Rediscovering Lost Values at the Border

Sophia's Children

“The thing that we need in the world today is a group of men and women who will stand up for right and to be opposed to wrong, wherever it is. A group of people who have come to see that some things are wrong, whether they’re never caught up with. And some things are right, whether nobody sees you doing them or not.”

~ The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his sermon Rediscovering Lost Values, Detroit’s Second Baptist Church (28 February 1954)

This week in the U.S., the groundswell of men and women standing up for right, for decency, reached a tipping point that forced a reversal on a grotesquely cruel and inhumane ‘zero tolerance’ policy concerning individuals fleeing violence and crossing the borders into the U.S.

It’s a groundswell that’s been building for weeks; that met with a macho defense of what, to people…

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Water Does Not Resist … and Other Water Wisdom

Sophia's Children

Nature abundance. Mountain stream in Matterhorn forest. PD Pictures dot net. Nature abundance. Mountain stream in Matterhorn forest. PD Pictures dot net.

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad

I remember receiving that message when I sat in the Marie Madaleine grotto in La Sainte Baume in France, listening to the water dripping and flowing in the rocks, unseen but heard.

Rain forest in Çayeli, Rize in Turkey. 19 June 2005, Karduelis - Public Domain via Wikimedia, S&S. Rain forest in Çayeli, Rize in Turkey. 19 June 2005, Karduelis – Public Domain via Wikimedia, S&S.

“Drop by drop, water wears away even…

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Who Made Breaches of “Social Conscience” Uncool (and “Reformation of Manners” Cool?)

Sophia's Children

“Social conscience” obliges the individual to act. Today we call for action all the time, but mostly from government, which is another way of excusing us and allowing us to get on with the distractions of the day.” ~ Mark Steyn, He Made Slavery Look Uncool*

That’d be an observation about William Wilberforce (1759-1833), who persisted, actively and with a circle of diverse colleagues and friends, for several decades to abolish the slave trade, and ultimately slavery in general, in England.

He also founded what was to later become the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which took aim at a similar “normalized cruelty” to “his fellow creatures.”

Wilberforce’s life and efforts —the expression and power of his Soul Force, as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called it — and Wilberforce’s dogged persistence to change sociopathic toxic-normal practices that were not just acceptable…

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Stop Me if I’ve Said This

I feel I can speak to this discussion of divisive talk about identity,  because after I came out nearly 40 years ago, my spouse and I moved to Northern California and almost immediately were welcomed by some women there and dissed by others, for what seemed to be the same reasons. We were welcomed as a newish lesbian couple, only about 3 years together at the time. We were welcomed as neo-pagans, even though we weren’t describing our spiritual practice as women’s religion which many, many women were then, instead of calling their practice pagan, heathen, Wiccan, magical, magickal, or using other terms.

Then we hit several walls. Btw, no one I know or knew at the time used the term cis-gender, people were labeled, oh yes, people were roundly labeled but they were heterosexual/straight, or homosexual/gay/queer, or homosexual/lesbian/or occasionally, queer for girls, a long time ‘favorite’ of mine-not, or  was bisexual. pansexuality was not much talked about then, either, not in and around Oakland and Berkeley and San Francisco California where we lived and worked then.

We hit a wall first because both of us being pretty new to being out as lesbians, we would talk openly about having the capacity to admire male beauty in movies, in shows, in art, and so forth. The wall said, no, no, no! You can’t call yourself a lesbian and find a man, any man, anywhere good looking or in any way admirable! YOU MUST BE BI- AND BI IS SOMETHING NAMBY PAMBY CAN’T MAKE A DECISION, AKA JUST PLAIN WRONG! Yes, I’m shouting because this argument was ALWAYS shouted at us. A ‘real lesbian cannot find any man or any men, or anything men have ever done or said handsome, beautiful or admirable. ALL men are too wicked, ruthless, barbarous, cruel, illegitimate children.

Then we hit a wall saying we couldn’t be a couple if one of us was not lesbian under the definition given above. Sigh. It was so much fun to find a community we knew we belonged to telling us we didn’t belong there, either. One of us would surely, the wall said, destroy or at the very least, abandon the other for some man at some time. One of us would certainly ‘wake up’ some day and realize we weren’t treasured, we weren’t loved, we weren’t cherished as a woman, we were just ‘an aberration’ in our lovers’ pattern. One of us would go off some day and be ‘straight as hell’ in order to make it clear our being together was a meaningless interlude.

It was painful and it was enraging. I was as disgusted then as I am now when I find people who are already being labeled and lined up for the boxcars by those who have no experience in common with a lesbian or bi woman, being labeled and lined up for exclusion by those who SHARE those experiences. I already knew where some people thought I didn’t belong. I didn’t know I would continue to find and to run into those same walls reading ‘you don’t belong here’ in so-called communities I believed I do belong to. Now I know and it is still painful and it is heart-rending. Can we stop dividing ourselves even further than those who don’t know us and don’t want us are already trying to divide us? Can we? I don’t know.

I am a lesbian with a spouse of  1 year, 11 months and 8 days who is also my partner of 39 years and 9 days. I am a lesbian who is perfectly capable of appreciating both female and male beauty and achievement. I am a woman who is perfectly capable of seeing the flaws and failings in myself and people of all genders. I am a long time seeker who has investigated paths that have included Reform Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Liberal Catholicism, women’s religion and Wicca, all of which make up who I am now, today. I am many things because I am a human being and we are a delightfully and damnably complicated species. I don’t fit in boxes. I don’t fit in closets. I don’t fit in labels. I try not to fit other human beings in them, either. I do try.

I do know that if I have ever disrespected a bisexual or pansexual person, I am ashamed and I am repentant and I will be and I will do better. We need each other. We truly do. We don’t need labels, boxes, lines or boxcars amongst us when there are still those who would so gladly do that for us.

I didn’t know it was ‘retail

I didn’t know it was ‘retail’

Attention please this essay if that’s what it is, has nothing whatsoever to do with the love of my life or a handful of our friends.

 

The talented Mr. Aaron Sorkin had one of his “West Wing” characters remind another that ‘in New Hampshire all politics are retail’. The sense of that was that you needed to have something to give for something they had, in that case, votes. You couldn’t get their votes any other way.

Well, that was a few years ago and a lot has changed; and a lot of things I didn’t understand for a long, long time have become clear. This is about one of those things. One of those things is love. You see I had the same sort of idea of love that a lot of people got from oh, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Shakespeare, St. Paul, and of course, Broadway show tunes.

Ms. Browning said: ‘I love thee with the smiles, joys, tears of all my life, and if G-d so chooses, I shall only love thee better after death’.

 

Shakespeare, among many other things, said:

‘Let me not to the meeting

of true minds admit impediment.

Love is not love that alters when

It alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover

To remove

O no! It is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests

And is never shaken;

It is a star to every wand’ring bark

Whose worth’s unknown,

Although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool,

Though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s

Compass come:

Love alters not with his

Brief hours and weeks

But bears it out

Even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and

Upon me prov’d

I never writ

Nor no man ever lov’d.

 

And this:

 

When in disgrace

With fortune and men’s eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state,

And trouble deaf heaven

With my bootless cries,

And look upon myself

And curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one

More rich in hope,

Featured like him,

Like him with friends possessed,

Desiring this man’s art

And that man’s scope,

With what I most enjoy

Contented least;

Yet in these thoughts

Myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee

And then my state

Like to the lark

At break of day arising

From sullen earth

Sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

For thy sweet love remembered

Such wealth brings,

That then I scorn

To change my state with kings.

 

And then there’s St. Paul [who actually came first]

1st Corinthians:

[c]Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

And well, show tunes most of them do not address love in the way I am talking about here. Or maybe they do if you happen to be Lorenz Hart, Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein, Steven Sondheim, and other lyricists who really knew the ups and downs of love.

Sondheim: Send in the Clowns, Move On, One Hand, One Heart,

Lionel Bart: As Long as He needs me, I’ll do anything for you {think about it]

Hammerstein: This Nearly was mine, Love Look Away, Something Wonderful,

Lorenz Hart: Where or When, My Funny Valentine, etc.

Kern: Can’t Help, Make-believe, ‘Bill’,

Don Black, Christopher Hampton ‘As if we never said goodbye’

And so many more

But, by now you’re convinced I’m talking about romantic love and I’m not. I’m so not. I’m talking about the love everyone [or a lot of people] seems to believe exists naturally and even organically between friends and between family members.

Well, this is what I’ve finally come to learn about that. It doesn’t. It doesn’t just spring into being and it doesn’t make everything fine and warm and good and shiny new. It doesn’t even exist in many lives, or if it does they’ve learned the lesson I learned recently.

It’s ‘retail’, it’s a trade-off, it’s a contract, and it’s a bargain, and the bargain is usually one you didn’t even realize you’d agreed to. It’s all about: if you do what I want, when I want, how I want, whenever I want, I’ll love you. It’s all about: don’t ask me to do things you need someone to do, or to help you do if you haven’t or you won’t or you can’t do what I want, how I want, when I want, if you won’t live where I want, live the way I want, choose the way I want, act the way I want, talk the way I want, think the way I want, well, just forget about it. The deal you didn’t make or didn’t remember making is OFF. Bye, Felicia. [I literally have no idea who Felicia is, but I get the point]

If you are not the person I want you to be, I think you should be, I expect you to be, I demand you be, forget about it. I don’t even want to know you. And don’t ever ask me about or for anything again. Your account is closed for ‘non-payment’. And you didn’t even know there was an account, or that you were supposed to making payments to it, or where to pay the ‘bills’. You were supposed to know and you must be really dumb if you didn’t know its all ‘retail’.

So there’s my little rant if you know what I’m talking about, good. If you don’t you’re awfully lucky. Count your blessings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Magical Battle for America 6.17.18

hecatedemeter

Today’s post comes from Terence P. Ward, who also writes for  The Wild Hunt.  I’m grateful to Terence for providing this working.  (I’ve very lightly edited Terence’s work, mostly to add a few commas and to change “tears” to “rips” to avoid ambiguity.  Needless to say, I’m a big fan of Terence’s writing.  Also, I am certain that Terence is onto something here.  Folding the American flag in the prescribed manner — with magical intent — could be very powerful magic.  Do you have a flag?  Will you commit to try this and let us know in comments how it works?  Summer Solstice and the Fourth of July would be very powerful days to do this working.)

Now’s probably a good time to remind everyone to check/refresh the wards on your home or wherever you do this work. Be sure that you’re rested, grounded, and in a comfortable…

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