Monday, October 31, 2011

Running Toward Myself: Samhain Reflections

I heard this whisper and I wondered,
I heard this laugh and then I knew.
The time is getting near my friends,
The time that I hold dear my friends,
The veil is getting thin my friends,
And strange things will pass through.
~The Veil is Getting Thinner

I suppose I would be a piss poor Pagan blogger indeed if I didn’t post a blog on Samhain. I was going to skip it, as this is a new blog and doesn’t really have readership yet, and I have to get my kids ready for trick or treat, and I have to pass out candy. But since this is a new year, I would like to start a new tradition for myself of marking where I am, so to speak, spiritually, emotionally, mentally; taking stock of my life, chucking what doesn’t serve me and keeping what does.  Although astrologically, Samhain doesn’t occur until November 8 this year, I just generally treat this entire week as a holiday, similar to how we approach the Yule season.

I've always loved Samhain, even when I was a kid and still called it Halloween. Even then I felt the presence of other beings through the thinning veil, and always a wildness arose in me, a restlessness, an urgency. Like the legendary werewolf, I wanted to runrunrunrunrunrunrun in the moonlit night toward my own destruction. I wanted to howl and scream and rut and BE. With the first cool October nights I felt the stirrings. Traditionally, October has often been a time of crisis for me. As I got older, October marked a time of severe depression, and later, alcohol abuse, culminating in weekends in jail, wrecked cars and relationships, grave physical injuries, embarrassment, shame, and sometimes just plain old fashioned melancholy. That’s why I’m so grateful for the changes in my life now, and why I feel a need to acknowledge them.

I still feel the wildness, but now with the help of medication for my S.A.D., I’m able to channel it into creative endeavors instead of self destructive behaviors. I still want to run, and so I listen to my body’s need for physical activity and increase my exercise. I spend more time alone instead of forcing myself to be social. This is a time of drawing in, of death and repose. When I ignore my body and soul response to the turning of the Wheel, I am setting myself up for disaster. For me, really living my spirituality by heeding and nurturing my connection to the rhythms of nature is an essential component of my well-being. This has been a rough and long lesson for me to learn; spiritual growth doesn’t happen overnight, and some of us are more hard headed than others.

Tonight, after everyone is in bed, I’ll sit my altar and open myself to Spirit. I will review the past year, mulling over the lessons, the successes and the failures. I will assess my spiritual harvest trusting I’ll be sustained through the long winter, and I will plant the seeds for the coming year. I’ll feel the familiar animal surge in my veins and I’ll runrunrunrunrunrunrun in the moonlit night, toward my own creation.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

An open letter to the Not-the-99-Percent

Dear Not-the-99-Percenters,

Well well well, I see some of you out there don’t want to be considered part of the 99%. You’ve worked hard, pulled yourself up by your bootstraps, have a savings account, pay your bills on time, and have managed to escape the latest round of layoffs. Naturally you don’t want to be tarred with the same brush as a bunch of liberal, unemployed lay-abouts with no clear agenda! You’re a purpose filled, driven individual who is smart, yessiree, and you’ve got better things to do with your time than support those stupid protesters. Why, you’ve got shopping to do, and TV to watch, and Farmville to play. Besides, those free-loaders should be looking for jobs instead of exercising their Constitutional right to assemble. The only amendment worth a fig anyway is the Second one. If they didn’t follow the rules, they shouldn’t be surprised that they’re unemployed, and that the police are fracturing their skulls.

That sounds awesome. Very Darwinian. Survival of the fittest and all that.

If you’re not part of the 99%, if you don’t want to be associated with those “idiots”, those “dirty hippies”, those “trust-fund brats”, those “welfare queens”, (By the way, which is it? Are the protesters rich kids or welfare recipients? I forget.) then by all means keep pretending to yourself that the 1% has your best interests at heart, and that they think of you as one of them. But when the Revolution results in better conditions for everyone, including your condescending, paddy rolling, Mistah Ovahseeuh ass, then I don’t think you should partake of the spoils. I think, as a matter of principle, that you should refuse to benefit from any positive social or economic change wrought by the protesters you so despise. After all, you didn’t earn it, and we all know how you people hate to take anything you didn’t get by working hard and following the rules, right? Surely your pride and ethics would preclude you benefiting in any way from the reprehensible actions of the OWS crowd.

Let me clue you in on a little something…if you make less than a million dollars a year; if a catastrophic illness would indeed be catastrophic and drain your savings; if your children will have to apply for any financial aid at all to go to college; if you will have to work until full retirement age so that you can be assured of drawing your full social security benefit in order to have enough to live on; if you don’t come from old money; if you don’t make enough money to justify having an offshore/Swiss bank account; if you park your boat in your driveway; if you don’t own your very own politician; if you’ve never been on the society pages of the newspaper; if you go to parties, but have never attended a gala; if you do all your own grocery shopping, cook all your own meals, and do all your own cleaning and yardwork; if you actually sit down with your bills every month to pay them instead of sending them to your accountant: YOU ARE PART OF THE 99% whether you want to be or not. No matter how much you vilify and belittle the Occupy protesters, and how much shade you cast upon the movement, the cool kids are not going to like you. They'll still think you’re poor trash suitable only for fulfilling their needs. That is, if they think of you at all.

The Revolution is happening, with or without you. Lead, follow, or get the fuck out of the way.