A variety of old wolf bones. Vertebrae, jaw section, ulna. Sourced from AK First Nations subsistence hunts.
Bones play a big role in my practice, and take up a significant part of my collection.
Now, my skull is pounding, and I perhaps should be hibernating in a dark hole while this passes. However, there are some things I feel I must share.
P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, in his Patheos column Queer I Stand, has written a really good article regarding the whole “indigeny” trend among (mostly white, socially privileged) Pagans. I could point specific people out on this, but…I won’t, because that’s not my focus here, and I have better things to do with my time. They’re not hard to find. Anyway, I’m really glad he wrote this, because I really think there is a significant lack of criticism and critical thinking going on that really needs to be addressed and focused on.
This overlaps with my conflicting problem over the use of the word “shaman,” but this sort of thing seems far more socially accepted and not much challenged among pagan and polytheist circles, even though the use of the word can have really strong appropriative undertones. To call myself a shaman would be like calling myself a Buddhist rabbi. See what I did there? I think people need to do more thorough research, and really think about the words they are using, and how they are being used. I just don’t think people discuss this sort of thing enough. And when some try to, they are too easily demonized and silenced. I think this needs to change, and everyone would benefit more from a hearty dose of critical thinking.
Random assortment of topics, perhaps.
Very recently I was the target of a hate crime where I work. Due to the nature of my job I am not at liberty to discuss details (nor would I anyway on an open Internet space), but suffice to say it left me shaken. I am openly trans/queer, and I guess that creates a problem for some people. Where I live, emotions were running really high after the elections and marriage equality passing in several states. Some people didn’t take that news too kindly, and in this instance decided to bring it to work with them and take it out on an easy target (which happened to be me). It’s unfortunate, but this shit happens. It all stems from people judging someone or something before getting all of the facts, and from simply resorting to animosity and hate over things that are feared and can’t immediately be understood. But over all it’s sheer, crippling ignorance and bigotry at play. This person was religiously motivated, and that sucks. I can only imagine what would have happened if it was found out I was a polytheist.
This weekend I plan on recovering a bit, inasmuch as I am able, and I will be going hiking, and hacking/sorting wood outside for the winter firepit to open up. Especially after hurricane Sandy, the backyard has gotten a little trashed, and needs some maintenance so the fire pit can get rolling again. I also need to reposition the boundaries around my chthonic shrine area. That’s the particular area of the yard where I do a lot of fleshing, macerating and boiling of my various animal heads and other related work. The original boundaries I had set up (fallen logs and things) and the semi-grotto area are all scattered about, so it looks as if I’ll be rebuilding from scratch. I also want to track the movements of the deer around here, as they seem to have rerouted their travels a bit, bringing them very close no neighboring developments and such. I’ve also been hearing foxes and owls much closer to the house, I’m going to go searching for owl pellets, and maybe a fox den. Fox dens are great resources for animal bones, especially dens that aren’t presently in use.
When I was a kid, disappearing into the woods was one of the best ways for me to handle stress. Not much has changed. I may get involved in some rescue groups again, something more local. That was always good therapy for me, if nothing else. The events of…well, the past couple months have left me very shaken, so I feel like I’m in need of a restart, of something refreshing. Right now all I feel is angry, burnt out and depressed, and that needs to change.
Despite how much we may or may not view the flesh as a prison, after a gnostic fashion, we are beings housed in and a part of the physical realm. Keeping the body, this temple, at peak condition is important to any magical endeavor. When the body is good physical condition there is an abundance of vitality, awareness, and endurance, all of which are important faculties in magical practice. This is best done through balanced diet, consistent exercise, uninterrupted restful sleep, and good personal hygiene. When the body is well rested as a result of sleep, full of vitality as a result of a balanced diet, refreshed by cleanliness, and poised from exercise, the magus is ready to engage in effective magical practice. Not only will these healthy habits improve the quality of your life, but also the potency, duration, and precision of your magick. ~Seth, Tactical Magick
I could not even begin to count the number of pagans and occultists I’ve run into who are out of shape, slovenly, and possessing poor hygiene practices. It just boggles the mind. There are horror stories I could tell, but really, what’s the point. I think you all know what I’m talking about. I’m utterly surprised at how anyone can focus or get any work done with kitty litter grinding under their feet, or the smell of BO and cat piss hanging in the air (yes, I’ve experienced this firsthand unfortunately). I know I can’t, but I have ADD, so what the fuck do I know?
I really need to get back into my old exercise routine. I think I may be a touch out of shape. I also need to see a doctor about that insomnia thing. Both of these will happen soon.
Today is Veteran’s Day. Right now my old man is away on vacation. In February he enters into his fourth deployment, this time to Iraq (the others were Afghanistan, but before that he’s traveled to Qatar and a variety of other places). This year is going to be strange for the whole family, but above all else I worry for my dad.
Telling someone “Happy Veteran’s Day” has always seemed queer for me. Vets have gone through a lot of shit. They’ve also taken a lot of shit. Sometimes this day isn’t happy for them. Many times, it’s just bad reminders, dug up by people who haven’t quite had the experiences they’ve had. As opposed to wishing anyone a “happy Veteran’s Day” I tend to just do something else. Buy my old man a cake or something. Donate to an organization that helps veterans and deployed. Or both. Something. Action means a lot. There are other ways to honor veterans today than just wishing them a “happy Veteran’s Day”. Well, I also think Veterans Day and Memorial Day shouldn’t be the only days we remember our veterans and war dead. I’ll probably write more on this later. I tend to have to address this particular topic in stages.
Also yes I’m revisiting this topic again, from my last post. I think I’ve come on a bit strong (which I don’t apologize for) and have not done a very good job (in my opinion) of explaining my position properly. I’m not here to say that every pagan gathering or what have you is wrong. That would be incorrect. Public ritual and celebration is an important aspect of any spiritual practice or religion. However–and I think this was the point I was trying to make before–I feel there is a decided difference between that particular thing (which is well and good) and spiritual exhibitionism. Or, to put it more succinctly, a nice hardy ego circle-jerk, using gods and spirits as an excuse for such. You must also remember that this is being written by someone with a notorious habit for misanthropy. I admit this may be a detriment for me at times.
And on that note, the halftime show is over, and so I must sign off for now. There is more I wanted to write on, but that will have to wait for another time.
This will be rather stream-of-consciousness. Well, my blogging has been getting that way lately. No, I don’t plan on fixing that. I have to seize my thoughts as they come, otherwise I’ll never get around to really expressing them or writing them down.
More thoughts from my last post, re shamanism. I really am beginning to hairy eyeball people who are calling themselves such. Add extra points for online classes, presentations at conventions, and other such things. Spirituality has really become commercialized within various pagan social circles–what would take an entire lifetime to learn through tradition, family lineage and etc, and with a great many hardships (such as difficult initiations and including racial/ethnic prejudice), is now being sanitized, summed up, and sold to the audiences. Really, it’s one of the reasons why attending pagan conventions is something I have absolutely no interest in, but really that is one big example of a series of turnoffs I have for such venues (I’m sorry, but public spiritual exhibitionism simply isn’t my thing). That is probably another rant for another time, though.
To be blunt: if you call yourself a shaman, you are appropriating. Full stop, end of story. You are no more a shaman than I am a Jewish rabbi, and about as qualified. Check out Origin of the Word ‘Shaman’ for more information. Yes, I used to use ‘shaman’ as a sort of catch-all term, though gradually I’ve developed my misgivings about doing so, and now I don’t plan on using such at all. Please note that from now on, if I use the word ‘shaman’ or ‘shamanism’ on this blog, it will be a specific reference (again, see the links I’ve provided).
Right, now that that’s out of the way.
I’ve finally shaken the dust off of my old site Cynanthropy and made an update. For those of you just tuning in, I have very strong association (spiritual, psychological, or mythical) to canids (wolves, dogs, jackals, coyotes, and etc.). So, I ended up creating an entire site devoted to the topic. I’ll be writing posts on the use of animal parts more specific to cynanthropy and my own personal experiences, as well as essays, rants, links, and whatever else I can come up with. Granted, my blogging will still be highly sporadic, but I promised myself I would try to step up my writing more.
That said, my online presence is still very touch-and-go. If you post a comment here and it does not show up immediately, don’t assume that I have censored you or deleted your comment. Nine times out of ten I’m just not online to approve it, or haven’t gotten around to checking my mail, or otherwise preoccupied with things that don’t involve the internet. This happens frequently, in fact.
Well, on that note, I’m off. I have things I need to do, now that I’ve shaken these thoughts out of my head for the moment.
In coming back to WordPress, I noticed that it has attempted to ape Tumblr by setting up a reblogging feature, which it seems general WordPress authors are unable to opt out of. Now, if I wanted something like this, I would be doing the majority of my posts on Tumblr, which is a cesspool of idiocy as is.
In any case, as for reblogging my stuff from Dimension Bomb: Don’t.
Theoretically, there is no way I can prevent you from doing this if you are really keen on doing so. This is, after all, the internet. However you’ll find to the right sidebar of this blog notices regarding the reblogging, reposting and quoting of my material. As readers, I ask that you respect my request and play nice in my blogging space. Thanks.