Arts, Activism, Awakening in Mind, Body, & Spirit

Latest

OpEd: Pagan Yule Ritual for Winter Solstice 2014


Yule log fire for Winter Solstice 2014 by Trish CauseySunday, December 21, 2014, I attended my first group pagan/witch ritual in 10 years — 10 years exactly, in fact!  The last group ritual I attended I actually hosted in my home for Yule 2004.  It was a group of eclectic solitaries then, and now, I’ve had the pleasure and honor to participate in an equally eclectic, non-hierarchical, non-ego-driven ritual with a bunch of great people. I AM SO HAPPY to have met them!  I will definitely be attending more rituals with these awesome pagan peeps.

Yule, a.k.a. Winter Solstice, is a time to be thankful and reflective.  According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, “Yule” comes from the Old Norse word jol and Old Anglo-Saxon jiuli (or giuli), which referred to a two-month season of celebrations during the wintertime.  The Old French word “solstice” comes from two Latin words: sol, which means “sun”, and sistere, which means “to stand still”.  The implication is that people once thought the sun stood still on the solstice(s) and/or that the spiritual advisors thought this was a time for the people to be still, to be reflective on such an auspicious heavenly event.  As I observe Christians running around crazy and stressed out during this highly commercialized time of year, I sit back and laugh.  I choose stillness and calm.

From the European pagan traditions, Yule/Winter Solstice is the time when the goddess (the earth) gives birth to the son (sun) — sound familiar?  And with this return of the light to the world, the days become longer.  As the sun god grows, he warms the earth goddess, who will birth the harvest and nourish the animals that will in turn nourish us.  In the Spring, the son/sun god will be sacrificed and resurrected for the earth and the people.  (Still sounding familiar?)

Also mixed in the traditions is the legend of the Holly King and the Oak King as they duke it out to see who will rule the next six months.  The Oak King and the Holly King are male earth deities and represent a duality that governs the light half and the dark half of the year, respectively.  For the Winter Solstice, the Oak King wins the battle as the days get longer because it will be the sacred oak trees (and other plants) coming back to life in the Spring.  At Summer Solstice, the Holly King wins and reigns as the days get shorter through the harvest time of Autumn and into the cold months of winter.

Still other traditions have a fatherly winter spirit (adult male earth spirit) who helps the poor and gives gifts to children.  Remember, back in the day, there was no grocery store or mall — whatever you had, you grew it or made it.  Winter in northwestern Europe was difficult; both animals and people would die from the cold or lack of food, if not enough supplies had been prepared before the extreme cold set it.

This wintertime fatherly earth spirit of northwestern European paganism is rooted in pre-Christian British lore of the Holly King as well as the Norse god Odin/Wotan, who rode an eight-legged horse, and the Norse god Thor, who is associated with oak trees and flies through the sky on a chariot pulled by two goats (not eight reindeer … sorry, Rudolf).  Other festivus influencers may be the Greek god Cronos, and even the pre-Christian Russian folkloric do-gooder Grandfather Frost.  The church took the good deeds of the real St. Nicholas and combined them with the iconic Holly King/Odin/Grandfather Frost to create the “St. Nick” we now know as Santa Claus.

But Yuletide wasn’t all about men or kids.  Pagans LOVE women and respect women.  The Anglo-Saxon/Germanic celebration of Mōdraniht, “Mothers’ Night”, specifically honors mothers as well as any female ancestors who have crossed over.  This takes place on what is now December 24th, according to the 8th-century historian Bede.  After all, without woman, there is no human life.  Without caring for the earth, there is no food, no clean water, no clean air.  We must honor and take care of earth/goddess.  It is all connected.  We are all connected.

The photo above is the Yule fire from Sunday’s ritual.  The log in the center is the official Yule log that was blessed on the altar, beautifully decorated and holding 3 candles.  The warmth of the fire and the camaraderie of the fellow goddess/god-oriented pagan friends was simply perfect.  I just wish I’d brought the fixin’s for s’mores.

I LOVE meeting with others and building our community, each sharing what we do and respecting that we’re different.  I can’t wait for the next sun ritual — and maybe some Full Moon work, as well.

All hail the real reason for the season: nature-based pagan heathenry! :-)

trish

LINKS:

CONNECT with AROUSEDWOMAN:

link-fb-wlink-tw-wlink-g-plus-wlink-pin-wlink-tum-wlink-news-w

Daily OJ 12-24-14: For the Sake of Meatloaf, “Bat Out of Hell”, and Crying Out Loud


Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell - Songs by Jim SteinmanTonight, while making dinner, I had a humorous experience … humorous at first.  As with many epiphanies, there was a surprising twist at the end.

I was making meatloaf — the first time in about a decade that I’ve attempted the infamously dry American dinner staple.  Normally while cooking, I listen to Govi’s “Andalusian Nights” (because I’m addicted to Spanish guitar and Romani music styles from the region of Andalusia), but for some reason, I scrolled down and landed on another album in my playlist, Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell”.  I wasn’t really thinking about it, just that I was making a new recipe and wanted something more power-charged to get me through the slew of ingredients I needed to gather, chop, saute, and caramelize.  I was cooking other things, too (bell peppers and friend eggplant), so I was only half listening to the album.  Yet, I was sort of singing along to this album I haven’t listened to in forever.

I first heard “Bat Out of Hell” at my friend Ronny’s house over 20 years ago.  But I remember being absolutely engaged in every note, both instrumental and vocal.  Being much younger, the album was interesting technically, especially the twist in the lyrics, but at the time, I was more concerned with the songs’ “money notes” for me as a singer, particularly the ballads.

Tonight, as I took the meatloaf out of the oven, it was brought to my attention (by my daughter) that I was listening to Meat Loaf.  I laughed.  How ironic, yes?  Well, since I haven’t actually listened with full attention to the album in 20 years, I decided to listen (actively listen) to the whole “Bat Out of Hell” album after dinner.

I sat on my sofa, cushioned by pillows, the tree lights to my left and a small lamp to my right, and headphones on my ears.  The first track — the title song — played, and it was as if I’d never been away.  I remembered the song and almost all of the lyrics as I sang along.  The second song was next, and again, I laughed and sang.

The third song came on, and that is when things changed.  A couple of lines into “Heaven Can Wait”, I was crying.  That’s when it really hit me what this whole album is about: a man, who’s looking for the simple, uncomplicated hook-up, who will leave like a “bat out of hell” before morning, experiences conflict when facing the emotional aspect of being with someone who actually matters to him.

As the song played on, and the tempi changed, and the styles ran the gamut from 1970’s rock to rockabilly 8-to-the-bar, the true meanings of these songs continued to hit me, over and over.  I thought back to when I had a slight panic attack a while back, realizing that I was terrified of intimacy with a man because it would mean being real, not putting on airs, or pretending there isn’t more to me than just breasts and long red hair, or stuffing my own needs down so as not to burden the man with inconvenient, icky things like … honesty, sincerity, and emotions.

The songs explore this “all-American boy” who is “lookin’ for something to do” and “all revved up with no place to go”.  He gets “a taste of paradise” with “an all-American girl”, and as long as it’s just physical, everything is okay.  But then she wants to know if he loves her.  His answer: “I want you. I need you, but there ain’t no what I’m ever going to love you.”

He tells the tale of being rebuffed by a woman in his past.  She left him on a stormy night, and he begged her not to leave; but she told him how she could never love him.  That experience of rejection and having his heart broken built walls within him that he is not willing to dismantle.  And so he treats women with the same cold indifference.

I’m not going to excuse the other woman’s behaviour, but how many men had done the same thing to her to avoid emotional entanglement, when they probably only wanted to get laid or were scared of emotional attachment?  She probably adopted those same patterns to prevent getting hurt again, and thus, continues the cycle of avoidance and hurt, which the male character in “Bat Out of Hell” now displays towards the girl he is with.

Just as he’s about to get to “fourth base” with the girl, she stops everything and asks, “Do you love me?  Will you love me forever?  Do you need me?  Will you never leave me?”  There are two problems here: 1) Women using sex to get love, and 2) The all-or-nothing deal-breaker of the hyperbolic concept of “forever”.

Women:  Just stop playing games; you’re better than that.  Now, I cannot do one-night stands or hook-up sex — it’s just not something I want.  I need an emotional connection with a partner.  But I certainly remember that feeling as a teenager of wanting to be loved and sensing that irritated frustration from a guy who would say anything just so long as I let him touch me and kiss me.  Then he’d get mad when I didn’t want him to go further — somehow his anger was my fault.  Playing the game is easier, but not necessarily better for you and your sense of self-worth.

Everyone:  Stop trying to predict the future; be with the person who makes you happy, makes you laugh, and appreciates you for who you are and doesn’t try to change you.  Due to the conditioning of romance novels, movies, and princess-genre animated films in which “forever” is the only option for a woman, especially where her reputation is concerned.  This is an antiquated view of women, our sexuality, and sexual happiness.  Most relationships do not last forever, so it puts unnecessary pressure on two people to force things to work out.  As one of the songs opines, “I’m praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you.”

The lead character responds to her question that he’ll give her an answer in the morning.  At least he didn’t outright lie just to tell her what she wanted to hear.  That is almost more painful in the long-run.

As I listened to “For Crying Out Loud”, the tears came even harder.  This phrase is usually said in exasperation, “Oh, for crying out loud….”  And he sings that way at first: “I know you belong inside my aching heart…. I’m gonna need somebody to make me feel like you do.”  And he says, “For crying out loud, you know I love you.”

Why does it take so much effort for a man to express his feelings?  Is it really 2,500 years of patriarchy that have tried to create each successive generation of men as emotionally void and demonstratively robotic as their “strong, silent type” predecessors?  Not every man has this problem of expressing his feelings, but most of them do.

And after the virtuoso piano-playing, the strings ensemble filling in the lush orchestral sound, and the timpani pounding out the big crescendo, the twist comes.  He reveals that yes, he does want her and need her, and more.  For giving him answers, “for that, I thank you”; and for keeping him going when he wanted to stop, “for that I want you…. But most of all, for crying out loud, for that, I love you.”

I’ve written many times how my orgasms are emotional experiences for me, and if I don’t cry afterward (or during), the sensual adventure does not feel complete.  I’m left still wanting that emotional, sensual fulfillment to come full-circle with the physical pyrotechnics of climax.  I need emotion, and I need a man who understands that having and expressing emotion is normal, good, and healing.

This past Sunday, I spent the evening at a friend’s Winter Solstice ritual.  I haven’t spent a lot of time with pagan men in the past several years — I’ve been too busy just trying to keep my head above water as a single mom.  But being around these men — men who worship the feminine aspect of the divine and who have no problem talking about their love of the goddess — was a breath of fresh air for me.  To hear men talk respectfully about women, to not hear one derogatory joke about women, was amazing.  It was so different to what I usually read on “friends'” walls on Facebook and certainly more woman-friendly that a lot of what I see on Twitter and Tumblr.

So, thank you, pagan, goddess-lovin’, dirt-worshiping witchy men.  You give me hope that one day I can find my own nature-lovin’, yoni-worshiping, bohemian, music-makin’, heathen man who can love me for crying out loud.

Aroused and emoting,

trish

LINKS:

CONNECT with AROUSEDWOMAN:

link-fb-wlink-tw-wlink-g-plus-wlink-pin-wlink-tum-wlink-news-w

 

AW Radio: Trish Causey Talks With Polly Superstar, Sex Culture Revolutionary


Polly Superstar Sex Culture Revolutionary A Memoir by Polly WhittakerIn this latest interview, I talk with Polly Superstar, author of the new book, Polly: Sex Culture Revolutionary, which details her journey of discovering herself and helping others along the way. Polly is the founder of the famed Kinky Salon in San Francisco, CA, and a sex positive activist.

in the interview, we discussed anorgasmia, the problem with traditional porn, the evils of patriarchy on women’s sexuality, and of course, Polly’s book, which is out now.

LISTEN: ArousedWoman Radio

To experience more of this interview, get the premiere issue of ArousedWoman Magazine (out January 2015) by visiting the AW website: ArousedWoman.com.

And be sure to get Polly’s book: Polly: Sex Culture Revolutionary.

trish

LINKS:

CONNECT with AROUSEDWOMAN:

link-fb-wlink-tw-wlink-g-plus-wlink-pin-wlink-tum-wlink-news-w

NEWS: Florida Boy Will Be Circumcised Against Mother’s Wishes as Court Refuses Appeal


Chase Saving Chase T-shirt Keep Him WholeA Florida court won’t allow the state’s Supreme Court to hear Chase Ryan Nebus-Hironimus’ case in which the father wants the 4-year-old boy circumcised, while the mother has fought valiantly against the unnecessary mutilation of her son. The mother has been put on a gag order, which is a violation of her First Amendment rights as well as a violation of her right to speak up for her son’s right to choose what happens to his body when he is 18+.  She cannot even tell her son that she opposes the heinous surgery.

The father wants the circumcision on his son because that’s the “normal thing to do”.  Actually, it’s NOT normal.  Having foreskin to protect the penis glans is what is normal — that’s why boys are BORN THAT WAY.

Circumcision is unnecessary, and it’s sick. Circumcision on a non-consenting person is a violation of his basic human rights to body autonomy and self-determination.  This case is a prime example of no justice for a child who cannot speak for himself and whose wishes would be railroaded by his ignorant father.  Circumcision is sexual abuse, and the Florida judge just condoned it.

The only person who should decide what happens to the anatomy of the male’s penis is the man himself.  No parent, no social custom, no religion is more important than what the male wants for his own body.

trish

LINKS:

CONNECT:

link-fb-wlink-tw-wlink-g-plus-wlink-pin-wlink-tum-wlink-news-w

Call for Submissions! REAL BREASTS Wanted.


Woman with Real Breasts Looking Off into DistanceWith the launch of ArousedWoman Magazine happening in the next few weeks, I noticed a theme emerging as I was doing my interviews…. Breasts and Body Image.  I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m going with it! I want to do a pictorial feature of natural breasts — small breasts, large breasts, medium breasts, standing up, laying down, on your side, any color, size, or shape (yes, real breasts come in different shapes).  Pregnant moms-to-be, breastfeeding moms (no baby in the pic), breast cancer survivors. Uneven, different-size cups breasts. The purpose of this feature is to show real breasts in all their glory, to help stamp out prejudice against women whose natural bodies do not meet a ridiculous standard of beauty (or defy the law of gravity). The feature will be a collage of the submitted photos, so rest assured, your face will NOT be seen in the feature. By entering your submission, you are agreeing to the following rules. RULES:

  • MUST be aged 21 or older.
  • No bra — just your breasts.
  • Aim wide, so I can crop it down.
  • Must be high-resolution, at least 1500 pixels wide, at 300 dpi.
  • Submitting your photo does not guarantee it will be used.
  • If your photo is used, you must sign a photo release.
  • There is no pay for using your photo, but you will receive a complimentary copy of the magazine issue.
  • Submit your photo and your contact info via my ArousedWoman tumblr.

Thank you, and I look forward to all your awesome naturalness!

trish

LINKS:

CONNECT with AROUSEDWOMAN:

link-fb-wlink-tw-wlink-g-plus-wlink-pin-wlink-tum-wlink-news-w

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,691 other followers

%d bloggers like this: