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Little Oikos on the Prairie
Hellenismos from the perspective of a modern woman living in the upper Midwest
Hellenismos from the perspective of a modern woman living in the upper Midwest

Little Oikos on the Prairie's posts

I'll be preparing a special meal for the dead this evening.  Not that it is any Hellenic festival, I've just received horrible, and horrifying, news.  A friend has died and she suffered for a long time before she was killed.

There are safety concerns so I'm being scant with information.  That may change in a day or two.

Hail the fallen.  She died a warrior.

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If we want art and ritual that doesn't suck...

I was talking online to a friend and part of the discussion was about the whole "to Pagan or not to Pagan" identity fun that keeps coming up and some of it was about having more art and ritual that doesn't suck.  He made a statement that people should just stop worrying about labels and go do awesome stuff.  The best way you know how. 

I can't disagree with that.  Except I'm going to disagree with it because that's the way I roll.  Really good art, like really powerful rituals, is grounded in identity.  They are either statements of This Is Who I Am or they are statements of This Is How I See You.  Meaningful art and ritual, even when you follow specific forms, comes from your gut, your core.  

Do you follow me?

This is why so much Pagan art and ritual sucks.  Because we get together and then we try to make non-offensive art and ritual which will be inclusive of everyone and not hurt anyone's feelings and be acceptable to everyone, etc, etc, etc. Pan-Pagan = Shit and I avoid it like the plague.  You should too.

When we give up our core, our identity, to make what we do or create more palatable, it becomes bland and without life.  It has no UMPH!  It doesn't erupt from your soul and scream in anyone's face.  And yes, even Monet got up in everyone's grill.   #truefacts  

The very best rituals I've been to, the very best art, is created by people who know their identity and are able to express it.  To live fully in it. To BE. If you are a Wiccan be the most Wiccany Wiccan there ever Wiccaed.  Whatever you are, put your energy into that.  Let it SANG, baby.

Labels do matter.  Identity matters.

As an example of Pagan art that doesn't suck check out this recording of Kari Tauring from her new CD.  She's Heathen from the tip of her head to her toenails.  The songs on her CD are so Heathen she draws support from the sweater wearing Lutheran Norges and Swedes in Minnesota because even they can hear their ancestors call when she sings.  That is what a woman who knows who she is sounds like.

(Video at the link, plus a bonus article I wrote - two for one, how can you resist?)


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We deify killers, not heroes

The tragedy in Connecticut raises many of the same questions we’ve argued about for decades.  Mostly we talk about guns, violence in our entertainment and society, school safety, and increasingly, mental health.  However, one area Pagans can add a unique and valuable viewpoint is how our culture has stood deification on its head.  We deify killers, not heroes.

In some ancient Pagan cultures, persons who did magnificent deeds or were founders of cities were honored after death as divine beings.  Their names were known to all, their likeness spread, and every tidbit of their lives were told and retold.  They became immortal.  Persons who did unthinkable acts, on the other hand, were erased.  Their name was no longer spoken.  Their name was stricken from all official record.  All images of them were destroyed.  When they died, they ceased to exist.

This is how it should be and yet, we do the exact opposite.  We have wall to wall coverage of the shooter, his photo is on every tv, phone, and computer.  Most every person in our country, and many outside of it, will know his name.  We will learn every detail of his life and all of that information is passed along on social media and discussed in person among friends, family, and co-workers.  There will be books about him and generations from now, people will retell his story. They’ll be on the TV 24 hours a day.  That is a powerful honor to bestow.

Psychologists note that persons who do mass killings, such as what happened last week, crave the attention even though they may choose not to be alive to experience the attention after the act.  They fantasize about being on the news, knowing their name will live on long after their death.  They know this because they see how we glorify past mass murderers.  In fact, we usually surpass their wildest dreams.  Each new killer receives greater and longer attention.

I don’t advocate legislation to make it illegal to speak mass murderers’ names or display their photos, but I do believe if we voluntarily adopt the ethics of our religious and cultural ancestors, we will have fewer of some types mass murders.  It will not be so attractive to those focused on writing their name in the sky.  If the media, as they do with a few other specific types of criminal cases, stopped publishing their name and photo, that would help.  If we placed our focus on the victims and heroes, passing along their photos and stories and saying their name aloud, that would help.  _If we deified heroes, not killers, that would help._

NOTE:  I published this on PNC-Minnesota:

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I'm hoping this year is the year we update Hellenion's website.  The project keeps getting bogged down until people give up or shelve it.  I did a mock up here:

It's only a mock up and it has outdated, missing, and incorrect information.  Broken links.  But it should give an idea of how it could look and function.  It took me a few hours.

This is what the old site looks like:  and unless you know web code, you can't really make changes or edit it.

So that's what I want for the Solstice - a new, functional, easy to update site for Hellenion.

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So not all the Baldwins are die hard liberals if he's willing to be a special guest at a Dinner for a GOP congressional candidate.  And also interesting for the fact that said candidate, Halloran, is an out Pagan.  The GOP is going all out in their support of Halloran - with Giullani hosting the event.  This is how it should be - the candidate's religion should not matter.  No matter how you feel about Halloran, this kind of thing is a big WIN for Pagans, Heathens, and polytheists.

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What Star is writing about is something I'm struggling with.  The Pagan community wants....but it also needs to provide.  

Our community says it wants things like Pagan media and journalism, but they don't, or can't, support it.  When Pagan media asks, "Is this worth it?" they are wondering if giving up a paying job, or lack of money to pay their bills, the money they spend to cover stories (no, we don't get into events we cover for free), the time spent away from family, and the time spent feeling like shit after readers tear into you is worth the service they provide.

We don't get paid, or if we do it is far below the poverty level.  We can't keep doing this - not this way.  So what happens is that media people, like Star, stop doing what they are doing and go out and get a job that pays their bills.  And the community suffers for it.  And they lament the loss.  Some even attack the person who had to quit as not being dedicated enough, not caring enough for their community.    

I don't know.  This is something I need to think about over the next few weeks.  Like Star, I may need to bow out.
What I Want To Build

Yesterday I was in a deep funk over changes at Patheos Pagan. It was my baby, and so when I saw some negative changes I got drunk and cried. And ate a lot of chocolate. But it was my choice to walk away in the first place, so I can't boo-hoo too much.

A few people reached out to me in my funk with the idea that I build something new in Pagan media. I'm touched at people's faith in me, yet I'm afraid Pagan media is not my priority at the moment.

Here is what I want to build right now:

A life where I make enough money to be able to pay my rent every month on time, without needing a landlord who understands when my paycheck is late yet again.

A life where my transportation is under my control, and I don't need to beg a ride to the grocery store.

A life where needing a new coat or a new pair of shoes isn't a huge financial struggle.

A life where I can do good productive work that isn't based on opinion, subjectivity, or editorial.

A life where my livelihood doesn't subject me to the cruelty of the internet.

A life where I can be a participant in my local Pagan community, without having to cancel plans because I didn't get paid or my 23-year-old car broke down.

A life where I can make enough money to be able to make regular donations to Pagan causes I care about.

This year +Cara Schulz vowed to give 10% of her income to good causes. I really wanted to join her in that pledge. Not only was I unable to do that, but my readers had to bail me out when I was kicked out of my home (even when I had just paid my rent and bills on time!) and facing disaster.

I appreciate the encouragement and goodwill from my readers and friends. One day I might do something awesome in Pagan media again. But before I can do that I have to fix my life first. I am no good to anyone when I am desperately poor, stressed out, and depending on the kindness of others to survive.

I love that my readers are excited about Pagan media, but right now all I am excited about is building a life. It's all I can be excited about right now.

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This is why I will work my ass off for the Johnson campaign.  When they do their PR and marketing they send out Pagan generated news articles, too.

(This is what they posted on the Event page and on the Gary Johnson page:  
Thanks to Cara Schulz for help organizing and promoting tomorrow's event. This isn't the first time Ms. Schulz has helped the campaign. Last year she help put together a press conference with the governor and lesser-known religionists and non-religionists. She truly is the type of individual thinker for which the campaign wishes to provide a Big Tent. Here's the story of the "pagan" vote.

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...believed to be the largest mosaic of its type in the region and demonstrates the reach and cultural influence of the Roman Empire in the area in the third and fourth centuries A.D., said Michael Hoff, Hixson-Lied professor of art history at UNL and the director of the excavation.

Pagan band to play at Presidential candidate political rally
A very excellent Pagan band, Murphey's Midnight Rounders, is playing at a political rally for Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate.  Although it isn't official, I believe former MN Governor Jesse Ventura will also be speaking at the event, along with Johnson and a few others.  That's pretty damn cool!

We bitch about how the two major political parties ignore us at best and are hostile to us at worst - with a heavy sprinkling of mockery thrown in for the LULZ - and yet we stay with them.  We reward them.  We vote for them.  I guess, because we don't want our vote thrown away.  I'd say we have to start examining that idea - what is a thrown away vote?  If you're voting for someone who won't have anything to do with you and won't stand up for you when it's politically chancy to do...isn't that throwing away  your vote?

I'll be throwing away my vote for a candidate who isn't doesn't run away from the evil/silly Pagans and treats us with respect - like he treats any other citizen.  The one who interviews with Pagan media, has Pagan(s) as coordinators, and doesn't mind a bit of Pagan folk music being played before his rally.  And you can bet, if he takes heat for it (like he did with the interview with Pagan press) he'll tell those people to go take a hike.

The rally is this Friday at  Macalester College in Minnesota.  12:30pm to 3pm Hill Ballroom, Kagin Commons.

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*Remembering those who died 11 years ago today - and honoring those heroes on Flight 93 who fought back, kept the plane from hitting our nation's Capitol, and died when their plane hit the ground in Pennsylvania.* 

There is a memorial being built where Flight 93 went down.  If you'd like to see it or would like to make a donation (I do every year on this date) click the link.  It's a beautiful place and stunning memorial.
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