Monday, September 29, 2008

Nine of Wands

So in the spirit of the birth of a notion , I once again jumped on the band wagon of a great idea. All my friends agreed to do a piece on "the myth of guilt". I thought it would be a great challenge because of my views on guilt, or lack of.

I wasn't raised Christian or Catholic, but new age, or Neo-Pagan. The running joke is was that when I was grounded that also meant absolutely no astral projection! I was taught a lot of things at an early age, guilt was not one of them. Thanks Mom.

Ninety-nine point nine nine percent of the Wiccans and Pagans I know are recovering from Catholicism, Christianity or one of the many denominations thereof. Regardless, they are all recovering from the myth of guilt.

It was the first thing that came to me when I heard the title, but I can't write much about it, I'm not in that form of recovery. The second theme of guilt I thought of was something brought to light in my seminary class. We're reading another great book titled "the book of NO" by Susan Newman. She writes about the myth of guilt associated with saying no. She gives valuable incites in the social taboo of refusal, something else Mom didn't teach me.

I started to think. "...well I just don't do guilt..." specially after being married to a "professional victim" for several years. I am a pretty good person, at least I try to be and I keep my intentions pure and in any issue my side of the street is clean. I've got to look at myself in the mirror every morning. So what do I write about? Nothing, until it's time, so I had not, until now.

But last night my own personal Goddess and I went out for dinner and a movie, we saw that new one, Lake view Heights. Pretty decent flick, I'm a huge Samuel L. Jackson fan. So the scene is set in L.A. and one of the undercurrents of the movie is a wildfire. As the conflict between Jackson and the new neighbors escalates the fire draws closer. During one scene, fire fighters combating the blaze and you see the helicopter dropping flame retardant.

When it was finished it turned and flew towards the camera, illustrating the perspective of the man watching, it flies overhead. The rotor blades scourging me with guilt in Dolby 3.1 surround sound. I made the mistake of closing my eyes and I saw them. We had all been baptized in fire by the time we arrived at Al Assad air base in western Iraq. It's the last stop on your way home.

But we had a few months to go so they were sending us out for R&R trips. Some of us who has seen the worst and been there the longest were at the top of the list. I am Air Assault qualified, meaning I jump out of moving helicopters and dangle down a rope into combat, and I loved it. I have no fear of heights which made my Moms life a living hell.

So why wouldn't I get in the chopper taking us on vacation from that hellhole? I still don't know. But I didn't, so they just shrugged and asked me to drive them to the pick up zone. It was a fun ride, music up, everyone singing, like that opening scene from Three kings, yeah just like that.

"no don't bring me back any beer, you guys just drink a shit load for me".

They said they would, but they didn't. The helicopter was shot down just outside Baghdad airport. For a few hours people thought I was dead to because my name was still on the list. So that's me in the picture, standing at the memorial of my brothers, the survivor.

Guilt is not a myth.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Order of the Pentacle

Sgt. Patrick Stewart was a Wiccan soldier serving in the Nevada National Guard who was killed in action in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

He wanted the Pentacle as an emblem of faith on his military headstone. But the Department of Veteran Affairs would not approve the symbol.

This controversy brought attention to a battle that had been raging for over ten years.
That's how long Wiccan and Pagan groups had been applying to get the Pentacle approved, they were not denied, rather they were delayed with red tape explanations about how the whole application process was being restructure and no emblems were being approved until the process was complete.

Meanwhile, a bunch of other emblems were approved, including the the Atheist, Humanist, a Buddhist symbol, several versions of the cross and some others. In a future post I will share some of my experiences of providing minority faith religious service while in the Army. Good times.

So, Selina Fox of Circle Sanctuary and many others started the pentacle quest campaign. Thanks to the perseverance of Sgt.
Patrick Stewart's wife and countless others, we finally won. In 2007 the Department of Veterans Affairs finally approved the Pentacle as an emblem of faith that can be placed on headstones and grave markers the VA issues to honor deceased veterans.

I am a proud member of the Order of the Pentacle which is a veterans association of Wiccans and other Pagans who served in the US Armed Forces and who use the Pentacle as their emblem of faith.

The Order of the Pentacle was established on Veterans Day, November 11, 2006 to support equal rights for Wiccan/Pagan troops and veterans. i am proud to say I was one of the first members. And hope someday to receive my own Wiccan medal of honor. Maybe get pinned by Selena or Mrs Stewart.

Today is the third anniversary of the death of Sgt. Patrick Stewart, Private ceremonies of remembrance were held today across the country. I ask you to take part in your own way by dressing a candle for him and all my brothers and sisters in uniform.

I don't support the wars, but I support the troops, and if you can't stand behind your troops, I invite you to stand in front of them.

Peace by force, Sgt. Nichter, out.

P.S. Those are my dog tags in the picture, they carry my name, social, blood type and religion, which says "other" because I can fight and die for my country, but my religion was not "a real religion". I keep them safe, because someday I will be able to show my grand kids and tell them how it "was" for us way back now.

The Hermit's Beard

I think it's the beard. Another stereotype that surfaces when I look into the card is the concept that old is authentic. I see it in the Pagan community. My tradition or linage is traced back to Gardner, therefore it's not only authentic, it's the one true Wicca.

My tradition is decedent from the secret knowledge of the twinkie as set forth by the ancient Grand Poobah himself. My great grandmother was a witch, it's been in my family since we survived the burning times, and we keep them, our most dangerous secrets, but I can tell you.

I think it's the beard that gives the validating concept of age. Ancient seems to make knowledge... more. I will be the first to admit my attraction to it. As a Mason I love the heritage, the history. I went thought the same initiations as the founding fathers of this country and hundreds of famous important people have. I have attached myself to them, and they validate me. Don't they?

Some of my magic is very old, yes. But some of my most powerful magic is only a few days old. But somehow the new is not "authentic or real" because I freshly crafted it. I have tested this theory in my classes and litergies. I explain and promote a concept that is indipendanly valid and briliant on it's own merit. It never fails, someone will ask where did this come from? What culture has been hiding it away for all these years? How old? How long is it's beard?

What difference does it make? What if I told you that I made it up? or does it sound better if I say I developed it over years of practice and study all on my own without the help of the priest kings. Or my Grandmother taught me, which she did. What if I share with you the secret truth that the spirit of Gardner came to me in a vision, or no, wait, what if Gardner told Buckland who told Harry who told John who told Todd who told Robert who told me? But don't tell anyone I told you or they'll make me shave my beard.

Which by the way, in my opinion, is peach fuzz, mediforacly speaking.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Hermit

Hmmm... of course the first impression is a classic stereo-archetype, Merlin. The magician, the sage, the old wise man of the woods, recluse and withdrawn. But it seems to be a necessary rite and many schools of thought.

One of my three text books for this semesters' seminary class is "Living with Honor, A Pagan Ethics" by Emma Restall Orr. I am glad to be taking the class as I would've never read her book otherwise. She's a great writer and during my reading assignment I came across a simply profound statement.

" divorced humanity from nature."

Profound for me because it puts into words what I so passionately feel, yet so feebly attempt to express. This is why the Hermit withdraws from civilization and society, to separate himself from that divorce, to take himself out of a deconstructive equation. The lack of background except at the bottom and the position of his head give the impression he is looking down from a mountain top. Perspective. Higher consciousness?

In many mystery schools light represents hidden knowledge. The hexagram star in the lamp for example would be the hidden knowledge of the cabala and the Golden Dawn which the designer of the deck was a member of. The Hermit uses the light, or hidden knowledge from the lamp, or mystery school to find his way and illuminate his path and his view of the world which he observes from his perch.

In the native tradition this is similar to the Hanbleceya ceremony. A vision quest not to be taken lightly. I have only done this ritual the few times it was necessary and have had unforgettable experiences each time, which were cleaved from great personal sacrifices. My first Seminary.

My Witchcraft is a primitive technology. I am a Witch Doctor working with the sticks and stones I find along the way. Both of which are good for starting fires. Light, whenever I may need it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

On turns the wheel...

In 1974, seventy-three Witches came together and founded the American Council of Witches. They adopted a document outlining the principal beliefs of Wicca.

Number 1: We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the moon and the seasonal quarters and cross-quarters.

Those seasonal quarters and cross-quarters being the eight Sabbaths, spokes, in the wheel of the year.

In my tradition when we celebrate each of the eight Sabbaths there is a prescription that is read aloud. Just like a bardic paean, with the lessons on the lyrics. While being recited an act or reenactment of the season is performed. To teach, to learn and to remember.


Equal day and equal night
Equal dark and equal light
Let us see with equal sight
and harken to the harvest rite
come, ye thankful people come
the wheel now turned to equal sun
dance and beat the harvest drum
for the witches' feast has now begun
with lavender ribbon blue and green
we crown the harvest king and queen
with naked vines apon the brow
they grace the labors of the plow
and at the cairn mounds now we stand
with fresh cut willow wands in hand
to shed a tear for the past unplanned
and bid thee well in Summerlands

Volvitur In Rota!

On turns the wheel, happy Mabon everyone!

I am not in the habit of bragging, but I do like to take credit for my work, the altar sits proudly in our dining room all year round. I took the picture just this morning, I really like the contrast. The prescription is from The Auguris, the Veritas Wicca Book of Shadows,, copyright 2005, all rights reserved.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One of Kayaks, a card from the Joe Tarot

I few weeks ago I got a call from my mom. "What color do you like?" what? why? I like different colors for different things. It depends on what we're talking about.

So mom explained how everything I do is for everyone else but me. How all I ever talk about is the clients, the kids, the inmates, and the bills! I don't think I have ever mentioned it before, but my day job is a care provider.

I'm an Administrator for a residential care facility for developmentally disabled. which is why I blog so much, I work at home. I could complain about the morning commute from my bedroom *open a door* to my office, but I'll tough it out for now.

So between the care home, the family of six, the Coven, and the Prison visits and the mail *oh gods the mail* I don't do a lot of me time. Mom knew if she sent me money I wouldn't spend it on me, so mom didn't send me money, mom wanted to know what color Kayak I wanted. Did I ever mention how awesome my Mom is?

For those of you who may not know, the magic of a Kayak is that it only has one seat. *Sigh* So in the spirit of high school hooky, I ditched my seminary homework *again* and headed to the lake. I took this picture, it's my other Seminary classroom.

Blue, mom. I like my Thursdays in Blue.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Two more Pentacles

So, I was reading the latest edition of Pan Gaia Magazine, I love the Toe-to-Toe articles the best. In this addition the topic is Pagan standard Time. In my last entry I applied the two of pentacle to the duality of the Pagan world view. And gave the example of the lunar cycle Vs. the prison schedule. Well brace yourself, this little dancing clown is about to smack you in the face with Two more Pentacles.

First of all, Pagan Standard Time is a knock off of Indian Time. One can make the argument that Native Americans are Pagans, which is irrelevant and digressive. Excuse me while I explore this irony.

So, for those unfamiliar with either term, they basically mean "whenever". Whenever everyone arrives, whenever the moon is full or my favorite whenever a wild hair crawls up someones ass. I like to think of myself as a free spirit but I am not. I am a former free spirit. Now I am a responsible adult with a spirit that is freed according to a schedule of eligibility.

The Herald begins each one of our rituals by ringing the bell loudly followed by a proclamation. Part of that proclamation instructs you to "divest your vices". This means turn off your cell phone Ipod palm pilot plug in players! Turn it ALL off, unplug yourself, and for just a little while, tune out the rest of the world and tune into yourself and what WE are doing "Here and Now". Which by the way is the real Pagan Standard Time. And those of you who experience it are blessed.

But there is a standard of time worth ranting about here.

I am taking class at Cherry Hill Seminary and I love this place. It's the real deal they're not teaching candle colors or calling quarters, we're talking college level classes. This semester I am taking Boundaries and Ethics and confess I should be doing homework right now, but it's hard and this is much easier.

Although I think I need more work on my ethics than my boundaries, I am learning a lot just a few days into the course. I think boundaries are really an important aspect of this issue and having hosted monthly rituals and Sabbaths here in my home for several years now I've learned boundaries. There are many issues we face when working in a small group and B&E, boundaries and ethics can easily turn into B&E, breaking and entering.

Time has been an issue in the past, not for us but for them. The newbie first timer *Irab* who wants to take pictures of everything and freaks out when you blow out the candles, but answers the cell phone they didn't turn off, during the great rite!!! Aaaaaaghghghg!!!! Sigh. But I digress.

We are scheduled to let go of consensus reality and go with the flow at 7 pm. You don't call the church and ask preacher to hold off Sunday mass for another hour or so because your too flaky to make on time do you? No you don't and they wouldn't, because it's not fare to the rest of the parishioners that your a flake or your not and you just got a flat tire.

Yes, I can and do compare what we do with any church. We may be in our back yards but we are a church in every sense of the word and in some indescribable ways, more. But that's just my two pens worth.

*I Read A Book*

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Two of Pentacles

Hmmm... the first thing that comes to mind is duality. One figure, me, trying to juggle two very different worlds. I have used the analogy of IBM Vs. Macintosh numerous times in the past and in an attempt to ware it out, I'll do it again.

In a previous post Four More Swords, I wrote about my experiences as a Wiccan Chaplain at a state prison and the difficulties we had just getting to use the chapel. As it happened there was really only one person responsible for the interference and discrimination. And as always I somehow managed to Forrest Gump myself into the right place at the right time. (Thank you Tom Hanks)

So, I end up in the right place at the right time, talking to the Secretary of the right person. A really truly nice guy, who makes the mistake of asking me "how's it going?" *Que the Cheshire cat grin* " we had some difficulties getting started but things are starting to come around." So of course this sparked a great conversation about the obstacles I had been navigating through. I wasn't complaining, I was reporting improvements, after all, He DID ask me.

So at the right moment, I made the right comments. Stratigery Lieutenant Dan. And in the end it just came down to scheduling. I had explained that I would only be coming twice a month, every two weeks and only need the Chapels for two hours. You could see the math register in his head. Yeah four. When He realized he could fix all this with four hours of chapel time a month in each yard He asked me which days I would come, first and third? or second and forth?

I told him I couldn't say without looking at my calender. So he eyeballed the one on the wall next to glances... with me... and the calender...there was an awkward silence... which neither one of us understood...

What I meant by my calender was my Lunar calender. Hahahaha. We mark our work on a lunar schedule. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation does not. I don't know why. So after recovering from the irony of our miscommunication, I took a good long look at scheduling.

So here I am juggling two very different systems of thought. They have always existed. But how do I blend them together? So far I have not. I conduct services at the prison twice a calender month, regardless of the lunar phase because Chapel use must be scheduled. I felt it was more realistic to be included on the schedule than to convince the State to configure an entirely new Pagan ergonomic system. Baby steps.

That's what the ships are in the background. Our journey as Pagans, to the new world. I am not the Wiccan Columbus, but I like to think I'm a shipmate. And that's all I have to say about that.

For now...

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Nightmare before Parenthood

Last Month I wrote a blog about my Conjunctio. We returned to that courtroom again today, but with more confidence and very well dressed.

That does not mean the moments leading up to our entrance where not laced with overwhelming anticipation and anxiety.

"Hurry up! We're going to be late!" Do we really need to be there 45 minutes early? Anticipation.

"No turn in there" Vs. "Let me do the driving" Anxiety.

A portion of our Full moon Ritual is a forum of sharing. Its almost like an AA meeting. "Hi I'm Joe and I'm a Wiccan too..." It's a safe place to share, vent and contemplate. We offer support without judgment. A few months ago my step daughter dropped the bomb on us during this part of our ritual. She announced that she wanted me to adopt her.

There was a pause, the silence seemed to last for several seconds while the messages true meaning sank in, deep. My wife burst into tears, then my daughter, then one at a time, everyone in the circle. Except for me, I'm a guy, we don't cry. I had just got something in my eye. I found my self in the center of several layers of a group huge. Trying to be tough.

So today in the Judges chambers we made it official. Signed, sealed and certified, in triplicate.

"So... can I spank her now?"

Blessed Be.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The tower

I will never forget where I was when it happened. Fort Campbell, Kentucky. I was a assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, 502nd Infantry Regiment. Their famous for being the first unit in history to parachute into combat. So there's a reputation for being completely insane to live up to, and we all did our best.

The dining facility had two mirror image dining rooms. One being used for eating your three daily squares, the other for shamming. It's an E-4 paradise. I should know, I spent a great deal of time there taking unauthorized breaks. In fact that's where I was when it happened. Shamming.

I had turned on the standard issue wall mounted television to eat by, but every channel had the same picture, two big buildings, towers, one with smoke billowing out of the side of it. It was live and everyone was panicking, speculating what had just happen, and why. The newscaster was talking when I reached up to change the channel and I saw the second plane hit. I was overwhelmed by several waves of goosebumps. You know the ones that make you want to put on a thick winter coat.

I knew instantly, the world had just changed forever.

I ran to the other side, the other dining room where over a hundred soldiers were eating and turned on every TV, by that time it didn't matter which station it was on.

What happened next was equally shocking. I stood watching as everyone else shared my realization. War. everyone had a different response, some hung there heads, some yelled and pounded the table spilling their soda, some held a poker face. Some dropped everything, some left calmly and quietly. Some didn't know what to do.

Within seconds the training kicked in, and everyone instinctively reported to their units for instructions. within minutes there were crowds of uniformed soldiers camouflaging buildings, waiting for a briefing. Hurry up and wait. It's the first thing the Army teaches you, they just don't teach you to do it very well. Fear takes over and insecure speculation spirals out of control.

I heard non-commissioned officers contemplating desertion. Canada... or Mexico. Evacuation plan alpha.

I saw privates right out of boot wringing their hands together, they couldn't wait to prove their manhood by killing someone. To be a hero, just like in the movies.

I have seen it a hundred times since that day. People talk and talk about how tough they are. But when that lightning bolt of reality hits their tower, you see what people are really made of. I am always inspired by some and disappointing by others. You never know which ones are which, or which one you are, until the shit hits the fan.

I will never forget where I was when it happened.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Five of Wands

There are many traditions in the service. This card reminds me of the guidon. The guidon starts at boot camp, it's your platoon flag and pole. You march in formation, EVERYWHERE. The guidon leads the way. The guidon is posted outside whatever building your platoon is occupying, as long as you are in it. It is your group identity, resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.

These five men seem to be engaged in non-violent volley. Wands. Air. Speculative thoughts. It may be their individual ideas or the guidons of their encampments, their mystery schools. Or both. One begets another, it's a vicious circle.

On a private list my friends and I regularly engage in this same scene. The moral application of witchcraft? Conditions and standards? What is Magic? A civilized intellectual arena of thoughts. The proving ground of our guidons. I respect anyone who jumps in and gives it a go. It is through this process that we learn not only from each other but how to deal with each other, how to communicate, how to understand and be understood. It promotes growth and builds character. If we do it right. If we do it well.

As long as cooler head prevail, as long as powerful words are skillfully chosen, powerful wisdom can be skillfully applied. Yielding power results. Powerful magic for every camp.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


The name is significant. Ironically, many of my first experiences with the civilian Pagan community lacked civility. Mostly would be witch kings warlords. When I first discovered the Pagan network on the web I used my real name for my screen name. It became a target for the ego snipers. You can see it coming, they can't help but smile.

"So... Um... why is your screen name Merlin? Why's up with that? Are you a Wizard or something?"

The smile always wains when I show them my drivers license, they don't know what to do. They just blink a lot. That means it's my turn to smile. I try not too.

So that's my name. But So what! Does that make me what or who I am? Or more? Does it compensate for anything? Does it make me valid or authentic? Does the name give me magical powers? No. Trust me it does not.

Later that same person challenged me to explain or label myself and thereby what it is I do , with ONE word. I think the idea was to limit my vocabulary and provoke title like High Priest, Magician or Wizard rather than an honest response like servant.

It only took a moment to consult my adviser and we cleverly smashed two words together. WitchDoctor. Bifurcated, these two words reflect my craft perfectly. The Doctor is an operative title. If you get a snake bite, there is a treatment. A certain plant you can chew, in doing so the enzymes in your saliva break down the whatever and do something to the plant and when it's applied to the wound it limits the effects of the toxin. Doctor.

But the Witch is speculative, and knows the spell. The ancient words spoken in a hush as the plant is chewed, the spell, the words within your spit, stirred by the vibration of your will, your mouth the living Cauldron. The Witch knows that when that snake coils up, he coils to the right. So when you rub in the pasty cud, you rub it in the opposite way, you uncoil the snake, and it's poison.

The WitchDoctor is both operative and spectulative, the divine union of these two ways.

Wisdom is the proper application of knowledge. Magic is the result.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Three of Pentacles

The man on the bench is a Mason, complete with a lambskin apron and common gavel, one of the primary working tools of our profession. Gerald Gardner, among other things, was also a Mason. And Freemasonry shines brightly in his Witch-craftwork, as it does in my own. But who can blame us, it's a nearly perfect system. Ask the founders of the Scottish Rite, the Golden Dawn, the Ordo Templi Orientis and a dozen other fruits fallen from the Masonic tree.

My craft is a work in progress. An evolution through a sequence successes and failures. I spend hours at the trestle board laying plans, like the figure on the right, which are tried and trued through the operative verb. I DO them. I have learned that things look great on paper but often in the real world they do not always come out square and level.

I have spent hours milling through "our" section of bookstores. Crap, crap, crap, Oooh...nope that's crap too. Within days I am back in that same isle culling though those same books, looking, hoping it will finally be there. You know the book I speak of, You've been there too, we're all looking for it. But it's not there, that book does not exist yet. You must write it yourself.

I have written mine. And every time I think I am ready to send it to the printers I see a figure within a fresh stone, waiting to be chiseled out. Another chapter, another degree to be truly earned through it's discovery, it's unveiling, it's very design.

I am the Mason on the workbench. You can show me your blueprints, but I am the builder. I work with the stones of the craft and I know how they move. How they break or hew. I have learned through my experiences, numerious cracked failures have yielded a single precious pillar. And now the real work begins.

Friday, September 5, 2008

..and the Devil appears!

The Herald begins every ritual with a public announcement. "Hear Ye, Hear Ye, all those who have gathered..." She ends her proclamation and rings the bell. Like Pavlov's lapdog, I begin to salivate all over myself, spiritually.

The rituals I participate in have a powerful effect on me because the experiences there very real.

The sweat lodge is a difficult ceremony, the heat, the discomfort, the heat, the dirty, cramped, dark, stuffy little hole in the ground. And the heat. All these things keep you in the moment, the experience keeps your mind focused on the issue at hand, the heat. This keeps it very real.

Those people tore down my lodge and smashed my Buffalo skull because it made their devil real. It validated them and their beliefs. That's why they insist I am a devil worshiper, that's why they NEED us Pagans to be. It makes their faith real.

But we do it too! We need to be validated to, don't we. But we don't have a devil to manifest or manufacture material proof of faith. So how do we do it?

I watch the blue jay's tease my dogs. often.

I watch the moon spin like a coin in the sky. even though it takes months.

I watch the river change the landscape. even though it takes years.

I watch the Humming birds, they come to the window when the feeders are empty.

I watch the leaves dance.

I do it by NOT seeing their Devil.

How do you do it?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Speak of the Devil...

Looking back through my entries I realized how much I talk about my experiences in Iraq. At first I felt a bit embarrassed about it, then later came a bit of pride. Not for going, not for what I've done, but for my ability to write about it so openly. Spilling your guts may be messy but it promotes personal growth.

Mia magnum opus.

Someone said the Devil keeps the church in business. Fear. That makes a lot of sence to me. He presents and represents the contrary. Danger. He is the shark that keeps swimmers out of the waters and in the pews.

Oddly enough this reminds me of a conversation about the late great George Carlin. One of my friends is NOT a fan to put it lightly and highlighted Georges negatives flaws which I find humor in. The reason I find so much humor in him is because we're NOT supposed to! Taboo. George was a fine Devil.

Looking back I had this to say on the matter:

It has been my experience that the Holy, the Divine and the Sacred are only such, because of "the Contrary". Equilibrium. The sacred dance. In Cherokee, it is the Booger Dancer or Bogey Man. The Lakotas call them Hayoka, the sacred Clown. And every culture seems to have them. They run a muck in the Sun Dance Arbor, counter clockwise, "the wrong way". They tease the fasting dancers with watermelons, pour water back and fourth from cup to cup, charge and challenge the dancers while they prey. They go where we dare not, they say what we would not. They do what we cannot. Taboo can be a powerful tool. Psychological leverage. They provide a public service. Those Assholes.

I have been a fan of Tenacious D for years and I just realized their album cover was a version of this card.

And just recently I have fallen deeply in love with Stephen Lunch who is the most musicly talented incarnation of George Carlin there has even been.

But I digress...

I am starting to see a pattern here, which oddly enough makes my point, what ever it was...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Devil

I was in Ar Ramadi, Iraq when they invaded my home. I'm not sure of the exact day, it takes a while to get mail. But I read the letter just a few days after a suicide bomber blew himself up. A piece of him went through my friends hand.

They didn't steal anything, they just broke it all. My drums. A pipe. Many other sacred items. Anything that looked like it might be evil. They took some knives from my kitchen and used them to cut apart the sweat lodge in my back yard. While I was leading a foot patrol through a village, looking for hidden weapons, they destroyed my church.

On an altar of dirt, laid a buffalo skull. Decorated with sage bundles and prayer bundles begging for my protection. They smashed it because it was their devil. I know this because of the bible verses they left behind in spray paint. Why do they need their devil so much?

What is my devil? It's a man. Dressed as a priest, who touches little boys. It's a woman. who tells children their going to hell for not believing Satan is real. Its a supervisor. Who tells me I can't get Sunday off from work because I'm going to a real church. The preacher who told me I didnt need to believe in the devil to worship him...wait what?

There is no evil in nature. If a shark eats a baby seal, it's not evil, it's hungry. But if that shark tries to eat you or me, it's evil. There is no evil in nature, but man. There has become a difference between whats normal and whats natural. We're normal, but we're far from natural.

Evil is a man made concept. It was our first creation. We seem so very proud of it and we refuse to let it go. Morality is only the changing tide of social acceptability. Ebb and flow of whats ok and whats not. High tide or low, we're chained to it.