Friday, September 16, 2011

About BOS and such

This is the style I'd like my BOS to be










13 goals of a witch

1. Know yourself.
2. Know your Craft (Wicca).
3. Learn.
4. Apply knowledge with wisdom.
5. Achieve balance.
6. Keep your words in good order.
7. Keep your thoughts in good order.
8. Celebrate life!
9. Attune with the cycles of the Earth.
10. Breathe and eat correctly.
11. Exercise the body.
12. Meditate.
13. Honor the Goddess and God.

What does this mean to you? How do you express this in your life? What do you do to reach these goals? Do you agree these are worthy goals or do you disagree? What would YOUR 13 goals be?

13 goals of a witch - witchvox article

Ben Franklin's 13 week recipe

Thursday, September 15, 2011

So that's what you mean by saying you're Christian...


Hmm... There's something wrong with this... I'm really more interested what you mean when you say someone is NOT Christian. Because...

So you are saying you are not lost anymore. Good for you. I just have to wonder why you act like the rest of us, who you consider being lost?
Also... you're found and forgiven? Forgiven... for what? What did you do? Run away from home? Isn't that something most kids do, and always for a good reasons? I mean - either they are being abused, or they are curious about the world around them, or they are being stifled by bad rules, and there is no room for discussions? I mean... what's there to be forgiven? Especially, if it is as you say, you were LOST. Not run-away, LOST. Like - made a mistake, took a wrong turn without knowing it was a wrong turn, and getting where you didn't intend to go, and trying to get back? What kind of parents "forgives" you for getting lost? Geesh! 

Stumbling is being human. We are all "weak" and "strong". We all "fail" and "succeed". We are all "flawed" and perfect in our flawedness.We all have "pain" and "heartaches", emotions, feelings, and some of them are really hard to bear. We were made that way. To me, when you say you're Christian, it means you looks to the Christian God, Jesus, for help with this. And that's fine. I look to my God for help with this amazing thing called life.

But... if I have understood Xianity correctly, you consider EVERYONE needs Jesus. So - to you saying that you're Christian is saying that you consider me living a lie, in which I "refuse to admit" I meed Jesus.

"...cannot ever pay the debt."
What debt? I'm assuming you are referring to "Jesus dying for all of us" -stuff.

1) None of us asked to be put here. None of us asked to be created and born. We are all here, everyone of us, because it is God's will. God made us as we are, to be what we are, with everything we were born with, because God wants us this way. We are, every one of us, 100% God's creation according to God's will.
2) The majority of us have not done anything so bad a HUMAN SACRIFICE is needed - none of us have done anything so bad a GOD needs to be sacrificed. We are all fully capable of taking the consequences of ALL OUR CHOICES ourselves. Simply because God IS a loving God. God understands better than we do why we made the choices we made, and God knows our souls better than anyone, and God sees and acknowledges and counts every little shred of goodness in every human being, and there is a lot of those shreds, in every human being. Because God made us.
3) I think if you go and get yourself punished "for my sake", when it's not needed, when I didn't ask for it, and I didn't want it - frankly, I'd prefer you didn't - don't come whining about me being in debt to you. I DON'T OWE YOU ANYTHING.

Just as little as a pot owes anything to the potter. It's not the pot's fault if there were inpurities in the clay that made it weak. It's not the pot's fault if the potter left an air bubble in the clay so it shattered in the oven. It's not the pot's fault if it was fired wrong and couldn't stay steady. It's not the pot's fault, if the glazing failed and it looks awful. It's not the pot's fault, if someone drops it and it shatters. And it is not the pot's fault if it cannot pick up the pieces and glue them together by itself...
So - what debt?

Also - God created us. God made us. We are all God's children, God's artwork, and each one of us is a perfect piece of art, exactly as God intended us to be. Why would God NOT love us? Why would God NOT be pleased with us? Why would God not believe we are "worth it"?

So it's incomprehensible to you that God loves you... That is incomprehensible to me.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Flying Friday - my answer

I didn't not "stay a Christian" because of the rules. I didn't "stay a Christian", because I am not a Christian and I have never been one.

I am rather Confucian in my ethics, which means I fully understand the need, importance and significance of rules.

I also believe I carry the rules in my heart. What I don't remember is probably a silly man-made rule which is mostly a nuisance and in worst case harmful. Nevertheless, it is not a stupid idea to think about your rules, the ones you do carry in your heart, that is, your values and ethics and moral laws.

I have studied the Gardnerian law, and found that rather stupid.
I have studied the Alexandrian law, and that is just as stupid.
Most Wiccan laws are based on these two and the changes made haven't made the laws any less stupid, at least when it comes to those I know of. I have been talking about this earlier, several times.

"Underlying all such rules is one basic concept that is also adhered to by virtually all Pagans: "Harm None"."
Bull, I say.

That doesn't mean that I think it would be okay to harm others - or oneself, but that I think it's impossible to live without harming others. I cannot live without eating, and I have to end a life to feed myself. It is only if I was a fruitarian, that I could live without killing an animal or plant to feed myself, and there are very few true fruitarians in the world.
Which is actually a diet I would love to follow... lacto-fruitarian. I'd be happy as a fox in henhouse :-D (Except that I need to give up my tea... :-()
I don't consider "capturing and imprisoning other species, and taking their milk" in any way morally questionable.
There are species that cannot be tamed. Bovines are not among them. Human can provide bovines a comfortable living environment, and provide them shelter, protection and food in exchange of their milk. A lot of human beings choose this kind of relationship with another human being. Every SAHM, for example.
We have Yvonne, the Runaway Cow. Obviously they can leave the relationship if they choose to do so.
Naturally I don't want "factory milk", and I want my milk raw, but that can be arranged, and the more people want this, the more the dairies are going to provide this. Besides, we have future farmers who have sane ideas and attitudes when it comes to animal husbandry, and I think this should be supported.
Last thing is that I am a big supporter of animal conservation, and I am very worried about the hundreds of domesticated animal breeds that are disappearing as we speak. "Enslaving" and "imprisoning" animals is the only way to protect these breeds. You might think it's a worthless cause, I don't.
Nevertheless, I cannot live without harming others. I do consider other lifeforms others, not only other humans. There are so many different ways of harming, Ariadne counts "emotional, physical, financial..." And what about self-defense and the duty to help? Am I to put myself in harm's way to protect someone else from harm? And what about surgeries and other such things when you are supposed to harm someone in order to get good consequences? Like interventions, or exercise and such?
And what is going to happen if I'm "mean"?
Like "kick puppies" mean? Are you even aware how common animal abuse is? So common the minor offenses aren't even counted as animal abuse. Are you aware how common such human abuse and torture as bullying is? It's not only some misunderstood kids who bully others, even grown up, "normal" people do that. It's not even considered child abuse to physically "discipline" your children, and no-one cares one bit when parents mentally abuse their children, in a way, that if they'd do it to another adult, people would be horrified... And the consequences? None.
So, who is "mean", "evil", "malicious"? Some people say we Pagans are, just by refusing to not be Pagans. Some people would say a psychopath serial killer is evil. Or mafia bosses. Or drug lords. The Power Behind Power, who rules everything and decides who lives or dies... you know, all the conspiracy theories. So - what are the consequences of their actions? They might get to jail if caught? Or?
If your heart tells you it's okay to be "evil", be "evil". There are reasons and consequences for everything. If your dream in life is to be a Grey Eminency, go for it. Now, I don't think you are reading this blog, then, but - who knows. I'm just a little... you don't need my permission to do anything, nor should you decide to do something because I said so. Follow your heart wherever it takes you, even if it takes you to abyss. I just keep thinking about Alistair Crowley, The Wickedest Man in the World. :-D

"At the very least, your laws should state that the Goddess and God are deserving of worship, and remind you to be worshipful"
If I need to be reminded of this, do I really believe in God? I don't think so. I couldn't forget that there is Goddess deserving to be worshiped, and worship her with my whole being with every breathe I take, because it's part of who I am.

I have been blessed with a week of atheism. For a week I didn't believe. Where God used to be was... not nothing. No void... just... everything else filled the space. The thought of Goddess didn't fill me with awe, worship, praise and gratitude. It just was. My own place in my life grew to take the place of Goddess, and I realized how very much responsible I am to answer my own prayers... that is the most valuable lesson from the Week of Being Atheist.
I was relieved when I noticed that I believed again, and Goddess was an inseparatable part of my life and being...
Funnily, even though I know Goddess is there to listen to my prayers and to answer them, I also know that my most important mission in life is to be Goddess' tool in my own life.
I am the only human being constant in my own life. I cannot depend on my parents, siblings, children, husband, lovers, friends, relatives, neighbors, or anyone, because none of them is a constant in my life... I am. I am put here to love me. I am put here to see my needs are fulfilled. I am to feed me, dress me, shelter me... and I have been given the talents and skills I have so that I can do that the best possible way. *I*, no-one else.
I have the necessary qualifications to make me happy... because God made me so. It is sort of... destiny, but not quite. You see, Goddess heard my prayers already before I was born, so that She could find me the best possible family, heritage, genes, upbringing, environment and all, so that I would be what I need when I need it. Now, it's not fatalistic, because I have the free will - I choose if I will be there for me or not. Get it? I have the necessary talents, but it's my choice if I learn to use them, or if I choose to use them when time comes. I get the chances, but it's my choice whether I take them or not. I write the manuscript for my own life. Not God. God doesn't know what I will choose when the time comes, because it's my choice, not God's... God is there to see that what ever I choose, it will all be good in the end. (And if it's not good, it's not the end... so don't go killing yourself just because everything seems lost at the moment. Your day WILL come - if you choose to live.)

I have no problems with blood magic. I don't even have problems with animal sacrifice. Or human sacrifice. As long as it's consentual ;-)

Magic is not some magical thing that disappears if you abuse it. Magic is a skill. If you are a witch, you should be able to get paid - one way or another - for the magic you do, you should be able to use magic to protect yourself and others, and if you have no scruples with it, use black magic. It doesn't make your magic magically vanish, it doesn't kick back, or anything like that, just as little as using your sword to kill people makes you forget how to use the sword, or makes the sword bite you back. Magic is a tool, nothing else, nothing more, nothing less. So - you use magic the same way you use all the other skills and tools you have, and follow the same "rules" you do with everything else. Another thing I don't think you need to write down.

If you want to boast, boast. If you want to treat others badly, do so. You will take the consequences of your actions, just as everyone else on this planet. There are no revengeful Gods watching you in the corners, planning on throwing some mysterious "karma" your way, "three-fold law" is BS. If you treat others badly, people will think you're a ---, and will treat you the way they treat ---s, all according to their own ethical rules. It's not that "if you're nasty to people, people are nasty to you, if you're kind to people, people are kind to you". The world is full of nice and kind people who get treated like crap, and nasty people who get treated like something wonderful.
It's just that it's best for your own serenity to be kind, tolerant, respectful and considerate when dealing with others, be their humans, animals, plants, fairies, dragons, ghosts or what ever.
And the way to get there is not by telling yourself that you MUST be kind, tolerant, respectful and considerate, and inventing some punishments if you fail.
The way to get there is by knowing yourself and being all right with what and who you are, and if you are not happy about something in your life, knowing you can change it, and you will change it.
You are not envious of anyone else, because your life is just as you want it - because, you were made for the life you want - and you are not angry with anyone, because their opinions and actions have nothing to do with you.
You don't harbor revenge, because there is nothing to be revenged.
You don't hate, fear or despice anyone, because their lives and choices have nothing to do with you.
You know there's enough of everything so that everyone gets what they want. One person's success doesn't take away your possibility to succeed. There are hundreds of stars, celebrities, artists, writers, fashion designers, beautiful people, mothers, presidents, astronauts... what ever you want to become, you can become. What there is only one of, is you. There is only one you in the whole world, and you are amazing, wonderful, perfect you :-) Just like everyone of us... and as you remember this, you have all the kindness, respect, tolerance and consideration to all other perfect yous of the world. Goddess made us all, to be what we are, with our unique qualities, special designed for us alone, so that we can be the best us...

Anyway, this "to really gain acceptance, we must act acceptable" is just as offensive and wrong and "blame the victim" as "women get raped because they act provocatively".
If I break no laws in my worship, you have no right to judge me, because I worship differently from you. You have no right to deem my morals and ethics less valuable as your own, or my "conduct" less "acceptable" as anyone else's. Frankly, what is my life and my choices any of your business? Mind your own. Live your own life.
Frankly, one of the worst things that happen in this world, is when someone starts excepting everyone else follows his/her rules. "Everyone must believe this way, worship that way, be dressed in this and act like that, and eat their spenach and go to school and brush their teeth and be white and not be Communists and..." BRRR

People who think Pagans are "not acceptable" won't think we are more acceptable, even when we try to live by their rules of what is "acceptable". The Jews tried that with Europe and Christians more than 1000 years, and that lead them to concentration camps and gas chambers. I will not play that game with intolerant, prejudiced and hateful people.

"Some laws state that all who express interest in Paganism should be taught."
No-one needs to answer any questions if they don't want to, or if they don't feel qualified to answer, or if they just don't feel like it. There's plenty of information to answer all the questions people might have, and I believe my faith and being a witch is my private matter, and not much of interest to anyone but me. I will answer sincere questions to my best ability, of course, but I try my best not to engage in conversations with idiots. Of course, I'm just a human being, so sometimes I can't stop myself from doing things I know I better not do.

So - after all this "Pagans are reminded to keep the law and not allow it to be broken"... *sigh*
Or what? You go to hell? Threefold law comes and kicks your ass with karma? You're a bad person and should be ashamed?

In all... you have the law written in your heart. Follow it, and you'll be fine.

Flying Friday

More from Ariadne :-)

Pagan Rules

I can hear you already... "Rules?!? What you mean, "Rules"? I'm a Pagan! If I wanted rules I would have stayed a __________ (fill in the blank with whatever organized religion you may have left). Besides, I'm a Solitaire! I do my rituals alone. What do I need rules for?" Fair question...
The answer is simple: Without Rules, we are left without guidance. Forming them into set sentences and including them in your tradition's Book of Shadows ensures that you can study them at your leisure, and refer to them for guidance.
It's all very well to say, "I won't do this, and I'll remember to do that." and, indeed, you DO have all intentions of remembering. However, we are human, and we do forget Having a set of laws in written form is a great memory booster.
Virtually every religion gives their followers a set of guidelines or rules of conduct. In such laws we often find the true nature of the faith, (which can sometimes be quite different from the actual actions of many of its representatives.)
Wicca possesses not one but several sets of such rules. The most famous of these, which has been published in several forms, originated from what is now known as Gardnerian Wicca.
Many other versions exist, and some covens create their own set of laws for use by its members. Underlying all such rules is one basic concept that is also adhered to by virtually all Pagans: "Harm None".

Follow are some examples of guidelines for Laws of interest to Solitary Practitioners. Remember, these are guidelines. You need to get out your trusty notebooks and think hard on each subject. Then, write what YOUR rules are.
 

WORSHIP:
Sometimes lists times and dates of ritual observances; more generally, At the very least, your laws should state that the Goddess and God are deserving of worship, and remind you to be worshipful. Such words might appear in the beginning of the law. You may also list times and dates of ritual observances. Are you going to have daily morning and/or evening devotionals? Are you going to observe certain days dedicated to certain aspects of the Goddess and/o God, or your Patron? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself.
 

HARM NONE:
This is the central, unifying theme of most laws: We simply do not cause harm to others. This law, in some form or another, should be in your set. But, you need to consider just what "Harm None" means to you. Does it extend to stopping or preventing harm being caused to someone by another? What sort of harm? Emotional? Physical? Financial? If this rule is broken, either intentionally or unintentionally, what reparations need be made, if any? Once you start thinking on this subject, you may very well fill up pages in your notebook!
 

BLOODSHED:
Many laws state that blood is not to be shed within the circle, no ritual animal sacrifices may be made. 'Nuff said. Get it in writing!
 

USE OF MAGIC:
Some generally state that magic is not to be worked for pay, (for it could lead to performing destructive rites) and that magic is also never to be used to boost one's bride or to cause harm in any way. However, some sets of laws to allow for the use of 'the power' (i.e.,magic) to 'prevent or restrain' others from causing harm. (generally known as binding). Some state that one cannot use magic for their own "gain". (Although, personally, I find this unrealistic and unreasonable.) How do you feel about the use of magic?
 

CONDUCT:
Such laws warn Pagans not to boast or threaten others, and to treat other - Pagans and non-Pagans - with kindness and compassion. In addition, some laws state that Pagans must not use drugs within or without the circle; must not gossip about others, and mustn't interfere with the teachings of other Pagans. (It never hurts to include such messages in you laws. Though you may be the only one to read these reminders of the importance of kindness, the message may, at times, be necessary.) Remember, your rules are not just to give guidelines within circle or during ritual, but also in your daily lives. How you conduct yourself in the "mundane" world influences how the rest of the world views Pagans and Paganism in general. It is all well and fine to campaign for acceptance in the courts and the media, but to really gain acceptance, we must act acceptable!
 

TEACHING:
Some laws state that all who express interest in Paganism should be taught, unless they misuse their instructions. Such laws have largely been either dropped or reinterpreted. Truly following them today could lead to each Pagan teaching hundreds of students, which would result in poor lessons and, thus, poorly-instructed students. Such laws simply aren't practical in today's world when so many clamor for teachings, especially on the internet! On the other hand, you may not feel qualified to teach, especially if you are just finding your path yourself. Myself, rather than "teach" I gladly "share knowledge". I try not to presume to tell someone how to believe, or what to do, but AM willing to share what I have learned, either from others, or my own experience. Examine your own feelings on this, and decide accordingly.
 

KEEPING THE LAW:
Pagans are reminded to keep the law and not allow it to be broken. (Sound advice. This usually appears near the end of the law.)
 

THE LOVE OF THE GODDESS AND THE GOD:
A gentle reminder that we are not alone. (Generally, it's best to begin and to end the law with confirmations of Their love and concern.) 


SAMPLE LAWS

Using the above outlines of laws, you can come up with your own. Their precise form, and their method of presentation, is completely up to you. Your laws can be numbered or not. They can be written in rhyming couplets or in prose. Use whichever style suits you.

Here are three versions, that Scott Cunningham has written, and I have adapted to my own. The first is partially based on the above analyses, the second is adapted from "Wicca: a Guide for the Solitary Practitioner:, as is the third, which deals exclusively with magic. 

MY LAW

I follow the Old Ways, I walk with the Goddess and God and receive Their love.
I will keep the Sabbats and Esbats to the best of my abilities, for to do otherwise is to lessen your connections with the Divine. Should I not be able to perform a full rite, I will at least take time to silently remember, and thank the Goddess and God.
Harm none. This, the oldest law, is not open to change. In harming none, I shall also endeavor to prevent harm to the best of my abilities.
I will not shed blood in ritual, The Goddess and God do not need blood to be worshipped.
I shall be kind to all creatures, for hurtful thoughts and deeds are quite draining and are not worth the loss of energy.
Misery is self-created; as is joy, so I shall create joy and distain misery and unhappiness. This is within my power. Harm not.
I shall not teach others but will share information, to the best of my ability, to those students I choose. I will not share information with those who would use this information for destruction or control. I will not do this to boost pride, for one who shares for vanity or glory shall take little pride in their handiwork, one who shares out of love embodies the Goddess and God.
Ever remember, keep the Law close to your heart, this is my nature.
If ever the need arises, any law may be changed, or discarded, and new laws written to replace them, so long as the new laws don't break the oldest law of all: Harm none.
May the Blessings of the God and Goddess be on me always. 



THE NATURE OF MY WAY

Whenever possible, I shall hold my rites in wooded areas or on the beach. If this is impossible, a garden or a private room shall suffice, if it is readied with incense or flowers and well cleansed.
I shall Seek out wisdom in in all forms: Books, Friends and also in stones and herbs and in the songs wild birds. I shall listen to the whisper of the wind and the roar of water if I am to discover magic, it is here that the old secrets are kept. Books contain words but trees contain energies and wisdom books never imagined.
I shall always remember that the Old Ways are constantly revealing themselves. So I shall be as the willow that bends and sways with the wind. That which remains unbending shall be broken, but that which bends will survive and grow.
I shall not mock the rituals or spells of another, for who am I to say mine are greater in power or wisdom?
I shall endeavor to ensure that my actions are honorable, for all that I do shall return to me three-fold, good or bane.
I shall beware any who would try to spiritually dominate me, who would try to control and manipulate my workings and reverences. True reverence for the Goddess and God occurs within. I will look with suspicion on any who would twist worship from me for their own gain and glory, but I will welcome those who are suffused with love.
Honor all living things, for we are all of the same family: The universe. I shall endeavor to destroy no life, unless it threatens that of another.
And this is the nature of my way.
THE LAW OF THE POWER

The Power shall not be used to bring harm, to injure or control others. But if the need arises, the Power shall be used to protect my life or the lives of others.
The Power is used only as need dictates. It is not to be used frivolously.
The Power can be used for my own gain, as long as by doing so I harm none.
It is forbidden to accept money for use of the Power, for it quickly controls its taker. Gifts of the Goddess and God are to be given as gifts to others. Accepting gifts from others for works done in their behalf is acceptable, providing those gifts are not solicited.
Do not use the Power for prideful gain, for such cheapens the mysteries of magic.
Ever remember that the Power is the sacred gift of the Goddess and God, and should never be misused or abused.
And this is the Law of the Power.

Most Craft laws are secret, and can't be published in any form. However, the above examples included here should provide you with enough information to start to create your own laws.
 
May you do so with wisdom and love.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Almost Midnight

It's almost midnight and I can't sleep... I'm tired, very tired, and if I went to bed, I'd toss and turn a couple of hours just to fall asleep by mere exhaustion, and sleep to late afternoon... and wake up without feeling rested. I am anxious, because I have a meeting tomorrow. I don't know if it would be better to toss in a bed in dark room, or actually get some work done.

Ariadne's wonderful site exists only on internet archive, as far as I know, which I think is a pity.

1. 
I honor the energy of *birch*, for a new beginning. 
I am able to change myself as I will to do. 
So mote it be!

2. 
I honor the energy of *rowan* for protection against evil enchantment. 
I will not hobble myself with the chains of past failures. So mote it be!

3. 
I honor the energy of *alder*, for the protection of my inner oracle. 
I will listen to the voice of the Goddess Within. 
So mote it be!

4. 
I honor the energy of *willow*, for the lunar rhythms within me as a woman. 
I will recognize and heed my own body's cycles. 
So mote it be!

5. 
I honor the energy of *ash*, the magician's staff. 
I will recognize that "as above, so below," I play a part in the larger scheme of things. I will link my inner and outer worlds. 
So mote it be!

6.
I honor the energy of *hawthorn* for cleansing and restraint. 
I will choose what I place within my body, and empty myself of all that violates my personal well-being. 
So mote it be!

7. 
I honor the energy of *oak*, the doorway to the mysteries. 
I will call upon the strength of the Horned One when I feel in need of protection. 
So mote it be!

8. I honor the energy of *holly*, spear of the warrior.
I will not remain passive and victimized, but will choose to fight for my own freedom. 
So mote it be!

9. 
I honor the energy of *hazel*, the tree of wisdom. 
I will heed my own inner intuitions, and will be wise and informed in my choices. 
So mote it be!

10. 
I honor the energy of *vine*, the tree of conviviality and celebration. 
I will love myself and will celebrate life, not seeing the choices I make as deprivations but gifts. 
So mote it be!

11. 
I honor the energy of *ivy*, the spiral to center. 
I will do all that I do because of my own inner desires. I will listen to myself, and will remain balanced and centered while I do this work. 
So mote it be!

12. 
I honor the energy of *reed*, the tool of the hunt. 
I will take direct action when necessary to protect myself, including the "killing" of old patterns, friendships and associations which harm me. 
So mote it be!

13. 
I honor the energy of *elder* which sees the end from the beginning. 
Throughout many lifetimes I have been here. I have the knowledge that I have changed myself again and again. I will start from where I am now, and continue to persist in my path. I will succeed. 
So mote it be!

I think these might work as prayer beads... You could have a bead made of each wood, or choose a bead that is symbolical to what Ariadne associates with these 13 trees.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sleeping Beauty

I read Sleeping Beauty by Midori Snyder, and I got so tired and sarcastic.

"Out of a stock of brave heroines, of determined and clever girls, we found ourselves waiting at the bedside of a heroine whose talent rested on her ability to . . .well. . .rest. What indeed did this mute slip of a girl who became the epitome of passivity mean to young, contemporary women eager to claim their own destinies? What did she mean to us, as writers and folklorists who as children had felt emotionally stranded by a heroine whose awakening from death–feigned–as–sleep depended on a Prince's perseverance? "

Sure, it's over 10 years ago, but - why must EVERYONE be active?
Fairytales, myths, legends, stories, archetypes and all that are very powerful stuff. You can TRY to water them down, drown their soul, spirit and message, but you can't. Not even Disney, with their Victorian bourgeois nursery ma'amselles approved version could do it. But it's pretty bad that people who have been working with myths and fairytales for decades not to be able to see the truth in this specific fairytale, simply because the heroine SEEMS to be passive... Doesn't she know that fairytales are all allegories and symbols, dreamspeak to the core of humanity, and NOTHING is what it seems? Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs' "Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype" had been published 1992, and I can imagine Midori swollowed it immediately, as I did, and for the same reasons. Didn't she learn anything from it? Didn't she understand anything?

This groaning over Sleeping Beauty and her passivity is also coming from a woman who thinks Beauty would have been a more worthy heroine, because her "dauntless courage saved her father, her sisters, and a hideous Beast". Oh, geesh! As if you didn't know Beauty and the Beast, a 18th century fantasy, is responsible for a lot of girls believing their LOVE will CHANGE him from beast to beau... Brrr... Sleeping Beauty is at least a genuine article.Courage? Codependency, I say. Psht.

Anyway, the subject of the panel was "What Does Sleeping Beauty Mean to Me?" Well... IF she means to me "mute slip of a girl", unworthy example for a modern woman, "epitome of passivity", a fairytale heroine who left the receiver/listener/reader "emotionally stranded", someone whose life depended on someone else, THEN SAY SO!!! Why this insistance of that ALL fairytales MUST mean something ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE, EMPOWERING etc. to EVERYONE??? Why not use the opportunity to talk about the historical roles of women and how they feel wrong for a modern feminist, a woman "eager to claim her own destiny"?
Why? Uh. No answer to that question either.

"We made excuses about the poverty of versions worth discussing."
Uh. If you have a mind of your own, ANY ONE version is enough. Dig deeper, Midori, dig deeper, and dig deeper into you. You will find the truth of Sleeping Beauty - inside you... because you are Sleeping Beauty, as much as this fact makes you uncomfortable and upset... But, alas, that is one point in you you don't want to discuss... so you desperately seek a version of Sleeping Beauty you can use to avoid discussing this uncomfortable fact... *sigh*
But Sleeping Beauty, how she betrayed us by her sleep! Among the pantheon of heroines, even those who married easily in happily–ever–after tales, Sleeping Beauty's inertia was almost an admission of failure, of shame at my gender's lack of spirit.
 Every human being lacks in spirit every now and then, despite their gender. Gender is irrelevant, and should be. Why is it so threatening to admit your humanity, human weakness, Midori? You are not a superwoman, none of us is...
A lot of women WANT to become SAHMs. Every woman who has ever sighed over the necessity to leave home for work understands that desire, and should have ovaries to admit it. And I have to say, 90% of all women who work outside home have sighed over it. 90% of women who have chosen to stay at home, and work as a housekeeper to herself and her family, or mom, or home based entrepreneur or artist, say it was the best decision they ever made. I don't say anything about men, because I don't know anything about men's attitudes on this matter, but as men are human beings too, I think they think the same. After all... everyone understands "I HATE MONDAYS!!!" So what about being honest about that and admitting we would rather work at home...
No, don't start yapping about being your husband's little slave and all that stuff. I'm married and I stay at home, because of health issues, and I am nobody's slave. That too is totally up to you. If a woman - or a man, for that matter - WANTS to be someone's slave, be it. It has nothing to do with me. And even though there are still situations where the women - and men, don't forget that - live in a slavelike situation in our modern world, and that's not right, most of us do not. Most of us do make our own destinies. Even those of us whose destiny it is to sleep in the tower for the rest of our lives, because no "prince" is coming to rescue us, and we don't have the means to wake up on ourselves.
"We may not have liked her passivity, but we had to yield to her enduring presence and salute her tenacious survival."
Oh, bull! It's not Sleeping Beauty, you idiot, it's The Myth. And that should have told you, you have misunderstood the fairytale wholly.

So - as these people couldn't get the story, they started looking for a version they could understand. Now, as they didn't understand the core, they couldn't understand any of the versions either. You have to understand this about fairytales - you can try to water them down, but you will never, ever be able to touch the core of the story... how ever child friendly you make it, how ever much you manage to please the ma'amselles - and that's the easy part, because all the sex and violence has been added to keep people interested. That has nothing to do with the core of the myth. As Midori should have understood...
Well, anyway, as they don't understand the story, their take on it became  "the transformation of fairy tales".
It's so I could cry...

Here are the fairytales mentioned in the article, so you can read them yourself and make your own mind up on what is the message and the core of this story.


"Satisfied, the young woman comes to the palace, retrieves the Sultan's son from his grave, and reveals her true identity. "Now I know," she says, "that you will go to any length for the woman you love.""
Huh? He did it for SOMEONE ELSE!!! 

Who could not admire this Sleeping Beauty? 
Well... Sure, she's a great heroine, solves her own problems and all that, but... it's not Sleeping Beauty, is it?

On our panel, I noted that the European tales seem to be focused on the men, not the slumbering heroine...
...Despite this emphasis on the actions of the male characters, Terri argued that the conflict between the women in the tale is also an important element
Ah, but, Midori, that is because you don't understand the tale.

Also, there is a piece here I don't read in the story. Perhaps because I'm ND, I have a look at the social games from outside...

A woman touched by fairies, evidenced by the magical sleep, is dangerous. She is a threat to the whole society, and one cannot count the man, obviously magically forced, seduced, to see the danger... anyone touched by fairies, how ever innocent, is a living homing device, inviting the fairyworld to this one... Ever heard of Halloween? I mean the REAL one? Samhain? I strongly suggest you read Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies. The king's mother would have been protecting the whole society by burning the young woman... and, frankly... considering the source... who do you believe more, the woman or the man? Do you choose to believe the cook's story about how the mother told her to boil the children, or the mother's story of that she was just protecting the community as her son, the king, was temporarily under a spell...?

Also, still at 19th century it was considered the woman's fault that she didn't produce children. Happen to see the movie, Marie Antoinette? Still today a lot of men accuse their wives of bearing only daughters, even when we KNOW the man is the only parent able to produce the essential piece of a boy child - Y chromosome. She was not giving the king a child, not because she'd be sick, or he'd be sick, but because she refused to... So, yes, she was "evil", and she should have left her place without fight to a woman who clearly could produce children, and twins at that! Because she didn't, it was obvious she didn't love her husband. You should read Griselda's story and realize that THAT was a portrait of a "good" woman - and as a "bad" woman, the king's wife did deserve all the bad consequences she got.

Again, the focus on gender... *sigh* Neither the Italian, nor the French focuses on men. They tell the story with a man as one of the main characters, because of the historical context. The introduction of a woman touched by fairies to a normal society would not have been possible without a male catalyst, neither could the village elder be a woman without a male catalyst... and in both of these stories the village eldest IS a woman... the queen... In one she's the king's wife, in other the king's mother. King is just a royal insignia, if you so wish. He does nothing significant, he says nothing significant, he works only as a catalyst. His job is to bring the fairygirl into the village, his job is to justify the queen's position and power - in the critical moment he isn't even there! He's somewhere else, hunting or something... as you have read a lot of fairytales and myths, you know this happens all the time.
Where is Cinderella's father? Absent.
Where is Snowwhite's father? Absent.
Where are the seven dwarves whose job is to protect and provide for Snowwhite, when the Witch Queen visits her? Absent.
Red Riding Hood? Absent. Bluebeard? Absent...
Take any old fairytale with female lead, and you'll find that men in the story obediently play their supporting roles... the princes fight dragons, rose bushes, giants and witches, to be there to save the princess and give her a reasonable reason to be where she needs to be. The prince is a robot with a mission. He doesn't rape Sleeping Beauty - nor kiss her, or kneel by her bed - because he loves her. He does it because he has to, because that's his part of the story. He's just a drone!
I don't understand how anyone who has read fairytales with intention could believe anything else... he could just as well be under a spell. Of course not under the spell of the girl, because she is not a witch. Sleeping Beauty is just a girl, an ordinary girl. Sure she's a princess, but that's only because at that time people were just as interested of princesses as we are, and she had to be able to "disappear" without anything getting disturbed. An ordinary girl gone missing would have left a hole in the working order. Princesses are rather unnecessary things, don't you think?

Nevertheless, all that is in reality very uninteresting, as fairytales are messages in disguise. The princess is YOU, the queen, the king, the princes, dwarves, fairy godmothers and everyone else in the story are just... props... it's a dream you are having. Sleeping Beauty is the story of a person - male or female - who is waiting for something, scared of the obstacles; dragons, rose bushes, linen and spindles (work :-D) chooses to sleep in stead of doing something about the situation. Sleeping Beauty is a story of coming of age. She doesn't want to grow up. She wants to be a little girl all her life. She doesn't want to let go of her foolish childhood games and take upon herself the duties, responsibilities, hardship of adulthood. So she pretends it's not there. She sleeps. Princes come and try to wake her up, but they all fail and get stuck in the thorns, until one, resilient one, manages to get through and wakes her...

I have been sleeping for 40 years. Every now and then an idea passes and almost manages to get me awake, but I'll quickly fall back to my sleep. When will my "prince" come by? When will it arrive, the idea, dream, ambition - passion, if you wish - so strong and resilient that it won't give up, but will force me to wake up? Obviously it was not a mortal man, I've been happily married to my husband for 12 years now, and he didn't manage to wake me up. It must be something bigger, stronger, more real, more... a man? Ridiculous!




Sleeping Beauty is diminished in other ways in these later, more "civilized" versions. Earlier variants suggest that the father is the character most at fault, bringing the curse down on his daughter through improper dealings with the fantastic (such as slighting an important fairy). But Victorian versions seem to suggest the girl is responsible for her own fate, punished for her disobedience to her father's command not to touch the spinning wheel. In these versions, it is not only Briar Rose who suffers, but her parents and the entire court who must sleep for a hundred years.
Uh. So it would be okay if she is punished for her father's wrongdoings, but it's a bad thing that she is responsible for her own fate? >:->

(One can imagine that to the class–obsessed Victorians, a privileged daughter handling the tools of the lower classes provoked alarm, threatening to lower the status of the family. Briar Rose's sin can only be expiated when a man worthy enough, both in heart and noble status, redeems her from her transgression — restoring both Beauty and her family to its former social position.)

Let's look at this idea. The Victorian upper class women didn't have much else to do but crafts, so the dangerous linen doesn't much make sense in the Victorian frame - but it might have meant something when this story was created, as this is an old fairytale. So - if Sleeping Beauty is frozen in her "sin", and not only her but her whole family and world, until the Redeemer arrives, the one who will watch over her and see that she won't "sin" no more... then what? What does that make of the fairytale? Yet another thread left in the wind...

In our century, Sleeping Beauty no longer speaks to a common identity, a single icon to shape the female image for new generations. Instead, our Princess finds herself portrayed in many different guises: as a helpless 1950s stay–at–home girl, a bold space opera heroine, an oppressed time–traveling queen, a stoic Holocaust survivor, a sexually abused child, and myriad others.
 And what does she make of this? She's been given several alternative interpretations:

We have the story of an American prom queen and her football team captain; she is being brought up as a poor girl, and she is good and kind, and all that, and then she finds out she's a princess and before she can meet her parents and start her new life as a princess, everything is put on hold... for what? The prince must feat the dragon, the dragon that stops her from entering her new life that is totally strange and scary to her, a life she hasn't been prepared for in any way or manner... It sure looks a bit different explained like that... :->

Then we have a child who is being molested, and the story of a prince is just a dream she entertains to be able to survive. What does she do with this interpretation? What is Sleeping Beauty's dream IS just a dream?

There is the reminder of that when we sleep we usually also dream... what did Sleeping Beauty dream about and what is the significance of that?


And she goes on and on, giving examples on other contemporary interpretations... but doesn't enter into answering the question that began all this: what does this mean to you?

Happily she ends the article
In the oldest versions, we had rediscovered some of Beauty's original wit and strength. Even as each successive generation tried to tame or alter the substance of her nature, Beauty's power as an agent of transformation continued to shine forth from the core of her tale.
Oh, yes... Sleeping Beauty might have some substance as the witty and resourceful, magical heroine from Arabian Nights, but as the "seemingly passive" heroine, she is worthless. "Beauty's power as an agent of transformation"? No... It's about HER transformation... Uh. SHE is the main character of the story. Main charcters don't just sit there - or sleep - and act as agents of anything. All the fairytales are about the change of the main character. SHE is the one who has to learn something. SHE has to change. SHE has to wake up and take upon herself her new role in life. *sigh*

What ever.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It was not God, it was...

My husband is having X-files marathon. In one episode a preacher tells about a little girl who was really sad and shaken because her big brother told her Moses and God didn't part the Red Sea, it was wind and the ocean waves. The little girl asked the preacher if miracles do happen or is the Bible just fairytales?

Well... Let me tell you another story. Once upon a time there was a kind farmer, who used to leave a bowl of milk out every night to God. Every morning the bowl was empty, and the farmer was happy because God had drank his milk.
One day, a smart ass skeptic came to visit this farmer and laughed at his simplicity, stupidity. He persuaded the farmer to stay up and wait hidden by the milk bowl to see who drank the milk. Very soon they saw the culprit. A young fox cub, who had lost his mother, jumped on the low stone wall, ran to the milk and drank it all with good appetite. Then it disappeared into the night.
The farmer was angry and decided not to feed forest animals any more. What kind of creatures had been drinking his libation earlier?
But in the night God appeared to him. God told him that She was saddened by his decision, because She had been able to feed the fox cub, and many other needing creatures before the cub, because of the kindness of the milk farmer...

You see... I would have told the little girl "You're brother is right. Moses did not part the Red Sea. It was the wind and ocean... but who do you think told the wind and the ocean to do that?"

I am not Christian, nor Jewish, and the stories in the Bible are fairytales to me. I am a Pagan, and I know that myth is not synonymous to lie. Just because something is "invented" doesn't mean it less true. Frankly, what is truth? We cannot even be sure of that! I am fully convinced fairies exist. I have seen a unicorn with my own eyes. Angels exist just as sure as you and me exist. Of course, we cannot be quite certain of that we exist, or matter exists, or anything, it is quite possible that we are all just God's dream, and when God wakes up, we vanish like a dream vanishes in the morning...