Tag Archives: Patriarchy



We often speak of Autumn as the season of harvest. It is often represented by an overflowing cornucopia spilling apples, pears, corn, pumpkins, brown nuts, and heads of golden wheat. This is the time when we can begin to rest a bit and consume the fruits of our labors. Winter and Spring may be lean times and Summer may require hard work in hot fields (at least here in the South), but Autumn brings more comfortable weather and (if we’ve been both industrious and lucky) enough to eat. Time to be grateful, take stock of all that we have, maybe even feast a bit with family and friends.

And, yet.

Autumn is also a season of loss. The veils grow thin and we remember our Beloved Dead (and, if your family was like mine, some of our not-so-Beloved Dead, as well). The trees lose their leaves — because they are no longer needed. We pull the now-exhausted squash vines and pepper plants out of the garden and throw them into the compost pile. The warm sun makes shorter and shorter appearances and the birds gather in flocks to head away down South. The landscape becomes sere, almost barren. Fog rolls in and obscures what was once clear.

We don’t do too well with loss, here in the Patriarchial States of Western Civilization. Loss seems a lot like death and Patriarchy has a huge shadow relationship with death. On the one hand, it runs on death, selling bigger and better (and more expensive) ways to kill as many people as possible. Movies, tv shows, and video games show death every few minutes and encourage us to view it as exciting, fun, inevitable, a sign that justice has prevailed. Open-carry ammosexuals flaunt their guns in restaurants, outside schools, at town halls where the President speaks. On the other hand, we hide death. Our old people die in hospitals, away from public view. Millions of dollars are spent to extend our old age even a few more weeks, often at the cost of comfort and humanity. Look away from death, we are told: Go towards light, and life, and love, and joy! (How interesting that it is in Autumn, the season of loss, when we celebrate our fear of death. Only at this time of year do we see pictures of graveyards, plastic skeletons hanging in trees in our neighbors’ yards, headless horsemen (ah, an Americanization of the Wild Hunt!), and ghosts in store windows.)

But to be a Witch is to reject the false duality of Patriarchy, to embrace the dark along with the light, to refuse to make an enemy of our own death. We can use the tools of the Craft to deal with our losses in a responsible, Witch-like way, rather than in the irresponsible, puer-tainted way that Patriarchy encourages.

We can ground and center.
We can breathe.
We can sit with our loss for as long as is good.
We can trance and invite our loss to talk to us, to chant for us, to dance with us as the leaves fall.
We can do ritual around loss.
We can compost our loss, sending it to where “all things become another — in the Mother, in the Mother,” allowing it to make the ground fertile in preparation for the day when we attempt to grow something new.
We can meditate upon the Wheel of the Year and see its cycles in our own lives, reminding ourselves that it always turns and no season lasts forever.
We can create art around our loss, letting Younger Self teach us things about our loss that we didn’t even know that we knew.
We can talk about loss with each other.

How do you deal with loss?

May you enjoy your Autumn harvest and may your Autumn losses inspire you to Witchcraft.

Picture found here.

It Was as if They Were Meant to Live on Earth

You can read my post about the murders in Santa Barbara over at Pagan Square.

Fucking Patriarchy . . . .


Every night, after I slip, old, white, and privileged, warm and dry, into my safe, comfortable, clean bed in my neat, snug, little cottage, in a nice, friendly, suburban neighborhood, just outside Washington, District of the Goddess Columbia (I know: Who DO I think I am?), I have been sending strength to the hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls who have been captured and sold into sexual slavery by a terrorist group known as Boko Haram (to know something’s name is to have power over it).

I cast a circle and slip into trance and I send to the schoolgirls:

“May you be strong. May you do what you need to do to survive. May what they do to you, as the Bene Gesserit said, pass, and may only you remain:

May you face your fear.
May you permit it to pass over you and through you.
And when it has gone past, may you turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only you will remain.

May you feel no guilt, as you are innocent and they are guilty. May you help your sisters. May you know that we are out here, caring for you and may our care give you courage. May you survive. May you come through unscathed. May you survive to change the world. May you draw upon my strength when you need it, Little Sisters, may you know the strength and the peace of the Goddess. May these terrorists of the Patriarchy lose their ability to hold you; may your strength prevail.”

Witchcraft is not a religion of the book and I don’t believe that you can become a Witch merely by reading about Witchcraft. But if there’s one book that I think every Witch could profitably own, it’s Judiak IllesThe Element Encyclcopedia of 5,000 Spells: The Ultimate Reference Book for the Magical Arts. Ms. Illes offers a number of spells for the victims of theft, for finding what has been lost, and for missing persons. Herewith, a short sample:

* Beryl Spell
1. Hold a beryl in the same hand [in] which you would hold [the] missing object [or schoolgirls].
2. Focus upon the [schoolgirls] and your desire for [their] return. Visualize the [schoolgirls] and then let your mind clear.
3. Let the beryl transmit thoughts, clues, and advice to you; pay attention the to the spontaneous thoughts and inspiration.

*Regain Stolen Goods
A wax image may be created to stimulate the return of stolen [schoolgirls]. The theory behind this spell is that angels despise theft and will assist your attempts at recovery.
1. Prick a wax figure made to represent the thief.
2. Allegedly, your guardian angel will transfer the pain to the guardian angel of the thief, who[,] in turn[,] passes on the pain to the thief directly.
3. The thief will subliminally associate the pains with the theft (pangs of guilt?) and return the [schoolgirls] in order to stop the pain.

*Saint Anthony’s Detective Service Spell [Sister Michael Anthony taught me this “prayer” in first grade and I’ve been using this spell for over half a century.]
Various rhymes exist to serve as a petition. Here’s [Sr. Michael Anthony’s] example.

“Dear St. Anthony, please come around. [The schoolgirls] are lost and have to be found.”

Many swear that uttering the rhyme is sufficient. There are others who, disrespectful as it may seem, prefer to turn an image of St. Anthony upside down in the belief that this discomfort causes the saint to work harder. [If so, don’t forget to turn him back upright once the schoolgirls are found.]

I’d like to invite my readers to use these or other spells to help the authorities find the captured schoolgirls. Feel free to post your own rituals, spells, and incantations in comments.

We’re Witches. We should be doing magic about this.*

Picture found here.

* hat tip to Christopher Penzack for this sentiment.

Crowdsourced Clothes Shopping


OK, I know someone’s already made the t-shirt that says, “Rosa Sat. Wendy Stood.” I want one; who’s got it?

Today, Texas Governor Rick “Oops” Perry took a potshot at Wendy Davis because she was a teen-aged mother who, through more hard work that Perry can ever imagine, pulled herself and her children out of poverty (getting her health care from Planned Parenthood) and earned a law degree.

I know a little bit about being a teen-aged mom, raising a child on my own, and getting a law degree. And, like Wendy Davis, I support a woman’s right to choose. I made my choice, and it worked out wonderfully for me. But I’d never impose my choice on another woman.

Shame on Rick Perry.

Picture found here.

No Religion for Cowards

I was going to post something else this evening, but if you haven’t already read it, you should (trigger warning) go read the Wild Hunt’s post about a young woman who was, just a few months ago, tortured, raped, and murdered for being Pagan, for worshiping the old Goddesses and Gods, and for, of course, being a woman.

You can make a donation in her name to Doctors Without Borders.

Never again, the Burning Times.

What I Learned in Law School

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

There’s probably little that I can add to our great national tragedy related to gun violence. I do know how incredibly intellectually dishonest and how incredibly offensive I find it when every Xian minister in America stands up and announces that the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado is due to (take your pick, apparently their nutjob god can’t get his story straight) abortion, feminists, teaching evolution, gay marriage, the end to state-sponsored prayer in public schools, etc., etc., etc. Seriously, there’s basically no daylight between Rick Warren and the Westboro Baptist Church; it’s just a matter of degree and media acceptance.

I will say this. When I was in law school (and it was many, and many a Moon ago) I learned two important rules of statutory construction. These are rules that they teach to lawyers to help them to figure out what various laws and regulations mean.

The first principle of statutory construction that I learned was that you have to read a statue in a way that, if at all possible, comports with the purpose of the statute. Thus, if, at the beginning of the statute, it says that the purpose of the statute is to, for example, protect consumers, you have to try and interpret that statue in a way that, you know, protects consumers. So if one side argues to the judge that the statute must mean X, but X would hurt consumers, and if there is another plausible meaning of the words, say Y, that would protect consumers, the judge should read and interpret the statute in a way that will protect consumers and should adopt Y as the correct interpretation.

The second principle of statutory construction that I learned was that you have to read a statute in a way that, if at all possible, gives meaning to all of the words. This is often stated, in the law, as reading the statute in a way that will not “render” any of the words in the statute as “surplusage.” In other words, you should try not to ignore any of the words that the lawmakers wrote. If there’s a reading that gives effect to all of the words, that’s the one that the judge should select, over a reading that would ignore some of those words.

I’ll add the following: I’m a woman living in the 21st Century. I don’t, for sure, know what the privileged, white, men who wrote our Constitution — who denied the vote to women, who accepted slavery, and who made a lot of compromises — had in their heads. But I do believe that they meant for their Constitution to last and to be read in ways that would make it effective going forward. YMMV.

When those men wrote the Second Amendment to our Constitution, America didn’t have a standing Army, Navy, Air Force (they could never have imagined!), Marines, National Guard, and Coast Guard. We didn’t have a police force in every town equipped with tasers, drones, heat sensors, electronic spies, and the ability to nab your cell phone and entrap your friends. We can argue, as an esoteric exercise, about whether or not all of those abilities are good things, but they are, right now, facts. We, the people, have turned over to the government our need for a “well-regulated militia.”

Here’s what I do know.

I do know that no matter how many guns any one person or group may purchase, if the United States government decides to take you out, they are going to take you out. They will, literally, out-gun you. Until you can, Dune-like, employ the family atomics, (not to mention the family chemical weapons, the family heat sensors, and the family ability to cut off water) and, really, even then, you are not going to hold off the firepower of the United States government, which spends more money on weapons than any other country on the face of the globe. Maybe that’s good; maybe it’s bad. But it’s a fact.

I know that letting every nutjob in America load up on automatic weapons is inimical to the “security of a free state.” People can’t be free if they are constantly at the mercy of an armed nut. Ironically, the reaction to the tragedy in Aurora isn’t to limit the ability of crazies to purchase arms. Instead, theaters are going to limit the freedom of patrons to wear costumes. Let’s be clear: costumes. Costumes don’t kill people. Guns kill people. But we apparently can’t limit the ability of nutjobs to buy guns, so we’re going to limit the ability of free people in a “free state” to wear costumes. Some underpaid usher at a movie theatre is going to decide whether or not your pentacle, or your Goth make-up, or maybe just your beard renders you unable to see a movie. Because we can’t tell nutjobs that they can’t buy automatic weapons. And you can now surrender your bodily freedom and allow, again, some underpaid usher at a movie theatre to grope you in order to allow you into the theatre.

I know that letting every nutjob in America load up on automatic weapons is inimical to “a well-regulated militia.” Ask any police force in America what they think about reasonable gun control and they’ll tell you that they are all for it. There’s nothing “well regulated” about letting every nutjob out there buy all the automatic weapons s/he can buy.

I know that more weapons won’t help anything. Ask the police what they think about the idea that, if there were only more people carrying more weapons into theaters, we’d all be safer. Six people standing up and shooting at each other won’t make the rest of us any safer, nor will it allow the police to apprehend the real crazy. Sure, a nutjob with a knife might kill some people, but I’m way more willing to believe that some heroic people in the theatre might take hir down than I am to believe that a bunch of armed folks with fantasies of Indiana Jones running through their heads are going to make things safer as they stand up and start blazing away at each other, esp. with me in the middle or with me, standing up to run out of the theatre with G/Son.

I know that this has nothing to do with hunting. I’ve eaten meat most of my life. I don’t, personally, have a problem with someone who hunts, for example, a deer or a rabbit or a squirrel, in order to feed hir family. I can’t find a definitive difference between hunting a deer in the woods and killing a cow in a slaughterhouse, at least, no difference that doesn’t favor the hunter. But we need to understand that the Second Amendment has NOTHING to do with hunters. It protects the right of citizens to bear arms in order to allow those citizens to be drafted into a “well regulated militia.” The government already possesses the power, under the Commerce Clause and under its police power, to regulate arms used for hunting.

Similarly, this has nothing to do with you owning a gun to shoot an intruder (who may or may not be a family member; it’s usually a family member). The government already possesses the power, under the Commerce Clause and its police power, to regulate arms used for personal security, as opposed to that of a free state protected by a militia.

Could we please grow up and have an honest discussion about this issue?

Picture found here.

Update here.

Brides of Dracula

Right now there are a great many dollars in the global economy that are no longer worth the same as any other dollar. Consider the trillions of dollars worth of essentially worthless real estate loans on the balance sheets of banks around the world. Governments allow banks to treat these as assets, but unless governments agree to take them, they can’t be exchanged for anything else, because nobody in his right mind would buy them for more than a tiny fraction of their theoretical value. Those dollars have the same sort of weird half-existence that horror fiction assigns to zombies and vampires; they’re undead money, lurking in the shadowy crypts of the world’s large banks like so many brides of Dracula, because the broad daylight of the market would kill them at once.

~John Michael Greer in The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered

More and more, I’m convinced that learning skills that will allow us to live outside of the broken global economy is a good idea. But I could be wrong.

Picture found here

The Root of the Problem

Me, In a Bad Mood

Several years ago, a bunch of white men got together and limited women’s rights to abortion:

Today, a bunch of white men got together and talked about limiting women’s rights to birth control:

I am just saying.

There’s a lot of chortling in the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere over how the Republicans are really stepping in it by going all out against birth control. After all, women vote and about 98% of them use, or have used, birth control. Goddess knows, I hope that’s how it plays out.

But I’m not so sure.

One thing you can say for the Republicans and the Dominionists is that they are masters at moving the Overton Window. (And one thing you can say for Democrats and Progressives is that they give new meaning to the word “lame” in this regard.) And what’s happened over the course of just a few weeks is that the argument has shifted from keeping abortion legal and accessible (an argument that we’ve been losing, BTW, up until Komen went too far, too fast) to whether it’s a vile intrusion of big government onto the religious rights of fundies for women to have access to birth control. I may be a bear of little brain, but it’s difficult for me to see how that’s a huge win for women.

The brilliant Sarah Posner warned us about this some time ago when Newt Gingrich began ramping up his rhetoric about the poor, persecuted Catholics. Christians are v good about insisting that any time they’re not allowed to impose their (completely unworkable, anti-woman, anti-reality, sex-negative) worldview (I won’t call them morals, because they’re not) on the rest of us, that means that we’re picking on the Christians. Honest to Hera, Mobius had nothing on these guys; they’re that good.

Charles Pierce is one of the lone voices suggesting that maybe we ought to be concerned instead of celebrating.

Seriously, does anyone here expect any prominent Democrat to come out and take a stand to protect women on this “icky” issue? I don’t. Not Barack Obama. Not Catholic Joe Biden. Not Katheleen Siebelius. None of them. Nancy Pelosi made one statement today and then shut up. In fact, I expect Obama and the Dems to do what they always do in the face of these entirely-predictable negotiating tactics by the right: retreat some more. Keep negotiating against themselves. Pretend that there’s a middle ground and keep running after it as the fundies snatch it further and further to the right.

Meanwhile, there are a few expressions that no one dares to utter in this entire debate: (1) Population Explosion. (2) Planetary Carrying Capacity. And the fact that those terms dare not speak their names is a HUGE part of the problem.

And, yes, for all that many of us have been saying for years that these people really wanted to abolish birth control as well as abortion, I can’t say that I’m enjoying being right.

I’ll just add that there’s no reason for some of these insane policies to stop with women. Maybe gay men should have probing anal exams before they can get access to drugs for HIV/AIDS. Or to condoms. Sure, it has no medical purpose and is done simply to shame, humiliate, increase costs, and hurt. But we’ve apparently crossed that Rubicon. Maybe immigrants should be subject to humiliating medical exams before they apply for citizenship. Maybe people who apply for unemployment insurance should be waterboarded once a month. Maybe women and children claiming to have been raped or abused should be thrown into a lake. If they sink, they were telling the truth; if they float, they’re lying and should be punished.

I have an idea. Let’s leave the tender consciences of the Catholic bishops (who aren’t worried when their own priests bugger little boys, but who faint and cry at the thought of having anything to do with providing birth control) intact. The government, via single-payer health care, can provide birth control and abortions (fuck the Hyde Amendment), free of cost, to women who want them. As to the argument that Catholics don’t want their tax dollars supporting something they find abhorrent, I’ll simply note that war is against my religion. Torturing people is against my religion. Drilling for oil and cutting timber on federal lands is against my religion. Holding people without charges is against my religion. Tasing people is against my religion. Breaking up peaceful demonstrations is against my religion. And my tax dollars get used for all of those things and many more that I find abhorrent. So unless we’re going to add about 500 pages of check-off items to income tax forms, the Catholics can either suck it up or become tax protesters, facing jail and foreclosure as serious anti-war activists, Quakers, for example, do.

Damn. I’m sick of this bullshit.