Posts tagged ‘social justice’

Intro: Why Celtic Paganism is not usually Alt-Right friendly

I’ve spent a fair amount of time for several years reading thru articles about the Alt Right and closely related political/cultural factions that say they aren’t Alt Right, but have many of the same ideas & tendencies. Yes, this has included looking at Alt Right websites, forums, even watching some of their YouTube videos. Reading blogs by folkish & Alt-Right sympathetic polytheists, Heathens & Pagans as well. It’s not exactly a fun way to spend my time, but I’ve considered this research a harsh necessity in today’s world. Likewise, I know many of these folks do the same research in the other direction towards people like me, the “Social Justice Warriors”.

Anyhow, I’ve encountered in several of these places frustration, bafflement and so forth at how most Celtic Pagan spaces do not include them or even that our communities (both online & off) are too feminist/SJW dominated. Typically I see this as a good “problem” for us to have! Alt-right leaning ideas (or ones easily mistaken for them)  do indeed exist in our spaces, as well as in non-Pagan centric Celtic cultural spaces. We don’t always agree on what “counts” as bigotry and cultural appropriation, and in particular I’m not going to call people racist or appropriative, because I feel those terms have become so broadly used that it isn’t clear what they mean. Heck, I myself have been accused of cultural appropriation and various kinds of bigotry, in spite of all my attempts to try following intersectional social justice ideology.  I’m not interested in a debate with any hard-core Alt Righties. I’m open to potential civil discussion with people who don’t dehumanize people who are different from them, and to be fair I’ve had a tendency to do that myself to some folks- and I’ll be talking more about ways I’ve behaved badly and been hypocritical. I’d appreciate people who disagree with me to do the same.

For anyone who isn’t comfortable, that’s fine you do not need to participate. I’ll still be moderating comments for nastiness. I also think we need to have discussions among liberal/left-wing/progressive Pagans & polytheists and I will make it clear when those are internal discussions, likewise with discussions between liberal/leftists who are of non-Pagan religious identities and non-religious identities.  Whew! That was a lot, and that’s just the intro post.

This post series is being done from a primarily religious and cultural viewpoint as an many generations removed Irish/Scottish diasporan American polytheist rather than a secular political viewpoint. If I get ambitious enough I’ll adapt them for a non-Pagan Irish/Scottish cultural interest audience (for both diasporans & natives, whoever’s interested in my blatherings, I’m also happy to link to folks grappling with similar issues in their communities.

This post was inspired by & an indirect response to #9 Politics in Melas the Hellene’s Polemical Topics in Polytheism series.

 

June 1, 2018 at 1:42 am 10 comments

Smoking as a Class Issue

Among the conversations I got into with my family while on vacation was some of my relatives expressing befuddlement as they traveled across Montana and Wyoming that OMG, There are Still All These People who smoke? How strange, I mean, *I don’t know anyone who smokes* What decade is this anyway? sorta comments. At some point I pointed out that these days, smoking is something of a class difference. It used to be that smoking was pretty evenly common among every class of people. The smoking rate has gone way down with rising awareness of health risks, social pressure and anti-smoking laws. But it tends to still be higher among working-class and poor people, at least in the U.S. This may seem counter-intuitive considering how expensive smokes can be, but consider this: nicotine is a stimulant- many of these folks are on their feet all day, and smoking gives them a little extra energy. Smoking can relieve stress, and many of them are very over-stressed. Yes middle class people are also often very stressed, but have more options for stress-relieving techniques. They also are more likely to be able to access smoke-quitting programs, alternatives like e-cigs (which have a high upfront cost) therapy etc. Many people who are recovering from alcoholism, addiction or mental illness smoke as a stress reliever. Once again low income= less access to recovery programs/therapy etc. A smoke, a drink or a favorite food that might be seen as comparatively bad uses of money and unhealthy choices are simple pleasures low-income people can access after a hard day (or night). I suspect that if my one uncle who lives on an Indian reservation was present, he probably would’ve backed up some of my reasons. Some of them seem to be acknowledged, but mostly my view was overpowered by White Middle-Class Liberals Know Best self-righteousness.

Now I’m not saying smoking is this great habit that we should all take up. I’m saying that think before you swoop down and condemn “Those People” for being foolish, short-sighted, selfish or whatever for smoking. I was reminded of all this while reading Nornoriel’s post in which he points out that as a coping/stress release technique smoking a couple times a week is not as bad as many people claim. “Vice” taxes on tobacco and liquor don’t really work, and essentially function as regressive taxes that have more of an impact on poor people. Which I suspect, is exactly what they’re intended to do. I wonder what would happen if someone were to propose a special tax on coffee. Everyone would pitch a fit. That’s the “acceptable” vice that people of all classes partake in. Both sleep-deprived office workers and truck drivers alike are dependent on caffeine. It’s a drug that makes you a good productive capitalist worker. Unlike say, marijuana…

 

August 28, 2014 at 2:50 am 2 comments

Myth of the Perfect Social Justice Ally

Thanks to the internet, there are lists of “How to Be a Good Ally” directed towards members of many different social advantaged groups: whites, heterosexuals, men, middle/upper class people, able-bodied, neurotypical, and cisgendered (that’s non-transgendered) people. While that’s fine and dandy and many of them do give good advice, I still don’t call myself an ally. There is way too much baggage attached to it, and activism is already hard enough!

There is myth of the perfect ally held among white & class privileged people, and its why I find white anti-racism groups to be hostile to newcomers, certain exceptionally enlightened white people think they can do no wrong and jump on other people when they mess up. Good intentions are no excuse for ignorance, prospective allies are told in every possible type of ism-fighting group. It’s not my responsibility to educate you, use Google if you have a question!

Now, I can understand impatience and distrust from people of various non-dominant groups. Many of them who have fought long and hard in the trenches know there is no magical exceptionally enlightened cadre of white folks, men, heterosexuals etc. I realize as a person with various privileges, I will have to prove myself again and again, and some people will never completely trust me. I don’t blame them. But it is extra hypocritical and annoying to get this from people who have the same privileges- and often more privilege than me. What’s so special about them? They went to the right grad school and studied with Cornell West or Judith Butler? They’re teaching in the South Side of Chicago? They’re good anarchist vegan Buddhists? They betrayed whatever dominant group they belong to, and have suffered mightily for it?  Please. Whatever they’ve done, they too are the product of a racist/classist/everything else-ist society, and they continually need to unlearn that. They’re only one slip-up away from losing that book contract or speaking gig about diversity issues. Gee, that sounded kind of bitter. Yes I admit that maybe I’m a little jealous of career activists. But my point stands- there is no perfect ally!

I suppose if I didn’t belong to any non-dominant/oppressed groups, this empathy would be a lot harder for me. But I know many times, reaching out to non-autistic people, and even autistic people who have a negative Autism Speaks view autism, is hard. I don’t have the luxury of brushing them off and telling them to “just Google it” when they ask me questions that seem ignorant. I try to meet people where they are. Sometimes I get frustrated with people who claim to support people with autism but go about it in (I think) the wrong way.  But I try to set aside my anger and explain how I feel.  And I have to deal with difficulties of communicating with a neurotypical each time I do that.

Every “ism” is different, every person who experiences and benefits in different way from each “ism” is different. We all have our journey we have to take in understanding that. Some people won’t get very far on those journeys, but they won’t even be able to start if we won’t talk to them.

August 8, 2014 at 1:21 am Leave a comment

Exploring Heathenry

For a long time, I’ve been a Celtic polytheist/Druid and a Hellenic polytheist, and while I still have an interest in the Greek gods, I feel the context of the culture is much too foreign to me, though I have tried grounding more in American culture. I’ve long had an interest in Heathenry/Asatru but dealing with 3 cultures just seemed like too much! But I think I will it explore it more, and put Hellenic stuff on the backburner for now. I also have been realizing that while I can certainly re-embrace my Gaelic (both Irish and Scottish) heritage, study the language, and so forth, I am really much more grounded in an Anglo-German cultural worldview.

After the looong Pagan definition post, I decided to untangle the various traditions labeled “Heathen”, “Germanic”, “Norse”, or just “Northern”. I understand there is a lot of confusion on the Internet about what is what, and I try to take a neutral stance by going by how different groups seem to identify themselves, so we can clarify what is typically considered part of Heathenry, and what isn’t (like Norse Wicca). Plus I could pigeon-hole into the Pagan Blog Project by started the title with “Odinism” for O. Which is funny, because that’s a term I don’t see people use all that often.

I started on another section about Germanic-based magical/esoteric traditions, since they are often practiced outside of a Heathen religious context. I’d heard of Pow-Wow magic before, the healing charms and hex signs of the Pennsylvania Deutsch (not Dutch!)- the term they use is Deitsch, but noticed some time ago that there is also a revival of Heathen religion surrounding it- Urglaawe, based on German folklore in the area. It would also be cool if I could find Minnesotan and Wisconsin takes on German folklore, for more local adaptations.

Another more unfortunate motivation for my interest in Heathenry, is that I am really fed up with all the racism that infect certain parts of it. We have those problems in Celtic and other European traditions as well. On the Hellenic side, I don’t generally have to deal with it, because the people in that tradition that advocate Greeks-only are pretty only communicating in Greek, as far as I know. So while that is certainly NOT my primary motivation, it has become even more of a concern since the shooting last April in Overland Park, Kansas.  After that happened, I wanted to write letters to local activist groups explaining the religion and that it is NOT what we are about- but I wasn’t part of the “we”, so I did not feel that I could do that.

 

July 19, 2014 at 2:44 am 1 comment

Who’s With Me?

In our very divided world, that’s the question that is always asked. Man or Woman? Gay or Straight? Black or White? Liberal or Conservative? Christian or Atheist? There is almost always only two options, nothing in between can be a trustworthy position. That person is light-skinned- are they “really” Black or white? We can’t trust the bisexuals, or the trans*, or genderqueer folks- they have to pick a side. You’re too moderate, you can’t caucus with us.

For some time now, a religious division has been arising, in small subset of the population- Pagans vs. Polytheists. Some “hard”- (the gods are totally separate) polytheists argue that the Pagan subculture emphasizes an all-Gods-are one theology,  a secularized hippie culture that doesn’t fit with their values, and has a bias towards Wicca, and religions that resemble it. There was conference last weekend, the Polytheist Leadership Conference in Fishkill, New York that discussed many of these issues. I’m glad to hear of its success- many thoughtful, talented and dedicated people were involved in it, and plans are being made for another one next year. I’m glad to see polytheist traditions grow and develop spiritually and intellectually. I’ll talk more about that in another post. But for now I will put this into perspective in my own life.

As I’ve discussed before, I’ve tried to do what I can for my local Pagan community. I’ve served in a couple of leadership positions, I’ve tried started groves that haven’t gotten off the ground due to different scheduling and commitment issues. Other people have planted groves in places I couldn’t get to by bus. I’ve accepted that. I was in a cult-like Celtic group at one point. I moved on from that, and in keep with the subcultures code of silence regarding abuse, I even kept my experiences to myself. (A decision that I am not proud of)

One of the things that has kept me going, in the Neo-Pagan subculture is, as an autistic person, and one who suffers from depression & anxiety, it was one of the few places I could feel truly accepted. I rarely had to explain myself, my quirks, my difficulties. No matter what, there was always someone at a Pagan gathering who was weirder than me. Some of them are autistic or neurodiverse- wired to be weird. Some of them just had a goofy personality.

But acceptance isn’t enough. I’m very fortunate, for an adult on the autism spectrum. I was identified at an early age. I had the opportunity to go to college, and one with a great learning disability program to boot. I completed my degree. I live in a community with many social services for people with disabilities, and a fairly good awareness of autism. I’ve never been homeless, I’ve for the most part avoided the abuse folks with disabilities so often receive from various “loved ones”. I’ve met many others who weren’t so lucky. I can do a lot to help these other people, but I need to help myself first. But I can’t do it all alone.

Whenever I look for work, I rarely think of asking other Pagans for help. It always seems like they’re struggling to keep afloat. The economy sucks, and some of them have disabilities too. Maybe the more well-off and well-adjusted Pagans keep to themselves. Besides, it always seems like much like when I go to one of my sci-fi or gamer-geek events, people come to Pagan events to escape their “mundane lives”. To reconnect with the past, their ancestors, their gods. Their cultural roots. All the things they feel the need to deny and bury and hide when they go back to work. They don’t want to talk about that stuff. It’s just too depressing. I don’t blame them. Many Pagans have strong political opinions, but I rarely see them at the political events I attend. Maybe they’re too busy with their religious activities- or geeky activities. Maybe they are more involved in radical anarchist type groups. I don’t know.

I go to Unity, and sometimes I feel as if everyone there has their lives together- at least if they don’t, they don’t seem to advertise it as much as Pagans do. Sometimes maybe Unitarians are a little out of touch in some ways. Maybe a little too privileged, or idealistic or optimistic. Most of them don’t know a lot about Paganism beyond Wicca or feminist Goddess worship 101. But it still seems they are a lot more in touch with reality than most Pagans I meet. Certainly I go to church in part to relax, to find support and community, but the Unitarians very much ground themselves in the issues that are happening in the community- locally and globally. I wasn’t sure how to ask them for help either. I went to their “career transitions” support group, which mostly was populated by middle-aged job seekers who didn’t seem to know what advice to give me.

So look folks- I know we want to talk theology, or ritual design, or spirit work. Or sometimes things like should we raise funds for a building, or what the role(s) of clergy should be. We’re a religious community those things should naturally be our focus. What about people in small town and rural areas? Many of them just one understanding person to talk to them about their religion, in their town, regardless of their personal beliefs. What about people who are getting out of prison (or are currently there) whom society rarely gives second chances to?

Some folks involved in the conference are primarily spirit-workers, they have stated, and I understand this- that their primary calling is serving the spirits and the gods, rather than the community- or that they serve the community by serving the gods. That’s fine. I can respect that. I feel called to serve the gods by serving community. I’d just like to remind you of something. Yes the gods have been neglected for thousands of years, and they want our attention. But the gods are not going to starve if you don’t feed them, or freeze on the streets if you don’t house them. They will not commit suicide if they feel alone, abused by their families or spiritual leaders, abandoned by the American Dream.

So I ask you, are you with me?

July 17, 2014 at 12:57 am 2 comments

Are We Misusing the Term Privilege?

I decided to let some more time pass for emotions to cool down before I posted this. Another blogger, Jackal & Crescent linked to my earlier post on “Wiccanate” privilege, and I thought this person gave a valid critique of the possible misuse of the term privilege– he suggested “Wiccan bias” might be a better term, and that the word privilege should be used for more widespread systemic oppression such as race, class, gender etc. Now this concept was brought up by individuals that do have personal experiences with other forms of oppression, and they were bringing that perspective in mind.

I have also seen some thoughtful critiques of the use of “privilege” in general- here’s one from a disability studies blog.

Not every form of social advantage is a “privilege” in the sense of white/non-disabled/cisgendered/class/male privilege (I’m sure I’m forgetting other isms) I found a great Tumblr whose entire purpose is collecting iffy privilege lists. They are listing real advantages that some people have over others, that are in fact unfair, but it is ridiculous for the most part to equate them as being on the same level as other isms. Also note the lack of intersectionality in some of them- for example most of the items on the “monosexual” checklist (And I’m a politically aware bisexual, so yes, I’d already heard of “monosexism”.)

Privilege is Not Hierarchical and Mock Privilege Exists by Toni D’Orsay

Excellent essay by Ms. D’Orsay discusses the false idea of hierarchies of oppression, and the idea (new to me, but familiar) of mock privilege. A relevant example of this for Pagans would be the assumption of that many of us are Christian (or agnostic/secular), an assumption that we find annoying but works to our advantage if we are (in general or situationally) in “the closet” about our religion.

Some questions about the culture of well, privilege that surrounds discussion of privilege.

Other inappropriate uses of “privilege”- this Youtube video about “Geek Privilege“- as a geek myself I very much agree that we should stop shaming/bullying other geeks for being less knowledgeable about our pet topics, and I am thankful to this fellow for putting the message out there, but privilege is not how I’d phrase it. (heck I’d say the same about various Pagans/Polytheists…)

Some atheists/agnostics are also using the concept of “Religious privilege“, Christian privilege (or even monotheist privilege) is definitely A Thing, but religious privilege assumes all religious people get social benefit cookies regardless of how marginalized their religion is. In fact, I think there are some contexts in which secularism is dominant, (though religious people as an entire group are rarely prosecuted)

Ruadhan J. McElroy: Perhaps I’ve been unclearWhat “Wiccanate” Actually Means, “Wiccanate” is the New “Cisgender

Finnchuill’s Mast: The Wiccanate Privilege

EmberVoices: Wiccanate Privilege & Spackle

“To be sure, privilege is a serious problem in the San Francisco Bay Area Pagan community, and at PantheaCon, but I really don’t feel the Wiccanate privilege is anything like the biggest problem to tackle except to the degree that it reflects groundings in other problems like classism, racism, sexism, cis- and hetero-normativity, etc.” Spot on, thanks, Ember!

Yvonne Aburrow: Wiccanate Privilege & Polytheist Wiccans

Macha NightMare: My Perspective on “Wiccanate Privilege”

Mistress of the Hearth: Wiccan Bias, Not Wiccanate Privilege

Reclaiming Warlock: My Take on Wiccanate Privilege

“As somebody who deals in privilege discourse, I think it’s a mistake to attach every power critique to a brand new “____ privilege” type label, and in this case in particular it’s important to recognize that being Wiccan is not itself a privileged state.  Wiccans hold a lot of power over the discourse within the Pagan community–something that needs to be controlled–but calling them “privileged” ignores that in the wider community Wicca is a minority faith and subject to all the bullshit that that entitles them.”- Jack

 

June 24, 2014 at 11:53 pm 5 comments

Several Great Posts on Feminism and Gender Issues

I have been finding a lot of great posts to share about feminism and gender issues, including issues of violence, harassment and abuse. Some of these are specifically Pagan, others are not, but even the Pagan-specific posts still have information that is helpful and useful to a broader audience.

Two posts from Nimue Brown at Druid Life: Dear Women, and Dear Men

Nimue is a very gifted and insightful writer, and in these posts she tells her fellow women that we need to stop fighting and undercutting each other, defending men who behave badly, and support each other more! To the men she asks that they not be so defensive and dismissive of concerns women have about harassment and abuse.

Dude, It’s You– John Beckett at Under the Ancient Oaks calls on his fellow men to be responsible for themselves and their actions- that they are not entitled to attention (sexual or otherwise) from women.  It’s so great to hear from a guy who “gets it”. (This is response in part to the recent murdering spree by Elliott Rodger.)

Against Patriarchy: 20 Tools for Men to Further Feminist Revolution by Chris Crass (guest post on Change From Within)

Sexual Violence Ed for Pagans by Diana Rajchel (an ongoing series of posts by a writer, also a friend of mine who has experience as a domestic abuse advocate)

6 Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide,

and Fleur-de-Lis: A Symbol of Sexual Boundaries by Caer Jones/Mystik Nomad

How I Gained Some Understanding of Feminist Views on Rape by Erika Hammerschmidt (from my college friend Erika) Erika used to think it odd that feminists found advice on how to avoid getting raped offensive, hopefully this will help some folks understand this issue better.

May 28, 2014 at 11:12 pm 3 comments

White Deviance, Pagan Angst

Earlier for one of the “D” posts for the Pagan Blog Project, I planned on writing about how the Neo-Pagan movement is, in part a manifestation of white deviance. I realized though that I did not want assume knowledge on the part of the readers about sociology or Critical Race Theory, the lens through which I’m approaching this.  Social deviance is a sociological concept- it means straying from social norms of what is considered social acceptable and expected behavior in a given culture.

Critical Race Theory, and its offshoot of whiteness studies, views race as a social construction and seeks to critique and deconstruct race as a social category. Blaargh- see I can’t define it very well, so go read the above link!

There really is no one concept of “whiteness” or “white culture”- it will become apparent from reading the blog Stuff White People Like that is reflective of a certain kind of white people- it’s a pretty spot-on description of Unitarians actually! Who society considers white and who gets white privilege has changed over time- at one time only English Protestants were considered white, but as various European ethnic groups assimilated and become upwardly mobile they became “whitened”.

Still there are typically standards in a given social context of what a “proper white person” looks, dresses, acts etc- middle or upper-class, educated, heterosexual (or “straight-acting” homosexual), cis-gendered (non-transgender) Christian (or atheist/agnostic/secular in some contexts)  White people who do not conform to these norms are stigmatized as white trash, rednecks or with various other labels, and people of color who do not fit into these norms are typically stigmatized even more.

Anyway, since most whites have at most a symbolic ethnicity– a watered down identity based on nostalgia for the Old Country, certain foods, holidays etc. if they feel unsatisfied or not included by dominant forms of white culture they create their own subcultures to identify with- some are more deviant, others more accepted. Skaters, goths, punks, hippies, geeks, GLBTQ+ subcultures and so forth.

When people of color pursue an interest in mostly white subculture- even one that prides itself on being progressive, they frequently encounter racism. Because whiteness is such an unexamined “norm”, Pagans, geeks et al. often do not realize that they are pursuing a different way of being white, thereby excluding non-whites with interests in those subcultures.

Being a hippie or being a “bohemian” both in the United States and Europe has frequently gone along with appropriating aspects of Black and indigenous cultures- particularly in music, dress and spirituality. While these white deviant subcultures tend be seen as threatening to the white dominated social structure at first they are often co-opted by the very institutions the white deviants are trying to reject.

Instead of truly critiquing, examining and challenging the dominant power structure, white deviant subcultures end up becoming the rebellious children of Big White Daddy- be it of the government, business, media, church. We give up the privileges that come with conformity but are shocked when we are mistreated by society. If the social cost comes too high we may go back home to Big White Daddy. And he might give us crap for not going to church, or having the right job, or sexual behavior or hobbies or what have you. But we still have that option- our brothers and sisters of color do not. (Nor do our trans* friends who can’t “pass” as cisgender, or our disabled friends that can’t
“pass” as able-bodied or neurotypical.) That is the profoundly alienating contradiction that they must face- can they really trust these rebels?

When we talk about getting Paganism to be accepted in the “mainstream”- are we really unconsciously saying “I want the cultural definition of acceptable whiteness to include Paganism”? How do we instead, make examining and challenging whiteness a part of our Paganisms?

April 18, 2014 at 1:05 am 2 comments

How to Get Over Our Hippie Hangover

When I was a teenager I thought hippies were cool, and I wished that I had lived back in the ’60’s when there was so much social consciousness, protests going on, the 1990s seemed sooo boring compared to back then to me. Then I got older and a bit wiser, and started to observe the influences that the hippies had on Pagan and left-wing political movements and other aspects of American culture. Hippie culture had its purposes- and still does in some contexts. But I think the problem now is many of us are waking up to a long hangover after the wild party are a little too stuck on some ideas.

The white middle-class social norms that hippies were reacting against needed to be challenged, and some of them still do. One of the problems though, is that rebelling against some of these norms- by using drugs, engaging in pre-marital or promiscuous sex- being involved in radical protest movements- are things that white middle and upper-class youth can often get away with fewer repercussions than working-class youth (of various ethnicities). Young people with privilege can get more help from their parents when they have trouble with the law, drugs, unplanned pregnancies. This is a point many conservatives have been making since the 1980’s- and while I’ve come to see at as valid, it’s limited in context. The conservatives usually follow up this point by stating that we need to go back to those original 1950’s WASP norms, without questioning them, and that class-privileged whites in particular need to set a “good example” to others. Keep on the straight and narrow. Don’t question authority. Don’t ask for more.

If you look at an entry-level job application at a fast-food restaurant, it will often state things to the applicant such as “Show up to the interview on time, cleanly groomed and in professional clothing, and sober. No visible tattoos or facial piercings”. In other words don’t act or look like a hippie if you want the job.

Sometimes you have to subvert the machine from within. Remember how many of these radical movements were happening at elite universities- which were transformed. Sometimes you need to work for “the Man” to make a living- and you might be able to go further in your artistic/social/political/spiritual goals if you do so, rather than “slumming it” as a street musician. We can’t all “follow our bliss” at least not in a way than means we get paid to do it. Someone has to collect the garbage, wait on tables, stock the grocery store shelves. Ideally I’d like to see a society where, much like a household shares on doing chores, we all chipped in to help with work we see as menial or unpleasant. (This is why I sometimes bus my own table or put away items I’m not buying at a store) Perhaps if we did things that way, it wouldn’t be seen as so terrible. In the mean time, I want everyone who can work to get a fair shot at a job that pays a living wage, and a job that gives them paid time off, and schedule flexibility for work/life balance. I want everyone who can’t work full-time or work at all, to get sufficient support they need from society that does not shame them for their disability or force them to spend down their savings to keep their benefits. We also need to make it easier for people with disabilities to find work that accommodates them, and helps people move between SSDI and Voc Rehab. I think these are perfectly reasonable, and realistic goals for us to strive towards- it just may not seem that way because of how our economy and society is structured.

We can make all this happen, yet there will still probably be people who don’t show up to work (on time or at all), don’t do their job well enough and are lazy or dishonest. There are people like that, and they are always used as an excuse to deny benefits and assistance to honest, hardworking people that need help. I think if people feel as if they have a fair chance, and fair pay and treatment in the workplace they will be more motivated. But there are still people that will try to cut corners and find easy ways out. Wealthy people who are lazy and dishonest frequently go unpunished, and are even rewarded in various ways. But if a poor person does, their punishment is often swift and harsh, often too harsh for them to be able make it back into a good job, housing and stable family life. In spite of this, their slacking off, or theft or drug use, or what have you often has a small impact on the rest of society, compared to the wealthy person. Though they should of course be held accountable for their actions. I also think that if you treat people with constant suspicion, and raise them with the expectation that they will be a criminal, all too often they will prove you right. This is a terrible shame.

(Once again, this is a pretty broad ranging post- I have way more to say about many specific topics mentioned here! I also realized that this post became mostly secular in focus, so I will discuss spiritual aspects more at another time.)

April 14, 2014 at 10:08 pm 2 comments

Goals for 2014

Goals I’ve already started on:

*Communicating/getting together with Gaeltacht MN classmates to study Irish. After several weeks of cancellations due to weather, holidays etc. my classmate Sue & I picked a day, time and place for our first meeting, as well as topics to focus on.

*Kickstarting devotional practice- I began participating in Sassafras Grove, ADF’s annual “Brighid along” in which they share prayers and devotional practice for 9 different aspects of Brighid in the nine days/nights leading up to their Brigantia ritual. I heard about this on one of the ADF lists and signed up for their Facebook page to participate. So far I’ve just been reading prayers from my tablet, but that’s a start. My long-neglected altar is decorated for the harvest season, and I need to take down my Yule tree downstairs before I can really celebrate Imbolc properly.  I also am sporadically reading prayers from Book of Hours: Prayers to the Goddess by Galen Gillotte. A new group devoted to Brighid has emerged called Clann Bhride– some folks from the Cauldron forum are involved with it. I’m really interested in taking part in it, and I downloaded their Book of Hours- beautiful prayers and lots of really neat ideas!

*Doing creative stuff- I’m regularly writing on this blog, but would like to get back into crafty-ness. Would be great to combine this with devotion to Brighid. Went to the Crafty Geek meetup a couple weeks ago for the first time, and did a little work on making greeting cards.  That one also connects with the goal of connecting with friends/family. But Crafty Geek meets on Thursdays, which is when we’ve scheduled the Irish study. However, there is a knitting group meeting on Wednesdays, and it is also much closer to where I live & work. I was planning on going to both of them this week, but ended up needing to be at home to show the house to potential tenants (we have the room filled now though!)

Other goals:

*Connect more with family & friends locally and long-distance.  CuteHobbitBoy & I both have relatives that live either close by close enough for a day’s visit, we also have friends that we’ve lost touch with.  Come up with a plan on how to do this (birthday get-togethers, Skype, phone, texting, greeting cards.

*Keep moving in direction of health/finance-wise being able to have kids

*Figure out how I want to be involved in ADF & Unity, and  create plans on how to make it happen.

*Social justice activism- what do I want to do/how do I want to be involved?

I have so many hobbies & interests it’s tricky to figure out how to balance them!

February 2, 2014 at 12:11 am Leave a comment

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