Media, Facts, and More

I’m a big fan of  pointing out what isn’t said as opposed to what’s said.

The current situation with the Mainstream Media is this: many people distrust what various news outlets report because they feel like they’re (always or almost always) given a biased story that leaves out or distorts the facts due to the media being owned by corporations that have particular interests.

The reaction is for many people to turn to sources that aren’t mainstream- and they then somehow declare such sources to be more reputable by that virtue alone.

So the first false dichotomy we have is that Real News versus the Fake News; the trouble is, both sides might potentially be incorrect or correct. There is no guarantee that one is accurate and the other is inaccurate by virtue of its source.

Which is to say, the lack of a perceived corporate agenda does not mean no agenda exists.

We’ve seen that sites like Breitbart pump out stories that are not only misleading but often mostly fabricated; the trick is that sometimes a kernel of truth can be found in the article, but the way the information is presented distorts what’s really going on.

This brings us to the second major point. While we may talk about facts and whether or not something did happen or did not happen, we may need more than the mere verification of whether or not something occurred. Facts are woven into a broader narrative, and the way one weaves those facts varies according to one’s worldview. Facts are things that exist on their own, and what we do with those facts potentially matters more than the facts themselves.

All of that being said, I have a brief list of high-quality sources from which I obtain my news and am aware of the sort of bias and skew that are present in them, and I refuse to rely on low-quality sources that churn out information to upset people.

Which brings us to the third point, really more of a question: is it really possible to be unbiased? I have my doubts. People implicitly accept certain political realities and worldviews whether or not they overtly state them.

Food for thought.

Steve

 

 

 

 

The Dance of the Divine

Ever the Divine eludes us, but somewhere, somehow, God is in the gaps; God is in the connection, an abstraction and very real reality all at the same time.

This is to say, the Absolute presents itself in my life in a dizzying dance of first the highly structured and patterned realities (such as the Catholic Mass or classic works of art like the Last Supper or Mona Lisa) followed by the unstructured, freed realities of drag queens dancing in queer clubs with disco balls and confetti and the sheer liberation that it affords the personalities who find themselves caught up in the fever of the beat.

God is as much in the moments of my receiving the Holy Eucharist as the moments when I’m listening to techno blasting from my computer; God is both, always running from one to the other and never fully appearing in either, but looming in the background as the Hieros Gamos awaits me to fully awaken to it and combine the opposites, to marry the seemingly unlikely duo that is projected forth from the darkest quarters of my soul into the conscious world I call reality.

And thus I dance, for the truth is not somewhere in the middle but is above, beyond, and manifesting as the individual dancers and the dance and the room in which the dance occurs.

Speed the rhythm along; strip this mortal mind of its limitations and reveal the immortality inherent in all things.

Steve

On Having My First High Tea

A local restaurant called Willows British Tea Room hosts various themed teas throughout the year, so when my husband saw a Valentine’s Day tea, he suggested we dine there.

This was my first experience in having a true British tea made by a British person, and the experience did not disappoint!

My husband doesn’t care for British novels or television, whereas I’m not sure I could ever get enough of it. The food, too, seems to be right up my alley, and as formerly I was a member of the Episcopal Church, the daughter of the Church of England (or C of E as they like to say across the pond), there’s an aesthetic and affinity for things British that dwells within my soul.

img_3846
Featuring a Heart-shaped Crouton

Our meal consisted of a Vanilla and Raspberry tea with cream and sugar, and we had a light salad followed by the best tomato bisque I’ve ever had, pictured above.

The remaning three courses after salad and soup were on a tiered tray; small sandwiches and desserts were more than we could consume, and so we ended up taking them home. I will say my favorite was probably the bacon-wrapped cherry.

IMG_3847.JPG
We had already eaten a bit prior to snapping this photo!

Where the idea came from that British food is bland, I’m not entirely sure. Both British places I’ve visited in Panama City have excellent cuisine.

This was my first time having scones and clotted cream, which are everything the imagination lends them to be. Christopher learned that scones are akin to tiny biscuits.

The most difficult part is deciding which part of the meal was best! I think the mini-quiches and roast beef sandwiches were probably my favorite.

The tea itself had an almost magical flavor; I had two or three cups. Smoothness is a quality I value in my tea.

Lining the walls were all sorts and styles of tea kettles! I know what I’ll be painting in the near future.

Perhaps my soul is British. I’d love to visit overseas and see how I like the people and the culture. One can only dream!

Noteworthy is that the proper title of the place is “Willows” and not “Willow’s” as it is not a person’s name- much to my surprise.

We’ll definitely be returning in the future with friends and family.

Steve

Well, heck, I can’t think of a title for a blog this go-around, so I’ll have to skip it and go on.

I’ve been reading a lot of Gerald Gardner and Dion Fortune lately. The occultists that exist in that period of time before the sort of modern blooming of Wicca and modern Paganism really excite me; their stories are tremendous fun.

Dion Fortune seems more in the school of the Western Mystery Tradition than Gardner, and I’m currently reading her book Psychic Self-Defense. I think I read somewhere that the book isn’t really an instruction manual so much as Fortune telling us about various experiences where she has been assailed by psychic powers.

Noteworthy that in our modern age of materialism, the hard skeptics will likely not admit that such a thing exists or is worthy of consideration, and that’s well within their right to do so; as for me, I have to explore things first-hand to really grasp what is real and what isn’t real about them.

I battled anxiety for two days followed by a migraine blossoming the day the anxiety died down. This hasn’t been an easy week, in other words, but the good news is that I’m severely limiting my social media consumption. The reality is that no one person can absorb all the horrible things that are going on, and I had to choose my sanity over my being well-informed.

More than that, if I stand back, connect with myself and God, and then proceed, I’ll have greater footing and confidene to battle the evil that’s manifesting itself in our government.

It didn’t appear overnight; no, there’s been a long cultivation of a Cult of Stupidity in the United States, and I can say I’ve been a victim of its practitioners since I was a child. My patience and sympathy for them has expired, and so to Hell with them all.

Anyway, I suppose I’ll pour my heart out into writing these blogs as a way of venting.

Steve

Inner Conflict

As I’ve warned people previously, to piss me off is to make a mistake. First I might really be angry, but once my anger cools, I will crack my knuckles and relentlessly make fun of the person in question.

This is to suggest that to anger me is to provide me with ammo, and some people, by the very nature of their failures as human beings, provide me with ample ammunition.

Or you will arm me with material where I can write a blog because I’ve necessarily learned something from the experience.

My most recent lesson learned is that it is, in fact, pointless to argue with Angry Old White Men, a fact I probably already intuitively understood, but that I now know is pointless by virtue of experience.

My breakdown is this: Angry Old White Men Who Have Wasted Their Lives are not the sort of people I want to know, not now, and not in the future. They have nothing of value to offer me, and none of the value I can offer to them is something they will accept. The cause is lost before the dialog has begun.

The tragedy is largely that such individuals have supported a system that actively went against their best interests but weren’t intelligent enough to realize that. They have been played like a haunted marionette, have suffered for their sins, and have been told who to blame- not themselves, but more often than not, “The Other.”

And so the callous part of me erupts at this point. Let them suffer. Let them rot in their own self-induced misery.

But the compassionate part of me says, “No, they really didn’t understand.”

And then I’m left in conflict.

I feel like suffering is the only language that’s going to be spoken for such people. They won’t understand until it hurts, and that grieves me, but maybe that’s just reality.

Steve

Anatomy of a Bubble: a Poem

So often since the tragedy that we called an “election,”

I have heard of the bubble liberals live in

So I ask, what is the shape of a bubble, really, of the liberals?

I am from a town of roughly 2000 people where the major cash crop is tomatoes and the major religion is Southern Baptist

When I was a child, my mother worked, and so I went to a babysitter, the wife of a farmer

I saw cows up close, as well as the huge mounds of their shit

I saw baby chickens, called “biddies” in the local dialect

And one time, a cat had her babies in the chicken’s nest

On Sundays, at my grandfather’s house, my family sat around a table that had a Lazy Susan built into the top

And we shared Southern food with each other, my plate always having mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, roast, butter beans, and rice, topped with gravy

All next to a glass of sweet tea

An obsession with Japanese cartoons at age 12 led me to study and learn how to roughly read, write, and speak the Japanese language

In high school, I learned roughly to speak Spanish

While also learning how to read and sing in Russian

for a band from Russia portraying two lesbians were the sole representation for my gay teenaged self, and I learned what I could to sing with them

An exchange student from Korea gave me Kimchi-flavored seaweed snacks in 10th grade

And I learned how to write and read in Korean

In more recent years, I have studied French, and I can also read the Greek alphabet and the Hebrew alphabet, though slowly

And throw the beginning of Sanskrit in there somewhere.

In college, I happened into a coffee house run by a Turkish Muslim woman who told my fortunes using the grounds of Turkish coffee, and so I also learned some Turkish

Then I broke the fast of Ramadan with other Turkish Muslims who prayed over the feast and shared it with us on a joyful occassion.

And later, a bus full of nine British lesbian pagans broke down, and they performed the last shows at that Turkish woman’s coffee house, the perfect bang to close it all out

I have practiced Christianity in Reformed and Charismatic and Sacramental forms

My preference will always be for the Sacramental Christ

And even today, Christian Philosophers with their Neo-Platonism and Existentialism burn in my soul

I have practiced Hinduism and Hindu-flavored Sufism

Lord Shiva ever dances in my heart

I have practiced Buddhism and Wicca, at the same time

These two are not at odds, though I always believed they were

I have practiced the ideas perpetuated by a small atheist cult in Australia

And discarded what isn’t useful in their method

I have devoted myself to Vodou spirits and saints and angels

And more recently, to Greek and Norse deities and spirits

As well as 7 Principles of a certain Unitarian Universalism

My jobs include tutoring in high school, later working a gift shop, and then helping keep afloat the family business of hardware that had been around for three generations

in a large store that had no air conditioning in the Southern portion of Alabama, a store that had one small gas heater near the front

For five years, I was a pescetarian, never consuming animals outside of seafood

And in those five years, I learned how to make Matar Paneer

When I finally started eating meat again, I made Korean spicy chicken and Bulgogi, a spicy beef dish

I have walked the streets of New York City at night after seeing a Broadway show

And I have been on Bourbon Street in New Orleans at night when the street was packed full of people

I have walked the hallowed spaces in Washington, D.C., and I flew with my now-husband to Annapolis, Maryland, walking on cobblestone streets in freezing temperatures to get married

I have a stepson who, at age 6, when asked to select, “What is a goal?” from a series of pictures, chose “teach a duck to whistle” over “learn to play an instrument,” and his reasoning?

“Anyone can learn to play an instrument; teaching a duck to whistle is a real ambition”

On my Facebook of 145 people, I have at least two friends who live in Seattle,

at least two who live in New York City,

one who lives in Los Angeles,

three who live in Japan, one who lives in Germany,

and one who lives in Brazil,

and yet another living in a small town in Connecticut

I have at least one friend on my Facebook who is from the United Kingdom

I have friends who were once dancers who now write poetry

I have friends who do reiki and can put to shame any lounge-singer

I have friends who play drums and flutes and tell stories

I have friends who write blogs and spread joy in the world

I have friends who draw and paint better than I ever will

I have friends with whom I have stayed late into the night and over coffee, pizza, or marijuana (I did not partake of the latter), discussed all aspects of life

And after all was said and done, as I drove myself home

I turned on the radio and listened to George Noory and Art Bell on Coast to Coast AM

As conspiracy theories, alien invasions, crystal skulls, quantum physics, witchcraft, and the true location of the Ark of the Covenant were all discussed with guests on the show

often after I had gone to college in the morning, gone to work after class, went back to the next class, and then spent the later hours of the night with my friends

If this is what a bubble looks like,

a bubble that extends over the globe,

a bubble that extends through time and space

a bubble that afforded me friends and experiences the likes of which I never dreamt as a child

I will gladly stay in my bubble

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Polytheism and the Residual Damage from Mainstream Christianity

The modern-day atheists and I have a similar root in that we reject mainstream Christianity, though the atheists arrive at different conclusions than I.

Make no mistake: I was once a rabid atheist, the sort that would make Dawkins and his ilk blush (or possibly cheer), the sort that hated any and all religion and most especially Christianity.

I understand the experience from the inside-out.

Much, if not the majority, of today’s atheism in the West is aligned with progressivism, humanism, and liberalism in some capacity, and at its heart, atheism is a rejection of theistic personalism. Theistic personalism is defined as the idea that God (here defined as the Christian God) is literally a being not unlike us that’s likely also anthropomorphic and cares about each and every one of us in an individual way; Jesus, in fact, cares about what you ate for dinner.

This kind of theology is damning because any lack of response from God then becomes the lack of evidence needed to invalidate its existence.

To get to my point, it’s difficult for people to escape the more subtle levels of theology that influenced us at any point in time, and so we carry those subtle notions with us as we argue against it or find new paths.

Thus the same argument might be applied on the polytheistic level- why do the gods not respond?

And here is where I must bring the rude awakening to the table- who the fuck do you think you are?

We’re talking about gods, beings that don’t need you and indeed can exist fine without you and existed before you were born and so on. Who do you think you are, going to those gods, knocking on their doors, that they should pay attention to you?

How many rituals have you done to a chosen deity? How often have you dreamed of that deity, had visions of that deity, prayed to that deity, made offerings and sacrifices to that deity?

You say, “I prayed, and this or that deity didn’t answer, so they must not be real.”

Well, have you tried calling a CEO at a company? Did the CEO respond to you immediately and meet your exact demand? What about the President of the United States or even a Senator or Representative?

It can be something of a hit-and-miss process.

It’s incredibly arrogant to think you can petition a deity with whom you have no established working relationship and that they’ll grant you what you ask; don’t assume your role in the universe is so highly important that your offerings and rituals even get the attention of said deity the first time, maybe not even the first twenty times.

Don’t assume a deity will ever want to work with you. That’s not how the gods and spirits role. It is not up to you; it’s up to them.

Persistence is key.

Again, I will point out that my conception of the polytheistic deities are not beings that are omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent, and not omnibenevolent, either. There may exist such a reality, and of course in Gnosticism we would call that Reality “God,” but “God” is unlike the typical monotheistic idea of a God, and is far, FAR beyond our ability to understand or reckon with.

This has been your daily Cup of Steve.

S.