commentary, philosophy, and outright rants

Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Happy Lupercalia!

So what is this Lupercalia, anyway?

Lupercalia is the original “Valentine’s Day”.  In fact, St. Valentine’s day, as appropriated by the Christian Church, has nothing to do with romantic love. The Greeks had three different words for love: Agape (divine love), Filios (brotherly love), and Eros (romantic love). While the Lupercalia had to do with the fierce, unbridled expression of Eros, the Feast of Saint Valentine has to do with the other two.

“One of the most revered spots in the city of Rome in ancient days was the cave at the base of the Palatine Hill called the Lupercal, with the sacred fig tree hard by, under whose shadow, as the story went, a she-wolf suckled Remus and Romulus. Here, on February fifteenth (old calendar), a goat and a dog, together with certain salt cakes baked by the Vestals, were sacrificed…A bloody knife, fresh from the sacrifice, was smeared across the brows of two youths of aristocratic families, probably leaders of two colleges of priests called Luperci. The blood was wiped off with wool which had been dipped in milk, and the youths were compelled to laugh… in the rites of the Lupercalia the smiling of the youths smacks of the grinning of wolves, and so, by the principle of similarity, the Luperci became wolves so far as magic was concerned… The Luperci, clad only in a magic girdle made of the skins of the sacrificial goats, made a purificatory circuit of the city, beginning at the Lupercal, forming as they ran a magic circle… As the youths ran, they smote the hands of any women who placed themselves in their path. There seems to have been no incantation or prayer accompanying this rite. We know that lashings of this sort were believed, among other peoples, to expel evil influences of all sorts and to stir up the reproductive powers; and the Romans, in historical times, believed that this was the object of the lashings at the Lupercalia. The fertility of the goat was by some mysterious force transferred to the women through this contact. Inasmuch, too, as primitive peoples closely associate fertility in women with fertility in crops, the rites may have been intended to promote productiveness of the soil as well.”
-Eli Edward Burriss, Taboo, Magic, Spirits: A Study of Primitive Elements in Roman Religion (New York: Macmillan, 1931) 160-163.

So, blood, goats, horniness, sex, and fertility. Red, hearts, men, women.

On the other hand, Valentine’s day: Named after St. Valentine, an executed, celibate Catholic priest. The Christian Church used the feast day of Valentine to replace the Lupercalia and emphasize communal respect and love of the Christian God. None of that behaving like a wild goat, being horny, sexual, and fertile. Not to mention the whipping with goatskins.

Me, I prefer Lupercalia. Other people may still prefer to celebrate the Feast of Saint Valentine, Martyr – even though the Catholic Church itself kicked him off the calendar back in 1969 (possibly due to his inability to stem human sexual expression…)

The Individual Freedom Reclamation Amendment

Thinking about how religious people in the US, from diverse traditions, can reclaim our Nation from corporate control, led to a search of Catholic encyclicals.  One thing that keeps popping up in Catholic social justice – identical to things I have heard from many fellow Witches – is the dignity of the human person.  Although not widely known,  several encyclicals starting with Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum make it clear that the Roman Catholic Church opposes US-style capitalism just as much as it opposes socialism. In fact, it opposes any economic or political system which violates the dignity of the human person.  Given that many Baptist and Evangelical churches were deeply involved in the civil rights movement, I would think that many Protestants share this belief as well.

As the current pope has put it:

“the market has prompted new forms of competition between States as they seek to attract foreign businesses to set up production centres, by means of a variety of instruments, including favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market. These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems as the price to be paid for seeking greater competitive advantage in the global market, with consequent grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for the solidarity associated with the traditional forms of the social State.” – Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate

One problem in the Western world is that corporations – in legalese, “non-natural persons” – are recognized as persons by the legal system. This enables large amounts of capital to be used in ways no human person could muster: to control media, depress wages, and eliminate the “social security” net (not speaking solely of the US agency called “Social Security”.)

To restore the dignity of the human person as superior to capital – as is the belief of many Pagans, as well as many Christians – I think the following Amendment to the US Constitution might be appropriate:

ARTICLE (?).
1. No Right, stated in this Constitution, shall apply to persons other than Natural Persons, unless specifically granted to persons other than Natural Persons.

2. Section 1 of this Amendment shall not apply to the Powers of Congress as enumerated in Article I, Section 8 of this Constitution.

3. For the purposes of this Constitution, and all laws and regulations made subject to it, the phrase “limited Times” or other like phrases shall be construed as one-third of the average lifespan of a Natural Person citizen of the United States. Said lifespan shall be calculated on a decennial basis by the Social Security Administration or successor agencies; if said agencies cease to exist the national Census shall be modified to determine said lifespan.

4. Sections 1- 3 of this Amendment are curative and shall apply immediately to all treaties, laws, and court decisions now standing.

Quote updates 12/9

Bill Schneider:
“An Obama job approval rating of 79 percent — that’s the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster. To many Americans, the Bush administration was a national disaster.”
http://http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/09/Obama.poll/index.html

Honorable William O. Douglas, U.S.S.C. (1898-1980):
“We must realize that today’s Establishment is the new George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.”
http://www.oyez.org/justices/william_o_douglas/

Sandra Lee Dennis:
“We begin to resacralize sexuality by acknowledging its shadow side of destruction and death, the dark Eros whose importance we may yet grasp.”
http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/Sandra-Lee-Dennis/Embrace-of-the-Daimon-The-Ecstatic-Promise/0892540567.html

Senator John McCain (R-AZ):
“Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt, many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight that I will do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face. I urge all Americans who supported me to join not only in congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and honest effort to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences.”
http://mccain.senate.gov/public/

William Jefferson Clinton:
“We just had the biggest redistribution of income upwards in the last eight years since the 1920s, and we know how the 1920s ended.”
http://www.clintonlibrary.gov/

Ban Civil Marriage

Civil marriage – marriage regulated by the State – should be banned completely in the United States.  Marriage is a matter of way of life and belief, and should be left to the religious and philosophical spheres.  Including marriage as a civil structure simply brings the United States one step closer to a theocracy.

Test all children for parentage at birth (eliminate the “marriage presumption”) and eliminate all governmental monetary ties to marriage.  Have social security cover minor children of decedents, and allow people to designate one and only one adult to receive survivor’s benefits based on a decedent’s work record.

Allow adults living together at one address to either file one tax return for all residents or else to file all singly (single filing required for persons at government institutions such as prison halfway houses.)  Better still, adopt the Fair Tax instead of the Income Tax and there is no problem with filing at all, since there’s no filing.

Of course, this would put a lot of family lawyers out of work, not to mention loophole accountants…

Waning Moon

From full she darkens, failing, fading
Remembers climb and zenith, her creation
Twained moons they brighten, building, waxing
Reflected trine light, still needs but one

Still yet she dims, should she not shun
A final journey of making new
If ‘twould be ‘complished, must now she run
And claim Creatrix days, hers now so few

The matrix closes dry as the dew
To leave the Twain to grow alone
“No!” she cries, “Not only two
“‘gain I will birth the flesh, the bone!”

Fervored glories not unbecoming she who as a Goddess
Passion’d pains forthgiving: another yet to bless.

Remembrances of a slandered Goddess

I remember.

I remember rocking the cradle;
The cradle of humanity’s civilization.

For thousands of Earth’s journeys around its Sun
I was Queen and I was Goddess.

I was heard of in the lands beyond
I was worshipped as Goddess but not taken as Queen
I did not require such.

I had my people in the cradle
My people that I was Queen for
That was enough for any Queen
And as for a Goddess: I accepted other worship
And behaved towards them as a true and faithful Goddess.

Then the murders came.
I remember.
I remember a being who chose Godhead
I remember a being who hid Kingship
Behind his worshipers.

I remember a being who, like me, had his people
I remember a being who, unlike me, rejected all but his people
I remember a being who never reached the lands in my Queenship
I remember a being who told his Priests to kill all but his people
I remember a being who brought slaughter to My worshipers and others
I remember a being who would not be stopped; a Mountain Godhead
I remember a being, a warGod, through and through
I remember a being who has slandered me from that time forward
I remember a being who hid behind his worshipers
I remember taking revenge for his people’s killing of my people
I remember not resisting until it was too late
Even now in the Time of Reawakening
I am feared as a killer instead of worshipped as Protectress
He is worshipped as Guardian of Peace instead of condemned as warmonger

He has his people still
He has allowed others to join his people
Provided they are as warlike as those they join
They say their wars are to protect peace
Even now a mongrel nation attacks my ancient Lands
Their leader a worshiper of the warmonger
But here and there, a thought, a prayer, calls me to Reawakening
I know not what power I have left
My worshipers are few and scattered
Evil curses still rain upon me from his worshipers
They believe that my retribution for his attacks
Retribution not was, but rather my war
They believe I am and was the attacker
They believe I will still attack
Even in the thousands of years past where no such has occurred
No such could occur
I remember I am not attacker I am defender

I remember
I remember a time of peace
I remember a time of Queenship
I remember a time when I and mine were Blessed
I do not know if I remember a Future Time which mirrors Past Time
Does anyone remember?

Quote Updates 5/18

Horatio, Lord Nelson:
“I am acting not only without the orders of my commander-in-chief, but, in some measure, contrary to him…I am doing what is right and proper for the service of our king and country. Political courage, in an officer abroad, is as highly necessary as military courage.”
http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/9/4/947/947.htm

Gregory Norbert:
“When the time of our particular sunset comes our thing, our accomplishment won’t really matter a great deal. But the clarity and care with which we have loved others will speak with vitality of the great gift of life we have been for each other.”

Stan Rogers:
“…For we couldn’t leave her there, you see, to crumble into scale./She’d saved our lives so many times, living through the gale/And the laughing, drunken rats who left her to a sorry grave/They won’t be laughing in another day…/

“And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow/With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go/Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain/And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again

“Rise again, rise again – though your heart it be broken/And life about to end/No matter what you’ve lost, be it a home, a love, a friend./ Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again….”

http://www.stanrogers.net/

Kunal Ghosh:
“That communism is a crypto-religion in line with Judaism and Christianity (both are Abrahamic faiths of West Asian origin) has been alluded to by many great thinkers…Abrahamic religions, whenever they conquer a territory, convert the inhabitants and try to suppress their ancestral culture. Ancestral history becomes a prohibited subject. In Afghanistan and Pakistan pre-Islamic Hindu-Buddhist history is not permitted in schools. China is doing the same in Tibet.”
http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/auteur39.html

debauchette:
“I, and other women like me, object to the assertion that sex work is inherently degrading and that no woman pursues this work or experience by choice. Women do make these choices, and I’m among them. And I have no regrets. My perspective on Sawyer was just that – I was a woman who made a choice.

“This isn’t to say that degrading and dehumanizing sex work doesn’t exist, because it most certainly does. But it does a disservice to everyone when we fail to recognize the differences, the differences in power, autonomy, and freedom.”

http://debauchette.wordpress.com/