jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Castiel pass the ammuniti)
Dear Jehov-ass...I mean, Jehova's Witness,

You braved my driveway for which I must commend you. Then again it's Spring and the roads are clear of snow and aren't so muddy that it's impossible to get up it without (and even sometimes with) four-wheel drive.

It was so polite of you to take one look at me and say, "Oh no, were you sleeping?" Yes, yes I was. I realize it was 10:00 AM, but I spent last night dealing with a horrible headache that kept me awake until almost 3:00 AM. It was the fourth or so headache I've had since Sunday due to some serious stress I've been under. After taking my son to school, I crawled back into bed still feeling like complete crap. I was in the first deep sleep I've had all week when you knocked, ironically enough dreaming about a preacher running toward a burning building (no, really, I was). Of course, you had no way of knowing this, but had you an ounce of sympathy, you could have just handed me the damn Watchtower and a card and walked the fuck away.

"I'll just take 30 seconds of your time," you said. Yeah, right. You know, I don't really think the unrest in the Middle East is a sign of the end of days. That shit over there has been simmering for many decades and is just now boiling over, and some of that is because other countries stuck their noses into it too. The earthquakes and tornadoes? Well, to be blunt, shit happens, sometimes a lot of shit happens. To be honest, we've been overdue for some major natural disasters, and I'm surprised a few more fault lines aren't acting up. The tornadoes are also probably a result of changing climates, or could just be a bad freaking year for storms, okay? Furthermore, my polytheistic pagan self doesn't give a damn about what your human religious leaders god tells you, doesn't care to cower in fear before her deities and hope she's one of the lucky ones to be saved in the end.

Go to your church, worship your god as you see fit, but unless I come to your door asking for your salvation, KEEP IT TO YOUR FUCKING SELF.

Proud to still be a heathen,

jadedmusings: (Pagan - iHades)
I understand that Osama Bin Laden's death was necessary, that there's no way we could exactly bring him to justice via the American court system or some other form of justice recognized worldwide. He was responsible for the worst attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor and that's not a crime anyone should be expected to forgive. I do believe tonight has at least lessened much of the fear we've lived under for a decade and I will not condemn my country's actions.

And yet I can't help but be appalled at the thought of people gathering in DC after the president's speech waving American flags and chanting "USA" over and over again like we won some sort of competition. This isn't team America winning a gold medal at the olympics. The taking of another human life isn't something I will ever greet with glee.

I mourn the lives we lost almost ten years ago. I mourn the blood that's been spilled since that day, both that of our military men and women, our allies, and the innocent civilains overseas whose homelands are now torn apart by war with no certainty of what their future may hold. My only hope is that this death is the one that will prevent more deaths, that it ultimately serves as a catalyst for healing. I pray an end to war is in sight. I pray that more lives are not taken in response for the taking of this life. I pray for an end to the vicious cycle of violence that started long before September 11, 2001.

I pray for peace.
jadedmusings: (Writing)
So, Sam's been trying to get me to read this series by S. M. Stirling and so he handed me the first book in the series called Dies the Fire last night.

On page three I found myself immediately hating a main character. By page six, I handed the book back and said, "Nope, not my thing."

First of all, the concept is intriguing and presented rather well. There's this "event" that happens and causes The Change all over the planet where suddenly everything on the planet that uses electricity, batteries, or fire to operate, stops working. Combustion engines no longer function, battery powered devices might as well be paperweights, etc. Pretty much the entire world is thrust into the dark ages in the span of less than a minute.

Like I said, it seems really interesting, but I can't get past two things.

Read more... )

And yes, I realize most of you will say I'm being silly and unreasonable, that I didn't give the book enough of a chance, but I will point out that it's a matter of personal taste and while other people might find this book and its sequels amazing, I couldn't. I also can't stand rye bread, think Pulp Fiction is somewhat overrated, and while I think they made some pretty great music, I don't quite get why the Beatles are as popular as they are. (I better hope Sam's dad never reads that.)
jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Sam doubts that)
I'm reading this article andI'm alternating between laughing in disbelief and wondering where I can find a few billion dollars to invest in finding another planet I can go live on to get away from this bizarro world. I'm also wondering how it is this man was elected to Congress.
U.S. Representative John Shimkus, possible future chairman of the Congressional committee that deals with energy and its attendant environmental concerns, believes that climate change should not concern us since God has already promised not to destroy the Earth.


Shimkus already serves on the committee. During a hearing in 2009, he dismissed the dangers of climate change and the warnings of the scientific community by quoting the Bible.

First, he noted God’s post-Flood promise to Noah in Genesis 8:21-22.

“Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though all inclinations of his heart are evil from childhood and never again will I destroy all living creatures as I have done.

“As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, will never cease.”

“I believe that’s the infallible word of God, and that’s the way it’s going to be for his creation,” Shimkus said.

Then he quoted Matthew 24:31.

And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds from one end of the heavens to the other.”

“The Earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a Flood,” Shimkus asserted. “I do believe that God’s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.”

As commenters were pointing out over on Shakesville, God said he wouldn't destroy the earth; he said nothing about humans effectively crapping in their own sandboxes. Furthermore, climate change won't destroy the world, just make it nigh impossible for humans and many other species to survive. Life and the Earth will continue on in one form or another after we're gone.

I spent some of my life going to Southern Baptist churches, and so many times I heard, "God helps those who help themselves," and, "You have to meet God halfway." What Shimkus seems to be saying is that we can do whatever we want and God will just tolerate us fucking up his creation. Um, yeah, how about no? Old Testement Jehova had no problem with wiping Sodom and Gommorah off the map. He only said he wouldn't flood the entire world again.

While I suppose the matter of climate change can be considered something that is a heated debate in the scientific community, I still don't think the best approach to this or any matter of environmental and energy concern is to just leave it up to "man upstairs." I'm not Christian, but I am someone who believes there are so-called higher powers at play and I happen to believe we humans were given brains for a reason. We have science, math, and a myriad of other tools at our disposal. I'd think any god/dess would be infinitely more pleased if we used what we were given rather than rely wholly on them to save our asses in the end. Also, there's the whole issue with the fact that Shimkus is leaving all this up to a God who may or may not exist and who is not worshipped by every single American.

Between the Tea Party and remarks like this, I think we should put a generator over Thomas Jefferson's grave. He's got to be spinning enough now that he could give us a wonderful alternative energy source.
jadedmusings: (Default)
Because this seemed appropriate given that for some of us this is a time of remembering those who have departed this plane/world/life.

"Dante's Prayer"
Loreena McKennitt

When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire
From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and the fire

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We'll rise above these earthly cares

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
Please remember me
jadedmusings: (Default)
Over on Twitter, [livejournal.com profile] lupabitch said something today that really struck a nerve with me, and it was one of those moments of "You know, this has always bothered me too." She touched on the neo-pagan idea of the triple goddess, that is "Maiden, Mother, Crone," and she expressed her frustration over how limiting that is, particularly for women who choose to remain childless. Here's how the exchange went:

I am so tired of the Maiden, Mother, Crone triad. I am not limited to my uterus, and I am not solely defined by a "nurturing nature".

@lupabitch: It's equally maddening that people think you cannot be both a mother and something else. "Mom" is not the only name I answer to.

One of the most frustrating concepts I have encountered since becoming a mother is this idea that the moment I gave birth (or, in some cases, the moment I became pregnant), my entire identity was altered and shoved into one neat little box called "Mother." There's this prevailing idea that my offspring should be the whole of my existence, that my son is my sole reason for living and breathing.

Um, how about no?

Yes, my life has changed. Yes, when I make a major life decision, I do factor in the needs of my son and how my choices may or may not affect his overall well-being. The label of mother was added to my repertoire of labels, and being a mother didn't erase any of the other aspects about me. My love of gaming didn't go away, nor did my enjoyment of reading and writing leave me. And, excepting the first few weeks after giving birth, my desire to be a sexual being never disappeared. Sure, having an infant meant adjusting to a new schedule and learning how to perform some household tasks single-handed, but I was still the same Jade as I was before, just a Jade with new features (i.e. leaky and swollen breasts while I continued to breastfeed). My life as I knew it never ended with some strange new life beginning, it merely changed and I adapted to that change like every human does with life events.

Being a mother is not an either/or sort of deal. A woman can be a mother and so many other things. Likewise a woman can choose not to be a mother while still being a woman and a teacher, lawyer, doctor, etc. Who we are should not depend on whether or not our wombs have ever created life, nor should we be forced into the societal roles as nuturing caregivers simply because we have the capacity to give birth. We can be fighters too, and we can be brave and strong and resiliant. Our internal organs really don't figure much into that nor should they.

My son means the world to me, and I do the best I can to provide for him and to meet his needs for as long as he cannot do so himself. But my son is not all of me, nor will he ever be the only thing that defines me.
jadedmusings: (Default)
As you can see, I've fiddled around with my LJ settings again, and it reflects my mood. I'm still not totally sure what's going on with me. I'm angry, that much is obvious to me, and I have a few ideas as to why, but I'm not understanding this sudden feeling of "I hate humanity." Maybe it's the isolation getting to me, the lack of much of anything to do around here that even remotely piques my interest. Or maybe I'm just tired of all the stupid.

There's been some inner conflict. On the one hand, I really dislike religion and its trappings. I'm nowhere near an atheist, but I tend to be far more spiritual than anything else, and things like prayer and ritual tend to put me off. However, I've got that urge again. The urge to connect to something bigger than myself. The urge to meditate, to search, and to "talk" to the gods again. One god in particular is tugging at me once more, and I know I should sit down and listen, but of course there's that part of me that wants to be stubborn about it. I can't help it. I was so disappointed with Christianity as a teenager, and then I went on to be disappointed by so many different pagans too. I'm jaded to put it mildly, but then again I do remember those times when it did work for me, and when I did feel that connection. Of course, I was such a fluffy bunny back then, too, then life got ahold of me and knocked me around a bit. I've hardened, and as you may or may not have realized, I've gotten grumpy and snarky too. In short, I'm not the sweet and naive child I was back then.

It's frustrating. For a long time I felt nothing, then a few months ago I mentioned wanting to get back into the whole pagan deal, but nothing ever came of it. I think it was because life happened again, and then there was suddenly one thing to deal with followed immediately by another. Now I'm going to have a couple of weeks "off" as it were for the holidays, not to mention I'll be turning another year older, and that urge has returned stronger than before. In less than a year I'll be in an area that has a large pagan population, or at least enough of a population that I can find events to get involved in, and I can dip my toes in the water again. I don't think I'll be looking for a group to practice with so much as a group to sit around, drink coffee, and chat with, but before any of that can happen, I need to figure out for myself where I stand, how far I want to go, and just how much of that I'll be willing to share with others.

I do want to apologize in advance if this journal is snarkier and bitchier than usual. I'll try to keep it filtered, but it's either vent here or explode elsewhere.
jadedmusings: (Default)
The alternate subject for this post was: "Someone gets it!"

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world's major faiths share.

Although not having training in religion or theology, I understand that the carefully selected verses found in the holy scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place - and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence - than eternal truths. Similar Biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.

At the same time, I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted holy scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

I know, too, that Billy Graham, one of the most widely respected and revered Christians during my lifetime, did not understand why women were prevented from being priests and preachers. He said: "Women preach all over the world. It doesn't bother me from my study of the scriptures."

The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. - Jimmy Carter (Please, read the whole thing.)
jadedmusings: (Default)
I wonder what all the people I know who insist the King James version of The Bible is the only proper translation will say to this:

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The world's oldest known Christian Bible goes online Monday -- but the 1,600-year-old text doesn't match the one you'll find in churches today.

Discovered in a monastery in the Sinai desert in Egypt more than 160 years ago, the handwritten Codex Sinaiticus includes two books that are not part of the official New Testament and at least seven books that are not in the Old Testament.

The New Testament books are in a different order, and include numerous handwritten corrections -- some made as much as 800 years after the texts were written, according to scholars who worked on the project of putting the Bible online. The changes range from the alteration of a single letter to the insertion of whole sentences.

Pretty neat stuff, huh? But here's the one line that has me really intrigued:

And some familiar -- very important -- passages are missing, including verses dealing with the resurrection of Jesus, they said. [Emphasis Added]

I think that has some potentially serious implications, or rather, I'd like to think it would. Of course, the knee-jerk reaction is going to be for people to cling to the current story of death and resurrection - understandable given that without it, you don't have much of Christianity left I suppose. Yet, what if the current texts have it wrong? What if the miracle wasn't that Jesus died and returned? What if the miracle was that a brilliant teacher and spiritual leader simply taught peace, love, and understanding at a time when people were hopeless?

...scratch that. Knowing what some people say and do in Jesus's name makes it all the more depressing to think that we missed the point far worse than initially thought.

You can read Codex Sinaiticus online for yourself.
jadedmusings: (Default)
Note: I have no idea why I was inspired to write this. Probably because today I read something snark worthy about Otherkin, but cringed when I saw all Otherkin being dragged through the mud as a result. I spent some of my day thinking about it off and on, and this is what resulted. My muse is really, really weird, and I felt compelled to get this out before I go to bed (way later than I should have). So, there you have it.

Yes, I'm talking about Otherkin. No, I will neither confirm or deny reports that I am a dragon (I'm not). What I will say up front is that I don't think that Otherkin are completely 100% batshit insane like most people do, and I do think that there are parts of the Otherkin community that have merit.

Before you recoil in horror and click the link to tell me I'm crazy/stupid/weird, hear me out. I do not believe that people who identify as Otherkin are really dragons, vampires, snakes, elves, wolves, rabbits, or fairies. They are biologically human, right down to the DNA. Anyone who says he is not physically human is not playing with a full deck and/or abusing drugs. I've yet to see a person make this claim and back it up with any sort of scientific proof, so I don't think it's impolite of me to scoff when I read about such people.

What I do believe is that people who recognize they are physically human but identify as "other," should not be immediately written off as insane, stupid, or attention-seeking. Sure, you can apply those labels to a number of Otherkin, but it is not the entire population, and sometimes I wonder if the quiet, reasonable ones really are the minority they seem to be. It wouldn't be the first time the ones with the louder voices and biggest persecution complexes painted an entire group. I've had friends who identify as Otherkin of one flavor or another and were quite earnest in their beliefs and able to articulate those beliefs well.

I make no secret that I'm big into the spiritual Woo deal. I'm quiet about it, and I don't blog about some of my expriences, but it's there nonetheless. I believe in gods, ghosts, and even fairies. I believe in reincarnation, and I think there is quite a bit of mystery left in the universe. Oh, I'm a skeptic, and call bullshit far more than I do say something seems legitimately supernatural/paranormal/touched by deity, but at my core I am a spiritual person open to many ideas and beliefs. Because of this I won't dismiss a person solely because he/she identifies as "other."

I have a few theories about Otherkin, and I've had quite a bit of exposure to the concept even without the aid of the inernet. In fact, the first time I heard of something resembling Otherkin, I was maybe twelve or thirteen, a couple of years before I made my first journey to the World Wide Web. My father and I were big into paranormal stuff, and as such we watched a great deal of the "weird stuff" on television. One show did a little feature about a man who had written a book. His book claimed that a fair number of people on the planet were really alien hybrids as he believed an alien race visited earth a long time ago, and in the tradition of anal probing, mated with some humans. Though I was a big fan of The X-Files and a big believer in UFOs at the time, I did think this man was sort of out there, but the idea that there were people on earth who weren't entirely human seemed pretty interesting to a kid with my kind of imagination, so I listened to what he had to say.

During the interview with the author, which took place at a public park, a passer-by overheard the conversation and stopped the author to speak with him. The author had been using some vague terms and described that there were many people who felt "wrong" in society - that they didn't fit in and could never figure out why. The eavesdropper was astounded and wanted to talk to the author because what was said really resonated with him on a very deep level. What happened after that interview is anyone's guess, and as this was 15 or 16 years ago, I can't recall a title or name, though I think it was profiled on the Fox show Sightings; however, I still draw from that interview anytime I encounter a discussion on Otherkin because it hits on something that is, maybe ironically, innately human. Humans need to belong somewhere, and for those of us who don't fit in and don't feel we have a "home" as it were, what do we call ourselves? (I say "we" here not to identify as otherkin, but because I know what it feels like not to belong somewhere, and to feel like an outsider.) If you spend your life being ridiculed and/or feeling lonely, isn't it a relief when you find a kindred spirit, even if that kindred spirit is talking about someting as out there as alien hybrids?

I'm not going to say that all Otherkin really need is a group to belong to - that's too dismissive and, I think, only one part of it. However, I can't ignore that desire to belong, to share something with another person. The first time someone doesn't call you a freak, or tell you you're worthless, is a powerful moment for a person who has heard nothing but. It's probably why Otherkin appeals to a large number of teenagers and adolescents - those bullied loners and shy introverts who log online and find out that somewhere in their painful world are people who understand, who identify with the pain that is growing up. Deity knows, 13-year old me would have latched onto this concept and never let go. The fantasy of being welcomed somewhere, anywhere, was indeed something I spent a great deal of time wishing were true. It's probably why once most of those teenagers get older, the Otherkin label loses its luster. They go to college or otherwise get out in the world and find friends who love them as they are. I know more than a few people (probably a few reading this) have an Otherkin skeleton or two in their closets (or a "craft name"-shaped skeleton like Lady Ravensilvermoonbeam). It becomes like that bad haircut you got because you wanted to look like Rachel from Friends - you just want to forget it ever happened to you, and you pray you've burned all the evidence so your future offspring won't someday pull out your high school yearbook and say with look of sheer horror, "What happened?!?" But not everyone "grows out" of this label, and I know of more than a few Otherkin in their late twenties/early thirties, and even older. Those people are by most accounts not lost emokids, and are fairly well-adjusted adults (with a few exceptions I'll admit). What do you say then?

Like I said above I believe in reincarnation, and unlike some people, I don't believe reincarnation is limited to human forms. If you can have past life memories of driving a Model-T Ford, why not a memory of the time you were a bear or an eagle? The memory of that life could be so strongly linked to your soul that you can't ignore it. Maybe it becomes a part of your spiritual practice, or maybe it's just one more thing that defines who you are. Whatever, it's there and you can't ignore it, so you find something to call it, or you accept it for what it is.

For others, they just find it easy to identify with an animal type, either through extensive study or observation. Of course, not everyone who does this is automatically Otherkin. They have totems or "power animals," but may not think they themselves are/were that animal. As for fairies or elves, it's not so hard to identify with creatures of myths you can read in books. Take it a few steps further, and people may feel that they are a mythological being of some sort. The difference is that they can't necessarily observe that creature's behavior, and there may be quite a bit of conflicting reports concerning what one looks like, how one acts, or even what it eats. (By the way, there is nothing quite like a flamewar of "I'm a more realistic myth than you!")

While you certainly can't prove someone is Otherkin, there are some ways they find validation for their beliefs. One of these is the concept of phantom limbs, a concept I take issue with. You've probaly heard about it before as a medical phenomena. Someone loses a finger, toe, or a whole limb, but he/she can still feel the missing body part. They feel pain, or they get an itch even though it's no longer a part of them. Otherkin hold this same belief, only it's with body parts they've never physically had. They'll claim to feel a missing tail, wings, or claws, but I'm not so sure this can really "count" (if anything can be said to count). I say this because, via meditation and visualization, I've been able to make myself feel an extraneous bodypart. It's all a matter of belief and the power of suggestion. If you start thinking you're a wolf, and you're focusing on what a wolf is, well, you just might feel like you've got a tail after some time has passed. Of course, I'm no expert, and you can't exactly test for a body part that isn't there, but I don't think it's something unique to Otherkin at all, and it feels rather silly to me to say this is one of your biggest reasons for identifying as whatever type of 'kin. Fortunately, most people I've read use this as an aside and have a whole list of other reasons they identify as some type of Otherkin or subset.

Don't confuse the phantom limbs with what's known as shifting, in which, in my understanding and reading on the matter, a person feels as though their body "shifts" from human to their 'kin side (mostly I see Therians refer to this, but Angelkin, Dragonkin, and other 'kin do too). No, they don't believe they're literally changing form, and in some cases I believe it's done via meditation and while "journeying," which is definitely something I can grok. Yet, again, I think it's something anyone could do if they desired, and not exactly unique to Otherkin.

I think when it comes down to it, I'm on the fence, and some days I think these people are nuts (like I do with most of humanity, really), and other days I actually believe there is some truth to it. Of course, I do this with the understanding there might be underlying social and psychological reasons for a person to subscribe to this idea. Yet, when I look at it through a spiritual lens, there's even more I can understand, and the people I know willing to talk candidly about it, and who aren't offended if I don't jump on their bandwagon right away, make me feel that it's patently unfair to write off the whole idea as utter nonsense.

Still, I'm going to giggle anytime I hear someone say, "Fuck you, I'm a Dragon!" (Link is likely NSFW and goes to Encyclopedia Dramatica.)


jadedmusings: (Default)
Wrathful and Unrepentant Jade

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