Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Interview with a Bored Goddess: Holda

It's staying light a little longer. Have you noticed? This morning when I set off for work, the sky was pearly and a few birds were chirping lustfully. All is well with the world.

But make no mistake. Winter is still well under way. Ask anyone in Washington State. They'll tell you. What better time to tender an invitation to Holda, bored (and misunderstood) Goddess of the Germanic peoples? Spread a few flax seeds, brew up some good lager, and She'll be only too glad to stop by. Please give a warm and wonderful "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Holda, the Winter Goddess!

Anne: All hail, great Snowy Goddess, vilified and persecuted by the Christians ... portrayed as a hateful hag, when really you are beautiful, nurturing, and helpful to humankind!

Holda: Yes, yes. That's me. Marginalized and misunderstood, like so many of my Sisters. Your cat has some mats in his fur. Shall I groom him?

Anne: What a kind offer! Please do. Oh, would you look at that! He never holds that still for me! Holda, I invited you here because I'm quite braced. I think you have a new praise and worship team!

Holda: Who, me? Couldn't be.

Anne: Want to see?

Holda: Yes sirree!

Anne: Aren't they beautiful? A gathering of women who are determined to nurture this nation!

Holda: They certainly have good taste in attire.

Anne: I thought of You the moment I saw them. There, I said, are acolytes of Holda, channeling Her snowy gowns and Her generous spirit.

Holda: How did they come to assemble in that place?

Anne: They came to listen to a despot who they plan to oppose. They chose the snowy white garments in honor of women's rights (and also to honor You).

Holda: I'm so touched! It gets tedious, you know, when the only white you see is on a bride.

Anne: I couldn't agree more ... but You have to admit it's a hard color to keep clean. These ladies aren't Goddesses. They have to be mindful of pesky stains. And yet they chose Your luminous shade. You should be proud.

Holda: I am! This is quite encouraging! What can I do to assist them?

Anne: All glory, laud, and honor to You for wanting to be helpful! Go, Holda, and sit among them. Be by their sides as they seek to restore balance to our troubled land.

Holda: You mean it? An assignment with dignity? I'll hop right on it!

Anne: No one is asking me, but what I think this modern nation needs is way more attention paid to ancient Goddesses. Go therefore, Holda. You're no ugly old hag trying to eat children! Show them how a Goddess does it. You're perfect for the job!

Holda: I accept. And in gratitude for the job, I'll send you a nice, bracing snowstorm.

Anne: With no sleet mixed in.

Holda: Hold the sleet, hold the freezing rain.

Anne: And ditch the wintry mix. We get that here all the time.

Holda: Snow it is for you, dear Anne. Deep, white, pure, and powerful.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Imbolc 2019

It's 4:45 p.m. and still bright daylight, so we are making progress. However, my heart is heavy today. One of my students who I had three years ago died after a long and painful battle with cancer. His funeral service was today.

To me, there is nothing so heart-wrenching as burying a child. Life is no cakewalk, but we still prefer that everyone get a chance to muddle through it, at least past the age of 25. My student was 17.

I had him as a freshman, before his illness began. He was "that kind" of freshman boy, full of energy, lots of friends, and very little (actually none) interest in English class. So he wound up sitting right in the front, right by my desk, for most of the year. (I tend to do this with "those kind" of boys.)

This student told me he hated to read. He'd never found a book he liked. Then I handed him a few of my carefully curated young adult urban lit novels, and he started reading. I can still see him turning the pages, lost to the world, right in front, next to me.

Today his friends looked shell-shocked, and his family looked worse. No amount of faith in God and Jesus makes this easy to bear ... I'm sorry, that's just the way it is.

This young man had a beautiful smile and was full of antics. I'll miss seeing him cross the stage for his diploma this spring.

I petitioned the Orishas to find him and acquaint him with the Ancients of his line. For good measure, as I was in a Baptist church in downtown Camden, I asked Jesus to please allow this to happen.

May his ancestors greet him. May he find his way to the Ancestors in the Old World, before they were sent to these hostile shores.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sensible Witchcraft: Besom, Stang & Sword

The thing I like best about quote-unquote New Age religions is that they aren't hide-bound. New frameworks can arise without the practitioners facing persecution as heretics. That's refreshing. It also opens the door for books like Besom, Stang & Sword.

This highly readable book is a very interesting mix of traditional folk witchcraft (known as hoo doo in some quarters) and innovative uses of pathways, moon cycles, and bonding with your land base. The authors feel it's less important to forge relationships with deities from various pantheons than to dig into doing things. It's a hands-on approach that's at once ancient as our heath-dwelling ancestors and modern as the concrete cityscape.

I've got to admit that I often have a hard time getting through books on Pagan lore and practice. I'm not exactly sure why, but my mind begins to drift while I'm reading them. This book is one of the few where that didn't happen. It covers a whole lot of ground, including topics I hadn't read much about before, but manages to be accessible and interesting throughout. Perhaps it resonated with me because I've been working on my backyard-based Work, but it seems to me that this is the book you want if you want to be a witch but don't see why that label must include an up-close-and-personal visit to Glastonbury or a shelf full of Gardnerian lore.

When I was 13, my grandparents finally got running water in their summer place on Polish Mountain. Before the well was drilled, my grandfather hired a water diviner to come and find the best location for it. My cynical uncle scoffed at the process, but I was absolutely fascinated by the old man who came with his wand and walked back and forth across that rocky hill for hours, concentrating all the while. I will forever mark that ancient fellow as the first working witch I ever saw.

This book is for you if you want to be a working witch -- if you want to do trance work, or use flying ointments, or practice necromancy, or influence the outcome of things. I really enjoyed reading it, and my takeaway is to love the land I'm with.

I would call this a "beginner's book," but the authors helpfully include lots of sources for every topic, so you can dig deeper and find those tomes that will have your mind wandering in no time. If you want to learn about folk witchcraft, or improve your practice thereof, I highly recommend this book.

With apologies to the bored Gods and Goddesses. But that goes without saying.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Opposition Candidates Who Are Sure To Beat Donald Trump

Can you believe it? The mid-terms are just now over, and already candidates are lining up to run against Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential! And no wonder. Donald Trump is the easiest sitting president to beat of all time! It'll be like taking candy from a baby.

In case you're having trouble keeping up with them, here's a short list of opposition candidates who are shoo-ins against the Orange Horror.


Who better to beat the Orange Horror than another Orange Horror? Honestly, though, Gritty has some bona fides. I wrote about him a few posts back. You'll see he's a take-charge kinda mascot.

2. Lil Bub

Bub is as cute as Trump is ugly. She has overcome a lot of real health issues (as opposed to fake ones) just to be able to go about her day. She would never shut the government down, because someone has to inspect that cat meat! Can't let shoddy cat meat into a can. Nor would we need a space force, because rumor has it Bub has some extraterrestrial connections.

3. Mickey Mouse

No surprises there. He runs every time, and gets lots of votes, too. But this might be the first race ever that his promise of being better than the incumbent is actually verifiable.

4.  Obi-Wan Kenobi

He's our only hope.

5. Sarah Connor

There's nothing gun-toting men find sexier than gun-toting women. Am I right? Sarah will get the 2nd Amendment voters that Hillary didn't. Or else. Besides, Sarah's a badass. Wait until the debates, when Trump tries to stalk up behind her. He'll be out like a light, flailing on the floor like a gutted walrus.

6.  Elizabeth Bennett

My money is on this plucky woman.  She reads a lot, she can stand up to the moneyed interests, and she has a keen sense of social justice. Some family misbehavior might make a headline here and there, but no one needs to be paid off to keep silent.

7. Francis the Talking Mule

The electorate has already proven it will vote for a jackass. We should at least get one that can put together a coherent sentence.

8. The Dude

Can't really put together a coherent sentence, but he isn't a jackass.

9. Justin Trudeau

Please. Humor me.

10. Cthulu

Because sometimes you have to fight evil with REAL SERIOUS EVIL.

So, voter, which candidate do you support? Remember, those white pukes from the Kentucky private school aren't ready to run yet, so you really should choose off this list. The time is now. The need is great. Vote.

Monday, January 21, 2019

An Open Letter to Nick Sandmann, Future Supreme Court Justice of America

Hello and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your Pagan pathway to paradise! You know what's good about bored deities? If they're warlike, they're just warlike. They don't pose as coo doves and then smite. That's hypocritical and dishonest, don't you think?

EXHIBIT A: Today's Poster Boy for the Modern Era

Y'all probably know this story already. The young white creature is Nick Sandmann, a teenager from private Covington Catholic School in Kentucky. He and his classmates (pictured in rear) got into an altercation at the Lincoln Memorial some time after the annual Right to Life rally in Washington, DC.

There was a great rush to judgment based on this photo, so I took the time to read the grinning white boy's version of events. And I must say, he would fit right in here in Haterville. He casts himself as a victim with a total lack of irony.

The story he tells says so much about him. As if you'd need to know more once you saw the MAGA hat.

Apparently these fine Catholic youth were minding their own business at the Lincoln Memorial when some African American men began to taunt them. In Sandmann's account, these Black men called the good, white Catholic boys all sorts of names. So, in response, Sandmann asked his chaperone if he and his buddies could chant SCHOOL PEP RALLY CHANTS, and the chaperone said YES.

Picture this in your mind. Especially if you're a school teacher.

So you have taunting on one side, and chanting on another (from white teenagers wearing MAGA hats), and then you get a drumming Native American who tries to diffuse the situation.

Well, you can't blame the drummer. Some fucking chaperone was inciting his or her charges to riot, instead of quietly steering them out of trouble.

This is what white privilege looks like.

I have absolutely no time or energy for these Catholic schoolboys who go into Washington, DC (population about 60 percent Black), having no respect for the urban environment or what they might encounter there. At a moment where a thinking student or chaperone encountered taunting, that student would turn and quietly walk away. Let's not even talk about what Jesus would do, because ... oh, just see above, first paragraph.

Any woman who has ever walked the streets of a city and has gotten taunted would have known what to do in this situation. But white men? White men don't know shit about this. It's never happened to them. Or to their fathers or grandfathers. It must never have happened to the chaperone, either.

White Catholic boy, your MAGA hat speaks for you. Wear it the wrong place, and you've got to face the music. You won't like the tune. But hear it with humility. You go to private school and are bound for a life of wealth and contentment. The men who challenged you at the Lincoln Memorial? Not so much. Not. So. Much.

But that brings me to the silver lining of this fable.

Nick Sandmann, given the political tenor of your home state (which I would never be foolish enough to visit in my car with its New Jersey plates), you have a bright, bright future! Someone will have to pick up the torch from Mitch McConnell, and you're just the fresh-faced Republican to do it. But why stop there? Everything about you just screams Supreme Court Justice. Are you doing your requisite beer parties with all those fine, young, white pep rally chanters you hang out with? Are you getting drunk and preying upon the fresh-faced Catholic girls in your circle? Oh good. Just checking. In that case, all is well! You're on your way to the big time!

Readers, I double dog guarantee you this sad excuse for an American will face no disciplinary repercussions for this at home or at school. Nor will his chaperone, who was either on some super strong mushrooms or was just a clueless rube. White boys get away with this shit. Always have.

And once again, we see the Catholic church at its finest. What a rotten God! It's disgusting.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Divide and Conquer

When the Orange Menace was inaugurated, women of all stripes (except the Republican stripe) took to the streets and marched in solidarity. Like, in the millions.

Here we are three marches later, and everyone is quarreling like ... well, like human beings.

Muslim women may feel that homosexuality and abortion are sins. Some cis women don't consider transsexual women to actually be women. Women who voted for Bernie in the primaries feel like he would have beaten Donald Trump. Women who voted for Hillary feel like Bernie voters caused all this mess and kept a qualified, dignified candidate out of the White House.

Some African American women feel that white women can't see past privilege. Some white women can't get past their privilege enough to understand the minority experience. Some Millennial women resent how Baby Boomer women were able to get good jobs with benefits, and some Baby Boomer women don't understand why Millennial women don't stop whining and go out and get a good job with benefits.

Some women feel that the Democratic party should adopt a sensible, middle-of-the-road platform, and some women want to shake things up and fight for universal health care, free state college, and a basic minimum income. Some women love their guns, and some want to gather the damn things up and incinerate them.

Only a smattering of women are pro-organized labor ... and some of them voted for the Menace.

In Philadelphia on Saturday, there will be two women's marches in two different parts of the city.


Are we forgetting something here? The evil afoot is worse than any single female agenda! Who is the enemy? Trump is the enemy! He and his ilk can only benefit if women fracture their solidarity.

Anyone who thinks this past election has put us in the clear should look at the voting results. My boy Andy Kim won by about 700 votes. That's what I call hanging by a thread.

We can't afford to squabble among ourselves. For the love of fruit flies! This is exactly what they want.

Therefore, without a sign and without prejudice, I, Anne Johnson, intend to travel into Philadelphia and march with whatever march I come to first. So what if I'm an old, suburban white woman? I'm a voter. I'm a worker. United we stand, divided we fall.

I want that horror of a human being out of office. That's all that matters.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

Can you believe it? Barbie turns 60 this year. I actually think she looks younger now than she did in 1959.


To be honest, as a little girl, I found Barbie disconcerting. I didn't like her big tits or the fact that her feet were constructed so she could only wear high heels.


What do you know? Her tits are smaller, but she's still wearing those heels! Come on, Barbie. Eat some cake! You're too thin!

Actually I have some very good news for Barbie. I, too, was born in 1959. In just a few weeks I'll be eating a whopper of a cake -- and Barbie can help me polish it off!

Gosh, I can hardly believe it. I'm almost 60. I feel blessed to have come this far. Sure, there are aches and pains, but I'm hardy and working every day. All the same, 60 can make you a bit existential. Unless you're Barbie.

Readers, I have arrived at the age of 60 hardly having done any traveling at all in my life. So this Spring Break I will embark on an epic quest for my Thunderbird soul-mate. I'll tell you about it very soon!