Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Fairies/Spirit of Place

OK I'm heading into dangerous territory as far as many Pagans as my belief in fairies is minimal to say the least, well at least in the conventional form. I tend to put fairies in the spirit of place category. I believe in spirit of place, why would graveyards feel gloomy when ghosts tend to inhabit places where they were most comfortable (unless we have a load of Goth ghosts floating around) or when you get lost in a wood it is unnerving, this is where spirit of place comes into its own. Spirit of place is everywhere that is a place & different places have different spirit. Perhaps the ancient time folk who didn't really separate magic from science could see them, which would explain why if you were to take a proper look into fairy lore they are so different in looks & character, we will never know. Perhaps faces & forms were put on to them as a sort of comfort blanket, people are less creeped out by what they can see or at least put a face too, however grotesque it might be. I personally don't need to put a face on it, I sometimes imagine a face for it admittedly but escapism is a wonderful thing. It could be that the original fairies were perhaps an echo of homo neanderthalensis, which existed all be it briefly in terms of palaeontology at the time as homo sapiens, they were shorter & sturdier & it would only take a few Chinese whispers to make them into something else. I have also heard that fairies are aliens I think I need a large pinch of salt for that one or possibly a ladle of it. Some fairies are almost definitely mistaken identity, the Gooseberry Mother is a just an extremely hairy caterpillar such as the garden tiger moth, the buff ermine or if you are in America a giant leopard moth. The second most explainable would be the Will O' the Wisp which is a ball of self igniting marsh gas.

Perhaps I have taken the magic out of some this for some people by rationalising it. For those interested in faeries/fairies please research beyond Flower Fairy books as Cicely Mary Barkers portrayal were a set of children's tales to get them interested in flowers & were based on pre-Raphaelite paintings rather anything that she would have seen ethereally. You may find out the shocking truth that they are according to to the tails mischievous at best & down right unpleasant & dangerous at worst. It does make wonder why there aren't as many horror films about fairies as there are about ghosts, werewolves, vampires etc. So look up your redcaps, boggarts & pixies & don't tell them to your children until they are out of the flower fairy stage.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Fun is Not Just for Us Younger People

So as promised here is my Monday posting, a bit later than planned but I do have an extremely busy week this week. So I was at the Rammstein concert on Saturday & absolutely enjoyed myself. For those who haven't come across Rammstein they are a German metal band, it was a brilliant night with loads of pyrotechnics & fantastic music. Now not everyone is a fan of that kind of music, in fact most people certainly would not think of a fan of such music would be in their 70's but there was a woman there who was, even though she had a walking stick for support she was there to rock with the rest of us, but it did get me thinking about how cool the older generations can be, just because they may not be at your prime any more doesn't mean they should stop enjoying themselves. I needn't look any further than my own grandparents, well the two who are still alive, my paternal grandma was never really one for getting up & dancing at parties until fairly recently, I don't think I can get the image out of my head from my cousin Sasha's wedding day, when my Grandma was up & dancing to Kings of Leon- Your Sex is on Fire, it's not something you would normally expect, but then again this also the same woman who was regularly taking vegetarian food to the Birmingham Northern Relief Road protesters & got me into Hedgewitchery in the first place. She has now recently taken to Greek mythology in a big way too, huge bonus points from me for that one. My maternal Granddad is very much online & is in fact one of my Facebook friends, he is involved with the local theatre (from which we have a photo of him as an Ugly Sister) & still gets out & about & is dedicated to his family & possibly keeping an eye out for the ladies. I have also met a woman who when she broke her foot wanted a bed by the window, why? it was blowing a gale & it was funny watching people fall over, struggle with umbrellas, etc. I met a motorcycle veterans club one holiday. Plus we should not forget some of the more famous showings of older people having fun like the Good Charlotte video for Girls & Boys, Sigur Ros video for Hoppipola, various parodies of youth culture on Youtube & the Haslemere Nursing Home that had a resident die one year from cardiac arrest due to a called resident Gladys Elton doing striptease & the following year another resident Harry Meadows dressed as the Grimm Reaper for fun leading to 3 further fatalities. So just because someone is of an older generation don't judge them as boring as they surprise you.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Popping Pills

OK so this will be my last post of the week as I do have a busy weekend at work oh & a Rammstein concert with my sister. Don't worry I shall be back next week as long as I don't get mauled for singing a Kath & Kim version of Mein Teil swapping the title for Wine Time, which is so very tempting. Back on track I do have a cold, as stated in my numerous previous posts, but one thing has bugged me about this cold, I have needed to take the conventional medicine approach a bit more this time, it is more to do with the getting rid of it rather than the cold itself. Last night I had a very disturbed night's sleep due to me coughing up a lung, no not literally, so after an hour of coughing I decided to go downstairs take some cough mixture & sleep on the sofa, which is no comfortable when you are 6'2", but it stopped me from disturbing my other half who as usual had to be up early for work. My reluctance of taking conventional medicine is thus, if I have 'a bit of a headache' as some of my colleagues do & take a paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen or elephant tranquilliser like they usually do what would happen if I really did have a blinding headache that was making me see stars, would they work as well? I feel we get way too dependant on over the counter remedies, if it is something slight it will go away, OK it might not be the comfortable way of doing things, but could mean that when there is a real problem then your body will react better to the meds & will not have built up a resistance meaning that you'd have to up the does to the amount that would kill a horse for them just to work a little. Your body can do amazing things it can heal itself far better than you think, believe in it & you may find that your headache may go away of its own accord, maybe just take a nap or massage your temples, just stay away from the little white things until absolutely necessary. I'm not saying that if you have a serious medical condition not to take your meds, just if your moaning about something insignificant in the grand scheme of things. So calm down don't take a chill pill it will not work until you stop taking them all the time & may stop rattling too. See you next week

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Beauty Contest

So perhaps I'm not going to drag it out as much as I thought I would yesterday, but then I did feel as rough as badger's backside with my cold. So here is where I have objections to beauty contests, it is not that I don't like looking at an attractive figure, but judging them about there beauty just from their looks is just like judging a book by its cover, it may look pretty but could let you down. It is therefore treating a person as an object to be marvelled at & not to get to know, plus the whole I'm prettier than thou is tedious & to me shows a lack of inner beauty which in the long run is better as it is what lasts longer. It is a contest of vanity, aesthetics & egos which to me seems to against the concept of beauty. If the participants are looking for an ego boost go get a makeover & photo shoot session and look at the photo & see how glamorous you look, look in the mirror & look at all your positive attributes rather than the ones you don't like. But seriously concentrate on you inner beauty first & the other things you have to offer than a pretty face & a kick ass body otherwise it wont mean a thing. Plus beauty competitions can just as easily crush the ego, people may find someone else prettier than you & you lose to them, you may find someone who you think is prettier than you & chose to give up trying so it is all in vain & if you do win you will have the crushed dreams of others on your conscience or feel the need to stay on top of the game at any cost which could lead to drastic measures like pumping our lips with collagen & make you look somewhere between a trout & an armband, which will not make you look beautiful but fake & could turn you into a complete & utter bitch which is not pretty or in this case beautiful. If you are good looking don't forget the inner you, if you feel that you are not god's gift don't worry not everyone likes the same thing anyway & it is the imperfections that make truly beautiful.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Being a Woman is not a Competition

I have totally forgotten what I was planning to write about today, possibly a woe is me I'm doing Lent something, but last night on my way to the train station back home, there was a protest going on outside a bar, I was intrigued so went over to see what they were protesting about. Was it that the Temperance Movement started up again? No, their was not even the merest hint of a crinoline dress in sight. It was a protest about a beauty contest going on inside. Now I'm not a fan of seeing women wandering round in bikinis trying to out pose one another, there does seem to be a bit of an objectification of the women on stage, whether they are there for a vanity or prize money it does seem a little well impersonal. When they are up on stage you don't get to see the real them, and exterior looks are not everything. Plus what they try to purport is a standard on society of what beauty is. I don't go to male beauty contests either as they purport exactly the same thing before anyone comments on the sexuality issue. So where am I going with this post, well I'm not entirely sure, with the number of issues it is bringing up in my head I think my musings should be spread out over a couple of posts otherwise I'll keep going of on tangents & those who of you who know me, know how easily that occurs in my thought patterns & topics of conversation. Plus at the moment my eyes are glazing over & I want to go back to bed as I got to bed at 2 this morning & my other half's alarm goes of at 6 which leaves me rather sleepy & the fact that I have a cold at the moment does not help one bit.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Keeping to your word even if you do regret it afterwords

So I'm doing my interfaith understanding bit this year as I said to one of my fellow chaplains, in a cultural exchange kind of way, that I'll do Lent this year. What was I thinking? I have never done Lent before even when I was an Anglican, OK I was only a kid then so just thought more about the pancakes at the beginning & the chocolate eggs at the end & didn't pay much if any attention to the bit in between. So I'm keeping my word & have finally decided what I'm giving up for Lent & that is alcohol, oh joy. So if I'm regretting saying that I will do it, why don't I change my mind & not do it? I suppose it is the principle of the matter & that I will be keeping my word so I don't end up with the feelings of guilt, after all I haven't promised to do something that beyond my capability & there is no physical/legal/moral reason for me not to do it, so I feel honour bound to do it. Will I get ultimate satisfaction out of keeping my word on this account, time will tell, it does mean no ale after all.

So if you back out of something you have said the biggest person you have let down is yourself, generally, & people may not take you so seriously in the future or even rely on you as much. If you stick to your word you can be pat yourself on the back afterwards for being as good as your word & in my case revarnish the alcohol cupboard after I have spent 40 days scratching at it in eager anticipation. Must go as I also gave my word over the coming weeks I'll be in a little earlier at the chaplaincy during Lent.

And for all of you who are little concerned or waiting in hope, I'm not looking to convert back to Christianity. So it is spoken so shall it be (OK I'm not entirely sure it needed the cliché at the end).

Monday, 20 February 2012

For the Want of a Better Phrase Part 2- Energy

So my second foray into the murky world of eytomology refers to energy, what do we mean when we say energy? Energy in the literal sense is something measurable that emits from an entity e.g. heat, light, sound, radioactivity, kinetics. In that case the last time I felt the energy of a stone it was being hurled at me when I was at school, I felt the force of the kinetic energy by the throw & heard the sound waves as it hit me. But in magical terms this is not what people mean, when I was Stonehenge doing a clean up, I was asked whether I could feel the energy of the stones, no was my response, then they said they could see the energy of the stones as they seemed to have a strange almost shiver to them. At that point I had to turn away & try my hardest not to laugh, I could see what she meant but what she saw was the evaporation of the dew, but being captured by the awe of place the first time she'd been there I suppose it is only natural to get carried away & in a way she did see the energy of the stones just the thermal not the spiritual that she thought.

So now you are getting the gist of the post, spiritual energy, is it energy? In a physical definable way, no. So what is 'energy' in this sense? I propose a notion that instead of the word energy we use a different word. So what to use? We could purloin a word from a different language such as Qi (Chi) from the Chinese, Prana from Vedic or Mana from Hawaiian but these translate as life force and are OK for living entities but not for stones, plus it means life force, again force is measurable so brings us to another dead end if speak to people who wish to be pedantic about what we are talking about, which also means we can't go all Star Wars and just call it The Force, plus I don't think I'm geek enough yet to even contemplate it as an option. The closest word we have to the notions of Qi & the like in our everyday language is vitality which again would not be useful to describe a non living thing. Its not just beings & things that have an 'energy', but places too. Do graveyards creep you out? Why are they so eerie & uncomfortable, it isn't as if we live the world of Buffy or Being Human so we shouldn't expect something to just suddenly rise out of the ground at any minute to eat us. So is it an echo of what goes on there? The only echoes I hear there are what is going on their at the time which is generally birdsong or people visiting graves. So echoes are a bounce back & now I have got the thought of bouncy skeletons out of my head I shall go onto something a little more constructive.

So what words could be a useful alternative? You could say essence, like vanilla essence which usually does not contain vanilla you still get the vanilla taste, they have kept the essence of the vanilla, but does that strike you as it doesn't have the genuine feel about it, I must admit although to me it feels a more correct phrase than energy, it still doesn't quite seem right. So how about spirit? For me this works in the fact that it is something that is not tangible but we can feel even if it we can't measure it, you can get the spirit of a place, you can feel the spirit of someone in a good mood or a bad mood, but then we come back to stones again they don't live & unless they have been extricated by force out of the ground, probably by dangerous means by exploited workers 7 by which point wouldn't the spirit of those stones be almost be rotten to the core? So perhaps we should say spirit for those things that have lived or have been lived in & essence for sticks & stones? Or should we just throw stones out of the window on that one? (just make sure they don't hit anyone in process)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Want of a Better Phrase - Pagan Chaplain

The term Pagan Chaplain tends confuse people, it does seem very much like an oxymoron at first glance predominantly as people think chapel as church which is a thing Pagans seem to lack not being Christian & all. So here is how I tend to put it, a Pagan chaplain is someone who provides moral support & spiritual advice for people who seek it. In the establishment I work in & because I work in an interfaith environment I don't just see people of my own faith but others as well. In this position we do not seek to convert the person from another faith but we do provide support as best as we can for that person. The work I do requires confidentiality so I will not name any of the people who come to for support nor will I release details that are specific to any given case, sorry if you want juicy gossip but you will not find it here. As stated before I work in an interfaith environment so do not take any musings about anyone vaguely referenced is Pagan or works in the establishment I work in. Chaplains work in secular buildings/organisations such as prisons, universities, hospitals, the military and the police force & often in a space that is set aside specifically for faith activities such as prayer or meditation. In secular buildings they can be devoid of permanent religious decoration of any faith so that people of different denominations can use them, this is the 'chapel' that the chaplaincy part refers to not a church.

So what would you call a chaplain of a faith that doesn't have a church? Its a difficult one, cleric might work but with all the press at the moment they tend to use the word cleric to describe a rogue Imam or a priest who has done something that seems rather beyond his remit, plus some how it seems to sound rather clinical and would make me sound like some kind of High Priest or Arch Druid and don't get me started on the title Witch King. I have run a social group that offers support as much as friendship with many of its members. I have run/co-run for coming up to eight years. I don't have a fancy title as Hedgewitches don't have a hierarchy as such, as we tend to learn off each other and tend respect each other as equals, I just ended up in the driving seat of a group for a while. So other terms Minister either Christian or political. Pastor either a Christian or if spoken a homonym for a staple food. So I think I will stick with the term Chaplain until a more fitting word comes along. And if you are still a little confused I dare say your not the only one.

Hail And Welcome?

OK as far as titles go a little Wiccan for someone who is a Hedgewitch but its a start I suppose. So here I am trying to create a new blog hoping that I'll update it more than my previous one. So the essentials, at the time of my first post on this I'm 31, been in a relationship with the the same guy for seven and a half years, I work in retail as my paid job but I'm a volunteer Pagan chaplain in my spare time as well as running the Rainbow Moot for LGBT Pagans which was set up by Rob 'Hogbear' Yarlett 8 years ago. Now I'm hoping that this blog also appears separate from my old one as that was mere bumblings and was me trying to keep something like a diary, which was never going to work as I was never kept a diary when I was young. I'm treating this more like thought for the day though the the chances of me updating it everyday are slim I'm hoping that it is a blog that I will regularly update on chapters of a theme instead of random things that have happened that are not interconnected in one post. I really do ramble on don't I? But then I have a busy head & I do talk way too much, but then again who doesn't enjoy a good conversation? Not only do you learn a lot about other people you also learn a bit more about yourself so I hope you embrace my garrulousness as much as I do.