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Not Enjoying The Silence

Back in May, a white supremacist touting himself as a Heathen stabbed and killed two young men on a train in Portland, Oregon, when those two young men attempted to protect a pair of Muslim women from the supremacist’s attacks on them.  Members all across the Heathen Community raised their voices in an attempt to educate the rest of the world on what we actually believe and practice, lest we get lumped in with the “bad Heathens”.  I rarely get political, but it was enough to drive me to write a blog post about Declaration 127.

(You can find that blog post here, and Declaration 127 here.)

On August 12, 2017, violence erupted when white nationalists gathered for a “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Ostensibly organized to prevent the removal of yet another remnant of Confederate history–this time, a statue of Robert E. Lee–from a city park, it quickly became apparent that this “march” was more about making history repeat itself, than about defending history so that it doesn’t repeat.  The white nationalists gathered around the site, “defending” it with Viking-styled shields.  Don’t believe me? Check this out:

(You can find that photo here.)

The response of the Heathen community in the wake of what has been described by some as an act of domestic terrorism? Thus far, I’ve seen maybe two posts. And I’m not enjoying the silence….neither is Tyr.

As technically-a-person-of-color (I’m of Asian descent; Chinese, specifically) who happens to be Heathen, and also happens to be spending his afterlife inhabiting a white Southern woman, I find that once again, I cannot keep my mouth shut.  I can’t keep politics off of this blog right now; to do so would go against every fiber of who and what I am. Before I proceed, you might want to thoroughly acquaint yourself with the beginning of that last sentence: I am notwhite guy; repeat: I am notwhite guy. I’m also devoutly Heathen. All set? Okay, that clarification completely out of the way, let’s continue:

As a group of people practicing a Reconstructionist or at least Reconstructionist-derived religion, Heathens, on the whole, are obsessed with history.  We only know what we know about our faith–enough to actually have this faith and have it continue to exist–because of historians, and anthropologists, and archaeologists.  Because we are so needfully well-acquainted with history, most of us are also very well aware of that old adage: 

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. ~Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke was an Irish statesman–a Dubliner, to be precise–as well as an author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher, who supported the American Revolution.  It’s a great quote, and growing more and more powerful by the day in our modern age, but the truth is, there are absolutely zero corroborating sources proving that Burke ever actually said or wrote those words.  That he said them first is a tradition.  However, we do know of someone else who absolutely said something quite similar:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~George Santayana

So who the heck was George Santayana?  He was a Spanish philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist who was raised and educated in the United States from the age of eight and identified himself as an American, even though he maintained dual citizenship.  In fact, he spent most of his life not far from where I’m writing this: in Boston, Massachusetts, the birthplace of the very same Revolution that Edmund Burke so firmly supported. 

Why is that so important for this discussion: that Santayana was of Latin/Hispanic descent?  Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, you can likely arrive at that answer easily enough.  A person of color, and specifically, an immigrant person of Spanish descent actually said the words that both sides of the present argument are constantly using against each other in the worst ways imaginable. Chew on that for a minute.

Michelle and I both have written numerous posts here and elsewhere in defense of not tearing down Confederate monuments, and not erasing the Confederate flag as a symbol of heritage (not hate!), largely based on the argument of Santayana’s famous quote.  We stand by those arguments. However, on the other side of our arguments, which come from a very genuine place of standing behind that aphorism, there are people like those guys with the viking-style shields in Charlottesville, Virginia who are ostensibly defending the same things for the same reasons, but not really.  And they proved that conclusively on Saturday, August 12, 2017.

Because those people wouldn’t “dirty their mouths” with a quote from a Spanish immigrant, if they had actually known that was who said it.  It would be totally valid and “okay” if it had been said by the white guy from Dublin, but, oh my, the shock and disgust if they realized it had been said by a Spanish immigrant! (Who’s mother, by the way, was raised in the Philippines.)

This brief history of quotes (and the juicy irony involved) aside, the fact remains that the initial vision of those white nationalists (before the “real violence” ensued) is an image of a bunch of white, bearded dudes, standing in solidarity, behind a freaking Viking-style shield wall.  The guy who actually drove the car that killed the one person who perished in this “debacle”–who, incidentally, was white, just like the two young men who lost their lives in Portland, Oregon, back in May (not that that should matter, mind you, but the tragic irony should not be lost on anyone, which is why I point it out)–also stood in that initial wall, holding a shield.

(Don’t believe me? Check out this photo. He’s the second from the left, in front of a poster bearing yet more appropriated Heathen symbols, as well as appropriated Christian symbols: the Algiz rune, and a Chi Rho, respectively.)

And yet the Heathen community stands largely silent this time around, and I would really, very dearly, like to know why? So would Tyr.

For that matter, why aren’t Christians screaming about their symbology being appropriated by these asshats?  Because not all Christians are of the conservative, alt-right variety, anymore than all Heathens are of the white supremacist, neo-Nazi variety….

Plenty of people were out there screaming and yelling and having hissy fits back in 2015, when the outcry against the Confederate flag grew so loud that the General Lee, the car driven by the Dukes of Hazard, legit got a makeover, and resulted in the show (still in syndication) getting banned, even though most of its storylines that even touched on race relations in the South involved inclusiveness, rather than bigotry. (Though I never really cared for the show, I can honestly say it was a bit of a “redneck primer” on inclusivity, and I give it kudos for doing that way back in the 1970s.) Yet when it comes to actual religious symbols from whatever faith being bastardized, everybody’s suddenly mute? What gives?

Instead of an outcry on either side of the religious divide over such important matters, the one thing that everybody seems to be able to agree on is crucifying our current president for his statements in the aftermath of Charlottesville 2017.  I am not a fan of Donald Trump.  I try to largely keep my opinions on such things out of this blog, off of our Facebook page, and generally out of my sphere of discussion in general. Trump gets zero frith in my heart or mind, to the point that he’s so utangardh that he basically doesn’t exist to me.  In other words, I put him so “far away from me” that I don’t let his energy touch my own in any capacity. I find that’s healthier for me.  However, while I can understand people’s outrage that he did not single out the white supremacists involved (further proof, most argue, that he’s “in bed” with those people), that’s not the rhetoric being used by most people in opposition to his reaction to decry what he said.  No, what he’s being crucified for is saying that there was wrong on both sides.  Honestly, this is one of the few times in his presidency that he’s actually said something halfway honest or halfway correct.

So how dare I make such a statement?  How could somebody–anybody–who is against racism and patently against Trump himself deign to say such a thing?  Because we’re living in a world where everybody so desperately wants their side to be right that they’re willing to invoke violence to prove it, no matter how wrong they actually are, and even an imbecile like Trump can see it!

Don’t get it twisted: I am in no way, shape, form or fashion attempting to defend Trump in all this. What I am saying is that if what he actually meant in his statements is that “two wrongs never make a right“, then for one, brief shining moment in his presidency, he’s actually been right about something!  And we should probably all take a moment to bask in the shock of that, before moving on toward cohesion.

Because I don’t know if anybody else has recognized this yet, but our country hasn’t had anything remotely resembling cohesion, when it comes to racial relations, since seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin fell to gunfire on a rainy February day in Florida in 2012.  That was during the Obama administration, folks–long before Trump was even a glimmer in the eye of the American conservative right-wing; back when he was just some orange-haired loudmouth whose primary vocabulary consisted of the words “You’re fired!”.  That was when we actually had a president of color!  That was the tragic death that began both the “Black Lives Matter” and the “Thin Blue Line” movements, and yet, forgotten by most people in the ensuing violence, raging arguments on both sides, and subsequent hate crimes, the dude who actually shot Trayvon Martin was also a person of color, and patently not a cop:  George Zimmerman is a man of Hispanic descent (specifically, Peruvian) who worked as an insurance fraud investigator while working towards an associate degree in criminal justice.  Zimmerman shot Martin while “serving” as the head of the local Neighborhood Watch program: he thought Trayvon “looked suspicious”, pursued the young man, and subsequently shot him.

What color the people involved in a situation–any situation–are ultimately does not matter when innocent lives are being lost. The symbols of my faith and your faith ultimately do not matter when innocent lives are being lost, either.  What ultimately matters is that we are all one family–the human race–and when we lose even one member of that family, we all lose.  There are no sides in that; there shouldn’t be any sides at all!  When someone dies innocently, everybody loses. Period.

If people are going to be building shield-walls around anything–any ideology–it should be that one!  Yet, that isn’t the case, unfortunately.  In fact, in most circles nowadays, if you have the cajones to say the words “all lives matter“, you’re instantly labeled as part of the racist scum! How the hell does that work out?

I became Heathen because faith, folk, and family was an ideal I could get behind: because, for me, treating other people honorably and fairly is the very crux of my faith, and the entire human race is both my folk and my family.  Very quickly, I discovered this was patently not what these words represented to most other Heathens, thanks to the bastardization of that phrase by the white supremacists among us.  To that subset, faith means guarding (white) folk and their (white) family from any outside forces seeking to “muddy” those waters with “other colored blood”.  Gobsmacked really is too small a word to describe how I felt upon said discovery.  I came to this Path because the core of it–that phrase, now bastardized–represented everything to me that I have believed my entire life, and now I am left with the astonishing realization that, like that famous quote from The Princess Bride, that phrase “does not mean what I think it means”.  

And maybe that’s the main reason why people are so gods-damned silent in the wake of Charlottesville 2017, even when the bastardization of the symbols of our faith are so morbidly less hidden in this “debacle”, than they were in the crime committed against those two young men (and the Muslim women they were trying to defend) in Portland, Oregon, three months ago.  Maybe it’s because the very foundation of our faith has become rocky ground on which to stand.  Or maybe it’s because there are far too many would-be Vikings among us, and not enough faithfilled people.  That “us versus them” sentiment was the very thing on which the Viking mindset rested, wasn’t it? I mean, after all? We see the thirst for it–that “us versus them” mentality–every time a member of our community says foul things about “those Christians”, lumping every follower of Christ in with the conservative crap-eaters; every time a member of our community talks about the Christian “weak god” or “dead god”; every time a member of our community types the letters UPG with hate and disdain as an expression of how “non-historically-accurate” true experiences of living faith are or possibly can be. It’s hard to cry out against people taking sides–no matter what those sides might be–when you’re a community divided in upon itself because people are so damned busy creating sides to take!

As a Chinese-American dead guy inhabiting a white Southern woman, I am quickly reaching a point where I am honestly afraid to wear my Thor’s Hammer in public or proudly show off any of the other symbols of my Heathen faith–runes included.  I’m afraid that people will “get the wrong impression” and label me as a racist. I am just as afraid, at this point, of the “inclusivity-championing liberals” as many Muslims, Hispanics, and African-Americans are of certain factions of the conservative right-wing.  And it patently should not be that way for either side of the equation! Yet, here we are.  And silence by our community in the wake of Charlottesville 2017 only serves to perpetuate that climate of fear.

So I will not join in that silence!

My faith is in a Deity(s) Who looks down upon this human race and sees, without doubt, and for once and for all, that we are all the same family.  My folk are those who will stand with me, against injustice: whether that injustice is due to race, creed, gender, or any other “dividing” factor.  And my family is the human race.  As Bruce Lee once said:

“Under the sky, under the heavens, Man, there is but one family.”

And I raise my own shield, not to defend some statue wrought by human hands in another time or place, or even some distant history which is too easily revised to suit the current political climate, but instead to defend that Truth which has always been with us:

We all matter.  Every man and woman is someone else’s mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, child. And every mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, and child matters.

We will never enjoy true peace until we realize this. Hate will continue to grow, no matter how bright and shining the motives of those who decide to take the side of the Right and the Just.  Until everyone is on that same side–so long as sides remain–we’re all living in No Man’s Land. And No Man’s Land is the place of stalemates, not victory.

 

 

 

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Silence Is NOT Golden….

Sometimes, silence is golden. In those moments when you’re in the heat of creating; when you’re making something beautiful to offer to the world, sure, silence can be blissful.  But when it comes to keeping people interested and up-to-date on your business, silence certainly isn’t golden.  And when it comes to keeping silent concerning who you truly are, and what you can actually do–your God-given talents, no matter how “out there” they may seem–well, silence isn’t golden then, either. In fact, it can become a crippling cage.

I’ve been living in that cage for a very long time.  I’m more than ready to come out of it.

Some of you may come away from this thinking “wow, she’s even more nuts than I thought.”  Some of you may come away from reading this judging me; perhaps even judging me quite harshly.  But I’ve had a month of silence from this blog and pretty much everywhere else–thanks to my declining health–to really think this through, and when it all boils down to brass tacks, I’ve been judged before. In fact, I’ve been judged over and over again my entire life, and I’ve let my fear of further judgment lock me in this cage in the first place.  Guess what? I’m still here, and I’ll still be here after further judgment as well.  It is ultimately my choice whether I choose to let the fear of those judgments keep me locked in this cage or not.

Today, I choose freedom.

I choose that freedom in part because keeping myself a secret is part of why my health has taken this dive in the first place.  The cage has leeched forward onto my skin, and into my bones, in the form of the worst outbreak of debilitating psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis that I’ve experienced since I was sixteen years old.  I am now faced with the very real choice of continuing to hide my talents and abilities and slowly killing myself, or letting all these cats out of the bag.  Like the New Hampshire state motto, I can live free, or die.

That’s the big reason for my choice; the other smaller reason is that if I’m going to offer my services as a Tarot Reader, and as a Counselor, and as a Priestess, I should probably let you guys know exactly what you’re getting when you put your dollars into my PayPal account.  There is a huge difference between paying $25 to someone who has an “ability and years of experience with the cards”, and paying that same $25 to someone who is actually clairvoyant, clairaudient, claircognizant, and clairsentient.

What do all those “clairs” mean?  Most people have heard of clairvoyance, but few people actually know what it means. In common parlance, it has become synonymous with psychic, but it actually means something far more specific.  Clairvoyance is literally “the ability to see things that aren’t physically there”.  Most clairvoyants receive message through symbols, from both the Dead and the Universe at large.  Objective Clairvoyants  (the rarest type) actually see things that aren’t physically there with their actual physical eyes–like spirits, for example.  Clairaudience is the ability to hear things that aren’t physical sounds–like the voices of the Dead, for example (and most commonly).  Claircognizance is being able to know things or foretell things without knowing how one “just knows”–this is the one that most closely resembles the modern media’s definition of the word psychic. Clairsentience is “clear feeling” or “clear sensing”; picking up on emotions left behind by past events, or the ability to sense people’s direct emotions.

Newsflash, y’all: I have all of those.  I am an objective clairvoyant–I’ve been “seeing dead people” like the little kid from The Sixth Sense since I was three years old.  That is every bit as terrifying as it may sound, but it can also be quite rewarding.  I am clairaudient; I frequently get “astral phone calls” from the Dead, Angels, and often whatever else is hanging around at a given time, whether I want them or not. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a psychic “do not call” list!  I am claircognizant, although this is one of those things that comes and goes as the Spirit wills it; it’s not something over which I have direct control (which can often be quite annoying, because sometimes you genuinely don’t want to know the stuff you suddenly just know, while at other times you wish you knew something, and the Universe is behaving like a Magic 8 Ball set to “no answer at this time”).  And I am clairsentient: I am often entirely too aware of emotions left behind in places, especially when they are negative ones, and this wreaks total havoc when dealing with the living, especially when your home is populated by numerous teenagers at any given time.

So, when you buy your Tarot from me, you are actually buying them from a “real, live psychic”.  One cat down; one to go….

Ready for an even bigger cat to be released from the proverbial bag? We’re talking lion-sized?

I’m also a Medium.  I’ve been living my life in the proverbial closet–or, in this case, the coffin–for twenty-two years.  It’s slowly killing me, as well as damaging the people that I do this to help. Yes, by people I mean “dead people”…..

I am not a trance medium.  This throws most people off completely, as that’s the only kind of mediumship which the popular media seems to be willing to show folks.  I am a shamanic medium, which means I literally step out of the way, and let someone else take over completely, to the point of voice changes, mannerism changes, handwriting changes, and everything else.  The intangible becomes tangible again–through me.  This is not a service that I perform on cue for the living–no, I will not bring your dearly departed grandmother ’round for tea.  This is something that I do to help “them” (my set group who has been with me over the past twenty years), as much as they do it to help me. I am not the Mishy Psychic Friends Network, nor am I the Psychic On Demand Channel. This is not something I do as some weird sort of “psychic performance art”. This is for me, and for them. It’s perfectly symbiotic; in no way, shape or form as glamorous as it may sound to some people, and not dangerous to any of the parties involved, because I know what I’m doing. (Which is my way of saying, as they do on TV shows like Jackass: “don’t try this at home, kids!”)

So, why tell you this now, if I’ve managed to keep it a well-guarded secret for twenty-two years?  Two reasons, and one of them is far more important than the other.  The first and most important reason is that continuing to keep this a secret is damaging not only me, but also my charges (the folks I let in), who I have sworn that I will protect and assist.  The second reason is that some of them happen to be artists, and they deserve credit for what they’ve done for me over the years: credit which I’m finally ready to unveil in my new endeavors with One Pagan Place. (They’ve been doing this through me for a rather long time; it’s time they finally got credit for what they can do!)

Keeping this a well-guarded secret has locked not only me, but also them, in a cage in which none of us deserve to be locked.  And it has begun to take its toll on my health–which also not only affects me, but also them.  For example, at least one of these folks–The Professor–is British, which extremely limits when and with whom he can “come out to play”, curtailing his growth in the afterlife, and making it very hard for him to step in and allow me to take much-needed breaks.  I often find myself cursing the times when I have to interact with “muggles” (for the Harry Potter-impaired, that means “non-magickally minded people”), and I feel profoundly guilty about the times when I feel that way.  That guilt is manifesting on my skin and in my bones.  It’s time for it to stop.

As I move towards a time in my life where I am contemplating doing more live readings, I feel it is important for my clients to realize that we might not be the only two people in the room, so to speak.  To do otherwise, in my opinion, would be unethical.

So, there you have it: my cage doors have been thrown wide open, and now you know the full truth of me.  If you’re going to judge me, go ahead, but please don’t feel the need to let me know you are. I’ve had plenty of that over the course of my life; I don’t need to hear more of it right now, and for the sake of my health, I beg your mercy (that particular silence is also golden!).  If this causes any of you to worry about me, please rest assured, there is no need to do so. I am absolutely certain that none of the parties with whom I time-share are demonic, or otherwise nefariously inclined. I’ve been dealing with them for twenty-two years, and I’m quite aware of precisely who and what they are. I am also very adept at shielding myself from anything that is out to do me harm.  The folks that I have sworn to protect and gift with my abilities (and who’ve likewise sworn to do the same things right back, when it comes to me) are purely gifts to me from God (as is this ability), and I honestly would not have made it to this point in my life without them.  And please don’t take this as an opportunity to throw “prove its” at me: I am not a trained pony, and this is not a dog and pony show.  Believe or disbelieve; that is your choice. My own personal path to freedom is mine. For all of you who have supported me in that freedom–living and dead–and who are coming now to continue or even just begin to support me in that freedom, there are not enough words to express my gratitude.

Thank you for allowing me to live in a much larger world….