Thursday, June 26, 2008

Armchair Strategists

This is Yvonne's musing, nobody else's. Feedback goes to her alone.
The countries now labeled Ireland and Northern Ireland have been the scene of untold sorrow and grief, the scene where thousands of lives have been aborted, wasting their talents and their skills and their potential, visiting grief and loss on their families and associates in needless warfare laid on the land by--whom else?--by religious leaders. We ourselves in this generation are living witnesses to essentially the same pattern being inflicted today on the Middle East, in Africa, in North Korea--again--by religious leaders.
So whether the front lines of battle be official or guerrilla or catch-as-catch-can, where are the self-appointed old men who daily urge murder and destruction in the name of their religion? Why, they're at home, thanks, clean and comfortable, well-fed, safe from danger, with time on their hands to think up new accusations against the Enemy, those faceless humans who bear the artificial label "to be destroyed for not believing as I believe."
Let's indulge ourselves a moment in the name of fantasy. What if, in the Middle East, people were to say something to this effect? "Hey! Let's knock off this nonsense and go home to what's left of our life. Let's let the old men meet with wooden swords in the soccer stadium to fight out their own battles if they're so deeply troubled by their aging prostates. It's not really our problem. Didn't Allah tell us somewhere in the holy book that it's okay to live and let live? Let's all cut each other a little slack and do something beneficial--just for the novelty of it."
But that's only my fantasy. It probably won't amount to anything.
Occasionally I fantasize about what might have happened in the Emerald Isle if the touchy old religious leaders had all gone away and some sensible person (probably a woman) had said, "Let's dump these dominator religions altogether, each with their malevolent juju-on-a-stick, and let's return to the gentle worship of the Lady Who was here before any of these soreheads hit town."
Just a fantasy. Never mind.

Blessed be those who refuse to buy into the propaganda. Yvonne

Thursday, June 12, 2008

You can't be my friend

We Frosts have a relatively wide circle of friends and aquaintances. With the passage of time many of them have become divorced or have separated. For years we have ignored a common assumption: that is, that we are not supposed to remain friends with both parties to the breakup. Ridiculous as it seems, when you've been friendly with, let us say, both the husband and the wife, after a divorce you can be friends with only one of them.
It isn't true, you know. We can remain friends with both of them as individuals as well as friends with them as a couple. Our principal guideline in behaving thus is this : Never discuss one party's doings with the other party. Genuine friends are not so thick on the ground that we can afford to lose either or both.
As well as couples, covens and groups break up. Here, deplorably, we see exactly the same phenomenon. Instead of separating and then still working rationally together for the common good of the Movement (the Community) toward shared goals, especially on mundane matters, or simply going their own way, the two groups assume that now they have to hate each other--to such a degree that third parties outside, who now have friends in both the groups, are hated and reviled because we are so stupid that we don't see the terrible things the "other" fraction of the former group is doing. It doesn't take an Einstein to figure out that this behavior pattern isn't doing any good for the community or for our mutual spirituality. Must we assume that pagans are incapable of rational behavior?
Such either/or sulking and pouting behavior occurs on the playground of second-grade seven-year-olds. It is unworthy of self-styled "adults". Please just get over yourselves, you individuals who claim to exhibit adult behavior. Do something useful with your lives instead of staying crouched panting for the death of your new enemies. Don't you still share some inkling of the feeling that almost any pagan is better company than almost any (say) Christian?
Blessed be those who can demonstrate their maturity. Gavin and Yvonne

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Stonehenge Undecoded

Before we begin this blog let us apologize for not being very up to date. The garden is taking a lot of attention and time with the snap peas in full production, as well as strawberries, lettuces, beet greens, and radishes. This year even the tomatoes look as if the crop will be abundant. Some of the plants are already showing four trusses.* The tomatoes' sideshoots are going into the mix of salad greens, because they offer an extremely high content of calcium.
* the British term for sideshoots that bear fruit.

But enough of that. Now for the real intent of today's utterance.
We very much enjoyed the National Geographic revelation this week of findings in the Stonehenge area, and cannot sufficiently praise the work of Professor Mike Parker-Pearson.
We would like to suggest an alternate explanation for the moving of the sarsens. Any farmer knows that the time to move heavy objects, such as sledding farrowing houses on a pig farm, is midwinter when the ground is frozen. If we look at temperature observations during the Holocene, we can see quite clearly that a cold spell occurs at the time of the major construction of Stonehenge. The evidence for this is proxy, of course; but ice cores and other evidence suggest that there was a short-lived climatic shift--and there is some evidence that there was also a worldwide reduction in precipitation. It is a stretch, but some people believe this to be a primary cause of the collapse of the Old Kingdom of Egypt.
What if they just sledded the sarsens on iced pathways? What if, instead of building simple earth ramps to tilt for erection of the stones, they iced the surface?
Another factor here might be that during summer these gatherer-hunter people would most likely be working to enhance their food stores. Why not then start construction perhaps at winter solstice or indeed even earlier at Samhain, when the man- and woman-power were not busy with their gathering-hunting tasks?
We were most intrigued at the parallels postulated to the Hindu sacred-river cultures of today. It is a real joy for us to share this planet with one (Parker-Pearson) who is not so confined by dogma and who has the cojones to reach beyond conventional wisdom and its accepted assumptions, thus perhaps giving a further reason to believe that these ancient peoples migrated right across the continent and were the forebears of our Celtic ancestors.
Blessed be those who dare to think beyond conventional ideas. Gavin and Yvonne