Friday, January 27, 2012


"The teenage girl was visiting her grandfather; a revered orthodox rabbi and a leader of his community.
'I don't believe in God' she said, defiantly.
'That's alright, He believes in you' was the rabbi's response."
(I do not remember where I first read this, it may have been on the Aish website.)

“Most witches don’t believe in gods. They know that the gods exist, of course. They even deal with them occasionally. But they don’t believe in them. They know them too well. It would be like believing in the postman.”
Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

Belief is a funny thing.  Especially in American society, we appear to give it high value and want to see it in others, as if a persons ability to believe (and here, we are talking about belief in a Deity of some sort) is a function and proof of a higher morality.  But belief is much like gnosis.  You can have it, you can experience it, but there is no form of proof of such possession.  Any outward behavior that might be taken as manifestation of belief can be faked, at least for a period of time.

And then there is the idea (belief?) that the Gods NEED our belief in them.  Excuse me?  Is it even possible that a more self-centered philosophy could be created?  We may need to believe in order to propitiate a Deity properly, so that we might receive assistance, but that is far different from from the idea that an unbelieved in God dies, or no longer exists.

What do I believe in?  Here is where I am tempted to quote the long passage in American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, where Sam Black Crow tells Shadow all that she is capable of believing in, but it is a long passage (and best heard read by Mr. Gaiman himself) and enumerates only what it is possible for her to believe in, not what she actually believes.  So instead,

I believe I will go make myself a cup of tea.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 18, 2012

There was a death in the family last week.  My Great-Aunt, my Grandmother's youngest sister.  She had only recently received her diagnosis, with the expectation of her living for another 6 to 9 months.  She wasn't willing to live with the lifestyle changes that would have allowed her that time, though.  So, she waited for her children and her grandchildren to arrive, that she might see them once more.  And then, She Just Stopped.  No assistance, no additional painkillers.  She refused food, but hadn't stopped eating long enough for that to be the cause of death.  Just like her older sister,  life was to be on her terms or not at all.  Have I ever mentioned that I have some scary strong-willed women in my background?

("A" is for Ancestor)

Monday, January 9, 2012

A is for Anat and Altars that Alter Attitude

I have several altars in my home.  Some are permanent, such as my altar to my family and my beloved dead.  They don't change all that often, when I dust and clean them, all the items pretty much always go back into the same exact places.  Caring for them, sitting in front of them, and even just walking past them, these altars remind me of who I am, where I've come from, what grounds me and strengthens me for whatever else I do.

There are the long term, semi permanent altars, such as the one set up for Columbia, Goddess of Freedom and Matron of the capitol city of this nation.  Hers is front and center in my living room, impossible to walk past without seeing, and perhaps thinking "now would be a good time to light some incense to her."  She is not a "personal" goddess for me, but certainly through this political season I will propitiate her and implore her to look after her people and her nation.  Her space is as spare and clear as the family altar is colorful and filled with "stuff."

I have my circle.  Which is a holy place, but not permanently set up for any one specific ritual.

And then, there is the Anat tile.  I posted this picture once before, and I will admit, I was completely surprised by the reaction to it.  I think she is beautiful, not gruesome, as one commentor said.   I am not a Canaanite reconstructionist, I do not worship Her, but She bears an important message to me, and when I need to be reminded of that message, the tile comes out and is set on my desk, where I cannot help but see Her.

(image and tile by the very talented Thalia Took )


As a wife and a mother, and a healer, this is a lesson I've had to learn over and over again.  My personality inclines me to giving my "all" to those I love, to those I work to heal, to help.  But, you can't give your "all" if you expect to have anything left.  If you have ever taken a CPR certification class, or a Red Cross first aid class, you know that the first rule is protecting yourself; the most important person is the healer, not the injured.  The rule is the same if you are talking emotional or spiritual or psychic support-if you damage yourself, how can you help anyone else?  A hard lesson.  One that I learned the hard way.  And relearned again.  And again.

The tile comes out far less often these days.  Sometimes, all I need to do is think of it, and her.  I am learning.  And, when I need Her, She is there for me.