Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"I'm ba-ack!" and other statements to that effect...

I figured it was time I started posting again.  Y'know, it's time...  So now, some updates:

I found a bunch of Wiccans in town.  They're pretty cool... for Wiccans...  No, but really, I have a soul family now and it's wonderful!  I feel accepted and loved, and that's something of a new-ish feeling.  So: Huzzah!  I have been taking classes (Wicca 101) for a few months, because really a lot of what they study is similar, at least, to what I need to study.  But actually, last night after class my teacher (M) and I had a discussion, and we decided that while the classes were good for me initially, now they're not helping.  I actually feel bound when I'm sitting in the class, maybe partially because our book is by Silver Ravenwolf and she's awfully preachy sometimes, but also because there's just too much ceremony, just to many steps that are just so, in Wicca.  So I move on.

When she said I could gracefully bow out of classes, I felt the lead slip off my shoulders.  The room was suddenly brighter, my friends' faces clearer, the lights not so glaring and critical.  Thank you, M.
In light of recent developments, combined with a long-held wish to find my own, I am seeking out a Grove.  For those of you who have- oh, screw it, most of y'all don't know too much about Druids.  Well, a Grove is like a coven of Druids.  *When I stop capitalizing those words, just envision them with the power of the capital, and don't begrudge me my laziness.*  Anyway, finding the local grove *see there I go* is easier said than done.  Wiccans are somewhat scarce, but druids are a little bit like needles in haystacks.  Really big friggin' haystacks.  But we're really shiny needles.  Anyway, I started at the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA) site.  I like the message they send, and I am planning to study with them.  Eventually.  So I looked up their various groves around the country, and lo and behold!  Nothing really near me.  Drat.  So I went to the Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) site.  They don't really have any groves close to me, either.  However, the closest one is... a day trip away, I suppose.  And I'm going to join them for Mabon!  I'm so excited!

I mentioned this to my Wiccan friends (who I'll call "my coven") and they were very supportive and excited for me.  This does mean that I will not be spending Mabon with my coven, but my closest sisters agree with me that I need to find a grove and other druids, and I need to see how they do stuff, rituals and the like.

But M said to me, "This does not mean you are not part of our family anymore.  You still have a place here."

That means more than she knows.

So that's a quick update.  Other stuff is going ok: I have an off-campus apartment and I'm learning to live [actually] on my own, because a dorm isn't really on your own; I have a job at the campus bookstore, and of course it's not what I want to do for the rest of my life it's a pretty good job, with good hours, convenient location, nice management, and awesome coworkers.  I'm going to be posting (/trying to post) more regularly again, because stuff is happening!

As the last, I want to share with you my new personal motto: "When they laugh at you, laugh with them."  And that, mi amici, is all for now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Daily Silver: A little bit of paganism for you today

I'm sorry I haven't written lately; my life just got complicated for a while.  Anyway, Cyanide and Happiness today.  Enjoy!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Daily Silver: Remember when the weekend was actually a time to relax?

Not anymore...  Well, maybe it's just a college thing.

My beef with weekends:
  • The next week looms: many of my friends actually use the weekends as time to work all day long.  Sometimes straight from Friday night into Saturday and on til Sunday night.  That way they can do other stuff (like human/living stuff) during the week.  Not that they do necessarily.
  • They inspire laziness: all I want to do all weekend is sit around in my pj's and watch movies on my computer.
  • Guilt: the logical conclusion from the two preceding bullets is that I end up doing a whole lotta nothin' on my weekends (I do work, just somehow not as much as some of my friends (I swear, she's gotta make stuff up to do)) while other people spend their waking hours nose-deep in a textbook.  I'm the kind of person who feels incredibly (inCREDibly) guilty in a situation like this, even if someone is literally making shit up to study.  So I spend the whole weekend feeling like worthless crap.  Woohoo.
  • Mondays: enough said.
So that's my little weekend rant.  This weekend?  Well I have two essays due next week, so you know what I'll be doing.  Right now, though, I'm thinking of going to sleep.  Buonanotte...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Daily Silver: Aaaargh, jelly beans! (I always knew there was something fishy about 'em...)

Today's Daily Silver is located @ xkcd.  (click if you want to check out more)  Otherwise, here 'tis:


Sunday, April 3, 2011

The nature of the Beast (the Beast being Beauty, of course).

No, I'm not writing for Disney now.

Today A said to me (paraphrased), "I'm creating beauty."  Something to that effect.  And I (being me) thought, what is beauty?  Because I can never let these things go... sorry, A...

I immediately thought of some possibilties (which have the added bonus of framing my question): Is beauty sort of like energy, something that is imbued upon an object? Keeping in mind "the eye of the beholder," is it something that only exists in the beholder's mind[/perception/reality]?  Is beauty intrinsic in the object (ie a quality belonging to the object)?  And in all of these situations, is finite or infinite or something else (eg spanning space and time and able to exist in multiplicity)?

When I voiced these questions, A (quite understandably) was a bit confused.  I have to admit that I didn't present these questions quite so eloquently then, not that they necessarily make sense now.  But here goes...

I think beauty intrinsic in the object.  But that sort of absolute makes me squirm, so I will quickly clarify that I think beauty is not a quality or a characteristic set in stone (measurable) but a potential.  Of course I'm tempted to go with "beauty is an adjective only, belonging to the viewer," because at first glance that seems to fit best with the whole perception-is-reality-and-truth-does-not-exist theory, but I'm feeling slightly rebellious today.  What's the point of thinking if we don't sometimes challenge our own ideas?

Really, beauty as a potential and inherent in the object makes the most sense, after all.  This is a pared-down version of my idea of beauty: think of beauty as a scale.  Several scales, actually.  Every object, every thing has its own scale; that scale measures its beauty as percieved and assigned by a viewer (a percieved-beauty scale, PBS).  Also, every object with the ability to assign beauty (namely humans) has another scale that ranks all percieved objects by beauty (a ranking scale, RS).  Okay, so I'm back to the perception-reality model; so sue me.  Let's think of three objects: a flower, a tree, and a stone.  Each has a PBS from 1 to 100; however, their 100's may not be the same on an individual's RS (ie the flower has more ability to be beautiful, and therefore a higher max than the stone).  A human (called Bob) percieves the three objects. Bob has a RS in his head.  Let's say that Bob thinks the flower is really pretty, and he gives it a 74 [on the flower's PBS].  He thinks the tree is pretty, too, so he gives it an 80 [on the tree's PBS].  The stone is ugly to Bob (it's green and slimy with pond muck) so he gives it 26 [on the stone's PBS].  Now for Bob's RS; the flower's PBS is lower than the tree's, but on Bob's RS the flower is higher than the tree, say 63 vs 48.  This means that he thinks the flower is fairly pretty for a flower and the tree is pretty for a tree, but as far as beautiful goes they're not as beautiful as other things (for instance he ranks his wife as a 92).  Does that make sense?  A PBS is comparing one object to other like objects, and an individual RS is comparing one object percieved by a person to all the other objects the person has ever percieved.

I'm using "object" fairly loosely, because by "object" I mean "pretty much anything" including humans, other animals, plants, inanimate objects, ideas, paintings, relationships, love, situations, anything you might ever refer to as beautiful.

Ask me questions!  I know I've probably confused a lot of you (truthfully I haven't chewed out all the details yet), but if you are willing to read to this very sentence at the end of the post, you probably would like to understand (I hope).  So ask away!  Ciao!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Oh, April Fools' Day...

Have you ever heard that "the truth is stranger than fiction?"  Okay; close your eyes right now and think of (I know it's painful, but bear with me) Sarah Palin.  I wish that on April Fools' Day, at least for 24 hours, these things could be a joke.  You know, like for 24 hours they weren't real, and the world made a little more sense and stuff.  But no, crazy people have to come out with this.  I'm afraid this is real.  Yes, I'm very, very afraid.

If you are interested in more interesting links (ie where I got this one) go to The House of Vines (btw when he says he's a year-round joker, it's because he worships Dionysus).  Have a joyful April Fools' and don't let anyone try to convince you that the Earth is flat or that life was created by some supreme being, because that's just silly!  Ciao!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Leaving" implies both something being left and something else being reached.

Death.  The soul leaves the body.  The body is a shell, nothing more than a vessel for the soul, the fifth, transient element.  For example, we call your body "yours."  Like a possession.  Not yourself.  Do you see what I mean?  "Self" is personality and thought and memories (not memory).  And what is personality and thought and memory?  Chemicals in your brain.  But not even that.  The way those chemicals come together, with the physical tissue of your brain and its orientation in space and time.  But these things, personality and thought and memory, self, are not physical, nor would we ever presume to describe them as such.  Really, how would we describe them?  Abstractions.  Not matter, but abstractions.  It's a small step from abstractions to energy.  After all, how would you describe energy?  Try; it's really damn hard.  Okay, you can say "I don't know" now.  Self is so amorphous, indescribable, intangible, abstract… you get the picture.

Death.  I keep wandering away from it (intentionally, perhaps..?).  Body is a possession, a vessel, a shell.  Even when you're alive.  But it's a possession like a home.  A house or an apartment.  It's very personal, very you. Still, when the soul leaves, it's just a fallen log, a discarded muffin in a muddy parking lot (don't ask), a footprint in wet sand.  It's the physical manifestation of memory, a dead body is.  I want to be cremated.  I want my body to go to the fire.  Well, actually it's between cremation or just being left out for the animals and the plants and the elements.  Air (the great oxidizer) and water (the great eroder) and earth (the great consumer) and fire (the great equalizer) and life.  Other life: dogs and raccoons and birds and worms and beetles and trees and fungi and soil bacteria.  Either way I am returned; even if I was embalmed and locked in a metal box and buried (*shudder shudder*) I would eventually return to the universe as organic molecules and even atoms.  It would just take longer.  Much longer.

One thing about my faith is that it's not particularly comforting.  But that's the thing: that's because it's realistic.  The world is not "made" for us.  We are not "supposed" to be able to survive, thrive in it.

The "meaning" of life is that it works.  There is no great reason.

The soul is recyclable, but not always recycled.  Yes, reincarnation is in here somewhere, but I've got my own bent on it.

But I do know what happens when you die by a hand or a force other than your own.  Sort of.  Obviously I don't know, really.  I mean, no one does.  If only we could remember…  Think of the first law of thermodynamics; conservation of energy and matter.   Add up all the energy and mass on both sides of the chemical equation and they'll match.  Mostly.  I'm not going there, at least in this paragraph.  Besides, I forget what the principle or whatever is called.  Well, what is a soul but… something.  I mean, there aren't specifics, but souls are like the gods; they have to be made of something.  And there's only two things in the universe (don't you even think about it): matter and energy.  Personally I'm leaning toward energy, and it makes sense/sounds good: heat energy, light energy, life energy.  You know?  But the point of this whole idea is that souls can neither be created nor destroyed (perhaps they can be converted, but not going there right now).  Anyway, this means they have to be re-used, and I think they come out the other side looking pretty much the way they did.  It's, like, hard to change energy, man…

Whoa, I just started making sense!  Like, trippy, right?  Betcha didn't see that one coming, huh?

So, souls survive the journey from one body (the deceased) to another (the newly born) pretty much unchanged.  I have no thoughts on the actual method of the journey at this moment; I will just say that Death is neutral among divines (I'm not even sure he qualifies as a divine) and men, and there are Angels [of Death] and Reapers involved.  What; you thought I didn't have a theory?  Silly, silly; you don't know me yet, do ye?  Actually, have you been, like, paying attention?

BTW: I've been writing this to myself.  Because I talk to myself.  I know, circular, but I get hold of an idea and I'm like a terrier with a bone.  Never let it go.  Just sayin'.

So, I don't really know the mechanism, and the importance of that statement is that I don't know why we don't know who/what we were.  I think that now would be the time to point out that souls are present in all living things, so species, even kingdom, is sort of a nonissue.