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.
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.
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.
You know, I used to use ‘shamanism’ as a sort of catch-all term. I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of that in the past. But at some point I realized: hey now, you dumb old dog. Intellectual laziness is unbecoming of you. Yes indeed.
In fact, the more I observe, the more I find that quite a variety of abuses and appropriations are occurring all in the name of ‘shamanism’. It seems as if people do not truly know what this word is and where it came from, or they just don’t care. One quaint little excuse is that it has become part of the common parlance, therefore, that makes it right. Except, it doesn’t.
I probably have a lot more to say on this issue…in fact, I know I do. But, I have enough irons in the fire at present (most of which are happening offline), so I will have to revisit this topic later.
Personally I find there to be a pointed difference between cross-cultural assimilation and syncretism, and cultural appropriation. Where to draw the lines in this case is an important (and hotly debated) issue, something I should probably write on at some point.
I have been slow with everything lately, after having just weathered a car accident I damn near didn’t walk away from. But I am gradually getting my ass screwed back on, as it were. The support I’ve gotten has been truly overwhelming, and I am very grateful. I’ll write more later.
Just made a new update to my Etsy shop. Antique Micronesian spinner dolphin teeth, fossil dog teeth, Japanese Tokugawa era coins, wolf tooth amulet, and other fun things. More will be coming (hopefully). I also hope to have a Halloween/Fall sale at some point.
I just have so much…stuff. But I suppose that’s why I’m called the “relic hound”.