This has been on my list of tattoos to get for at least five years.
While I see the point in maybe highlighting some of the vulnerabilities in pagan and polytheist communities to New Right ideologies and thus potential infiltration, naming and all-but-naming specific groups of well-established sects, factions, and specific groups of pagans and polytheists is highly problematic (at best), because it subconsciously associates those broadly-defined (and specifically named) groups with the New Right and other forms of Fascism with the reader.
Rhyd’s piece is not completely devoid of value, but his willingness to make an implicit association of pagan groups like Trad Wicca, ADF, Northern Tradition, and more loosely-defined movements like reconstructionism (of which there are formally-associated groups, like Hellenion in the US, and several Celtic groups I know of, but am brain-farting on the names of) and devotional polytheism — that speaks volumes to the notion that he’d constructed this article with a personal agenda in mind.
As i said the other day: He’s smart, and he’s always very careful of the words and phrases he chooses, I have no reason to think that he didn’t know exactly what he was doing with this — especially considering that he made it clear that he was excluding OBOD (a group he’s associated with), Feri, and Reclaiming (groups others in the core G&R team are associated with) from this vague non-association via vulnerable traits. I took note the other day that John Beckett, also associated with OBOD, seems unable to figure out how Rhyd is reasoning that OBOD is somehow “egalitarian” in its set-up, but more like a benevolent “dictatorship” — which is kind of the exact opposite of an egalitarian group, much less a fiercely egalitarian group.
He’s taking digs at great swaths of people for what I can only guess are personal reasons, and he’s couching it in a necessary article. That’s just not cool on so many levels.
I’m all for highlighting vulnerabilities that a group may have, so that we can see what may make it attractive to certain vile political factions, if only for the sake of being on the look out, but the issue comes with listing out specific groups and factions in the manner he did: The juxtaposition of such a list following a clear list of those who are individuals and organisations associated with the New Right. He can add as many disclaimers around the second list as he feels like, he’s already created an association in the minds of the reader.
As much as I appreciate Rhyd’s latest piece on Patheos, which made several clarifications (many unnecessary, for me, but apparently others need it), that doesn’t exactly excuse an ostensibly competent magician from including a section in the offending piece that seemed arranged with little more purpose than to incense others —including myself, and I’m far closer to his part of the political spectrum than I am to that of my other friend, Galina Krasskova. At best, the inclusion seems naïve or ill-thought —I know Rhyd well enough from our (admittedly limited) interactions to know that he is neither.
As several comments on his Patheos follow-up suggested (including members of the G&R writing staff), I’m also of the opinion that what is a relevant, even necessary message, got lost in a sloppy execution. I don’t disagree with him, I disagree with the way in which he put it forward — which distracted a lot of people, making it harder to immediately recognise the New Right from the Distracted Left in his dissenters.
If you know, let me know, cos I have no fucking idea. The cause is not necessarily as *important* at the fact that suddenly all my blog subscription alerts are all of a sudden all:
“Nazi, Fascist, Nazi, Nazi, Nazi, New Right and Fascists, Neonazis, Donald Duck and Walt Disney, crap n stuff, Henry Ford, Racism in polytheist groups — it’s somehow everywhere and barely anywhere — and did you know about this thing called Nazis? PS: Svastika – Nazi or Buddhist? Who can tell!?”
It’s like some of you people know, instinctively (even those who seem to barely seem to pay any attention to me on Teh Farceborg), that i fell off my bicycle, busted up my knee, and can barely leave the apartment, and i’m already tired of watching Netflix and Hulu, so all i have left to do is READ BLOGS. (Yes, I could probably re-read a few books, or re-watch a few DVDs, but let’s get real, kids…)
First, let’s go to Patheos Pagan’s article from Megan Manson, back in January(!!), which is suddenly in my Disqus Daily Diget comments feed, again, When Hitler Stole Our Symbols. On Facebook,I had this to say:
If you still think the svastika (“manji” in Japanese) is somehow an indefensible symbol if racism and fascism, you are a part of the problem — and I’ll even wager that you’re willing to let the white supremacists win by advocating the suppression of non-white practises, by advocating COLONIALISM, just to make white people more comfortable.
Seriously, I have a brass plate I use for offerings at my Apollon shrine, [it was] salvaged from some stuff a Hindi family at an old apartment complex I [lived] at nine years ago threw away [or rather, they left it in a small box near the building dumpster, apparently unable to take it to one of the local charity shops (for reasons that I’d imagine were ultimately racist and xenophobic), but unwilling to actually throw it away —an act which speaks volumes about the reverence given to the svastika to Hindus]. It has a svastika on it, along with other solar symbolism.The symbol was used by the Boeotian peoples in ancient Greece — its implications and meanings in pre-Christian religions, and as a pre-WWII talisman [and benign decorative symbol] are often [clearly conveyed] in the specific use (how it’s drawn, any accompanying symbolism, any culturally-specific uses that should be clear — especially anywhere in Asia), which is a far cry from the Nazi hakenkruz. Needless to say, I kinda hate explaining this brass plate to anyone who remarks on it (which, so far, has totalled maybe 50% of everyone who’s been in my apartment [which is practically everyone who has actually seen it]), but I’m still going to, because, just like Makoto Watanabe (quoted in Cme Manson’s piece), I believe in education before suppression.
I find it just awful that Japan has seriously considered kowtowing to colonising Westerners who might be uncomfortable with the idea of learning shit about the world around them, such as the real history of a symbol they’ve been propagandised into believing is a universal symbol of hatred due to cultural appropriation. I also find it hell of ironic that a lot of white kids who talk big about how cultural appropriation is just awful will concede to giving white supramicists the solar cross “well, you know, COS NAZIS!!!” —even when it can be clearly demonstrated that the Nazis neither created, nor are the only people continuing to use an equilateral cross with all arms bent in a continuous direction.
By the way, did anyone remember how I went on about the svastika some months ago, right on here and everything? 😀
So, onto other news…
Apparently this happened, last night, and I’m apparently already late to the party with giving my two cents.
While Rhyd (who practically admitted authorship in the comments of John Beckett’s post, which Galina Krasskova was kind enough to highlight here, along with several other bloggers who got to commenting on this before I did) *did* attempt to clarify that none of the named segments of Pagans and Polytheists he names are inherently a part of the New Right he rightly states is necessary to call out from our communities, as John Beckett said in response (on his own blog, not in the G&R comments), Rhyd should know well enough to know that magic (which Rhyd practises) in specific, and people in general simply don’t work that way. One can put all the disclaimers in the world on whatever cockamamie statements they like, but the take-away the reader absorbs is still…
Beckett is being generous in suggesting that maybe Rhyd didn’t intend this take-away — and I’d be inclined to believe that, if not for the fact that I know that Rhyd is all about social justice movements — hell, one can barely skim through Gods & Radicals for a post by any author without coming across at least a sentence about the importance of gains in the social justice movements — statements I whole-heartedly agree with. That said, again, I find it hard to believe that Rhyd didn’t intend to imply all over the place that Goddess spirituality movements,1 Reconstructed polytheism, devotional polytheists, Druid-influenced groups including ADF(!!!)2 and somehow explicitly excluding OBOD, Feri, and Reclaiming, a group of which Rhyd openly has very close associations, and nearly every Heathen, Norse pagan, and “Northern Tradition” practitioner (the latter being a term just anout anyone with more than a passing familiarity with the Germanic polytheist splintering, even non-Heathens, such as myself, are aware is a term used near-exclusively by Raven Kaldera and his co-religionists — and I can say with confidence that Kaldera is as much a Fascist as he is cisgender), and not to mention a majority of witches (and also somehow more-immune to Fascist vulnerabilities are Feri and Reclaining, groups of which other core members of the G&R writing team have close, well-known associations), for the simple fact that, a common call-out in social justice circles all over the Internet for going on twenty years is this:
Rhyd is very careful about his choices of words and phraseology. Plus there’s the fact that Rhyd is a smart man — I’ve not just observed this in his blogging, but also in real life, when I met him at the Polytheist Leadership Conference a couple years ago. He knows good intentions are no excuse for implicitly smearing others in this way (including others who have gone out of their way to support him, give him voice, and recognise the value in much of his words), regardless of the importance of the message that this smear is couched in.
Make no mistake: With the clear political message he’s conveying, I’ve got no real argument, though I think it would’ve been best to explain exactly what it is about things like hierarchies that make religious movements which acknowledge them more vulnerable to fascism. I pick on this point, in particular, for good reason:
Hierarchy actually is a foundation of the natural learning process, as Beckett explains. As I’m learning the philosophy of Erotic Hedonism for my position, I’m not at all on equal ground with Eros, nor ios Eros on equal ground with Nyx, nor Psykhe, nor Hedone. All these tiers have importance, and that importance is relevant when it’s relevant, but let’s be real for a minute:
A small child learning to read isn’t on equal ground with the ones teaching that child to read — hypothetical child can’t just decide that “cat” is pronounced like “floop” because someone let them believe that everyone is on equal ground in all ways, meaning Child gets to decide how “cat” is pronounced because their opinion is equal to Teacher’s.
That’s what hierarchy is, at its core: the root comes from the Greek, hierarkhia, “rule of a high priest”, hierarkhes, “leader of the sacred rites”, and ta hiera, “sacred rites” or “the sacred” — in the modern secular sense, it’s a formal recognition of authority, at its core. We recognise authority in all walks of life, and even in the anarchy endorsed by Rhyd Wildermuth, there are still rules, and the youngest and least experienced who wish to learn more about this from him, even if just by reading his writings online and off, recognise him as an authority on these matters.
It’s the perversion of hierarchy from a sacred order of rites to a pyramid of power and pecking-order within Catholicism, in order to keep the peasants in line, and within Capitalism, in order to keep the peasants in line, and within the more recent advent of Fascist movements, in order to keep the peasants in line, that has made it a “dirty word” in certain socio-political circles. I don’t believe that in clearly political matters, that Capitalism and systems that enforce it, at the only way. I am abhorred by the (many and varied) ideologies of Fascist movements. Having grown up Catholic, and even I can barely understand how the pecking-order of priesthood works, and am far more repulsed by their history of conquest, Colonialism, and suppression of the people in all meaningful ways, there is, though a place for hierarchy —especially in the ancient Hellenic sense of hierarkhia, hierarkhes, and ta hiera, and it’s within my religion. It’s with great apprehension that I’ve taken on the role offered to me of leadership within the school of Erotic Hedonism, because i see what kinds of ship that formal and de-facto leaders in pagan and polytheist communities get, so my primary “silver lining” in taking that is the knowledge that it’s a school of philosophy, which depends on discussions with the students to thrive, though the skeleton of the school is clear and plain to retain its identity, and if a bone breaks, we repain it, with knowledge that new bone tissue much form to hold it back together. Hopefully the distinction between a school of philosophy, mystery cult, and “loosely-defined devotional sect with the strongest voices acting as de-facto leadership”, will make whatever shit I’m destined to put up with minimal, in comparison — in comparison.
…but I digress…
I generally agree with Beckett’s statements that a good portion of Rhyd’s argument is presented fallaciously, and in a manner disturbingly reminiscent of McCarthyism.
Furthermore, the article itself strikes me as an all-but-verbatim transcription of Amy Hale from this old Wild Hunt podcast interview, almost exactly four years old (seriously, what is it about the Vernal Equinox time of year that gets everyone in the polytheist blogosphere talking about Nazis?); the primary difference that keeps Rhyd’s piece reading like a practical Cliff’s Notes of Hale is that he’s included a list of broadly-defined pagan and polytheist movements that are especially vulnerable to Fascism (with an exclusion of groups associated with writers of G&R).
While I absolutely agree with the importance of Rhyd’s message, I find his execution an intentionally infuriating level of ludicrous.
…but that may just be his goal, you know? Maybe he’s just looking for infuriating statements he can make that’ll go viral, drawing G&R a ton of “grassroots word-of-mouth” and give him an even wider audience, no matter how close he gets to borderlining libelous?
I’ve liked Rhyd for a long time; I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says on a lot of topics, but as we all know, we have to pick our own battles, and sometimes it’s just better to shrug and move on. It saddens me that I’m not sure how much longer after this that I even can like Rhyd —not because everyone knows many of the people he was implicitly aligning with Fascist tendencies (even though he was careful to name few names), and i know several people as friends, but because I, as anyone else who’s even a fraction as loud as I am, just have no idea when I’m going to be targeted in an upcoming unnamed attack like this.
I’ve liked him for years, but this has made for a serious breach of trust and respect.
1: practically as a whole, including those who have explicitly separated from the Zsuzsanna Budapest schools on any combination of several ideological grounds
2: He also describes ADF as a “smaller group”, which strikes me as incredibly odd, as it’s literally the biggest pagan and polytheist group in the Midwest, as best as I can tell, considering that, at any pagan gathering I’ve been at, of those affiliated with a group, at least half of them are in ADF, and practically everyone there is at least somewhat familiar with ADF. Maybe it’s just the circles I run in, but calling ADF a “smaller group”, especially a “smaller group” that’s implied to be especially vulnerable to fascism, is very odd —and not to mention, absolutely incendiary.
I can’t afford not to, and I’ve been given permission to part with it.
I’m asking $50, or best offer. It’s one of my favourites I’ve done, arguably one of my best, I’d really like $75, but I can’t afford to expect that much.
If you can’t PayPal, let me know, I can set up a listing on my Etsy for my art.
The other paintings previously posted for sale are all still available, as well.
All money from paintings sold will go toward the new apartment. I really can’t afford otherwise.
Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who might be interested.
(and cos i get asked this a lot, yes, i based my Hekate in this off the famous green-eyed Afghan girl.)
If you can’t afford a painting but still want to help out, I’m always taking donations:
So, in response to The Wild Hunt’s Yule/Solstice Shopping Guide, I figured I’d make up one of my own for Polytheists! If you can think of anything I should add, leave a comment or send me a message via the Contact form. I’m giving preferential treatment to COMMUNITY ARTISTS, WRITERS, AND CRAFTSPERSONS! Mainstreamed, Llewellyn stuff and big-studio films get enough exposure, so here we go!
- Non-Fiction Books
- Art, devotional and ritual items, nick-knacks, and neat shit
- Clothing, Jewellery, & Accessories
Did you know that Sannion put out some new books, this year? Heart of the Labyrinth and Thunderstruck With Wine, both promise to be great for the Dionysian in your life, and if you haven’t, already, check out his other books, too!
Sanngetall Press has plenty of excellent works to choose from, including this year’s On Divination, Honouring the Ancestors, and Devotional Polytheism.
For those more academic and theology-minded, I’d also recommend Edward Butler’s Essays on the Metaphysics of Polytheism in Proclus , which was out this April. Also check out Essays on a Polytheistic Philosophy of Religion, which was out this May.
…and, of course, PSVL’s Red Lotus Library is full of great options, as well, including Ephesia Grammata: Ancient History and Modern Practice from earlier this year.
Of course, if pissing off the pagan mainstream and polytheist tea-baggers is high on the priorities of you and your loved ones, Rhyd Wildermuth’s Your Face Is a Forest is out!
And hey! It’s been a while since I pitched the New Boeotian calendar! (also: to anyone who may have noticed —I finally fixed the byline on the PDF)
So, someone in the comments suggested to me Jolene Poseidonae’s story subscription! For only $5/month, you can gift yourself or a loved one with original fiction that goes straight to a polytheist who indicates needing it for medical bills. $5/month for an original 4000-word story (or chapter of a longer story) —that’s less than some people spend on the same amount of Kindle porn.
There’s also WildTaleWort from writer Sylvia Victor Linsteadt (recommended in the same comment); another story subscription, this one via snail-mail post.
Sarah Kate Istra Winter is having a Yule Sale up at her Goblinesquerie shop, and her Carnival Talk Etsy shop features not only her latest book, but also lots of postcards and prints of vintage carnival photos, suitable for all manner of purposes.
If Heathen stuff is more your thing, Beth Wodanis has lots of yarns, beadworks, and even candles up at her FiberWitch shop! Most things look Heathen-themed, but a couple Hellenic-appropriate items are there, too. She’s even got a 25% off coupon (YULE2014)!
Galina Krasskova also has dozens of prayer cards up, including Heathen, Graeco-Roman, Egyptian, and other deities.
And hey! Did you know both Wendy Rule and Sopor Aeternus had new albums this year? Rule’s Black Snake is, as always, quite excellent, and Sopor Aeternus’ Mitternacht is another stellar offering of creepy goodness.
Polyphanes/The Digital Ambler has some beautiful woodwork and beadwork with a Hermetic bend, in addition to some valuable PDF ebooks.
DocBrite/Billy Martin/the writer formerly known as Poppy Z Brite may not need the pitch from me, but he’s got lots of gorgeous ritual, art, and curiosity items up at PZBART.
For absinthe, tea, and Greek coffee rituals, you really can’t do better than the skull-shaped sugar lumps from DemBones.
And Bohemiart has long been a favourite of mine, using mixed media to create haunting images appropriate for shrines, altars, and decor.
Emily Balivet also has hundreds of art nouveau styled prints and original pieces inspired by mythology and goddesses.
Creatures From El is a shop of Guelph, Ontario-based sculptor, Ellen Jewett, and features only original, mixed-media pieces of fantastical creatures.
If you know people into fairy stuff, check out the Fairy Doors at Nothing But Wood –some function as outlet covers, but most have indoor/outdoor installation in mind (put one up in your child’s room so that the fairies can have easier access when they misbehave!)
And of course, Laurelei Black’s Blade & Broom Botanica has many beautiful, hand-crafted ritual items, e-books, and more!
I almost forgot Alley valkyrie’s Practical Rabbit shop –she’s got screen-printed thingers of all sorts: T-shirts, patches, flags, altar cloths, and even onesies for the babies!
And lastly, in addition to my art and Hellenic alphabet divination tiles, you can pick up some of the literally HUNDREDS of my badges (see the Religion and Magic section!) I’ve also got a coupon code in both shops (HAPPYNEWYEAR — 15% off $10 or more at Nocturnal Spirits, or 12% off %1.50 or more at OddModOut).
Vis-a-Vis Jewellery have dozens of goegeous moulded (reproduction) coin and cameo-styled jewellery in Greco-Roman, art nouveau, and other polytheist and pagan-friendly styles.
Liselotte Erikson at A Changeling’s Closet has many gorgeous headdresses to choose from (and a lot of watercolour prints, too –but the headdresses are my favourite!)
The Black Cat Closet has oodles of vintage clothes and jewellery for those with a dark and/or pagan/witchy aesthetic.
For your fairy-minded friends, check out the selection of wings from Fairy Trade, and the tutus and other cute accessories from Sisters of the Moon.
For the non-vegans on your gift list, Contrived to Charm has absolutely stunning tooled leather belts, bags, tarot pouches, and more.
Dreaded Jenocide has dozens of cute ear spirals, horns, and chokers, all handmade!
And to go with the Carnival Talk book and prints, check out these printed tights from Carousel Ink!
And I can’t leave out RavenEve jewellery –she’s been at this for about (at least?) twenty years, and is based in the Detroit area. She’s best known for hand jewellery and headdresses, including finger armour, “slave” bracelets, and diadems in art nouveau, art deco, and baroque styles, using a mix of vintage and new materials.
GLUCKS has lots of beautiful, pagan and Heathen bronze pendants.
Ugly Shyla is best known for her creepy art dolls (often based on dead children), but has recently been making jewellery with designs inspired by her long-held reverence for death, and her own New Orleans voodoo practises and interest in LaVey’s philosophies.
Oh! And I almost forgot: You know those faux-fur animal hats that were trendy last year? Do you know who started them? Etsy seller Cassandra Kettler at her shop Womp-A-Wear! Everyone else is a copycat. She’s part of the Burning Man community (and pagan, too, if I’m not mistaken) and has been making these at home for years. She does adult and child sizes, and can do custom sizes and add all sorts of embellishments (including side pockets and charms –and not to mention other accessories to go with your animal spirit hat, like boot covers and belts) that you can’t find on the cheap and crappy imitations at the mall.
One of my friends on FaceBook just invited me to like her shop, Elenari: Wands – Runes – Jewellery! She’s got gorgeous stuff, she loves spiral designs, it seems, and I’m putting it here cos she’s currently got more jewellery up than ritual stuff.
Remember, if there’s anything that I’m missing, or that you think I should have, leave a comment or send a message, and I’ll add it and a brief description to the above links! Feel free to spread this around to your own blogs or share it with your friends!
When I lived in Virginia (as brief as that was), I met one other person who was from this area, and we could tell we weren’t bullshitting each other on that point, cos we each had cards for a grocery store called Hiller’s. There are only a handful of Hiller’s Markets and they’re currently all in Michigan, though I think there used to be one in Indiana, too (though I may be confusing that with Marco’s Pizza, which is based in Indiana, though most locations are in Ohio, meaning, contrary to what some people in the A2/Ypsi area seemed to believe as few as 7-8 years ago, it’s not a locally-owned mom-n-pop style pizza place, it’s one of only a few surviving Michigan locations of what’s actually a major chain in Ohio and a “local chain” only in South Bend, IN, or something). I’ve since lost my original Hiller’s card, so I signed up for a new one when I moved back to the area, especially after I discovered that they’re the only place in Michigan where I can get real British-made Cadbury chocolate, which I can have, unlike the soy-laden stuff made for the American market.
Hiller’s is something of a cross between a local-focus and allergy-friendly Kroger and a poor man’s Nino Salvaggio1: There’s a lot of locally-produced stuff, a mix of popular and obscure national brands, a lot of stuff that caters to celiacs, food allergies, and veg*n stuff, and there’s also a lot of imported stuff that has considerably less-obnoxious prices than at most other places that focus on imports. It’s a tad too pricey to be my only grocery store for a lot of things, and for some stuff where there’s barely a difference in price, I prefer the Ypsilanti farmer’s Market, when that’s going, but Hiller’s is a great little store, and like I said, for its focus as a grocery chain, it’s probably the best for prices (which is why I made the comparison to Kroger rather than Whole Foods).
So, I brought this up cos of their card, and apparently they changed it since the last time I had a card for them.
The first major change to their card system is you can get the sale price with or without the Club Card, which is nice. The next change is that you have the option to load coupons, “clipped” electronically from the website, onto the card. This is cool, especially if you can get the coupon thing to work. The next thing is that you get automatically joined up into “clubs”, like the “Soup Club” where you buy four soups and get one free, and the “Chicken club”, where the same rule applies (buy four things of chicken, get one free), and the “frequent shopper club” where you make 12 trips costing $25 or more and you get $5 off your 13th trip.
Then there’s the “Community rewards”, where, based on what you spend, Hiller’s will donate a proportionate amount to local schools or charities.
This is where it will become more immediately relevant:
I used to save those Box Tops for Education things for the local Greek School, which is a weekly Greek language program for elementary children and adults through St. Nicholas’ Orthodox Church. I’ve never signed up cos it would actually cost a lot less to get the full Rosetta Stone program, and even that shit’s expensive, and I’ve never been able to find anything about a scholarship for adult students. Which is fine, especially as I’d kind of rather avoid churches, if I can, but donating what I can is still a nice thing to do, even if it’s through a corporate program looking for a tax-cut.
But I also noticed that Hiller’s will donate to the Michigan Animal Rescue League (MARL), which is the no-kill organisation that I adopted my last cat, Vermin, from. So now I’m torn –sign up to get more toward the Greek School, or sign up to get more money funnelled over to the MARL? As a no-kill rescue organisation rather than a shelter, MARL could always use more money, but giving to the Greek school had once been a devotional act to Hermes (as He Who gave the Greeks the alphabet and language), and I’m thinking it’d be a good thing to do with the task I’ve taken on with making alphabet tiles/stones for divination purposes…
…BUT KITTIES. I mean, look at this fucking kitty! Look at her!
…but MARL is a non-profit with some apparent corporate donation links (including Bissell and Pedigree dog food) and do adoptions from a couple PetCo locations in the Pontiac/Rochester, MI, area, and seem pretty savvy about getting donations. Through the Box Tops and Campbell’s Soup Labels programs, I get the impression that the Greek school might not be getting the funds they’d like, and I know some years ago, St. Nick’s had to relocate from their gorgeous 100+ years-old building near Kerrytown in down-town Ann Arbor cos the landlord decided to jack up the rent and when they couldn’t make it in full and on time for a few years (and I heard from the historical society that the landlord had been raising the rent way beyond reasonable on them every year for several years), they were kicked out and the building was converted into “luxury artist lofts” (what the fuck even is that??).
I think my mind might be made up, and I’m just going to toss some bones to confirm it, BUT, if anyone wants to do a divination exchange with me over this, let me know. I could still use some practise with the Hellenic alphabet system, and it’s always nice to have this sort of thing confirmed from a second source, you know?
That said, don’t let my decision sway you: If you live in a city with a Hiller’s, especially if you feel like you’re their target audience (which is Whole Foods-like selections at almost-Kroger-like prices), it’s a tiny local chain, so you should shop there. You can contribute to donations to the Michigan Animal Rescue League (and dozens of other local schools and charities) through your purchases made via your Hiller’s card. YOU CAN GET FREE SOUPS AND CHICKEN!!
1: People who’ve been reading my blogs since my earliest days on LiveJournal (we’re talking late 1999/early 2000), of which I think maybe only two or three people currently do, may remember Nino Salvaggio from the first year Scott and I lived in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and I tried for like, three days during a bizarre pumpkin shortage to obtain a pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern legally, but had to resort to stealing one from the display at Nino’s after-hours, which got me a thank-you from someone who identified himself as a representative from the Pumpkin Liberation Front.
This means I live here, now. I never feel like I *really* live somewhere until I have a library card. I can get my State ID updated, I can have my voter registration transferred to my district, but that doesn’t really matter, at least not to me. I don’t live somewhere until I’ve had my library card.
Unfortunately, I’ve lost library cards for many places I’ve lived: Toledo, Ohio; Lenawee County, Michigan; Ann Arbor; Chicago, Los Angeles; Gary, Indiana; Charlottesville, Virginia….. I never had a Lansing, Michigan library card… Perhaps that affected me, in some way? I also never had a library card for Cadillac, Michigan, but I’d always intended that to be temporary, and was really surprised that I managed six months there.
Every city of the ancient Mediterranean considered a “cultural hub” was know for, amongst other things, the ways they honoured (whether explicitly or implicitly) The Moisai. Libraries of the Graeco-Roman world, especially the most famous, the Library of Alexandria, were also temples of the Moisai. Public art, in the Graeco-Roman world, was regarded as being guided by a Muse. These are goddesses of civilisation and culture, not only art and music, but KNOWLEDGE.
Many people mistake Athene’s holy places in the modern world as including libraries, but this is based on a misunderstanding of Athene’s domains. Her domains, conceptually, include Wisdom. Wisdom is not synonymous with Knowledge. Knowledge is a collection of things learned, Wisdom, on the other hand, is how one uses knowledge, understanding, and insights. Wisdom cannot be gained from libraries alone –take it from someone who spent his childhood in them, knowing everything about anything doesn’t make one wise, it makes one knowledged; or, to put it succinctly, if knowledge alone granted wisdom, I would not have made nearly the number of poor judgements I had in my life, but at this point in my life, but I feel I’ve gained at least enough wisdom to know that I’m probably not done with those mis-steps in judgement, nor will my accumulation of knowledge prevent it.
Athene’s domain is not the knowledge of history books, but the wisdom of the oral traditions.
This is not to say that knowledge is at all worthless, when compared to knowledge. Knowledge, and the accumulation of it in a referencable form, books, film, microfiche, all manner of recordings, and digital media has only improved not only technology, but societies. Books and other writings and recordings of information have played integral roles in ending slavery, gaining women the right to vote, creating the modern 40-hour work week and minimum wage, and so on. We need knowledge.
While our own experiences are our own best reference points of knowledge, the arts, writing and recording is the best possible way to access the knowledge and experiences of others and relating to them. Human interaction, while invaluable in many ways and many instances, simply cannot convey the nuance of many experiences the way that an articulate essay or a movement in a music composition, or an especially stirring scene in a film or play can; having a discussion is only as good at giving oneself knowledge of another’s experience as that other person is at conveying themself verbally.
Because there is a wealth of human experiences that can only be best conveyed through the arts and the recording of knowledge, the Moisai are, indeed, goddesses of the very essences of our humanity –meaning that those of us who have made the arts and writing our missions in life, are serving not only the very essences of humanity, but the Goddesses Who gave that to us, whether we realise it or not.
Did I mention that this coming summer will feature another Mouseia festival? If you get a calendar, you can keep track of that. As an added bonus, I’ll be holding an online Mouseia Agon; I’ll draw up plans and post about it after the first of the winter solstice.