Thursday, May 31, 2012


This is known as the Stinton Oak and the original picture can be found Fred Hageneder's The Meaning of Trees.

I have no idea how old this great great grandfather tree is, or if it's still standing but it's home is/was Dorsetshire in England.

Dorset is that red spot on the map. Flat on the Channel. I wonder if you could see the water if you walked past the tree. Standing year after year, decade after decade, century after century. Bending with the channel gales. The tree was standing when the greatest fleet even assembled set out for Normandy. May have witnessed the running battle up the Channel as the little English ships danced around the lumbering Spanish Armada. It may have even been standing when William the Bastard invaded England from Normandy. Touch a tree and travel back in time.

Picture the great root system threaded deep into the earth. Roots touching other roots, roots touching the deep underground springs. Water seeping deeper and deeper into the rocks. Deep rocks speaking to the mantle, the mantle to the core. Touch a tree. Touch the world.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


This is a follow up to my last entry. Additional information is coming in, evidently the congregation is pretty much lining up behind him. Well, he’s had over thirty years to weed out anyone who doesn’t agree with him. The NW still sticks to the old Methodist custom of shifting ministers every seven years or so. It prevents pastors from turning their churches into their own little kingdoms.

I’ve seen a lot of calls for investigating this church’s IRS status. It would be fun to run them through the mill, but I doubt if it would do any good. We’re dealing with true believers and true believers do not, I repeat, do not see the world the same way the rest of do. Any opposition reinforces their certainty that they are in the right and doing God’s will while opposition is further evidence of the existence of the Devil and His demons.

Hell, I’ve quit even trying to look for verses that don’t agree with beliefs like this. It does not do any good. True believers do not listen. They have their verses and that’s it. Funny thing about taking the Bible literally, You can’t take the whole thing literally. At least not at the same time. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. I never tried to and I’m not starting now. If alternate verses won’t do any good, this might.

This country is not a theocracy. Except for Massachusetts in the early days it never was a theocracy. And IT WILL NEVER BE A THEOCRACY. Not if the majority of this congregation’s fellow citizens have anything to say about it. You can be polite about if or not. I’ve quit. Now hear this. When it comes to the law of the land I no longer give a flying fig what the Bible says about anything. It does not matter. Repeat, IT DOES NOT MATTER. Our system is based on the English system of common law, not the Bible. John Adams read Littleton and Coke to pass the bar, not Genesis.

And it wouldn’t hurt to remind these folks of a few home truths. The most hateful actions and rhetoric seem to be coming from a specific group of our fellow “citizens.” Perhaps THEY should be segregated from the rest of us for OUR protection. Those electric fences suddenly spring to mind. Folks be careful what you wish for. Once the genie is out of the bottle it’s almost impossible to get him back in.

Oh and about the constitution. It only says that Congress shall make no laws restricting speech or exercise of religion. It doesn’t say that the rest of us aren’t free to picket, boycott, petition when crap like this hits the fan. Normally we protect the rights of some folks to be damned fools because we want our rights to be respected too. However that doesn’t seem to be the way it’s working these days. So, guess what folks, the gloves just came off.

Remember the old saying “I may not agree with what you say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it?” To this pastor and his congregation. (and forgive me for shouting folks) I AM NOT GOING TO THE WALL FOR THE LIKES OF YOU.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Pastor: Put Gays and Lesbians in Electrified Pen.....

"The barrage of anti-gay sermons delivered by North Carolina-based pastors to hit the blogosphere continues with yet another disturbing rant caught on tape.

The pastor, identified on YouTube as Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C., condemns President Obama's much-publicized endorsement of same-sex marriage while calling for gays and lesbians to be put in an electrified pen and ultimately killed off.

"Build a great, big, large fence -- 150 or 100 mile long -- put all the lesbians in there," Worley suggests in the clip, reportedly filmed on May 13.

He continues: "Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out...and you know what, in a few years, they'll die you know why? They can't reproduce!"

He also said that if he's asked who he'll vote for, he'll reply, "I'm not going to vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover!" Many of the congregants cheer and reply, "Amen."

Worley added, “It makes me pukin’ sick to think about -- I don’t even whether or not to say this in the pulpit -- can you imagine kissing some man?”

The pastor's comments seem in line with statements made by Ron Baity, founding pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem and head of the anti-marriage equality organization Return America, who told his own congregation that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people should be prosecuted as they were historically, and Pastor Sean Harris of the Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville who advocated parents "punch" their male child if he is effeminate and "crack that wrist" if he is limp-wristed.

Similarly, Tim Rabon, pastor at Raleigh's Beacon Baptist Church, condemned states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland which have already "re-defined" marriage to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples before asking his congregants, "What is stopping them from refining marriage from a person and a beast? We're not far from that."

I guess it was only a matter of time before something like this hit the news. From the closet to the concentration camp. How little has changed since 1945. What's next? Gas chambers instead of waiting for nature to take its course.

The good news is that there has been one hell of a backlash. I tried to follow the link to the church's website, It's gone. I tried to follow the link for the pastor and I get a lovely, blessed "bandwidth exceeded" message. Trouble is, I suspect that you could dump a pile of messages the size of Manhattan with variations of, well use your imagination and all it would prove to the good pastor is that the rot goes deeper than he believed and those who disagree belong behind that fence too.

I do know this. I'm f'ing tired. I'm done trying to quote back Bible verses. I'm done arguing that the Bible wasn't meant to be taken literally. I'm through pointing out that a hell of a lot more was left out of that collection of two thousand year old parchments than was included. This country is not a theocracy. It was never a theocracy. And it isn't going to become a theocracy. Period, end of discussion.

And the mainliners better listen up. The calls for yanking tax exemptions for churches is skyrocketing. I don't know how you're going to do it but you'd better figure out a way to police yourselves or the rest of us are going to do it for you. And I can guaranty that you will not like the results.

As to free speech arguments. I believe it was justice Holmes who wrote that NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO YELL FIRE IN A CROWDED THEATER. And it was justice Jackson who pointed out that the constitution is not a suicide pact. Freedom of speech is not an absolute. There can and will be consequences.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Robert Heaton was a Quaker and my great grandfather seven times removed. He sailed to the New World with his family aboard The Lamb in the fall of 1682. I have mixed feelings about the possibility of running into great grandfather Robert in my spiritual journeyings. I can almost hear him. "We risked bad food, bad water and possible ship wreck. Others suffered typhus, scurvy and small pox. We came searching for religious freedom and to build a better life for ourselves and our families. And a fine mess you've made of it. Daughter we expected better of our children."

And if I did run into him, damned if I'd have an answer for him.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


In my opinion we won't have true religious freedom in this country until any person of any faith (or no faith) can run for any office and nobody will give a damn. I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, May 7, 2012


put your very best feathers on display.

All beautifully fluffed and preened.

And nobody is impressed? I was up just before six. Saw Bandit on the table (when the adults are sleeping the children will get into mischief) in her very best "there's something out there" tail twitching pose. And there they were. One tom doing his level best to impress the others. And the others? Yawn.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


When will these fundamentalist nutjobs figure out that the MODERATES they almost despise are THEIR best protection? That protecting our rights are the best protections for their rights. And I don’t suppose that it will ever sink in that the rest of us, who just happen to be the majority can be pushed just so far and no further.

And no, we'll try not to push back. That doesn't solve anything. But, very big but, we simply won't follow your path. Perhaps when you finally find yourselves at the end of a dead end road you'll realize that you're welcome to join the party but you can't call all the tunes.

Approximate dates of the most radical fundamentalists

Seventh day Adventists-1863
Four square-1927
Charismatics within the mainline churches-1960’s
Methodist offshoots-mid 1800’s

And some of the rest of us

Wicca-early 1900’s
Neo druids-mid 1800’s
Celtic reconstruction-1980’s
Other pagan reconstructionists-mid twentieth century

Most of the ultra conservative fundamentalist Christian groups are not much older than the neo pagan reconstructionists. And I believe they can’t stand it. I guess they cling to Biblical literalism to give themselves the illusion that their groups have a history to stand on.

Just finished Tom Cowan’s Fire in the Head on Celtic Shamanism. His discussion the similarities between the experiences of trained shamans and the charges leveled against the so called witches during the great persecutions. The ability to shape shift, the visits to the Otherworld during trances, the so called devil worship.

I could never wrap my head around the reports out of that period. Whole villages with almost no women, not even girls. The attacks on the local healers. Ok, take the reports with a handful of salt. The reported death tolls are still out of sight. One thing makes sense. It wasn’t witches or heretics the hunters were after they were out to break the old religion and these guys were real pieces of work.

Lying was ok. Cheating was ok. Even encouraged since informers got a share of the convicted “witches” property. What if Christian belief had never taken a deep hold and large pockets of the old religion had remained throughout Europe? It wasn’t witches the hunters were after it was the remaining followers of the old ways. If it was Goddess worshipers they were after it would make a twisted sense to go after any female old enough to have begun to learn.

I’m just about ready to call for wiping the slate clean and starting over. Try to find a balance between the old and the new if it’s possible. Learn what we can of the old ways and go back to them if it’s not.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


The turkeys were back this morning.

We had two toms and a hen. Just got shots of the toms. The hen showed up after the two toms.

The turkeys have been checking out the yards. We had one tom in the yard and I could hear another calling from across the street. They have squirrel and bird feeders too. They've discovered the steps we built in the backyard a couple of years ago. Last seen heading back up the hill. I'm not sure how well the feathers show up in the shots. they're shimmery and iridescent.

Friday, May 4, 2012


We were "adopted" right about the time we had all the snow. A very friendly, trusting gray tabby showed up on the porch. He had a collar, but the tag/bell was missing. I haven't seen any posters up on the local power poles so, no idea where he came from. And a couple of days later he showed up with one foreleg through the collar, so that's history. Smoky and Amber seem to have an understanding. I get the porch you get the bench in back and the food bowls are fair game.

Anyway, this morning I think Smoky met his match.

WTF. Geez, these guys are HUGE!

They got beaks and feathers. They must be birds but shit, they're big. And coming my way.

I'll try another angle over here. We did an early run to Winco this morning and the birds were still pecking away when we came out. If I'd known they'd just look at me and keep pecking I'd have been out there in my nightclothes and jacket get some decent close ups. Birds didn't give a good goldarn if we were there or not. Maybe they'll be back another morning.


That was almost the title of my last post but, I decided to split them. I'm more convinced than ever that it was Brighid calling me just before Easter. Now, to balance that with the Quaker side, at least for now. Some folks have managed to do that. Whether that will include me in the end? Time will tell.

It helps that traditional Quakers fall outside the Catholic/Protestant split. And some of their teachings are closer Eastern Orthodox than to the western churches. What I'm trying to figure out right now is whether the some of the Celtic beliefs (ongoing creation, the presence of the holy within that creation) are unique to the Celts or if they brought them with them when the tribes moved west out of the area just west of Central Asia. I suspect that they are shared beliefs and when the western church grafted Greek and Roman philosophy onto the early church it cut off those branches. Too bad. I'm really falling in love with the picture of a continually evolving Creation.

Which brings me to Easter weekend. I'd been reading. It's kind of hard to read anything by an orthodox writer. Not because of the theology, but the constant references to people I've never heard of. The early teachers, the desert fathers (an mothers), saint so and so, blessed whoever. It's confusing but you get a real feeling of continuity. Which brings me to the family tree. There's one branch that goes back to early third century Armenia. And several great grandfathers (about four dozen times removed, probably related to most of Western Europe) helped build the church in Armenia. Far enough away from Rome to get away with being the first national church.

Then there's the branch from eleventh century Kiev. Including some prime examples of folks who were named as saints strictly for their church building activities. Because great grandmother Olga had ways of dealing with her enemies that did not include prayer and reconciliation. She was a pistol, that one. Not sure what any of them would make of me. They followed their hearts, I'm following mine.

Which brings me to Saturday before Easter. Do I get visitations contemplating the trees, birds and flowers? No, I get them sitting in car, parked in front of the credit union waiting for mom. There they were, the whole damn family. Quakers, Puritans, Russians, oh my. But, without the blue highlights of the lady on the cliff top that I believe was /is Brighid. The group has been falling off since then until there's one figure left. A shadowy gentleman who may owe more than a little to Rae Beth's cunning man and Merlin from King Arthur. So, is he here to give me holy heck for straying from the path or to lead me to a new one. Tom and Rae? I could use a little (a lot) help here.


A North Carolina pastor managed to hit the news this week. Twice. First, advocating that parents slap any wrists that look like they might be getting a little limp. Which was followed with the usual "I didn't really mean it the way it sounded."

The full name of the church, if anyone is interested, is the Berean Baptist Church. It's in Fayetteville, North Carolina. That's for anyone bored enough to take the time to read their list of things they claim to believe in.

First, this situation is a prime example of the trap the literalists fall into. Being gay is wrong because the Bible says so. But, when the interviewer asked this sorry excuse for a pastor about the verses upholding slavery, well it wasn't a pretty sight. And, apparently, those verses are not to be taken literally. There was a plaintive comment on the second article. The poster wanted to know if there was a "big book" somewhere that divided the Bible into the things were were supposed to take literally and everything else. Nope, there isn't.

Some of the other comments that just about drove me up the wall had to do with the pastor. "He's the pastor, He's obviously been called by God. And if God called him, that's it. He's the leader, and everybody else needs to fall into line." Nope. No. Never. Whatever path you choose, traditional, pagan, mix of the two. No one, I repeat, no one has the right to stand between you and the calling of your heart.

I did get a kick out of one post. The comment ran along the lines of "Ok, you convinced your kid to at least act like a little man. In the meantime he's learned to fear and distrust you. Call it karma, the rule of three, do unto others, whatever. It would serve you right if the kid is six foot two by the time he hits the tean years and weighs in at about 225. Good luck."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


“For the Celtic peoples, the land was inspirited, able to reflect whatever was done upon it. The concept of land as inert, unable to respond, was foreign to them. There was also a sense that not every inch of the land could be used for human purposes, that some was to be set aside as sacred to the spirits of the land.

The prosperity of the land, the abundance of flocks and herds, the fertility of fields and orchards; all these were dependent upon the sacred ordering that gave respect to the spirit of the land. This intrinsic knowledge arose from the land itself and was mirrored in the way people behaved and believed. In an age when few of us actually work the land with our own hands, this knowledge is now retreating and we begin to see the products of the soil as commodities rather than as inhabitants of the natural order.

The land and its inhabitants speak to us of spirit and sacred order if we will listen to them. It is in the patient tending and listening that those who have worked the land for generations know when a plant or animal needs particular things, and when some profound wisdom is being conveyed. If we make the spaces for those moments of transmission, create opportunities for communication between ourselves and the land, we may begin to embody the sacred orderliness that maintains our whole ecology.”

Caitlin Matthews in The Celtic Spirit.

If we don’t listen to, and defend the land and the other creatures who depend on it will turn against us. It’s two years after the oil spill in the Gulf. They’re finding shrimp with no eyes, deformed fish and shellfish.

Dow and Monsanto create plants that are “herbicide and pesticide ready.” And the weeds and insects are text book examples of natural selection in action. Wildlife officials kill predators like coyotes and the coyotes respond by producing larger litters. And if they don’t the out of control prey animals eat themselves out of house and home. It takes years for the landscape to recover.

If we defend the land, the land will defend us. If we don’t. If we ignore the spirits of the land, water, air and the animals who depend on them; we all lose.