Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Great Zionist Cospiracy

The hypocrisy and gall of political extremists knows no bounds, that is a given, but the latest example perpetrated by certain elements of the far Left deserve consideration for an alltime special award. Of course, I should have sen it coming, but this took even me by surprise.

One of the oldest known conspiracy theories known to man is the idea of a so-called vast “Zionist conspiracy”, which goes back well beyond theformationof the State of Israel, back to the formulation of a plot by the Russian Secret Police of something known as “The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion”. This was supposed to a seriesof documents which amounted to a secret plan by Jewish Financiers to control the world through their various governemnts. It was widel discredited as a hoax, but nevertheless has been used to varyng degrees of success toencourage anti-Semitism, resulting in pogroms of Jews, and not only in Russia, but throughout other places in Europe as well. All these crazy theories in time, of course, led to the Holocaust.

The Far Right elements have always had a grave distrust of the Jewish people, fo the most part, with the exception of certain fundamentalist Christian sects, and some of them have brought into it as well. It is an all but required belief among various Neo-Nazi groups, who still yet hold to the idea of a vast “Zionist” conspiracy to control the U.S. government, as well as the mass media, and banking, and business, and labor, etc., on behalf of the Zionist aspirationsof the Jewish people, particularly in regards to the well-being of the Jewish state of Israel. And of course various Jewish lobbying groups are yet another tool by which the Zionists control U.S. policy.

In the meantime, beginning especially in the sixties and on through the seventies, and eighties, Liberal groups typically denounced such ravings as elements of Anti-Semitism. From denying the Holocaust, to belief in Jewish domination of business and media, and governemnt, all of it, was an Anti-Semitic scourge believed by bigots and idiots, by Nazis and other assorted racists like the Klan. Anybody that believed in the “Zionist” conspiracy, to even a small degree, they insisted, were all alike.

Even to wonder at the existence of Jewish lobbying groups ws to risk being tarred and feathered with the label of “Anti-Semitism”. You were to all intnets and purposes no better than Hitler.

Then came September 11th, 2001, and suddenly, a bizzarre parrallel universe has been created from whole cloth, it seems. Thee has ben a sudden disconnect between Jewish groups, and Liberal supporters of Jwish interests, and a good many others of the Far Left. Not just a disconnect, but an out and out rupture.

Incensed at the War in Iraq, and even in Afghanistan, and enraged by the prospect of the Patriot Act, and the ever widening aspects of George Bush’s “War on Terror”, on down through the concept of the Department of Homeland Security, they insist that this is in large part driven by Jewish interests. Some even rattle off that the Jews were actually behind 9/11, and the U.S. government itself was complicit. Some go so far as to say the Muslims were not truly involved. Others say that even if they were, they were lashing out in desperation, and eveything they do should be seen as their right to defend their homelands and culture from encroachment from American imperialism. And from the Jews. Cindy Sheehan is just one example of one person on the far Left who has promoted this. Believe me, there are plenty of others.

It is all part, they claim, of a “vast Zionist conspiracy”. This conspiracy, they insist, is driven in part by Jewish domination of government, the media, banking, and business. But that’s just the beginning. Next comes the really crazy part. Next comes the part that is ripe with hypocrisy, with a capitol H.

They are NOT Anti-Semitic. Yes, I know. That is also the laughable part. hen the Neo-Nazis and the Klan and other far Right-Wingers warnedof the dangersof Zionism, they were denounced as anti-semitic for doing so. Yet, when they do the same thing-they insist they are not anti-Semitic.

Maybe they are just a bunch of crazy fucking lunatics, then?

The Eclipse Of Reason

The eclipse, the first total solar eclipse since 2003, at least here I guess, is supposed to be a time of increased spiritual awareness, and we should all take the time to meditate over the universal oneness of humanity, and take the opportunity to pray for peace, and reach down inside ourselves to find that spiritual., divine spark, that will ignite,and unite us as one.

See now why I don’t like the idea of a universal pagan religion? Because this is the kind of horseshit that usually results from it. Why can’t it be a great day for the univeral enjoyment of chocolate, or sex, of old movies, or practical jokes?

Why has it always got to turn into a politcal message? Anyway, if you ever see these ads with the big eye, which is somehow in some way supposed to represent the solar eclipse, you would know what I was talking about. A day for universal peace and harmony. Of course, it would never work. Even if it did, it would do little or no good, as the next day people would just go back to their usual bellicose bullshit.

That is not to say that observations of the solar eclipse and a spiritual meditation would not be valuable. But not this. This is just another boondoggle made up by people wanting to assert their positions as the leader of some kind of movement that isn’t a real movement at all, just a hodge podge assortment of Wiccans and Pagans with some assorted others thrown into the mix. Tomorrow they won’t even be able to get along with each other, let alone bring about world peace.

But if you do want to take advantage of this astronomical and astrological phenomenon, you can do so, but first you have to see it for what it is. To begin with, you look at the sign in which it will be occurring, the sign of Aries. This is the sign that represents self-interests, selfishness, ego, pride, and self-actualization.

Moreover,this current astronomical year beginning on December 21st,the day of the Winter Solstice, marked the sign of Aries in, at the exact moment of that same Winter Solstice, as being in the Twelth House-the House of Secrets, Sorrows, and Self-Undoing.

So, to mediatate upon this eclipse, especially in a group format, should be done with an eye to focussing on this aspect of the life an individual, as well as the group, and what it might mean for the coming year, and how that might indeed carry over into all aspects of your life. You should do the dame thing when engaging in private meditations, with a mind also to where exactly the Sign of Aries falls within your own personal astrological chart. Into which of the Twelve Houses it is found, that is. Also, what sign exactly is in your Twelth House within your astrological chart. A mediation on those two aspects, during the eclipse, will be far more conducive to spiritual growth and self-realization and will do you far more good while doing no harm whatsoever to world peace.

Just grab a white candle, a magic mirror, a good stick of Sanlewood incense, and meditate in solitude and darkness under the glow of the candle, as you gaze into the mirror, which you turn into a “magic mirror” by ritually empowering it with your own personal power while utilizing visualization aimed at focusing on your desires for inner enlightenment. If you do this with patience and self assurrance, and allow yourself to feel everything and block nothing out, you might well learn a lot about yourself, as this is the perfect night to do so.

As for world peace-well, good night and good luck.

The Cult That Never Was

I had a friend once in Covington, Kentucky, who was a conservative Catholic, at least she was when it was convenient, maybe not so conservative when it wasn’t. I have heard some whacked out theories in my lifetime, but the one she hit me up with one day has got to be the all time topper.

According to her, if everybody in the world were to pray, all together, at the same time, for God and Satan to be reconciled, and for God to forgive Satan and take him back into heaven, that all the world problems would be solved, and there would, finally, be peace on earth, a kind of Eden restored-heaven, in efect, would be here and now, not some distant hope.

Of course, I was compelled to ask her how you could begin to go about accomplishing this. Even granted the extraordinary unlikely scenario where all the various members of just the Abrahamic religions were to play along with this mad scheme, what about the atheists, Hindus, Bhuddhists, assorted pagans, etc. I was amazed at her exasperation at this question, and even more amazed at her answer.

Well, they should be forced to, was her reply. Whereupon my reply was, well, even if they could be forced to, how do you know they would really do it, how do you know they would be seriously praying for this as oppossed to just playing along. Even if you forced them to pray this out loud, what makes you think they would be doing so sincerely, to say nothing of being madder than hell at being forced to do this, and filled with all kinds of negative thoughts at the very least.

Of course, I didn’t bother to remind her of the most obvious point of all. Which is, even if they did do all this sincerely, and willingly-IT WOULDN’T FUCKING WORK BECAUSE IT IS A STUPID FUCKING IDEA!!!

I didn’t get that far, though, as she had pretty much given up convincing me of the wisdom of her crazy idea.

On the other hand, I’ve been thinking lately-now, this is a religious variation of the Abrhamic religious delusions that a lot of people would probably buy into. Not the forced universal prayer, of course, but the idea that if enough people were to pray for the reconciliation of God and Satan, it might indeed work, and usher in a new spiritual age. How many people would join this new faith, would donate money to it, and go out and proselytize to gain new converts for it who would likewise do all the same.

What if I were to suggest that, in addition to donating money in any amount they can, they set aside ten percent of their earnings on a monthly basis into a special savings account-accessible to me, of course, as the High Priest-ostensibly for the purpose of acquiring property which would be the future headquarters one day of “The New Jerusalem”.

I could set a target date for the world prayer day as being something like December 21, 2012, the day that, according to some interpretations of ancient Maya prophesy, the world is to come to an end. Of course, once that day comes, and the world of course is still standing, that just means that the world is just now beginning to change. I’m sure they could all notice the difference.

I could make it fun, too. I could say, well, when Satan has you having group sex, just point out to God he didn’t mean no harm, he just wants us to have some fun out of life, we take things way too seriously. Of course, God will forgive them, while, instead of lambasting Satan, will just shrug and say, yes, he guesses Satan has a point in a way. He will just remind us through me, his Priest, to take care to make sure we don’t get any nasty diseases. That is all he is really worried about anyway.

Damn, the more I think about all this, the more pissed off I get. I could have been filthy rich by now.

Autum Ashante

Something I have realized for a pretty good while now is that a good lot of people just have no common sense and put way too much emphasis on the negative. I’ve been hearing lately about a seven year old black girl by the name of Autum Ashante, who is a budding poet. Actually, she has been descrived as a prodigy. I wouldn’t know, I am not familiar with her poetry, having only heard snippets here and there, and I probably wouldn’t be that good a judge anyway. So I will take the word that seems to be the general consensus, she is very good, especially for someone her age. And according to her father, whom it has been suggested has actually written her poetry, she wrote it herself. I will likewise take his word for that.

The problem is, her work is controversial, and seems to be at least heavily influenced by her father, a former Black Panther member. It is laced with what has been described as racist overtones, in fact it is said to be overtly racist. She seems to be, in addition to a poet, a budding black nationalist. And boy, are some people pissed. People have even threatened her. On one blog, it was intimated that she might well be “shut up”.

These kind of people come in three categories. There are the kind of people that will rant about this little girl while standing up for Lynx and Lamb Gaede. There are the kind of people that will stand up for Autum while criticising Lynx and lamb Gaede in the hatefullest terms imagineable. These two are the kind that you would commonly call “hypocrits”.

But these two are actually laughable when compared to the third kind, the most dangerous kind of all, the kind that think they get a vote on what any and every other human being thinks, writes, says, and feels. And they seem to be more strident about the children than they seem to have the guts to be to an adult that has much more of an ability to put them in their sorry places.

After all, you people that seem to think you have this moral authority are the ones that should put them in their places, right? Not the other way around, by any stretch. You just can’t cotton to anybody expressing pride in their heritage, whether that be White, Black, Latino, Jewish, or whatever. After all, you might disrupt the great American melting pot, and we can’t have that. To a bigot, any appreciation of racial culture and heritage is itself an invitation to the fostering and encouragment of bigotry, so it must be nipped in the bud. Never mind that this little girl is just now developing her talent, and has a long way to go, and who knows where it might eventually take her as long as it is allowed to blossom and thrive. If you don’t like the road she seems to be on at this exact moment,then you had better intevene. You know what’s fucking best for her, don’t you?

Answer: no, you fucking don’t. Her talent, whatever it is, should evolve to where it will, with guidance from her father, and from all the other influences she should come upon through her formative years, in a natural way. Not a forced, browbeaten one. You don’t like what she has to say? Then don’t listen.

Otherwise, if you are in an auditorium, and you hear her tell the black people to stand for the “Black Pledge”, and she then tells all the white people they should not stand but remain seated, keep your white honky fucking asses seated like she says, listen to the poem, listen politely, and applaud in appreciation of her talent, like you have some fucking sense. You might find that this will go a hell of a lot farther to giving her a better impression of white people in general than all the whining, moaning, bitching, and agonizing that’s been going on the past few weeks will ever hope to accomplish.

Oh, and by the way-since many of you people seem to have forgotten, let me be the first to remind you. When you encourage multi-culturalism, like some of you are so wont to do, you should know by now that you may not always like the manner in which it might manifest itself, whether that might be in the form of a White Racialist girls band, or as an African American Seperatist poet child prodigy.

24-The Martha Logan Conspiracy

I think I long ago figured out the mystery of this seasons 24, and after seeing the previews of next weeks episode, I’m all but sure I’m right. Martha Logan, wife of current President Logan, is the seasons mystery villainess.

It happenned and was over with so fast, it has probably by now been forgotten, given her recent displays of courage and character in the face of a weak and easily led husband, but early on Martha Logan was revealed to be a deeply troubled woman who is on medication to prevent her from losing it. Yet, her problem was never revealed precisely, just that it was of a seeming psychological, emotional, or neurological nature. Since she resumed her medication, there has been hardly any hint or mention of it, outside of a brief flirtation with Aaron,a Secret Service Agent. This, however, could easily be put down as a symptom of duress, in combination with gratitude for Aarons saving her life, which her husband was willing to sacrifice to thedemands of terrorists to supply them with the route of the Russian presidents motorcade. Had he not done so, they would release nerve gas within various metropolitan areas, killing potentially hundreds of thosands of American citizens. Still, she objected and of her own volition elected to accompany the Russian presient and his wife to the airport, whereupon Aaron saved them all from tragedy, along with CTU, who fond out about the plot.

So how could she possibly be nvolved in the plot, then? The question, is actually, how could she not? Why would David Palmer entrust her to try to warn Logan of the plot he had discovered? And how had he discovered it to begin with? And why did this knowledge cost him his life?

The answer is, she is the one who had warned him of the plot to begin with. She knew about it because she was herself involved in it at the highest levels the whole time. She was a willing pariticipant in it. Then, she took her medication, and suddenly, horrified at the knowledge she uncovered, though possibly unaware now of her own involvement, she warned the one person she knew she could trust-David Palmer.

Then, she went off her meds again. Suddenly, she knew that David Palmer had found out about the plot. He was a grave danger to her, and to the plans her and the others were inovlved in, whoever all they might turn out to be. She had to stop him, and so, she warned her co-conspirators, who put forth into motion the current seasons plot line.

She is, in effect, sufferring from a severe form of schiozophrenia. And if I am right,this will be revealed in the next episode to Aaron, and to David Palmers surviving brother, by Martha Logans personal assistant, who in the previews told them she knew who was behind everything that was going on,and why. So, how would a mere personal assistant, pretty much a maid, have privy to this knowledge?

In 24, nothing is usually what it seems to be, and I could be wrong. I wrongly predicted that Edgar Stiles was involved, acting out of a need to extract revenge on CTU and the govenrnment for his mothers death last season. Unfortunately, Edgar was killed in the twelth episode this season, so I guess I got that one wrong. But I think I’m right about this one, and should find out for sure, if not the next episode, not too long following.

Like they always say-stay tuned.

Killing Illussions

Some people can only live under the throes of an illsuion for so long, and a perfect example of this would be the Chuirch of Christ preachers wife who murdered her husband by shooting him in the back with a shotgun,then running off with their three young daughters to the Gulf Coast of Alabama. By the time it is all over an done with, it will probably come out that he had been having an affair with one of his parishioners, or molesting one of the daughters, or abusing them or herin some way-or one of those things or more might well be the excuse she dreams up. It could be of course she was the one having the affair.

Whatever the case turns out to be, it isjust another example as to how religion is alltoo often not a cureforlifes ailments. In fact, many times it is the cause. Sometimes it is a mere symptom of a deep seated psychosis. At best, it might be a crutch, a mere excuse to ignore reality by creating one with absolutely no basis in fact.

I am vey familiar with the Chruch of Christ-I used to be a member. This is one of those consevative, Bible believing churches that promote strict adherence to the literal interpretation of the New Testament, and avoidance of any doctrine which is not specifically spelled out on the pages thereon. For example, there is nowhee in the New Testament that permits the use of instrumental music during the courseof a religious service, therefore all musical performances are sung a’ cappello. Point out to a faitful Church of Christ member that musical instruments are not only permitted, but encouraged, in certai parts of the Old Testmanet, and they will immediatley pounce with a reminder that we are no longer living under the Old Testament. The old law they will say has been fulfilled by the New Testament, and we are to strictly adhere to it. Because of this, a member of any other Christian denomination is certainly in danger of the judgement of hell. Why?

“There is no other name given among men whereby we may be saved”, accordding to one New Testament scripture, in refernce to Christ. In another verse an addresses of an epistle is told by Paul, “The Churches of Christ salute you.”

Well, I guess that settles that, huh?

I am saddenned by what happenned to the preacher, saddenned at the obvious emotional state of his wife, whatever it was, that led her to this despicable act, for the parishioners who honestly felt they were pillars and admirable representatives of their little insular community, and now genuinely shocked and saddenned, I am sure, by the impact this is sure to have on it. Most importantly, I am saddenned by the three little girls, whatever role they may or may not have played, at having lost both a mother and a father in one fell swoop of insanity.

But it points out a problem with organized religion that I have known now for years. It is somewhat similar to what many doctors warn their patients concerning the taking of vitamin supplements. In moderation, they can be good, but taken to extremes, they still cure nothing, and worse, can serve merely to mask the symptoms of what might start out as a minor problem, and continue to disguise what might become a serious illness that might develop unbenownst as a result.

And, in some extreme cases, they can actually be the cause of the problem.

Vacation Aruba-Will It Ever End?

No, it looks like the bullshit will never end. And neither then should the boycott of Aruba. The authorities of Aruba seem bound and determined that the Van der Sloot family and the Kalpoe Brothers shall come to no harm, and so, to make it look like they are seriously still investigating, for pubic relations sake, have suddenly produced a witness, after nine months, who has led them to believe that Natalie died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and drugs. The implication, of course, is that she partook of all this conscously and willingly, so she brought it on herself. To this end, there is of course yet another show search of the island, at the spot of the infamous California Lighthouse, where it is said she may have been “reburied”. Of course, they will find nothing. The Van der Sloots may indeed be sucessfully sued by the Holloway family for wrongful death, but this will probably be unenforceable, and any damages decided intheir favor, if any, will be uncollected.

As for the crime inherent in covering up a death, and in hiding the body after the fact of the “accident”, the penalties in Aruba for this would probably be minimal at best, depending of course on whether this would even be classified as a crime. On this paradise island you can lie,after all, during the course of a poice investigation, and not be charged for a crime, why should this be any different. This place is truly beyond belief.

I still say there is chance that something was dumped in the Van der Sloots property well, probably not a body, but perhaps an article of clothing that might contain some clues. As fo rthe body itself, it is probalby beyond being found by now. I still say it was dumped right outin the open, in an out of the way place, in rugged terrain, surrounded by high growth, subject to the sun and wind and rain, and rodents and other sundry and assorted critters, till finally little if anything was left. A skull, a pelvis,a femur, etc., all scatterred and covered by weeds, hidden among the bushes, with little chance of ever being found.

It would be a cold day in hell before I would ever patronize this place.

Eddie Baker Sr.

Somebody should write a brand new folk song in hoor of Eddie Baker Sr. of Breathitt County Kentucky, even if he is an Oxycontin and Meth dealer as claimed by the people of Operation Unite-a task force made up of various local and Kentuclky state law enforcement agencies and officials began by Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers ostensibly in an effort to fight the all pervading menace of these and other drugs in Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky. As I pointed out in an earlier post, Rogers had donated the five thousand dollar contribution he had received from jack Abamof to this group, yet, despite their seeming eagerness to fightthe drug problem, they had, as of then, January of 2006, not updated their web-site since November or therabouts of 2004.

Yet, they make their presence known from time to time, usually in the course of busting lowlevel drug dealers and users. Butwhen they went after Eddie baker Senior at his home outside of Jackson Kentucky, they almost bit off morethan they could chew. They entered Bakers home, with him not there (I don’t know whether they had a warrant, I will just assume they did) and suppossedly found thousands of dollars in plastic bags, along with bags of assorted pills.

Yet, they failed to capture Baker, who shot at them as he fled the scene, getting away. Oneor two officers were wounded, but not seriously. They maintain that Baker and his son are two of the biggest drug dealers in Breathitt County.

Baker maintains he didn’t know who the hell they were when they came after him. And, according to Bakers attorney, thisis typical of Operation Unite. “They shoot first and ask questions later”, he said.

For two months,while on the run, Baker maintained his innocence, once during the course of a taped interview with a reporter from Lexington station WLEX, Channel 18. He had been hiding out in the woods, he maintained, but looked clean, with clean clothes, and seemed rested and refreshed. WLEX held up their end of the bargain. They did not turn Baker in and went to the pre-arranged location and shot the interview, which aired later. Operation Unite had to have been incensed at this action, and soon threw a cordon around Bakers home, questioning and harrassing Bakers neighbors, most of whom maintained they did not know where Baker was, but if they did they would not turn him in. Operation Unite made no friends among the fine people of Breathitt County during this period of time, at least not among Bakers friends andneighbors, many of whom held outthat he was a fine fellow, a good neighbor and friend.

“He’s like a brother to me” said one man during the course of an interview.

Baker was finally apprehended, though, after two months on the run. Maybe he is guilty of the charges as claimed by Operation Unite. If so, he needs to go to prison for as long as the law allows. I can’t help but have my doubts, however.

I know one woman who is a habitual drug user, and for years raised two dependant juvenile children whom she constantly kept out of school, until they eventually never went at all. Said to be on “crank”-meth-she one night burned down her house, while spending the night at a boyfriends house, her two children alone there with the adult male who dated the girl. It was said that she purposely had them burn the house, though the fire lazed well beyond their control and became uinhabitable. The purpose was, suppossedly, to get a quick insurance settlement, either for the purpsoe of buying more drugs, or for paying off a drug debt.

The last time I saw her she was walking up the road, pushing her daughters baby in a stroller. When I saw that sight, I could not help but wonder, what she would be willing to sell that baby for? Two thosand dollars? One? Less?

This is a woman who constantly had her water and phone shut off for non-payment, was constantly borrowing everything under the sun, despite being well cared for by the State of Kentucky Social Services for her two kids behalf.

To my knowledge she has never been harrassed by Operation Unite, who despite this goes out of their way to arrest a couple of guys in a trailor park for marijuana possession. Some things just don’t add up.


The Republicans have reached into their hat and pulled out the rabbit that keeps hopping across the border, thinking this migt save their asses in the upcoming 2006 mid-term Congressional elections. It might well do it, but it will come at the expesne of a lot fo pain and soul seaching for the party that created thisproblem to begin with. It started out with Southwestern Conservtive Republicans such as Barry Goldwater promting the nefarious Right To Work laws which were a blind for combating the ever growing and many cases corrupt power of Labor Unions. It was meant in effect to supply cheap labor to business, and had the effect of encouraging ever greater immigration from south oftheborder to fill jobs way too may Americans balked at performing for the wages offerred. Soon, Democrats as well, seeing the onrushingtide, decided to swimor surf along with it, seeingthepotential for votes to bolster their ever siening minority based net.

Now, we have real problems, and of course, just as in the case of the tobacco company fiasco, the peoplethat created and ourished the problem are hopingto benefit from it. They have sowed the wind, but the American voter will reap the whirlwind, I’m afraid. Now, hundredsof thousands of protestors are out in force these last few days expressing their dissaproval (or their urge to get out of school for a few days) against the new law to enforce and augment border security and crack down on illegal immigration.

The fact that they are prposing stiff penalties for employers who hire llegals is proof enough of their desperation. Stil, despite the wanton hypocrisy on display here, it might well accomplish it’s objetive. The Republicans might well maintain their hold on Congress, just on the stength of this bill, which most Americans, protestors to the contrary, seem to support.

As do I. I support limited legal immigration, but severe penalties for employers that hire illegals, and I support militarizing the border if necessary (though this is unfortunately not a part of the current bills provisions), to prevent any further illegal immigration, or otherwise any steps necessary to prevent it. I also favor raising the minimum wage and applying it to any work done by migrant workers, and in addition I favor increased farm subsidies to farmers who will have to pay them in order to keep food prices from skyrocketing as a result. Yes, I know, that’s a kind of socialism. Too bad, it might well be necessary.

Just as it might finally become necessary to implement some kind of reasonable health care reform which includes subsidized health care not only for migrants, but for all American citizens.

All this is just the beginning of what needs to be done to solve this serious problem, which this little production in the U.S. Congress will not accomplish. Even in the unlikely event it is passed by both Houses and signed into law by Bush, there will probably be a myriad of court cases that will keep it held up for years. But it still might accomplsih what I maintain is it’s main objective, which is to keep the Republicans in power.

That might be the best thing for the Democrats in the long run, depending on your perspective. Because, whoever wins in 2006, stands a good chance of being the ultimate loser by the time the 2008 elections are decided.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Afghan Dilemna

So what do you do if your name is Abdul ahman, and you just don’t believe? Supposedly, according at least to Islamic Sharia law, you are suppossed to die. And so it goes that Mr. Rahman, at 41 years of age now a Christian for some twenty six years, having converted from Islam at the age of 26, may be put to death in about two months, depending on the verdict of the Afghan Islamic Courts. One Islamic judge and scholar was adamant-he should be beheaded-and was unapologetic about the matter.

Hamid Karzai could of course intervene,and has intimated that he may well do this, but he would be walking a thin line in tryig to do so in such a way as to not offend the Islamic imams, and their numerous followers of the very conservative and traditionally oriented country. At the same time a diplomatic solution seems the only way to keep from driving a wedge between him and the Bush Administration-or more to the point, Bush and his right wing conservative Christian allready eroded base.

I think we might be seeing yet anotehr fiasco similar to the Danish cartoon controversy. The Taliban is still very much a force to be reckoned with in the country as a whole, in fact evrywhere outside of the capitol city of Kabul. Some even hold the Taliban are as yet atually the de facto rulers of the country, and are a significant, if ot the main, beneficiaries of the resurgent and malignant opium trade, ninety percent of which is said to have origniated from that sorrowful nation.

And Bin Laden, of course, yet lurks in the shadows, if not as an actual presence, a least as an all enveloping influence.

If all this is true, then this business seems like another tailor made controversy. It is a rarity for any Muslim to convert to any religion, in fact it is all but unheard of. In all of Afghanistan, there are few non-Muslims, just a reative handful of Indian born Sikhs and Hindus. Now this guy comes out of the woodwork, and is remarkably unrepentant about his conversion to his stated belief in “The Trinity”, and in Christ as the sacrificial “Son of God” though at the same time he professes belief in Alah as the one true God. He has been, in fact, manifestly determined. So where exactly did he come from. And why?

Understand, I am not in the least bit questioning his sincerity, but I am wondering at the timing of his arrest, and his impending trial and eventual sentence, whatever that might turn out to be. There have been hints he may be found to be mentally incompetent, and so unfit to stand trial, and so may be sentenced to an asylum, to prison, or exile. I guess thereis also a chance he might be offerred the opportunity to repudiate his Christian adopted religion, but I would imagine that is an outside possibiliy at best.

Still, whatever avenue of escape is presented him, this has to be accepted, theoretically, in order to keep the peace, by the immams and their followers. If he is offerred this out, that could to at least some degree defuse Karzai’s dilemna, but not Bush’s with his own base, who might demand that Bush reitierate his assertion that all religions should be respected, and protection, including the rights of the converted, particularly of those Muslims converted to Christianity. Not merely his rights to not be executed, but also his rights to continue livng in the country in peace and freedom, and allowed to openly practice his faith.

Of course, this would be playing right into the hands of those radical Immams who I feel are tying to drive a wedge between America and the fledgling democracy of Afghanistan. But at this point, a lot of these Christian conservatives probably don’t really care about that, in fact, it probably suits them just as well as it does the Immams.

Debra LaFave

I feel some sympaty for Owen LaFave, it’s hard not to, only I shouldn’t feel for him, because, frankly, I shouldn’t even know who he is. He insists, though, in making himself the representative of Ameican cuckolds everywhere, or at least of those whose wives had been teachers that fucked their students.

LaFave. The name even sounds like something that might have been invented for some ribald , pornographic movie, one about a teacher lusting after her highschool-or elementary school-students at that. It even sounds French. If I had heard about it in a casual conversation for the first time I would have thought somebody made the whole thing up.

And it is something that probably would by now have been forgotten, save for the fact that Ms. LaFave, rather than pleading guilt in hopes of some leniency, pleaded insanity, beofre accepting a plea agreement, which was initially thown out. Now, the judgement has come down. Three years of house arrest, followed by eight years of probation, and a requirement for registration as a sex offender. Naturally, she will not be allowed to teach from here on out. Now that is a perfect example of cruel and unusual punishment. Why take it out on the poor kids?

All joking aside, however, I have to wonder what Owen LaFave could possibly get out of all the rounds of cable news appearrances. He obviously isn’t happy about what happenned, and I don’t see a career out of this. Maybe if he went to comedy school, he might parlay this into a career. After all, he is certainly the butt of jokes, why not cash in on it?

He seems to be saying, “please don’t judge my manhood-or lack thereof-by the fact that my wife was fucking at least one of her fourteen year old students behind my back. She is a sick, sick, sick woman, and that is why she did what she did. It had nothing to do with my sexual prowess-or lack thereof. And it is no reflection on my emotional maturity-or lack thereof-that a woman who is obviously attracted to little boys chose to marry me.”

Then, he will probably express disatisfaction with the suppossdly lenient judgement, and insist she should face the same penalties as an adult male teacher who does pretty much the same thing with an underage female student. Yet, she is a sick woman. An emotionally scarred woman, sufferring the effects of some past trauma. And again, it was not his fault, it had nothing to do with him. And of course, he would be right. It had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with him.

You can see Owen LaFave tonight at 9:00 p.m. est. on Larry King Live (CNN), in his entirety.

Kentucky Pride

Ask a native Kentuckian what he is most proud of about his state, and you will get several different answers, depending on who you ask. Some might even get defensive about it. Others might honestly tell you that, these days, there is very little to be proud of. But there would be a list that, surprisingly, would be quite remarkable. Some would be predictable. Like almost all states, a native Kentuckian would list as among the states assets, it’s natural, scenic beauty. Of course, this is a given for almost every other state as well. Still, this would be toward the top of the list for Kentuckians, if not at the top.

Others would include Kentucky's remarkable history, from being one of the first two states admitted to the union after the original thirteen, to it’s dominant role in the two wars preceding the Civil War in terms of volunteers, on to it’s obviously important role in that last mentioned war.

Others would talk of it’s reputation as the originator, and main producer, of bourbon whiskey, at it’s standing in the world and history of throrouhbred and harness horse racing. Some might even point with pride, still today, over it’s most controversial contribution, that being one of the largest producers of burley tobacco in the world. And naturally, though this too has been the center of controversy, it’s standing as one of the largest coal producing states, and the fact that this might well become of even greater economic importance in the decades ahead, not only to Kentucky, but to the nation.

Still, if you were to make a list of the things Kentuckians are most proud of, I have no doubt what the one thing is that would stand out as the thing that Kentuckians have by far the most pride in, at least by average. The University of Kentucky Wildcats.

I’ve never quite been able to figure out exactly why this is. It’s certainly understandable why this should be the case with UK alumni, students, and Lexington Kentucky area residents. But take my word for it, this extends nearly statewide. It goes beyond a mere love of sports. If you are a native Kentuckian, you have to support “Big Blue”-it is almost a patriotic and religious duty. It is a matter of state pride,and has been from the earliest days, from the days when Coach Adolph Rupp expanded on what was already a winning tradition, on through Coach Joe B. Hall, on through the days of the Traitor Rick Pitino, who went on to a failed career as a pro basketball coach before returning to Kentucky, and further his memory, and that of UK, by becoming head coach of the hated Louisvile Cardinals-UK’s main Kentucky rival. Now, Coach Tubby Smith carries the mantle, and the awesome responsibility, of carrying on the Big Blue tradition.

Basketball is indeed a passion and a religion here in Kentucky. It used to be quite common for rival high school teams to produce fights between their respective student supporters, one thing that all but turned me against the sport. It was similar in spirit, if not quite the intensity, of fights that break out in Europe between fans of rival soccer teams. Only this is high school students we are talking about here.

And the University of Kentucky represents Kentucky basketball in all it’s glory and full blown tradition. Whereas a scholarship to play on the University of Kentucky football team is nearly the kiss of death to a football career, a scholarship, or even the acceptance onto the second squad of the Wildcats, is tantamount to membership in an elite club. On the University of Kentucky campus, you are not just a basketball player. You are the next closest thing to a god. For just a little while anyway. You have to prove you are worthy of this honor, of course, for the adulation to hold up for long. If you accomplish this task, then it’s settled. You definitely ARE a God.

And when Gods play, nothing else matters. On Sundays, pastors are kindly informed that they should not let their services run over the allotted time when the Wildcats are playing. Especially during tournament time. The SEC tournament is a sacred festival. If you can’t be there, you should damn well be watching if at all possible. After the SEC, of course, comes “March Madness”.

This has been a colder than average March, but it is even colder this year. The beloved cats lost their game in the second round of play, the the top rated University of Conecticutt. They almost pulled off an upset, despite the fact the Big Blue, this year, had their worse season in a long, long time. Still, I found myself rooting for the “home team”, quietly excited at the prospect they might pull off an unexpected victory. This year, it didn’t happen. The Cats didn’t even make it into the Sweet Sixteen.

Kentucky’s glory, therefore, is in the dust, for the next year. Their pride shattered. And that is what it is all about. Kentucky pride. Not so much pride in the Wildcats. Just pride in something bigger than ourselves, that is at the same time, a part of our heritage and tradition. The following typical conversation will serve to illustrate the point.

Jim and Bob were at the Rockcastle River, having just pulled up in thei pick-up, and opened a couple of beers.

Jim: Damn those cats. What about that? I could have swore they were gointo beat those damn Uconn punks. Those refs should be investigated, I’m tellin’ ya.

Bob: Naw, it’s that damn Tubby, they should fire his ass.

Jim: Well, hell, we’ll get ‘em next year, just wait.

Bob: Yeah, guess ya can’t win every year. Shoud’ve at least made the Sweet Sixteen though.

Jim: It’s even too cold to fish, dam, I’ll be glad when it warms up.

Bob: Who the hell cares about fishing at a time like this. Guess you’re right though, it would at least be something to look forward to to take our minds off all this. Damn,this has about ruined my whole month.

Jim: Well, lets get this over with.

(Our heroes climb out of the pick-up and head to the back of the truck, staring morosely at their cargo)

Jim: This was a damn good refrigerator in it’s day, huh? If the new one lasts half as long as this one did I’ll be satisfied. It’s chilled a lot of beers for a lot of Big Blue games.

Bob: Yeah, well nuthin’ lasts forever. Here a good place?

Jim: Naw, see those tires over there? Waters way too shallow here. Let’s drive on down a ways to where the waters deeper.

A Community Project

Mt. Vernon Kentucky has just been turned down for a grant from the Stateof Kentucky, and I have to wonder if they have even figured out why. I could tell them, though, not that they are asking. But somebody should, because I have the idea sometimes that they either don’t know, or don’t really care.

A few years back, Governor Paul Patton initiated a Kentucky Communities revitalization project, aimed at restoring and revitalizing small towns. Small communities have taken a hit in recent years wtih the expansion of large shopping centers and superstores such as Wal-Mart and Target. It’s easy to see why, everybody wants to get out of town for a while, so even as much as a twenty mile drive to Wal-Mart can seem like an excursion, and in the long run you can even save money shopping there despite the gas expenses, at least until recently.

The money granted to small towns that qualified was meant to spruce up the downtown areas, make them attactive to business investment, and to the communities populations, many of whom on the one hand longed for a return to the “good old days” of small town prosperity, while on the other hand taking their business elsewhere. This was meant to change all that, at least up to a point.

Mt. Vernon received their grant in 2002, and one of the first things they did with it – officially – was use it to repair and renovate the old Brown building, one of the oldest buildings in Mt. Vernon, which had stood proudly on the edge of town for over a hundred years. As the oldest landmark in the town, I guess for well over a hundred years, as everything else that had been older had either been tore down or burned down.

The Brown building had quite a history. At one time, back in the 1920’s,going back perhaps to the last century, it had been a private school for girls. Follwing this, beginning in about the 1940’s, it had been a grocery store owned by the Mr. Brown by whose name it became known. Following this, beginning in about the 1960’s, it became a boading house.

At some point in time, it was bought by a family who shall remain nameless. Suffice it to say they eventualy let it fall into a state of disuse, disrepair, and ultimatley to the point where it was no longer habitable, and should have been condemned, really-as was the case with all the properties owned by this particular family.

When the town finally acquired the property, they set to work restoring it, and used jail work release prisoners at least in part to paint it, repair the doors and windows, and haul out all the garbage. It had in recent years become a hangout for the indigent, a place to drink, shoot up,and hang out. But it was soon fixed up to where it looked almost as good as new-at least on the outside. Still, two or thee years had passed, and it was utilized for nothing. It’s main function seemed to be that it was no longer an eyesore or a health hazard. No businsses moved in, no offices opened in it, and no one dwelled theirein, at least not officially and legally.

Then, over the last few months, a new round of grants became availiable, and of course Mt. Vernon applied for their share. Sometime during the waiting and evaluation process, the old Brown Building, by all rights an historical landmark, suddenly burned to the ground, leaving in the totality of the destruction nothing save the old chimney. It was totally destroyed by the fire, right on the spot where it had existed for over one hundred years-

Not so much as half a block from the Mt. Vernon Fire Department and City Hall!!!

They were tuned down for the latest grants. They were also refused grants for the purpose of improving the city water system. Should anybody wonder why?

Incidentally, just across the street from the City Hall and Fire Department is a road that goes to the Rockcastle County Hospital and Respiratory Care Center. Not too long after you turn onto that road, the first thing you will notice is the road to the right could use something it has never had-a guardrail. Of course, to construct a guardrail, you would have to finally get around to cutting the waist high weeds which, from the road, hides the drop off that leads straight down onto the railroad tracks, more than six feet below.

A High Stakes Gamble

Gambling is a worthless endeavor that can get you killed, or otherwise ruin what you might have left that passes for a life. So to that extent I can understand the reluctance of Kentucky legislators to pass bill 600, which recently got moved to committee. This was a way some few legislative supporters had of holding off what had been the almost certain defeat of this bill , which would allow some Kentucky race tracks to operate as casinos. The main proponents of the bill is an organization called KEEP, for Kenucky Equine Education Project, and it is an obvious boondoggle. Racetracks in Kentucky have traditionally been opponents of any measure to extend any form of legalized gambling outside their purview, but this was meant to be to their benefit, in fact, it was meant to insure a monopoly on the gambling industry, aside of course from the state run lottery.

This was only one of the reasons it ws doomed to failure, there was also the very real and legitimate concern about the impact on society, especially among the poor, who are traditionally the heaviest investors in the gambling industry. Casinos would only be seen as exacerbating the problem, opening up doors to prostitution, increased crime and alcohol related problems, etc.

Still, the main point is that the state could definitely use the money which is now being spent in neighboring states by those who will gamble regardless. The bill should pass,. but the racetracks should not be the only benefiiaries. The current consideration of the bill is a proposal to extend the range to thirteen casinos in as yet unspecified ares of the stae, with only five or six of these being racetracks.

I definitely agree with KEEP on one thing. They should let the people decide. Then again, maybe they shouldn’t. The religious right will probably just flood the airwaives and newspapers with a deluge of ads, most of them misleading and exxaggerated, in an effort to defeat the bill,and their efforts would probably be succesful.

Instead, the legislators should decide to have some backbone and vote for the bill. After all, no one that I know of lost an election in Kentucky by supporting the state lottery, and I have no doubt the same would be the case here.

I’m not much of a gambling person myself, though I have done it from time to time, a pick three here, a pick four there, a Powerball ticket every now and then. I’ve even played some penny ante poker a few, a very few times. My gambling drug of choice is, in fact, the throughbred races. There, you do have a chance of winning, and I don’t believe for a minute that the races are rigged, not the major stakes anyway,though this was a minor problem in the past. Regardlss, it is fun, as long as you don’t let yourself get caught up in the excitement of a few wins and end up losing your winnings and more, as I did once to the tune of 200 dollars on one race. I bet on one of the best jockeys in the business at the time to come in third, or show, in a field of five, in a race where he was ranked fourth, which is what he came in at.

So, I put my hand up to the burner and learned the consequences, and that is a lesson that has stayed with me to this day. And, though other people may not be so adaptive, the opportunity should be legal and availiable, which it is in Indiana, which is draining millions of dollars in sorely needed revenue from the state.

With all it’s potential downside, bill 600 should still be passed, but it probably will not be. Our state legislators and governor though will gladly pass bills such as the one recently signed into law that allows the Ten Commandments to be erected on the Frankfort state capitol grounds. In the context of a “historical display”, of course. I don’t expect, however, to see any statues of Hammurabi in any Kentucky courthouses and schools anytime soon. And that of course is where this is all eventually heading, if this bunch has their way.

That I would almost bet the farm on.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Mythic Proportions

It occurred to me, after my last post, that some may misunderstand my views on mythology, so I thought that I should take a little time to expand on them more thoroughly. To begin with, I have nothing whatsoever against mythology. It can be enlightening, an important aspect of the life of a devotee of any spiritual path. As a matter of fact, it is actually an essential component of it. And I say this not only as regards the actual ritual practices that are part and parcel, the inner workings of any cult or religion, thought this is certainly true, it is actually an indispensable means of understanding and achieving communion with the deities by means of ritual conscouness (though certainly not the only such means).

My problem with mythology is, in fact, the point that it is not used as effectively as it should be. Most people tend to take myths at for the most part their face value, without trying to look beyond the outer surface presentation down into what is actually the kernal of truth it contains, that deeper meaning wrapped in symbolism. That is pretty much akin to judging a person solely by the clothing he or whe wears. It may tell you a little about them. It may in some cases even tell you quite a lot about them. But it’s not the entire story. For that, you need to look beyond the outer appearrance, by looking deeper inward.

Some mythologies, in fact, served the people in the time in which they were developed well, but have little meaning for us today. But that is because they haven’t evolved with the times. And in order for them to remain relevant, that is essential, and inescapably so. I am currently at work on a revision of the myth of the birth of Athene, which I intend to one day publish as part of a collectionof such retellings. This too, as has been pointed out to me, can be dangerous.

One recent example of a self-serving retelling that was pointed out to me by a friend that I communicate with prvately on a somewhat regular basis, is the recent change in the personality of the Goddess Artemis. This deity is of course the pure and chaste virgin Goddess of the Hunt, and in Classical Hellenic art was generally depicted with a bow. She was one of the Twelve Olympians, one of those Goddesses who were of paramount importance among the anciet Greeks. She had many attributes, and possibly chief among these was her status as the Patron Goddess of hunters, and of the hunt itself.

She was invoked for other reasons as well. She was the patron Goddess of several cities, was a Goddess of fertility, and was invoked to insure ease of childbith. But mainly she is remembered as that Goddess whom hunters invoked to insure a successful hunt.

But for some odd reason that I have never been able to wrap my mind around, she is invoked by a good many mainly eclectic Wiccans these days, a great many of whom are vegetarians, and vegans. These are staunchly environmental types. I am too, but I am talking here about extremists,some of whom might even make the folks at Greenpeace look like Neo-Cons. These are the type of environmentalists who are outraged at any encroachment of mankind upon nature, however slight or even unnavoidable, and decry with a passion the killing of any animals. And this extends from the slaughter of farm animals to the hunting of wild animals, not only for sport, but for food as well.

To them, the Lady Artemis has suddenly evolved into “the gentle protectress of animals”. WHAT?!!!! Yes, it’s true, now if this isn’t an evolution, there is no such thing. This is off the charts. For one thing, yes, Artemis is the protectress of animals, and of the environment in general. Unfortunately, a great part of that protection comes in strengtening the herd by means of thinning it out. The art and science of responsible hunting therefore isn’t an abomination to her, in fact, it can be viewed as a sacred act. It is actually aiding in the process, which without that aid would be even more bloody, torturous, and ultimatley catastrophic. Most hunters when killing their prey aim at precision, in a clean, fast, and relatively merciful kill. Even the slaughtering of livestock, as heartwrenching, and to the animal terrifying, as this can be-and the methodology here should definitely be improved-even this is a vast improvement over what would normally be the fate of these animals were they allowed to roam free as many of these radicals would hold that “nature intended”. In the wild, natures way of thinning out the herd usually involves the old being left behind to be ultimatley torn to pieces by predatory animals. Or even worse, to die a long drawn out death of starvation and thirst as they are, before death, gnawed away at by insects and rodents.

So no, Artemis is not “gentle”, by any stretch of the imagination. She is, in fact, quite feral. And for any group to develop a mythology that asserts otherwise is not true mythology. It is wishful thinking. It is self-serving aggrandizement on an arrogant scale.

Still, mythologies, again, do have to evolve to fit the times in order to be and remain relevant to them. But you have to be true to the basic nature of the God or the Goddess involved or they are meaningless, and in fact all the more irrelevant, even to a degree deceptive. That is why you have to exercise a degree of caution when reworking these myths. I think of it more as a prospect not of changing the myths, but of expounding on them explaining them more fully than an ancient adherent might have been capable of. The beautiful thing about the ancient Hellenic myths are, to a point they contain the seeds for growth and evoltuion within their own paradigms.

Furthermore, I am really not talking about anything new here. Even ancient socieities reworked their own myths. They themselves evolved and expanded on their ancient myths. The conquering Achaeans, the Dorians and others who infiltrated ancient Greece and eventually gave rise to the Hellenic civilization that we know as Classical Greece, did this themselves with the myths and folklores of the preceding Mychaenaeans, who likely themselves did the same with myths borrowed from the earlier Minoans.

Nor do you even have to study the ancient past to see an on-going modern day example, in the mythology of the Hindus of India. I am thinking here specifically of the myth of the elephant headed God, Ganesh. According to present day Hindu mythology, Ganesh was the son of Shiva, The Desroyer. One day while Shiva was out, Ganesh’s mother decided to take a bath, and cautioned her son Ganesh to guard the house from intruders. He dutifully stood watch at he door, and when Shiva returned home early, he did not recognize him, and so refused him entrance into his own home. In a rage, Shiva sliced off the head of Ganesh. Seenig what he had done, he determined to bring ganesh back to life and supply him with a new head. Coming upon the first animal he saw-an elephant, of course-he took off the unfortunate creatures head, and attached it to the body of Ganesh.

Anybody should be able to discern what is going on here. In fact, I would submit that Ganesh was seen as always having had the head of an elephant, to his devotees this was nothing unusual. It was symbolic of the power of this particular God. This was a common attribute of deities in ancient Egypt, less so in India, but Ganesh is one of these examples. But somewhere along the way, as times progressed, people started to question this remarkable oddity. Why did Ganesh have the head of an elephant? Perhaps the worship of Ganesh preceded the arrival of what came to be the predominant population on the continent, who needed something in the way of an explanantion, and so invented one.

Whatever the case, this rather fanciful explanation I hold to be a relatively recent innovaton. An evolution of the myth, if you will, and not a very good one at that, in my opinion. The earlier devotees of this particular deity obviously viewed the elephant as sacred, a divine manifestation of the God. The latter day observers, whether native or foreign, had to have an explanation.

At any rate, the point is that all things must change, must grow and evolve, in order to remain relevant. And this is equally true of mythology, maybe more so. But you have to proceed, again, while being true ot the natue of the Deity in question, and while keeping the faith with the spirit of the original myth in question. Otherwise, you are just making shit up. And that is something I do not ever intend to do.

As for those who might take exception to my thoughts on this matter, I will address the two of you.

To the “Fluffy Bunnies”-It’s not all peaches and cream, no matter how much you might wish that were the case.

And, to the “Recons” - No, I am not going to go to hell for violating the ancient myths. Since you believe so strongly in the inviolability of the ancient myths, you DO believe in hell, don’t you? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Secret Societies

There is a disturbing trend amongst Wiccans and other Pagans which exhibits itself in the form of a yearning for religion. I guess this is natural, in a sense, since Paganism is a religion, right? Well, I guess that all depends on how you define the term religion.

Bear in mind that the majority of pagans, at least American ones, come from a religious background, in one form or another. Even if they themselves were not regular churchgoers, or otherwise religously inclined, there is a better chance than not that there is some degree of religious influence in their background. Face it, it is just the way our society has been structured, if it’s not a family tradition, it is at the very least an environmental and a societal influence.

As such, there are various pagan organizations that feed off this influence, in a variety of ways and forms. I don’t know how often I have been either an observer of or a participant in conversations that revolve around the aspect of transforming Paganism into a religion, with at least the implication of all the hierarchical structuring this entails. Well, it’s a rocky road, with lots of hills and deceptive curves. And many of the would-be leaders of such movements can at times exhibit undue frustration at their lack of progress.

“Leading pagans is like trying to herd cats,” I have heard more than one of these people complain. Then follows the usual litany of woes- the backbiting, jealousy, suspicion, stubbornness, uncooperativeness, etc., etc.

Yet, most pagans seem to be looking to be led. Many of them in fact betray at least a hint of fundamentalism, of literalist interpretation of the ancient pagan mythologies, that are at least naïve, if not borderline psychotic. And I fear there are more than ample opportunities for them to be taken advantage of. I am talking here about the kind of people that will throw their money into useless endeavors such as illustrated by, for example, charlatans such as Miss Cleo. They are obviously looking for something in their lives that has been lacking. But what is it?

They are to an extent conflicted about spirituality, about religion, and yet are superstitously inclined. And so, there is a lack of wholeness. They are looking to be accepted into a group that will give them meaning, and guidance, but Wicca and Paganism can only afford this to a limited extent. And that is why it will never be a major religion. And why is that? Well,the answer to that will be surprising, but it is a really simple concept.

Paganism was never a religion. Think about that. I know it sounds crazy, coming from a pagan, but it is the truth. Again-Paganism was never a religion.

That is because, in any given culture you consider from the long ago past, paganism was never one religion, but a mixture of them-a mishmash, if you will. Take ancient Greece, for example, and the ancient Hellenic deities. This is the Pagan philosophy to which I have gravitated. But look at it closely. There was never an overreaching, monolithic Hellenic Pagan hierarchical structure, as such.

The closest you came to this was during certain festivals, in which the communities would gather to feast and celebrate, and worship as a community, in celebration of one or in some cases more of the deities. Certain calendar dates were sacred to certain deities. That, folks, is as good as it gets. Even at this, there was no overarching common standard that bound all the various Hellenic communities. Here, the closest you might come would be in the celebration of the Olympics.

As for the various mythologies of the different deities that many will point to as evidence of a common religous structure, this has for far too long been taken at face value. These mythologies were meant mainly for public consumption. They offerred evidence of the values of moral living, for example. After all, if a God or a Goddess could bring harm or disaster or shame upon him or her self by engaging in immoral activities, then how more so should this be taken as a warning to mortals as to what their fate would surely be by doing likewise? It also offerred explanations as to various natural phenomenon, theorized how the universe came into being, and any number of other such things.

Still, it’s important to realize that, as valuable as these old mythological stories are to a point-they are not religion. And here’s where we get right dow to the nitty gritty.

All the various deties, the Goddesses and the Gods, had their own cults. Their own individual priesthoods. Their own-well, their own religions. Now, people could, and did, go to their various temples and partake of prayer services and made offerrings to these deities at their temples in the hopes of gaining this or that good fortune. And, as mentioned earlier, there were various community festivals in honor of these deities that were officiated by their individual priesthoods.

But to be an actual practising member of a religious cult entailed far more than merely showing up to temple, offerring a few prayers and a song or two and listening to a sermon here or there. This was true regardless of the sincerity of the worshipper. Being a member of the religious cult involved usually the payment of a fee, along with a requirement of a minimum of social standing within the community. It also required the regular payment of dues. Finally-and this is perhaps the most improtant point of all-it required a degree of secrecy. You wee, after all, a member of an exclusive sect.

Some cults were more rigid about this than were others. There is still little known for example about the cult of Demeter. Yet, she was a very imprtant Goddess, one of the major twelve Olympian Gods considered of the utmost importance. She was originally perhaps a barley goddess, but eventually came to be viewed as the Goddess of agriculture in all it’s forms.

The cult of Ares, God of War, is even more of a mystery. Almost nothnig of the beliefs of his cult has survived. Almost everything that has survived concerning him on a mythological level is negative, in some cases to an almost absurd degree. And this brings up another interesting point concerning the Hellenic Pagan religious cults. They were very competitive. The cults of Ares and Athene are sterling examples of two cults which were evidently as competitive in their own way as, to give a more modern example, Islam might be seen by many as being a competitor to Christianity, or as Protestantism was until the not too distant past seen as competitive with Catholicism, and to a degree still is.

So there you have it. Even those cults which were most widespread in their respective lands and cultures-Zeus to the Greeks, Amon Ra to the Egyptians, and Vishnu to the modern day Hindus, are themselves manifestation of one religious cult. A cult which recognizes and affirms the existence of other lesser deities, and allows even for honors to them, yes. Still yet, they were and in the case of Vishnu is, religions that are sacred to that one diety to whom the priesthood, and devotees, owe their allegiance.

The wealthier classes of course could afford to belong to more than one cult, and oftentimes did. In this case, of course, they were members of multiple religions. So what is this all leading up to? Simply put, if there ever is one umbrella “Pagan Religion”, as many would assert, they are creating an animal that has never before existed, or at least was extremely rare, to say the least.

This is not to say that it can’t be done, of course, nothing is impossible. But is it practical. Is it even desirable?

I have always been attracted myself to the concept of coven worship. Also, to the idea of Secret Societies. In such a society, you do not come “just as I am” and are accepted with love and open arms. In fact, you do not come at all without an invitation. Even at that, you are by no means assurred of a place in the order. And if you are accepted into it, you are definitely expected-make that required-to contribute, either in money, talent, or time.

Does that mean we consider ourselves better? No,we just consider ouselves members of an exclusive club, who share the same common interests and heartfelt beliefs. Otherwise, we would like to be responsible members of our society and contribute to the welfare of it. Hell,you might even see us in your churches from time to time. After all, a tue pagan does believe in giving honor to all deities of all peoples. Even to those who might be presented in an overly ostentatous fashion by those who take him, and themselves, a bit too seriously.

But of course, all religions take themselves seriously, as do their adherents, and were paganism ever to be transformed into a hierarchical umbrella structure-assumming for the moment that were even possible-I contend it would quickly dissove into factions, rival ones, in many cases, just like in days of old. And, even if this did not occur, the overall result would be just another hierarchical power sturcture opting for socal and politcal power and influence. Soon,it would fall to the same degree of corruption and decadence as all the others. The signs are there, in fact, that the seeds have allready been planted for this.

That is just a fact of human nature, unfortunately, inherent as well, I fear, in mankinds innate spiritual cravings.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Black Vulture

Sometimes the concerns of environmentalists are not paid near enough attention to, and their warnings go unheeded, with oftimes tragic consequences. And, sometimes, it just so happens, more often than you might expect, the opposite extreme is the case, and the results can just as often be just as disastrous. The case in point here would be the sudden burgeoning of the population of a most unusual and interesting species of bird known as the Black Vulture.

The Black Vulture doesn’t just give lip service to family values-it lives them, it’s a part of it’s natural genetic make-up. It is, in effect, instinctive to the Black Vulture to care for and nurture it’s young, and to engage in a monogamous relationship with it’s one mate, with whom it stays bound for the entirety of it’s life. The Black Vulture even has what seems to be what many might think of as a rigidly regressive, perhaps even puritanical, sexual code of conduct. When engaging in sexual relations, the Black Vulure will always opt to do so in as private a setting as possible. If a Black Vulture were to ever make overt sexual advances toward another, and this was witnessed by others in the flock, they will berate him mercilessly, as though to shame him for his wanton immorality.

If you are a magical practitioner and you are in search of a patron power animal, the Black Vulture may well be the way you want to go, especially if it is your goal to attract a mate with whom you will share a lifelong monogamous relatioship and to have children and raise a family with strong, life long bonds of attachment and caring. Of course, the one drawback to this is that you might well develop a bizarre craving for road kill and other carrion, as the Black Vulture, like his more familiar, better known and more easily identified cousin, the Turkey Vulture, lives chiefly off the carcases of dead animals.

For this reason the Black Vulture, like the Turkey Vulture, was years ago put on the Protected Species list. It is against the law to kill a Black Vulture. Kill a Black Vulture, and get caught doing so, and you will pay a hefty fine and possibly be faced with a jail sentence as well, and this is Federal Law, not state.

Due to this, and a number of other factors, the population of the Black Vulture has grown, in fact has greatly expanded, throughout the nation. Among the other reasons for this unforeseen population explosion is the long ago ban of DDTs, which themselves proved instrumental in thinning out the flocks. Finally, the atmospheric phenomenon of global warming has as well, it is believed, played a significant role in the population explosion of the Balck Vulture. And this has caused some problems;.

Happen upon a nesting place of Black Vultures and you can fairly easily discern what one of these problems are. Due to their, to humans, sickening dietary needs, accompanied by the acts of defecation, to say nothing of the constant vomiting as a means of feeding their young, their nesting places carry the stench of death itself. Problem number one then, is the possibility, if not the probability, that they are carriers of disease which, while having for the most part no effect whatsoever on them, can, in such significantly increased numbers, pose a health hazard to humans, to say nothing of other animals.

Problem number two: Black Vultures like to nest in and around landfills,which, unfortunately, all too often put them in proximity to various airports, where they tend to pose a profound threat to airplanes and jets, especially those that are taking off. They are easily sucked into the engines of jets, and can cause engine failure, resulting of course in crashes. Bear in mind that jets when taking off tend to be loaded with fuel, and this easily becomes a life threatening situation for all aboard. The greater the population of Black Vultures, of course, the greater the probability that incidents of this nature will become more likely.

Finally, problem number three-and this is where it really becomes frightening: Black Vultures feed primarily off carrion, yes-but not exclusively. They are also known to feed off of young and apparrently helpless calves, and other newborn livestock, especially ones that have strayed. One farmer here in Kentucky came across a Turkey Vulture feeding upon the carcase of a newborn calf, and in this case, the calfs mother stood helplessly nearby. Another farmer rescued a stray calf just in the nick of time. Having noticed it missing he set out to search for it, and found it just as a Black Vulture had swooped in just getting ready for the kill.

This has become quite a problem for farmers in Kentucky, and in fact Balck Vultures, once relatively rare in the state, have been spotted in all Kentucky counties with the exceptions of Kenton, Campbell, and Boone, the three northernmost counties of the state.

And the potential problem isn’t confined to Kentucky. While researching this piece I ran across a Blog by a peson who reported a Black Vulture at his residence, staring coldly at him and his dog, and the pound where he kept his dogs. He explained how it seemed to be unconcerned as to his presence, seeming to ignore him as he shouted at it. He then tried throwing rocks at it, whereupon it flew up to the top of his house, where it perched fo some time.

I decided I should immediately warn him as to the danger to his dogs, but wouldn’t you know it? He had for some unexplained reason disabled comments to his Blog, which wasn’t on Blogger. So I had to let it go.

Yet, it brings up a salient point. If Black Vultures might prey upon helpless newborn livestock, what about a large dog? Even if the dog succeeded in fighting him off, it could suffer serius injury.

Then, there is the prospect of children. Young children between the ages of four and eight that live out in the country like to get out and play in the woods and the surrounding areas, one of the more appealling aspects in fact of growing up “in the country”.

Yet, such a child, especially wandering off on his or her own,as they are unfortunately wont to do from time to time, might well prove a tempting target to a hungry Black Vulture, whom the child in fact might not be aware is a danger to him or her.

Then, there are the elderly to consider, or any adult who might fall victim to an accident, or a sudden illness. If this happens to you, and a flock suddenly gathers around, hope and pray they are Turkey Vutures. They are kind enough to wait for you to die. Black Vultures would prefer not to do so.

Because of all these things, you would think the law protecting them from being killed would be rescinded, at least temporarily. But no, unfortunately, there is a matter of bureacracey to contend with in matters such as these, to say nothingof the hordes of radicals who, if they had their way about it, would prosecute you if you so much as killed lice in your hair.

Instead of doing this, the common sense thing, it would seem to me, they have opted for the overly complicated and time consuming procedure of forcing people to buy a license in order to allow for the killing of a limited-repeat, limited-number of these birds. And, of course, you have to have a good reason, i.e., a farmer protecting his livestock. Note as well they included a provision by which they can make money out of this most serious matter. They are going to make you pay for it.

Vultures will be vultures. They will look out for their own interests. Whether they are Turkey Vultures. Or Black Vultures. Or Governemnt Bureaucracey Vultures-perhaps the most vile kind of all.

Finally, if you are a magically inclined Wiccan, or other Pagan, and you happen upon a Black Vulture, and he perches near you and checks you out-well, some people tend to look upon such events as an omen of sorts, a magical harbinger. Most modern Pagans try to look for the good in such signs. Perhaps that will be the case if this were to happen to you. It might even be a sign from the Vutures patron God, Lord Ares.

Or, he might just be considering eating you alive.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Running With The Pack

If anybody ever had any skepticism as to environmental claims about how tenuos is the balance of nature, and how easily disrupted it can be, a story from ou oft Isle Royole National Park in Michigan should serve as an example of just how serious it can be. It concerns a story as old as life itself-the struggle for survival, and it’s a story of life on earth, told in miniature. The native wolf population in the park numbers 30, in a total of three packs, which are now at war, in a life and death struggle for territory. The prize over which they fight for their lives, agaisnt each other, to the death?

450 head of moose, down significantl from the 540 head from just last winter. So, why such a drastic decline? To answer that question, you need to trace back to the early 1990’s. Then, the wolf packs all fell prey to a common enemy-a paravirus outbreak, which decimated them, to the seeming benefit of the moose, who suddenly engaged in a moose mini baby boom, which resulted in a population explosion. You would think this would be the best of both worlds. Very few wolves for the moose to worry about, yet those very few wolves were presented with a banquet of mostly the elderly moose, and the younger strays. Plenty of food for the wolves, and yet a relatively peaceful existence for the moose, most of whom were young and strong and could protect themselves from the packs, especially as long as they didn’t stray off too far from the herd individually, on their own.

Unfortunately, the baby boomers suddenly themselves started to become old and decrepit and, being the majority, suddenly found themselves easier and easier prey. Worse, during the period of time when their numbers were so prolific, they ravaged the natural food of their native habitat. There were too many of them, and not enough of the primary birch and aspen, which they ravaged through quickly, leaving mostly the much less nutritous, for them, spruce and balsam fir, which soon grew disproportionately. As a result, the National Park has now evolved into mainly this type of vegetation, which has taken over, as not enough of the mooses primary food supply was left to hold the less desirable growth in check.

Then, as though to seal their fate, the moose fell prey to a tick infestation, which weakened them, thus making them even easier prey. But alas, their numbers have now dwindled to such the wolves are now left with slim pickings, so they have to hunt for their secondary food source-the beaver. Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, the beaver population has likewise declined.

Now,there are several points to this story, besides my opening assertion as to the evidence herein of the precariousness of the balance of nature, and therefore of life on earth. One point is that, in this case, mankind seems not, for once, to have been the culprit. Not directly, at any rate. Ah, but there is a caveat. Remember where this all took place? Need I remind you?


So, during the entirety of two terms of a Democratic Administration, and going into the sixth year of a Republican one, a total of fourteen years have elapsed during which something could have been done to head off this ecological disaster, which should have been noticed from the start. It should have been easily discerned, what the potential problem was or would be heading towards, and it would probably have taken nothing more compicated than ensuring the continued growth and thriving of the birch and aspen.

This should have been done during theClinton Administration, but was allowed to go on, as during most of this span of time the problem was probably not that bad. But by the time of the Bush Administration, certainly by the second or third year, drastic measures may have been called for, that might have reversed the trend, late though they may have been. But the problem continued to be ignored.

“Oh, so what?”, some will say. “These are only moose and wolves, and a few beave, you’re talking about here. What’s the big deal, it’s not like we’re talking about human beings.” Some would even assert that this is natures way of killing off the weak species to make way for the strong. And in a sense, they might be right, but they forget. Ah ha, mankind is the culprit after all. How? Bcuase mankind has limited the environment of these animals. Neither wolves nor their prey have the range of travel as they did, and their range shrinks less with each passing year. As a result of limiting that range, we actually owe it to them, in my opinion, to ensure that we redress the balance of natue which mankind, much like a virus, has decimated.

We owe it to ourselves, as well. After all, as mankind continues to grow and expand, they too will need more and more natural resources in order to survive. Otherwise, we too will continue on the path we never really ever left-engaging in warfare and destruction, in a battle for survival-much like packs of wolves.