August 2012



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Beltane and Bin Laden

Life has been moving in fast and hard since I've moved to AL and in particular since I've been in contact with the local god here. Let me try to pull this together in something coherent because part of my recommitment is supposed to be about beauty art and love too. Sitting in my little room haven I'm particularly reminded of beauty and art. Of a crucial part of my life in high school and parts of college where creation was the beautiful prideful and humbling experience that hollowed me out and threw me in depressions and that also made me something so much more than what I'd felt I was before. It was devastating and it was as necessary to my existence as breathing. There were glimpses there of something big and meaningful in that work and I can remember feeling so much more and so much greater than just me.

Over the years I've chalked that feeling up to hormones and puberty. It is easier to not make time to create and to live without the crazy highs and lows that come with art. I feel safer and more stable connected to the world and wrapped in a protective layer of doubt and logic. But going through my keepsakes and my old books and writings has made it clear to me that not all of it was puberty and vanity on my part. Some of it (not most of it mind you) is really good and there are some bits of truth and craft that hurt to be reminded of. It threw me into an entirely different sort of depression to think that my time as a young idealist and artist were over. That I'd lost that kind of visionary flare.

Moving huge life changes are shaking that out of me in bits and pieces. There is a need for more balance and control in me now than there was then. I used to single mindedly chase whatever passion landed in my head. I'd track an idea for weeks and months or for days without sleeping and on several occasions without eating. That kind of work is too destructive and I have other duties and responsibilities. The protective shell of college and hight school I hated so much is gone and now I have to co-exist in the real world along with these whims and callings. I have to judge what will actually be something, what actually is something with all these ideas that hours of crafting and exploring will lead me to nothing. Then it was all art and truth now it has to be tempered, and I'm hoping that with that will be some of that old beauty along with less depression and less time where I hate myself.

So Beltane without power or any real privacy was interesting. I meditated in the morning and spent some time re-reading parts of Drawing Down the Moon. Really the newer addition should be required reading for monotheists who want to interact with polytheists. It explains a lot of the inherent mentality differences between one vs many. It also explains Gardner's influence on the pagan movement's revival in a neat way where one can explain that yes we know our history and we understand Gardner, Starhawk and many other's history is not right and it doesn't have to be for there to be power, truth and influence from them.

I wrote a poem I'm certain to post later when I'm done wondering where it came from.

Just as I was thinking "oh this is kind of nice" or "no power isn't awful" I got a call that power was on at the center of town and my boss needed me back in at work to get the computer systems running, schedule employees for the next week, and take inventory. All I could think is thank the gods, its a Beltane miracle! My gods know me too well, because the continued relief that there is work and something to do is incredible for me. That something more is really crucial to my psyche. Beyond that I got my first hot shower in four days and it was possibly the most amazing thing to happen to me this year. Going into town also gave me a chance to honor my new Huntsville oriented god in the location ze chose to make zer presence known. I left a few sweets (though not chocolate) and poured out a little white zinfandel. Completely unplanned and impromptu on my part but it felt right. It was the most perfect Beltane I've ever had.

So then pagan coming out day happens and ding dong Bin Laden is dead! Talk about more change to process than I can take at once! I just had always thought that Bin Laden would run out of insulin or dialysis or die of old age. We'd find him dead in a cave or more likely someone else would find him dead in a cave and let the US know. So I was completely flat footed for how to emotionally deal with his death. I think I'm relieved and happy that this has happened for Obama's re-elcetion effort. I don't think it's justice. I do think the mob celebrations we see on the news look a lot like the Middle East's celebration of 9/11. I know they aren't the same for many reasons, but part of me worries about the similarities more than the differences. I haven't heard anyone say anything disturbing yet, but I'm waiting (fearfully) for the remarks about how it's a shame we didn't kill everyone in the compound or how we should have bombed the place or how we should bomb Pakistan. There should be consequences for Pakistan, but bombing them isn't what I'm thinking is appropriate. Violence is occasionally a necessary and powerful tool, but I've noticed that people find it hard to put it down once they've started wielding it.

I'm disturbed by how able Obama is able to politically negotiate. I can't decide if I'm please, disappointed, or worried. Time will tell if this is good I guess.

Another thing: I don't think that anyone's emotions on Bin Laden's death is wrong. I might deride certain actions or public expressions of that emotion because to a certain degree one can control actions, but how one feels is how they feel. All this shaming and policing of our emotional response and the threats about spiritual damage as a result of how one feels is deeply warped. That others feel the need to control such a core part of the self is wrong, upsetting, and grotesque to me. These people quoting, Ghandi, MLK and quoting scriptures might not be a more malicious demon then Bin Laden but they certainly hit closer to home and their veil of "good intentions" makes them harder to hit. How dare you tell anyone how they feel is wrong!

I'm incredibly outraged by these "save you soul and love your enemy" posts. Feel free to speak of how you are dealing with Bin Laden's death or how it effects you. Don't you dare tell me or others how to feel and even worse, don't try to make me feel bad or to make me think that how you feel is the only right way. I'm paranoid yeah, but this whole thing has 1984 for on my mind and it's all these little social and cultural bits that are dangerous. We are not all the same group with the same experiences and the same tolerances and reactions. What is right for you to deal with this world event is probably not right for me because we are coming from two different unique places. Honor that instead of silencing it please.

Also, why can't I feel both? Who are you to tell me I can't celebrate the relief with my family at a gathering and then go home and have a few minutes silence and perhaps light a candle. Can't I be happy about the rise of revolutionaries in the Middle East who seem to be questing for a voice and for change that may be better for them and for us? Why shouldn't I be relieved over the death of the last public face of Al Qaeda who still overshadowed all the potential good of these revolutionaries because Americans were so hurt by his attacks? And why does feeling that joy and be mean I can't also be sorry that it cost so many lives (including Bin Laden's) and bad blood to achieve this? Feelings are not mutually exclusive my friends.

Any how, I'm thinking I need a full week to appropriately celebrate the change and mischief of Beltane this year because Bin Laden happened on May day too and it's going to take more than a day or so for myself and probably other Americans (and those overseas too) to sort out what this means and to shake out all the little and large changes this might mean.

I feel sort of bad that between the tornados here and the death of an enemy the wedding of the century has been eclipsed (at least for me personally), but it was also timed appropriately for pagan traditions. I hope that's a good omen for them and I hope they were relieved to have some measure of privacy for once instead of disappointed. Best wished to them in any rate, and I only have mediocre interest for weddings that aren't happening to family or friends any how so you missed very little of my attention anyhow.