Monday at the Movies — What World Leaders Saw at the UN

“What’s Possible,” a New Film for World Leaders on the Urgency of Global Warming from on Vimeo.

I think I should have given this post the title: Bill Moyers is getting tired of trying to reason with you people. Except that, Goddess Guard Him, he never seems to be.

This short film — and I am pleading with you on bended knee to watch the entire twelve and one-half minutes — was shown to our world “leaders” last week when they gathered at the UN to mouth platitudes talk about the crisis of Global Climate Change.

The brief discussion afterwards, between Mr. Moyers and the people who made the film, makes important points about how art can shift a conversation, how humans are hard-wired to care about and protect beauty, and how, when it comes to saving our only home, quitting is not an option.

Even so, the film barely skirts the real issue: too many people; not enough planet. That would require addressing women’s rights.

Sunday Ballet Blogging

Saturday Evening Pot Pourri


The Goddess, from the great above, She set Her mind towards the great below,

Innana from the great above, She set her mind toward the great below.

May Lady abandoned heaven, abandoned Earth, to the nether world She descended,

Innana abandoned heaven, abandoned Earth, to the nether world She descended.

~ Innana’s Descent to the Nether World (Ancient Sumer)

“The earliest surviving poetry sings of woman’s journey.  It is a journey to the underworld, to the land of the dead.  Religious practices and other literature illuminate the meaning of this journey below as a metaphor for the cycles of the Earth, the stage in a woman’s life, and journey inward leading to discovery of the self.”

~ Drawing from Mythology in Women’s Quest for Selfhood by Bella Debrida, pub. in The Politics of Women’s Spirituality:  Essays on the Rise of Spiritual Power Within the Feminist Movement, ed. by Charlene Spretnak

As we move from Summer into Autumn, we begin to move inward.  We bring the harvest of our gardens into the pantry.  We move inside to sit and chat with friends.  We begin the introspective process that will lead us to set new goals at Samhein.   Here’s some advice about setting goals basic stuff, but a good reminder at this time of year.

The story of Innana, who was stripped of her robes and jewels as she descended, always makes me think of Autumn, especially as the trees shed their lovely robes.

May we all make room for Innana in our busy lives.

*  One thing I do more of as I do less gardening and spend more time inside:  knit!  And I’m mad for these tiny knitted mushrooms, but can’t find the pattern.  When I do . . . .

*  Another thing I’m planning to make is a strong Winter Tonic. I’ll be using some of the fish peppers that I grew instead of habaneros.  Do you have a recipe you like?

*  This short article is worth a read.

The two grocery items over $5? Fresh produce. A few less-expensive fruits and veggies were purchased, but the amounts were snack-sized, not meal-sized. One bell pepper. A quart of blueberries.

I look at this list and can’t help but wonder how she’s supposed to do it. If $11 of apples equals two snacks but $3 in Ramen will feed her entire family for dinner, how can she possibly pick apples with her limited food stamp budget? And how will she ever afford to fill half of every mealtime plate with fruits and veggies, the amount recommended by the same government that issued her food stamps?

I’ll be making a trip to drop off canned goods at the county food assistance center. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s what I can do.

Picture found here.

The Witch’s Bedtable


* Any activities, theories, or organizations which connect parts of our lives are usually considered dangerous to the establishment, e.g., pointing out the relationship between sexism, racism, and capitalist production is a crime against existing institutions because the state perpetuates belief in their unrelatedness. Making these connections gives us power because the institutions cease to be abstractions, becoming understandable and then changeable factors in our lives.

The Politics of Feminist Spirituality by Anne Kent Rush, pub. in The Politics of Women’s Spirituality: Essays on the Rise of Spiritual Power Within the Feminist Movement, ed. by Charlene Spretnak.

* I will stop being a mouse, Quentin. I will take some chances. If you will, for just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there’s nothing else. It’s here, and you’d better decide to enjoy it or you’re going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever.

You can’t must decid to be happy.

No, you can’t. But you can sure as hell decide to be miserable.

* * *

It was strange: he’d thought that doing magic was the hardest thing he would ever do, but the rest of it was so much harder. it turned out that magic was the easy part.

~ The Magcians: A Novel by Lev Grossman

* I had discovered that writing — with whatever instrument — was a powerful aid to thinking, and thinking was what I now resolved to do. You can think without writing, of course, as most people do and have done throughout history, but if you can condense today’s thought into a few symbols preserved on a surface of some kind — paper or silicon — you don’t have to rethink it tomorrow.

* * *

For me, never having had to swing a pick at a wall or rock or anything else, the original lure of thinking was only in part as a tool for problem solving. The main thing was that it beat the alternatives — panic, for example, and terror.

~ Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything by Barbara Ehrenreich.

* Do you remember once telling me that although almost everything that had happened to you had been awful, you always knew it was just things that were wrong, not everything? That you never thought of wanting to die, only of getting out of the mess?

~ A Presumption of Death: A New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery by Jill Paton Walsh and Dorothy L. Sayers.

Picture found here.

I Will Be a Hummingbird

Video from KarmaTube

/hat tip to Greenman

I’d love to hear how you were a hummingbird today!

Banned Books Wordless Wednesday

Issac Israels

Picture (and many other pictures of women reading) found here.

Banned Books Week


It’s Banned Books Week. Celebrate by reading a banned book. (This is kind of a perfect activity as the weather turns cooler and we begin to spend more time indoors.)

My favorite banned book is A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle who was one of the first authors to really let me know that I was not alone in the universe. When my fifth grade class had to pick an author to write to, I wrote to her. Although she was a devout Episcopalian, Ms. L’Engle wrote about Witches who were a lot like angels and understood that the entire universe is shot through with divinity. If you haven’t read her books, or if you haven’t read them to the young people in your life, now’s a good time to start.

Why was it banned?

A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by at least 26 publishers, because it was, in L’Engle’s words, “too different” due to it having a female hero as a lead character- something unheard of at the time; and because it “deals overtly with the problem of evil, was too difficult for children, and was it a children’s or an adults’ book, anyhow?”

Some early accusations centered around rhetoric that it was pro-communist- a hot-button issue for the politically-unstable 1960’s.

A Wrinkle in Time has been mostly banned by various religious groups. Chief among them, the Jerry Falwell ministries, accuse the book of containing offensive language, and argue that it undermines religious beliefs and challenges their idea of God.
Some people think it’s too Christian, while others think it is not Christian enough.

In addition to quotes from various philosophers, poets, and playwrights (notably Shakespeare), the novel contains several references to Biblical verses. L’Engle was the official writer-in-residence at New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which is known for being in the liberal wing of the Episcopal Church. Her Christian viewpoint shows throughout much of her fantasy series in much the same way as C.S. Lewis’ did in his works.
Her “liberal Christianity” has been the target of criticism from other, more conservative, Christians, especially with respect to certain elements of A Wrinkle in Time; marking another similarity between her and Lewis.

L’Engle [didn't] feel that any of her books have specific Christian messages, as she doesn’t want to limit her books to Christian readers. If her books have any message, sa[id] L’Engle, it’s that “the universe is basically benign.”

Ironically, while religious extremists like Falwell spend so much time and energy trying to ban books, America’s largest Christian publisher, Zondervan Publishing House, circulates a guide to teenage literature for Christian families called Read for Your Life that actually gives praise for several books that are common targets of the Religious Right, including A Wrinkle in Time. The guide lists it as one of the Top Ten Christian fiction stories of all time.

One of the main concepts in the book is the struggle between good and evil. The book is also about love, friendship, honor, loyalty, and family; yet, ironically, critics cry of supposedly Satanic undertones.

The school system of Anniston, Alabama, challenged it in 1990 because someone objected to the book’s citing the name of Jesus together with the names of other artists, philosophers, scientists, and religious leaders who defended Earth against evil.

Religious groups have challenged the book because its female characters- Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which- use magical powers to take Meg and her brother, Charles, on a space trip through the fifth dimension. Objecting parents and pastors claimed that the characters are really [W]itches practicing black magic under the guise of “New Age” religion, based on Hindu and Buddhist cultures. They claim that children are being indoctrinated with Eastern religions and mystical practices by the references and imagery of crystal balls, psychic healing, astral travel, and telepathy.

Citizens for Excellence in Education in Waterloo, Iowa, accused L’Engle of promoting occult practices, employing Satanic suggestions, sadism, and “implying that Christ was not divine” by comparing him to the world’s other great leaders of peace.
Most efforts to ban A Wrinkle in Time have failed, but the novel is nevertheless listed at number 23 of the 100 most-challenged books of 1990-1999 and at number 90 for 2000-2009, according to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.

One of the messages I received from my Equinox meditation is that monoculture is the one really big problem we need to address. Not just in agriculture — although the message came from some very emphatic mycelia — but in our culture, our thought, our overwhelming adoption of duality. One of THE most important themes in A Wrinkle in Time is just how WRONG monoculture — in all its forms — is. Ms. L’Engle taught me something I’m still learning.

May it be so for you.

*More found here.

Picture found here.