omorka: (Asherah Presides)
Fell off the wagon, at least where blogging was concerned. Will write about Akitu later.

Current deities on the altar are Shamash, the Babylonian solar god, and Nanshe, a minor goddess of the sea, the shoreline, and divination. Shamash was specifically invoked as the god of justice and just laws, an extension of his title "the All-Seeing." Nanshe was primarily honored in her aspect as a goddess of divination, dreams, and prophesy away from the coast, but her hymns also describe her as a protectress of the poor, the downtrodden, and the oppressed.

I have occasionally described myself as a Social Justice Cleric. I offer this altar as evidence.

---

Ordering incense via Amazon is not as much fun as one might expect. On the other hand, at least I have laid in a decent supply. I also couldn't find green candles at Fiesta when I went to restock. Not having a decent Pagan supply store whose politics aren't gross around is harder than it looks.
omorka: (Asherah Presides)
Note to self: Figure out exactly what promising Enki that you would "make a joyful noise unto him" actually means, and do it before the next full moon.

Also, do not make vague promises to trickster gods.

Also, figure out an appropriate incense for Him other than the standard cedar and frankincence.

But mostly, do not make vague promises to trickster gods. What the Irkalla were you thinking? Now we have to write Him a hymn, I think.
omorka: (Default)
3 Nisannu - Lunar incense as an offering to the three goddesses I currently have images of on my altar (Tiamat, Shapshu, Gaia). Finished burning the candle for a spell started last week. Lit ancestor candle & tried to tend the wick a little bit.

4 Nisannu - Unlabeled incense (I think it's sandalwood) as an offering to my ancestors of blood and culture. Need to start working on the Hallows calendar again. Lit ancestor candle. Poured out the water from the altar chalice and refilled it.

Am contemplating declaring the epoch for the NeoChaldean calendar to be 29 October 1969, and use "Internet" as the name of the ruler. It's not far off from the Unix epoch, and it avoids the unpleasant implication that Presidents are somehow kings. That would make the date above "3 and 4 Nisannu, Internet 45." Not sure what to use for the previous ruler (Television, perhaps?), should I need to refer to dates prior to the epoch, but that's probably unlikely to happen.
omorka: (Asherah Presides)
[Note for sacred calendar dates: I'm using the Achaemenid-era Chaldean calendar because it's the one that's easiest to use. Since the new moon and the equinox fell on the same day this year, I'm assuming that 1 Nisannu was the evening of the 20th/morning of the 21st (Babylonians counted from sunset, like most Semitic peoples still do). I'm not entirely sure what to do about the year count, since I'm actively an anti-monarchist, but listing off the current Congress seems even more awkward than treating the Presidency as if it were a reign, so I'm doing that for the moment.]

Got two different suggestions in 48 hours that cleaning off and re-dedicating my home altar would be the correct thing to do for Akitu. My right wrist is hurting too badly to do the grading I really ought to be doing right now, but gross motor movement doesn't hurt nearly as much as fine motor stuff, so I went ahead and did so. I hadn't quite realized how much extra stuff had accumulated on top of the altar. Fortunately, it has drawers, and they weren't full yet, so I dusted everything off and put most of it inside the altar. I have two votive figures for deities I'm not currently doing reverence for (Tehuti and Sarasvati), so I found honored places on the bookshelves for them (they're both deities of learning, among other things, so I can't imagine them objecting to being placed with books). I also have an un-dedicated image of Hecate, but I need to do a proper ceremony for that one, so I wrapped it up and put it in one of the drawers for right now.

The rest back here for space )
omorka: (Autoharp & Case)
Apparently I only like Christmas carols when they're in another language, preferably one I don't speak. "Gaudete," "Patapan," "Un Flambeau," "Stille Nacht" (but don't even try it in English!), and now "Riu Chiu."

Of course, who's singing it doesn't hurt. I've pointed out before that I really, really like how Micky Dolenz's and Mike Nesmith's voices sound together, and I don't think it's just the ear of puberty, there. A cappella Monkees, four voices, no instruments? Yes, please!

Apparently Micky ended up on several celebrity atheist lists after answering "No," to the Onion A.V. club's interviewer's question of "Is there a God?" They appear to have left out the remainder of the answer - "God is a verb, not a noun." That doesn't make him an atheist; it makes him a process theologian (and probably either a humanist or a newager or both). It also makes him the sort of guy who quotes Buckminster Fuller to impress girls, or at least interviewers.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. There's a small number of guys who were already in their 40s when I went through puberty who were nonetheless crush-objects of mine and whom I would still quite happily bed now, with me approaching 40 myself and them another twenty years or more along ahead of me, should I get the chance. Harold Ramis tops the list, of course, but Micky Dolenz is quite firmly in second place. (That I was crushing on his twentysomething self from the '60s when he was fortysomething in the '80s is an interesting bit of timey-wimey complexity, but life and teenage hormones are like that sometimes.)

He's still got pipes, as does Nesmith. Shame they can't get along, really. With Jones gone (alas! and RIP), there's little hope of the Monkees ever really being more than three brothers in a deep-seated sibling rivalry sharing a stage for a few minutes. Tork's even harder to wrangle than Nesmith is, although he tends to need the money more. Davy was the only one who still got along with the others, and even that not always well. Still, they did manage to share a stage once in a while, in threes or occasionally fours; not all bands from the same time with acrimonious breakups could say the same.

---

Can we keep Matt Smith for another season of Doctor Who and get rid of Moffatt instead? No? Just a thought.
omorka: (Doc Shocked)
Most of the time, I like my adopted state, despite its ridiculous politics, but some things just don't make any damn sense. Like having a pledge of allegiance to the state flag. Or driving SUVs everywhere.

Or worrying about whether your baptism is stylish enough.

Dammit, Texas!

Utah Sutra

Oct. 30th, 2012 09:54 pm
omorka: (Scientology Pervert)
Okay, this is too funny not to share:

The Book of Mormon Missionary Positions

Technically SFW, but only technically; your boss will look at you funny for a week but probably won't fire you.
omorka: (Bi Symbol)
So, the governor of Maine vetoed a bill that would have given the teachers of his state funding towards NBPTS certification - because the state branch of the NEA disagreed with him on a number of things, one of which was marriage equality.

WTF? I mean, I can imagine in Jesusland castigating the MEA for talking about things that aren't directly about the classroom (never mind that making sure that every teacher knows their SO is covered by their health insurance is something I think any teacher's union should be concerned about), but - Maine? Really? And then yanking funding for a completely unrelated certification program?

In related news (and quoted in the article), Rep. Frank, when asked about the four-year-old singing about Teh Ghey not getting into heaven, said:

Sometimes when people know they’re losing, they get more virulent. That can be a dangerous time.


Especially one to be lovers in.

Nothing worth the having comes to us already made; gotta kick at this brightness 'till it bleeds deep shade.
omorka: (Bi Symbol)
So, the governor of Maine vetoed a bill that would have given the teachers of his state funding towards NBPTS certification - because the state branch of the NEA disagreed with him on a number of things, one of which was marriage equality.

WTF? I mean, I can imagine in Jesusland castigating the MEA for talking about things that aren't directly about the classroom (never mind that making sure that every teacher knows their SO is covered by their health insurance is something I think any teacher's union should be concerned about), but - Maine? Really? And then yanking funding for a completely unrelated certification program?

In related news (and quoted in the article), Rep. Frank, when asked about the four-year-old singing about Teh Ghey not getting into heaven, said:

Sometimes when people know they’re losing, they get more virulent. That can be a dangerous time.


Especially one to be lovers in.

Nothing worth the having comes to us already made; gotta kick at this brightness 'till it bleeds deep shade.
omorka: (Element Pentacle)
This. This right here. (Warning: very mildly NSFW, carved stone breasts.) I need this on my altar right the heavens now.

Where can a girl buy a good cult statuette around here? (Edit: SacredSource.com has something close, but not quite what I want. Might have to make do, though.)
omorka: (Element Pentacle)
This. This right here. (Warning: very mildly NSFW, carved stone breasts.) I need this on my altar right the heavens now.

Where can a girl buy a good cult statuette around here? (Edit: SacredSource.com has something close, but not quite what I want. Might have to make do, though.)
omorka: (Abstinence Fails)
One of the skills tested by the various state-level high school English Language Arts exams - previously, in Texas, the TAKS tests; now, the STAAR tests and end-of-course exams - is the ability to identify the main character of a written story or excerpt. I don't think it's too strong to say that if you can't do that, then you probably shouldn't be graduated from high school.

So why has the historical reading of Genesis 38 focused on Onan, of all people? He's in all of three verses of the darn thing! The story has two main characters, and he's not even one of them! The two main characters are Judah and Tamar.

Is it mean of me to suggest that the reason Onan gets so much attention is because one of those main characters is (a) a woman who (b) uses sex to get her way, and (c) not only doesn't get punished for it, she becomes an ancestress of King David, and thus (in Christian myth) of Jesus Christ?

Some high-school level literary analysis Behind The Cut )
omorka: (Abstinence Fails)
One of the skills tested by the various state-level high school English Language Arts exams - previously, in Texas, the TAKS tests; now, the STAAR tests and end-of-course exams - is the ability to identify the main character of a written story or excerpt. I don't think it's too strong to say that if you can't do that, then you probably shouldn't be graduated from high school.

So why has the historical reading of Genesis 38 focused on Onan, of all people? He's in all of three verses of the darn thing! The story has two main characters, and he's not even one of them! The two main characters are Judah and Tamar.

Is it mean of me to suggest that the reason Onan gets so much attention is because one of those main characters is (a) a woman who (b) uses sex to get her way, and (c) not only doesn't get punished for it, she becomes an ancestress of King David, and thus (in Christian myth) of Jesus Christ?

Some high-school level literary analysis Behind The Cut )
omorka: (Dice Dice Baby)
Happy St. Gygax's Day!

I need to make up a calendar for my set of saints - wonder if I should add St. Jones to it . . .
omorka: (Dice Dice Baby)
Happy St. Gygax's Day!

I need to make up a calendar for my set of saints - wonder if I should add St. Jones to it . . .
omorka: (Element Pentacle)
There was an interesting post on the Pagan Newswire Daily's roundup recently, a bit on Gardner and the origins of Wicca, that took a perspective I hadn't thought of previously but which makes sense.

First, we all know that Gardner's origin myth of Wicca is only a myth, not historical fact - this is not a direct survival of the pre-Christian religion of the lower classes of the British Isles, and it probably doesn't resemble that Saxon or Celtic religion much, if indeed at all. It might vaguely resemble a set of countercultural religious practices that may have occurred post-Christianization, but if those even existed, the resemblance is tenuous at best. So what we have might be a reconstruction of a reconstruction, with a whole damn lot of Making It Up As You Go involved at both stages. Or, it might be mostly made up by Gardner out of while cloth, with those countercultural heresies merely being made-up bogeymen imagined by the Church.

However, there were clearly magickal traditions practiced before the current neoPagan and ceremonialist occult revivals. And many of them were recorded in the "pop culture" of the time. We know, for instance, that there were ceremonial mages practicing in a variety of traditions through the High Middle Ages and Renaissance, and in some cases we have copies of their grimoires; the depictions of wizards in Renaissance plays call on this, with big books of magic spells and ceremonial circles. The article points out that the other magickal tradition recorded in those plays is a low-magick witchcraft tradition, involving potions and dancing around in circles. The author's claim is that Gardner seems to have melded these two disparate traditions - adopting the ceremonialist's casing of a ceremonial circle and the use of various altar tools, but using it as a container for the round dance and energy raising of the witchcraft tradition. (He also allows for the possibility that Gardner was in fact passing along a tradition invented by the New Forest coven before Gardner joined, which would push back that melding by one generation.) He then labels this melding a "mutation," although without the usual pejorative implications of the term.

I like the idea, myself. It's clear to anyone who has paid attention to the history of the movement that something new happened in the Gardnerian/Alexandrian/Cochranian period, and the few remaining descriptions of Cochrainian covens don't really have the ceremonialist strain that the Gardnerian and Alexandrian covens did and do. The combination of the Apollonian ceremonial circle and the Dionysian dancing, chanting, and other energy-raising works for a non-trivial percentage of the population; whether it replicates something that existed previously, and I'm more than willing to agree that it's not an unbroken survival of anything, it's functional and powerful.

But I think "mutation" isn't quite the right word. What the article seems to be arguing happened is more along the lines of two different species of plants from the same family that happen to have the same number of chromosomes interbreeding. Most of the time, when this happens, the resulting plant is sterile because the different chromosome pairs from the two parents don't match up. But occasionally, the plants goof up in meiosis and the germ cells end up with a full complement of chromosomes, or they get a half set but that half set gets duplicated. Then the daughter plant has a full set of the chromosomes of each of the parent plants, and expresses all of them correctly - and if they don't clash, you get a plant with the best attributes of both parents. This happened in the Triticum genus, about ten thousand years ago, when a wild grass now called einkorn swapped genes with a jointed goatgrass in the closely-related Aegilops family and produced emmer wheat. A few thousand years later, emmer did the wild thing with another goatgrass and the result was the ancestor of the bread wheats, something very close to spelt. These aren't mutations; they're hybridizations.

Wicca, or at least the standard wiccaform ritual structure, is by this theory a polyploid hybrid. And it seems to have benefited from the standard hybrid vigor, judging by how fast it's spread in the sixty-odd years since being released into the wild. And for all that I'm an Authenticity Cop in a lot of respects - I prefer not mixing pantheons in a single ritual, I like offering different gods the things their home cultures say they like, I'm in favor of permanent sanctuaries, temples, and votive statuary - that's just fine with me. If nothing else, it's one more thing with poly- in front of the name to add to the mix of faiths I call mine.
omorka: (Element Pentacle)
There was an interesting post on the Pagan Newswire Daily's roundup recently, a bit on Gardner and the origins of Wicca, that took a perspective I hadn't thought of previously but which makes sense.

First, we all know that Gardner's origin myth of Wicca is only a myth, not historical fact - this is not a direct survival of the pre-Christian religion of the lower classes of the British Isles, and it probably doesn't resemble that Saxon or Celtic religion much, if indeed at all. It might vaguely resemble a set of countercultural religious practices that may have occurred post-Christianization, but if those even existed, the resemblance is tenuous at best. So what we have might be a reconstruction of a reconstruction, with a whole damn lot of Making It Up As You Go involved at both stages. Or, it might be mostly made up by Gardner out of while cloth, with those countercultural heresies merely being made-up bogeymen imagined by the Church.

However, there were clearly magickal traditions practiced before the current neoPagan and ceremonialist occult revivals. And many of them were recorded in the "pop culture" of the time. We know, for instance, that there were ceremonial mages practicing in a variety of traditions through the High Middle Ages and Renaissance, and in some cases we have copies of their grimoires; the depictions of wizards in Renaissance plays call on this, with big books of magic spells and ceremonial circles. The article points out that the other magickal tradition recorded in those plays is a low-magick witchcraft tradition, involving potions and dancing around in circles. The author's claim is that Gardner seems to have melded these two disparate traditions - adopting the ceremonialist's casing of a ceremonial circle and the use of various altar tools, but using it as a container for the round dance and energy raising of the witchcraft tradition. (He also allows for the possibility that Gardner was in fact passing along a tradition invented by the New Forest coven before Gardner joined, which would push back that melding by one generation.) He then labels this melding a "mutation," although without the usual pejorative implications of the term.

I like the idea, myself. It's clear to anyone who has paid attention to the history of the movement that something new happened in the Gardnerian/Alexandrian/Cochranian period, and the few remaining descriptions of Cochrainian covens don't really have the ceremonialist strain that the Gardnerian and Alexandrian covens did and do. The combination of the Apollonian ceremonial circle and the Dionysian dancing, chanting, and other energy-raising works for a non-trivial percentage of the population; whether it replicates something that existed previously, and I'm more than willing to agree that it's not an unbroken survival of anything, it's functional and powerful.

But I think "mutation" isn't quite the right word. What the article seems to be arguing happened is more along the lines of two different species of plants from the same family that happen to have the same number of chromosomes interbreeding. Most of the time, when this happens, the resulting plant is sterile because the different chromosome pairs from the two parents don't match up. But occasionally, the plants goof up in meiosis and the germ cells end up with a full complement of chromosomes, or they get a half set but that half set gets duplicated. Then the daughter plant has a full set of the chromosomes of each of the parent plants, and expresses all of them correctly - and if they don't clash, you get a plant with the best attributes of both parents. This happened in the Triticum genus, about ten thousand years ago, when a wild grass now called einkorn swapped genes with a jointed goatgrass in the closely-related Aegilops family and produced emmer wheat. A few thousand years later, emmer did the wild thing with another goatgrass and the result was the ancestor of the bread wheats, something very close to spelt. These aren't mutations; they're hybridizations.

Wicca, or at least the standard wiccaform ritual structure, is by this theory a polyploid hybrid. And it seems to have benefited from the standard hybrid vigor, judging by how fast it's spread in the sixty-odd years since being released into the wild. And for all that I'm an Authenticity Cop in a lot of respects - I prefer not mixing pantheons in a single ritual, I like offering different gods the things their home cultures say they like, I'm in favor of permanent sanctuaries, temples, and votive statuary - that's just fine with me. If nothing else, it's one more thing with poly- in front of the name to add to the mix of faiths I call mine.
omorka: (Abstinence Fails)
The video linked in this post here is not the creepiest abstinence video I've ever seen, but it's in the top 10. Note that, like most stuff from this crowd, it portrays the girl as the temptress, wantonly leading the young boy astray. Granted, I seduced the Imzadi, but for the most part, when I was that age that was fairly rare.

Also, some of the stuff [livejournal.com profile] quantumduck and the Out-of-Sync players did on videotape in high school has better video and audio quality. Certainly they had better acting. In this digital age, there's no excuse for this lack of even decent framing and lighting.
omorka: (Abstinence Fails)
The video linked in this post here is not the creepiest abstinence video I've ever seen, but it's in the top 10. Note that, like most stuff from this crowd, it portrays the girl as the temptress, wantonly leading the young boy astray. Granted, I seduced the Imzadi, but for the most part, when I was that age that was fairly rare.

Also, some of the stuff [livejournal.com profile] quantumduck and the Out-of-Sync players did on videotape in high school has better video and audio quality. Certainly they had better acting. In this digital age, there's no excuse for this lack of even decent framing and lighting.
omorka: (Religious Left)
So, some dominionist dope gave his wedding guests a letter explaining why the wedding ceremony might look a little strange. Namely, he feels that a "biblical marriage" not only does not include any vows, but in fact is an "unbreakable arangement between [her husband] and her father." Her consent doesn't enter into it, and in fact seems to be regarded as undesirable

Someone by the handle of "Not John Norman" nails it in one of the comments:

I think this is the first case I’ve seen where search-and-replace to change the references to be about John Norman’s Gor would cause it to make more sense.

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