Archive for April, 2014
After getting my tablet some time ago, I decided to try to make an effort to follow non-traditional news sources- progressive news sites (like Mother Jones, Tikkun) as well as Black/African-American and Native American/Indian news sources. I discontinued a couple of Native sources because they weren’t being updated- though that may have been an error on the LinkedIn Pulse app I’m using.
I just discovered an exciting story right here- the Minneapolis City Council has voted to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day (Several states have either abolished or replaced the holiday- South Dakota, Alaska, Hawai’i and Oregon). Though this is a somewhat symbolic gesture it is definitely a step in the right direction. I also noticed that Al Jazeera America picked up the story and that they have a whole section of their website devoted to “Indian Country”! For the sake of clarity and comparison, I’m dividing them into two lists- one by Native community-run/owned media, the other by non-Native owned media. I’ve been excited to see the Wild Hunt, which is probably the top Pagan news blogs, include stories about American Indian, Hindu, Afro-Caribbean communities. This is just a start, and I’m also interested in blogs written by Native folks about cultural/political/spiritual issues, so I’ll keep an eye out, and please add any good resources you know of in the comments.
Native-run News Sources:
Native Times– Oklahoma newspaper
The Circle News– Minnesota (online and paper formats)
American Indian News Service (Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian)
Non-Native News Sources
Question 5 of 30 Days of Deity Devotion
Fionn is the son of the warrior Cumhall, who is said to have died before his birth. His mother is Muirenn Munchaem”of the white neck” the daughter of the druid Tadgh mac Nuadat, who was kidnapped and impregnated by Cumhall. He may have been killed in vengeance by Tadgh.
Tadgh is the son of Nuadu Airgetlamh (of the Silver Arm) a king of the Tuatha De Dannan, or he may himself be a form of Nuadu.
Muirenn could not raise Fionn, so he was nursed by her sister, the ban-draoi Bodhmall. His foster-father was Fiacclach mac Conchinn, his son Moling Luath is his foster brother. Two bio-brothers are named as Fithel and Feinnidh, his aunt or sister is Uirne, wife of Illann and mother of Bran and Sceolang.
While the earlier hero Cuchulainn for the most part sticks to Emer, Fionn has many lovers and wives. The one that stands out the most is Sadb, who is turned into a doe and gives birth to his son, Oisin as a fawn. The other important wife would be Ailbe, daughter of his patron, Cormac mac Airt. Other wives: Berrach (called his third wife) Cruithne, Daolach, Maigneis, Smirgat, Taise and Teite. Aine (seems to be different than the love goddess of Cnoc Aine) would sleep with no other man, and in one version he fathers two sons with her, in another he rejects her.
Sons: In addition to Oisin (who marries Niamh and has Oscar) there is Cairelle (killed by Goll), Daire, Faelan mac Finn, Fergus Finbel, Fiachra and Fiachna.
Daughters: Ai Arduallach the arrogant, Cainche, mother of Goll’s children, Lugach, foster-daughter: Bebinn.
Reference: Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology by James MacKillop
A reader asked me how people of color feel excluded from Pagan communities- outside of overtly racist groups- and I repeated things I’ve seen discussed by Pagans of color on their blogs- much of it is subtle social exclusion, but there are also assumptions that individuals should follow their “ancestral traditions” while assuming based on looks what that persons’ ancestry is, that maybe they do honor their ancestral culture, or that they have tried it and doesn’t work for them and they feel called to a different path, and so forth.
I’d recommend reading those blogs yourselves, so I’m making a list of links, please add any that you know of in the comments.
One theme I have noticed from Pagans of color is that many of them are sick of educating white Pagans on “racism 101”, and that they want us to educate ourselves. Sometimes Pagans of color also want their own space where they do not have to worry about racial issues- just as women and GLBT folks sometimes do- or heck Pagans do- there is a Pagans of Color suite at Pantheacon for this reason.
We Are Pagans of Color on tumblr- has a great list of resources
The Invisibility Cloak: Race & the Pagan by Black Witch
Social Unrest & Reflections of Pagans of Color at the Wild Hunt
More to come…
Anyway, I would like to volunteer to answer questions about racial/cultural issues from white folks- Pagan or otherwise- if you have a question you think is too basic or clueless and will annoy your friends of color, please ask here. Of course I’d like people to do their “racial homework” but I can’t force all white pagans to read books/websites on white privilege and racial issues, and go out and learn about other cultures, so I’ll keep posting resources, but this is additional form of outreach that hopefully may help reduce tensions. Please ask questions that inform and add to our communit(ies) racial and cultural understanding- not counterproductive questions. If it seems to be a question better answered by a person of color, then I will pass it along. And conversely, if you are a blogger/website owner etc. of color who is getting questions that you think whites need to figure out for themselves, you can talk to me. You can comment on this blog, otherwise my e-mail is caelesti AT gmail dot com
I don’t claim to know everything- I’m continually unlearning society’s racism and classism and doing my “racial homework” both academically and as an activist, and often with some “tough love” help from folks of color- who have given me chances and patience that I didn’t necessarily deserve!
Part of the reason I wrote that long post on Functions of Clergy was to develop ideas on what role(s) I feel called to play in my communities. Among Pagans, there is sometimes an assumption that anyone who is a “serious” spiritual practitioner has the goal to be clergy. In Wicca, getting a 3rd degree initiation generally means you are considered a priest/ess, and it was once assumed that was the goal for all Wiccans, but it’s not necessarily the case these days. It’s even trickier when your entire religion is rather misleadingly named after an elite caste of educated clergy/judges/magicians etc- Druids. ADF has a clear definition and training system in place for our clergy, and we have many other roles that are greatly valued within our organization. We have the Guilds- Bards, Warriors, Brewers, Artisans, Scholars, Liturgists, Magicians, Seers, each has its own training program. We have Orders that focus on particular deities and mysteries. You need to go through the basic Dedicant Program to go on to these other types of training, but we try to be clear that the DP is not required to be a good upstanding ADF member.
Anyway, back to me- after my numerous attempts at involvement in Pagan ritual groups, I’ve found that leading and participating in them doesn’t seem to be working out. There may be a right situation, with the right people that comes along, but I am not going to force it out of desperation for community if that community is dysfunctional or just doesn’t fit with my schedule/transportation needs. This situation reminds me a lot of being single but open to relationships that arise (quirkyalone), vs. compulsive dating even when you’re burned out because you feel like you “have to” be in a relationship. Or staying in bad relationship for the wrong reasons.
I am interested in being possibly being involved with broader groups like Paganicon and discussion/meetup type groups (a friend of mine is thinking of starting one up) I am interested in helping with projects in ADF and various polytheist groups. I am interested in working one on one- or in small groups to help seekers and solitaries learn more about various polytheistic religions. This may involve teaching a class or leading a workshop. In other words- peer solitary ministry. Because guess what: 80% (or more?) of Pagans are solitary and lack access to many of the social functions that organized religion provides- then again so do most Pagans who belong to ritual groups.
My biggest interest right now though, is to help empower other adults and teens on the autism spectrum. To help them live happy, full successful lives- and by success I mean as they define it, not as hyper-capitalist society defines it. Pursuing their interests, connecting with other people in healthy ways (friends, romantic partners, family) finding work that is economically, emotionally and intellectually sustainable, stable housing, healthcare etc. And finding a spiritual path and perhaps community, if that is what they seek, that suits their needs as an autistic person. To do this work I will need to partner with many different types of communities and organizations. I would love to use my skills and experiences as an autistic adult to help people in Pagan, spiritual and geeky subcultures because I believe there are many people with autistic traits who are not getting the help that they need. Many of these people are not identified or do not identify as autistic, and I do not consider it my place to label them as such. I will educate other folks about autism, and ways of coping and working with it, and if people recognize traits in themselves or others, and they see solutions that might help them or their loved ones, then awesome. If they need services and accommodations that require a documented disability, then I can help refer them. But for some folks recognizing, “I’m an introvert, or have trouble with non-verbal communication, or sensory issues- and that’s OK! There’s nothing wrong with me, I’m just wired a little differently, and here are some ways I can deal with a world that isn’t designed for people like me.” is a huge first step.