Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Beltane Comes Again!

“Flora” Mask (2013)
 Happy May Day to all!

Ah, the RITES OF SPRING!  I've posted this article before, but I still like it, and felt like sharing previous year's Beltane post once again, for any who may be interested.

May Day was celebrated everywhere in Britain and Europe  with Maypole, flower garlands, May wine and love.  The birth of spring on May Day in Elizabethan England would send villagers into the woods to collect flowers and boughs, and then they would wait for the sun to rise as it brought the fully opened year flowering into spring.  


A few years back I found myself  singing "Lady Godiva", an old song  by Peter and Gordon from the 60's.  When I find myself with  mental "muszak"  that just won’t go away, I’m kind of forced  to pay attention.  According to legend, Lady Godiva rode naked on a horse through the streets of Coventry, England, to ease the tax burden of the citizens imposed by her husband, who agreed to relieve the toll if she did this.  Pulling out my Jungian “Inner Pun”  book, I decided that it had something to do with "Lady God", this being what I get from the word.   “Godiva” has both “God” and  “Diva or Deva” which means divine, shining.   


Words can tell us much about the origins of  things.Coventry" is an interesting addendum as well. If you look it up in the dictionary, besides being a  city in England, the actual definition of the word "coventry" means:  

"the state of being banished or ostracized (excluded from society by general consent); ie,  "the association should get rid of its elderly members--not by euthanasia, of course, but by Coventry"**

Thus, "coventry" is the opposite of "coven", "covenant", or "to convene", which means to bring together.  So, perhaps in all of this linguistic trail one can see the way the pagan Rites of Spring were “ostracized”.   A Blog friend, Robur D'Amour, wrote a fascinating article about Lady Godiva,  and commented that the origins of this legend are almost certainly found in the ride of the May Queen to the sacred tree (Maypole), the "coven tree".  

 He wrote:

" A very early spelling, 1050, is Couaentree.  I found, by chance, a reference to Coventry as bring a rebus for 'a coven round a tree'…….. There was a widespread practice for dancing round a tree on May Eve, which is the maypole. Perhaps there really was a tree that was used for festivities.  The story that Lady Godiva was protesting against taxes is untrue.  Apparently, at the time the procession dates from, Coventry was a village, and there were no taxes.  The procession is actually a May-Eve fertility procession, many of which are found across Europe.  What happened at Coventry was that there was a Benedictine monastery there. The monks did not approve of  people watching the fertility procession, and so invented the story about taxes. "1

The origin of the “peeping Tom” legend also derives from the famous ride of Lady Godiva -  the May Queen in all of her glory being, from a Benedictine point of view, perilous for  eyes to see.  The May Queen is the young  Goddess Herself, riding to bless the rising fertility of the land and to meet the May King.
Villagers celebrating  Rites of Spring throughout Merrie Old England and much of Europe would bear flowers, all the while capering around the new Maypole.  Often it was only unmarried girls who would be allowed to plant the phallic Maypole into the fertile Earth, which then would be woven in dance by men and women with ribbons or twine.  Dancers took hold of the ends in a weaving courtship dance.  A procession led by  Jack O' the Green (a variant of the Green Man), fantastically arrayed with flowers, leaves and ribbons, might also be part of the celebration.  And of course there would be  Morris Dancers.     Crowned with a garland, the May Queen, no matter how capricious, was to be obeyed throughout the day's celebrations, and everyone would vie for the honor of doing her homage.

“Guenivere as the May Queen” by John Collier
 A  lovely ritual with ancient origins in pagan practices of sympathetic magic.   In other words, "the world is waking up and making love, so we too wake up and make love, and all will bear fruit".

The union of the May Queen with the May King (or the Green Man) probably has its origins in very ancient traditions of the Sacred Marriage, going back as far as Sumeria and the marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi.  Perhaps, much farther than that into unknown origins in prehistory.  

In ancient times, the spring ritual union of the King with the priestess (representing the Earth Mother) was a very significant rite; in later times, even in early Christian Europe, church morality may have been suspended for Beltane, as couples went out into the fields to participate in the worlds ripening fertility.   


In Italy,  Flora was the Roman Goddess of Flowers and it’s not surprising that her festival was also held on the first day of May. The May Dance festivals of Europe have many of their origins in the ancient  “Feast of Flora”, the ecstatic Roman Rites of Spring.
This celebration of the fecundity of Spring has always made the Church nervous.  In the late 19th century, May 1 became associated with the growing labor movement, and since then many countries have celebrated May Day as International Workers' Day.  In 1955, Pope Pius XII instituted May 1 as the "feast of St. Joseph the Worker" with the intention of emphasizing the spiritual aspect of labor.

I'm sure the advent of this secondary meaning to May Day came as a belated relief to the Catholic Church, along with Lady Godiva's famous ride becoming a  folk legend about taxes.    For myself,  I am happy to see the Pagan origins of May Day, and the true tale of Lady Godiva,  continually  re-discovered and re-invented.  The re-sacralization of sexuality, in tandem with the Spring  blossoming of the world, which  was the original meaning of May Day,  is truly a  Holy Day.  And I am always surprised by  how little most people today know of its origins.   

*  Robur D’Amour


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Chemtrails, Geo-Engineering - an Important New Film

Chem Trails over Yosemite National Park
"Drought is on the increase, and any kind of loss due to that is going to double.  Then you put yourself up as the solution so when all of this weather comes and and wipes you out,  well,  we've got the solution for you, here's this drought tolerant corn.  Oh, by the way, you've got to sign this 40 page agreement so when you go ahead and plant these seeds you now belong to Monsanto.......They look at severe conditions as an opportunity.  They are disaster capitalists."
 Although I've many times seen the weird grids of "chem trails" in the skies of Arizona, I never really took them seriously, feeling the issue was some kind of conspiracy theory fantasy, and the grids were undoubtedly just air force exercises.  We all know about climate change - but shadowy forces  consciously trying to control the weather?  Impossible.  After seeing this intelligent, award-winning film, I now view them with horror.  Watch the film, and learn about the chemicals in our rain, the alarming increase in allergies, asthma, and other diseases associated with these chemicals, about HAARP, and the hand of corporate entities like Monsanto as well as the military. 

The Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter, were the great film epics of the past decade.  I watch films with a mythologist's eye, wondering what kind of shadow is being shown within the collective unconscious.  As Joseph Campbell pointed out in his famous "Power of Myth" interviews with Bill Moyers, the  "Star wars" trilogy films  (and decades before that, with films like  "Forbidden Planet" and "On The Beach") reflected humanity's increasing fear of the two-edged sword that is technology.  To be more specific, technology used for war and control, and the banality of greed.

What was the meaning of the great struggle against Sauron, and Voldemort, villainous forces whose lust for absolute power meant the destruction of the world?  These monsters are the monsters that exist in the psyche of  unevolved humanity.    Like the black magicians of the Atlantis myths, these people are "playing God" indeed, with an arrogance that is nothing new, but armed with a global technology that is truly disastrous.  
"If you can create weather modulation, you create crisis, and if you have the seed control everything."......."(Geo- Engineering) can be used to control the weather, and thus corporatize every natural system on the planet.  This would enable certain individuals to consolidate an enormous amount of monetary and political power into the hands of the few at the expense of every living thing on the planet."
 Here's the trailer, and below it is the full length movie.


"People around the world are noticing that our planet's weather is dramatically changing. They are also beginning to notice the long lingering trails left behind airplanes that have lead millions to accept the reality of chemtrail/geoengineering programs. Could there be a connection between the trails and our severe weather? While there are many agendas associated with these damaging programs, evidence is now abundant which proves that geoengineering can be used to control weather. In this documentary you will learn how the aerosols being sprayed into our sky are used in conjunction with other technologies to control our weather. While geoengineers maintain that their models are only for the mitigation of global warming, it is now clear that they can be used as a way to consolidate an enormous amount of both monetary and political power into the hands of a few by the leverage that weather control gives certain corporations over the Earth's natural systems."

 Directed/Produced by Michael J. Murphy and Produced/Edited by Barry Kolsky.. Written by Michael J. Murphy and Barry Kolsky. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

In Partnership With Mother Earth

Not too long ago I posted an article by Robert Koehler titled "Calling All Pagans - Your Mother Earth Needs You" and wrote to the author in appreciation for his article.  I was surprised when he wrote back, and we had an exchange of ideas, and very pleased when he sent me a followup article in which he quoted me from our email conversation.  So it's my pleasure to share his second article here.

OK, mankind, it’s time to grow up, and I see a good way to start: Change the wording of Genesis 1:26. Change one word. 

Last week, I quoted that Bible verse in a column about the increasing velocity of climate change:   “And God said . . . let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,” etc.  

Dominion! * Nature belongs to us, to suck dry and toss away. And thus we moved out of the circle of life and became its conquerors, an attitude at the core of the Agricultural Revolution and the rise of civilization. The momentum of this attitude is still driving us. We don’t know how to stop, even though most people now grasp that we’re wrecking the environmental commons that sustains life.

Addressing the verse and the idea of “dominion,” Phil Miller, a minister, wrote: “Some of us understand that word to mean ‘stewardship’ or ‘responsibility.’” And David Cameron wrote: “One has to wonder what would have ensued had the translation said ‘stewardship’ rather than ‘dominion’? Almost incomprehensible that our future and the future of so many and so much may have hinged on that one word.”

If in one of the most defining religious-political texts of the human species we’d been charged with stewardship of the natural world, not some sort of adolescent, consequence-free control over it, what sort of spiritual understanding would have evolved over the millennia? What sort of technology? What would our civilizations look like if we believed in the depths of our beings that they were not distinct from but part of nature? What if, instead of organizing ourselves around the concept that we have enemies to subdue — “survival of the fittest” — we explored the complexity of our connectedness to one another and the whole of creation, even when the connections were barely visible?

What I am coming to learn, as I ask such questions, is that this understanding is already vibrantly present in the collective human consciousness, drowned out as it may be by the special interests that run our world. These interests, which serve war and money, have belittled complex understanding as “paganism” and colonized, enslaved and slaughtered its primary keepers: the tribal and indigenous people of the world.
Listen to the words of Rupert Ross, from his remarkable book Returning to the Teachings, as he describes his dawning understanding of the aboriginal culture of northern Ontario: 

 “The word ‘connecting’ leapt at me. It captured not only the dynamics I imagined in that room, but also the key feature of all the traditional teachings I had been exposed to thus far. Until then, I had somehow missed it. It involved a double obligation, requiring first that you learn to see all things as interconnected and second that you dedicate yourself to connecting yourself, in respectful and caring ways, to everything around you, at every instant, in every activity.“. . . (Children) had to learn to see themselves not as separate, individual beings but as active participants in webs of complex interdependencies with the animals, the plants, the earth and the waters.”

Indeed, Ross and many others have pointed out that indigenous science has always known what Western science has only recently relearned: that the universe is energy and dynamic flux, that there’s no such thing as objectivity and separation. 
“Like Western science, indigenous science relies upon direct observation for forecasting and generating predictions,” according to the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network. “. . . Unlike Western science, the data from indigenous science are not used to control the forces of nature; instead, tell us the ways and the means of accommodating nature.”   Among other critical distinctions, according to the website: “All of nature is considered to be intelligent and alive, thus an active research partner.”

 I note these ideas not to throw rocks around in some “debate” about who’s right, but to open up the national and global conversation about who we are. We can let these ideas sit in our imaginations. What might stewardship of nature mean if we regarded the relationship as a partnership? What might a celebration of Earth Day (April 22) look like?

“We need to re-myth culture, to re-sanctify nature before it’s too late,” Lauren Raine (“a longtime advocate and practitioner of neo-pagan theology and resident artist for Cherry Hill Seminary, “the only accredited Pagan seminary in the U.S”) wrote to me last week.“Earth-based spirituality is to be found in all cultures, including many rich traditions from Europe and Great Britain. The evolution of our strange, life-denying religious backdrop has much to do with the evolution of patriarchal culture and values. We need to get rid of the war gods, and return . . . to honoring the Mother.

We also need to put our lives on the line, or at least honor those who do. One of the many responses I got to last week’s column was from environmental activist Jessica Clark, who faces jail time for sitting in a tree last fall. 
In September, she and other members of the Michiana Coalition Against Tar Sands, or MICATS, temporarily blocked Enbridge Inc.’s tar sands pipeline expansion through Michigan. This was an expansion of the same pipeline that ruptured in 2010, badly polluting the Kalamazoo River; it was the largest and costliest inland oil spill in history. 

One night the protesters climbed trees at the construction site in central Michigan and anchored their platform to the company’s construction equipment. If the ropes had been moved, the protesters’ platform would have tipped, dropping them 50 feet to the ground. That didn’t happen, but they were arrested and convicted of trespassing — for the crime of stewardship. It’s the price of growing up.

 Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound (Xenos Press), is still available.
Contact him at or visit his website at

*My bold.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why There Are No Jobs........and the Triumph of Walmart.

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The Emma Maersk, part of a Danish shipping  line, is shown in the photos below.
This is very graphic, and a great commentary.   Don't know who circulated it on Facebook, but it really does say it all.
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What a wonder 'Made in China ' is displacing  North American made goods big time. This monster  transports goods across the Pacific in just 5 days!! Another  two will soon be  commissioned.    These  ships were commissioned by Wal-Mart to get their  imported goods from China .... They hold an incredible  15,000 containers and have a 207 foot deck beam!!  The  full crew is just 13 people on a ship longer than a US  Aircraft Carrier which has a crew of 5,000.  With its  207' beam it is too big to fit through the Panama or Suez  Canals .
It  is strictly transpacific. Cruise speed: 31 knots.  The goods arrive four days before the typical  container ship (18-20 knots) on a  China-to-California run. 91% of Wal-Mart products are  made in China. So this behemoth is hugely competitive even  when carrying perishable goods.   The ship  was built in five sections. The sections are floated together  and then welded. The command bridge is higher than a 10-story  building and has 11 cargo crane rigs that can operate  simultaneously unloading the entire ship in less than two  hours. 

Description: 12F590ECE66F47CA8CBA6E007DBF226F@JohnPC
Additional info:
Country of origin  - Denmark
Length - 1,302 ft
Width - 207 ft
Net cargo  - 123,200 tons
Engine - 14 cylinders in-line diesel engine  (110,000 BHP)
Cruise Speed - 31 knots

Cargo  capacity - 15,000 TEU (1 TEU = 20 cubic feet)
Crew - 13  people!
First trip - Sept. 08, 2006
Construction cost -  US $145,000,000+
Silicone painting applied to the ship  bottom reduces water  resistance and saves 317,000  gallons of diesel per year.

Description: 0345EC5625DC46ED9BD368BE75CEB5BB@JohnPC

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Description: 6CE296D29D7F4DEF8D1C842C1A5B70CD@JohnPC

Description: D3C8E5FA8B864C82938FB748BC4308F0@JohnPC

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Editorial  Comment!
A recent documentary in late March,  2010 on the History Channel noted that all of these containers  are shipped back to China,  EMPTY!
Yep,  that's right. 
We send nothing back on  these ships.
What does that tell you about the current  financial state of the west in crisis?
So folks, just keep  on buying those imported goods (mostly gadgets) until you run  out of money.  Then you may wonder what the cause of  unemployment  in the U..S, UK,  Canada and even in Australia????

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Earth Day 2014

Gaia, mother of all,
I shall sing,
the strong foundation, the oldest one.
She feeds everything in the world.
Whoever walks upon her sacred ground,
or moves through the sea,
or flies through the air, it is she
who nourishes them from her treasure-store.

Queen of Earth, through you
beautiful children
beautiful harvests,

It is you who gives life to mortals,
and who takes life away.
Blessed is the One you honour with a willing heart.
One who has this has everything.

Their fields thicken with life-giving corn,
their cattle grow heavy in the pastures,
her house brims over with good things.*

It is you who honoured them,
sacred goddess, generous spirit.
Farewell mother of the gods,
bride of starry Heaven.

For my song, allow me a life
my heart loves.
Homeric Hymn to Gaia XXX, translated by Jules Cashford.

* The original pronoun was, of course, "he".  I changed it to remember that not all Beings of the Earth are "he".  I suspect Gaia, in all Her magnificent diversity,  would approve.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eclipse of the Moon

Mass of the Moon Eclipse

Not more slowly than frayed
human attention can bear,
but slow enough to be stately, deliberate, a ritual
we can't be sure will indeed move
from death into resurrection.

As the bright silver inch by inch
is diminished, options vanish,
life's allurements. The last silver
lies face down, back hunched, a husk.

But then, obscured, the whole sphere can be seen
to glow from behind its barrier shadow:  bronze,
unquenchable, blood-light.  And slowly,
more slowly than desolation overcame, overtook
the light, the light

is restored, outspread in a cloudless pasture of
spring darkness where firefly planes
fuss to and fro, and humans
turn off their brief attention
in secret relief. 

No matter:  the rite
contains its power, whether or not
our witness rises toward it;
grandeur plays out the implacable drama
without even flicking aside our trivial
fail to respond.

And yet
we are spoken to, and sometimes
we do stop, do, do give ourselves leave
to listen, to watch.  The moon,
the moon we do after all
love, is dying, are we to live
on a world without moon?  We swallow
a sour terror.

that coppery sphere,
no-moon become once more
full-moon, visible in absence.
And still without haste, silver
increment by silver
increment, the familiar, desired,
disregarded brilliance
 is given again,
given and given.

Denise Levertov
from This Great Unknowing:  Last Poems,
1999, New Directions Press

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Calling All Pagans: Your Mother Earth Needs You

Here's an article, written by someone who is unaware, perhaps, of the decades long work contemporary pagans, Goddess workers, eco-feminists, and other Gaians have been doing.  Huzzah - pass it on.  He addresses what we have been talking about for so many years, the urgent and potent need to re-myth our world, to re-sanctify the Mother. 

 Calling All Pagans: Your Mother Earth Needs You

 "Sadly,  we’re far more prepared to go to war than
 we are to make peace with the planet."
Somewhere between these two quotes lies the future:

“And I would like to emphasize that nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.”

“The Judeo-Christian worldview is that man is at the center of the universe; nature was therefore created for man. Nature has no intrinsic worth other than man’s appreciation and moral use of it.”

The first quote is from Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, summing up the dire and much-discussed findings of its recent report: Human civilization — its technology, its war games, its helpless short-sightedness and addiction to fossil fuels — is wrecking the environment that sustains all life. Time is running out on our ability to make changes; and the world’s, uh, “leadership” — political, corporate — has shown little will to step beyond more of the same, to figure out how we can reduce carbon emissions and live in eco-harmony, with a sense of responsibility for the future.

"But maybe we can start learning, at long last, that we are not the masters of the universe and that “dominion” and exploitation are immature expressions of power."

The second quote is from radio talk-show host Dennis Prager, writing recently in the National Review Online. He goes on, in his remarkable rant against environmentalism, to point out that “worship of nature was the pagan worldview” and “for the Left, the earth has supplanted patriotism.” Eventually he compares environmentalism to loving wild dogs more than mauled children.

Prager’s diatribe isn’t my normal reading matter and I only bring it up here because I think it has relevance to the leadership void I’ve been pondering. The contemptuous dismissal of nature as lacking intrinsic worth — an unworthy competitor with God for human allegiance — may no longer have mainstream credibility, but, like racism, it’s part of the mindset that has shaped Western civilization.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

We’re still caught up in the momentum of dominion. Thus: “. . . for all the alarming warnings generated by the scientific community and confirmed by the IPCC’s comprehensive analysis of that science,” according to a recent Common Dreams article, “world governments and the powerful private sector have done next to nothing to meet the challenge now before humanity.”

Indeed, as Elizabeth Kolbert points out in The New Yorker: “Currently, instead of discouraging fossil-fuel use, the U.S. government underwrites it, with tax incentives for producers worth about four billion dollars a year.”  We’ve got, as the IPCC report states, “a 15-year window” to start making serious changes in how we structure our world. Human society will need, the Common Dreams piece says, to “revolutionize the structures of its economies, food systems, and energy grids.”

This is not going to happen — not at current levels of awareness, concern and empowerment. This is the dawning realization I find myself less and less able to live with. Climate change and global weather chaos — droughts and fires, tsunamis and tidal waves, crop failure, undrinkable water, devastating cold, rising oceans, new levels of social turmoil — are the future we are unable to hold off. But maybe we can start learning, at long last, that we are not the masters of the universe and that “dominion” and exploitation are immature expressions of power.

My only hope is that, in so learning — as humanity finds itself increasingly entangled with environmental chaos and recognizes its utter vulnerability to nature — we will begin to transcend our isolated sense of entitlement to do with Planet Earth what we will and revolutionize the way we organize every aspect of our social structure, rethinking ten millennia of dominance-motivated social organization. Nobody, after all, no matter how wealthy and fortified, is immune to the impact of a changing climate.  We’re all in it together. We’re part of nature, not its master. This concept is the missing foundation stone of contemporary civilization.

It was in this state of mind that I read Prager’s essay, wondering if such an awareness change were possible, or whether, as the consequences of unsustainable living intensified, we’d become, instead, increasingly isolated and survivalist in our thinking.
“Worship of nature was the pagan worldview,” he wrote, sounding the note of ultimate contempt for any suggestion that environmental sustainability matters and our way of life needs to change profoundly.

Perhaps the word “pagan” embodies the most deeply embedded prejudice in the Western, civilized mindset — the first and last justification for global dominance. Pagans are the ultimate “other.” We’ve built a moral structure on this prejudice, and as a consequence the U.S. government continues to subsidize rather than tax fossil fuel production. As a consequence, we’re far more prepared to go to war than we are to make peace with the planet.

We have to undo this prejudice before it undoes us.

Robert C. Koehler
Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is now available. Contact him at or visit his website at