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Symbol. Omen.


gazing pool

The smoke has returned here. We had a couple of clearer and more hopeful days but today the air quality took another downturn and I am coughing and red-eyed again. As North Carolina continues to struggle with who is and is not our governor, the burning of the western part of the state feels much like symbol or even omen of what is to come.

The Old North State has endured the stranglehold on government that the Republic is about to encounter. As a Republican-owned General Assembly and a Republican governor have roiled the education, healthcare and other systems throughout NC, we have endured a steady barrage of quips from people outside the state and outside the South.  Serves us right for electing them, is the general theme. The quipsters never take into consideration that the districts are thoroughly gerrymandered now, making a fair election darn night impossible. Given a generally ineffective Democratic response, the citizens of the state have struggled and mourned, have marched and petitioned to little effect.

Now the Repubic gets to face the same thing and I don’t look forward to it. Because the opposition party is even more moribund on the national level. And the Republicans have been terribly efficient here–as though they came in with an ALEC-inspired and Koch-funded masterlist and have gone down it, item by item, checking out the accomplished items.  The Republic needs all its citizens paying attention now and making our own lists, readying ourselves and our networks, girding our loins.

This afternoon, I had a brief meeting with the Cranky Clergy group to which I belong. The group includes a dear friend who is Jewish and I looked at her, sitting across from me at the table. The clergy group is made up of all sorts of miscreants and potential radicals–Pagans/Witches, Lesbians, Jews. As I looked across the table, I thought (and said)–I think I worry about you and your congregation the most. And it isn’t the potential for violence as much as the horrific triggering that the Nazi comparisons must cause for you.

We went on to talk about security issues at our houses of worship and what sorts of disaster/emergency plans we need to draft or renew. And the whole time there was a part of me that wondered how far all of this was going to go.

In the smoke of a renewed mountain wildfire, I felt the reflection of destruction in my heart and in the eyes of my colleagues. Microcosm, macrocosm. What sorts of alliances will we need to stand together in ways that are meaningful, helpful, strategic? How can we be truly stronger together in the face of fear and potential revolution? 

I wish I knew the answers, that I could read the omens. But I can’t.

I am living in the Mystery of time and history, of love and madness.

As we all are. 


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The Day After

Hello, all!  We spent some time earlier this week getting me relatively competent with this blog on my revamped (revamping) website.  There’s still the challenge of moving the old posts over here but I have a way to do that.  “Slow and steady wins the race” may be my spell in the coming year.

It is the second day of January which feels more of a beginning than yesterday. The first of January is a touchstone of normalcy in my world–the kitchen is filled with mostly-good smells (fresh collards should always be cooked first so that the gassy funk has time to dissipate or be covered over with roasting pork and apple smells).  And the menu is always the same–collard greens, cracklings in cornbread, black-eyed peas, applesauce or apple butter, roasted pork.  Sometimes there’s salad, too. But that first menu is always present and has been for years.

Because of the comfortable and homely sameness of that First Day, the second always feels like the start of the year, the place where time begins to move again following the Week Between.  How nice that is it a Saturday this year!  I had a simple breakfast and some tea and have a sturdy little list of things to be done, including a blog post here.

When I first started blogging, I was part of a set of community bloggers on the website of our local Gannett daily.  I did that for years and cut my teeth on the ideas of blogging and what was possible. When Gannett re-did the site and decided to go with staff bloggers, I moved to the ease of WordPress and now we are consolidating the blog site and the website and sticking all my Village Witch self into one place.

All eggs and one basket. Except for social media and the actual presence of me at actual places with other beings.

When I started blogging, I wrote something nearly every day for years and I still admire those blogs I follow that do that. But I can’t seem to blog daily with any sort of consistency anymore–maybe because I’ve written two books since I began my blogging adventures or because I have a regular column at Witches and Pagans magazine or because I’m doing more on social media and in Real Life.

Today is the Second Day, then.  I have that wee list of things to be done on this First Saturday and will continue those when I’ve marked this off the list.

My intuition is that 2016 is going to be at least as challenging as 2015 but that we have many more skills for dealing with challenges and much more resilience.  We’ll waste less time lamenting what we can’t repair and much more time fixing what we can.  We’ve learned lots of valuable lessons in the past year–we’ve dabbled in speaking out, on loving deeply, on tending the beings that require our tender and good attention.  We have spoken of self-care and even done a bit of that.  We have realized that we are in Tower Time now–it is not coming down the pike or waiting for us over the next hill.  We live in times of great change which require us to be thoughtful, intentional and fearless.

I am glad you are part of the dear old world at the same time as I am.  We have some glorious journeys ahead of us. This year will teach us more about the value and power of homeliness–lessons we will integrate into the lives we choose to lead from here on out.

These, as you well know, are the times we were made for.  Let’s get on with it, shall we?