong and with some research or by getting to know us s/he would understand better who we are and what we believe. Both comments went unanswered and were deleted a day or two later.
No desire to learn. Sad, really. To be so afraid of not having something to be afraid of, and willing to perpetuate ridiculous lies and slander in order to hold that position.Edit: Thank you to G. B. Marian for his comments regarding Satan’s role in some types of Witchcraft. While some Pagans have embraced the christian Satan for his chaotic nature and as an expression of personal freedom, the majority of us leave him to the christians. Satan as part of Witchcraft came along after christianity (Pagan religions were around long before christianity, so Satan was never part of Witchcraft in the beginning) was established and some people are just fine with him as he represents the complete opposite of christian beliefs, rules and thought. I should have added more historical context to my post, because Marian is absolutely correct. Witches who embrace Satan as part of their theology (or even as a figure or representation of an ideal as opposed to a Deity) are part of the Pagan community and it was wrong of me to exclude them entirely.
(Not Randy. Image of actual bird not shown to protect his identity. Not really. He just moves around so much I can’t get a good picture of him.)
My first marriage was to a christian man. At the time it made sense because I was christian myself. Without going into detail, it was a miserable experience. So was church. Pretty much the whole deal was a big mass of pain, anguish and problems for me, so my own perspective of this issue is admittedly colored by those experiences. Once I left christianity, my marriage and all of the grief that went with both and allowed myself to look elsewhere for spiritual healing and expression, I was infinitely happier.
Truly, I can not see how a Pagan/Abrahamic interfaith relationship can work, regardless of the sect(s) or Tradition(s) of the people involved. All three branches of the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) teach that their belief is the only way to God and that everything else is influenced by Satan/Lucifer (most of them don’t know the difference between the two, so they use both names to identify the entity they know as the personification of ultimate evil). If a person truly believes that any religion outside of their own is evil and filled with darkness, how can s/he possibly allow themselves to enter into a relationship with a person who doesn’t share that belief? It would be condemnation by association. In law enforcement terms, it’s aiding and abetting. Not only do you condemn yourself by ‘yoking yourself unequally’ to a person who doesn’t share your religious perspective, you condemn the other person by ‘allowing’ him or her to continue in their sins. What does the ‘true believer’ do about this?
I’ve talked with so many Pagans over the years since I started on my own Path, and this is something that apparently happens all the time. Whether it’s clear what beliefs both people have when the relationship begins or one of them experiences a conversion during the relationship, it causes problems. Communication helps both understand what is important to them about their faith, but it can’t change the deeply held conviction that the non-christian person is doing something not only wrong, but utterly harmful. The belief is that the non-christian faith harms the person, the marriage and any children they may have.
In addition to the pressure christians feel within themselves to convert their ‘unsaved’ partner, they will have pressure from well-meaning family, friends and church groups to contend with, which makes a difficult situation even more painful.
Not that all interfaith relationships are doomed to failure. I married an Atheist (sounds like a 1950s B movie title) and we have very few issues. None of the problems or disagreements we have ever had involved religion. He is comfortable in his non-belief and I’m a dedicated Witch, so issues of faith have never really come up with us. My husband is actually very supportive of my faith. We argue about other things sometimes, but neither of us has ever tried to convert (or de-convert) the other.
That said, I know religious issues can often push a wedge between even truly devoted couples. Either it can be worked out or it can’t. Being aware of when it’s time to split vs. time to dig in and hang on is so important. Personally, I wouldn’t be comfortable with a partner who couldn’t allow himself to be comfortable with me unless I embraced his religion. If anything should happen to break up my marriage I’m not going to be looking for another partner anyway. I’m fine with being by myself if it comes to that. Some people aren’t and I get it, but for the life of me I can not understand why someone who lives and believes as a Pagan would get involved in a relationship with someone who will ultimately be on a mission to ‘save’ him/her.
Life is busy, complicated and sometimes exhausting work. Making a life with someone who later converts is one thing; not many of us are truly psychic and can foretell what lies ahead. Deal with that when and if it ever comes. But why get involved with a person with whom your beliefs are not compatible?