The importance of sauntering

There are always some people in the mountains who are known as “hikers.” They rush over the trail at high speed and take great delight in being the first to reach camp and in covering the greatest number of miles in the least possible time. they measure the trail in terms of speed and distance.

One day as I was resting in the shade Mr. Muir overtook me on the trail and began to chat in that friendly way in which he delights to talk with everyone he meets. I said to him: “Mr. Muir, someone told me you did not approve of the word ‘hike.’ Is that so?” His blue eyes flashed, and with his Scotch accent he replied: “I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike!

“Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, “A la sainte terre,’ ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”

John Muir lived up to his doctrine. He was usually the last man to reach camp. He never hurried. He stopped to get acquainted with individual trees along the way. He would hail people passing by and make them get down on hands and knees if necessary to see the beauty of some little bed of almost microscopic flowers. Usually he appeared at camp with some new flowers in his hat and a little piece of fir bough in his buttonhole.

Now, whether the derivation of saunter Muir gave me is scientific or fanciful, is there not in it another parable? There are people who “hike” through life. They measure life in terms of money and amusement; they rush along the trail of life feverishly seeking to make a dollar or gratify an appetite. How much better to “saunter” along this trail of life, to measure it in terms of beauty and love and friendship! How much finer to take time to know and understand the men and women along the way, to stop a while and let the beauty of the sunset possess the soul, to listen to what the trees are saying and the songs of the birds, and to gather the fragrant little flowers that bloom all along the trail of life for those who have eyes to see!

~~by Albert Palmer, from The Mountain Trail and Its Message(source)

the manifesto of apocalyptic witchcraft

1. If the land is poisoned, the witchcraft must respond.

2. It is not our way if life, it is life itself which is under threat

3. Witchcraft is our intimate connection to the web of life.

4. We are the Witchcraft.

5. Our World has forever changed. The trodden paths no longer correspond. Witchcraft thrives in this liminal, lunar, trackless realm.

6. We are storm, fire and flood.

7. We will not be denied.

8. Witchcraft is the recourse of the dispossessed, the powerless, the hungry and the abused. It gives heart and tongue to stones and trees. It wears the rough skin of beasts. It turns on a civilization that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

9. If you have no price you cannot be bought. If you do not want you cannot be bribed. If you are not frightened you cannot be controlled.

10. Witchcraft is folk magic, the magic of the people and for the people.

11. We call an end to the pretence of respectability.

12. We will not disarm ourselves.

13. The war is upon us.

14. Choose then to become a Mask.

15. Those with nothing left to lose will dare all.

16. There is one Witchcraft under many names. There is one Grand Sabbat on one mountain. There are many ways to fly. There is no witness present at the Sabbat.

17. Witchcraft is a force, not an order. Witchcraft is rhizomatic, not hierarchic. Witchcraft defies organisation, not meaning. We simply bear the marks.

18. Witchcraft is power and possesses this in ekstasis, sex and ordeal.
Witchcraft is unbridled sexuality.

19. In witchcraft it is the woman who initiates. We challenge man to be the equal of this woman.

20. Witchcraft is the art of inversion.

21. Witchcraft is the beauty which is terror.

22. Witchcraft is a myth, which drawing on the past, clothes itself in the symbols of (its) time.
Witchcraft does not mistake myths for history, it harnesses them to transform the future.
Witchcraft knows the ground upon which it stands.

23. Witchcraft honours the spirits. Witchcraft enchants for the lost. Witchcraft will not forget.

24. Witchcraft embodies our ancestors and saints, they carry us with them.

25. To Her is offered the blood, to use the care of the ask and bones.

26. The example we follow is our own.

27. The practice of witchcraft is one of revolution and of the power of woman.

28. The Goddess who speaks through us is known among men as Babalon.

29. Witchcraft concerns itself with mystery. Through the gates of mystery we come to knowledge. Knowledge enters us through the body. The highest form of this knowledge is Love.

30. Every drop of blood is sacrificed to the grail. Love cannot be bought with any other coin.

31. We seek and drink this wine together.

32. Will is finite, passion infinitely renewed.

33. Witchcraft is present, its is ensanguined and vivified. Witchcraft is prescient, it gazes on the future. Witchcraft is oracular, it will not hold its tongue. Our time has come

from Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey, published by Scarlet Imprint

Sedna

Sedna, by Thalia Took

black eyes peer from blackness
hair like tangled seaweed, current tossed
framed in the gates of gleaming white bone
so young to be so cold
anger buried deep

encased in Ice
rage a frozen scream
hands hacked to pieces
cannot even brush her tangled hair
the dark is silent
the deep is still

She waits
Her blood flows in sticky metallic drips
eddying into dark cold waters
flows into the shapes
dolphins whales seal otter shark
keening as harpoons strike

she feels each hit
as if it were her own flesh
pierced

She waits
She sees Her children sinking, motionless
She sees their blood flow into the black water night

when She rises
who will pay Her price
who will brush her tangled hair

when the ice cracks
can you appease her hidden rage

(by me, originally posted at my blog , 7 Feb 2013)

What Is Remembered, Lives

Originally posted on hecatedemeter:

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Today unofficially begins Memorial Day weekend. We Pagans honor our ancestors throughout the year, but this weekend is a time to especially remember our ancestors who died in service to their country. Military ancestors, of course, but I also think of those who died fighting for equal rights, protesting America’s wars, fighting fires, treating the sick.

Michael Twitty‘s column in The Guardian tells the story of the first Memorial Day and its basis in African Diaspora religion:

[T]he [enslaved] Gullah [people] developed their own language, a unique syncretic religion blending African and Christian elements, a food culture that birthed Lowcountry foodways as we know them, and they preserved names, stories, traditions and customs from across the African continent. One of the most important rituals that they preserved and passed on was the honoring of the ancestral dead and giving proper due to those transitioning out of this world.

***

View original 454 more words

there is a place where women are dying to be heard

“Her memory will be a flower tucked into literature’s turban.
In her loneliness, every sister cries for her.”

~Zarmina

Tears mixed with kohl dripped onto the page of the spiral notebook in which Amail was writing down Meena’s verses. Meena recited a Pashtun folk poem called a landai:

“My pains grow as my life dwindles,
I will die with a heart full of hope.”

“I am the new Rahila,” she said. “Record my voice, so that when I get killed at least you’ll have something of me.”

Amail grimaced, uncertain how to respond. “Don’t call yourself that,” she snapped. “Do you want to die, too?”

Rahila was the name used by a young poet, Zarmina, who committed suicide two years ago. Zarmina was reading her love poems over the phone when her sister-in-law caught her. “How many lovers do you have?” she teased. Zarmina’s family assumed there was a boy on the other end of the line. As a punishment, her brothers beat her and ripped up her notebooks, Amail said. Two weeks later, Zarmina set herself on fire.

(snip)

Of Afghanistan’s 15 million women, roughly 8 out of 10 live outside urban areas, where U.S. efforts to promote women’s rights have met with little success. Only 5 out of 100 graduate from high school, and most are married by age 16, 3 out of 4 in forced marriages. Young poets like Meena who call into the hot line, Amail told me, “are in a very dangerous position. They’re behind high walls, under the strong control of men.” Herat University’s celebrated young poet, Nadia Anjuman, died in 2005, after a severe beating by her husband. She was 25.

Pashtun poetry has long been a form of rebellion for Afghan women, belying the notion that they are submissive or defeated. Landai means “short, poisonous snake” in Pashto, a language spoken on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The word also refers to two-line folk poems that can be just as lethal. Funny, sexy, raging, tragic, landai are safe because they are collective. No single person writes a landai; a woman repeats one, shares one. It is hers and not hers. Although men do recite them, almost all are cast in the voices of women. “Landai belong to women,” Safia Siddiqi, a renowned Pashtun poet and former Afghan parliamentarian, said. “In Afghanistan, poetry is the women’s movement from the inside.”

~read the entire article, “Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry” NY Times article, 27 April 2012

I’m ceded–I’ve stopped being Theirs– (Emily Dickenson)

I’m ceded—I’ve stopped being Theirs—
The name They dropped upon my face
With water, in the country church
Is finished using, now,
And They can put it with my Dolls,
My childhood, and the string of spools,
I’ve finished threading—too—

Baptized, before, without the choice,
But this time, consciously, of Grace—
Unto supremest name—
Called to my Full—The Crescent dropped—
Existence’s whole Arc, filled up,
With one small Diadem.

My second Rank—too small the first—
Crowned—Crowing—on my Father’s breast—
A half unconscious Queen—
But this time—Adequate—Erect,
With Will to choose, or to reject,
And I choose, just a Crown—

Hymn to Gaia by Tom Williams

…and Earth herself, who gives birth to all things,
and having nurtured them receives their increase in turn…

καὶ γαῖαν αὐτήν, ἣ τὰ πάντα τίκτεται,
θρέψασά τ᾽ αὖθις τῶνδε κῦμα λαμβάνει

Yea summon Earth, who brings all things to life
And rears and takes again into her womb.

~Two translations from Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers, 127-8,
the first tr. by H. W. Smyth and the second tr. by Jules Cashford
The Setting of the Sun Over the Pacific Ocean and a Towering Thundercloud, July 21, 2003 As Seen From the International Space Station (Expedition 7); Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "Astronaut Photography of Earth - Display Record."
The Setting of the Sun Over the Pacific Ocean and a Towering Thundercloud, July 21, 2003 As Seen From the International Space Station (Expedition 7); Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center.

 

An excerpt from Hymn To Gaia
by Tom Williams

When o’er your dreaming hills the dawning day ignites its fire,
And on your seas the light’s caress awakens wind and spray,
Your breath bids bud and branch push forth to echo your desire,
And in a womb a heart begins your rhythmic hymn to play,
The eye that opens upon itself, an eye that’s opened before,
Seeks knowledge deep with each repeat, the better to adore.
So Yes! Yes! to the beating heart,
That echoes the surge of the sea,
And sends blood’s course with primal force,
Urged on by the will to be.
And Yes! Yes! to the pulse that flows,
The stream of life’s rebirth,
The sacred flame intones your name,
Oh Gaia, soul of the Earth.

read the rest…

(This was originally, as far as I can tell, posted @ Daily Kos by Cardshark on May 31, 2010. Since I can’t find a way to contact said member for permission to post this absolutely beautiful bit of devotional poetry and Daily Kos allows folks to essentially “reblog” I’m erring on the side of forgiveness AND caution–follow the above link for the rest of the poem, and, if you are the original author and want me to take this bit down, I will (humbly and under much inner protest)…but if you want to give me permission to post the whole thing, I’ll jump up and down for joy…also, if you are the original author, I’ll be happy to link elsewhere.)