Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Morning Affirmation

It has been said that Jews and Witches hid out together during the Burning Times. In those dark hours they shared information that the dominator combination of church and state had officially forbidden. Here you have the root cause of the high interest in Qabalah(1) and in "high" magic found in many Wiccan groups. Traditionally such groups have used the affirmation

Ateh Malkuth Yours are the kingdom
Ve Geburah, Ve Gedullah, and the power and the glory
Le Olam. Amen. forever. Amen.

To us this felt chauvinistic, though some of our friends insist it is equally applicable to the female side of the Life Force. Thus for the feminist Wiccans (and for herself) Yvonne created this equal-opportunity affirmation.

Lady Queen, Lady Queen, Lady Queen, (2)
Shining Maiden, strong Woman, wise Crone:
Yours are dominion, power, glory. (3)
Yours are grace, nurturing, justice. (4)
Thus it is. Thus let it ever be.

You may be interested to know that in our personal life we also use a dawn affirmation of gratitude : gratitude for all the good things that came to us in the previous day and gratitude that we are alive and living today.

We are grateful for yesterday. We are grateful for today.
We honor all the things that make our life possible and pleasant.
So let it be.

Notice here we use "So let it be", in contrast to the more popular "So mote it be". This latter expression again is a dominator way of thinking and speaking. We who have thought through some of the traditions know that it might be just as well not to tell the gods or the Elder Ones arrogantly, "It must be this way" or to demand that the coming day meet our specification.
Use what you like from the ideas above. If you think they stink, suggest something better.
Blessed be those who live mindfully. Gavin and Yvonne
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(1) Choose your favorite spelling from among the many variations on the theme.
(2) Because She is three.
(3) Fair enough, but there's another whole half of the Life Force to be acknowledged.
(4) Attributes approximating the way a human mind can perceive Her grace, Her nurturing, Her justice that correspond to the three aspects of the Goddess, to balance the dominator-male attributes of the original version.
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We'll be out of town to address Florida Pagan Gathering (FPG) presented by Temple of Earth Gathering (TEG), in Ocala National Park/ Forest, Florida. If you're within range to attend, there will be some great speakers and presentations. Information:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Proud to Be a Taxpayer

Before we begin this blog, we should mention that the opinions expressed below are personal opinions, NOT positions of the Church of Wicca. Why? Because legally an exempt organization is not supposed to take political positions. Would it were true for the rest of the nation's churches and ministers in this election year! The law governing the expression of opinions by an exempt organization is one (of many) honored more in the breach than in the observance. Remember "Render unto Caesar" ? Anyway ...
News channels on TV are showing food riots in several nations of the world. The Wall Street Journal says that food prices in the States have risen 83 percent in the last three years. If we remember accurately, they have gone up about 50 percent in the last six months.
At the checkout counter today, I watched an elderly lady stock up on dog and cat food. She doesn't own a dog; she doesn't own a cat. The cashier had known this woman for years, and was close to tears at the sight. She left her register and brought a sack of apples, giving it to the lady. Once the lady had departed, the cashier confided to me (next in line) that the lady was on a fixed Social Security pension, and that the dog and cat food was all she could afford to eat.
The shopper looked as if she was somewhere in her eighties, and actually looked pretty healthy.
Of course she had traveled to the grocery store in the senior citizens' bus, because she could no longer afford to operate a car. That means a dramatic drawing-in of her horizons. Our small town does not have a movie theater, for instance, or (since a recent fire) any quality clothing store. A shoe store? Forget it. Optometrist? Same story. Dentist? You're kidding.
We all know what has happened to the price of fuel. The problem is a very simple one; that is, that people on federal Social Security get a cost-of-living increase each year--but that increase does not acknowledge or figure in the prices of food and fuel. Apparently the federal government (our elected officials) thinks that life does not require either of these commodities.
Something needs fixing. It's only going to get worse, and your own retired parents and grandparents will end up eating cat and dog food--relying on the pity of a supermarket cashier for fresh fruit.
Write your congressman. Write your representative. Hell! Write to the candidates. Ask what they're going to do about it all. We ourselves have given up on the AARP. That body now seems to be part of the establishment, assuming that the biggest decision we currently have to make is how to manipulate our comfortable retirement funds.
So blessed be anyhow. Gavin and Yvonne

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Global What?

April is in its second week. As we drove toward aquarobics yesterday we noticed that the service trees (officially Amelanchier, aka "sorbus" trees because of the dialects common to the early European settlers of West Virginia), were blooming on the mountainsides. Why "service" trees? Their blooms revealed two seasonal things: the ground had thawed sufficiently that the bodies of the winter's deaths could be buried; and itinerant circuit-riding preachers could travel to conduct services over those burials and could christen babies born in the season of freezing.
At the same time, for some reason best known to themselves, this year the redbuds (Cercis canadensis) have suddenly bloomed. This means that Spring is well advanced and that we can probably put the bean seeds safely into the ground.
All these signs are encouraging in that Nature is doing its thing, for the most part ignoring politics and politicians. Of course our calendar from last year's garden journal hints that we're two weeks ahead of schedule; so global warming is hitting even us in the mountains.
Somehow in all the talk about global warming and the greenhouse effect, the studies on global dimming have been forgotten. In the few days after 911, when all civilian flights were grounded, the good people at NOAA (national Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency) took the opportunity to calculate the effect of jet exhausts on the planet's atmosphere. Their calculation showed that the planet could be as much as three (3) degrees Fahrenheit cooler because of the jet exhausts than it would be without them. Most of the global-warming studies are talking about 1 degree F in ten years or so--but global dimming is accounting for 3 degrees! Without dimming the world would be 3 degrees hotter today.
Just thought you'd like to know. Blessed be. Gavin and Yvonne

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thoughts from France

There is a love-hate relationship between the United States and France. The French often seem to do things to enrage this nation's government (and who can blame them, when we get such stupidities handed down as "freedom fries" instead of French fries?).
Remember how this whole caper escalated? It was engendered when
1. Emperor George decreed that every right-thinking nation would gladly fall in line to support his one-man vendetta against Iraq.
2. France declined to obey.
3. The American government decreed that all visitors holding French passports suddenly needed visas to enter this nation.
4. In return France dumped its American dollars.
5. Your dollars and mine abruptly lost who knows how much value against the Euro.
In researching earlier cultures, we ourselves have spent some time in Brittany (Bretagne) (a land not to be confused with France itself because the Bretons too have a love-hate relationship with France).
We have observed that French people have some wonderful, effective, innovative ideas that make a lot of sense. When diesel prices climbed outrageously, French truckers united to blockade access to the oil refineries of France. Only emergency vehicles could get fuel. The blockade lasted one (1) entire day; then the French government decided to change the tax structure on fuels. We hear truckers complaining impotently on TV today about diesel at $4 a gallon--and well they should. Why don't American truckers take positive action?
From the point of view of gasoline prices in this nation, the only thing that will convince the oil cartel to lower its prices is if we all stop using as much fuel. Again if we turn to the French, they used the good old Irish boycott--they declared a no-driving day. Of course with public transportation in Europe it is easier to do that than it is in the United States. Of course. We understand--but still we could do it too. Surely if we can declare a no-smoking day, we can declare a no-driving day.
As a last resort, write your congressman, futile though it may be, to tell them in words of one syllable that while the oil companies are making today's obscene profits, they don't need or deserve multi-million-dollar tax breaks and subsidies.
Have a good day. Have a nice walk.
Blessed be. Gavin and Yvonne

1. All of us drastically cut our consumption of fuels. Carpool, ride a bike or a motor scooter, take a bus.
2. Consolidate errands to do them all on one trip instead of on three or four.
3. Until the auto makers catch on, simply stop buying and driving the big SUVs and vehicle-envy machines that implicitly vaunt their low mpg.
4. Finally, a four-letter word that we hesitate to use on a site accessible to young people: