Clarification

I wrote a post a few days ago over at Pagan Square. In that post, I shared some thoughts about the recent discussion/discussions that Pagans have been having concerning how we manage issues related to sex, sex abuse, and sexual harassment at Pagan events and within the larger Pagan community. Although this discussion started when a Pagan musician was arrested for and admitted to possession of child pornography and then spread to concern over having Yvonne and Gavin Frost present at an upcoming Pagan event, the discussion has now gone well beyond those specific events and beyond the issue of pedophilia/child pornography/child abuse. If it was not obvious, my post was a reaction to how this larger discussion has evolved, not specifically to Mr. Klein or the Frosts.

Earlier today, Galina Krasskova reacted to my post. It appears to me that I have been misunderstood, so I want to make my own position completely clear.

As I said in my post, “[I]f all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess, sex without legal consent is the Pagan equivalent of a Black Mass, the turning of a sacrament on its head for evil.” I believe that any form of pedophilia/child pornography is wrong, because it involves sex without consent. (Minors are not legally able to consent to sex.) I believe that practices that pressure anyone, even those who can give legal consent, into having sex that they do not want to have are wrong. I believe that the use of power-over, which can come from being a teacher, a Big Name Pagan, an experienced Pagan dealing with new Pagans, etc. in order to obtain sex is wrong. I believe that when victims speak up, they deserve to be listened to and to have their concerns addressed, rather than swept into the shadows, as has sometimes happened in the past. I disapprove of the Frosts’ teachings.

As I discussed in my post, I believe that it is a good thing for Paganism to be having this current discussion. I urged there and reiterate here that I believe that the discussion would benefit from invoking deity, from breathing, grounding, and centering, and from not immediately assuming the worst of each other. Finally, I noted that an understanding of the current astrological weather may help us to navigate this very emotional topic.

I welcome further discussion of these issues, either here or over at my Pagan Square blog.

Peak Cherry Blossom PotPourri

cherry

* Columbia’s District houses many treasures: the original Constitution, Matisse’s cut outs, precious Native American art, the huge collection of books, records, and film in the Library of Congress, masses of ancient azaleas at the National Arboretum, the Statue of Columbia (Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace) atop the Capitol, the only painting by da Vinci in the Americas, and Calder’s largest mobile. But one of the of the loveliest treasures in D.C. is the collection of cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials. Many of them were gifts from Japan to America, given over a hundred years ago. When they all blossom, at least half of D.C. and tourists from everywhere come to be amazed. Peak bloom is often a different date from the “official” Cherry Blossom Festival and this year’s peak was delayed quite a bit by our long, cold Winter.

But today was the day. Finally, we had sunny weather and temperatures in the seventies. Finally, after several weeks of “will they or won’t they?” the cherry trees burst into bloom, all at once, perfect, ethereal, magic. For my landbase, for my shining city on a swamp, today was one of the most extraordinary days of the year.

I slipped out of my heels and into my walking shoes at 11:30, hailed a cab, and got as close as we could get to the Tidal Basin. The traffic is always impossible on peak day, so you have to be prepared to get out and walk. I hiked from the Freer Gallery to the blossoms and then all around the Tidal Basin. I paid tearful respects to Mr. Jefferson, sent blessings to all the young lovers having picnics under the trees, and to my former and future selves, walking with joy among the blossoms, under the blue sky, next to the tidal Potomac waters.

Is there an event that is particularly special to your landbase? How do you celebrate it? Have you ever seen the cherry blossoms?

* I lost a lot of herbs this long, cold Winter. It’s not surprising. Rosemary, sage, lavender, etc. come originally from the warm Mediterranean and our climate was distinctly NOT Mediterranean this Winter. I’m going to use the loss as an opportunity to redo the herb bed. I had far more rosemary, sage, and lavender than any one woman could use or give away.

I’m planning to put in more vegetables: cardoons, lettuce, squash, radishes, peppers. Coffee for Roses has a good list of suggestions for those of us who plan to grow more vegetables.

* I recently had a question on Twitter from someone who wondered why I post so many things that are about Arlington, VA and D.C. Were most of my followers, ze wondered, from Arlington? And, of course, the answer is “No. I’m not sure where they’re from but, obviously, many of my Twitter friends come from far away.” But, as I explained, I post a lot about my landbase because that’s what important to me and because I want to model what it can look like to be in relationship with your landbase. The Natural Capital has a great post up about plants that are in bloom in one of our local parks: bloodroot, cut leaf toothwort, fiddleheads, trout lily, and more. I would share this, not because that’s what’s blooming everywhere, but in the hopes that people will search out similar blogs for their lanbases, will go out and see what’s blooming in their cities. What’s your favorite site for information on your landbase?

* Many of you have been kind enough to inquire about Gemmy and the Place Without a Witch stories. Please know that Gemmy is coming back, and hopefully soon. I need to do a bit of research for her next adventure and now that the weather has turned wonderful, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to do it soon. It’s nice to know that she’s been missed!!

Picture found here.

OK, Everybody, Breathe.

You can read my new post about sexuality at Pagan events over at Pagan Square.

Monday Lighthearted Poetry Blogging

april_showers_pic2

Always Marry An April Girl

~ Ogden Nash

Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true –
I love April, I love you.

Picture found here.

Sunday Ballet Blogging

Saturday Chores Music

Learning INTJ Lessons from Community

When I was a very young woman (and it was many and many a year ago) who still had an awful lot to learn about herself, I was certain that I was going to spend my life living on a farming commune. All the nuns who knew me were sure that I “had a vocation” and should live in a convent, but I was sure that I was meant to marry and raise children on the land in a lovely commune somewhere on the Eastern seaboard.

Of course, INTJ Pisces that I am, a commune (and even a convent) would be exactly the wrong place for me to live. Perhaps my first clue should have been the strong fascination that I’d always had, growing up devoutly Catholic, with all of the stories of hermits. Many years later, reading the story of Thomas Merton’s life, I identified most strongly with his efforts to convince his religious superiors (what an odd phrase that now is to my Witch’s ears) that he should be allowed to go live in the hermitage at his abbey.

But there is no doubt that living in community can be a form of deep spiritual practice. And even now when I understand that I’ve always been meant to live alone in my own little cottage, I still work at learning the lessons that I can learn from living in a magical Circle, a group of friends, a family, a firm, a county, a nation, a planet.

And I find this a valuable way of approaching conflict in any community:

Something that set Sirius apart from most other communities is the use of their underlying spiritual practice as a way of dealing with and preventing social conflict. To elaborate, when someone has a problem with something or someone within the community, instead of victimizing yourself, pointing the finger and complaining about that other person or thing, a more spiritual approach to problem solving is to look within yourself and ask, “what does it say about me when this thing or person bothers me so? When this person does this, I feel this way. Why do I feel and react in such a way? What is it about my core beliefs and definitions of life that produces this negative feeling within me?”

When you live closely with so many people, it is normal for things to begin to annoy you, or that social conflict arises. No matter how closely knitted a group is, it is impossible to agree 100% with everything and everyone you live with. However, the understanding at Sirius is that conflict is a mere reflection of where there is more room for personal development and spiritual growth. This practice is extremely valuable to the global ecovillage and intentional communities movement. Acknowledging that your pain, frustration, or any other negative emotion is coming from deep within you and not something outside of yourself is CRITICAL for truly resilient and strong relationships in a community. Going deep within yourself to find patterns you may have that cause those feelings to come up is part of it. Why do you have that pet peeve? What is the underlying pattern behind getting jealous every time a new male member comes into the community (randomly generated example)?

Shifting away from a victim mentality to one which takes responsibility for any feelings experienced is perhaps the most valuable lesson I took from Sirius community on my quest to find out what makes a long lasting and thriving community. It takes a step beyond regular processes for dealing with social conflict, and actually takes measures to preventing social conflict from arising to any significant point at all. In a way, spiritual practices are a way of ‘treating the disease’ as well as but not limited to just ‘the symptoms’ of social conflict. However, Sirius community still has a process in place for mediating talks between people if they cannot overcome the issues within and among themselves.

Could you live in such a close community?