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To the beautiful, unobtainable beloved: A poem — Druid Life|Nimue Brown

Longing writes poetry. Contentment spends an hour more In the duvet. Longing burns and strains. Contentment snuggles Asks for little. Longing relishes the bittersweet Taste of its own frustration. Contentment potters about. Longing speaks with A scorched, parched tongue. Contentment doesn’t say much. If I put my lips To your skin […]

Read the Rest! via To the beautiful, unobtainable beloved: A poem — Druid Life


A Dying Mule Always Kicks the Hardest (Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II via Bill Moyers)

I’ve had a lot of time lately to think about how the political is personal, and how religion and spirituality define who we are as individuals and how we relate to the world around us, and that our political views can either be a a confirmation or a repudiation of our religious/spiritual views… My Paganism is rooted here, though transplanted several times, in the soil of our Southern states and their difficult and painful history. While we may not see eye to eye in our religious beliefs, I can certainly agree with Rev. Dr. William J. Barber’s assessments here:

A Dying Mule Always Kicks the Hardest

November 17, 2016 by

This post first appeared on BillMoyers.com.

The reactionary wave that swept across America with the election of Donald Trump is not an anomaly in our history. It is an all-too-familiar pattern in the long struggle for American reconstruction.

The story of our struggle for freedom is not linear: Every advance toward a more perfect union has been met with a backlash of resistance.

When African-Americans became full citizens of the United States during Reconstruction, a violent backlash arose in the Redemption movement that included both the violence of the Klan and the voter suppression of Southern Democrats. The same kind of backlash followed the legislative victories of the civil rights movement — what many historians call a “Second Reconstruction.” Richard Nixon’s “law and order” campaign of 1968 was an intentional effort to appeal to racial hate and fear without using overtly racist language. His adviser, Kevin Phillips, called it the “Southern Strategy.”

Donald Trump’s unanticipated victory could not have been possible without the election of Barack Obama as America’s first African-American president. Trump entered national politics by waging a crusade against the possibility of Obama’s citizenship. It proved to be the perfect way to touch the psychic wound of so many Americans who have not faced our legacy of racism. Anyone familiar with the Mississippi Plan of 1876 or the Southern Strategy of 1968 can be surprised only by the ease with which Trump adapted them for the 21st century.

Trump’s attacks on immigrants, Muslims and the LGBTQ community were political ploys based on the fundamental racial fear at the heart of the American experience. When he told white Americans that he was their last chance to make America great again, he was touching a wound passed down since the lost cause religion of the 19th century.

America must not waste time asking ourselves how this could have happened. It happened because it is a habit written deep in our public memory. If we are willing to see ourselves as we are and have been, we will also see our potential for prophetic resistance, even in times like these.

For we are also the heirs of great dissenters who’ve stood for right even when they were a minority of one. When the Jim Crow laws of the solid South were upheld by the US Supreme Court in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, only one justice — John Harlan of Kentucky — dissented. But his dissenting opinion laid the legal groundwork upon which Thurgood Marshall built his case over half a century later in Brown v. Board of Education.

When Woodrow Wilson showed Birth of a Nation at the White House a century ago, W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells and the interracial NAACP challenged the most powerful man in America to face his racism. When three civil rights workers were brutally murdered in the first days of Freedom Summer, black and white students chose to press on together, challenging Mississippi’s brutal racism.

Less than a majority of Americans elected a mortal, not a god, when they cast their ballots for Donald Trump. They did not un-elect the foundational principles of our Constitution, nor have they overwhelmed the moral convictions of our faith.

Across lines of division, we can continue to build the moral coalition that is already a majority in this country. We can and must face the race and class question together and not as separate issues.

Yes, we have some difficult days ahead. But our foreparents were up against more with less. And they taught us that a dying mule always kicks the hardest. Our work continues: we must work together for a Third Reconstruction in America.


National Day of Mourning

What follows is part of the September 10, 1970 speech-that-wasn’t-allowed at the 350th anniversary of the Plymouth landing written by Frank B. (Wamsutta) James, an Aquinnah Wampanoag elder and Native American activist.  It was that year that he, and others, established Thanksgiving as a National Day of Mourning for Native Americans: “An annual tradition since 1970, Day of Mourning is a solemn, spiritual and highly political day. Many of us fast from sundown the day before through the afternoon of that day (and have a social after Day of Mourning so that participants in DOM can break their fasts). We are mourning our ancestors and the genocide of our peoples and the theft of our lands. NDOM is a day when we mourn, but we also feel our strength in political action.” (source)

I speak to you as a man — a Wampanoag Man. I am a proud man, proud of my ancestry, my accomplishments won by a strict parental direction (“You must succeed – your face is a different color in this small Cape Cod community!”). I am a product of poverty and discrimination from these two social and economic diseases. I, and my brothers and sisters, have painfully overcome, and to some extent we have earned the respect of our community. We are Indians first – but we are termed “good citizens.” Sometimes we are arrogant but only because society has pressured us to be so.

It is with mixed emotion that I stand here to share my thoughts. This is a time of celebration for you – celebrating an anniversary of a beginning for the white man in America. A time of looking back, of reflection. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People. Even before the Pilgrims landed it was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them as slaves for 220 shillings apiece. The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans. Mourt’s Relation describes a searching party of sixteen men. Mourt goes on to say that this party took as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry. Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, knew these facts, yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation. Perhaps he did this because his Tribe had been depleted by an epidemic. Or his knowledge of the harsh oncoming winter was the reason for his peaceful acceptance of these acts. This action by Massasoit was perhaps our biggest mistake. We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.

What happened in those short 50 years? What has happened in the last 300 years?

(read the rest)

Find out more about supporting the National Day of Mourning

The history we share with our children on this day

 


It isn’t nice–Malvina Reynolds

It isn’t nice to block the doorway,
It isn’t nice to go to jail,
There are nicer ways to do it,
But the nice ways always fail.
It isn’t nice, it isn’t nice,
You told us once, you told us twice,
But if that is Freedom’s price,
We don’t mind.

It isn’t nice to carry banners
Or to sit in on the floor,
Or to shout our cry of Freedom
At the hotel and the store.
It isn’t nice, it isn’t nice,
You told us once, you told us twice,
But if that is Freedom’s price,
We don’t mind.

We have tried negotiations
And the three-man picket line,
Mr. Charlie didn’t see us
And he might as well be blind.
Now our new ways aren’t nice
When we deal with men of ice,
But if that is Freedom’s price,
We don’t mind.

How about those years of lynchings
And the shot in Evers’ back?
Did you say it wasn’t proper,
Did you stand upon the track?
You were quiet just like mice,
Now you say we aren’t nice,
And if that is Freedom’s price,
We don’t mind.

It isn’t nice to block the doorway,
It isn’t nice to go to jail,
There are nicer ways to do it
But the nice ways always fail.
It isn’t nice, it isn’t nice,
But thanks for your advice,
Cause if that is Freedom’s price,
We don’t mind.

(source, and more information)

 


Theodora Speaks for Me — hecatedemeter

Today, I Joined the Resistance ~ Theodora Goss

Today, I stood under the blue arc of the sky
and said, all these people passing by
are my sisters, my brothers.
The children playing in the parks,
running after balls
or swinging, legs stretched out,
up and down and back up again,
laughing for no reason,
are my children.

The Earth is my home, and nothing in it
is strange to me, or a stranger.

I will become a teacher, a caretaker.
The trees are my responsibility.
The birds flying above or perching
among the branches, gossiping in song,
the fish slipping under lily pads
through lakes shining in the sunlight,
the wolves loping through forests,
the otters tumbling in river shallows,
all that lives are my family.
Even the stones, that dream
so slowly, and so long.

Today I decided that I will step lightly,
speak out, defend the defenseless.
I will live with a fierce joy,
and when I am afraid,
I will act anyway.

I will write a poem, plant a garden,
seek the truth, speak to the powerful
and say, not us, for we stand together,
sisters and brothers, for each other,
for the children, the trees, the otters,
the quick silver fish.

We stand for love, for sorrow at your depredations,
for righteous anger.  Whether we are together
or, of necessity, alone.

How do I want to be remembered?
As one of those who gave in, gave up, collaborated
with the evil inside and outside myself?

Or one of those who stood
in the light and resisted?  Who said
I will not collude with the enemy,
even when it is my own darkness?

Who was guided by love,
which is not an emotion,
but a decision?

Today, I joined the resistance
because it was the only choice
my heart could make
and be whole.

via Theodora Speaks for Me — hecatedemeter


Law of the returning tide…

image

Sunrise over the Atlantic

The Law of the Returning Tide says that whatever you cast into the sea of life returns to you – often changed, often in an unrecognizable form, but nevertheless what comes to you in your life is usually the direct result o
f what you have given out into the world. Most people are only vaguely aware of this law, or don’t fully accept it, but magicians use it all the time. They deliberately and consciously project positive ideas, energies, images, feelings, thoughts, prayers, chants and spells into the world, knowing fully that they will reap the benefits of these – sometimes quickly but sometimes not for years or even lifetimes…

…how we experience the world is made up of how we think, feel and act, and the result of those thoughts, feelings and actions as they play out in our lives. But if you believe that is all there is to reality, then you are accusing most of the people in the world of being responsible for their own suffering – all the adults and children dying of illness or starvation, all the people caught up in genocide and armed conflict, anyone who is suffering in whatever way. The fact is that not only do we create our own reality, but we create other peoples’ reality too.

Our experience, our lives, are made up of a mixture of influences and events that we have created, and influences and events that others have created as well. It is just too simple to say ‘we create our own reality’. We are social and active beings, and we have an effect on the world and the people around us, just as they have an effect on us. So the people in a famine, for example, however much they may be busy creating positive thoughts and feelings, are caught up in a current that is bigger than their own – they are in a group reality caused by the weather, and economic and political conditions.

We live in a sea of consciousness and experience, and we often have a great deal of influence over our immediate environment – the patch of sea around us – but sometimes deep ocean currents can sweep us away or change our lives forever…

…Once you understand that we create our own reality and are part of a collective reality too, that we each contribute to other people’s realities as well as our own, then you can understand the Law of the Returning Tide.

It is a law that is played out for us in the world of Nature around us all the time: we reap what we sow, and the harvest from the seeds we have sown is not just ours. This law has been expressed by different spiritual teachers for thousands of years. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the god Thoth says, “Truth is the harvest scythe. What is sown – love or anger or bitterness – that shall be your bread. The corn is no better than its seed, then let what you plant be good.” Thousands of years later, Jesus said, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” The Eastern idea of karma conveys the same idea: that, to a great extent, our present experience is the consequence of our past thoughts, feelings and actions…

…Once you realize that you help to create other peoples’ reality, you become socially and environmentally responsible – and you do magic not only for yourself, but also for others and the world…

…Remember a time someone touched you and you could feel the love and warmth in their hands or their embrace? It felt like an energy was coming into you, didn’t it? Magic says it is an energy and that you can consciously direct it! And in radiating this energy, somehow you don’t lose energy yourself. Instead, it comes to you in even greater quantities – the more you give the more you receive. This is the Law of the Returning Tide…

(Excerpts from Druidcraft by Philip Carr-Gomm on the subject of “The Law of the Returning Tide.”. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in Wicca and Druidry or with experience in one and interest in the other…the quotes are part of a larger, quite excellent section of the book.  But I just had to share it, as I find this take on the Law of Return extremely well expressed.


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In prehistoric times, early man was bowled over by natural events: rain, thunder, lightning, the violent shaking and moving of the ground, mountains spewing deathly hot lava, the glow of the moon, the burning heat of the sun, the twinkling of the stars. Our human brain searched for an answer, and the conclusion was that it all must be caused by something greater than ourselves – this, of course, sprouted the earliest seeds of religion. This theory is certainly reflected in faery lore. In the beautiful sloping hills of Connemara in Ireland, for example, faeries were believed to have been just as beautiful, peaceful, and pleasant as the world around them. But in the Scottish Highlands, with their dark, brooding mountains and eerie highland lakes, villagers warned of deadly water-kelpies and spirit characters that packed a bit more punch.

― Signe Pike, Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World