misslynx: (Brigid's cross)
For the 6th Annual Brigid Poetry Festival:

The Song of Wandering Aengus
By W.B. Yeats

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
This looks really cool: Magical Child Books. One of everything, please!

I'm especially excited that Catherynne M. Valente (a.k.a [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna) has got a kids' book coming out. Considering the incredible awesomeness of her fantasy books for adults, I'm really looking forward to seeing what she's written for kids.

BTW, the most magical kids' book I've found to date is Let the Lynx Come In by Jonathan London. It's a poetic, beautifully illustrated story about a little boy going for a nighttime ride through the northern woods on the back of a lynx who climbs up the northern lights to take him to the moon. It's so beautifully written that it made me cry to read it the first time. Also, LYNX.

It's out of print (I found it at the library), but I'm going to try and find a used copy - Amazon's got a few listed via other sellers, though given their latest round of evil I should probably try other sources first. Also, the author has apparently written a TON of other kids' books - as in 18+ pages' worth of listings on Amazon. Not all of them seem to be done in the sort of dreamy mythopoetic style of that one - a lot look more like standard kids' books, which are much less interesting to me - but a number of them do seem to have been done in a similar style, and I have been madly adding them to my kids-books wishlist. Sadly, most of the cool-looking ones are OOP. I suppose now I know one author I'll be looking for every time every time I hit a used bookstore from now on...
misslynx: (Quote - dream the world)
This sounds like a very cool idea:

5th annual Cyberspace Poetry Slam for Brigid

The idea is that tomorrow, February 2, as many people as want to participate post a poem in their blogs, either one of their own or just any poem they like, from a famous or not-so-famous poet, and, optionally, post a comment in the original blog post linking to it, so that "a mighty web of poetry will be spun" on Imbolc, in honour of Brigid.
misslynx: (Default)
Found via [livejournal.com profile] satyrblade's journal. My comment there: "That is awesome. Very wrong and very right at the same time."

misslynx: (Aidan & me - ravine)
Yes, I know, I'm way overdue to make a real LJ post. This is not going to be it, however. I've been in a mega work crunch that will probably be continuing all this week, though maybe I'll manage at least some kind of point-form catch-up somewhere in there.

But the main reason for this post is to let those of you in Canada know that the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is coming up. It runs from Sept. 19-27, with individual cleanups of different areas scheduled for various points during that time. You can go to the web site to see what cleanups are happening in your area. "Shoreline" is defined pretty loosely - you don't need to on the ocean or even a large lake to do a cleanup. A lot of the ones in Toronto, for example, are around creeks in ravine parks (since we have rather a lot of those, in addition to the lake and two major rivers). There are over 1500 cleanups happening in various locations across Canada.

The project is coordinated by the Vancouver Aquarium, with an annoying but probably necessary level of corporate sponsorship from TD and sponsored by TD (which is very nice of them, though I wish they could have been a little less aggressive with the branding) (Edited to clarify that it's not the corporate sponsorship I mind, just the way it's being shown), but the individual cleanups are mostly organized by volunteers in the various communities. They provide things like garbage bags and disposable latex gloves, but if you want something like work gloves for handling sharp things you will want to bring your own. I actually organized a cleanup last year for Cedarvale Park (the big ravine near me), but I didn't have time this year.

However, while I couldn't coordinate a cleanup this year, I did at least register to participate in the cleanup of David Balfour Park, the ravine near Yonge & St. Clair, which I had also participated in year before last. I don't visit that ravine as often as Cedarvale, but I do really like it, and I find it particularly helps the cleanup to feel like a form of spiritual service for me, because something about that ravine tend to make me feel Danu's presence strongly there.

Anyway, this is basically just a nudge for those of you that might be so inclined to check out the site and consider joining a cleanup in your area. If you're in Toronto and not particularly drawn toward any other cleanup, the one at David Balfour Park is at 1:00 this Sunday, if anyone wants to join me there.
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
  1. Note to self: When "almost" recovered from a respiratory infection that among other things has resulted in occasional voice loss, perhaps leading Sunday circle is not the smartest thing to do.

    On the bright side, in a fairly low-key meditative ritual, that stage-whisper my voice was reduced to at some points may have sounded like it was just for dramatic effect. The periodic coughing spasms, probably not so much.

  2. Note to child: styrofoam packing pellets have many uses, to a creative mind. Leaning into the box and wildly digging and flinging them about with both hands, all good. Tearing them into teeny tiny pieces with a look of great concentration and placing each shred in my hands as you tear it off, also all good.

    EATING THEM, however, is NOT on the list of recommended uses.

    It's not like you didn't have a PERFECTLY GOOD plate of Triscuits, veggie pate and clementine segments three feet away from you. Seriously, how flavourful can styrofoam possibly be?

    Oh, and speaking of clementines: No matter how many of them you try to get me to peel for you, they will always have the same thing inside. If you are not eating the segments of the last one I peeled, asking me to peel a new one is unlikely to meet with success.

    But of course, you are adorable anyway, and having you here is awesome even when I am prying shards of styrofoam out of your mouth.
misslynx: (Default)
This person needs to win some kind of entrepreneur of the year award. "Best of Craigslist" just isn't enough:

Your Pets Will Not Be Flagged For Removal By Jesus During the Rapture

(courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] dot_pagan_snark)
misslynx: (needs must)
I can has 36 hour day plz?

Or just stop time for a week or so while I get caught up. That would do it too...

Maybe more like a month.
misslynx: (In tree)
I have a love-hate relationship with this time of year.

Love, because seasons of transition, autumn and spring, are much more appealling to me than seasons of extremes (winter and summer). I like seeing all the day-by-day changes and the slow shift from light to darkness, darkness to light.

And because the colours of the leaves, the movement of their fall, and their scent in the air are so very beautiful. I live in a neighbourhood with a lot of huge old trees, and the autumn leaves are a very intense presence here. Right now we are hitting the point when they're coming off the trees en masse, and walking Kiska today, both times, I was entranced watching them swirling down from the trees.

There were a few points when the sight of them seemed to stir something visceral in me, some kind of almost bodily resonance that I get at times when seeing something beautiful (nearly always in nature), where it seems to reverberate in me in a way that feels almost sexual.

It's that kind of feeling, in a sense, that makes me a pagan, though I can see how for someone else it could make them something else entirely, depending on their own beliefs and frame of reference. What I don't understand, at times like that, is how anyone can not feel a connection to nature. It feels so present and intense for me that trying to imagine not having that is like trying to imagine being without one of my senses. Intellectually, I know there are plenty of people out there who don't feel anything of the sort. But emotionally/experientially, I find it really hard to comprehend.

There are, however, some specific aspects of nature and the turning of the wheel that I do not love. You will recall my reference to a love-hate relationship with late autumn.

The hate part mainly comes in with the lack of sunlight. I know, I know, I'm going to lose all my goth points saying this, but I need a certain amount of sunlight to keep me on an even keel. Ironic given that I never go outside in the summer without a ton of sunscreen and sometimes a parasol, but when the days become too short, it starts feeling oppressive to me, like everything is closing in on me somehow, or at least like time is somehow slipping away from me.

I think it may be partly a touch of seasonal affective disorder or something -- since we descended into the current pattern of short, grey days and cold rain, I have been inordinately moody, so I suspect my serotonin levels are all out of whack somehow. It's not so bad in actual winter -- the sun seems to shine a little more often, and sometimes there is snow to reflect it. The presence of snow in winter improves my mood by about 500%. But in late fall, there's almost never more that a few scattered flakes once in a while, not enough to make a difference.

Also, working at home, where I don't have to leave home for my work day to start, does not help, since what little light there is is outside and I am inside.

Having a dog does help, though. Dogs have to pee, and they do not use litter boxes, so that gets me out of the house at an earlyish hour when even right on the solstice it can't possibly be entirely dark. Dogs also need exercise, as do work-at-home geeks, so I try to make Kiska's walks decently long.

And even on rainy days, that means a lot of pretty falling leaves. And sometimes, that's what gets you through the grey times.
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
There is something particularly enjoyable about putting the finishing touches on a new class on pagan epistemology and critical thinking, while listening to Nightwish at as high a volume as I can manage without disturbing the baby.

Smelling like many delicious spices courtesy of BPAL's Plunder scent makes it even better.

And having [livejournal.com profile] optimystik bring me food while I'm working so that I can eat before I have to head out to teach is better still.
misslynx: (Froud - The Wild Wood)
Someone just posted a wonderful quote, from one of my favourite Diskworld books, in [livejournal.com profile] deliriacodex. Deliria is a role-playing game, but don't let that throw you off -- the passage in question is inspiring way beyond that context. The book it comes from is about a young girl learning to be a witch, and is potentially a lot more useful than many non-fiction books on that topic.

Also in inspiring quotes I've stumbled across recently:
Magic is not something that can be confined. It quickly spills out into other life areas, catching the unwary off guard, propelling the practitioner into a liminal space of heightened sensibility and awareness of other presences, other possibilities. The realization that 'everything is alive and significant', as William S. Burroughs put it, is only a breath away. To enter the faery realm takes but a single step. Magic is not something which one merely 'does'. It's personal, up-close. It twists you and skews your perception of the world tipping you into a world if signs and portents. A territory of fathomless symbol, of mysteries lurking in the shadows. The magician is hypersensitive to the sudden implosion of significance, which is at times a blessing, at others a curse.
And from later in the same book:
This experience, this core, out of which magis -- power -- bursts forth, for me is the core of magic -- the central mystery, if you like. Gnosis of the presence of a god rips away the veils and leaves you gasping, breathless. Character armour is blown away and briefly, you touch the heart of that unknowable mystery, coming away with a shard embedded. It drops away, it works its way in, it becomes a dull ache, so we have to go back for more. Most of the 'set' magical rituals that I've done or participated in don't even come close to this. Yet all of the magical acts which I have done responding to external circumstance, the crash of events or some burdening inner need have thrust me into the foreground of the mystery... Real magic is wild.
The source? Believe it or not, Phil Hine's Pseudonomicon, which is about working magic with the Cthulhu mythos! And yet, contains a lot of really fascinating insights that are relevant to anyone doing any kind of magic, regardless of whether they have any interest in Lovecraft or think you'd have to be insane to want to work with that stuff voluntarily.

I guess the connecting thread between these two finds is: inspiration comes to you from the most unexpected places, if you let it.
misslynx: (Can't brain)
Tons of things I want to post about, but not enough time for any of it. Maybe I'll catch up over the holidays... For now, just a few quick ones:
  1. The WCC Yule ritual last Sunday was amazing. In the 25 years I've been involved with that community, I can only think of a handful of public rituals that have had that kind of spine-tingling intensity that makes them still stand out in your mind a decade later, but I think this will definitely be one of those. It was an Egyptian mystery play, based on a myth in which Hathor leaves the House of Ra and Thoth is sent to find her and convince her to return, and the thing that made it really unique was that it was done almost entirely in music -- like a ritual opera. I had no idea we had such an array of incredible voices in this community... The music was gorgeous, and Thoth's final duet with Hathor was incredibly powerful and moving, especially when the whole circle gradually begain joining in on the refrain. I think I can safely say that was one of the top ten Best Rituals Ever.

  2. December has flown by at warp speed. We are leaving town on Friday afternoon and I have so much stuff I at least theoretically need to get done between now and then that even if I didn't sleep at all I still couldn't do all of it. I think there will be some apologetic e-mails to clients in the very near future, accompanied by promises of finishing everything when I get back into town...

  3. Speaking of not sleeping, I really don't handle all-nighters as well as I used to. Night before last I didn't go to bed until nearly 8 in the morning, and my attempts at giftmas shopping the next day were pitiful. I would walk into a store and stand there in the midst of bustling crowds, staring blankly ahead of me and trying to remember what I was doing there again. Anything requiring decision-making ability was a dead loss. I spent about 5 hours out and came home with two books, nothing else.

  4. Pray for Coal: The 10 Worst Toys of All Time is too funny, in a sick sort of way. Link courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] satyrblade. I think the home atomic energy kit is my personal favourite, though the finger-eating Cabbage Patch Kids are a close runner-up.

  5. We are going to a resort-ish place for Christmas with my father and stepmother, and one of my stepbrothers and his wife and kids. Nothing exotic, just a couple of hours from Toronto and normally a ski resort, but with our current absence of snow (apparently Colorado has stolen our winter), there won't be much skiing going on. Still, it sounds kind of equal parts exciting and nervous-making. More the latter, for [livejournal.com profile] taikakettu, who is very worried about food issues.

  6. This has also necessitated us getting nice pajamas and such to wear when dealing with family members early in the morning. I now have shiny purple pajamas and, as of today, also a new pair of slippers with are ridiculously girly -- white with fake fur trim and silver sparkles and rhinestones on them. They are all soft and furry inside, so it's kind of like walking around with me feet in furry pillows. Shiny sparkly furry pillows. I love them. But I think I just lost all my goth points in one fell swoop.

  7. Claribell is afraid of said slippers -- she seems to think they're some kind of weird animal, and watches them warily whenever she's in the same room with them, as though she thinks they might attack at any moment. And occasionally tries to sneak up on them and swipe at them with her claws -- only to end up fleeing down the hall in terror if some prankster happens to nudge the slippers so that they move a little... Not that any of us would ever do such a thing, of course.

  8. Everyone who likes pretty-smelling bath things, handmade soaps, etc. should check out http://www.faerytub.com immediately. Local (as in Toronto), scented with all natural essential oils, and clearly her web site was designed by someone fabulously talented. ;-)

  9. How, exactly, did it get to be 3:11 am, and what happend to all the stuff I thought I was going to get done before going to bed tonight?
misslynx: (Feline world domination)
  1. The title of this post is taken from my favourite spam subject line of the day.

  2. Must read: Rick Mercer's commentary on the Tories' decision to reopen the same-sex marriage issue. Sample quote:

    "I have heard rumours that in the future the Conservatives plan on devoting every Thursday in the House of Commons to more votes on minority rights.

    "So far they have planned motions debating whether the Chinese should be allowed to drive, whether women should be allowed to vote and whether turbans should be allowed in elevators that travel more than 16 floors."

  3. I am stupidly happy about Stéphane Dion being chosen as leader of the Liberal party. He was my favourite of the lot, but it didn't look like he had a chance. And then all of a sudden, bang -- he pretty much pole-vaulted over all the front-runners while they were fighting out amongst themselves. It appears to be because competition was so fierce among the three of them that each one's followers hated the other two with a passion, and no one hated Dion, being as he was a dorky, rabidly environmentalist academic who can barely speak English intelligibly (then again, Chrêtien was pretty much unintelligible in both official languages, and he did OK), was apparently not considered important enough to hate. Et voila...

    Now, the real question is whether the Canadian public are willing to elect a dorky, rabidly environmentalist academic in lieu of Stephen Harper. That, I am sadly not so sure about...

  4. As promised, an attempt to cover at least a couple of the topics I listed in brief in my recent catching-up post:

    trading spaces )
    me on TV )

  5. More later...
misslynx: (Default)
I am finally reading Patrick Harpur's Daimonic Reality, recommended to me over a year and a half ago when I was seeking out interesting books to wishlist for my birthday last year.

And wow... It is brain-explodey goodness. Thus far, we're into fairies, UFO sighting, religious visions, alchemy, Jung and Neoplatonism, and that's just in the first chapter or two.

I think I first started to get that little tingle of "This is going to be one of those books!" when I read in the introduction that the book was partly an attempt to move beyond Western thought's insistence on strictly separating objective and subjective realities, something I've been wrestling with for some time.

And by "those books" I mean the ones that draw me in enough that if I try and read them on public transit, I end up still with my nose buried in the book all the way off the subway, up the stairs, and out onto the street, until I actually physically run into someone. The ones that manage to crystallize some of the many disparate thoughts that are always circling around in my head, and bring them together into a new synthesis.

And thinking about that makes me realize, in turn, how many of the books that have had that effect on me are syntheses -- books that cross disciplinary divides and bring together insights from seemingly unrelated areas. I think I gravitate toward those because that's a bit part of how my own mind works -- why I consistently opted for interdisciplinary programs and/or multiple majors in university (first anthropology and women's studies as a double major, then an interdisciplinary fine arts program, then environmental studies), and also why I never seem to be able to be content with any one spiritual path. I don't, like the stereotypical eclectic, lack the ability to stick with something long-term -- the fact that I've remained involved in Odyssean Wicca for 25 years should be evidence of that -- but I find that no matter where my studies are concentrated at any point in time, I'm always to some degree looking over the next hill, wondering what's over there and how it might related to what's here. If I try and focus exclusively on one thing for any length of time I start feeling a sort of intellectual claustrophobia. I seem to be at my best when I'm synthesizing things, making connections, tracing patterns.

I think that sort of approach is somewhat out of favour now, at least among a lot of "serious" pagans these days. Perhaps because of the tendency of past scholars, particularly during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, to over-universalize, and look for commonalities between different cultures and traditions to the point of losing sight of their differences, and trying to force-fit everything into a common (usually Greco-Roman) model. But I think it's possible to go too far to the "splitter" side as much as to the "lumper" side. I suppose what I'm most interested in is finding a middle ground, where connections between things can be perceived without losing sight of the distinctiveness of the things being connected.

It's funny -- this is also reflected in a discussion [livejournal.com profile] taikakettu and I had yesterday about one of the dynamics that seems to underlie a lot of our arguments. She tends to focus very much on specifics and I focus more on patterns or overall trends. Often, I'll want to discuss some pattern I see developing in our lives or our relationship, and she'll want specific, concrete examples, but I can't always think of them. Our levels of focus seem to be different... Which does not make either her perceptions or mine invalid, but means we sometimes seems to cause a sort of cognitive disconnect. I'm Forest Girl and she's Tree Girl.

Anyway, enough on that for now. My main point bringing this up was just to say that (a) Daimonic Reality is thus far shaping up to be a great book, which I will probably soon be urging everyone I know to read, and (b) many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wire_mother for recommending it!

I shall attempt a Real Journal Update sometime soon. It's been a while.
misslynx: (seal kiss)
Yesterday, my coven, or at least the portion of it that was available that day, trekked off to a conservation area about an hour outside Toronto, to do a ritual in a place that Bruce, one of our members, had been wanting to for years. It was a longish hike in, but so worth it -- the place was beautiful, and secluded enough that we didn't see anyone the whole time we were there, although we did see a few people on the trails on the way up and back.

It was the nearest thing I've seen to a natural cathedral -- a wide grove of birch trees with high rock walls on three sides, and other large rocks here and there within, including a conveniently placed one in the middle of a small open area, which made an excellent altar (although Kiska apparently thought it made a better dog perch, since as soon as we reached it she jumped up on the rock and stood there like a show dog on display). The rocks were all moss-covered, and the sun was nicely filtered by the leaves of the birch trees, so the place looked, and felt, incredibly green, in a way that seemed like more than colour, though I'm not sure that description makes sense. Everything felt incredibly alive. I really want to go back there again... I felt Danu's presence especially strongly there, and when I was given a call to her to read, I could barely get the words out because the feeling was so intense.

I also found a small animal skull there -- some kind of rodent, judging from the big front teeth. It looks sort of between a squirrel or rabbit in size. It is now sitting on a shelf near my altar, trying to decide if it wants to go on a shrine, and if so, whose.

I really need to get out the city more often. Maybe permanently, at some point. I don't always think about it while I'm here, but when I do get out, I realize how much I need that exposure to nature... The neighbourhood I live in is pretty green by city standards -- when I walk Kiska, I'm surrounded by big trees, lush gardens, etc., at least on the side streets, and I'm thankful for that, but sometimes I need more. Though maybe even getting into the ravine parks in the city more often would help, to some extent. Some of them are really beautiful.

[livejournal.com profile] taikakettu did not come with us yesterday, for a variety of reasons, chief among them that she had a cold and thus did not want to be stuck outside for a long time on an unseasonably cool day with no shelter handy if she got chilled. I was feeling healthy enough, but today, after sleeping for nearly 11 hours last night (due to being very short on sleep for much of the preceding week), I think I may have her cold. I hope I didn't give it to every one yesterday by drinking out of the chalice, but I probably did. Sorry about that. I really wish these things were not contagious before you have symptoms, but I guess that's how viruses (viri?) survive.
misslynx: (Default)

Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] nocturnalia and [livejournal.com profile] valgarth on their handfasting

And happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] insolent_cherub!

In other news )
misslynx: (Default)
Just realizing it's been over two weeks since I last posted anything, and longer than that since I last posted anything public. I think I generally post less when I'm happy with life. Which I mostly am, right now.

Part of that is just the nature of spring -- I think I must have a touch of SAD or something. I'm not necessarily depressed all through winter, but I do tend to be a little more angsty and introverted then. But when spring comes, it's like my serotonin levels skyrocket and everything seems right with the world. Little things like walking under a couple of flowering trees in front of Nikos's old apartment building on St. Clair and seeing the sidewalk strewn with pink petals, or seeing a professional dog walker walking a whole pack of various sorts of dogs on a huge multi-leash type of thing, fill me with intense delight.

And it's not even just that all seems right with the world -- all pretty much is right with the world right now, or at least the world chez Lynx. I am, overall, happier than I have been in a long time, I think. Here are a few reasons:

The Goodness )

And a pensive note... )
misslynx: (Default)
Just realizing I haven't posted since before the retreat...

It was very nice, a bit more laid-back than previous ones, but I compensated for that in typical neurotic workaholic manner by managing to blast straight through the single most challenging book I had left to copy of those required in order for me to get my 2nd degree. Yes, I went on the first break I've had in some time from spending all day every day glued to my computer working - and spent nearly all day every day of it glued to my computer working. I must be fucking insane.

But the important thing is, I finished it. Now I have only one left to do, and that one I already have most of the content of in other forms, so it's mainly a case of gathering it together and filling in the bits I don't have. Shouldn't take long. After that, I just need to finish the layout of all five books, print'em and bind'em (hand-binding is the price of doing one's books by computer instead of handwritten). And finish some written work that's already partly done. In other words, most of the really tedious stuff is done and what is left is mostly what I consider the fun part.

And I have put in a request for a council date. *twitches nervously*

(BTW, if any of the above is confusing to non-Wiccans and/or non-Odysseans, feel free to ask for clarification, and I'll explain what I can.)

. . .

In other news: cockroaches continue to be non-plentiful, though occasionally present. Might need to do a second round of the MaxForce to catch the stragglers. Work continues to be massively busy. I continue to have ideas for my book manuscript, and dream about going back to grad school, and not really have time for either. That's about it, really.

. . .

I've actually been wanting to write a big long rant/analysis/reflection on certain controversial issues raised in a friend's LJ recently, and maybe tie it in with this, though it's technically past the deadline already. But I haven't had enough time to devote to doing it properly, plus I'm still mulling over exactly what I want to say. Too many thoughts buzzing around in my head, many of which contradict each other. Life's complicated like that.
misslynx: (Default)
In the past 24 hours, I have seen one (1) live cockroach. And I may be using the term "live" a tad loosely. It was sitting on the floor in front of the kitchen sink, not moving. I peered closely at it, trying to figure out if it was dead or alive. It eventually twitched a bit, in an unhealthy-looking sort of way. I got a piece of cardboard and squashed it, to which it put up no resistance and didn't even make a token effort to get away. I almost felt sorry for it. Almost.

I suppose I should probably have just let it be, and maybe it might have eventually dragged its dying ass back into the walls and poisoned a few of its friends and family. Oh well.

On the whole, we have gone from seeing around 6-8 cockroaches in the kitchen any time we turned the light on at night to seeing maybe one or two, some of the time, and frequently none. Unless you count the dead ones. And the very few live ones we see usually don't look too frisky.

Go go Maxforce gel. I highly recommend this product.

. . .

In other news, I am going away for the weekend, to a witchy retreat type thing, and I discovered yesterday that it starts today, rather than tomorrow as I had thought, meaning I must scramble to tie up loose ends work-wise and cancel planned activities for this evening. I had originally thought I would have to leave at 2 this afternoon (and got up earlier than usual as a result, despite having gone to bed late), but it looks like I can probably get a later ride, which will enable me to get more done.

I think I am losing my enthusiasm for Xoops as a content management system, at least for clients who are not all that technical. I'm not sure how many of the problems the clients I set up with it are having are due to using a buggy WYSIWYG editor and how much are due to Xoops itself, but I have noticed that most of the successful sites that use it do not use any of the available WYSIWYG editors, but just the default text-only Xoops editor. Could be there's a reason for that... At any rate, must do more troubleshooting with it and calm down panicked client before I leave today. And have been opting for Joomla (f.k.a. Mambo) on newer projects, even though it does have a control panel of about the level of complexity you'd expect for a nuclear power plant.

Returning to the topic of the retreat, I am hoping I will be able to use part of the weekend to get caught up on book-copying, so that I may still have a decent chance of meeting my self-imposed deadline for finishing the work requred to get my 2nd degree. We shall see. Must also complete some written work, though that sort of thing is usually easy for me.

Getting out of town and spending time on spiritual stuff = good.
Being parted from my sweeties = not so good.

I'm glad we're all living together now, because it means I have to worry less about how [livejournal.com profile] taikakettu is faring in my absence. But I will still be checking in by phone regularly.
misslynx: (Default)
We (well, mostly my partners, actually) have caulked virtually every crevice we could find in the kitchen and bathroom that could be providing access for roaches, and the ones that were too big to caulk, like the holes around the pipes leading to the sinks and radiators, have been filled with spray-in foam insulation. And tonight, we broke out the MaxForce gel - fairly heavy duty stuff, though not as toxic as some pesticides, but apparently here it's only supposed to be sold to licensed exterminators. Thankfully, our local hardware store is flexible on that...

Details of the destruction )

In other news, the first half of my Amazon.ca birthday book order has arrived. Yes, my birthday was a month and a half ago. No, they did not take that long to ship them - I didn't order them until late March because the birthday money I got from relatives initially went to pay bills. But I am now the proud owner of David Abram's The Spell of the Sensuous, T. Thorn Coyle's Evolutionary Withcraft, and Claude Lecouteux's Witches, Werewolves and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages. The other three will apparently be shipped later.

I am currently reading the Abram book, and finding it simultaneously amazing and frustrating. He has some really interesting ideas, about the role of traditional healers and magicians being to exist on the boundary of human society and mediate between the human and nonhuman worlds, and the spirits and powers of indigenous societies being not necessarily "supernatural", but manifest in nature. However, he also has a few ideological blind spots that I find aggravating. If he approached the nature-as-spirit idea in a more open-ended and less reductionist way, I think I'd like it better. As it stands, he seems to be simultaneously expanding and restriction perception -- trying to open the reader's mind to the possibility of seeing the divine in nature, while at the same time implicitly denying that it exists anywhere else:
When a magician spoke of a power or "presence" lingering in the corner of his house, I learned to notice the ray of sunlight that was then pouring in through a chink in the roof, and to realize that that column of light was indeed a power, influencing the air currents by its warmth, and indeed influencing the whole mood of the room; although I had not consciously seen it before, it had already been structuring my experience.
But what if the power the magician spoke of wasn't only the ray of light? There are tons of examples like this just in the part of the book I've read so far. Abram seems to feel that by learning to perceive the spiritual in the natural, he's somehow cracked the code that indigenous people apparently speak in, and realized that it's really all just one big metaphor, that all this talk of spirits and powers is really just a different way of looking at animals, plants, rivers, rays of light, etc., and that this is a grand epiphany that western society needs to be awakened to. And it may be that in part, but by reducing spiritual experience to only a different way of perceiving nature, he also neatly eliminates any aspects of it that might be genuinely threatening to the western rationalist mindset. No actual spirits here, nothing "supernatural", nothing genuinely challenging, just a different way of looking at things.

He claims that most traditional cultures don't believe in "an immaterial realm outside earthly nature", and thus seems to sweep away the possibility that all that talk of a spirit world could possibly be anything more than a metaphor for nature. The possibility of a spirit realm that is not wholly separate from physical nature but not identical with it either; that overlays the visible world and is congruent with it, but at the same time occupies a different level of existence, isn't acknowledged. He doesn't seem to be able to conveive of any third option between the purely immanent, nothing-but-physical perspective, and abstract "heavens and hells" with no connection to nature.

Oh well. Still a fascinating read.

And yes, I am fully cognizant of the irony of reading a book on remaking our relationship with nonhuman nature at the same time as I am trying to eradicate it from my kitchen.


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April 2011

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