Thursday, January 27, 2011

Praise Father, Mom, and Holy Goats

Recently, a friend of a friend contacted me. She was raised a Catholic, but now found that she was at odds with  Church beliefs. She had been researching Wicca, and wondered if I could share some insider views. She had made the comment, “I still believe in Christianity.” In her case, she was referring to its moral precepts, rather than its dogma.

But that's not the case with everyone, apparently. Rising from the depths of the Well of Spiritual Befuddlement there are now Traditions of (grab onto something and hold tight) Christian Wicca.


Honest to God – Jehovah – Cernunnos – whatever. Christian Wicca: where beliefs are gleaned from both Christ-based and Pagan practices.

Kids, let's read our history books, Bibles, Books of Shadows, and theology tomes. Remember the Old Testament, which is still trumpeted in the New? “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” When did they put a coda on that? “..oh, yeah, except for Isis. She's hot.” Now we are being told that there is one god, who is both male and female: Jehovah and Sophia. (I can see it on the marquee of a Ramada Inn: “Congratulation to the Divine Couple, Jehovah and Sophia!”)

Wicca is accepting of other spiritual Paths, and always was, but Christianity is an exclusive club, with “he who is not with me is against me” and “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” membership requirements. These Paths are, therefore, mutually exclusive. Wicca has no Satan, Savior, 9 levels of angelic beings, or multi-layers of perdition. Many of us in the old vanguard have the philosophical scars and bruises from attempts to explain our uniqueness from the concept of “witch” held by contemporary Christianity.
A symbol of Christian Wicca. When did the Romans start crucifying Pentagrams?

Folks, you are not creating something new. You have not stumbled upon the undiscovered country. Once before, Pagan rites, holidays, garb, incense, Cake & Ale – even gods – had been absconded from us and blended with the emerging cult of Christ. It's called the Roman Catholic Church.

From Goddess titles given to Mary (“Queen of Heaven”, “Divine Mother”) to the liturgical calendar, to writing new back stories for Pagan gods – like Brigit – and reconstituting them as saints – The Roman Catholic Church has been the reigning champ at revisionist history. (For more on this Pagan-Christian connection, read “An Irish Book of Shadows”.)

"You HAD to volunteer to cook for the Church social..."

Even before the Catholics, there was a Pagan/Christian hybrid called the Culdee. Look them up, witchlets. At least, they knew they were set apart from their root Paths.

Needless to say, I could go on and on about this. Hey, half my family is Irish Catholic, and I endured 12 years of parochial schooling. My cousin was even a priest. However, I learned to look beyond the veneer and saw men in robes by a candle lit altar, waving censers of incense, elevating bread and wine and magically declaring it to be the body and blood of their god.

"Hey, we gotta fly or we'll be late for Mass"

Christian Wicca? Whoop, there it is!

I think I'll stick with the Irish Craft, thanks.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...4 more days before I forsake the fixator and wake up in either a cast, a boot or a splint. That's OK. I just want OUT! The last three weeks have been spent in extreme pain, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel now. (Of course, it could be an oncoming train, or a vortex to the other side.)

"I want it off NOW, damn you!"
 Fingers crossed!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Devil Made Me Do It

My nephew visited me, not long ago, and started discussing an on-line game he was playing. In this game, one had to pick a side in a political situation: either the workers or the government. My nephew made one choice, his friend – the opposite, but under protest. The game, he postured, “made” him select the side that he did, despite some unsettling – well – side issues. (No, I don't know the name of the game. I'm lucky I didn't flat line, as usual, when computer stuff is mentioned.)

My nephew wisely pointed out, “That's like buying an erector set, with directions for making a Ferris wheel and other items. You put together the Ferris wheel, then claim the company 'made' you build it.” He was aware enough to apply this realization to his own behavior regarding his current employment. It also kicked off a stream of memories from my own past.
Erector Ferris wheel: you control it, we control you.
 In Catholic grammar school, the Sisters of Charity (a contradiction in terms) drilled into our innocent psyches the notion of sin – Mortal and Venial. Missing Sunday Mass ( and the two collections per service) was a Mortal sin. To miss Mass was to give ear to the whisperings of the Devil. Satan was the adversary, the tempter of children who would rather sleep late than attend upon the altar of God, tithing envelope in hand.

One Monday morning, the Principal stomped into our 3rd grade classroom, and called Anthony to stand before her. Anthony was a short, shy boy, who now walked the rows of desks like a prisoner going to the gallows.

“Sister,” said the Principal to the homeroom nun, “Did you know that Anthony missed Sunday Children's Mass?”

“You missed Mass?” the Sister exclaimed.

“No, Sister, no!” Anthony protested. “I missed 9am Mass, so I went to the 10 o'clock with my parents.”

“The 9am Mass is specifically for the St. Peter's children. Why did you miss it?”

“I overslept,” Anthony whispered softly.

“And who's fault is that?”

“The Devil, Sister. He made me sleep late.”

The next thing we knew, Anthony's head was saying “howdy” to the blackboard, while the Sister screamed, “Don't you be a smart-ass with me, young man!”

Apparently, Satan was the “big bad” - but only hypothetically.
Sister Mary Karma: miss Mass and burn!

 Years go by, calendar pages fly off the wall, yadda, yadda, and I am now working for INA – the oldest Insurance company in North America. I didn't announce that I was a witch, nor did I hide the fact.

Go ahead, blame me for your incompetence. It would be such a simple spell...

 One day, a particularly lazy co-worker approached our boss. “I know I'm not doing the quality or quantity of work the others are doing, but I think Kat put a hex on me. I just can't concentrate.”

“Well,” said the boss, “I advise you to recover quickly before I tell Kat what you just said. If you weren't hexed before, you're gonna be. Sit down and do your job.”

According to some, the INA break room
More and more, I run into members of the “Teflon society” - those individuals who make choices, but only “own”: the positive outcomes. Everything else is the result of external manipulation: the government, the game developers, the corporation, the witch in the next cubicle. Free Will is only free if we like the results.

I'm running into this in the magical community, as well. If the outcome of spell crafting results in majorly bad mojo, the fault lies not in ourselves but in our stars. (Sorry, Willie).

Be adults, folks. Are you entitled? Yes: to use your abilities “if it harm none”. Once you have considered the full potential impact of your magic (or your behavior – this isn't just an esoteric consideration), you are free to decide your actions. If there is a negative effect, own it. Make it right. Don't go whining to your Elder/High Priest/ess crying, “Johnny took me to Denny's for brunch and now I gained 5 pounds. So, I cursed him with genital warts..but he MADE me do it. He KNOWS I have food issues!”...

... and your Mommy took away your sippy cup too soon, so now you drink.,

... and Fido the chinchilla liked your sister more than you, so now you fear rejection.

... and your cousin heard you fart in a public bathroom, so you now have performance anxiety.

Yeah, yeah. OK.

"No, that wasn't an EVP...and I'm never coming out!"

Time to evolve, people. Own what you sow, good yield or bad. Acknowledge your errors, apologize, fix them, forgive yourself, learn and move on. Remember: taking the responsible high road can bring it's own kind of magic.

So ends the lesson.

Meanwhile, back at the house.. I saw my surgeon Monday. The pain I am experiencing is totally expected. The top pin sites are inflamed because my skin is moving on the pins, causing irritation.

IRRITATION? Oh HELL, no. Burning agony. So, Kat finally got drugs. It's not my usual solution, but it helps me carry on. I do have a date for fixator removal: January 31. Huzzah! Think clear weather thoughts for me.

Percocet: sacrament of the gods
 It is getting harder and harder to keep Rufus away from my leg. He has always been a tissue thief..napkins, dryer sheets. When he sees 22 pieces of gauze up and down my leg..well... He actually crept up on me, when I was focus on something else, took his little teeth and removed the entire dressing from one of the top pins.

I felt nothing. NOTHING.

He should demonstrate this for one or two of my visiting nurses.

Later, guys!