Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day Nine: Deity Gender

A short one, this entry. This is sort of a tricky one. I mean, what is there to say? There are gods who are male and those who are female, and those who are theoretically straight and those who aren't so much, and male gods who don't mind doing "feminine" things and those who won't ever if they can avoid it. You have Athena for the Greeks who's essentially given a male role regarding particular elements of whatever, and a female one in others... Loki turns into a mare. Oðinn practises Seiðr. Thor dresses up as a bride. I mean really. What is there to say?

I mean aren't these concepts essentially established by culture? Even the Lord and Lady of my Hedgecraft are simply Themselves... She is as fierce as He is, His hand is as soothing as Hers.

I think gender roles are culturally or socially driven and inspired, and will differ in that sense from pantheon to pantheon, culture to culture.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An article for your perusal

As I haven't posted in a little while, I thought I'd spread the word on an article someone linked me to on the NaNoWriMo forums.

Abortion Is Not Murder.

It's a rather good discussion on pre-birth development, personhood, moral actions and the bible. I recommend giving it a read. On the down side, the author assumes all Christians are pro-life and aggressively so, which is untrue. I'd venture to say most Christians don't behave as poorly as he implies. It's a great shame because of the quality of the rest of the article; I can only imagine its tone is such because of the over-arching theme of the website.

It's timely, because of a rather disturbing law that has recently passed the House in America. It's not going to pass the Senate and President Obama may well veto it if he has to, but it's a disturbing bill: it means a hospital or healthcare plan that receives government funding for other services can deny a pregnant woman an abortion that would save her life. It's being referred to as the "Let Women Die" bill.

I'm just asking, here - why do Republicans seem to hate women? Why are they so brutally anti-life when it comes to the life of a woman, but pro-life for her foetus or embryo? The unborn get so much protection from Republicans in government you'd think they were a Wall St corporation.

This can't possibly be a conscience issue for these healthcare providers; surely the life of a woman is important and must be preserved. And a senator says this will stop people going into OB/GYN - well, good. If you're not willing to do the job, if you're not willing to perform abortions, then you shouldn't go into OB/GYN.

And all this bullshit when there are actual problems the House should be concentrating on solving. Where are the jobs? Where is the discussion on debt, taxes? Why, for the love of god, are they not focusing more on providing contraceptives? Why this bullshit?

If you don't like abortion, don't have one. The option of abortion is a moral issue, a moral requirement, and it reflects on how women are valued in a society.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Small things in the Heathen experience

There are two things about every blót that I love

They are small things. But, being small, they have become a part of the entire experience of being a Heathen for me. 

The first thing happens before the ritual itself. Sometimes quite a while before. And, to be honest, it is not a part of every blót. But it is a part of many. This thing is the uncorking of the mead. 

It's a ridiculously small thing in its way, because it is not some sort of ceremony for me. I pull out the cork, and that is it. But if you've ever uncorked a bottle of mead, you'll know what I mean. The cork comes out with a thock and the smell wafts out of the bottle. I inhale a lungful of it, and it is a sacred moment, because this smell is the smell of ritual. It is a sacred smell. With that scent I know a rite is at hand, and in a sense it begins in that moment. Subconsciously I prepare for ritual. A sense of the holy comes over me. I suppose it is to be expected; the olfactory sense does have that tendency to induce a certain feeling in one. The body and soul become settled, prayerful, and full of a pleasant anticipation.

The second thing happens at the beginning of every ritual, nearly without fail - although once or twice I have come close to forgetting it. This is the Hammer Rite.

For me it is a very simple thing. I place my hand on my Hammer - one day I should photograph it for you, readers - and ask Thor to bless the rite. Usually I rhyme it; "Mjolnir's might" tends to get a mention, as does the word "night" and the aforementioned "rite". It's an easy rhyme, and it amuses me. And Thor, great and wonderful as he is, does bless the rite. And you can feel it. I feel it like a Hammer-blow; the sensation is as of a hammer striking the earth. There is a sense of finality to it, in a way. It is exceedingly pleasant, and warm, echoing the feelings one experiences in a Thorrablót. One feels protected. It is a great and mighty thing to be blessed by Thor, and I count it among my favourite things not just in my religious practice but in life.

This was meant to be a short entry. Just a few lines. Ah well.