* Monika, Lonely Coyote posted a lovely meditation on the recent murder of a young man in Baltimore. She does a wonderful job explaining urban shamanism:
In Paganism, and Druidry in particular, there is great emphasis on working with the Spirits of the Land. In my own personal magical philosophy, as both a Druid and a Urban Mystic (native New Yorker here), I believe in working not only with the Land, but with the Egregore created by communities of group minds. For example, Baltimore City has a different “energy & spirit” than New York City, but both have similar Urban Nature Spirits within them that work under the direction and protection of the City Itself.
When I first moved here back in 2011, I ritually “plugged in” to these Urban Nature Spirits (such as the Beggar Man, who watches over the homeless; the Pigeons, who are the Eyes of Baltimore City, the Spirits of the Watersheds, who give fresh water and help protect the land from flooding during hurricanes, etc.). The offerings that I give to my Helping Spirits include Baltimore and its own overarching Nature Spirit; they help to keep my apartment protected from burglars, my car safe on the roads, the electricity/water running as long as possible during heavy storms, and my person safe when taking long walks through new neighborhoods.
It’s not a long post; please go read the whole thing.
* The brilliant (I’m a lawyer and I choose my words carefully and I do mean “brilliant”) Byron Ballard has written a landbase prayer:
Let Appalachia Rise
I believe in the justice of the ancestors.
I believe in the wisdom of the hills and hollers.
I believe in the strength of the people.
Let Appalachia rise!
I swear by my granny’s apron,
I swear by the cool, sweet water,
I swear by the blood of my people:
Let Appalachia Rise.
Let Appalachia Rise.
Now, you can buy the t-shirt. I need about a dozen of these.
* I’ve been collecting vintage Hermes for decades, but this is just trolling for the revolution.
One of the serious root issues is the lack of diversity in food media. Minimal coverage of African, Caribbean, and other black food cultures is indicative of those controlling the narrative. Instead, you see an influx of stories focusing on Asian and European food that reflect the values of staff members. For those in the inner circle, few seem to have ties that include black culinarians.
It’s not merely a problem of ghettoization and callous disregard: It’s a consequence of not having friendships and other social associations across racial lines—of not wanting or needing to have the dialogue at all. When black chefs get covered, the stories drown in reductive pre-fab narratives: the soul food “hustler” who rides again; the tropes of the legally and financially troubled inner-city black who is saved by cooking; the cook who learns recipes and sassy wisdom from Grandma down in (former Confederate state of your choice); or the black cook who has a magical or instinctual (but certainly not technical or intellectual) connection to gastronomy.
“I don’t think it’s disinterest as much as willful ignorance of how big a role we played in building American cuisine,” says chef and Black Culinary History founder Therese Nelson. “There is a qualification that happens when we talk about black cooking that only recognizes the slave chef and the foodways that were born out of slavery.”
* And this.
* Last night, I drove for hours to get to G/Son’s Spring musical. The music teacher at his school coaxes performances out of elementary school students that many teachers can’t get out of high school kids. I bless G/Son’s music teacher every morning when I’m doing my gratitude practice. Last night’s performance was, musically, amazing. But it included a segment in which all the boys got together to figure out how to cooperate to build something from leggos and another segment in which all the girls got together to have tea, talk about their husbands, and agree that wearing a smile always makes one prettier. Later, a queen was catty to her servants and reminiscensed about the men she’d known and what she’d worn when around them. I am so not making this up. I am trying to calculate how large a check I need to write to go along with my letter to the lovely head of school explaining why this was so wrong on so many levels, and that, well, ok, here’s another few hundred dollars to help fix it. I do not want my G/Son growing up believing this bullshit about girls. I don’t want to do this. I want to show up, demonstrate to G/Son that what he does is important enough to warrant adult attention, say how how much I liked the show, and buy hamburgers. I wish the world at large would quit making it necessary for me to always have to be the evil feminist who objects. Anytime, now, world.
Picture found here.