Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dogs Shouldn't Have To Stop

Ezarhodden (Hoddie) Hamilton 1995 - 2009


I started writing this with Hoddie in my lap, doped up and still pretty uncomfortable. We've worked on his bladder tumor for two months, and seen success with that, and dammit if a neurological problem and other tumors didn't creep in a side door to take him out. We let him go Tuesday, before he got any more miserable. Kermit and Sophie started showing up to sit with him a couple days ago. I'm not entirely sure he's ever been 100% happy since Kermit died.



Kermit and Hoddie soaking up some rays - Holden Beach, 1997


In February 1995, I brought home a four week old puppy the size of the palm of my hand, that had been left out to freeze with his sister. My folks kept the sister, and Ezarhodden went home with me. From about 2.4 seconds after I opened the door and Kermit saw him, he was Kermit's. Kermit would wash him and groom him as in the above pic, even years later when they had both gone gray, and even as Kermit's body failed him. They were inseparable, and Kermit learned to get over the beatings and abuse of his puppyhood and stop being afraid of people by watching Hoddie happily go up to anyone.

Snow on Wilkes St (that's Winnie standing by the truck) 2001


All his puppy pics got destroyed when Hurricane Fran trashed the Wilkes St trailer; these are some of the earliest I have.

Hodds wasn't afraid of anything (that's a Min-pin/Feist for ya). I had to yank him off a 2 foot rattlesnake he pointed and challenged in the woods behind the house I lived in in Hampstead, and when I took them over to run on the beach strand, good luck keeping him out of the water.

Afternoon run in the woods - January 2003

Hoddie was one of a team of four dogs that all came my way when I lived at the coast, a group that combined some of the best, most dynamic personalities I've ever met. Together for a decade, they were more than a pack; the whole was greater than the sum of its parts, and those parts were pretty damned awesome. I am privileged to have had them as family. Winnie is the "baby" and the last dog standing of the group, and she'd better not go anywhere for a long time yet.

Hodds was a good-tempered, canny little bugger; he told Muggsy when he could and couldn't sit on the couch, and used to trick the other house critters away from the heaters in the old trailer by going and rattling their food bowls, and running back to get in the coveted spot when they went to investigate. Later on he pulled the same stunt to get Muggsy out of his beloved rattan rocking chair.


"Mine!"




I know, one of the things about having furry family is they never get to stay long enough. You generally outlive all your kids. And even when they tell me they're tired and ready to go, I hate walking them to the gate and giving them back. Depending on how the disassociation of spirit goes, I usually feel like one of us is stopped there in a bubble of time, and the other is moving away, at least until they decide to pop back in to visit. It almost seems a bit like he and Josephine traded off or something.

Kermit came to get him, so that helps - it's good that they're off running around together again. But it's going to be a long time till I quit expecting to hear little clicky toenails trotting through the house, and to have a small brindled head nose his way under the covers to join the Sleeping Pile. Don't stay away long, Tap Dancer. We all miss you.




The Original Couch Trippers

Josephine and her Doglets - Winnie, Kermit, Hoddie, and Sophie



Friday, December 4, 2009

Proof that there is hope for the world . . . .

Somewhere out there in the ether, Freddie is fisting the air and going "YEEEAAAHH!"







I see a little silhouetto of an Old Skool muppet . . .

Thanx, guys!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Show-Ups

A week or so ago, some of us were helping a friend move. On the way to the new house with a load, we were talking about this and that event going on in the local community, and one of them commented to the effect that so many people were doing "important stuff", and he didn't think he was anybody who could make a difference, etc etc.

Horse piddle. He does something seriously important - he's an SU, or a show-up, somebody who shows up for things. The fun stuff and the "omigawd I just herniated a disc" stuff. The grandest, best organized, life-changing event isn't worth a dingo's kidneys if nobody shows up.

The currently underway
Parliament of World Religions is possible because people opted to be present. Our local Pagan Pride Days and other happenings only accomplish things if people decide to mosey on down. You can make often all the difference in the world, just by being a live, countable body that people can look at and say, "hey, these people thought this was worth something". If you have more to contribute, that's great - but "present and accounted for" is a legitimate skill, and most of us who put on anything like a class or festival or fundraiser are happy to see you exercise that skill. That whole contributing thing frequently happens by accident, as a side effect of you merely being involved in what someone else is doing. But it can't if you aren't there.

I'm not saying that everybody has to be there for everything. People have jobs, family stuff, health problems, and so on that dictate their days.

You, the guy in the body cast with the respirator, you're
exempt. The rest of you, show up to see him in the hospital. See? You're qualified!

There'll be something somewhere you can get in on, and if you're broke, find the free ones. Show up for a free museum or gallery show, a litter pick up, a coffee house meetup, or those guys who have open drum jams in public parks. Show up at a humane society fair or food drive - a whole lot of people just standing around talking attracts other people who wonder what's going on, and one of those people might turn out to be able to be a serious donor, or a good home for a shelter animal, or loads of other useful things. What about adding it to existing forms?


"To know, to dare, to will, to keep silent, and to show up"

"Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self-Reliance, Perseverance, and Showing Up."


"
Nothing in Excess, Surety brings Ruin, Know Thyself, and Show Up"

" . . . . I have not done falsehood against men, I have not impoverished my associates, I have done no wrong in the Place of Truth, I have done no evil, I have not deprived the orphan of his property, I have not done what the gods detest, I have not slandered a servant to his master, I have not caused pain, I have not made hungry, I have not made to weep, I have not killed, I have not turned anyone over to a killer, I have not caused anyone’s suffering, I have not kept anyone from showing up . . . . "




If you hadn't showed up here, you might not have gotten to laugh at these completely-unrelated-to-this-post goobers, neh?






Friday, November 20, 2009

The Missouri 500, or Herding Pitbulls

Jakob, one of the Missouri 500 survivors



This past July, the state of Missouri saw the nation's biggest dog fighting ring bust, with the rescue of approx. 400 dogs.

Yep. Four hundred. Most living under conditions that make a battery chicken's life look good.

Dog fighting is bad enough; these bastards took it to mass production assembly line levels. And the mass production part of that added to the difficulty - several of the females were pregnant, and the count went up to close to 500 real quick.


The Humane Society of Missouri has not let that scare them off. They took them on, were awarded custody of all the dogs, and are now working on getting them redistributed for rehab and adoption. Jakob, pictured above, is on his way to becoming a therapy dog, and Fay, probably the most well known of the dogs because of her facial injuries, is getting help.


You're hopefully thinking to yourself "Crap! This is huge! What can I do that would be helpful?"

There's plenty of ways, and some of them won't cost you a dime, or more than five minutes. Come on, you've probably spent more time than that trying to remember what those little plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called. HSMO has info on donating (both $$ and supplies), placement, and advocacy. Pit Bull Rescue Central is doing a fundraiser right now, selling t-shirts to benefit HSMO. We got a couple; they look even better in person, and are 100% cotton, quality shirts.


Junior, the Missouri 500 poster boy


If you're completely dead-ass broke, you can still help, and all it'll cost is time. Email people, put a blurb on your Facebook, MySpace, blog, whatever. Write HSMO and tell them you appreciate the load they've taken on, tag your local rescue society and ask them if they're able to help. I'd love for you to help your local shelters anyway, but it's highly unlikely they'll ever take on this many at once. I hope there's never again a reason for anyone to need to.

"But Snooze," somebody is saying, "I can't send this stuff to my friends; they'll think I'm some kind of activist freak or something!"

Let's consider that for a mo - many of you have, at one point or another, forwarded animated gifs of fat guys' butts jiggling in speedos, limericks about picking your friend's noses, chain letters that say someone will be run over by a drunk redneck on a bush hog if they aren't forwarded to at least ten people in ten minutes, and worst of all, surveys. With glitter. And you're worried about what asking for help for these guys will do to your street cred?


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Epic Dog Win - "A Doggy Summer" video

Great anti-bummage video! "A Doggy Summer" was posted as a promotional for a dog training school and the Mirror Method.





Trying to figure out if Pako is a tall pittie, a cane corso, a dogo, or something else?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Myers Briggs & Pagan Intuition Management

Whoa, two blogs in two days - if it takes me awhile to ditch the flu, I might get caught up!

At a college workshop-thinger I took in the search for financial aid, they do a Myers Briggs Type Indicator "test" -

- put the trank gun down; I have not been infected with the poppsyche virus. It's not one of those ridiculous psyche profile tests employers are handing out now that ask you how much money you've stolen from previous employers (with no "zero" option) and whether you know anyone who routinely handles weapons (and yes, they do include military, law enforcement, and historical re-enactors as "high risk" people). Those are dangerous, and should be shot on sight.
By the previous statement, you can guess how well I test on those.

If you've never messed with it, the MBTI is based on Jungian material, and observations about consistencies in the type of details you're most likely to focus on, problem solving methods, and how you evaluate your surroundings in general, as a means of suggesting careers and work environments that lend themselves to the way you operate. My score hasn't changed in 15 or so years; you usually don't see changes because the test establishes a range of most likely responses, not just absolute "you are so-and-so" statements. Individual categories can come in as very polarized, or close enough to the middle ground that you can go either way depending on the situation. So it doesn't attempt to force people into a cookie cutter shape.

Now, the point of all that blathering is something that came up in the discussion afterwards. We were bouncing around comparisons of the second category, that measures the range between Sensing (concrete, immediate observation of things) and Intuition (abstract relationships and possibilities of things). Just in case it's early and you haven't had any coffee yet, that sort of breaks down into "The ball is red" and "It's a toy".

Department Of Backstory segue: when I do a wights class , with what are mostly PHA* crowds, they choose an anchor to work with. The first hands-on exercise is about intuitive observation (what are your first impressions of the anchor?) ; the second is concrete observation (tell me something factual about the anchor).



Some of the wights' "solid object" anchors: from the left, back: Little Skunk Girl, Festus & Foxie, Julian, Jerome, Ernie's Herd, Kermit, Shortfatwhitedog, Agnes, Mama Goose, The Curmudgeon


The funky part is, most people have no trouble with the intuitive** , but several have trouble with the concrete observation part. Sometimes it takes two or three tries, even if I say "tell me about it's color or size" till they can describe some concrete fact, like "It's heavy" or "It's blue with white stripes" or "It's made of clay". And there's usually at least one person in each class who gets frustrated and simply can not give a factual observation. Have had a few who said that they could not define the anchor by it's appearance because appearances are only surface characteristics, and those are misleading. A wight can choose anything it wants - I figure the anchor says something about it's personality and priorities, but nobody else has to agree with me.

What I'm curious about is, is that an indicator of PHAs being typically more likely to be intuitive than concrete (all you card readers and psychometrics out there, do the wave), or a hefty chunk of people who tout a "spiritual over material" philosophy, or are people just trying to make it way more complicated than it needs to be? Being an really irritating relativist, I'm inclined to put it down to a little bit of all of that, with a couple brainsprained twinks on the side.

If you look at the MBTI from a general PHA direction, some of the indicators do shift a little, but not drastically. I would tend to place most PHAs at a more middle ground on that second range, because many of us wind up as PHAs because of an intuition where the spiritual can be as much a concrete experience as abstract. Jokes about being grounded aside, I'm curious about how much people feel that applying some material solidity and "getting the whole picture" to intuitive input is necessary, and how often people feel that "never the two shall meet" because one detracts from the other.

Ideas? Input? Comments that I won't have to delete because they're not only rude, but anatomically impossible? ;0)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Pagan/Heathen/Alternative Spirituality

** Except for the uberfluffy "Mystical Wafters" who give me lame BS answers like "I sense the oneness of the universe and the light and love of the Goddess" when they're holding Festus. Everybody who knows Festus the mule deer wight knows he's usually saying "why aren't you getting me a beer and some chicks?".

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No, you cannot have my condor


Since the last 22 California condors were taken into a captive breeding program in 1982, environmentalists have spent countless hours of hard work and approximately 40 million dollars (in addition to their own personal resources) to bring these birds back from human-driven extinction.





They did it. Today, there are close to 300 alive and well, with almost half of those flying free in the wild. It's not a done deal yet, but they've proven that hope and hard work can win, and we can clean up our mistakes.

Condor hatchling being fed with a parent puppet

Now the major problem is that people are fighting tooth and nail to keep on making those mistakes. Condors in the wild are still dying from lead poisoning, and the current data points to lead bullets in carcasses left by hunters. There's renewed action to do something about this, but the NRA is determined that no one should have to adjust their hunting methods, equipment, or locale. They've sicced their lawyers at a ban on lead bullets, citing a previous agreement that the condor program would only be allowed to release birds if it "didn't interfere with hunting".

The NRA is using it's usual tactics of selfish ego-tripping thinly disguised as Patriotism & Protection Of Family, By God. It doesn't even have the integrity to back up claims that the research is a lie with any references to who their "debunking the so-called science" experts are. It's just more of "These damned tree-huggers want children to starve, and undermine our constitutional rights"!

Aside from dirtbags who just target shoot because it makes them feel like a badass and don't care if they retrieve a kill or not, sometimes an animal is beyond retrieval by a responsible hunter's best efforts. Doesn't that make using copper or alternative ammo a decent enough idea? I know deer hunters that do use them, and even prefer them to lead. I've found the leftovers in a few of the carcasses I get from Meismer's. Copper costs a bit more, but in the words of my uncle Jimmy, who hunted all his life, "'at'll teach ya to not waste ammo, ya goddam idiot". Asking someone to use an alternative ammunition (and even offering to give it away free) isn't keeping anyone from hunting or having a gun.

Give the linked articles a read for the details and stats that are coming back per the National Park Service and Arizona's Fish & Game Departments, and the Center For Biological Diversity's hiring a PI to look into the shooting of two condors who may have been victims of a retaliatory gesture against the proposed lead bullet ban.

Condors are sort of the epitome of one of my lifelong totem animals, and are the only surviving members of the Gymnogyps genus, which has been with us since the Pleistocene era. I think it's criminal that we've come such a long way toward bringing them back, only to have them endangered again by a problem that isn't catastrophically hard to do something about. CBD scores high (4 stars out of five) on Charity Navigator. They're fronting the bill for the condor lawsuit; give them a look over if you're up for it. These big guys can live up to 50 years; they deserve an even chance to do so.




Just as a side note, you can meet Steve Hoddy, part of the team who went into the Grand Canyon to find them back in the 70's, at the Georgia Renaissance Festival's raptor show put on by Earthquest. He rocks.

Steve with Storm, an Andean Condor. Andean rescue programs paved the way for North American birds' survival. Ain't she gorgeous?



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wild Things . . . Wanna Go There






Okay, whatever you're doing, stop it right now and go watch "Where The Wild Things Are". I don't care if your nose hairs need evening up, and that large hole in your living room wall from the runaway cement mixer is just not that important. Go. Right now. Or I'll throw Richard at you.



A toast to Maurice Sendak, and the people who keep Jim Henson's dreams going. These two made monsters some of my best friends early on. I'm forever grateful that they shared their worlds with the rest us.

(bows with forehead to floor)

Where's your old copy? ;0)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Molts? We can has!

Excellent occurances! Portnoy shed!

Okay, maybe that's a little less important than the health care debate or the strife in the Middle East, but it takes a load off. Portnoy is the little Elephant Trunk snake (or Java File Snake) I blogged about earlier. I'm treading carefully with him, as I didn't find out till after I got him that the care info I was given was crap, and they're harder to keep than most snakes.


We were concerned because his eyes went foggy, per a normal snake before shedding, but then nothing for several days, and I wasn't seeing the muted color that precedes a shed in a dry snake. I was beginning to think his eyes were irritated by something, but voila, I went in to change the filters, and there was a completely intact, all-one-piece shed (that's a good thing, if you've never dealt with snakes much).

The joke's on us . . . ;0)


Miles' tarantula Meredith also cast her second shed since we got her. Was a little concerned about her too; our first really cool nighttime dip into fall weather was down around 51 -52 degrees, and I didn't realize her heater had come unplugged until I checked on her that morning.


They're both eating their fool heads off now - so far, so good!

Gimme a piece of your mind . . . .

. . . but don't get any on the carpet








Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Equinox On Your Door



Happy Mabon, kids! Here we sit again, on a hinge of the year, a balancing point before the weather lets go of the summer swelter and tips over into the creeping cool of fall. I'm ready for it - this summer wasn't bad, but I've lost most of my tolerance for days that climb up into the high 90s and sit there, petulantly refusing to come down. The equinox means we start watching the dwindling hours of light, but I tend to also mark time in how much of the day I can leave the windows open at home, and when it gets too hot during the day or too chilly at night to have outside air drifting through the house.


My personal Wheel of the Year has some modern day additions; we're close to hitting the time of year I call Flannel Jommer Pants Season, which overlaps with Homemade Soup & Hot Cocoa Season. These two encompass F%$#@ It's Cold Season and The Time Of The 24/7 Cheesy Christmas Music, in which my otherwise well-behaved radio becomes That Which Must Not Be Spoken Of (except for NPR, bless them).


I'm looking forward to ( I hope) going up to Grandfather Mountain with Miles (he's never been), showing him the view from the top with the leaves in color, and letting him meet some of Mildred's grandchildren.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Beyonce & Taylor, 4; West, 0

Short and to the point, just cuz I feel like mentioning it:

Serious props to Beyonce for being a Class A Class Act, and to Taylor Swift for grace under pressure. May it come back to you both. (bows)

Will be mailing an STFU Rock to the awards' organizers, with instructions on implementation for next year's show, if they're stupid enough to let West back in the door.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Anniversaries

Labor Day weekends have been good things.

On Labor Day weekend, 10 years ago, I went to a herp show and came home with a White's tree frog who would henceforth be called by the August and Noble name "Lumpy".


Lumpy in 2001


The Lumper took up residence in Frogworld, a little 55 gallon rainforest with a barking tree frog and a green hyla, and has been with me through five moves, three hurricane evacs, various winter power outages, and two times venturing out into the big world only to get attacked by a cat (Gods bless the creator of Neosporin!) .


Whites can live up to 15 to 20 years in captivity. I don't know for certain how old she is; she was full size when I got her. I figure it's she - the dweeb I bought her from said it was male, but she's never vocalized to my knowledge.

Frogs Got Talent - Wide Mouth Bass impersonation (that golf ball with legs in the back is Edmund the Asian painted frog, another denizen of Frogworld)


On another Labor Day weekend, four years ago, we reversed: I came home with a lovely Brit, and took him to the same annual herp show where I got Lumpy as a birthday prezzie.




Wunnerfully, Miles also thinks spending the day messing with reptiles, amphibians, rodents, and other exotics is a great date! I keep telling him he's perfect . . . I hope to get to keep him longer than 15 - 20 years.




Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Anti- Troll Ritual

The recent discussion on The Grove about moderating new memberships, hit & run email farming, and Trolls was the result of Miles' concerns that moderating people's participation is akin to passing judgement, and that telling someone to STFU is a violation of their right to free speech.

What about my right to choose to not listen? Tony Brown, serving HP of NC Piedmont Church of Wicca, uses this brilliant quote that sums it up nicely to me: "Your right to swing your fist ends at my face". BTW, if somebody knows who came up with that, holler, will ya?

If you tell a troll (both the wild internet variety and the domesticated Real Life breed) to go away and leave you alone if they can't play nice (or at least fair), seems like the first ideological bugaboo they whip out is the "you're limiting my freedom" ploy, or it's close relative, the "you're
disrespecting my beliefs/culture/ethnicity" card.

Have seen the latter option used even if whatever group appears to have a population of one, the Troll itself. It's just a lame attempt to deflect criticism of bad behavior back onto the person who objected to said behavior in the first place, a bratty effort to play "you're a bad person, so your complaint must be invalid" games. It's almost as dim as the clueless, irresponsible parent who shrieks that you hate children because you had a problem with their 5 year old drawing on your coffee table with a Sharpie.

I have no problem banishing a troll from my personal space, or the electronic clubhouse we gather in. If Carolina Grove's purpose was to be a political or other debate floor, it would be different. We go there in order to enjoy hanging out for awhile with people who (ideally) don't value vicious attacks and passive/aggressive strife-mongering as a form of social interaction. People are free to go to forums that exist for cutthroat verbal bloodletting; other people should be equally free to have places that do not.

Came up with this last fall, after a huge insurgence of asshatness and widespread troll dung (I found out that Mercury had, in fact, subbed out his retrograde to Mars, a disgruntled DMV Enforcement employee, and a pack of rabid mandrills on bad acid). It's been tweaked a bit:




Snooze's Anti-Troll Ritual

Spell To Guard Against Trolls and Banish Troll Dung Odors


Hear the words of the Gods and Goddesses, who are tired of petty
malice and socially stunted, bored morons:

When the Trolls have rampaged, and defiled the sacred glades and
groves (and internet sites) with icky smelly poopyness, gather thee all together, for
together thou art powerful (and loud). As a sign that thou art free of
Asshatness, ye shall be clothed in the Regalia Of Humor - t-shirts
with giggleworthy smartass slogans, and possibly also funny hats, and
adore the spirit of we who are King and Queen of the Wise-ass But Generally Not
Jerks.

Cast the circle with salt and chocolate chips, to repel all negativity

Call The Quarters:

(East) We call upon the Spirit of Intelligence, that we may do our
homework and always use our brains! Hail and welcome!

(South) We call upon the Spirit of Humor, that we may laugh a whole
lot and never take ourselves too seriously! Hail and welcome!

(West) We call upon the Spirit of Compassion, that our hearts may pour
out love that does not contain high fructose corn syrup! Hail and welcome!

(North) We call upon the Spirit of Maturity, That we may never fall
into Stupid Drama! Hail and welcome!

Invoke the Deities:

Bright, Intelligent Lord, who teaches us to play well with others, we
welcome you into our circle!

Loving, Laughing Lady, who teaches us to care about each other and
look on the bright side without the falseness of Hallmark Card
Fluffyness, we welcome you into our circle!

Hereby dance, sing, discuss quantum physics or Aristotle or how to get
your cat to quit peeing on things, for all acts of goodly interaction
are our rituals and will cleanse any place of the pollution of Trolls
and other evils.

As sign that you are family, thou shalt share cakes and ale (or big,
gooey fresh cookies and homemade mead if you've got it), saying to
each other in turn, "May you never be bummed by stupid bastards", and
replying to each other, "Thou art cool".

Release and thank Lord and Lady and the Quarters, saying "Ya'll drive
careful now", and open the circle, taking the magic out into the world
with you.

Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again!

Snoozepossum
Nov 2008 posted on Carolina Grove Yahoo Group message #7423
revised Apr 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Etsy Store Now Open



Got the Etsy store open yesterday:

www.snoozepossum.etsy.com

It's got some jewelry,



some Dreds,



and some small gourd rattles on now;



expect more shiny, noisy things to follow. Yeah, I know; the pics blow - buy some stuff so I can get a better camera! ;0)

I'll also be vending at Charlotte's Pagan Pride Day on Sept 12th in Freedom Park, and doing a workshop at Raleigh's PPD on the 19th & 20th if someone buys goodies and wants to work out a delivery instead of shipping. Vending at Upstate South Carolina PPD is pending - watch this space!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Working With Land Wights 101

People ask about Wights - specific material I cover in the Wights class, good reference works, or just "What the hell are you talking about?!"
So, here's the basic text of a class I do on non-totemic land spirits. It has three parts; taking UPG (unverifiable personal gnosis) impressions from a randomly chosen physical object that a spirit is using as sort of an interface point that I refer to as an anchor, noting observed physical characteristics, and thinking about why a person would interact with wights in the first place. It's not specific to any doctrine, Tradition, or other belief system; all that's required is some manners and willingness to do some objective thinking and homework about your UPGs (unverifiable personal gnosis). If you use it, just either link back here or post author credit, and send me feedback! It's an ongoing study; I keep an anonymous log of people's observations.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How many people wouldn’t know a wight if it bit them on the butt? 

How many people have done any homework or research about the Little People, landvaettir, kami, etc?

The thing is, though, that while research is always something good, experience with wights can be pretty subjective or relative, especially when the wights might be your relatives.

From Native American manitou to early European tribal landvaettir to Japanese kami to Irish sidhe, and all the cultures who have simply called them Nature Spirits, The Little People, and so on, the range of entities that could be considered wights is wide enough to drive Dick Cheney’s ego through without scraping the sides. The word “wights” itself isn’t universal, and some people would take issue with my using it as a broad, generalized term. However, I need one for the purposes of the class, so I’m using “wights”.

As a basic premise, you can say that wights are spirit beings with some degree of intelligence (not necessarily human), who exist in nature. They may sometimes exhibit qualities similar to totemic guides, but they are not quite the same thing.
They may be the spirit of a particular tree, lake, or rock, or a spirit who has taken up residence in a particular tree, lake, or rock. For my own purposes, I refer to the physical object or place a spirit seems to be involved with as an “anchor”.

A wight may be something that was once a mortal physical being, who is now in the spirit world, or something that has never worn flesh and bone.

Your homework is to find some particulars about wights (or a comparable equivalent) according to your own belief system or relevant folklore/mythos, and any others you feel might help you understand them better.

For the class, we’re going to focus more on common points of interacting with them, as opposed to trying to define them. Since I interact more with the less “human-like” types, such as animals, rocks, and plants, a lot of what I’m talking about will be geared toward those types. But regardless of variety, some things do seem to apply across the board.

1. Exercise with an anchor:
Choose an anchor from the table and write down any intuitive impressions

The first point: listen
Listen with your ears, your eyes, your nose, your skin, your tongue. What do they have to say? Do you hear a voice/vocalizations? Do you smell food or salt water? Do you taste anything? Feel wind or hot sunlight on your face? Sand, rocks, or grass under your feet? An inclination to watch Kevin Smith movies*?

If you use a pendulum or other divination medium, that may also be useful, but when you are trying to communicate, remember that you may be dealing with something that doesn’t think like a modern day human. Many technological concepts don’t mean anything to a person who may have been mortal several centuries ago. Complex cultural do’s & don’ts for romantic relationships aren’t going to matter to the average mule deer.

* Don’t let pre-formed expectations limit your communication

2.
Exercise:
Note something factual about the “anchor” object you selected

The second point: learn
Learn the factual information about the anchor's physical properties (if any), ant related  geographical area, it’s historical or folklore background, whatever you can find. Finding out that a piece of bone came from an alligator might clarify why one participant tasted muddy water when she “listened” to it.  Observing that a "dragon" wight prefers a shiny, brightly colored toy to a less colorful one may give you clues to it’s priorities and personality.

3.
Exercise:
Discuss why you would want to interact with wights

The third point: respect
Not all wights want to interact with humans, then there are some who seem to actively seek it out. Sometimes that can be a bit disturbing or create problems. Either way, you should always respect them, and never try to alter their natures or exert some kind of control over them for selfish purposes. If you have to throw a problem-causing entity out of your house, do what you gotta – but always try to find a way to deal with them on a productive basis first.

Again, do your homework:
~ Were they there first?
~ Did anyone change something or do something that upset them?
~ Can you reach an understanding both of you will be happy with?

Many wights will be happy if a person just shows them a little respectful attention, or a little respectful leaving them alone. Listening and learning will help you figure out which is called for. And if you do run into something nasty, malicious, and irrevocably antisocial, you will often find that the wights who you’ve treated well and been a friend to will help protect you from it, and even help you run it off.

By the same token, if you’re not sure what you’re dealing with, until you have more information, always act from a spirit of respect. Even if you offer something or do something that the wight may not like, the fact that you’re doing the best you can with what resources you have, and may just be ignorant of some detail will get you better results than acting out of apathy or arrogance.

Don’t bug too much if you don’t seem to sense them in the same way someone else may, or if you can’t find any information about a specific entity in various documentations or other people’s experiences. If you act with respect and honest intention, most of them will find a way to tell you what they want (or don’t want).

Note: A participant of a previous class brought up the valid question of how you know you’re not insane, and all the stuff you see/hear/whatever isn’t a product of a crazy imagination.

Aside from the somewhat stock reply that “if you actually ask yourself if you might be crazy, you likely aren’t”, I think that’s another purpose of learning and researching. If you live in a 20 story apartment building in the middle of a city of 500,000 people, yet you consistently hear the sounds of cows lowing and a rooster crowing at daybreak, go hit the city hall archives. Was there a farm on that property a century ago? If you find details that support or explain your impressions and observations of things around you, it makes more logical sense that you’re interacting with some form of wight communication than to assume you woke up one morning and just happened to have gone bananas overnight. Several people in previous classes have also made good observations about having “imaginary friends” as children, at an age where no one had told them such things were wrong, or childish, or stupid.

Another good point is synchronicity: if you encounter something, and someone else who is a reliable observer has corresponding experiences, it’s again more reasonable to consider that might be a wight interaction than to assume that you both woke up with a hive-mind loony bin qualification.

Good Links To Check Out:

http://www.paganachd.com/articles/killyouandeatyou.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%A6ttir
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landv%C3%A6ttir
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manitou
http://www.manataka.org/page77.html -
http://www.mythinglinks.org/ct~NatureSpirits.html
http://www.paganlibrary.com/reference/nature_spirit_magic.php
http://www.sacred-texts.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kami
http://jinja.jp/english/s-4c.html
(bows)
Snooze

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Name That Tumor Winner

Hey Ya'll,

Got this from the soon-to-be-tumorless friend late last night:

snooze,
Last min they changed my surgery time to 6am on wendesday so the last couple of days have been really crazy... My choice for the tumor came down to hoffa and my husbands choice the-tumor-which-which-shall-mot-be-named an homage to hp and the sorcerers stone where Lord voldermort was im the back of querills(sp?) head. but i picked hoffa so I sorry to send this so late but if you could let everyone know about tomorrow, I would be really thankful. hopefully I should be back on by sat depending on my strength
Thanks
Bevin


So, everybody keep working on all the "go away" thoughts and "heal fast"energy, and Pam, your gift certificate for free coffee & munchies is on the way. You guys rock way seriously for giving her reasons to laugh while she's been going through this!

(bows to everybody)

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Muggsy's New Clothes

One of the many reasons that Liz of Celtic Savage Custom Embroidery rocks is that she does awesome things with colored thread; another reason is that she loves dogs.


I got the t-shirt I'd ordered from her at Pagan Wilderness Weekend 2009, and inside the package - goodies for Muggs!



I was planning on getting him another bandanna, but completely forgot about it (storkdonkey!!). Liz, however, did not forget about the 70 lb. lapdog pittie boy she met at last year's PWW, and sent him this gorgeous bandanna. Muggsy (unlike Winnie and Hoddie, our other two canine kids) adores "clothes", and when Liz made him one last year, he strutted around the campground like a supermodel. This one is also highly acceptable!

"Have Daddy, have clothes; life is good."



Winnie just doesn't get the whole accessories thing . . . .

"Hunh?"

. . . and I can't even put collars on Hoddie or her without Hodds chewing them off . . .



I'm fairly sure he's merely waiting for the opportunity to snitch it and use it for a blankie . . .

Celtic Savage will be one of the people selling their handiworks at Charlotte's Pagan Pride Day this year, and these are just the tip of her crafty iceberg. Some her own designs, some are with limited run copyright permissions (which means they won't be there forever!), all are quality work. If you're going "OMG, that is so frackkin' ROCK!", but aren't able to make it out to peruse the textiles, tag me and I'll get you in touch with her.