Sigur Rós on The Simpson

For all you Iceland-o-philes out there (and of our ranks I know there are many), Sigur Rós is going to be on The Simpsons on May 19th, and have written their own version of the theme song for the episode. I. AM. SWOONING. And their cartoon doppelgangers are pretty amazing.

Sigur Rós in Simpson form
Jónsi looks adorable here.

I’ve seen Sigur Rós live 3 times, and they are one of the most magical and engaging bands I have ever seen. The first time I saw them was October 3rd 2001, less than a month after 9/11 and at a time when Americans were still heartbroken and lost (before we became the stormtroopers of doom, that is). Even though the show was in a tiny, dingy little venue, the show was so uplifting, intoxicating, and lush, it was like being in the presence of elves- and I don’t say that lightly or flippantly. I love the fact that they are willing to show their more humorous side, seeing as I found a lot of their more recent stuff a bit pretentious (I couldn’t tell if the short film project they just did was supposed to be arty or absurd. Maybe both. Meh.)

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Beethoven and Bauhaus

Thursday night was the symphony, which was just wonderful. It opened with Mozart’s overture from Don Giovanni. Not my favorite piece in his repertoire, but lovely and well executed. Next was Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony. Bleah. Not a fan. I have a few pieces by him, he’s always been extremely hit and miss for me, and almost always a miss. It’s just noodling to me, and I hate noodling. Virtuosity for its own sake bores me. The last piece was Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which was absolutely transcendent. Best of all, I got to watch my Paramour listen to it, in all his composerly glory. Sigh. Speaking of dashing men, WMFH looked quite handsome and stylish in his vest and pocket watch. It’s always nice to see a man who can rock anachronistic fashion without looking cartoonish. It suits him well. Speaking of anachronisms, I was working a long, black Regency style dress, with my 6ft strand of pearls and a teal blue butterfly wrap. I think I looked pretty fly, however the only photo of me that turned out was taken at the last minute in the ladies room and I looked about as drunk as I was (I had one too many Cosmos with dinner. Oops). I had this fabulous Audrey Hepburn moment as my Paramour escorted me down the long staircase of the concert hall on his arm, both of us giggling and racing to get home and fall into each others arms. Of course, as we were leaving WMFH was asking if I was headed back from the big city to our bucolic neck of the woods (100 miles away), and I had to tell him I was staying at the Paramour’s house. That’s an awkward conversation, seeing as he knows I am married. I don’t want to be TMI, but at the same time I don’t want him thinking I am just randomly stepping out on my husband. I’d rather he thought I was a slut than bad wife. I am trying to figure out how I could casually explain the situation to him without it getting weird. Not that ultimately I owe him an explanation.
Me at the Symphony
Because nothing says “classy” like a drunken self-portrait taken in the Benaroya Hall ladies room during intermission. And, yes, I am standing up, not using the facilities.

Paramour at the symphony
I was teasing him about being my cicisbeo.

I spent the next day drunk from noon on, because he’s a bad influence and we are like a middle-aged Sid and Nancy. Cruising around Seattle with my Paramour, listening to 80s dance and goth music at top volume, and shopping for used books and records was the most fun I have had in years. It was one of those “born-again teenager” moments that is a bittersweet mixture of nostalgic and pathetic you only have when you are in your 40s. It was a sunny Friday afternoon, we had Siouxie and Ultravox on the radio, we had nowhere to go but where the wind carried us, we were in a state of obsessive infatuation, and we had the big city at our disposal for the rest of the day. We ended up later that night, drunk on the pier, waiting for the ferry, doing impersonations of Paul Lynde, singing New Order songs at the top of our lungs and waxing poetic about how young, goth, and beautiful we once were whilst intermittently manhandling each other in a fit of uncontrolled passion. Publicly not my best moment, but we were having a blast, and sometimes you just gotta say “fuck it”. Also, I learned that drinking and shopping don’t mix. I bought a book of post-war German poetry, a German-English dictionary, and for reasons I can’t quite fathom a Lawrence Welk album and an autographed album by Cleo Laine, who, to the best of my knowledge, only existed on The Muppet Show.

All in all, it was a heady, frolicsome, romantic, passionate, decadent, wonderful couple of days. France is not ready for us. School is out for the next week and a half, I need some rest for a few days, then it’s back to blogging etc.

Mozart’s Overture from Don Giovanni

Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

Cleo Laine – He Was Beautiful (seemed appropriate…)

New Order – Age of Consent (the song we were singing at the pier)

Paul Lynde – The Best of Bewitched

Anthesteria

We held our Anthesteria Bacchanalia at the wine shop here on the island. We had a great turn out of about 20 people (considering how small the space is and how small our island community is, it was fairly impressive). People brought lots of food and flowers, including one elderly man who wore flowers in his beard. We had funk music playing and the vibe was great. My co-priest and his husband made me a thyrsus, and co-priest’s mom made everyone in the grove flower wreaths for their hair. Had a lovely weekend with the Paramour in the cabin he rented, very romantic and inspiring. I could write sonnets about that man’s beauty. Here are a few photos of the festivities.

Anthesteria n’ Stuff

Tomorrow we kick off Anthesteria. My Paramour also arrives with a case of sake and is staying the weekend in a cabin here on the island, so between his presence and the Festival of Flowers at the wine shop this Saturday, this should be quite the debauched bender. I plan on being drunk and in congress for as much of the weekend as I am physically capable of squeezing out of my middle aged body.

But first off, I have much more G related obligations to WMFH today. It’s International Night at the college and we have to sing songs about drinking and cuckoos. Of course, these are cuckoos that are killed and come back to life each Spring… clever boy, WMFH, well played.

Long story short, I won’t be around much the next few days… at least not if I can help it.

Cake

My Paramour: You know, I really appreciate that your husband is ok with me seeing you like this. I should send him a cake or something. What do you write on a cake like that??

Me: … “Thanks for the mammaries??”

My Paramour: *classic spit take*

Pagan Blog Project Week 6- Cernunnos

Unlike many Pagan women, there isn’t a lot of “Goddess” in my worship. I have my altar to the Matrons that I have combined with Hestia, Hera, and Hecate, and I have my statue of our gal Freya, but in general I have always been drawn to the male forces in nature. They are so much more wild, primal, and have this element of lust in all its forms that I feel in my bones. When I have had any kind of spiritual discourse, it has always been with a masculine deity. When I am out in the forest, I don’t feel that gentle, embracing earth energy of growth others speak of, I feel the manic pulsing throb of nature. The wind is a purring predatory whisper, calling me with its bloodsong. My world has always been more about a volatile, passionate engagement. I love the sea, and storms, and thunder and lightning.

Although my practice is not Celtic, Cernunnos is a concept I can relate to. I say concept because there really isn’t an firmly established historical god called Cernunnos, the name is used as a catch all for the pan-Celtic reoccurring figure of the Horned God (if I remember correctly, there is only a single attestation to the name “cernunnos”, but many artistic renderings of various horned god figures across Celtic Europe and parts of Anatolia. I should probably double check this, but I am tired and spent all day trying to wrap my head around German negations, modal music, and how French wine influenced art and music, so for the sake of argument let’s pretend I am 100% certain). While the ADF emphasizes viewing the gods as entities rather than archetypes, in some cases I think the power is in the archetype when a specific entity isn’t described. The very nature of Cernunnos is something mutable and experienced differently by different people, possibly owing to his being a medley of different deities. Some portray him as a gentle steward of the animals, others as the untamed king if the wild, others view him as a Pan like figure, some see him as Oberon. I don’t see how the any of these are mutually exclusive. Nature is both mothering and merciless by turns, any god of the natural world would have to include many aspects. Similar gods demonstrate similar dichotomies. Dionysus is a god of growth, wine, and of ecstasy, but has been show in myth and literature to be able wield his powers in very dark and destructive ways.

I have seen Pagans jump down each others throats about how a god is represented or described. One of the few things that Christianity gets right (on a philosophical level, not so much in practice) is the idea that one can not know the mind of god. That Pagans feel they can saddens me. Cernunnos is a deity as complex as nature itself. If to me he feels like sleeping in a pile of wolves and to others he feels like a gentle spring breeze, what is the difference? We are dealing with knowledge that is both revealed (knowledge learned by divine experience or revelation) and rational (knowledge gained by scholarship and history). When we reconstruct the practices of the past from the fragments we have, we have to retain an open mind and face the fact that we don’t know nearly as much as we think we do.

Weary Week

I’m still recovering from my whirlwind weekend of unbridled passion. I am covered with bite marks and fingerprints to the point where I look like a leopard. This week has been crazy. I would curse WMFH for the homework he has burdened me with, except he looked really hot in his glasses, so he gets a pass this time. I am such a sucker for a handsome man.

I need to rest, but I will be back with sordid details late, I promise.

Pagan Blog Project Week 3: Blood

**NOTE: This was in my queue as a work in progress, but somehow ended up posting. It is unedited, rambling, and off-topic, but I decided to let stand since people have already seen it and commented. I apologize for the premature and “raw” nature of the post.**

Blood. What an odd choice to write about, eh? I’mma gonna warn you right here an now, if you squick easily, especially about chick things, skip this post. I’m not going to go into graphic detail, but I know the very subject disturbs some people. I’m also going to talk about my experiences with childhood bullying and sexual assault, so trigger alert as well. While these topics aren’t specifically Pagan, I am currently contemplating the concept of Fertility for my ADF essays, so it actually helps to write some of this out. Bear with me.

Let’s talk about menstruating, shall we? I don’t anymore, not since that nasty tumor pulled a Jack Ruby on my uterus 8 years ago. On the one hand, this was a blessing: the tumor caused me excruciating pain and made me bleed like a damn flume ride, but on the other hand… you would be surprised to learn that you can actually miss having a period. I forget that women menstruate sometimes. I still ovulate and have a regular cycle (I can tell I am doing so right now, as my breasts feel like sauna rocks and I have an insatiable desire for sex, salt, and chocolate. WMFH had best watch out, his earlobes were looking mighty nibble-able the other day) but since I don’t bleed anymore I have this sense of being on the outside of womanhood. I don’t regret my inability to have children, I never wanted them. However, as I have gotten older my great regret is the fact that I never wanted kids. People seem to like them. I don’t know why I don’t. I look at a baby and I feel about as much emotion as I feel looking at a sack of potatoes. The presence of children fills me with distaste and annoyance. Once they hit puberty, the age when most people start to lose interest in them, THEN I start finding them tolerable. As my husband likes to put it in his Old South Foghorn Leghorn drawl, “I don’ like ’em until they unnerstand the concept a’ death.” (note: don’t let the accent fool you, my husband is actually a very educated man)

I think part of my issue with children is the obscene amount of bullying I was subjected to as a child. This was back in an age before people cared about such things and developed PSAs, support groups, hotlines, and Very Special Episodes dedicated to it, and the level of abuse I experienced was truly horrific. It ranged from verbal taunting to beatings to outright sexual assault. I was overweight, I was smart (but a poor student), I was weird, and I was raised in a home where no one paid attention to whether or not I did my homework, bathed, brushed my teeth, slept, ate, or had clean clothes for school. I developed enormous breasts by the time I was in 4th grade and my mother didn’t see a reason to buy me a bra. I dreaded recess every day, because I knew at best I would be able to hide by myself in the secluded forest behind the field, but at worst… at worst, the girls would tease me, tell me I was fat and ugly, throw rocks at me, and the boys would gather in a circle around me to take turns punching and jabbing my breasts in sadistic curiosity. And it didn’t end there. I can recall specific days in vivid detail where I was convinced I would be murdered or gang raped before recess was through, and the adults turned a blind eye to it all. We were just being kids, kids tease each other, it builds character. And it was constant. Every day, on the way to school, between classes, on the playground, after school, and around the neighborhood. It took me several years of this treatment before I finally had had enough and wailed the tar out of one girl in what could only be described as a berserker rage. After that, I realized I was not just fat, I was BIG, the tallest kid in school at that point. And strong. And over the preceding years of constant physical torment I had developed a very high tolerance for pain. Once word got out I was not only not playing the game anymore I was, in fact, a juggernaut of irrational violence when pushed too far, the kids found someone else to torment. Junior high and high school were far more kind to me socially. So, when I see children, I do not see the innocent little angels others see, I see the leering, hateful tormentors and cruel mob mentality of a soulless legion that did everything it could to deny me my humanity, dignity, and self-respect.

People have often said “you’ll feel different when it’s your own”. To them I say, “and what if I don’t?? Do you really want to gamble with the future of a CHILD that way??” Cuz let me tell you right now, brother, I have come *this close* to punching a child in the face on numerous occasions, and these were kids I could walk away from. Why would I roll the dice that I might not hate my own child? That, to me, illustrates the problem with the way our society looks at women. There is something so “unnatural” about a woman who does want children that we are willing to pressure her into breeding NO MATTER THE CONSEQUENCES TO HER OR THE CHILD. I chose not to have children because I did not want a child growing up in a house without all the love and support possible.

But I do miss having my period sometimes. I feel sometimes like I have given up part of my femininity, forced myself into a sort of early “cronehood”. There is something so incredibly potent and mysterious in that blood we both exalt and revile. Men tend to react strangely when you tell them you aren’t fertile, like you are a eunuch. Guess what, just because the kitchen is closed doesn’t mean there isn’t still a party at the bar. Everything that counts works just fine, even better thanks for asking. As I have approached my 40s, my already prodigious sex drive has kicked on the turbo boost in a major way, only there is still this strange sense of something missing, of being not quite right.

Frankie Says….

My great Pagan spiritual awakening happened at a Frankie Goes to Hollywood concert at the age of 14.

Yes, I really just said that.

It was 1985, and Frankie was ALL THE RAGE, the Justin Bieber of the 80s, only even more gay and with better hair. I was a Teenage Fag Hag, so Frankie was huge part of my world. I was in Catholic school, and for reasons I can’t recall, I ended up with plans to go to the concert with a group of girls I was not particularly friends with (many of the kids came from well-to-do families up in the hills of the town where I grew up. I lived down by the docks and was almost feral. Draw your own conclusions). We made plans to spend the day before at a local waterpark, spend the night at one girl’s house watching horror movies, then get up early the next day and get in line for festival seating so we would be close to the stage. The concert was in early June, and as happens to so many Northwesterners delirious with sun intoxication at the first fading of Winter’s gloom, we all ended up severely sunburned at the waterpark. We sat out in the heat the entire day, no food or water, sleep deprived and burnt. By the time the doors opened at 8pm our physical exhaustion had robbed us of our senses.

We stood just feet from the stage, packed tightly with thousands of tense, hormonal teenage girls, waiting for the show to begin. As the stage fog started to roll out and the band of androgynes launched into the first of many homo-sado-erotic tinged songs, the crowd of girls began to shriek with a unified banshee wail of the naive, pubescent sexual frustration of the human female. The audience began to rock and surge, unstoppable and terrifying. Our bodies collided and and jostled, rubbing my sunburned skin raw. One misstep could send you to the floor to be trampled to pulp. The entire event became a strange ecstatic dance of primal sexual energy and survival. At one point, one of the band members tossed a towel into the audience. I was one of the girls who caught it, and a ferocious tug-of-war began. Every girl within arms reach seized hold of the towel, and we began to tear at it like dogs. The towel disintegrated into shreds in seconds. I remember letting loose with a guttural howl as I yanked and clawed trying to retain my corner of the towel, only to lose my grip when I almost dislocated a finger. I became very aware of presence in the concert hall, something huge and driving, something that our energies had created and in turn had created us. I was overflowing with wants and drives, things I couldn’t define, things I couldn’t understand, things that terrified and enthralled me. I wanted to sexually devour something, incorporate it into the core of my being. It was as if I was filled with an undeniable urge to have someone or something inside me, and I didn’t care which route it took to get there, and the absolute frustration of not being able to ever fully satisfy that urge with any physical means was literally driving me mad.

I don’t remember much else about that night, but it haunted me for years. I was in my late teens when I first learned of Dionysus and the maenadic rites. The full emotional memory of this event came flooding back to me like water breaking over a dam. Like many peak experiences, the full spectrum of the occurrence is impossible to depict in any meaningful way. When I try to describe this moment to people, it comes out sounding absurd. Much like when I try to describe my near-death experience (which we will get to later). To tell people I saw a golden light and a choir of heavenly voices sounds so trite and simplistic, but the moment itself was beyond words, beyond description, and beyond anything I could possibly communicate using any human apparatus. The fact that Frankie Goes to Hollywood lead me to my spiritual path is the best explanation I have to offer you. Suffice it to say, I still can’t hear the song “Relax” without getting a creepy Kubrick-esque smile on my face.

Amusing side note: At Yule, I proceeded to get quite drunk, something I actually do rarely and haven’t done in a very long time (my husband had never seen me drunk before, that’s how long it has been). My co-priest informed me that he likes Maenad Sigrun, “she’s like opera: you, only bigger and more dangerous” (I’m paraphrasing, since all I can remember from that moment is leaning against the kitchen counter and luridly leering at my ex in a rather predatory fashion).

When We Were Trees

The Transpersonal Experience in Indo-European Mythology, Folklore, and Music

Northern Heim, Southern Clime

On Maenads and Valkyries

Introspective Maenad

Thoughts of an Unlikely Dionysian

Pixiecraft: Adventures of Magick and Devotion

The Life of a Practicing Pagan and Traditional Witch

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

The House of Vines

where words grow like leaves

The Flaming Thyrsos

Memoirs of a Hekatean Wino

Syncretic Mystic

Exactly correct. You inhabit two worlds. So far, I see nothing strange.

Root Craft

Making magic in the dirt.

Eternal Bacchus

Dionysos from the end of antiquity to the present

eklogai

polytheist extractions

Black Witch

Life from a Black Pagan's Perspective

Aspis of Ares

A Devotional Exploration of Ares, the God of War

4 of Wands

A celebration of me and my interests. Unapologetically.

Down the Withywindle

All paths lead that way, down to Withywindle.

Ozark Pagan Mamma

Folk Magic, Druidism, Heathenry, & Pagan Parenting

beingaleaf

learning, growing, reaching, being :-)

The Druid in the Swamp

Druidic Musings from the Texas Gulf Coast

The Druid's Cosmos

An ADF Druid's trials, tribulations, musings, and victories

A Forest Door

Spirit-Work & Devotional Polytheism

The Wild Hunt

On Maenads and Valkyries

Pagan Reveries

"Everything is full of gods." - Thales

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