Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our Holy Days

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," Samhain 2011 edition! I'm your hostess with the ghostess, Anne Johnson. Honestly, that is the name I was graced with at birth. Its anonymity is brilliant.

We interrupt our state-by-state magickal clean-up behind Cindy Jacobs and her army of blood-flinging Crusaders in order to do some more immediate damage control.

On Samhain Eve, Ms. Jacobs is live-streaming a prayer event for the whole evening. A coincidence that she picked our holy night? BAMP! This clueless female looks out on Halloween and sees evil, evil, evil. Poor thing. Someone should buy her a blankie.

In the rare possibility that some of her warriors are checking out this site (and with the comfortable knowledge that a few Pagans visit here from time to time), I'm just going to do a quick outline of the holy days that General Jacobs deems evil. I'll write on a really readable level so any fighter for the busy god can understand.

1. Do you miss your dearly departed grandmother? I sure do. On these first frosty nights of the coming winter, the veil between worlds grows thin, and a discerning person can feel Granny's love all around. In the kitchen, by the stove. In the yard, by the garden. Granny, I can feel you. That's what Samhain is really all about, Charlie Brown.

Now, Christian readers. Tell me you have never felt your departed loved ones at your side in times of need. Right. You do. We all do. No evil involved. None.

2. Samhain recognizes the reality of death, of crossing over the divide. This is the fear factor: ghosts, skeletons, spider webs, scary costumes. What we are really coming to grips with here (and what we're inviting our children to do) is to face our fears and accept them as a normal condition of life. Without the inevitability of death, and the curiosity about what lies beyond, we would not appreciate life. But we don't want to walk around scared all the time, so we set aside the scares until Halloween.

Christian readers. Tell me that you are not one bit afraid of ghosts. Well, guess what? Neither am I! Death and the Beyond are part of every tradition. Don't believe me? Go to church on Good Friday.

3. Samhain marks the moment in the year when the crops have been brought in from the fields. Remember, our traditions come from Northern Europe, where the growing season was pretty much as it is here. But this is not a harvest festival. This is a stock-taking moment. This is that exact instance when we look in the larders and know whether or not we have enough food to get us through the winter. If we do, we're happy. If we don't, we pray to Cernunnos to have pity and spare us over till another year.

Christian readers. Tell me that you don't pray to your god when you lose your job, when you don't have enough money to make ends meet. Is this evil? Or do you petition on behalf of your loved ones, the people whose lives depend upon you?

4. Samhain is the original New Year's Eve and is thus celebrated as a favorite holiday throughout America. Go ahead and try to shut it down. This isn't May Day with a few pretty girls weaving ribbons around a pole. This is Halloween. It's a huge, huge industry of costumes, decorations, candy, party goods, and traditions. Cancel Halloween, and the Navajo Nation will lose the enormous income it derives from planting and harvesting pumpkins. And that's the tip of the iceberg.

Christian readers. If you choose not to celebrate Halloween, all hail. You do what you gotta do. But don't make other American families feel guilty and evil if they want their kids to have a good time. This is a sensible celebration with roots so deep you will never pull them out of our collective soil. Don't even try, except within the walls of your own wacky community.

5. One final shot across the bow: Halloween is celebrated in schools! If you don't want your kid to dress up in a costume and go eat sweet treats with friends, you have to keep the kid home that day. Might cause a little resentment in your tot. You know why? Because there is absolutely no harm, none none NONE, in Halloween! When did socially-sanctioned fun become an evil thing? Oh pleeeeze.

The moral of this sermon is that most Christians celebrate Halloween just in the way that they live and think, without even knowing it. It's a time to assess the harvest, face the alterations brought about by death, and celebrate the dearly departed loved ones whose lives made you what you are today.

Cindy, get over it. Your antipathy for Halloween stems from your own praise and worship team's tendencies to co-opt the holiday for their evil purposes. The rest of us have moral values and common sense. Pray all you want. You look ridiculous.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wisconsin Came First

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," proudly serving the 99% since 2005!

Unless you're an ostrich, you have noticed a growing swell of unrest in our country. The unrest stems from workers being downsized or gouged for wage give-backs ... and the educated unemployed (many with onerous college loans) demanding more equitable treatment.

This isn't going to go away. When you don't have a job -- or you are off for a few weeks in the summer -- you have plenty of time to protest.

In my humble opinion, the images of Wisconsin teachers rallying in the state capital in protest of attacks on their collective bargaining rights was the shot fired over the bow that started the whole Occupy movement. Madison, you gave us an image of hard-working people, people who hold the future of America in their hands every day, becoming furious at broken promises and wealthy string-pullers behind the scenes.

I am old enough to remember other protest movements. They were successful. The more strident the reaction to protesters, the more sympathy the protesters accrue. Trust me, every school teacher everywhere watched the news out of Wisconsin every night, or read about it in the few remaining newspapers. More importantly, other labor unions were watching too.

We are entering a period of instability, and as with all protests, the most active ones will be young people -- college graduates who feel duped by the high tuition, untenured adjunct professors, and zero job prospects in the real world.

In keeping with our state-by-state mop-up after the black magicians seeking to destroy democracy, I pose a rhetorical question: What would Jesus say about America's plight right now?

Here's what I think. I think he would wring his hands and try to drum up enough food for the people around him in his little sphere of influence, hoping that these people -- inspired by his example -- would themselves go out and pay it forward.

I don't get the sense that the DC40 crowd considers itself part of the 99%. I don't get the sense that they care about the poor, the tired, or the huddled masses longing to be free. (Duh! Of course they don't! That's what's engraved on the Goddess monument in New York's harbor!)

As in Madison, so in the rest of America. It cannot go on like this. We don't want to burn down mansions. We want equity. We want to work for a decent wage. We want our children to work and to live in a country where they can assemble for redress of grievances.

If we took all the God stuff off the table, even the Tea Party would be with us. All we want is for things to be fair.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. --Full text, First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

On, Wisconsin. We are the 99 %.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

California Condor: God of the Skies

Dispensing with the formal greeting today. Moving right on to worship of the Sacred Thunderbird.

First, a little navel-gazing.

I have worshiped vultures since I was a teenager. For many years (and even now) this religious devotion has run parallel to whatever other deities I praise and worship. However, having achieved the wisdom of a half century, I now choose to center my most important devotions around Vulture.

This puts me more within the Native American worldview than the European. There are numerous songs and dances, stories and Rituals, surrounding the Peace Eagle (aka Vulture) among Native American groups all across America. Especially in the Pacific Northwest, where the California condor was once widespread and majestic (wingspan of 10 feet -- think about it).


In 1984 I went to the San Diego Wildlife Park, where a captive breeding program had begun for California condors. I wrote an article about the efforts for the Detroit Free Press. Since I had a press pass, the biologists let me go see the "Condorminium." It was a huge, netted area where they kept the condors they were trying to breed.

Needless to say, even a glimpse of these deities from afar, in a flight cage, had immense meaning for me. (We couldn't go close, because the biologists didn't want the condors to become used to people.) Mr. Johnson could hardly live with me for weeks thereafter. Rapture? Forget about Rapture! Give me a Raptor!

At its lowest point of population, the California condor dipped to just 27 individuals. They were rounded up and kept in San Diego. Some creatures might not like being in a flight cage, but the condors are pretty happy with their dependable supply of carcasses. They have been making whoopie for 25 years.

We can be cautiously optimistic about this deity. The Sacred Thunderbird of California now is represented by approximately 400 individuals, some of them in the wild. They have been released in the Grand Canyon, where there are no power lines or hunters. Efforts are underway, partly funded by the Yurok Indians, to release condors in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, where carcasses are abundant and there are traditions of condor Ritual worship.

Angels and faeries are purported to be able to fly. Vultures can do it visibly and gracefully. No skeptical atheist can scoff at the flight of Vulture. It is magnificent.

None of us will live to see a California condor pair soar over our heads in the rugged wilds of America. But it's a comfort to me to know that the species is making a comeback.

Honestly, think about it. If you looked up and saw a bird with a ten-foot wingspan glide silently past, wouldn't you feel that you were in the presence of something greater than yourself?

I can ony speak for myself, but ... As for me and my house, we will worship Vulture.

Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. First clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

Hail Vulture, the visible Higher Power!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Brief Chat with Freya about Minnesota

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Sorry for the lateness on our most recent state in need of protection, but I was at a Ritual yesterday making mournful.

And this morning, I'm really busy with school work. So I'm going to chat briefly with Freya, Great Goddess of the Norse People (who is always rather busy too).

Anne (to her cats): Alpha! Beta! On your way! Shoo!

Freya: Oh, no, Anne. I adore your sweet kitties!

Anne: And it's mutual. Once You're gone, they'll sleep all day in a patch of sunlight, dreaming of You. Freya, the state of Minnesota has the largest population of Norwegian-descended people outside of Norway itself. What does this mean in terms of praise and worship?

Freya: Well, we of the Norse pantheon are working hard there, and elsewhere too, to re-vitialize our praise and worship team. It's working, too. Asatru membership is on the upswing everywhere!

Anne: You go, Goddess! Long may You reign! I've only ever been to one Asatru outing. It wasn't really a Ritual. There were just libations to You, and Odin, and Thor, which consisted of drinking beer out of a horn. I'm all for that!

Freya: Thank you. We are much more serious than Flying Spaghetti Monsters.

Anne: And much more ancient and sacred. Well-documented, too. Your praise and worship team kept records. Does it bother you that Thor is the subject of comic books and movies?

Freya: Does it bother you that King Arthur is the subject of movies? Anything that gets Us into the public eye is fine with Us.

Anne: I know you have to fly, Freya. (To her cats) No, not with you girls! Stop rubbing that chariot!

Freya: Yes, I want to go to Minnesota to sweep up after those evil would-be God-killers. We're going to prevail on this one, Anne.

Anne: From Your lips to Your ears, Goddess. All glory, laud, and honor to You!

I would be remiss here if I didn't note that Minnesota has a very well-organized and public Pagan community. Their presence on the Pagan Newswire Collective is a boon to us all.

Remember your First Amendment, folks! Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Hail Freya!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Treatise on Oregon

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," bringing you the Pagan-est Paganinity since Pagan came to Pagantown!

To answer your question ... No. I cannot be serious for a minute. I've tried, and the best I can do is 43 seconds. And that was the day my mama died. Someone stole my Cloak of Seriousness decades ago. Must have been that faerie I played with as a kid. "Serious" and "Anne": ne'er the twain shall meet!

I mean, if you want me to, I could get all depressed and angry and shit. Easily enough done, if you consider the tragic story of Sacagawea, kidnapped as a teen, sold into slavery to a French trapper, and then sent as a guide for an expedition half a continent wide with a friggin baby on her back.

What would Lewis and Clark have been without Sacagawea? Buzzard bait, that's what. The tribal areas through which they passed considered them harmless because they had a woman and child with them. Sacagawea knew how to speak Shoshone, thus paving the way for her fussy "captains" through the rugged Rockies and beyond.
For her long expedition and devotion to the white men through thick and thin, Sacagawea was awarded with ... nothing. Nada. Zip. Her husband got five hundred bucks and a farm. She died at 25.

I will cut to the quick and be done with this.

We need Goddess worship. Women should be honored and cherished and given leadership roles. They should have sovereignty over their bodies and the fruits of their labor. They should reject any religion that:

1. Casts them as the villains in the history of humankind.
2. Fails to recognize their equality by honoring them as equal priestesses in religious devotion, and
3. Expects them to have a new, tasty casserole for every gathering, no matter how hard they've worked all week.

If you don't think Sacagawea had to whip up the casseroles on her way from North Dakota to Oregon, you just aren't thinking.

When we consider Oregon as a metaphor, it ought to be in the context of female equality. Being a polytheist, I'll add: You show me a religion without a Goddess, I'll show you a praise and worship team full of exhausted females.

Before you start wagging your finger at me and tsk tsking, bear in mind that I was a Methodist for 16 years. I may not have been Sacagawea, but on the Sundays when the childrens' choir did their big musical, it sure felt like I was negotiating for horses with a bunch of ferocious native warriors on a wind-swept mountaintop. 

Women, listen to me. Choose a religion where you are valued. Don't fall for that "okay, you can be a deacon" shit. Go for the path that lets you climb to the top.

Do it in the memory of Sacagawea. Do it in the name of religious diversity. Whatever. Just. Do. It.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kansas: Birthplace of a Brand New God!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored! What is Kansas famous for, my friends? Why, Dorothy, the Tin Man, and Glenda, the Good Witch, that's what! But more recently, Kansas has become the birthplace of a fabulous new deity Whose followers have grown so numerous that you can find them in every state! And today we are blessed with an interview with our Noodly Master, the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Please give Him/Her/It a warm, wonderful, "Gods Are Bored" welcome!

Anne: Arrrggghghhg! Avast, matey! How be you today?

FSM: That's what fills my pasta bowl. Respect! You speak in pirate, which is required of all My disciples.

Anne: Well, I'll give it the old heave-ho try, Noodly Master.  Arrr, can You hoist the top'sl and tell us how You came to the attention of Americans everywhere?

FSM: The Kansas Board of Education declared that teachers would be required to tell students the false story of some god who created the world in six days. False, false, false! I created the world. Me, the Flying Spaghetti Monster! It was a complicated process. Very scientific. With meatballs.

Anne: Arrr, speak, matey, about how this boiled over to the Kansas Board of Education?

FSM: One of My disciples wrote a strongly-worded letter to the KBE, declaring that students who were taught about Genesis in science class should actually learn about Me instead, since I'm the One who got the meatball rolling, turned down the simmering seas, and touched humankind with my Noodly Appendage. This concerned disciple said that he was dismayed that students would be taught lies, when they could learn about the scientific principles behind My Godhood. It's not fair to teach one bogus creation story when there's a True One out there.

Anne: My readers can see the whole revealed religion here. And, arrghghgh, while I'm lashing landlubbers to the mast, I'll wave my cutlass at that ship of fools called DC40, who couldn't even slash and burn themselves into a! You, Noodly Master, are a certified, nonprofit religion!

FSM: Recruiting pirates and wenches everywhere, especially around Halloween!

Anne: Flying Spaghetti Monster, You have some powerful enemies. Not terribly bright, but powerful nonetheless. They'd like to simmer the al dente right out of You.

FSM: Not a chance of that! Knowledge is Power! And please note that many of My disciples were atheists until they found Me. These disciples are some of My most ardent! I am definitely ready to serve the millions!

Anne: Arrghghg! And a goodly feast t'would be too! Please accept my gift of virgin olive oil, O Noodly One!

FSM: I am pleased by this. Anne Johnson, from here to the day of your death, you will never eat a bad pasta dinner ... ever.

Anne: Considering that I live in New Jersey, and there's an Italian restaurant on every corner, that's a pretty scientific prediction. Noodly Master, look at this brilliant portrayal of Yourself by disciple TJ Morgan of Atheist Nexis!
FSM: That's a recent rendering. I'm boiling over that those idol-worshiping Christian fringe wingnuts would want the District of Columbia to be the District of Christ, and not the District of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Anne: District of the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Arrrghgh! That has a certain ring to it, it does! We could require the president to wear a frock coat and a feather in his pirate hat during his inauguration! (The irony of this does not escape me.)

FSM: My disciples will see that this is done. They are praying about it even as we speak.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
This includes, and could for my money be limited to, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!
Pray on, pirates!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Almost Heaven, West Virginia

As always, howdy howdy howdy from "The Gods Are Bored!" How are y'all?

Well, I think I'm a day behind the bell-ringing black magicians who want to void our Constitution and declare American dependence upon Jesus Christ. But that's okay! Consider me the cute little janitor who mops up after Mr. Peabody's and Sherman's big parade!

Whoa, sports fans. That sure dates me, doesn't it?

West Virginia is the state that needs cleansing today. To this I am firmly dedicated. You see, my conversion to Paganism became official in West Virginia. And when I need to meditate with the Salmon of Wisdom, it is to West Virginia that I return.

Little U.S. history here: When the Civil War began, Virginia seceded from the Union. But fully half the state consisted of rugged mountaineers who farmed difficult terrain for a subsistence living, using only themselves and their children as the workers. These people did not support slavery. So they didn't want to secede. Magnanimous President Lincoln declared them a state all unto themselves. And if ever a division of territory was meet and just, this was the occasion.

As for my conversion to Paganism, it was a slow process, beginning with connection to the Divine Feminine through the Blessed Mother of God. Which of course has no place in Methodism, except for the teenager who gets to dress up like Mary for the Xmas pageant.

More and more I began to pray to the Blessed Mother. More and more I began to feel Faerie all around me. I read up on Discordianism (a real favorite) and began to explore the Druid path. But slowly.

Then it hit.

My dad broke his hip. He was in end stages of Parkinson's Disease. When I went to see him in the nursing home, he told me he saw Peter Pan in the doorway of his room, "just standing there, with his hands on his hips."

Shaken by the sight of my dad in his last days, I got in his car and drove to Berkeley Springs, WV. For years I had been dreaming of a sacred spring that would heal my sorrows. Literally, readers. Years. In my dreams I was always looking for it. Little did I know that it was Berkeley Springs, a town near where I grew up, but just far enough away that I only went there at night, for away football games.

By day I discovered that Berkeley Springs is a warm springs (charming place), and for twenty bucks you can bathe in a huge tub of heated springwater.

It's like that tub of Berkeley Springs water just washed away the Fertile Crescent god entirely. What was already eroding just plain exploded. I went into that bath house one person, and came out an entirely different person.

And when I emerged into the air, the whole universe had expanded before me. I felt Divine from a hundred thousand sources. Not just one pantheon, not just one vulture in the sky. Everywhere.

I felt Faerie too. Major Faerie. And yes, I could see Them at that moment. Some were in the spillway, some were playing with the children, and Some were across the street in the window of a store. (Jules Enchanting Gifts, see Sidebar.)

Three months later, this blog was born. It is dedicated to any and every deity that can or could be called "Pagan." I once told Isaac Bonewits that I'm not a polytheist, I'm an omnitheist. Show me your deity, and I will praise Him/Her/It.

I follow the Druid path, somewhat. I say somewhat because I even believe in the Fomorians and Fir Bolgs and all the deities displaced by the Celtic pantheon. None of this matters, though. Divine is everywhere. It cannot be quantified, reified, or understood with our limited brain function.

Thank you, thank you, West Virginia. State of my heart. Love of my life. Forget the "almost." The place is Heaven. Ask any bored deitiy. Ask me.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

--Bill of Rights, U.S. Constitution
"When I die, won't you bury me in the mountains? Far away in my Blue Ridge Mountain home."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sin City

What happens here stays here. But what if there's no here here? Gambling is a vice.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

--First Amendment of the United States Constitution

Monday, October 17, 2011

Corn: Where Would We Be without It?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," catching up with the fabulous Cornhusker state, Nebraska, as it harvests another year of the great yellow grain!

Corn. Where would we be without corn? Europe, that's where! What the Europeans called "corn" was actually barley. They just named maize "corn" when they started chowing down on it.

Maize has been found in acheological digs in the Americas going back thousands of years. Needless to say, the Native Americans had many deities who helped them with their harvest of it. They popped it, ground it, ate it green (big celebration that absolutely coincides with Lughnasadh).

Did Yahweh create corn? If He did, why didn't He share it with His chosen people? Why did they have to float their boats all the way to the Westerh Hemisphere to find it? Seems kind of unfair to me. Just saying.

Omaha, Nebraska is just one of the many geographical names given to us by the Native Americans. In this case, the Omaha is a tribe. For centuries they worshiped around a Sacred Pole, until predation on their group nearly knocked them out of existence. When their last holy man was about to die, they were going to bury the pole with him. Instead it got carted off to Harvard, where it remained until 1989.

In that year, the Omaha petitioned for its return. Harvard graciously complied. Now the Omaha worship around this pole again!

Most Omaha Indians are Christians, but they still hold their Sacred Pole in their hearts. Is this worship of a graven image (forbidden in the Bible)? Ahhhh. Choose one or the other, that's what Yahweh would have you do. And if you choose the wrong one, off to Hell you go.

I would take the Sacred Pole. Deities who provided the Earth with maize are mighty indeed!

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;  Nothing corny about this.

Please see below for a fantastic offer! Tickets still remain ... be a sport!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Commercial Break: A Really, Really Great Offer!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to offer you a rare and exciting opportunity!

The Two Street Stompers New Year's Brigade, proudly participating in the Philadelphia Mummers Parade since 1978, have asked me to sell 10 raffle tickets.

The tickets are $10 apiece. There are three prizes. Grand is $2,000, and there are two $1,000 awards. The drawing will be held on December 10 ... just in time for Xmas! (You do not have to be present. Your stub will contain your name, address and contact phone.)

Please buy a raffle ticket!

But wait. I'll sweeten the pot...

When you purchase a Stompers raffle ticket, you will receive:

1. the ticket (sans stub),with a personal salutation from the staff of "The Gods Are Bored."

better stuff...

2. One FREE handy, pocket-sized copy of OUR UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, courtesy of the National Constitution Center. Perfect to have on hand when you see the New Apostolic Reformation morons at work!

3. A bright, beautiful, blue pin 2" in diameter, that says "I Signed the Constitution." A leftover souvenir from the opening of the NCC in 2008. Sure to be collectible soon!

So, you buy a chance, you get some fun freebies, and you become forever associated with the proud Philadelphia tradition of cleansing the City of Buzzardly Love of all negativity, each and every New Year's Day! Act now ... supplies are limited ...

Email me through the blog profile, I'll send you my address, and you will receive your packet post haste.

Don't miss this offer. You've gotta play to win!

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Well I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him where are you going
And this he told me
I'm going on down to Yasgur's farm
I'm going to join in a rock 'n' roll band
I'm going to camp out on the land
And get my soul free

We are stardust
We are golden
We are billion-year-old carbon
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it's the time of man
I don't know who I am
But you know life is for learning

We are stardust
We are golden
We are billion-year-old carbon
 And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden.

 By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bomber-death planes
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation

We are stardust
We are golden
We are caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
back to the garden

Images: Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado
"Feast of the Gods," Giovanni Bellini and Titian
Lyrics: Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash
Amendment: First, namely, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

Friday, October 14, 2011

Full Moon over Devils Lake

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" It's the holy month of Samhain. No better time than that to send laughter and love to every state in America! Today we're fishing with the Devil. Not really, of course. We have no commerce with the Devil. Nor do the good sports men and women (and kids, the photos are awesome) who enjoy the beautiful environs of Devils Lake, North Dakota.


I have always wondered why there are so many great and small geographical anomalies named after the Devil.

We all know which Devil I'm referring to. He has lots of names. My favorite is "Mr. Applegate." But call him what you will, the Devil is:

1. Christian pantheon, and
2. Male.

He makes you buy dresses, abuse substances, murder kittens, whatever. And if you worship him, what the hell are you doing here at "The Gods Are Bored?" Go get yourself some ugly skull tattoo, head down into your mother's basement, and listen to Ozzy records to your heart's content. Just don't darken this blog. The Devil is evil. We hate evil in all its forms. It sucks, and that's that. Go away, Devil worshiper!

But back to the topic. Devils Lake derives its name from a mistranslation of a Sioux term. The Sioux (cleaned out and sent packing) called it "Bad Spirit Water." Only the Sioux have no Devil in their pantheon. The "bad spirit" was the lake's salinity, which varies depending upon rainfall.

Here's the satellite photo. This puppy is a big lake. And very popular with sports enthusiasts, especially those who fish.

In "One Nation under God and Only God," what would this lake be called? Would the fish in it be considered evil? Would it be re-named Turtledove Lake, or Gabriel Lake, or something causing a financial turmoil as businesses, mapmakers, hotels, and restaurants -- and a whole friggin town changes signs?

You see how silly things could become in a One God world?

Where I grew up, there were many geographical features named after the Devil. Most of them reflected the Devil's personality: jumbles of rocks at the bottom of mountains (Devil's Racecourse, Devil's Den), odd bends in the Antietam Creek (Devil's Backbone). And that's just in one little section of Appalachia. Imagine having to re-name everything that has "Devil" in the title. Crikey, even a sports team!

The moral of this little sermon is this: Any theocracy must bend over backwards to eliminate the perceived evil in its midst. This would have to include an Orwellian eradication of stuff named after the Devil ... no matter whether its a mistranslation from Sioux (cleaned out and sent packing) or not.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of relgion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. --Bill of Rights, U.S. Constitution.

The devil's in the details.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hubris in South Dakota

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of hubris is "exaggerated self-confidence."

This is the sample sentence they give to help you understand hubris:

"When conceived it was a project of almost unimaginable boldness and foolhardiness, requiring great bravura, risking great hubris."

Hubris (sorry, Merriam-Webster) is generally thought of as an exaggerated self-confidence that leads to total downfall.

This monument was carved on a mountain that is sacred to Native Americans. Not only is it hideous and disrespectful to the land in general, but also it is a colossal example of hubris.

Separation of church and state includes having respect for all churches. Even if they're mountainsides. 

The higher they climb, the harder they fall. South Dakota? Tear.that.thing.down.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Few Words from Joe MONTANA

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," sports fans! If you follow pro sports at all (and I know some of you do), you have to feel just a little bit sorry for a Phillies/Eagles fan today. Wowsa, did we have an awful weekend!

This is Joe Montana. He's a famous quarterback, and that's just about all I know about him. For the purposes of this post, Joe was chosen for his name. Montana. Get it?

Love him or hate him, Joe Montana did most of his playing on Sunday. A dizzying majority of NFL games are played on Sunday. You've got Monday night, Thanksgiving, and an odd Saturday here and there. Otherwise, the Day of Rest is anything but, if you make millions on the gridiron.

Can you imagine Sundays without football? Can you remember when the stores were all closed on Sunday? Do you recall a time when you didn't have to drive your kid to soccer games on Sunday? Golly, they play those puppies on Sunday mornings! The effrontery!

When it comes to entertainment, retail, and amateur sporting events, Sunday is the best day to git r done. Right, Joe? (I think he played in a few Super Bowls. If you know more, share.)

The Amish and the Old Order Mennonites do not work on Sunday. They even cook Sunday dinner on Saturday, so they don't have to work in the kitchen. The entirety of Sunday is spent in church, or lounging at someone's home. I don't know what they do about tending the livestock, but suffice it to say that they don't make book on the 49ers and then cluster around the big screen, cheering every play.

A national movement that would change the District of Columbia to the District of Christ might have its own ideas about how Sunday should be spent. No more NFL? No more quick jaunts to Target for trouser socks? No more kid soccer, band practice, Broadway shows? Would the new slogan be, "Bring Back the Blue Laws?" The founders of Chick-fil-a would sure go for that!

Way back when I was a Methodist, I remember one Sunday when the bishop came to preach at our church. He was a zealous dude, all done up in fancy robes. The first thing he said when he came to the pulpit was, "If you think you're getting home from here in time to watch the Eagles today, think again. If watching the Eagles is more important than your soul, get up and leave now."

He then preached a 90-minute sermon. If looks could kill, the Eagles fans in that congregation would have struck that pious windbag down like you stomp a spider that's after your kitten.

Long pass from Montana to Jerry Rice made short, a Christian theocracy could change the contours of Sunday for us all. Considering how poorly the Eagles played this week, I'd say to Cindy Jacobs ... bring it on.


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Play ball!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

They Swim Upriver: Interview with the Salmon of Wisdom

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," today honoring the varieties of religious devotion in the great state of Washington! Never been there. Would like to go some day. Send money. (Just kidding.)

Among the most fantastic phenomena in the Pacific Northwest is the run of spawning salmon. Unlike Atlantic salmon, who spawn and move on, Pacific salmon swim upstream to the place where they were spawned. There they breed, and there they die. Considering the importance of this food source, its not surprising that the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest have many Scriptures of revealed religion about the Salmon, from how It got into their nets to how It behaves with Its fellow Salmon in the great briny depths.

The ancient Celts also have a whopper of a Salmon story, and its star is here with me today. Please give a warm, wonderful, "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Fintan, the Salmon of Wisdom!

Anne: Fintan, the Native Americans of Washington State say that Salmon act like humans when no one is watching them. Could this be so? I mean, other than You, of course. I've always considered You a special exception, considering the fact that you had the good sense to eat the hazel nuts of Wisdom, rather than chow down on some schlub named Jonah.

Fintan: Speaking on behalf of My Fishes, we do not wish to reveal Our ways to humans, other than what you see on Animal Planet.

Anne: Why not?

Fintan: You would be envious of our superiority.

Anne: Yes, I sure would. I'm envious of ant colonies. But let's talk about normal humans for a moment. Would they, too, be envious of the superiority of Salmon?

Fintan: Yes indeed they would.

Anne: Why?

Fintan: For one thing, we all get along. Nary a harsh bubble passes between one salmon and another. You'll hear one big alpha male call out to another: "Hey, watch out for that grizzly on the bank! Right there, under the pine tree!"

Anne: Wow, I do wish people were like that!

Fintan: Suffice it to say, no underfed, undernourished Salmon have ever had to camp out in the pool demanding better treatment from the fat, comfortable Salmon.

Anne: Would that it were so among humans!

Fintan: We also understand completely the entire nature of the Universe. Humans aren't ready to know. When they are, they'll know to ask us.

Anne: The Native Americans of Washington State have a legend that their Ancient Ones could put the bones of a salmon into the water, and the bones would become fleshed-out and alive again.

Fintan: Fie on you, Anne Johnson! That's no legend. It's an archetype of the collective unconscious, having to do with the cyclical nature of sustainable food sources!

Anne (to herself): They don't call Him the Salmon of Wisdom for nothing! (To Fintan) You know, o Salmon, that I was once very disdainful of hunters and people who fished for sport. Now I love these people! They are some of the most demanding environmentalists around. In Washington State they have blocked dam projects. Around here, where I live now, a group called Trout Unlimited is lobbying for strict studies on hydraulic fracturing and its impact on water quality in rural streams and rivers.

Fintan: We Salmon love these people too. Some of them are even smart enough to throw the bones back into the water! And I certainly respect the Native American people of Washington State who have shown so much respect and reverence toward their indispensable food staple.

Anne: Fintan, we've talked here often. You know I call upon You for wisdom when I'm perplexed. This is part of my praise and worship. Do you think Native American children in Washington State should be taught to praise and worship the Deities who brought nutritious and dependable Salmon into their lives?

Fintan: Coyote the Trickster figures in some of those Scriptures.

Anne: Correct again, Wise One! So. Does Coyote, and do You, deserve a place at the American altar?

Fintan: Absolutely. Anyone who thinks otherwise has a hazel nut deficiency.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Wisdom to live by from the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Sacred Spud: Idaho

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," Idaho edition! Never been there, probably never will go -- but I'm not ruling it out. We here at "The Gods Are Bored" are just practicing a little counter-magick to a group that would like to rob us of our rights.

One of my readers, Alex, suggested that when I get to Idaho, I ought to interview Mr. Potato Head. Did you ever play with Mr. Potato Head? Very few things bored me as a kid, but that toy did. Once you got his face and arms all arranged, what was the fun of doing it over, or mixing it up? I preferred Tinker Toys.

Alex's suggestion did get me thinking, though. I'm writing about Christian theocrats from the point of view of a believer in alternative praise and worship systems. There are many, many people in this country who just don't believe in any deity at all. These people are called atheists.

They have it tough.

An atheist who loses his brother in battle has to listen to "God Bless America" at every Memorial Day ceremony. Atheists can't pledge the flag, can't look at paper money, can't even be sworn into public office without being reminded that god is everywhere. It must feel kind of like the person who thinks NASCAR is ugly, environmentally unfriendly, and dangerous -- and who lives next door to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Atheists are often portrayed as dogmatic and snobby. But actually, if you think about it, they're pretty impressive.

1. They do good deeds without any expectation of celestial reward.
2. They live with the sure knowledge that death brings a state of nothingness, and they can take it.
3. They are widely maligned, and the deaths of prominent members of their group are met with tasteless cheers and celebration. (Thinking Madalyn Murray O'Hair here.)
4. Their proselytizing is met with hostility, defensiveness, and resentment.

Yet, as science gives us more and more evidence about the nature of the Universe, it becomes easier and easier to accept atheism.

So, what does all of this have to do with Idaho potatoes?

An atheist would say that worshiping a Higher Power makes as much sense as worshiping a potato. Or maybe even less, since you can eat a potato, and it even has nice vitamins in it.

Am I an atheist? No. Do I believe atheists have the right to their beliefs and shouldn't be forced to see GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD everywhere, most importantly on and in property they pay taxes for? Emphatically, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes!

To the atheists everywhere in America, and especially in Idaho, this spud's for you. The right to hold no belief at all is the most important right we have in our enlightened nation.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Let's be fair.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Everything's Round: Reflecting on Wyoming

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" and our 50-state challenge! We're setting out to prove that "One Nation under God" isn't, and isn't. I'm not going to bet that it's "indivisible" either. As for "liberty and justice for all" ... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! Not.

Most praise and worship teams construct some kind of symbolic building or monument to their deities and philosophies. These monuments come in all shapes and sizes, from the Great Pyramids to the humble Amish church. It's not surprising, therefore, that cultures from different parts of the globe would evolve similar worship techniques without knowing that other cultures worshiped the same way.

This is the Medicine Wheel National Historic Site in Wyoming. It's on a plateau that overlooks Big Horn Basin. This Wheel, one of many Native American Medicine Wheels in the U.S. and Canada, is still used for praise and worship rituals by its people. It is 74 feet in diameter with spokes and cairns that align with stars that are sacred to the Crow Indians.

People who live in temperate climates tend to see life as circular. Each year there's a spring, summer, autumn, and winter, revolving to spring again. Human life, on the other hand, is linear -- its seasons are childhood, child-rearing, providing wisdom, and needing the help of others. If you look beyond your own self, however, you'll see that life begins anew when your child is born, and her child is born. When you die, your descendants carry on. (Which is why you should revere Ancestors. They are part of the Wheel.)

I once had a conversation with a Lenapi Elder after he had given a talk about the Wheel and about reverence for the land. It was a pleasant chat in which we compared Druid and Lenapi beliefs. I said to him, "Maybe there was more criss-cross over that ocean than our historians know about." He agreed, and he proudly added that, since the wind blows west-to-east, it probably was his people coming to see ours.

Makes sense to me.

It's entirely possible, though, that similar bored gods spoke to the creators of Stonehenge and the Medicine Wheels, without any human intervention. It is humbling and moving to look at the Directions (or the Quarters) and associate them with seasons of the year and with intentions we make during these seasons. The circle is the most gentle and egalitarian of all shapes. Cultures that worship in the round may disappear from the face of history, but their constructions will still move the visitor to reverence and reflection.

Here's a lovely homily for the Wyoming Medicine wheel, found on a site full of Spirit Quest material:

"And there are Four Corners of the Earth that we talk about, the Four Colors
of people, and the Four Winds. You see, the Winds -- they are Spirits."
(Grandfather William Commanda, Algonquin)
The Elders teach us about the four directions. If we learn about direction, we
also learn about attention, about focus, and about power. Each direction has
spiritual power. In the morning, go outside, face the east and get still, then,
listen to your thoughts. After you have done this for a while, turn and face the
west. Get quiet once again and listen to your thoughts. Did your thinking
change when you changed directions?

 Also below, two beautiful songs for the People of the Sacred Medicine Wheel.

Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
First Amendment to the United States Constitution. As above, so below.  

Vince Herman - "Everything is Round"

Friday, October 07, 2011

Interview with an Angel: Moroni

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we will be blissfully brief today! My name is Anne, and in the interests of our First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, I have -- against every shred of better judgment -- allowed the Angel Moroni, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, into my house for an interview.

Which is more hospitality than I've ever offered Moroni's sad-sack missionaries who all look so ... pinched.

I'll make this brief.

Anne: Moroni, your praise and worship team is truly a latter-day sect. If fundamentalist Dominionists were to legislate religion, it probably wouldn't go well for Mormons.

Moroni: I agree.

Anne: Dismissed.

Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

--Bill of Rights, First Amendment, Constitution of the United States of America.

Gods on the Reservation

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you ever wonder what America was like in 1491? There's a very interesting book about it. It's called 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus, by Charles C. Mann.

Mann covers the archeology being done on Original Western Hemisphere cultures. Conclusion? In 1100, there were cities in the New World bigger than Rome, London, or Paris -- with better roads and cleanliness. Mann puts the population of the Western Hemisphere in the millions, rather like the other side of the world.

So, how could a few European explorers conquer such large cities?

Forget all you've read about Native Americans thinking the "palefaces" were gods. Crock of crap.

What the European explorers had was smallpox. To which the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere had no immunity. Mann hypothesizes that as much as 90 percent of the Native American population was wiped out. By the time the Pilgrims arrived, this Native die-off was a hundred years gone, mostly. And the New World was a huge forest, occupied by a few "noble savages."

These "noble savages" still didn't much care for people coming in and occupying their homelands. So there was some fighting, more treaty-making (broken by the government repeatedly), and eventually a virtual roundup of Indians, who were dumped, tribe by tribe, in Oklahoma.

If you look at a list of Native American tribes living in Oklahoma today, it's almost a "Who's Who" of Indian history. Comanches. Delawares. Cherokees (notorious, that round-up), Shawnee, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Seminole. These groups did not come to occupy Oklahoma because they liked the scenery and the fertile soil. The state was basically a concentration camp full of helpful missionaries and schools that taught English and table manners.

Which explains why a state that is rick smack-dab in the middle of the country was one of the last to be granted statehood. Until the 20th century, it was Indian Territory. Where people like the Outlaw Josey Wales hung out.

Many Native American deities had to give way under the onslaught of the followers of the busy god. You would think that this meant an end to all the praise and worship teams of those old deities. Thank goodness traditions die hard! Native Americans are reclaiming their Gods and Goddesses, all the while getting revenge on us with their casinos.

There are so many Native American deities in Oklahoma that I couldn't possibly interview Them all. Instead we should pray for all these deities, and all the Native Americans in Oklahoma, that they keep the faith of their forefathers and the wisdom of their grandmothers. They are nations.

Maybe that's why it took so long for Oklahoma to get its star on Old Glory. It's pretty hard to pledge the flag as "one nation under god," when in fact there were -- and are -- hundreds of nations under the banner... and hundreds of gods.

OK, Oklahoma. Rock on with your Ancient Ones! Congress shall pass no law regarding the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

High over New Mexico: Interview with a Hallucinogenic Plant

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Yesterday was Back-to-School night at my school, with the emphasis on night. Literally I am holding my eyes open with a toothpick.

But onward and upward we go in our quest to protect the varieties of religious experience from those who would restrict our diets to one food item ... of their choosing!

Speaking of diets, especially those rich in spiritual properties, I have a very, very interesting companion here today. Did you know that some anthropologists believe that the consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms may have been the foundation of the earliest forays into religious belief? Word, dudes. That stuff will make you at one with the Universe. Or so I'm told. We at "The Gods Are Bored" are not keen on ingesting fungi or controlled substances. Against the law and all that. *Occupy the DEA*

My "Gods Are Bored" guest today is not a mushroom, however. It's a leafy green New World plant, used for at least 3,000 years in sacred ceremonies throughout the tropical Americas. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm, wonderful "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Banisteriopsis caapi, better known as the hallucinogenic tea Ayahuasca!

Anne: Welcome, Ayahuasca! I'd offer you a cup of tea ... but that's what you are.

Ayahuasca: I'm not your cup of tea, though. You haven't been initiated into the Mysteries.

Anne: So true. About the most adventurous I get is a vodka gimlet. But this isn't about my religious experiences, it's about America's religious experiences. And You, o Sacred Ayahuasca, have been foully and cruelly treated! Everyone has heard the tale of the DEA agents bursting in on a ceremony of the Unaio do Vegetal praise and worship team in New Mexico. The agents pulled You right out of the priest's kitchen and carted You off to the slammer. (Or in this case, the refrigerator.)

Ayahuasca: We took them to court. To the Supreme Court. And we won.

Anne: Damn right, you won! It's called the First Amendment, and there's a long and well-documented use of Ayahuasca tea in numerous religious paths originating in the Western Hemisphere. I was rooting for Unaio do Vegetal every step of the way.

Ayahuasca: Thank you. Here is how I look at it. You never see DEA agents bursting into a First Communion, confiscating the wine, and arresting the priests for serving alcoholic beverages to minors.

Anne: Absolutely correct! But ... emmm ... playing the devil's advocate here, I'd have to say that You are far more potent than watered-down communion wine.

Ayahuasca: I am an all-powerful source of the wisdom of the universe. My followers know this and use Me with care.

Anne: As they have every right to do, under the second clause of the first sentence of the First Amendment. I've read some accounts of Your use. And of course, Timothy Leary, Terrence McKenna, and Erowid. It does sound to me like, if one used You responsibly, one could communicate with any bored god on the radar.

Ayahuasca: And many who aren't.

Anne: I understand that only the men in Your praise and worship team get to use You.

Ayahuasca: Don't pass judgment. It's My praise and worship team, and that's how we roll. Specially-trained males only.

Anne: Hey. Whatever moves the spirits of Unaio do Vegetal is a-okay with me. Ayahuasca, I hope Your legal troubles are over. How would Your praise and worship team feel if the U.S. government not only outlawed Your use, but outlawed the religion that it springs from?

Ayahuasca: We would fix that. A few infiltrators to the Albuquerque public water works, and soon everyone would be keen to join Unaio do Vegetal!

Anne: Well, that's a little extreme, even for me. Why don't You just settle for spiking the punch at the next Rick Perry prayer breakfast?

Ayahuasca: A worthy idea!

Anne: Thank you for dropping by, Ayahuasca. If I ever decide to go tripping on tryptamines, I'll give you a holler. Don't hold your breath, though. If I made it through the 1970s without dropping acid even once, I'm not likely to start at my age.

Ayahuasca: I am part of a significant and highly ritualized praise and worship. I'm not for sipping after a long day's work. Just keep that in mind.

Anne: Oh, I do! I do! See? I'm about to sip a glass of pinot grigio. The gift from Bacchus, who doesn't give a fig how it's used and abused.

To me, what is most beautiful about America is the fact that small sects like Unaio do Vegetal, who are able to tie themselves to established patterns of worship, have the absolute right to use hallucinogens in their rituals. This small New Mexico praise and worship team is hardly unique in its use (not abuse) of mind-altering substances. Long may they hold their sacred plant to their souls and soar with It to their Gods!

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. So might it be.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Interview with a Bored Goddess: Changing Woman

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," deity central in this time of We Want One God, and We Want His Laws.

If you just flew in on the red-eye from Los Angeles, here's the link to the wacky bell-ringers who want to shred our Constitution. Think of Sharia Law, only from a different book.

(I would like to add here that "The Gods Are Bored" will be dedicated this month to perusing the multiple praise and worship teams in the good ol' US of A, but that doesn't mean we aren't watching Occupy Wall Street and waiting for an opportunity to don the AFL-CIO t-shirt for a stroll past City Hall.)

Today I wish to welcome another bored Goddess. Her name is Changing Woman, and she is sacred to the Navajo Peoples of Arizona.

Anne: All Hail, beautiful Changing Woman! Welcome to New Jersey!

Changing Woman: Which way is the airport?

Anne: I feel ya. Those Arizona vistas are so popular there's a whole monthly magazine dedicated to them. Changing Woman, I've often thought about You, but I've never addressed You in a Ritual. So here, for the record, I would like to thank Your supremely intelligent praise and worship team for confounding the Japanese during World War II with the complexity of their language. I have always found that fascinating, and I'm sure You are behind it somewhere.

Changing Woman: I am always behind My people, watching them. Your so-called "America" hasn't been a friendly place for my praise and worship team, but nothing has kept My people from taking care of Me.

Anne: Thank goodness for that! Changing Woman, what would you say to a government that legislated religion, so that Your people would absolutely have to hear about the Fertile Crescent deity in their classrooms?

Changing Woman: I'd be all for My people hearing about God as a myth created by a literate tribe in what is now the western Mediterranean Basin.

Anne: Whoa. You're a very intelligent Goddess. (Is there any other kind?) And I love the way You created people to keep you company -- not as little mini-me half-clones for your amusement. I know I'd rather be a friend to a Goddess than a penitent to a God.

Changing Woman: Why don't you come with me to Arizona?

Anne: I don't have papers.

Changing Woman: Say no more. It's crazy out there right now.

Anne: Well, I won't keep You, Changing Woman. We'll offer a little prayer here for You, and if You would be so kind, I have a petition...

Changing Woman: Bring it on!

Anne: Would you get your son, Monster Slayer, to keep an eye on the One God theocrats?

Changing Woman: Already happening, Anne. Be of good cheer.

I stole the following chant from Debra, She Who Seeks, and I hope this link will take you to her, but if it doesn't, she's in my sidebar.

Let us commune with Changing Woman:

"There is a Woman,
She rides the night sky.
See Her spin, watch Her fingers fly!
She is within us, beginning to end:
Our grandmother, our sister, our friend." 

May the Gods bless America! May the Gods guard our First Amendment rights. Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion. So might it be.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Interview with a Bored Goddess: Sedna

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," deliberating with downsized deities since 2005! If you're a late arrival here, you've parked curbside just in the nick of time! We're having a good ol' bored god tent revival in response to a hornet's nest of theocrats bent upon making One Nation under God a legal reality.

This benign little group is called DC40, and they're rather tied in to Rick Perry. You can read all about it over at The Wild Hunt Blog. Just click my sidebar and follow the tags.

DC40 began on October 3 to concentrate black magic prayer intentions toward Hawaii. Every day the group will direct their black magic odd bell-ringing prayers toward another state, going backwards to (I presume they know their history) modest little Delaware. They plan an 11-day visit to Philadelphia in November.

That's in the future. We've got to concentrate on the here and now. And with that, I have another bored Goddess here with me today. Please give a warm, wonderful "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Sedna, Sacred Goddess of the Inuit Peoples!

Sedna: Goodness, it's warm here! Is October always like this in New Jersey?

Anne: Actually we're finally getting somewhat seasonal temperatures. It has been very warm and rainy here for the past month and a half. Dear Goddess, let me go make you a nice bucket of ice water. Home Sweet Home and all that.

Sedna: Thank you.

Anne: Sedna, just FYI, here's what the folks at DC40 wrote about Alaska on their web site:

On October 4, it will be Alaska’s turn to take the point position of leading intercession in releasing the power of eternal light over our nation’s capital, with the strength of the other 49 standing as one alongside her.

Sedna: The power of eternal light? From Alaska? In mid-winter we hardly get any light at all! Even now the days are getting shorter by the eye-blink. If I have anything to say about it, Alaska will not be releasing any light that we need ourselves to get prepared for the long winter ahead.

Anne: A highly sensible strategy, Great Goddess.

Sedna: And frankly, my praise and worship team has little fondness for the "other 49." The other 49? All they want from us is cheap oil, at any cost to My pristine wilderness. What's the name of that guy who's interested in getting Alaska to secede from the "other 49?"

Anne: Todd Palin?

Sedna: Yeah, I think he's one of them. Not that I want a moron like him in charge of anything, but my praise and worship team would be peachy keen on dumping the other 49. And keeping the oil in the ground, where it won't poison waterways and kill wildlife.

Anne: Speaking of the Palins, what have you to say about Sarah?

Sedna: Took care of her.

Anne: What?

Sedna: Did you see how foolish she made herself look? She's not that stupid. But when you run at cross-purposes to Sedna, She will rattle your brain.

Anne: You're taking credit for Sarah's precipitous fall from power?

Sedna: Well, Anne, it's like this. If DC40 and its ilk think that they can influence people with prayer, then guess what? So can the followers of Sedna! My praise and worship team prayed constantly that Sarah Palin would tank like a stone, and so she has done. And now ...

Anne: Oooo OOOOO oooo! SQUEEEEE! Rick Perry's big chums with the DC40 crowd! Is he tripping up due to the prayers of the followers of the bored gods?

Sedna: Bored gods and busy gods. Krishna is livid.

Anne: I hope we can reassure Krishna, and the Buddhists, and even the sane and sober Methodists, that this nation will remain pluralistic, embracing the great variety of people who live here and their varieties of religious experience.

Sedna: Yes, fine, pluralistic is fine, but can I get some respect for My people? Can you imagine living for millennia in one of the most hostile wilderness areas on the planet, and then being told your deities are inferior to some god who lives the soft life in the Fertile Crescent?

Anne: Good point. God's followers would not doubt credit Him with the ability to construct an igloo, but I'm skeptical.

Sedna: Me too. It's harder than it looks on those National Geographic specials.

Anne: Sedna, I have some ice cream down in the freezer. Would you like a banana split?

Sedna: No thank you. Pairing bananas and ice cream is like pairing palm trees and glaciers. Just doesn't seem right to me somehow.

Anne: Well, thank you for dropping in. We at "The Gods Are Bored" are going to lift up a prayer for You and Yours. Good luck with that long, cold winter!

Sedna: We are used to them. It's how we roll.

My dear friends, let us face Alaska and pray to Great Sedna:

"Oh gentle Sedna of the Arctic,
We pray for the protection of Your people and their way of life.
May they always reach out to You for the certain protection of their millennial ways.
Gentle Sedna, feel our concern for Your lands,
That they be held sacred.
That they not be broken in a scramble for profits.
That they hold the magnificent winter wilderness.
Go into the peaceful darkness, dear Sedna.
The light is for You and Your people.

All hail Sedna. All hail the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

Artwork by the absolutely incomparable Thalia Took.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Interview with a Bored Goddess: Pele

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" In case you've missed it, this month -- so sacred to Pagans -- has been declared a war zone by some people who want Jesus to blow things up. Pish tosh to them! As the veil grows thin, we will call upon the Gods and Goddesses to protect our land from zealotry of every stripe!

Today, the nefarious group known as "DC 40," founded by the linked lunatic above, has launched its prayer assault against the great state of Hawaii, birthplace of our current president (yes, really). Little known fact: Hawaii was granted statehood the year I was born. Yep. It's me, Alaska, Hawaii, and Barbie! Great year.

In response to the DC 40 bloody rain of terror, the Great Goddess Pele, sacred to the Original People of Hawaii, has dropped by for a quick interview. Please give a warm, wonderful, "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Pele!

Anne: My, my, you are a pretty Lady!

Pele: The artist Thalia Took has done a lovely likeness. Brrrr! It's cold in your house! Shall I warm things up?

Anne: Oh, no no! That's okay! Really! So kind and all, but we've got love to keep us warm here at Chateau Johnson. We don't need a Volcano Goddess. But this isn't Hawaii. This is New Jersey. Where exactly would Hawaii be without you, O Pele?

Pele: It wouldn't exist. My Sisters and I are responsible for many of the islands of the Pacific Rim.

Anne: And beautiful islands they are, too. So I'm told. I've never been to any of them. Pele, how do you feel about people who would like to pray you out of the way? It's not like they can kill you, but they can rob you of your praise and worship team.

Pele: I get steamed up about it. Who are these people, anyway? What's so special about their God?

Anne: Their God set a bush on fire, and it didn't burn. It just stood there.

Pele: That sounds like a myth to me.

Anne: Me too. I'd like to see it done again, no modern tricks.

Pele: Me too. I send out warnings before I start burning stuff up, but when I blow, things burn.

Anne: And from the nutrient-rich ashes of your fires, Great Goddess, come the verdant forests of our 50th state! All hail!

Pele: Thank you.

Anne: I've got a modest following here at "The Gods Are Bored," o Great Goddess Pele. Today I'm going to ask them to join me in prayer. Readers, please face Hawaii and pray the following:

"Great Goddess Pele of Hawaii,
Long may You live in peace as a Goddess of America.
Guard Your people as You did before the American flag flew in Your land.
We praise you, Great Pele.
Long may Your sacred fires turn into flowers!"

Pele: Oh, that's lovely! Now I must be homeward bound. Would you like to join me, Anne?

Anne: Well, let's see. On one hand, I have New Jersey, governed by Chris Christie, peppered with oil refineries and chemical plants, criss-crossed by turnpikes, and subject to all the air pollution flowing west to east across continental USA. On the other, Maui. Give me 15 minutes, Goddess, to pack my bags!

All hail Pele, Goddess of Hawaii. All hail the First Amendment of the Constitution. Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion.

Forever and ever. So might it be.

Image: Pele, by Thalia Took. Sidebar. For all your deity needs!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Frank Talk about Sexy Witches

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Enough with the Mummers already, that's local talk. The veil grows thin, the faeries romp, and it's time to turn our thoughts to Samhein! Have you kissed your First Amendment today? The government can't legislate away our bored gods. So might it always be.

This lovely artwork is part of a series of pin-ups by Gil Elvren. Wowsa. I like it!

It's time to revise our definition of Witch to include "sexy."

One of the appeals of Paganism, in my modest view, is how little it asks of you in the way of attire. How few strictures it places upon you in matters of the flesh, so long as you're not harming anyone when you strut your stuff. (*mmm* strutting *mmm* Mummers ...)

Okay, where was I? Back on topic here!

This picture does not offend me in any way. In fact, I find it delightful. I enjoy the fact that my religion attracts people who like to dress ... oh, slightly more modest than this, maybe. Maybe less modest, if you include the festivals. And if you consider nudity immodest, then ahem. What are you doing at "The Gods Are Bored?" Go tour Amish country on a bus!

With the advent of sensible family planning, the only curb I can see to rampant flesh-press is that you must be mindful that sex and love often co-mingle. As well they should. The bored gods set up the sex and love thing back in the day, before the pill and the condom. But bored gods, unlike busy ones, are more flexible when it comes to modernization of their praise and worship teams. Go to town, you sexy witches! Queen Danu approves!

It's not a bad thing to want to be attractive, sexy, seductive. Dress the part! All acts of love and pleasure are divine ... so long as no one gets hurt and the furniture remains stain-free. (The latter can be accomplished by using the great outdoors or your nice no-wrinkle cotton percale sheets.)

As we occupy Wall Street, let us also take back the Right To Have Fun. Enjoy yourself! Your body is a temple, and one of the best rooms is you-know-where.

I'm Anne Johnson, and I approve this message.