Category Archives: politics

The Demise of Livejournal & Migration to Other Shores

More than a decade ago, I started out blogging on Livejournal.In that time,  I met tons of friends, many fabulous writers, talented artists.  Many of these people are still my friends today. I even purchased a permanent account when they were being sold for very little money.  Back then, Livejournal was the place to be – more than Twitter and MySpace – Facebook was barely a backwater bulletin board at that point. Or maybe it hadn’t even been invented yet.  At any rate, Livejournal was an important beginning as to what social media was to later become.

Livejournal changed hands a couple of times and was later bought by SUP, a Russian company that has very strong ties to the Kremlin.  Almost immediately that the site came under Russian ownership the spam bots were let loose. Having a permanent account, I was mostly protected, but from time to time I would get spam commentary, some of it with malware links attached.  I set my comments on screened and the problem went away for a time.   Now, everything has changed. The servers for Livejournal are now residing in Russia.

Now there have been even more changes.  The servers for Livejournal now reside in Russia. What’s more is that Livejournal has just recently changed their user agreement so that in order to continue to use the site, you must agree to Russian law.  Part of that law is most adamantly against the rights and even tolerance of LGBT folks.

This morning, I got up and deleted all of my communities on the LJ site.  The only exception was Writers_Muses,  a prompt community that had prompts and responses every week.   A little over a year ago I ported Writer’s Muses over to Dreamwidth, mirrored it over on Pan Historia, and just a few hours ago, Writers Muses is its own dot com, hosted here on WordPress.  Soon the community that remains on Livejournal will be deleted.

I know that it’s going to be hard, but I also intend to delete my permanent account on Livejournal as well.  SUP isn’t making any money off of me anyway. I will probably just need a few more days in order to gather up the rest of my “things” before closing that door and walking away forever.  I am quite excited about Writers Muses moving on to possibly better things. I have a client quite interested in my prompts, and there is a Writer’s Muses writing prompt book in the works.   I also suspect I will be doing some video work and setting up a video channel for it as well on YouTube. So many things that can rise up from the ashes that are now smoldering somewhere in Russia.

If anyone needs any assistance in porting their content from Livejournal over to Dreamwidth, or if they are curious about PanHistoria, or want to follow the Writer’s  Muses blog, please feel free to drop me a line at fannyfae at gee mail dot com.  I will be happy to help.  It’s hard to leave those memories and those friends behind, but the future could be even brighter, I think.

Save

Save

Leave a comment

Filed under dreamwidth, livejournal, panhistoria, politics, racism, rants, Writer's Muses, writing

The Battle Lines Have Already Been Drawn

CrusadesThe election of Donald Trump to the highest office in the U.S. was a disheartening wake-up call for many of us.  It signified that we who count ourselves to be liberal or progressives had not done enough to ensure that the freedoms we enjoy were not wrested away from us.   This situation, however, did not just begin with the election results of November 8, 2016.  The fundamentalist, radical right has had this moment in its sights for as long as I can remember. While Pagans have been busy living it up over the years at various pagan festivals like Circle Gathering and Pantheacon, contemplating Goddess and congratulating themselves on creating a new world, the Dominionists were constantly pushing to limit as much of the rights and freedoms that we take for granted. I have said it numerous times; there is absolutely no difference between the Taliban and the Christoban except the religious texts and the specific names they refer to God. 

We should not be at all surprised by anything that Vice President, Mike Pence, says either.  His brand of Christianity is nothing if not consistent.  Pence hails from the kind of Christianity that has done and continues to do all that they can in order to convince, coerce or even frightening their own people into compliance. Dominionist sects, on the whole, have been setting up for this type of takeover that we are seeing unfold before our eyes for decades.  Ask any of them and they will tell you that in order for America to be truly “free”, we must “become a Christian nation again”.   If you ask them what that means, sooner or later they will get around to informing you that they absolutely advocate ruling by “biblical law”.  These same individuals will make no secret about how abhorrent that they find the idea of ruling by Islamic or Sharia law.  If you gently remind them how there is little to no difference, expect to get an earful.

Pagans, Polytheists, & Allies

Please, I understand these Pagan and Polytheist gatherings I mentioned above are important.  However, our activism and rallying behind various causes and issues have often been diffused because of infighting and lack of a common goal or purpose. The so-called Moral Majority which had its heydey in the 1980’s and early 90’s, did everything it could, from Satanic Panic to the constant barrage of personalities (Bob Larson) who would keep listeners in abject terror of everything in the world being not only a conspiracy theory, but an all-out orchestrated Satanic plot.  During that same time period, we were seeing an incredible awareness raising regarding Pagan faiths.  Surely Margot Adler’s book, “Drawing Down the Moon”,  the boom of Pagan, Wiccan and other types of ‘new age’ books and periodicals was at its height.  Many of the forefathers and foremothers of that movement, such as Selena Fox, for example, spent a great deal of time getting in front of the cameras of mainstream media outlets in order to reassure the general public that modern witches and Wiccans were benign and nothing to fear.  While that may be true for some, inadvertently they had managed to all but completely defang the entire movement.  The whole “harm none” idea morphed into a sort of apologetic pacifism and the so-called Three Fold Law became an admonishment against anyone who would do anything as radical as even defending themselves against those who meant harm.

I am not proclaiming that we are somehow returning to the mostly-mythical ‘Burning Times’, that series of events when some of the most rabid baby Pagans like to claim outlandish and historically inaccurate figures of the number of people who were put to death for “Witchcraft”.  What I am saying is that in the past 500 years, we have moved forward into a more inclusive, progressive society. Because of the manipulations of a few, our country, indeed our whole world appears to be more divided.  We have, since then had several shining rays of hope in the form of the Women’s March, the removal of Michael Flynn and most recently the well-deserved and utter defeat of the Draconian ACHA and the attempt by the Republicans to repeal Obamacare.  The Women’s march was the largest in U.S. history and if #45 has done one thing, he has awakened many of the once complacent electorate to know that their participation is essential and they called their representatives relentlessly and showed up at town halls around the country to protest.  It is this kind of activism we are going to need if we are to succeed against the people who would strip women, minorities, the elderly, children and the poor of their rights.

The reason for the incredible success of the radical right and Christian Dominionists in particular, is that they have always seen total control as their end goal.  They mobilized their membership and through referring to their extant religious texts and their communities were able to keep the membership towing the party line.  They created their own television and radio stations, bookstores, business networks and other ways to extend their reach far beyond Sunday services.  They created the concept of homeschooling so that they could absolutely control what went into the minds of their own children. While some parents do this because the well-being of their children requires their continued support, finding homeschooling materials that are completely secular and devoid of Christian-centric rhetoric is extremely difficult.

ramses_iiWho’s Really In Charge?

The truth is, that many racists, bigots, white supremacists, and white nationalists have been emboldened by Donald Trump.  Those who are threatened by the fact that the world is getting more inclusive, are terrified that in today’s job market, getting hired, or even your place in society is not assured because you are a part of the (for now) dominant culture.  Being the best person for the job is no longer based on factors such as your sex, your gender, your religion or more to the point, the color of your skin.  Indeed, the terror attack carried out in Quebec during a prayer service was done by a white Trump supporter who was also opposed to immigration.   The desecration of Jewish cemeteries, the threatening of schools and Jewish centers around the country has drawn a sharp line in the political sand: Those who adamantly reject such hatred and those who are apathetic to it.  There are those that are even happy that since Donald Trump is president, they can now outwardly display their bigotry and prejudice against any people that don’t fit into the narrow world view of what they feel is the Dominant Culture.

At the root of it all, indeed who and what is behind this rise of such is, I believe, Steve Bannon. In an article by Terrell Jermaine Starr that appeared in the Washington Post,  is unlimited control.  So what is the end game?  It is my firm belief that by recently removing all white supremacist groups from the terror watch and instituting the Religious Freedom Executive Order that Bannon and Trump want the people to start dividing into groups of us and them. He wants people, in their own self-interests to have infighting so that they are then able to declare martial law. In the meantime, sources inside the White House conclude that this is what is driving the agenda.  The current administration believes that they don’t need to give facts, just information; and if you control the information, you control the message and perception of the people.  I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like to be ‘managed’ in such a fashion. This past week underscores the fact that the majority of the American electorate don’t like to be ‘managed’ in such a fashion, either.

Sekhmet is the upholder of Ma’at.  She is also the absolute personification of Power. I say that not as some sort of feminist diatribe or anything else other than to say that Ma’at will be preserved. Astrologically, this is the time when those things that are illegal and unjust shall be exposed. With the recent revelations by the FBI before Congress and the heat being turned up on the distinct possibility of the Trump Team’s collusion with Russia and Vladimir Putin, it would seem that Ma’at will be coming down on their heads – in every sense of the word.

We are not victims. Each of us individually can do much on our own.  Let us never forget that compassion and standing up and speaking out against wrongdoing is what we are charged with. That is also a part of what Ma’at is. It might not be easy. It might even get a little bit messy, but Sekhmet and Her strength is what we should look to. Collectively, I am convinced, we will change the world for the better.

May the Divine bless us and keep us all.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Leave a comment

Filed under Ma'at, politics, Religion

Restoring Ma’at

Posted over at my other blog, Life Belongs to Sekhmet. Over the coming weeks and months, the ideas presented here will be the focus of both blogs.

Life Belongs to Sekhmet

sekhmetdarkness2016,  through all of the abysmal things that have happened during that time, has me thinking a lot about Ma’at lately.  We’ve lost so many cultural, artistic and historical icons in this year, any of us would be hard-pressed to name them all without referring to a list. This year has been a crippling blow on a lot of levels, but it is not the end by any stretch of the imagination.  That is not to say that it’s been any less trying.

I won’t beat about the bush.  We are all about to head into unknown territory in 2017.  For some, that prospect is terrifying.  Given some of the more recent events that have occurred in the world and the attitudes of those who were supposedly elected to help us face them, we probably should all be on alert.  We are facing several global crises of epic proportions and…

View original post 1,641 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Ma'at, politics, reblogged

Seriously, Pagan Community…WTF!?

wtf by jason borreroI am seeing some very disturbing trends in pagan writings, communities and the like that seems to be spreading like an epidemic.  Some of it isn’t new. However, there are some really disturbing trends I want to address.

Lately, there has been loads of butthurt, overly sensitive, politically correct, anti-Christian, anti-intellectual hubbaloo of the most absurd pagan ghetto thinking and laziness that I have ever seen.  Whenever a debate on any subject happens, inevitably, someone decides that disagreeing with their viewpoint, even if there is nothing even remotely resembling an ad hominem attack, it somehow equals “bullying” or “hate speech”.

I have been reassured by others that it isn’t just within pagan communities, but throughout the world in general.

1) Expecting that all knowledge, books, artistic expression since it is on the Internet should be FREE. for the taking.  Whenever an author releases a new book or musical album, there are those that will want to get it for nothing. Getting this knowledge, according to these folks, is a right. Initiations, Degrees, and the milestones that indicate to the Community as a whole that you have achieved a certain level of knowledge and mastery is all just superfluous nonsense.  I blame Raymond Bucklnand’s Complete Book of Witchcraft that was put out over 30 years ago that is lovingly or not so lovingly referred to as Uncle Bucky’s Big Blue Book O’ Wicca. This book claims that after reading it, you will know just as much as  any Third Degree Initiate into Wicca.

Bullshit.

Gaining knowledge is not just perusing it in a book or online or in a Facebook group or on Usenet or something you can get like an online gamer racks up points.  Most of this kind of ‘knowledge’ is only gotten through hands on, heart in, mind on and DIRECT experience.  There are no shortcuts. No herbs to smoke, drink or ingest in order to get you there quicker.   It doesn’t come easier if you are living in a legal cannabis state or drop peyote with your friends on a weekend and yowl unintelligibly at the full moon out in the desert on a “vision quest”.  The skies will not open up with extraterrestrials, nor will the Star in the East rise, complete with wise men, foretelling the rest of us of your imminent arrival.  You get to lump your own luggage and do the actual work.  I am truly sorry if that bursts a few bubbles out there.

2) Professing to love Mother Earth so very much and then engaging in very bad, consumerist behaviors.   Seriously.  I am sick to death of hearing and reading everyone recommend “saging” or “smudging” away negative energies.  I used to work for one of the world’s largest natural foods co-operatives that supplies bulk herbs to just about every health food store and natural food store in the US and Canada.  There were years when because of drought and/or wildfires there was just no white sage to be had.   For a period of time, sales of this herb were suspended in the interests of being good stewards and ensuring the survival of the plants in the wild and as cultivars. It got so bad that some Indigenous Nations were begging us to sell to them so that they could do ceremonies with what they needed.  We had a bit on hand that had been set aside, and we were able to help them.  The situation involving sage has corrected itself over time, but the opposite reaction is also going through the Pagan community and we have people claiming the plant is currently endangered. Trust me. It isn’t.

Similar circumstances arose with Frankincense (Bosewelia carteri) because of overharvestation and crops of these precious trees have been damaged in regional conflicts.  The same was true of yellow sandalwood when the government of India, which technically owns all of the sandalwood forests in the country, suspended the sale of everything except sandalwood essential oil. Poaching during that time was rife.  We found similar sandalwood in Australia that helped in other formulas calling for the yellow species and it worked out well.  The ban has since been at least partially lifted, but we still have to be mindful of the resource.  Right now, however, the price of yellow sandalwood, regardless of form, has skyrocketed.

The point of this is that Pagans / Wiccans et al need to stop thinking so much about their own selfish, self-involved bullshit and think about the Earth that they claim to care about. There seems to be a real dichotomy with regard to what is good for the planet with increasing environmental challenges and the people who act out selfishly.   There are substitutions for any herb you care to name.  It’s time to pay attention and walk the talk or get out.

3.  Racism –  I have become aware of more racism within both the Pagan and Kemetic communities. For whatever reason, there are those that insist that it is ok to discriminate against someone on the basis of skin color, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual preference etc.  One Big Name Pagan or BNP who shall remain nameless because they have a large, if not sychophantic following, recently posted some of the  most racist vitriol I have ever seen within Paganism.  It was nauseating enough that I suspect that they lost at least a fair number of followers  because of it.  At least they lost a good number of people who  actually take them seriously.  I can only say that I was never impressed with this particular individual’s  arrogance in the past.  Their latest and decidedly bigoted posting just underscored that what my gut had been telling me all along.

I don’t give a damn who you are, or what your tradition is.  Engaging in bigotry is flat out bullshit.  Racism, sexism, elitism, or any other ism you care to name is not how it’s done.  Rule number one where I come from is. “Don’t be a dick.” If you’re a racist or a bigot….well, draw your own conclusions on that.  I won’t tolerate it in my groups and I sure as hell won’t sit quietly by when it’s said or posted in my presence. We have one planet, one chance, one shot to get it right.  It’s time to celebrate the beauty of our diversity and appreciate and respect it without devolving into something that none of us wants.

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

9 Comments

Filed under herbs, indigenous, mystic woo-woo, pagan, politics, rants

Guilt By Association

metmuseum5a1(Note:  This is a blog post that I posted over on my other blog at Niankhsekhmet.com.  I am re-posting it here in its entirety. If you’ve read it before, please forgive the redundancy.)

The adage that we are known by the company we keep probably is very true within the Kemetic Community – perhaps even doubly so. It has become frustrating and disheartening to be judged by people whom you don’t know, who don’t know you, or your specific religious path – nor do they care really! For someone to offhandedly decide that you are not with the “in crowd” or that somehow, will pronounce that not to be of a certain religious affiliation, or sect will deem you unworthy to be given the time of day. Some of course, fear recruitment or being indoctrinated into some sort of cult based on internet rumours that they may or may not have heard.

I am Kemetic. I was trained and ordained as a Kemetic Orthodox Priestess of Sekhmet/HetHert in 1998. I stepped down a couple of years ago by choice, or as one internet website geared toward atheists said, “I retired.” I kind of laugh at that. One does *not* retire from Sekhmet’s service. Your service may change, but it is absolutely for life! At any rate, my reasons, initially, were because I was attending college full time and could not give the level of service required. My situation has changed a bit, and so now my reasons of not wanting to return to it again are deeply personal. I can and will say quite clearly that it was not because of any rift with the Temple, or disagreement between myself and any of the membership. I have been listening to Sekhmet’s call and it has been specific and in a direction by necessity. That doesn’t make anyone bad or wrong. It just makes it a different route that I have chosen to take.

All of us must by necessity approach our spiritual life on a personal level. We may choose to join or Initiate in a specific sect, temple or path, but ultimately, only we as individuals can decide when to move on. Each of us, who are Kemetic, have personal rites. Sometimes this entails a daily practice that follows a formal outlined structure, such as that which is outlined at the Temple of Horus at Edfu. While at other times a practitioner may choose something more fluid, eclectic or non-traditional. Each is a valid structure and approach to the connection to the Netjeru.

That being said, the only things that become annoying are those who insist on the belief of either a maddeningly absurd UPG-type of approach, or those who cannot and will not move outside the formal scholarly sanctioned type of practice. I have found by direct experience that there are deep pitfalls within each extreme and either can be deleterious for spiritual understanding or growth. Egyptology does *not* know everything. Conversely, I have seen so many ridiculous, crackpot theories that should never have made it outside of one’s own personal headspace, let alone made it into print for others to try to decipher.

One extreme, that of the scholarly community only, and especially within Egyptology’s ranks, often eschews and ostracizes those who “actually believe in any of this stuff”. In some place it becomes so much of an issue that those who have made it into those hallowed halls of the scholarly ranks take great pains to either conceal, downplay or flat-out deny that they actually do worship the old gods. These individuals dare not speak of it or it may cost them their entire career or get them passed over for any future projects because their beliefs are not considered “objective enough”. I personally know of several tenured professors or professional Egyptologists who by necessity are very guarded about their personal beliefs. I can state quite clearly that their fears are absolutely justified. Egyptology is neither easy nor cheap to take up as a scholarly pursuit. Admissions into these programmes are prohibitively expensive and generally only accept a tiny handful of students each semester or once a year. Most of these who are accepted have and/or have maintained a 4.0 GPA. Further, that high GPA must be maintained or that student will get a boot planted in their posterior and find themselves completely washed out and with student loan amounts that are nothing less than nightmarish and just shy of the national debt.

The Kemetic Community, I think, is going through something that much of the so-called Pagan “Community” is going through. I believe that there is far too much backbiting, petty, catty and deeply personal bitching among the ranks. People either are wrapped up in an idea that if you do not belong to X group, you obviously are “doing it wrong”, and if you are a part of that group – or have been trained by it, have handed your brain, your soul and your personal assets to some sort of mindless cult of personality that does not allow for personal considerations.

I call “Bullshit,” on both points of view.

Even with my training and years in the priesthood, I interact with those who are not Kemetic Orthodox. I spend a great deal of time with people who come from many different faiths and belief systems, and each gives me a perspective that I would not have had otherwise. In so doing, I am able to form my own opinion that has nothing to do with toeing a party line, a religious canon or being a spokesperson for any given temple or group.

If I see a person make an incorrect, ill-considered or socially repugnant statement to the general public, I have no compunction but to call them on it and tell them why I feel that way. Conversely, I expect to be accorded the exact same service be done to me in return. I also expect that it will be done without the need to resort to ad hominem attacks. I think that is more than fair. Of course, there will always be those who claim to be holier-than-thou, or claim some sort immunity because of the number of books they wrote, lectures at Pantheacon they conducted or letters after their names in terms of university degrees. The political correctness and personal butthurt needs to be put away and replaced with something that resembles common sense. If we cannot have that, then what’s the point, really?

maat1aAll of us who consider ourselves to be Kemetic have a single and solitary foundation. That foundation is not exclusive to any one group, or leader or anything else. We have nothing other to worry about than the idea of Ma’at. Each of us must decide what that is and where we are at personally. Under that one single idea / ideal, there is enough there that is complex enough to keep all of us occupied for the whole of our personal and spiritual lives. We are held responsible and we hold those whom we associate responsible as well. When we do this, we are held responsible for our own actions and words in the context of not only our own lives but the greater whole within the Kemetic community and within the world at large. With this single understanding, some of the petty, single-mindedness is stripped away, and we by necessity have to sit down and listen to the thoughts, concerns and observations of others. Being able to see that perspective and say, “Yes, you are right,” does not, therefore, declare us to be lepers within the groups that we are a part of – or not a member of. It means that we can each be viable on our own, and that we can stand up for ourselves and what we believe, rather than hiding behind an organization, a label or anything else than our own sense of rightness – or our own sense of Ma’at.

 

5 Comments

Filed under kemetic, Ma'at, politics, rants, reblogged, Religion, sekhmet, writing

Reblogged: Reconsidering the Witch’s Uniform

It’s that time of year again. I am definitely feeling the need to point at and post a link at Devo’s astute article on why the whole witches in pointy hats thing needs to go. If you are going to be dressing up for All Hallows Eve, or Samhain, it might be well to give this article a look before donning that pointy hat.

Reconsidering the Witch’s Uniform

 

4 Comments

Filed under Kemetic Rount Table, politics, reblogged, Religion, traditional witchcraft

Branding is Everything

Devo has written some pretty profound things about how the idea of brand not only affects companies, but also how we represent our communities and ourselves.

This idea touches on what my friend, Dr. James Wanless, refers to when he talks about how we are all in the “YOU-biz”.  This very idea is something that we all need to be conscious of in today’s increasingly interconnected world.

We really do have to be activists for what we want to see in our communities and the world around us.

Branding is Everything.

1 Comment

Filed under business, Ma'at, politics, reblogged, Religion