Friday, June 29, 2012

[Pagan Blog Project] M is for Mother

While my mother is an amazing person about whom I could write many long posts and sing her praises, this post is not about her.  It's really all about me.  :)

I have for many years now had a problem with the mother part of the maiden-mother-crone cycle.  Or more specifically with my own role in it.  You see, I'm well past maidenhood (VBEG), and I don't think I could be considered into cronehood yet.  (When does that happen, anyway?)  That puts me smack in the middle of the motherhood stage.  The problem is, I have chosen to be child-free, so I feel the title just doesn't apply.  And I don't think I can really count my fur babies.  :)

I am a stepmother, but since I didn't really play a large part in raising my stepdaughter, I rarely felt any kind of maternal stirrings there. And especially now that she's in her twenties, we're really more friends than we ever were mother/daughter.  For her part, she has a mother, she didn't need me in that role.  And that affected me, also.  I never wanted to usurp her mother, so I took a friendship path instead.  And it has worked well for our family, particularly during her teenage years--when she couldn't or wouldn't talk to her parents about anything, she could talk to her friend. 

But does that qualify me as "mother"?  I don't feel like it does.

I am also an aunt, many times over.  And that brings a very special joy.  But I'm sure it doesn't compare to actual motherhood.

I know, I know.  I'm supposed to think of it as being fruitful in other ways, creatively or artistically or professionally or whatever.  And I try to think of it that way.  I really do.  And sometimes I even believe it.  But deep down inside, I never really believe it.  It's too much a part of my culture that "mother" means having children.  It's too much around me to not feel that way at least part of the time.  Does this mean I'm letting others unduly influence my thinking?  My feelings?  Perhaps.  But it is what it is.

And I know I'm not the only one out there who feels this.  It might or might not have worked for our ancestors in following the Old Religion.  But with modern birth control methods, and the modern freedom to choose (mostly) to be child-free, it doesn't necessarily fit anymore.  The problem is not the stage in life, it's the word.  Yes, it has a nice alliteration.  Yes it describes a natural order.  But can't we find a different word?  I notice that in the corresponding male stages "father" is often replaced with "warrior."  I like that.  Why can't we make it maiden-mother/warrior-crone.  Or we could use Matured, Confident, Free, Knows Herself.  The list that describes this stage in a woman's life is endless.

For myself, I like this stage of my life being the 'Warrior" stage, for so many reasons.

  Pagan Blog Project   

Sunday, June 17, 2012

HUMANe Behavior

A puppy died in Vaughan Ontario a few days ago.  The @#%$^&*&^*%$#@^&^$ owners left it in a closed car on a hot day.  The amount of rage and frustration and helplessness and sorrow I feel cannot even come close to being expressed here.  I thought I’d gotten it all out.  I’ve cried about it.  I’ve journaled about it.  I’ve created art to try and get it out. And still, as I sit here and type this, I find myself crying again.

This happened in a local mall parking lot.  A MALL!!!  What kind of idiotic moron leaves a dog in a closed up car when they go shopping?!  It’s unacceptable when you run into a convenience store.  It’s atrocious in this situation.  The dog was in obvious distress while emergency workers worked to get it out, but it lapsed into unconsciousness and died before they did.

If you did this to a child, you’d be charged with murder.  If you do it to a dog, or presumably any animal, you get charged with Animal Cruelty, which in most places is little more than a slap on the wrist.  A slap on the wrist for torturing an animal to death.  For essentially cooking it alive.   (To make this particular incident even worse, the worthless owners were returning to Sudbury after attending Woofstock in Toronto.  They were arrested when they finally returned to their car--here’s hoping they get the maximum penalty possible.)

People!  Don’t leave your pets in a closed car on even a warm day!  Temperatures rise to deadly levels in minutes.  And a cracked window DOES NOT HELP!  If you don’t believe it, try it yourself—sit in a closed car in the sun for just a few minutes.  But be careful.  Getting too hot can cause permanent brain damage, in you OR your dog.

THIS is why I avoid the news.

Friday, June 15, 2012

[Pagan Blog Project] L is for Lughnasadh, or August Eve

Lughnasadh celebrates the first harvest of the year.  It is the first of three harvest festivals (the other two being Mabon and Samhain.)  It also has the distinction of being the one Wiccan/Pagan holiday with which I cannot seem to connect.

I WANT to celebrate it.  It marks the end of summer, and the fact that there’s FOOD.  Both GREAT reasons to party.   Yet, I can’t seem to get into it.  I have to really try in order to not totally forget it, and even when I remember I often leave any planning to the last minute, or find I’ve not made enough time to do anything to celebrate it.

I know the two reasons I have so much trouble with it.  First of all, it’s not marked by some definite event, like a solstice or an equinox.  Secondly, when the Christians stole it (and called it Lammas) they didn’t make a big deal of it, like they did for Samhain, Yule, and Ostara (All Hallow’s Eve, Christmas, and Easter.)  As a consequence, I didn’t grow up celebrating its descendant, either.  And perhaps a third reason is that I don’t particularly follow Celtic traditions, so it didn’t appeal to me from that perspective.  I’ve recently learned that early Wiccans called it “August Eve.”  This is much more attractive to me, personally.

Maybe, armed with knowledge of this older name, I will be able to connect with it this year!

Friday, June 1, 2012

[Pagan Blog Project] K is for Killing

“Thou Shalt Not Kill.” 

Just one of ten commandments, but no doubt.  It was all so easy before I became pagan.  The rules were clearly spelled out and simple.  Do this, don’t do this, do this this way, and don’t do this at all, ever. Maybe it’s because I grew up, quite literally from birth, with them.  Maybe it’s because the Catholic Church, at least at the time, preferred you didn’t think overmuch about them.  Maybe it’s just because they wanted everything just so.  It doesn’t matter why, what is important is that I in fact didn’t have to think, I just had to do (or not do, as the case may be) what I was told.

“An’ it harm none, do as ye wilt.”

Eight words, the whole of the law, and true free will.  But is it easy?  Not always.  Do you have to think?  Almost always.  Do you have to weigh and consider and agonize?  Occasionally.  Do you have to decide for yourself?  Each and every time.

Perhaps most basically, and most difficulty, is what is meant by harm?  To kill, to steal from, to physically injure or assault—those are easy, usually.  But what about taking a job when other people need it, too?  Or killing someone in order to defend myself or someone I love?  What about a helpless stranger?  The questions go on and on and can twist and turn and confuse and tangle.  But from this starting base, every action springs.  The point is, you must consider each step, each word, and you must decide for yourself what an acceptable amount of harm is.  No one is going to make that decision for you.

The real question is would you want anyone to do so?