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.
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.
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”.
Some new artwork. Been trying to get into crafting again, and I’m experimenting with new styles and techniques. Please click the photo for more info on the piece as well as to purchase if interested.
I do a lot of work with animal parts. Both animistic work as well as craft work (usually both at the same time). I may have mentioned that in this blog before, but this is just one sample.
Today, in between my two work shifts and after a particularly lengthy (but successful) presentation at work, I ended up drifting off to sleep momentarily to catch a nap and recharge a bit before my next shift. The dream I found myself plunged into was very dark and meaningless on the outset, until Tango appeared. You can see him in the photo above. When he appeared in my dream, I struggled to gain control of the dream itself. Lucid dreaming is something I’ve been doing since I was a small child. Although I could control certain parts of the dream, Tango was clearly not something belched from my consciousness, moving and acting of his own accord. He crawled up into my lap, nuzzled me over and over, dipped his head low and butted me soundly. In the dream I spoke to him, and told him how much I loved him. This is, I suppose, what some would call a “Big Dream”, in that sense at least.
For those of you who are reading and are unaware, Tango was my best nonhuman animal companion, therapy critter, and “familiar” of thirteen years. An exceptional animal and miracle, he has survived three bouts with soft-cell carcinoma, a particularly deadly form of cancer in cats. It was his fourth encounter, this past year in September of ’09, which finally claimed him after a mere two month fight. I can be blessed in the fact that, despite how hard he fought (I had tried an alternate form of cancer-fighting treatment to aide in his fight–I refused to put him through the hell of chemotherapy), he lost his battle while I was away with my partner in Germany, passing peacefully in his sleep. Later he was honored in the Festival of Bast held by Sannion and Dver, who graciously gave me an opportunity to achieve some closure surrounding his death. In a way this seemed typical of Tango, always living–and in the end dying–by his own terms. It was a blessing that he never had to end his life at the veterinarian’s office. Seeing him in my dream reassured me. It let me know that, even though we were physically parted, we will always be together where it counts. It also led me to thinking about the blessings of Bast.
Quite a few Pagans, when talking of Bast, usually associate her fully in the spectrum of their pet cats, and things revolving around cats. They focus on what she is, but just as important is who she is. And some may think, “Well Solo, what are you getting at? You just talked about your dead cat in relation to Bast yourself.” I loved Tango, in the end, not because he was a cat, but because he was an amazing being. His fiery, solar personality and dominant presence was what truly made him a child of Bast )and also, in a way, a resemblance of Atum-Re as the Great Tom Cat. Solar, fiery, dominant, avenging, beautiful.)
He was comforting. He, like a seizure dog, could predict my oncoming migraines (migraines themselves, at least the type I get, is the “relative” or “kissing cousin” of seizures). He would herd me into my room, snapping at my heels with much urgency. When the pain came on strong, he would sit on my chest (taking care to avoid my stomach and restrict my breathing) and purr so loudly my torso would rumble, soothing my pain and distress. I have had some of the most vivid, meaningful and intense visionary experiences with Tango sitting directly on top of me. The last time he did this, prior to his death, I dreamed deeply and communed with my gods, him resting on my chest and cupping my cheek with his paw, a painfully human-like gesture.
He is fiercely protective, and not shy of delivering retribution to humans and animals many times his size. He had this habit of involving himself in every minor dispute with the other cats in the house (including a 30lb male Norwegian forest cat/Maine coon), lending out cuffs with his meaty, muscular arms and breaking up fights, even attacking humans who he feels are unduly bothering the other feline residents of the household. Many humans in the house would say that he doesn’t stalk or even walk, but “polices” and “patrols” the hallways of the house. A couple people within the house, myself included, carry permanent scars from the strong, rabbit-like kick of his back feet when angered (he had unusually huge back feet for a cat, especially one with such a long and fully-formed tail).
He was immensely sexual. Despite being neutered as a kitten, his favorite thing in the world was a small dog plushie, which he would carry around the house with him. Every day, but particularly around dinnertime, he would set it down onto the floor and mount it, howling in ecstasy all throughout the house. It would get to the point where others in the house would have to hide the offending stuffed dog (usually by picking it up using a rubber glove or paper towel–no one ever had the heart to throw away his personal possession) just so people could get some peace. He is also the only animal I have ever been accosted by; once while in the throes of catnip ecstasy, he wrapped his arms around my arm and attempted to use it as a substitute for his dog plushie. If nothing else, he loved the pleasures of life, and was happy to lose himself in the throes of ecstasy and sheer, unadulterated joy.
When reflecting in the habits of my cat, I see also Bast and the many blessings she can bestow. I also see some of her more violent aspects which, like certain acts of nature, are necessary to the processes of life and sometimes, warnings to be heeded. But, in seeing Tango in my dreams, I took it not only as an indicator of his continued love for me, stretched beyond the grave, but the continued blessings and presence of a goddess of many attributes, an exceptional celestial woman who is far more than meets the eye.