Monday, December 29, 2008


Christmas Eve was a great time with family for me. Joe and I bought prezzies for all of the underage nieces and nephews and Ben and my Mom and Bill. We got IPods for Ryeley and Jayde and because of my mom's wisdom and foresight, we got those set up and downloaded the songs that Joe and I bought for them on ITunes gift cards and a couple of CDs my mom got for them for Christmas. As I said, it was wisdom and foresight because their mother, the supremely evil and stupid first wife of my brother, Brent, called and made him extremely upset during the whole present thing our family does on Christmas Eve. Of course, immediately after presents were done, he yowled out, "Gather up your shit, we are leaving!" or something close to that superimposed on a lion's roar, and Ryeley and Jayde made it so and they flew out the door. I guess the Supreme Imperious Bitch from beneath Hell wanted her kids back early and did not give a shit that there was a major winter storm brewing which made travel in the Utah mountains dangerous. My brother delivered them to Duchesne, where he met the Supreme Imperious Bitch from beneath Hell and then had to drive back home in the snowstorm by himself. Oh yeah, I asked both of my nieces if Barack Obama had gotten rid of jobs for the Supreme Imperious Bitch from beneath Hell and her fuckstick, but as of yet, they are still employed--just for the record.

Christmas Day, Joe and I woke up and came upstairs so that Clint and his five-year-old son, Kaden, could open the presents that Santa did not bring. Joe and I got Kaden toy Black and Decker weed wacker and leaf blower so he could be occupied while Clint did yard work. We got Clint an LCD picture frame and some expensive nuts. Gods, nuts are an expensive item for the holidays! I had no idea! We went out to Chinese food late in the afternoon in a nod to A Christmas Story. It was a lot of fun and it was raining before the really big snowstorm hit.

On a personal front, I am still recovering from Lusay's death. The first week was the hardest, but it is a lot easier now. I miss her so much. Loki is trying to be my lap cat during phone calls. However, he does not know how to control his claws and he becomes more of an irritant than a comfort when he plunges those needles into my belly when I am on the phone. Ulysses is doing the poop in secret places thing right now, so I need to correct that when I catch him. It seems like the whole social and habitual fabric of the house has been disrupted for now. I hope it goes back to an sense of equilibrium soon.

I am hoping that my friends had a great Solstice/Christmas and are now recovering from the season, especially Bret and TaMara because they are so busy at this time. I hope that Chrissy is healing up well and that Gwen is doing well in Las Vegas. I am hoping that work picks up so I am more busy with installs and that Joe gets over the head cold that I probably gave him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


It was a hard day to plow into. I had a headache this morning after a night of searching for things lost to me. I had to search for monitors lost at work, had to search for my nephew Kayden who went missing and then had to search for my sister, Tammy, when she disappeared, too. I am sure that the obvious theme of loss is apparent to anyone reading. I did actually sleep about eight hours last night, compared to the naps of the previous two nights where I was worried about Lusay. I was hoping I would dream about her, but that has not come about, yet.

There is a song that came to me yesterday as soon as I spoke to Dr. Walton about the "final solution" to Lusay's suffering. It is a song by Eddie Vedder for the film, "Into the Wild". It is not a song about death, but about release from obligations, freedom to become and explore. I had to listen to it over and over last night to actually hear the lyrics. Why THAT song came to mind at that time and persisted, I have no idea. Lusay was not yet gone, but the message was a message of release and maybe my subconscious wanted me to hear that message, because she was an indominable force in this household. You can hear the song here:

Loki is now trying to be the lap cat of the house. He hears the phone ring or me dial the phone and suddenly he is on my lap, like Lusay. He only weighs about twice as much as her and he can't control his claws like she could. I still think he feels her lost acutely, like I do, and is trying to fill in. I know my boys love me and worry about me, because even Ulysses is more a presence than he usually is. Right now, I pick them up and love them and talk to them. They are my mental salvation, even if I keep crying about Lusay. I know that I will come to an emotional equilibrium at some point. When my Grandma Snow died, I was a mess for weeks, but when my father died, it was a few days and I was better. I guess I will see where Lusay fits in that continuum.

I have to thank the members of my coven for 24/7 emotional support. They all are animal lovers like I am and know my pain. My sister Tammy for her support. My friend MiLinda for her support because she knows me and my animal connection powers! I have to thank Mony and Winn and April and Liz from work for their love and support. It has made going to work the last two days actually bearable.

I am getting better. Lusay is gone, but not forgotten and not unfelt. In fact, maybe she still watches over me in my time of need. I will pay attention when I go to bed for a weight upon my hip or a purr in the dark.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lusay, requiescat in pacem

Today I had to put my baby girl to sleep. I have, no had, three cats: Ulysses (almost 16), Loki (almost 9) and Lusay (almost 9). Lusay was my baby girl. Ulysses is an old tom who has some serious arthritis and mobiltiy issues, but he still tries to impose himself at every oppotunity. He has been by boy since he was less than a year old. It is really hard for me to see him so impaired, but he plugs along. He has a self-replenishing water dish, so he can get drinks out of that, and he does, but he also insists upon being hefted up into the bathroom sink for a fresh drink from the dripping faucet, and I imagine he always will. Ulysses was sick for a time this fall, and I was afraid I was going to lose him, but he not only recovered, he rallied! Despite his arthritis, I have seen him run and play with Loki a couple of times just this month. It was a huge and welcome surprise. He still cannot make the trip up to the sink by himself, but he is doing better. By his personality and physical characteristics, I know that Ulysses is at least half Blue Russian, but he has some tabby in there somewhere. He had more tabby striping when he was younger, but now he has the Blue Russian fur, but with a regular domestic short-hair physiognomy.

Loki has never had any kind of health problems. I have had Loki since he was an eight-week-old kitten in 1999. He was born in August and I got him about the middle of October. He was about the size of my hand and nothing could contain him. As he grew older he became really aggressive toward Ulysses and began to spray. I was about ready to put him outside permanently because of the spraying when I decided to try neutering first. All of the websites said that once toms start to spray that neutering them late will no break them of the habit, but it was my last option besides exile--and I know exile would have meant an early death for him from exposure to the elements no matter what kind of refuge I provided for him outside and fights with other toms. I tried the neutering, and it worked, although I felt guilty because he was in a bad way for a couple of days after his surgery. I know he sprayed three more times after his surgery, but he spray did not have the strong smell of before and then he just gave it up. So if you have a spraying cat, do the neuter and give it a chance. Loki bucked the advice of all the websites, and he continues to be strong as an ox. He is my stubby Manx kitty and he is still lord of the house, but he is especially tender with Ulysses--Ulysses raised him from kittenhood, so they have a strong bond.

Now, about Lusay. She was my baby girl. I got her from a good friend of mine. He was moving from a place that allowed him to have a cat to a place were all pets were verboten--even fish. That is just so fucked up to me. Such landlords need to be stripped of their pets AND children and the pets and children be reared in some hippy commune. Lusay's options were to come live with me or be taken to the pound and hope that someone adopted her before her few days of incarceration were up. The whole pound system seems like one big animal Auschwitz to me, so I acquiesced, even though I could not afford her at the time, provided that my friend pay "child support", which he did for a year--ten or twenty dollars a month. After a year, I got a new job with vastly increased compensation (all thanks to being cursed in an internet Nidstang by some witch wannabe out of New Orleans). Next time I hear he is cursing me, I am on the road to Idaho for Powerball tickets!

Lusay did not integrate well into a two-male cat household at first. In fact, she never completely integrated. Her first two or three nights she sat on top of the fridge and growled at me when I would pass by in the morning. Despite her growling, I would look up at her and just say, "Good morning to you, too, Lusay." About a week into her living here, she hopped up on the bed while I was settling in, reading, and came up to me and just sat there. I tentatively reached out a hand and scratched her behind the ears. The boys were in a state of fight or flight. The next thing I knew, she hopped up on my hip and made herself at home. This was the beginning of a nightly ritual of her tucking me in and laying on my hip that lasted for the next six years. Over time, she and I developed quite a relationship. She would play with Loki, but she detested Ulysses and would often ambush him around corners and under furniture. Sometimes Loki would tree her on top of a shelf or in a room with me. She would sit with me while I surfed the internet, wrote emails and essays, or watched TV. She was the one cat I could trust going outside by herself, because she would do her circuit of the yard and end up sunning herself on the fence or laying in the dirt of the flower garden. She loved her catnip and would roll in the stuff and be all playful like a kitten. (Yes, I got my cat's stoned, so what? I even *gasp!* raised my own catnip!) Lusay became to the first to greet me at the door, make herself at home on my lap or belly when I was on the phone and lodged on the chair, and the first to tuck me in at night. She would shadow me outside when I worked in the garden or just sit nearby and talk to me when I sat outside on summer evenings or fall afternoons. I talk to all of my cats, but I came to talk to her more because of her almost ubiquitous presence. I would ask her what I should write about, talk about the weather, ask her which kind of soft food she wanted--she was partial to salmon and tuna and knew the difference in the cans, somehow--and asked her if it was time for me to go to bed.

Now my baby girl is gone and my heart is broken. She had been losing weight over the last month, but she still acted like herself, so I did not think much of it, because Lusay was still Lusay. I came home this last Sunday, she still met me at the door, and she still jumped up on my lap and belly for a scratch and loving and telling her that she was my pretty girl. Later on in the evening, she vomited a little--not much--and I noticed her hanging her head down. During the evening, she became less responsive. She slept part of the night on my hot pad and part of the night on my office chair. In the morning, I called the University Veterinary Hospital and brought her in. Her potassium levels were high and she was not producing urine. A subsequent ultrasound showed that she had kidney stones blocking her ureters and that the backed up urine had poisoned her kidneys, probably damaging them beyond recovery. They rehydrated her, gave her meds to bring down her potassium levels and for pain. She did rally a little bit. Enough that she protested being taken away from me last night when I came to visit her.

However, this morning, she was back to being lethargic. She recognized me and stirred momentarily as if wanting me to take her home, but I calmed her and spoke to her and told her I loved her and I always would. I cried--alot. The doctor and I had spoken the previous day about our options and now there was only one. She was suffering, even on the pain medications and a sedative. After spending a good amount of time with her, I finalized the paperwork and Dr. Walton, who was an angel of hope, concern and mercy, came in with the fatal syringe. After the injection, there was an episode of vomiting, then some twitching. That was really difficult for me to see. Then she quit breathing. Dr. Walton listened with her stethoscope to Lusay's heart and after about twelve seconds that seems like twelve minutes, her heart stopped. During this process, the pain drained from her eyes, but her eyes did not close. I bawled. I put her head in a more natural position and bawled some more. Finally, after some more time alone with her, I pulled away and left.

My arm, which was injured back in October, is still not well and I cannot dig a grave for her, especially in the frozen ground. She will be cremated and her ashes scattered in an orchard in Santaquin. I think she would like an orchard. I ordered a plaque of her front paw prints to be made for me in black and white--the colours of her fur. A sentimental thing, but all that I will have left of her and more than I have of my cat, Arthur, who died in 1991.

My baby girl is gone and my heart is broken again. Ulysses and Loki know it. Loki, especially has reacted to her absence. I just think that Ulysses did not care for her much because she teased and tormented him so much. I have missed her the last two days, greeting me at the door, roosting on my belly while I am on the phone with Joe or Maureen or TaMara or my mom. Laying on my hip in bed while I drifted off to sleep or read a book. She is irreplaceable and I am happy that we had six years together.

Requiescat in pacem, Lusay. Go rabhaimid le cheile aris agus go brath sa bheatha a bheidh ag teacht tar eis an bhais sa bheatha seo. Beidh gra' agam duitse i gconai agus ni dhearmadfaidh me thu choiche.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Did you know that Asatru was the "official religion of Iceland"?

I did not. I grew up in Spanish Fork, Utah which is the greatest concentration of expatriate Icelanders in the United States. Spanish Fork has had visits from Icelandic presidents, prime ministers and ambassadors over the years because of this local cultural concentration and pride. Because I come from Spanish Fork, Utah there was a bias in reporting about missionary or other church activities in Iceland by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although the current percentage of the Icelandic population is 0.1 percent LDS, there is a link about Spanish Fork there:

From this same link, I found out that Iceland has an official state religion, a form of Lutheranism, called the Church of Iceland. However, I found, in addition to Asatru NOT being an official religion that only one half of one percent of the population of 300,000 people there were actually associated with Asatru. You can imagine how I was gasping for oxygen when I discovered this damning total.

Well, it would seem that one self-proclaimed gythia of Asatru here in Utah had suddenly declared a new, official state religion for Iceland. I researched the subject as above and replied to her on the local forum where she declared this to be true. That was a week ago and I have yet to recieve a response. That includes a response from her, a response from her spouse and a response from her Kindred. I find this troubling.

You know, even if Iceland has a half of a percent of its population as Asatru--the reconstructed Viking religion and spirituality--that is about 1500 people. Far more than Utah has for sure. However, their silence on the officiality issue is troubling. Asatru has Nine Virtues, one of them being Truth and another of them Honour. So I ask, where is the Truth of this assertion on a local forum and where is the Honour of putting such false information out on a public forum?

. . . . Silence . . . .

I assert there is no Truth and there is no Honour. And this Kindred is out there misrepresenting its religion to whomever might read their posts.

Shame upon that Kindred!

Pagan Literature

I have a confession to make. I have become a Pagan snob. Well, let me narrow that a bit to be more specific: I have become a Pagan literary snob. I have become one of the adherents to the notion that most of the Pagan-oriented literature out there is hopelessly sophomoric in its execution and hopelessly moronic in its expectations of its intended audience. I was not always this jaded and snobby. Once upon a time I would become downright giddy and all trembly in the excitement of a new book about Wicca, Witchcraft or Paganism in whatever form. Books about urban Paganism or suburban Paganism, power animals, herbalism and all things Celtic would send me into a rapturous emotional state because I had really “made a great find”.
Back in the eighties, there were very few books on the subject. There was Spiral Dance, which I still love to pieces. There was Buckland’s Big Blue Book, which, when I was still in high school, I would sneak peeks at at a bookstore in a local mall, but never would have dared to purchase at the time. That book even has its gems of basic knowledge. There were a few others I did not dare to touch that I saw on shelves in Salt Lake when I first went to college, but which, now, I stare down my nose at, even though I own them. I have lived through a period where, not only have I seen a gigantic explosion of books and ideas about Paganism in general to a dizzying diversity, but I also have refined my tastes in those books and what they have to offer, and in general nowadays, I am like an old lunker fish that refuses to take the bait. Everytime I go into a Barnes and Noble, a Borders or even a local Pagan shop, I give the Pagan book sections a thorough scan, pull a few tantilizing titles off the shelf for a quick scan and then end up buying books that relate to my path and path interests in sections other than Pagan or Occult. Everything looks so basic, so beginner, so Pagan or Wicca 101! Where are the books for people who have been involved in the movement for a while, people who thirst for something deeper?
It can be said that from a traditional viewpoint, that the deeper stuff I look for is supposed to be served in the kinds of learning and training that come from the teacher/student relationship or initiatory coven settings. I don’t deny that this route is an important one in modern Paganism of all sorts, particularly in Witchcraft and other cellular group practices. Even nowadays in the growing milieux of our diverse communities, however, not all Pagans are a good fit for such kinds of training. Therefore, I wonder, where are the books that teach the provenance of historical, folkloric and mythological sources from which modern Paganism gathers its ideas? Where are we challenged to juxtapose our beliefs with historical and literary sources, rather than just accept them from a Wicca 101 source? How do we test the idea that our beliefs or tradition come from clear back in the days of ice age mammoth hunters, or Irish Druids, or sailing Vikings or from eighteenth century occultist? The only ways to do that now is to branch out on our own into *gasp!* reading the myths and histories for ourselves. Where history is vague, we have to depend upon archaeology and anthropology to ferret out the clues. But why aren’t the mainstream of Pagan authors starting to do this and present those ideas to us instead of putting out primers? How many books can an author put out that presents the same, dedicant-level material in slightly different ways? I really don’t want an answer to that question, by the way. I would not want certain authors to pull any muscles shifting word processed text and doing minor revisions in order to pump out more of the same to answer the question; for them I would ask them to look up the notion of the rhetorical question.
I find these kinds of books, as I said before, as a primer. However, when can one move on to more challenging material for the general reader if it is never presented? It seems a great leap between the Wicca 101 books and deeper reading into myth and folklore and history, without a step in that direction from the beloved authors of Pagandom to lead those readers in their audience who want “more”. I am finding that very few modern Pagans are even making the attempt, which places our movement in an interesting position. Whole great swaths of Modern Pagans will look to those who do make the leap into these other areas to interpret folklore, history and mythology for them, creating a Priest-class that is anathema to our ideals of personal connection with our Gods and our past. Perhaps this is just a moment in modern Paganism where this is supposed to happen. Perhaps I have an antiquated and idealistic notion that one thing that sets modern Paganism apart from other contemporary religious feeling is a drive for that deep link with our Gods and our connection to history and prehistory if there really is one. I personally believe that a rise in a Priest-class is the prelude to large-congregation Paganism, and with it a kind of Pagan evangelism which revolves around money and a professional caste who make their bread and butter by being intermediaries between their congregations and the Gods. This kind of priesthood would, by necessity, maintain their position by discouraging deeper research by their congregants into their faith and its origins and ideas. Can you say Catholicism, anyone? This kind of future of Paganism is distasteful to me, but may just end up happening as our movement unfolds upon the American landscape.
What I have to be concerned about is my own snobbish attitude about these books. I need to remember the value their very presence, let alone their ideas, once had to inspire me to think and experiment and seek deeper. I need to quit having some kind of superior attitude within myself when I find people who gush about these books as the end-all-be-all of Pagan literature. I need to recognize those books as a threshold, and to me a threshold is a place of choices, futures and power. I need to encourage those in this phase of their introduction to Paganism to delve deeper into myth, history and folklore—even archaeology and anthropology. Not everyone will make the jump, but I can still try to entice and motivate. Still, contemporary Pagan authors probably have a huge, intermediate market of people who want introduction to mythological interpretation and the interpretation of historical, folkloric and other scientific sources from a Pagan perspective. I would hope that those interpretations be as broad as possible and invite the reader to check out the necessary texts for themselves. I think Pagan publishers also need to begin to think about the evolution of their readers into new niches instead of keeping them at a beginner’s level. Publishers can go a long way into enriching the lives of their audience and deepening the Pagan experience for many of their readers. I also hope that snobs like me will bend a little bit in the wind, like the willow, and guide seekers to a different level of ideas and experience.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Gythia Crown

I want to talk tonight about the Gythia Crown. This is a crown one gets to wear when they become a priestess in the Asatru religion--even by fiat. This crown is huge! Do you remember Glenda the good witch from the Wizard of Oz? Well her crown, tall and fancy as it is, is very similar to the Gythia Crown. However, the Gythia Crown is like a tomato cage turned upside down and festooned with all kinds of bright and sparkly things at different times to distract the unwary from critical thought.

For example, the crown might be festooned with red and orange chili pepper lights for Cinco de Mayo, which somehow ends up being started by some Nordic Mexicans who had a keg or something. Come Halloween, it is decked out in a patchwork of orange and red foliage with sinsiterly grinning jack-o-lantern lights to dazzle the unwary. Later in the winter, the same icecicle lights people hang from their eves for Christmas hypnotize the unprepared Vikings among us. And so it goes.

It makes me wonder if I suddenly declare myself Icelandic, start calling myself Ruadhan Deansson, and suddenly start pronouncing divination of people's dreams from my high, volcanic pinacle, does that mean I can also start wearing an upside down tomato cage with electric lights on it? I think I would look awesome, particularly in some T-shirts from JC Penny. JC Penny is my favourite fat-boy store and it reminds me of Gwen and Parker because they live in Kemmerer where the very first JC Penny store resides. Love them! I really need to drive up there for a visit, even if Joe doesnt come along. Just need to go. And bring my tomato cage . . . just in case I get caught in a battle of the crowns. I can bow my head and charge knowing that I might not kill my opponent by the weight and experience of the crown I wear, but more by its electric potential!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A taste of the season

October is my favourite month of the year. This year, it has felt more like September in some ways. However the snowstorm we had last weekend, weak as it was, was definitely a wake up call to what is to come. Even three days after the last snow, my garden finally succumbed--except the covered parts--to a killing freeze. This killing freeze was supposed to occur on Sunday night/Monday morning. Finally it occured.

October is finally rearing its head, even though we are supposed to be in the seventies this weekend, which is good news for the kitchen remodel project. The trees are still mostly green. Usually, they are changing colours by now and shedding leaves. There are some shed brown leaves, but not coloured ones yet. Maybe by Halloween/Samhain there will be millions of dead soldiers littering the lawns and walks. I intend to compost most of them on the yard this year. Last time I did, the next spring there were earthworms the size of small snakes in the garden. I only came upon a few miniscule specimens this year in my diggings. Time to mulch in a major way again this fall.

I am keeping mum about another Pagan matter until certain action has been taken. Look for more later.

Monday, October 6, 2008

An Itch that needed some scratching

For a very long time, the Pagan community has been a community that has been under a sense of siege. Our belief systems and practices are mocked, mischaracterized and misunderstood. We are accused of all kinds of crimes against society and even humanity whether we are linked up with the Mosaic-era Egyptians, the bloody Romans or even the Hitler regime in Nazi Germany. Of course, the biggie that most of us have to bear in this age of evangelism in America is Devil Worship. Need I really quote sources that on an individual level for us, comes from friends, family, co-workers or disruptive protesters or individuals at our public events and rituals? We all confront such stereotypes. This siege mentality comes from a sense of persecution whether we, ourselves, have felt that persecution directly or whether we just read about it on Pagan news sites or hear about it from other members of our communities. I do not debate that there is a need for circumspection or out-and-out wariness when we come out of our broom closets. However, we also must be circumspect about the kinds of effects this constant guarded mindset has on our perceptions, beliefs and actions. I believe that our own preconceptions, prejudices and communal notions about our plight also can become a place where we can compose, all without our knowing it, whole volumes of propaganda against ourselves, our religions and our movement.
One of those pitfalls that we hear every year around the time of our local Pagan Pride Days is that we must all present a “united front” inspite of our diversity of belief, opinion or whatever personality differences we have with each other. I will not deny that it is a great ideal toward which we should strive in our dealings with one another. There would be nothing nicer, in my opinion, than a few million Pagans who could, indeed, present a united and progressive agenda of openness, education and strength and be able to lead by example in areas of service, environmental policies and overall societal tolerance. How nice would it be if the witch wars and personal feuds which pervade our communities could be set aside toward this greater goal . . . and maybe they can. Wouldn’t we all love to be able to speak from a position of personal and group power and leave the collective whining, powerlessness and victimhood behind us forever? However—and this is a huge HOWEVER—what are we asked to sacrifice in order to accomplish this monumental task?
In our local community, and in others and even on a national level, I have heard calls for this to happen. I also hear this call for unity at the expense of other, important issues of identity and values. Yes, values. Values! Yep, that word . . . one half of the tiresome mantra, “family values”, that has been used as a bludgeon against ourselves, our LGBT brothers and sisters and other progressives for the last thirty years or so, now. Just as some of the movements in Paganism have been reclaiming power words used against us over the years, like Witch or Pagan, why shouldn’t we be considering as a collective to reclaim the word, VALUES, as well? We have them, don’t we? Yes, we are very tolerant of others beliefs, lifestyles and worldviews as a general rule, but I don’t believe that having open minds and hearts mean that we find an abundance of those organs falling out and lying about like litter on the side of the freeway. Just as Yahweh/Allah has gifted his billions of followers with reason and minds (whether they are used or not), our gods have seen fit, even if only to keep up with the I AMs of our tiny Earth, to gift us with the same reason and minds or something close (whether they are used or not). In our thinking, reasoning and experiences, have we not also come to have some things which might be called *gasp!* values, to which we hold dear and around which have condensed the ideas, perceptions and strategies we use as tools to examine our world and act within it—as well as in other worlds?
Attend here, please. I think all of us, even those of us on a warrior path, have a strong peace ethic; that we will attend to our lives and business in a matter that eschews violence as a method of attaining one’s goals or personal satisfaction in life. Some of us believe that war and violence as unthinkable tools of personal pathworking or statecraft. Others believe that violence is only the utterly LAST possibility of action in self- or even national preservation. We are not a bunch of pre-emptive war cheerleaders for the most part. Peace is a value we have in common. Freedom of belief is another cherished value among us. Tolerance of others and our differences is also a very generally held belief among us. Not only do we learn and grow from the shared experiences of others, but our differences can enrich and wisen us in ways we do not always expect. We like to approach the world with open hearts and minds, meeting new people and experiences with acceptance and wonder and even something approaching the ideal of love we strive for constantly.
However, the world does not always approach us in a reciprocal fashion. Anyone here tried to give a wild grizzly bear a paw-shake in greeting? How about revelling in the sunshine while rolling about in a patch of stinging nettle? Maybe a lipstick-smearing kiss to a barking pitbull? Our reason and judgement tell us these things would be bad ideas, right? Then why is it we assign one set of caution toward our non-human milieu and a completely different one to the human one? We all WANT to believe that our fellow humans have EXACTLY the same values that we have. Some of us want to believe it so badly that we, to use a tired but useful phrase, “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” We want to accept people we interact with at their word, because our word is our oath, bound and honourable. We share ourselves with others in a value bath of peace and tolerance and love and goodness, or want to, without a worry that those very values can be used against us. Yet, for some reason, we meet up with frauds, abusers and schemers whose value set includes taking advantage of those better angels of our values and then bashing us with them when we cry foul. In fact, Pagans in particular, and religious groups in general seem to attract these types like moths to a flame. I think a couple of examples are in order . . .
Maybe someone comes into one of our communities with a theme or notion that brings us all together toward a greater goal. When I say “all” I mean from all of the diverse parts of the community. “Hey, let’s all get together and buy some land so that we can have our feasts and rituals without worrying about the prejudices of others!” “Hey, let’s all get some money together to help so-and-so fight their legal battle which will affect us all!” “How about the community use this space that I provide as a community centre?” Sounds great to me! Has anyone else leapt at such opportunities? Money seems to be a major Pagan pitfall for some reason. It is not because Pagans do not have it to put toward worthy causes and goals, but a lot of communities seem to want to put their money and time toward a goal or cause that has no mechanism to insure that those resources actually go toward what they are originally intended. What happens when the originator of the idea makes off with the money or diverts it toward a more personally satisfying goal? Witch wars happen, that is what. What happens if someone who has a space that is used as a community meeting space also uses that space to sexually or financially abuse those who come to use that space? More witch wars, it would seem. When a rue and cry is issued about such abuses, those who cry foul are bashed over the head with our values of peace and tolerance and love. Our united front becomes a united front at any cost, fuck the vitims! Our values are used against us very publically, to shame victims of fraud and abuse into silence so our communities can present a happy face at public things like Pagan Pride or our usual Halloween coverage. The victimizers are given a kind of carte-blanche get -out-of-jail-free ticket. The victims rail, the victimizers remain silent and free of accountability and witch wars rage. The victims suddenly become the bullies and villains in dramas that seem to overtake our Pagan communities with predictable regularity, taking advantage of our apparent disunity. Our values are being used against us by these victimizers and abusers, folks!
The vast majority of Pagan communities do not want to have to exercise their faculties of reason and judgement. Judgement is such a Christian word to many of them! Judgement has all kinds of baggage brought over from most Pagans’ former lives in Christianity. Aren’t Pagans themselves the victims of judgement in some sense from those who misunderstand us? However, judgement and reason are just what our communities are most in need of at these times. Fence sitters need to decide for themselves if their values are being used for or against them and make decisions about how to act, yet they sit on their Ghandi-like fences, pronounce great platitudes reinforcing our values of peace, tolerance and love, and divorce themselves from the dirty realities of the very real presence of frauds, con-artists and abusers in our midst. The “judge not, lest ye be judged” commandment is a Christian commandment that holds some kind of hallowed sway over our actions as Pagans. Are we judging at all? How will our lack of judgement be held against us? If we make ourselves impotent to deal with abusers, how are we to be judged? We as Pagans look to be completely impotent to deal with these hucksters in our midst and pity those who try to bring in secular authorities to deal with these matters within our legal system! We tend to judge those who do engage secular authorities in matters of financial, sexual of physical abuse as our enemies. In fact, they are judged harshly. Why is that?
Do you want to end witch wars? Do you want to end ethical hand-wringing and indecision? Then we must act. I believe that the first act we can accomplish toward the acceptance of our Pagan communities in greater American society is to demonstrate that we have some common values with the greater population. Not only do we really share our dearest values of peace, tolerance and education with all of America, but we also have values of responsibility and accountability in our leaders and institutions. This means that we actively court the assistance of civil authorities in instances of fraud and abuse. We freely give testimony against those who come to roost with us to use and abuse us. We must use our faculties of judgement and discrimination given us by the Gods to discern what is best for us and our communities and how to attain it. We also have the responsibility to create accountable bodies in our midst to handle the resources of larger, community-oriented projects which transcend our individual groups. If we choose to participate in these larger projects, there is a small element of group sovereignty that is given up toward participation. Each of our groups that participate in these larger endeavours is responsible and accountable regarding funding, policy and action. We must be transparent not only to each other, but to the greater society we reside within.
We can create a milieu, locally and nationally, in which Pagans can accomplish great things with our common values presented in a way that ordinary Americans can identify with. I believe that if Americans in general see us for what we are, we can lead in many spheres toward a nation we are all proud to be a part of, a nation where all of our voices are valued, and a nation that does not react to our presence out of ignornace and fear. However, it is paramount that we begin this great endeavour by cleaning up our own communities, removing elements of fraud and abuse that make us appear cult-like to our non-Pagan brothers and sisters, and participating in full faith in the institutions of law and political and community action and service that will open to us if we just do not stumble and fall when victimizers attempt, over and over again, to use those better angels of our nature against us. Yes, we should try to present a united front to the non-Pagan world. However, not at the expense of allowing frauds and abusers to find safe haven and even legitimacy within our communities. We need to put our “united front” into practice against these kinds of predatory individuals before it will have any credibility outside of our communities. We have a lot of practicing to do, too.
Our values can be our greatest and strongest tool—not a weapon, but a tool—to be used toward our liberation and understanding in the larger culture of the United States. We are not a Balkanized version of religious minorities in America, but another force for the ideals that the American nation was formed upon if we have the will to act collectively to clean up our Pagan act. Will we be a victim of our own values used against us, or a force for progressive involvement in the American future? It is not only something to think about in our current polictical and economic times, but an agenda to act upon if we have the collective will.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pagan Pride Day

I volunteered to staff a booth at this year's Salt Lake Pagan Pride Day, which I was able to do after being delayed a couple of hours by one of my routine headaches. I just made sure my stomach was stable and headed out the door. Because of the blessed organization of this year's local coordinators, TaMara, Kayote and Andromeda, the booth/table I was staffing was in the shade of the main pavillion. Gods love all three of them--I know I do. The staffing part was easy for the most part. It only became involved later in the afternoon when one elderly woman came to me for answers to some very serious and intelligent questions about Paganism because her son had come out of the broom closet to her. She had a very diverse family. She had lost one gay son to AIDS fourteen years previously and PPD happened to be on his birthday. She was saturated with love and memory and grief and hope all at the same time and I gladly spent over an hour with her and her questions and concerns, all because she loves her son and wants to understand him rather than direct him. She seemed to be able to relax and confide more and more personal information to me in the course of our discussions. I really just wanted to give her a big bear hug and wash away her worries. I hope the information I gave her helped. Ultimately she was all about what the Pagan Pride Project was started for. It was not about getting Pagans, themselves, to congregate and shop for Pagan bling, but to disseminate information about Paganism to non-Pagans, to provide for a charity, and to make a place where media could get to know us.

This year PPD did not have vendors, although there were people with things to sell that were there on an informational basis (i.e. here are my wares, and here is how you can get ahold of me to buy the stuff). In my staffing of my booth for Aspen Grove Circle, there were two people who bitched to me that they had gone to the ATM before coming to PPD so they could buy some Pagan bling. I explained to them the reason for this year's lack of vending--getting the message back out to NON-Pagans. They seemed to understand and were not angry, but still no pentacle bling . . .

So, then some anonymous fucktard goes and creates a blogspot on this site to trash PPD at This blogspot was created three days after PPD by someone calling themselves "anonymus". Yeah, another brave soul who thinks of themselves as Pagan, but who is probably really just a scared little Christian practicing what they know. They even enabled the moderation function on blog comments, so my comment will likely never see the light of day . . . One would at least think that the person would bother to spell anonymous correctly--unless, of course, they are just fucktarded. That is my theory.

So "anonymus fucktard" starts out his rant--and I believe it to be a he for many reasons--just saying that PPD in Salt Lake sucked because no vendors were there nor would they participate because the people running PPD were part of the Utah Alternative Spirituality Substitute (UASS) group. That is a huge laugh! Anyone on the SLCPPD list could see the emails coming in about vending and being gently told that instead of vending there would be information-only booths. Let's pretend this is the old Gong Show. Can I please hit the gong about three times now, please? "Anonymus fucktard" needs to get his facts straight.

The next charge against PPD was that all of the UASS people call people from other groups junior high school names. I imagine this one is all in regards to one's perspective. Since "anonymus fucktard" obviously does not have spelling skills beyond middle school, then I guess any names that UASS calls would be of a junior high level. Anonymus fucktard might not even be able to spell fucktard, or let people post comment who could out of fear. Junior high might be an intimidating goal of anonymus fucktard. I hope he makes it, though.

Name calling? Oh yeah, there was some name calling going on, particularly in 2007 against the Sacred Circle Church (i.e. Sacred Squirrel Church) because of their diversion of a pool of community-raised funds earmarked for community land for ritual and other observance toward a yurt put on the private property of their one and only Reverend Heron. All of the accusations, name-calling, and community organizing that went on regarding this diversion of community funds in trust and it subsequent astrological and public relations spin eventually ended up in stalking injunctions being served against myself and two other community members who where the most vocal and visible critics of Reverend Heron's diversion of a community fund to her own benefit. The two other community members and myself decided to fight those injunctions in court and you can watch the court proceedings here:

Among the junior high names pointing to this diversion of funds, I think one might find on all of the local Pagan lists, words like "liar", "thief", "bitch" directed toward Reverend Heron. Well earned, if you ask me. Others thought up monikers for the most vocal supporters of the diversion of funds and its astrological and public relations spin, such as Avaloon, Lady Tara Moneydragon (Tara Moondragon financed the other half of the yurt purchase). None of these names had any purchase on PPD email and webspace as far as I remember. The Sacred Squirrels were not mentioned as far as I know. Oh yes, Sacred Squirrels . . . how junior high of me! Not so far from the truth when you consider Heron as Reverend Nutbag for showing up on the porch of some of our community members and screetching like a banshee with her foot in a fire until the cops were called. High drama, anyone? Oh yeah, that might have earned our dear, Reverend Heron, the name of "porch harpie". Maybe that is higher than junior high because it requires one to know what a harpie is and that might be beyond the intellectual skills of one anonymus fucktard.

Perhaps anonymous fucktard was at PPD, which was attended by hundreds of people despite rumours otherwise. I was there and there were at least a couple of hundred people there while I was there, with people coming and going. Some complained . . . no bling to buy. Others liked the relaxed atmosphere and informational focus. I think those stayed and participated in the workshops and rituals through the day liked the focus and stayed. I know some came by my table.

So if some little whispering fucktard approaches you and talks about the evil UASSes, just remember that it was the members of UASS stepped up to volunteer for PPD. It was the UASSes that did the work, worked with sponsors and created the event because NO ONE ELSE would step up to do the work. If one does not do the work, one cannot take the credit in the current milieu of Pagan Community and those who would take the credit for the work of others are the ones spewing the most criticism. I wish anonymus fucktard would boner up and take credit for one's words, but we are dealing with cowards here. I am not even a UASS, so I have no bones to pick with the mischaracterization of people in that group. I just want to have anonymus fucktard own up to his words.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fun at the ranch

I have a lot of thoughts swirling about in my head, but not a lot of time to put them down here.

House update: The old floor is out, most of the new subfloor is in. The sink is out--mostly due to an accident. I cant do dishes. I hate that.

Me update: Well it looks like my usual September respiratory infection is back, in spite of quitting smoking. It is actually an inner-ear infection, but last year that turned into a pretty scarey bronchitis and three rounds of anti-biotics. I went to the doc when I KNEW I had an infection. I am taking Levaquin, which has some interesting side effects after just a couple of days, but my sore throat is better and my left ear is now pretty much normal. Now just need to get the right ear into the game.

Politics: I have read some stuff about how some of the Pagan and anarchist protesters at the Republican convention in St. Paul were treated. These people were subject to arrest, detention, interrogation and search, all by suspicion. If the police were trying to send a message, I think they did for the whole nation to take note of. As it turned out, these detainees, all arrested on suspicion, were released one by one when it was noted that there was no bomb-making or terrorsim being planned. So where was the evidentiary burden for probable cause on the police when they started playing Nazi on all of the hippies in St. Paul? It appears like there was none. So now does that mean that police everywhere have the duty to arrest, harass, search and intimidate whatever element of their communities scares them the most? I imagine that here in Utah that a lot of things will scare the suits and ties on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake. Let's not be naive and think that given the opportunity, the LDS majority in this state would not oppress and suppress communities which give them gas. It is like they are so ignorant of their own history of oppression and misunderstanding that the abused child has grown up to be the abuser. There is a huge and very progressive subculture in Salt Lake, itself. Less so in other places, but it is there as an "underbelly" of many communities. So what if the arrests and intimidation of those communities proceeded apace of what happened in St. Paul? Stormtroopers at Pagan Pride Day? More at Gay Pride Day? How about arresting patrons of alternative music performances? Strip searching organic gardners? How about shock troops marching against the Liberty Park drum circle? . . . oh yeah, that already happened here. Gotta keep those revolutionary pot smokin' drummers in check at all times! You never know when they might be planning to bomb the Capitol in Washington! I am surprised that they can get up the gumption to drum, let alone plan acts of sabotage and terror. I can just see the cell meeting now: after the joint has passed a few times, no one has the volition to lift an arm and make any kind of proposal. "Dude, I motion to vote this dope the best I have smoked, any seconds?"

I think that if the police are looking for crimes against the people, that they look upon the fat whiteys in their suits and ties before they bruise up someone in a tie-dye shirt and a hemp-cloth bini. It won't happen, but that is what I think. I guess this post will make me one of the first to disappear if word gets out.

Time will tell.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nearly a month later . . .

Quick retrospective: I was cleaning my house in preparation for a kitchen upgrade when I pulled my groin and had to stop all movement below the belly button because of a lack of serious pain medications--you know, the good stuff that lets you jump on the trampoline while in traction with a broken femur?

Yeah, well that situation slowly resolved itself with only a couple of paralyzing flare ups. Eventually, much stuff was repatriated to the den, much other stuff was set aside for donating and still much other stuff was set aside in large trash receptacles for transport. There was much pulling of hair, gnashing of teeth and vacuuming of carpets. I mention the vacuuming of carpets because my cats hate it when I vacuum. Lusay and Ulysses run and hide where a vacuum cannot reach them--and NO, I have never chased them with a vacuum! Loki likes to watch the vacuum from a safe distance, about a metre away and generally above the business end of the vacuum. I am usually pretty predictable when I vacuum--back and forth, nice straight and clean lines on the carpet. If I deviate from that, say by suddenly turning the vacuum to the left and heading in a new direction, Loki has been known to jump down in the path of the vacuum, hiss at it and bat at it with his paws, as if to shepherd the errant machine back into its routine. We have all heard the metaphor about herding cats, but cats herding vacuums is a new slant on this for me. Perhaps he is so engrossed in the vacuum that he doesn't even notice me doing the driving. Maybe if he did notice, he would come and bat me around . . .

Alas, today was the day that the kitchen floor and the lower cabinets were torn out. When I moved into this house, some rocket scientist had put SHAG CARPET in the kitchen. Brown Shag. Millie, my landlady, said it was the brother of the girls that lived here before Brad and I. Someone give that guy a Nobel Prize, puhleeze! After Brad moved out, I had enough of the shag, so I ripped it out only to discover orange patterned linoleum. I put a rug over most of it and feigned colour blindness for the rest. Okay, so today, we ripped out the linoleum, a layer of particle board, then a layer of square plastic tiles that were glued down and came up with no problem, then this layer of cardboard type stuff that was a real bitch to dig up. Under all of that was some narrow wood plank floor with nothing beneath but the joists. The wood is actually in really good shape, so we are going to put our subfloor over that and then the pergola stuff. Millie got my new floor cabinets, counter top and sink today. They are so awesome! Looks like the upper cabinets will have to wait for another time.

Well, my back is singing from all the ripping, tearing, pulling, shovelling and sweeping I have done. I feel like I have done Tae-Bo for about four hours. Besides Millie and I, Travis and Cassie--Millie's kids--and Joe were all in on the festivities. Thank the Gods it was a cool September day! Joe's truck was a real labour saver, too. We loaded it up with the cast off crap and shuttled it out to the curb where it will all be picked up by Salt Lake City this coming week. Thanks, Mayor Becker! I think it is time for a nice, cool shower and a relaxing DVD. Phase two starts tomorrow!

Bon soir!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

And the project gets stalled--after a certain amount of progress

Okay, BOOOOORING post here. I managed to clean up the den, vacuuming, carpet cleaning, wall washing. So now I am moving in my new office mat and office chair. Progress! Then I move back the wood shelf, now against the north wall instead of the window. Then I move back the small desk--I never moved the computer desk--I am moving it into position when there is this kind of snap-snap in my groin. It was like two guitar strings breaking. It wasn't so much painful as an interesting senstation as I was trying to push the desk into position. Within minutes, I was hardly able to walk. I knew what had happened. How many times have I heard about pulling one's groin? I have actually done this before when I was more into weight lifting. Okay, what did I do before? Ibuprofen, ice to the crotch . . . Eventually, I was able to lift my leg enough to get into the shower and clean up from my labours. I am not able to bring any more of the boxes I need to store in here because of the groin thingie. I can still hardly walk. Sitting is just fine. Ibuprofen and acetominophen are my dear friends right now. I am tired of ice. My great project is scaled back for now. I cannot move the bed in my bedroom to clean around and under it. I will have to work through the boxes of crap I moved out of closets and the den one item at a time, instead of moving them pell-mell into the office. I need to go buy one more tote for the bedspreads.

Tonight, I looked in on the Wasatch Pagan Alliance site. On this site there is a system of "karma points" where people can almost anonymously vote on the posts of the individual or on the value of the individual themselves. I used to think that this point system had value, but of late I have come to see this anonymous point system as an elitist vote that favours one certain clique in the Pagan community. A lot of the people in this clique are dear friends of mine, but I find this system of karma points unfair. It devalues individuals who have a dissenting opinion about attitudes and policy. It is almost as if individuals and their opinions get devaulued and discarded based upon their karma point score on the WPA website. I find this unfair and anti-democratic. I also think that people on the WPA vote in karma points rather than voicing support for or against various political stances in an anonymous way. I think this harms the parliament of ideas and creates a kind of popularity contest which enshrines the ideals of a certain clique or a certain majority and discounts and dismisses the opinions of those who feel differently. I think the system or karma points needs to be discarded on the WPA if real discussion and debate of ideas is going to continue and mean a damn to the all the parties invovled.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And the project goes on

Today, I awoke and looked over the chaos of my living room and just sighed. How am I supposed to fix this mess up? Well, I had an ace in the hole and his name is Joe. Joe and I went to lunch. Joe and I went shopping. Joe and I bought an office chair and floor mat. So I was primed to rip another room apart. I had not pulled my "den" apart for over two years. I yanked out a desk, I rolled out and junked Brad's old stereo cabinet for clean-up. I demolished the futon I have had in here for eleven years and hauled it to the driveway. Now I need to finish vacuuming the room, cleaning the carpets with the carpet cleaner I inherited. Then I can place my mat and chair and then clean out the living room. It is all so deadly in its planning. A couple of spiders had to die in the re-conquest of my office. They had placed the dead bodies of lots of insects all over my floor behind wood shelves and desks. It was a killing field of bodies. The bodies were sucked up in the vacuum and so were their killers. I would have let the spiders go outside, but they would not cooperate and a couple of them were black widows, so I sucked them all up in the vacuum. Their broken bodies found their way to the rubbish with all the dust and cat hair that the cleaner picked up. Whooosh!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Spring Cleaning--In August

All is quiet on the Pagan front these days. I wish Russia would lay off Georgia. We will have to see how that plays out, but I have to say that I am on Georgia's side, against Russia and against South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Okay, just sayin'.

I am on VACATION. I have things to accomplish here. One of those things is the complete reorganization of my household. I have ripped the closets in my house apart, I have put clothes I am too big to wear into totes and re-stored them. I have thrown away clothes I will NEVER wear again that were too icky to be sent to charity--torn pants, stained shirts, clothes with holes in them. Why the hell did I keep them? I guess I thought that they would be useful someday. For what? Dust rags? Someone's denim quilt? I had shoes that I have not worn for ten years that I kept because I thought I needed to wear them out some more. These shoes had holes in the sides or holes in the soles, and I thought I needed to wear them out some more . . . These shoes were one puddle away from the trash anyway. Goodbye!

My couch/futon is going away. Little is keeping it together at this point. A nail and a cinderblock, and, as Joe pointed out to me, cat hair woven in an exquisite web to hold the frame together. It will be either tomorrow or the next day that I hack the fucker to pieces so I can haul it out to the curb for pick up in September. I wish I had a woodburning stove so that I might heat the house with the remnants, but that is not possible.

Tammy has her new kitchen and mine will be coming in September, so I have to evacuate my living room, move the kitchen there, so that my kitchen can be demolished and then rebuilt from the floor up. Yeah, the floor. It MUST come out. I am expecting that when we rip the floor out that there will be a huge colony of House Centipedes, which I will lovingly transplant outside. No genocide in MY house. Anyone who cares for their young is as good as Mormons in my mind's eye.

Loki likes "My Way" by Limp Bizkit. Who knew . . . I have just played it several times and he just works himself into a lather rushing about and meowing, like there is some ground squirrel that is just beyond his claws. He is really entertaining me right now while I write this.

I just found out that my cousin, Christy, is planning to "elope" to the Dominican Republic in November. I wish I could go there. I might have been able to go to Tucson, where she lives, for the wedding, but alas . . . no. I wish her well there, though. Wish I could be there . . .

Well, back to the reorginization.

It makes you wonder just who they really are
They say money is no object and weve got a car
They kidnapped tony where did they go
They went to get it done before he got too old
Theyre incognito, theyre into fame
They think they know it all you know their familys to blame
Isnt it funny, isnt it sad
You come up empty thinking bout the good times that you had
But:I like, when they talk really loud trying to tell you what they know
I like, when it blows real hard and it doesnt even show
They say: its plain to see, life is not a mystery to me
I say: thats plain as day I hope youve got yours right anyway
They say: its plain to see, life is not a mystery to me
I say: thats plain as day I hope youve got yours right anyway
It makes you wonder bout the things they say
We are never gonna leave, we are never gonna stay
They talk for nothing, they talk for free
They talk behind your back and to youre face theyre really sweet
Check out the language, check out the clothes
Their mother buys them shoes n where she gets them no-one knows
They go to parties to steal the show
By talking really loud n try to tell you what they know
But:I like, when they talk really loud trying to tell you what they know
I like, when it blows real hard and it doesnt even show
They say: its plain to see, life is not a mystery to me
I say: thats plain as day I hope youve got yours right anyway
They say: its plain to see, life is not a mystery to me
I say: thats plain as day I hope youve got yours right anyway
I like when they talk really loud trying to tell you what they know
Say, I like when it blows real hard and it doesnt even show
Say, I like when they havent seen a thing and try to tell you where to go
Say, I like when they talk really loud trying to tell you what they know
What do they really know?

Men Without Hats

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Three Days Later

Three days later, I am still unimpressed by civilization, except the electricity that keeps my CPAP alive. So if everything but electricity went tits up, how would I feel? I would miss Smallville. I would miss Nova. That is about all in my TV universe that I would miss.

I would have lots 0f time, come November, December and January to seek out moose antlers in my snowshoes. Plenty of moose up Big Cottonwood. We did not get a hint of moose up on the Wasatch Plateau last week, despite our seeking. Nothing near the CC Pond. No moose sighted up at Gooseberry East or down the creek toward Electric Lake. Just deer across Flat Canyon and nothing up on the Skyline, though that is where we hunted for firewood.

What do we (Joe and I) see the first time we take a winter trek up Big Cottonwood? Moose. Time to look for antlers.

I am too hot. I look forward to fall.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Easing into civilization

The gods of electricity were not kind to me last night. I had gone to sleep for just a little while on my blessed CPAP when the power went out. I woke up smothering to death as I always do when the power goes out at night. I was really disoriented and did not realize the power was out as I pushed the mask off my face and sat up on the bed. The fan was not blowing. I could not turn on the lamp. Okay, power is officially out now. I sat there for a while as the house heated up and wondered how long it would be before the power was back on. Finally, I decided I needed to inform Utah Power on my own--as a public service as well as a selfish act of getting my sleep. I had spent three nights without my CPAP camping and I was ready for a night of long, deep sleep before I had to go back to work in the morning.

I tentatively crept from the bedroom to where I USUALLY keep a flashlight for emergencies. Damn! It wasn't there. So, I crept into the living room, where I knocked over the Nordic Trak I inherited from my late father, which knocked a tray off the furnace which had my blown glass Sangria pitcher and cups. They must have crashed into each other to break, because they landed on carpet. I pressed onward. I made it into the office where I found a cigarette lighter and lit a candle. I called Utah Power and their automated system told me they already knew my neighbourhood was blacked out. So much for talking to a real human being and getting to whine about my CPAP sleep deficit. I crept from my office like the Hermit of the Tarot deck and found the flashlight in the kitchen which I used to survey the broken glass on the living room floor. Damn! How did I creep by that path TWICE without amputating half my foot on the broken glass???!! I returned miserably to the hot bedroom and sulked for a while until I decided to get in the shower and get wet, which increased my spirits considerably. I went back to the bedroom wet, which kept me sane for the next two hours. The wild winds of earlier in the evening had died so not so much as a breeze came into the room. I tried to tell myself that I could sleep one more night without the CPAP and tried to sleep. I retrieved my cell phone and pager and set the alarm on the pager and layed down. FINALLY the power came back on. The lights I had turned on in the kitchen and bathroom came on. I darted to the fan and turned it on, reset the clock and alarm and put on my mask and lay down. I did not bother to turn off the lights. Bad witchie, no biscuit! I feel asleep almost immediately and woke up for work feeling like I had fallen under a bus.

At work, I had a small project. Winn, Gods bless him, helped me set up the PC workstations which I configured later on. Yep, thrust back into the world of electricity and technology with no padding whatsoever!

Now I head off to bed with visions of sugarplums and CPAP masks, right after the cats get their soft food. Can't forget the soft food or they will pester me clear through the night. Maybe tomorrow I will not be nodding off while I am waiting for some program to install or during a critical reboot.

Maybe tomorrow I will be able to break through the Pagan news blackout about Aspen Grove, etc. and have something really hilarious to report.

Sweet dreams!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back from the wilds

So we went down to the wilds of Sanpete County and camped a bit. Well, it seems that a huge amount of Utah's population did the same thing. On our treks for firewood, there were whole communities of trailers and fifth wheels and all kinds of recreational homes parked among the aspens in all directions and not just among the paid sites provided by the US Forest Service that we took advantage of. There was a veritable city among the trees, each site with its own campfire this Pioneer Day weekend. And each campfire was attended by at least two or three ATVs. ATVs are the bane of regular campers. They mostly ignore posted speed limits and each one coats the camp with an additional layer of dust. The forest on each side of every dirt track road is coated with many layers of photosynthesis-blocking dust for ten yards on both sides.

Okay, here is a new one in my experience. Joe and I went fishing down Gooseberry Creek. We played our flies and got nada. We went back to camp to find that the Squidbillies had moved in next door. All of the adults of the troop were trashed and there were beers aplenty to be thrown in the lake. Apparently there were children aplenty to be thrown in the lake, too, because that is exactly what happened. The boyfriend of one of the Squidbilly daughters threw her two-year-old son, from some other father, into the lake. The kid folded up like a lawn chair and started to sink until the toothless grandmother plowed into the lake to save the sinking child. Of course the girlfriend and her sister dutifully beat the boyfriend with fists and fishing poles and called all kinds of names. The drunk boyfriend just kept saying that he wanted an answer. Answer to what the fuck?

Was it an answer from God? Was it an answer from the Lady of the Lake? What was the answer he was seeking? Was there more beer back at camp? Does God want him to throw more infants into lakes? Even drunken Grandpa just sat there with his fishing pole until the consensus among the Squidbillies was to abandon their position on the lake and return to camp, dunked kidlet in tow. The drunk boyfriend was left to walk up the road without them enduring the dust of passing vehicles and ATVs until he reached the keg of camp.

The uncle of the tossed child did approach me and offer an apology for the drama that we all got to witness. He said that this boyfriend of his sisters only had made his acquaintence that weekend and they did not know anything about him. I advised him that the child might have fluid in the lungs and needed to be seen at an emergency room. Well, Joe ran into one of them up in the trees when he was up gathering water at the cistern tap above Gooseberry Lake. TRASHED! Trashed! trashed! I hope the kid survives, but if the kid does not survive, it will be a grand example of Social Darwinism. Parents too fucking stoooopid to have kids. Poor little guy!

Okay, well back home now. Old Ulysses made some messes, but I have them all cleaned up now. Waiting for a monsoon storm to cross the valley. XOXO

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I am really excited. I have been getting ready for a camping trip this weekend. I have gone through all the camping totes, washed the camping dishes, and cleaned out the back of my car for the inevitable stuffing. The cats are nervous. They KNOW they are being left at home. I would not mind bringing one or two of them along for the fun, but we are bringing Mojo and that will just be too much chaos for one weekend. Between having Mojo and a four year-old along, that should be just the right amount of chaos.

So camping . . . and fishing. I am bringing along the reflector telescope I got from Joe for Christmas to take advantage of the dark skies up there. I haven't even used the scope yet. Oh yeah, did I mention fishing? Maybe some easy hiking and some wildlife drives. We will be fishing, too, by the way. Campfire dinners!

Well, it looks like the monsoon is going to abandon us for a few days for this trip. It does make me a little sad. There is NOTHING like a good thunderstorm up in the mountains. I went camping with a couple of my coven sibs about three years ago up at Gooseberry Reservoir and one day we had about four or five monsoon thunderstorms come through. It would thunder and rain, we would hole up in the tent for about a half hour and then the sun would come out again. Wait two or three hours and then repeat. On the second to last storm, we got hail. Not just bb sized hail, but marble or nickel-sized hail which punched holes in the plastic tent windows and let the rain run in on us. Okay that last part was NOT fun, but the lightning and thunder was amazing. Sometimes the monsoon is not so violent. When I was up there with my parents a few years ago, it was overcast all day with periodic showers. It was just damn peaceful and pleasant and cool. Down at home the temperature was 105 degrees that day while we might have gotten to seventy. The fishing kind of sucked, but I was just soaking in the rainy and cool vibe.

So I will be gone for a few days. I hope everyone has a great Pioneer Day. I really wish that a lot of native Utah Pagans would get over their Mormophobia on this day and embrace it for the opportunity to connect with ancestors that it is.

Monday, July 21, 2008


How can I possibly get four hours of my life back? Is there an application somewhere for do-overs? Can I fill it out and subit it online? Will the appropriate gods get it?

Lulu is a person in our local Pagan community who takes herself way too seriously. She was booted from a group of local witches, but now she is a gythia in an Asatru kindred. Snap, crackle and pop! GYTHIAHHHHHH! I am GYTHIA hear me roar! I just spend four hours roasting her ass and explaining why her kindred--and in turn herself--are not victims.

Wow, imagine my surprise . . . you see, in real Wicca and Witchcraft, it takes years of study just to be initiated and more years of study and self-examination to become a high priestess in a coven, whether that coven is one's own or not. The ones that flap about like fledging chicks and screech their title to the world usually are not counted among those that put in their time. Does anyone know where I can buy an "I am Gythia" kit--just add water and drama? Do they still sell erector sets these days? I could build my own tiara with battery powered lifts and cranes. I can glue on my own cubic zirconia--obtained from a sufficiently counter-culture gem show, of course. Does anyone know enough about Asatru to know how long it takes to become a competent gythia, or gothi?

I have this little rule in the back of my head in the course of usual Pagan transactions. That rule is about how the veracity and competency of one's Pagan or Witchen priesthood is inversely proportional to the number of times it is mentioned in casual conversation or in posts on Yahoo! groups. Excuse me . . . I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. I was thinking of Lulu.

Angry! Still angry . . .

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekend Update

I have to say that there were two highlights to my weekend. I got to go fishing and larking about with Joe and I got to have a visit with my coven sibs for a while. Joe and I went to Diamond Fork and did some fishing. I had a few hits with flies and Joe had none, so we changed to worms and drove up-river. We finally had found a place to really play with our new fly-rod outfits and practice. I am so out of practice. I have not used a flyrod in about eight or nine years. It feels good though and I got into the groove again after just a little while. While I was walking to and fro I fell through the bank into an abandoned beaver lodge. Beavers make some of the best trout fishing holes and this was one of them, but the dam was degraded and the hole exposed. When I walked away about a foot of sandy earth gave way and I fell in. I thought my knee or my back was a goner. When the beavers did not gnaw my leg off at the knee, I pulled it out and stood up and stoicly strode back to the truck. I need to take Joe farther up Sixth Water but the fishing up there is more of a challenge and more work. I also want to hike to the hot springs up Fifth Water. Joe doesnt want to go up there when anyone else is there, but considering how many people were hiking to and from the hot springs, I don't think that is really possible.

I have been preparing for a trip up to the Wasatch Plateau tonight. Gotta get all the camping amenities organized or it will be a disaster. More fishing up there, too.

I harvested my first tomatoes tonight, too. Two ripe, red Romas. You just cant get tomatos this good at the store!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Anger is a really strange thing. Sometimes it persists in the crannys of one's psyche. You think it is all gone, but it just sits there, dessicated, waiting for the next rain of emotion to wash over it and it breathes back to life and strikes out. Eventually, it dries out again and waits. After a while, it just loses its identity and you become angry, but you don't know why.

Even more rarely, a kind of epiphanal catharsis happens and then the crannys get scoured and the stronger parts of the psyche crash together in a new configuration, just a few stones at a time. It can be kind of disorienting. NOW what do I feel like? Hmmmmm, I need to think about that.

Last night, I spoke to an old and dear roommate that I parted company with in the poorest of ways. It was like speaking to a lost part of my soul and made me think back to something TESS suggested. Tonight, because of that conversation, I feel more connected and much less angry. I feel the same from a conversation the night before where I felt love and loved and resolution and possibility. That is what I took from both conversations: possibility. That there is a future time to carry on and to resolve old stuff and new stuff and make MORE stuff and then shovel that. Sometime shovelling the stuff means really yummy tomatos!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Cu/rsa

So what is the course of this blog going to be? I actually didn't give it a whole lot of thought today since I was busy with work and did some gardening when I got home. I let the cats out for a breather today. The boys stayed outside as long as I did, but Lusay decided she was going to recline out by the irises for a while longer and did not come in. After I talked to Joe on the phone a couple of hours later, I decided to hunt her up and she was in the driveway, defending the house from the invasion of a very pretty tabby. She did come to me and I carried her in telling her what a good girl she was. I guess the flower bed is safe for one more night . . .

Okay, distraction . . . quantum topic. What will I write about? How about some of my travels, a bit about my family and friends. Maybe I will mention work when it rears up like a scary dragon. Sounds pretty normal, I guess. I think I will also want to talk about Paganism, Witchcraft and the Utah Pagan Community quite a bit, too. Some of it would be serious. Some of it satirical, just because Pagans, in aggregate, can be really funny--particularly when they are being so very serious themselves. I imagine some of that satire is to make fun of the seriously retarded and at other times to make a point. I think that satire and irony make really good points for those who are attuned. Satire is also a long-time Celtic tradition from clear the hell back when Celts were farmers, herdsmen and headhunters. Modern Pagans just do not appreciate it, particularly when they are the subjects. Funny that. . . I have not managed to raise boils on my subjects yet as did the satirists of old, but I keep practicing. I have managed to earn a stalking injunction (dismissed in court) for some of my satirical work. You can watch that here:

and here:

This is just a taste of what is to come. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Getting Started

Why is it always so difficult to start something like this. I decided to try this out because my sister is doing it. I have no idea who will read this yet. I guess I will have to decide that once I have gotten the hang of some of the options here. For instance, decorating . . . what pictures do I want to hang on the wall here? I am not a big picture taking person. Perhaps I need to change that. I have ideas about what kinds of things I want to talk about, but not how to say them yet. Well, enough for tonight. I guess we'll see what I can manage tomorrow.