lunes, 25 de agosto de 2008

Everyday Heroes: One Week in Silence, the documentary.

To know the beginning of this story, go to this post. There you will find everything about John Birch and his amazing task.

After the book, John has published a documentary about his reclusion and the reasons and causes that led him to it, and he has kindly sent it to me. There is not much more to add to all I said about the book, excpt one thing: it has impressed me how John and all people involved in this project come across as common people like you and me, but people that are committed to making a difference. John is a production buyer for a brewery, but involved in several spiritual and enviromental projects. His friends and sponsors include dance teachers, furniture makers...

Think about it.It doesn't take Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt to make a mark in the world. If you decide to make a change, you're a hero too. Just like this common man who is not that common.

To learn more about the documentary and buy it:

viernes, 1 de agosto de 2008

Unless the Grain Dies: The Meaning of Lammas

(With a little addition, already posted on my LJ journal)

"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if the grain dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24)

Surprised to find a Christian quote in aWiccan blog??Well, it hasn't been the first time, and it won't be the last. There is much wisdom in other religions,and not believing in them doesn't mean that I don't recognize that wisdom. In this case, Jesus chooses the imagery of grain dying to bear fruit that so many religions before Christianity had already used. The idea of death that brings life is also one oth the keys to Lammas or Lughnasadh, the harvest festivity on August 1st.

It won't be until Samhain that the God will die, but that is because that is the third-and last-harvest festival of the year; the idea of death is present in Lammas, in Mabon, and in Samhain. But in Lammas death is only a concept, a symbol; the death of grain that will feed the people. That is why it is a jubilant festival, even if there is a sombre legend behind it.

The other name of Lammas,Lughnasadh, comes from the Celtic god of the Sun, Lugh. Like his Roman counterpart Apollo, Lugh presided over the arts and sciences. According to Celtic legend, Lugh decided to hold a feast at the beginning of the harvest season to honor his foster mother, Tailtiu. Tailtiu was the royal Lady of the Fir Bolg. After the defeat of her people by the Tuatha De Danaan, she was forced by them to clear a vast forest for the purpose of planting grain. She died of exhaustion as a result. Here we find again the ritual death that brings life, and which is commemorated, that is, repeated, year after year. This idea was also, it is supposed, one of the inspirations of the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Well, you say, how does all this apply to ME?? Do I have to die to bring fertility to my world??Not necessary :))). Did you burn something last St John's night/Litha?? Did you leave some nasty habit, throw away letters or photos that brought you bitter memories, stop seeing a toxic friend?? Have you recently stopped smoking or given up any kind of addiction? Well, that is a part of you that has died. And it has died so you can evolve and move on with your life, and if you did it last Litha, or a little earlier or later, you are probably reaping a harvest of satisfaction. And if you didn't do it then, why not do it now?There are two harvest festivals ahead of you :))) It's not too late to get your harvest this year!

Remember also that Lugh is a God of arts and Sciences, so why not ask him for help to get better at whatever you do for a living? Here you can find a wonderful ritual for that.

viernes, 4 de julio de 2008

Pride And Joy: Difference won't eat you, intolerance will

(Re-posted from my LJ Blog)

And I’m dancing with the freaks now
I'm havin’, I’m havin’ so much fun
What you sow is what you reap now
I’ll do my dance with everyone
Don’t let them tell you who you are is not enough
Don’t let them tell you that it’s wrong
Or that you won’t find love...
-George Michael, An easier Affair

We have celebrated Gay Pride Day recently. I don't belong to the gay community, but I don't think that really matters; I have always felt different and suffered because of it, well ,suffered until recently, when I decided that, right or wrong, this was me. And you'd be surprised how much the respect of those around you heightens when you make that choice. You'll always find the stupid fools who will attack you , but that's not your fault that there are people who need to attack the difference to feel better...They have the problem, not you.

Yes, this I just said is a cliché, but this cliché hides the real danger society should fear...instead of fearing difference. A mum shouldn't worry about his boy or girl being homosexual and not forming a traditional family; she should worry because there are boys and girls who feel justified in bullying schoolmates because they are gays, there are skinheads and hooligans beating gays in the streets, and politicians and priests protesting because gay couples are given the same treatment as heterosexual ones and demonstrating against this in a way domestic violence, war or hunger will never move them to do; in one word, a mother shouldn't worry about her child being different, she should worry because the others believe different equals wrong.

This is the belief that lies at the bottom of fanatic terrorism. This is the belief that induces people to exterminate whole ethnic groups. This is the belief that undermines racism, classism and almost any kind of discrimination. This is the belief that justifies school bullying, discrimination at work,homophobia...even bad manners!!People complain of the lack of manners today, and they attribute them to "excessive freedom". Now that they'll tell you about their concept of freedom. Genuine manners (not ceremonious ones, but the natural kind like saying please, thank you and respecting the other's space) are born from a genuine respect of the other,from believing the other deserves respect in the same way I do. But young people today, supposedly growing up in a liberal world, are educated in a "me me me" -centered way-meaning that people who are poorer, darker, or just different, make them feel bad and uncomfortable, specially since Mum and Dad never taught them that freedom is not "I do but I want" but , paraphrasing the Wiccan Rede, "I do what I want, as long as I don't hurt anybody". For these spoiled kids, difference is a crime, and they'll bully whoever is different, and sadly, their parents will back them up no matter what they do.

This is the real danger.

Will you wait until they come for YOU?

viernes, 23 de mayo de 2008

Nothing To Fear: One Week In Silence, The Journal

To know the beginning of this story, go to this post. There you will find everything about John Birch and his amazing task.

Eyebrows are always
Older than the beards...
Mama said, be brave,
You’ve nothing to fear, darling...
( Des’ree , I Ain’t Movin’)

John put his experience in a book, and was kind enough to send it to me with a lovely dedication. This blog is also quoted in it. The book was quite an amazing journey for me- as I had said to John earlier, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it was like to be locked in a room, with no food or entertainments, with 14 hours of darkness a day and with no heating ( and that in December, in St Annes, Great Britain). John’s book surpassed all my expectations and my vivid imagination made me literally “see” everything he narrates. Down-to-earth, sometimes moving, often humorous and never self-pitying or yielding to drama, the book was to me something that maybe John didn’t intend it to be: a story of bravery and courage.

I don’t know about you, but much of my life is ruled by fear. Fear of losing my job, fear of not having enough money for this or that, fear of taxes, fear of being alone, fear of choosing the wrong mate. Fear rules the world today, fear of war or terrorism. And much of that fear comes from not knowing how much the human being can endure, how much he or she can cope with, how far can he or she go just by adjusting their minds. As John himself reminds us, there are many people who live in the same conditions that John chose for a week, and not by choice. And many of them are surviving through it without the advantages that most of us Europeans have. If we just knew how much we can take, we’d be less afraid. John found it very funny once when I told him that I was a Gypsy at heart and I’d do anything to survive:he kept teasing me and calling me “Gypsy” for weeks to come. Well, he has just come to prove that , in that sense, we are all “gypsies” at heart: able to adjust to hard conditions and new environments, no matter how impossible they seem to be.

Would I be rich if I played the Lotto??
Cause we don’t value things that come too easily...
(Des’ree, Open Mind)

I hear you protest: “But that bloke chose to do that of his own will! He got ready for that!(and indeed he did) It can’t be as hard that way..” Well, maybe not...but let me tell you something. I’m quite the hedonistic person, fond of “my little pleasures”, gourmande and quite a good cook, and who couldn’t imagine a world without books or music. To me, no matter how ready or determined I was, it would be the hardest of situations. And that’s because the things I own quite possess me, not the other way round, and yet I take them for granted. To consciously decide to challenge the tyranny of our possessions is very brave, and it also reminds us that the things we take for granted (freedom, food...) are not available for everybody in this world. Yes, this book is good food for thought.
To know more about this book (excerpts included):One Week in Silence Website
To buy John’s book (the proceeds go to Amazon Cry Foundation) go here.
Amazon Cry Foundation:

viernes, 18 de abril de 2008

Not Ready to Make Nice: A Beltane Memory

Forgive, sounds good.Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say, time heals everything, but I'm still waiting.
-Dixie Chicks, Not Ready to Make Nice

(on the proximity of Beltane, I have discovered that this memory still bothers me, so I reproduce this post from LiveJournal to cleanse my soul. As for the "friend" mentioned in the post, he's still a friend,though much less close, adn I know he sometimes reads this, paraphrasing Carly Simon, if you think this post is about you, then it is:)))

Well, the proximity of Beltane brings me memories of two years ago. I had this friend I was having feelings for, and he wasn't a Wiccan; in fact he was a Spiritualist. Being a very sensitive and intelligent man, I thought he would look beyond the topics when it came to my beliefs; I certainly wasn't thinking of Victorian houses and spine-chilling seances when I approached his. Alas, how wrong was I. I explained to him the eight sabbats, including Beltane,which is very special to me since it is also my birthday. I explained to him that is the festivity of love and fertilty par excellence. I explained to him that many Wiccans celebrate it under the stars with their lovers in a passionate night of love. I showed him poems and texts that told about it, some written by myself. And, like other less intelligent boyfriends of mine, he assumed that Wicca was very much about orgies, and that Wiccan women, including me, were easy and loose. We continued our relationship but the misunderstanding was evident; he thought my main interest was sex, he undervalued my feelings. Pooh, I guess he wasn't as intelligent as I thought: I mean he had known me for years, he knew a lot of things about me; and now, just because I'm a Wiccan, I'm a sex kitten??? Please!!!

Not that I believe in the "promiscuous woman=whore" equation. I don't give a shit about the double standard of a man being a Superman if he gets a woman every night and the woman being a cheap whore if she does the same. A woman who decides not to be monogamous has a perfect right to do so, and she is no better and no worse than a woman who decides on the contrary. What irks me is, as always, the preconceived ideas. Wicca and Paganism do have a very tolerant view on sex. Sex is for us a metaphor of creation, and also a gift of the Goddess, pure, sacred and pleasurable. But we don't tell anybody how he/she must live their sexuality. Beause we aren't all the same. Some people are more comfortable with monogamy, others need casual sex. Some people are heterosexual, others are homosexual, others are bisexual. Some people believe in marriage,some don't,. Some people need to be in love to have sex, some don't. And they aren't more or less Pagan or Wiccan because of that. There is not such thing as a Pagan sexuality- maybe the only thing we Pagans usually have in common, and I'm sure that there must be exceptions (which is sad for me) is a lack of fear of talking sexuality, and a large tolerance for different orientations.

And yes, I hear your question: Are there orgies in your rites? Answer: Not by rule. I f a coven decides to make orgies well, that's their choice. But they do it because they have decided it, not because it's the rule. Anyway, in these days of STDs and sex crimes, people are less willing to take part in orgies with people they don't know well or strangers. In fact Wiccans are usually very safe-sex conscious. Most of them celebrate Beltane privately with their partners, after normal rituals. If you join a coven and they try to convince you that orgies are absolutely compulsory or try to force you into having sex in rituals, my advice is: run and don't look back. Sex IS NOT an obligation, but a personal decision, for Wiccans and for everybody else.

And this is for the men all around the world...stop thinking with your organ...respect the witch!!!

jueves, 20 de marzo de 2008

Are you scared to get happy?-Ostara, not just birds and flowers

(Formerly published in my LJ blog)

"April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull routes with spring rain."
T. S. Eliot

Last year,I received a newsletter with this wonderful link about spring and Ostara included. It had a very interesting part about how Easter invites us to renewal and action, headed by the TS Eliot poem above mentioned. As they say, never is being ill, or depressed so difficult as it is in Spring, when everything is beautiful and bright and happy and love seems to be "in the air" . I have lived a depression and I know what I'm saying. This page reminds us that Spring is a time of positivity, of moving on, of being reborn...This is all very well, you say, but I still feel such a black spot on the face of earth because everything looks so beautiful and so happy and I feel so broken, and I don't have the will to go on. Hum, I think you need another point of view to look at Spring.

"At the birth of a child or of a star there is pain"

Oscar Wilde

Why, do you think that Spring is an idyll? Think again. Spring is a painful effort for Nature. It's not easy for a seed to survive the winter and become a plant in Spring, in fact many seeds don't survive. Animals start looking for a mate, and for many males this will mean fighting to the death. If you have a female dog, observe how being in heat disturbs her and makes her nervous. For many people, spring means allergy, and they dread this time of year. No matter how romantic or Disney-like Spring may look to you, it is Nature at its busiest for multiplying and perpetuating, and it is as big a drama, or maybe more, as the cold and windy winter, which is in fact a time of rest. I don't know if April is the cruelest month, but for Nature is the most decisive for its survival.

Next time you think of Spring, remember; Nature is fighting to survive, like you. You're not a black spot, you're just another living being trying to find its way on earth, so you'r enot that out of place. No life is a romance, not even the life of a plant or of a star. Joy comes after sorrow, sorrow after joy. There cannot be one without the other. Don't fear any of the two processes, they are involved in every life.

sábado, 23 de febrero de 2008

It Couldn't Happen Here???-Intolerance, European style

Did you read my post on Stephanie Conover? Are you European, maybe British? Did you think "these things only happen in the USA"??

OK, get ready to think again:

The story doesn't affect me just as a Wiccan, since a dear friend who lives not that far from there is a Spiritualist. Throwing Bibles and leaving messages inside books? Why not book bonfires, the Nazi way, while you're at it?

It's sad to see this, but remember: It CAN happen next door to you. And if you don't do something about it, it will.