Archives for category: pagan

I’m so insanely busy right now.  I’ve got a full time job for the first time in a few years.  I’ll be updating this blog with new stuff once a week, but until then, here is a vintage post. 

I don’t think I am.  Not in the prevalent sense that has swept the nation in a misguided attempt at crunchy, glossed over religious tolerance.  I am not a spiritual being having a physical experience.  I am a physical being having a physical experience.  (Most of the time I’m a mental being having a mental breakdown.)

The Madonna of the Hairless

There is a cathedral here that I enjoy walking into once in while.  It is beautiful inside.  I really love beauty.  The rush we get when facing something beautiful, something terrible, something exquisite is mistaken for a spiritual experience.  When I say spiritual, I mean some sort of supernatural part of ourselves in touch with some other supernatural being or energy.  It is nice to be swept up in all of that.  It is nice that my body evolved in a way that all my neurotransmitters and hormones react in that way to make me want to be around things of exquisite beauty.  Most of the time, those things of exquisite beauty are unmolested chunks of the planet.  A mountain range jutting up to touch the cornflower blue sky, a dolphin playing in a wave, a sunset that sets the entire world on fire are some of the things that get my juices flowing.  There are other things, too, like the cathedral, like Van Gogh’s art, like a well choreographed ballet that work on me the same way.  These things are called “culture” and they really are just our species getting off on itself.  That’s fine by me.

There is so much that annoys me with the current religious climate.

1.  Apparently, the new mood is that it doesn’t matter which religion you practice because all paths lead to God.  If you believe that, then you don’t believe what you say you do.  Each religion exists only because it exerts its authority as the only way.  Only through the observation of its laws do you get the reward after you kick the bucket.  If you didn’t walk the path laid out by that religion, you lose the big one.

2.  It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.  I’ve heard Christianity dressed up in this plastic outfit since I was a little girl.  So, do I got to hell if I choose not to be involved in this relationship?  Yes.  Oh, okay, then it’s a religion.

3.  Religion is obsolete.  It is a male dominated, misogynist, hierarchical creation that no longer fits with our far more enlightened concepts of cooperation, equality, and science.

4. The New Age isn’t much better.  Living according to the vagaries of astrology, finding a guru, focusing on my higher self….I call bullshit.

I understand the perceived need for these things.  I really do.  I have people that I love dearly who still hold onto a lot of these superstitious beliefs.  Of course, I’m sure that they probably pray for me all the time and that’s okay.  No publicity is bad publicity.  It is such an honest wish that there is someone in the sky who is keeping tabs, who hears you crying out in the night and wants to dry your eyes.  It is such a temptation to move into a space where your meat and bones and sweat and shit is just some kind of beefy container for your pure self, your true self that is made up of rainbows and unicorn breath.  I GET THIS DESIRE!  We all have imaginations that can be put to use.  These are all different ways to comfort ourselves against the dark, against our inevitable fate as worm food.

Delusion is delusion is delusion.  When I let go of the very last shackle of my trained belief in the supernatural, I have to tell you that I felt a freedom that I had never known.  Yes, I am going to die and there will be no more me.  The mitochondria that ride along on my genes that have been there stretching back to the first mother live on through my son.  Unless I have a girl, they die with him.  It’s hard to accept our fragility.  Once it is accepted, once we understand how finite we are, that is when life becomes precious.  That is when each blade of grass sticks up like a green blade of exuberance.  That is when the taste of water clarifies as liquid life.  That is when every other person, dog, squirrel, horse, and lizard fully comes into focus with infinite value.  We are all the missing link from what has come to what will become after we are gone.  It’s not a lonely chain.  We are each unique and exactly the same.

So, no I’m not spiritual.  I’m psychological.  I’m emotional.  I’m physical.  I’m ecological.  I’m animal.

While everyone else is trying to cleanse themselves of their dirty humanity, you can find me outside making mud pies and peeing behind a bush.

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my cousin and i are a lot alike.  we look alike-well, mostly.  she’s the long, tall, thin version of me and i’m her with curves to spare and 8 inches taken off the top.  personality wise, we are both pretty wild.  each in our own way, but untamed we are.

she’s always fun to hang out with because where i love to talk about all these really cool ideas, she’s the one with the follow through.

i introduced her to this book a few months ago.  i’ve yet to make a recipe from it, but she’s done at least three or four by herself.  this weekend i spent with her, she decided it was time to follow yet another one.  dandelion wine!!!!!

when i was a little girl, i went outside because it was there. (thank yougeorge mallory!)  as i got older and became more of an indoor pet, i needed a siren call.  herbs were it.  they were what got me back outside to forage, play, seek out the green mysteries.  i’ve made plenty of tinctures and oils, but wine?  not yet.

here’s what you’ll need to make five gallons of wine: (five gallons????? what do you take me for wild woman, a lush?  nope.  but this shite is tasty and it takes a year to make and you won’t be drinking alone.  this is for sure a community celebration kind of thing-both in the making and the tasting.)

a SHIT TON of dandelions-2 cups of blossoms per gallon.  (we-and by we i don’t mean me-picked 10 tightly packed cups worth of blossoms to make….FIVE.  GALLONS.)

golden raisins (1 lb per gallon)

oranges/lemons (2 each per gallon)

sugar (2 lbs per gallon)

a packet of wine yeast (we used champagne yeast)

a five gallon crock or clean plastic bucket

car boy and air valve (or go old school, use empty apple cider gallons gleaned from your healthy food store and use either a balloon or one of those condoms that you’ve been meaning to use cuz you bought it in such an optimistic moment…i digress)

a bunch of willing kids (i think this may be the most important ingredient.  my cousin and i did a lot of talking and giggling about who knows what in her kitchen while our collective four kids were off in a field picking dandelions.)

and several liters worth of patience.

you can get the book or do a google search to find instructions for the specific steps or this will be the longest. blog. entry. ever.

i will touch on the highlights.

when both of our families, totaling 8, were sitting out of the porch making up songs and BAD raps while the sun set around us as we freed the yellow blossoms from the green sepals.  her daughter, my comedic soul mate (the one person in this world who may ACTUALLY be funnier than me!) figured out a fantastic twist and pull method that decreased the frustration level of this task by a factor of 15.

discovering that those darn kids had actually picked EXACTLY enough for our recipe.  like to the blossom.  PRECISELY ten cups of bright yellow flowers.

washing the antique five gallon earthen-ware crock that my cousin scored from her mother-in-law.  (all i ever scored from mine was a bad taste in my mouth for mother-in-laws.)

breathing in the aroma of 10 cups of dandelion blossoms, orange juice, lemon juice and raisins.  it’s like nothing else i’d ever smelled but close to so many things.  it is almost like mown grass.  it is almost like a new flower.  it is almost like candy.  yet, it is like none of these things.

adding sugar.  and then more sugar.  and then more sugar.

everyone in the house having to stir the slush mess with the huge wooden paddle, obsessively.  even my cousin-in-law, all 6’2 mountain man of hisself.

two days into the fermentation, i nickname the crock the “pot o’rot”.

watching the past three episodes of glee with my little cousin and turning the sound down during the commercials to gush about puck’s hotness.  in the pauses, we would hear the pot o’rot gurgle as the yeast feed and bubble.

here’s the basic procedure in pictures:

blossoms, peels, and raisins. yep, we ran out of the goldens.

introducing the white death-meant for the consumption of yeast and yeast only, kids.

the yinnish yanginess of it all.

squeals the sugar, "i'm melting, i'm melting." (sorry...too easy.)

first stir of millions.

these little buggers will eat the sugar and we get wine. what a tradeoff, suckers!

full crock

two days later-notice the way that the pot o' rot seems much fuller (it's all the yeast farts!) i had a better pic but couldn't resist the lurking kid.

this project is the best of the wild world.  lots of outside time, using an ingredient that most people pour pesticides onto (suckers!), laughter on top of giggles layered with guffaws, community, and, at the end of it all, shifted consciousness, in this case, wine.

is there a better time to commit oneself to the path of wildness than may?  i don’t think so.  here, things are blooming, barefooting is possible again, and the call of the outdoors is loud above all other noises….or maybe that’s just the bears finding the trash in the middle of the night.  true story.

beltane is also known as may day.  in paganism (which can be easily described by anything not christian), this is the day that mirrors halloween.  halloween is all about our ancestors, beltane is about fertility and our descendants.  it is about the wild romping…i always think of the wild things around this time of year and wanting to be where they are.

i celebrated beltane well this weekend.  with a new friend, with my family…..no mating with a stag god, sadly, but we certainly feasted.  i would normally sleep outside on the eve of beltane, but this is my first may 1st in vermont and my blood has not thickened to the molasses like consistency required to make it through the night without freezing.  we walked through the woods with my dog for a couple hours.  then, we made up some local meat burgers (no bread), cole slaw, baked sweet potatoes, wine, and chocolate ice cream…mouthfuls of food between mouthfuls of laughter.

sunday, we brunched and caught the very last bits of an all-species parade.  everyone dressed as their favorite animal and got to witness the stag god marry the spring goddess.  there was of course a maypole.

all in all, this day is the perfect day to decide to be as wild as possible every day.

read this post to start with me the discussion of what that means in a concrete way.