Notes from a few elders
It has come to our attention recently that the ending of Iris Firemoon’s marriage to Sean Bennett has ignited a firestorm that has engulfed our new Pagan Community Center and the OHF. It is unfortunate of course, but we humans tend to have loves, loss and lives beyond even our most esteemed values and dreams.
We send our love and prayers of comfort to Iris. She obviously is in great pain. She deserves support and understanding, and her spiritual community should surround her with love and compassion.
We send love also to Sean Bennett, because he too must be suffering from the airing of the personal and intimate details of his private life. May he find comfort and support as well.
Being older yet mindful of our youthful transgressions, we are well aware that often relationships that begin with a fiery passion must surely end as well in a fiery rage. It is the way things work, but it still is painful for all concerned.
And for this we offer our love, compassion, understanding and support to all affected by the end of this relationship.
And having been in leadership positions in more than a few organizations over the decades, we also understand how interpersonal issues can obfuscate the mission, goals and activities of groups as diverse as political parties, unions, churches, nonprofits, advocacy/social justice organizations, and businesses.
We are human, and we bring out humanity into everything we do in the world, it is inevitable.
And so we offer two suggestions to the OHF in the interest of learning from this painful episode.
1. We suggest a bylaws change to the effect that board members cannot be involved with other board members in an intimate relationships, as business owners, work for the same boss, have supervisory relationships or be related by marriage or blood. If two or more board members find their soulmate on the board, all but one needs to resign.
2. And although many would feel otherwise, we feel that Sean’s membership on the board is currently a liability that OHF can ill afford. Regardless of how you come down on the dissolution of their marriage, the board and by extension our community center cannot operate effectively while this scandal is alive.
There was a time, that Katrina Messenger faced a similar issue with her membership on the board of a nationally recognized organization. Despite being innocent of any wrongdoing, a whisper campaign against her was making it difficult for the board to operate. So she resigned in the interest of the organization's health and well being.
We do not think Sean is guilty of anything except being human and fallible just like the rest of us. So this is not a condemnation of him in any way. We just think the fallout from his marriage’s dissolution is harming the community center. And we as a community could be better served by his stepping down from the board to become maybe a volunteer of some sort if he so desires.
Now we know that our opinions are just one among many, many opinions. But we hope that our input can be heard at the very least by those whose hearts, like our own, are in great pain because of all that has transpired as of late.
And to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak, we freely offer our spiritual counseling services to all parties involved in this issue. And further, we are willing to act as mediators for all the offended parties.
We just love our interlacing, overlapping, beautifully diverse communities of pagans. And so we pray for the best possible outcome with the least harm to all concerned.
In service and blessings
Submitted by katrina on Thu, 08/09/2012 - 10:30am.
You would think that in today’s cultural/social climate that no one would have to come out of the closet ... as straight. But you would be wrong.
For almost twenty years now, I have publicly stated my bisexual orientation as a form of truth telling. I call it truth telling because during my years as a NOW activist, my referring to myself as straight seemed like a lie. Not that I was dating women, or sleeping with women or even lusting after women in general. It felt like a lie because I knew that I had deep feeling for a handful of women that I had not acted upon because of my fear of rejection. Granted, there were hundreds of men I had not approached for the same reason, but calling myself straight felt like a convenient lie.
So in the early nineties, I came out as bisexual.
Then something went awry.
Suddenly, I wasn’t a straight woman owning up to bisexual tendencies, I became in the eyes of others a lesbian being .... magnanimous?!?!?
But now I was in a quandary.
Do I make a statement like, “I am not now nor have I ever been ... a lesbian.” Or keep silent to strengthen our solidarity? I identify as queer for reasons other than my sexual orientation, but when *is* it appropriate to, “draw lines of demarcation” as we Marxists use to say?
It is all coming to a head in a hurry because I am explicitly pursuing a quest for love. I am letting all my friends know I am available. But it occurred to me, that for them to “help a sister out”, they have to know *what* I am looking for in terms of a mate.
And so after publicly requesting a love spell during Michael Smith’s recent Runes class, I felt it was time for me to come out of the closet ... as straight .... or rather as a het-identified bisexual cis woman.
Thanks for listening.
Submitted by katrina on Wed, 08/01/2012 - 6:26pm.
There is a lot of misunderstanding and misconceptions when it comes to the field of psychology. These issues often are compounded by misleading terminology that reflect the utter lack of self-awareness plus frankly a good deal of misogyny amongst the early psychologists.
This is especially true when psychologists refer to the psychological concepts of Mother and Father. Early feminists were correct to be suspicious if not all out hostile to the “blame the mother” brand of psychotherapy. Especially since those views were politically used to literally push women back into the domestic sphere.
But what was missing from the public discourse was the specific meanings early psychologists attached to the terms, Mother and Father. And although the early definitions were gender based, the deeper meanings were not intended to refer to one’s actual mother and father.
If we were defining these terms today, we would probably use terms like inner and outer, or domestic and cultural when referring to the differing spheres of influence.
The Mother world referred to the domestic realm, which included one’s family, along with possibly your close friends and neighbors. The Father world was the realm outside of the domestic realm, including your job if it was not a family business. Most institutions exist in the Father world, i.e. government and business. And depending on your cultural affiliations, your church, health care providers and entertainment could exist in either world. For example, if your primary form of entertainment was singing around the dinner table, it was Mother world. If you went to nightclubs, concerts and theaters, it was Father world. The doctor which cared for your entire family and made regular house calls was more Mother world. If the doctors at the local hospital knew all of your children names ... it was borderline.
Each of the worlds require a certain orientation, a way of handling oneself in relation to the requirements of each world. We learn these approaches from one’s parents or parental figures as a child. And this is where the confusion sets in. Either parent or parental figure can teach you about both worlds. But early psychologists assumed that mothers teach the Mother world portion and fathers teach the Father world portion exclusively -- and thus the problems with the nomenclature is revealed.
Mother world orientation provides lessons of intimacy, boundaries, how to care for oneself. Concrete skills include how to make your bed, brush your teeth, eat at a table, use a bathroom ... all the way up to how relate to others in ways that are loving and respectful. An astute reader will recognize the association with the lower four chakras. We can also see how and why this orientational training is so easily associated with our actual mothers. However we learn the Mother world skills from everyone involved in our upbringing which can include fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, babysitters and early teachers.
And depending on your cultural heritage, almost anyone in a parental role can be the source of Father world orientation. So what are concrete Father world skills?
Father world skills include things like how to create a budget, pay bills, dress for an interview, how to talk to potential employers, how to behave in a restaurant, knowing when you are not safe, knowing who to trust or distrust ... all the way up to how to show up to work on time and how to stand up for yourself. And here you will notice the alignment with the solar plexus up to the third eye.
I am simplifying the list of skills, but if you think about it for awhile almost anyone can come up with lists of what one should learn from each world.
I noticed that the differences between the Mother and Father worlds has been coming up in my spiritual counseling sessions a lot lately. And this is worth noting for a variety of reasons.
Most of us are acutely aware of the repercussions of a faulty Mother world orientation. We see people who cannot take care of themselves; hell many of us need remedial lessons in self care like getting adequate sleep, nutrition and playtime.
But the inadequacy of Father world orientation can come as a surprise to most of us. Almost everywhere I look, I see people who are missing key components of the Father world orientation. Culturally we can see whole portions of the national debate missing a basic understanding of simple maxims like, “give from your surplus”, “invest in your future”, “you don’t get something for nothing”, or “judge folks by their actions, not their words.”
Often Mother world maxims like “you will attract more with honey than with vinegar” are inappropriately applied to the Father world where the the maxim is closer to “treat a person with respect and you can gain a customer.” I cannot tell how many times I have walked out of a store because a salesperson refused to just listen to me, and instead put on a fake smile and tried to oversell.
Mother world orientational training is where you learn how to care for yourself and your family. Father world orientational training is where you learn how to be a responsible member of society. We have culturally been blaming women and mothers for over a century. I think it is high time we admit that the problem may actually be a neglectful and missing Father.
Submitted by katrina on Thu, 05/03/2012 - 2:19pm.
I had a discussion this morning about the history of violence within my family. But that is not exactly the truth. We were discussing the history of violence within my urban community ... no .. within African-American culture ... within American culture ... within human ... within life.
The violence is unmistakeable. The smashing of horns, the slashing of teeth and claw, the blood and gore ... the cries of fear, pain and anguish ... after a while, it all starts to blend together.
But we humans take even the violence inherent in life and dare I say ... improve upon it. We add guns, machetes, bombs, drones, Molotov cocktails and napalm. We kill teenagers in the street, mothers in their beds, and children ... everywhere we kill children.
I have just finished reading The Hunger Games, where children are reaped to fight to the death to atone for the “sins” of their ancestors.
But what are the sins of the massacred Afghani families? What sin did those women commit in todays school massacre? Or in tonights beating of a woman somewhere, anywhere ... all around the world?
- - -
But that is not what we were discussing either. We were discussing the serpent that lays coiled deep down inside of me. The serpent that even now is poised, ready at a moment’s notice. This is not the kundalini, it is something else entirely.
This serpent is my penchant to react with violence.
It never sleeps. it never relaxes. It is armed to the teeth. And the only thing keeping it from rising and blotting out the sun ... is my training.
But this serpent is a product of violence. Just like the violence we are inculcating in the minds, bodies and souls of children all around this planet. We are ripping through their flesh and blood and bone and forcibly implanting them all with this serpent.
You who watched your mother being beaten and raped, you who curl deep into your father’s arms as the bombs explode, you who even in the womb can taste the blood of anguish ... all of our serpents like ticking time bombs waiting for the least provocation, injustice or insult.
And what does the world hand us? Hunger, fear, war and death.
As if the serpent is not already enough.
And this serpent inside of me lays in wait. Waiting for the day when my training will not be enough, when my will falters, and my heart breaks open ... screaming ... Enough!
Submitted by katrina on Tue, 04/03/2012 - 4:04pm.