Shit is up. Shit has been up.

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I keep looking for just the right words to express my feelings, just the right way to explain what is happening inside my head, my heart, my soul. Just when I think I have a handle on it some other crazy ass shit comes up and I have to start the process all over again.
I have been waiting for all the right things to say that would be helpful, or spiritual, or something…
So first, Trump. Yep that election, now nearly 2 years ago, sent me into a tailspin. I went back on anti-depressants. Then finished getting my teaching credential. Yay. Anyway, got certified, then got special ed. certified, then got a job in the middle of the school year that about kicked my ass. Not the kids. The kids are the kids. They are in my class for a reason. But I never expected the complete and utter lack of administrative support (in their defense-they are also over worked and understaffed and probably underpaid). Nor did I ever expect to be actively undermined by existing staff. But live and learn. And learn I did, quickly. The year is finished. My husband transferred to California and YAY, now we are moving to California.
…if our house ever sells.
…if our idiot in chief can keep his mouth shut long enough not to crash the economy…
Summer in Texas. Kids in fucking tents torn from their parents. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?! These poor kids. Their poor parents.
Now we must find a way to keep track of the kids who remember their names and the names of their parents…besides mama and papa…and reunite them. There must be a way.
The fascist government is already here. Like that cartoon, “Those that know their history are doomed to watch those who do not, repeat it.” Fuck.
Here at 10K Sanctuary we are giving what little money we have in the bank (160.00) to RAICES an organization that works on reuniting parents and children and also paying the fee to get parents out of detention while they await a hearing. They are doing great work.
But if you do not like that organization please feel free to give the Southern Poverty Law Center. They are always doing great work to help those with legal needs all over the country. Or the ACLU
What scares and shocks me is the ability of people to dehumanize other people with such ease. I know it is not new. It is woven into the fabric of this country, in every country, really. Racism, colonialism, misogyny, othering… Always waiting for the barbarians as if it is not us.
My garden is doing great! It seems after 10 years I can grow things in Texas! Well besides friendships. Figs, Lemons, asparagus, passion fruit, blackberries and even comfrey! Which is a miracle if I do say so myself.
So, still on anti-depressants. Still taking anti-anxiety meds. Still able to laugh and always feel the weight of the fucking oppression of all that is out there.
I often wonder how trump, mcconnell, ryan, pence, huckabee, and all the rest of them, how do they sleep? How will they ever know what damage they have wrought? How do they not care. They count other lives so cheaply and theirs so dear… do they look into the eyes of their kids and think what would I do if someone stole my baby? I just don’t understand. I mean it doesn’t matter. They made their choices. I will not other them in the way they are othering so many. But DAMN! They are some fucked up humans.
Give what you can where you can. Remember you cannot serve from an empty cup. Eat, exercise, sing, dance, remember the sound of the birds, the smell of springtime. Even the heat of summer in Texas. Someday we will all need the stories and laughter to survive. Love deeply.
~Liona

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Solstice 2016

Today is the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. The Winter Solstice. It is a time of coming out of the darkness and being reborn into the light. It is the return of the sun. Mercury is also in retrograde. The recent election may have long lasting effects on whether or not minority religions will be able to practice in openness and safety. Hate crimes are up against all minorities. And Generally it feels difficult to find a positive spin on this Solstice for me.
It is true that it is easy to be a good person when things are easy. It is also true that it is hard to be a good person when things are hard. We as Pagans, coming out of the dark and into the light must become better people than ever before because things are hard and will get harder if the new administration gets their way. We must protect those that need protecting. Fight for the things that make us uniquely American, freedom of speech, freedom of and from religion, separation of church and state, free assembly and the right to petition our government for wrongs. This is who we are. We have many ways of expressing our kindness, our faith, our devotion and now we must double down. We cannot show fear, call on Ereshkigal as she will lend you her strength as you struggle. Call on Kali or Sekhmet, Pele or Hecate to help you overcome injustices. Call on Ma’at for focus and balance.
We must do the work, but our faith can help us persevere through the times that are coming. The sun is bright. It is our day star and will lead our way.
I wish everyone the happiest of Yules and the warmest of wishes for good luck and good food and safe families and friends.
Blessed Be
~Liona

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empathy, compassion, kindness

It is October 29th, 2016. Less than two weeks before the presidential election. The world has gone insane. I mean, really, truly insane. One of the presidential candidates has the vocabulary of a 3rd grader (no disrespect to 3rd graders meant or implied here), and is facing rape and human trafficking charges, brags about sexually assaulting women on the regular, incites riots, death threats against the standing president, and on and on. One is a centrist candidate that happens to be a woman and has extensive experience in the government. She is more corporatist than I would like, she has not done enough to speak against racism in my opinion but she is not the hate monger of the other candidate. And the election is CLOSE.
White people all over this country are feeling free to express their hatred of all things not White. Black people are being shot for minor infractions, corporations are being backed up by paid police and mercenaries to kill people and steal sacred land, fracking pipes are breaking all over the country poisoning our water. OUR WATER! Nestle feels fine commodifying water, another great extinction is in process, our oceans are dying, I mean shit is UP. The list is so much longer than this.
Everyday I read news and something will make me gasp, really truly gasp, at some horrific thing that is now apparently socially acceptable. The fundamentalists have even said that “Witches will decide the next election,” for real, I’m not making that up. heavy sigh.
It is easy to slip into hatred of other. So, so easy. But how is that helpful? It is easy to be a good person when things are easy. It is hard to be a good person when things are batshit crazy all around you. But that, being kind, showing compassion and empathy, I believe, is what we are called on to do as spiritual people right now. As a human and as I priestess I cannot let this extensive and incredible injustice against humanity go on without comment.
How is it that reasonable people think it is fine to hate other people, truly hate them, hate them enough to kill them, simply because of their skin color, or clothing choices, or gender, or sex, or religion? HOW HAS THIS GONE ON?
We all wonder who we would be if we lived in Germany under the Nazi’s. Now we know. If you land on the side of white supremacy or on the side of immigrants must register and be deported, you would have landed on the side of Hitler. If you land on the side of compassion, empathy and acceptance than you would have ended up in the resistance or in the camps.
What is so bone chillingly sad is that there are SIDES at all. This is a finite planet. Our lives are so fleeting. The desire to kill others for their differences is just crazy. The differences are so meaningless. Religion, clothing, skin color, language, it is all so inconsequential in the long run. I’m sure there is someone reading this saying, “But Liona what about…” (assuming anyone reads this stuff besides me). Well what about it. Is there anything so different about another human that you want to KILL them? Taking someone’s life is serious business. It is not like you can change your mind. When you’ve taken it, it’s done. There is no going back. We are all so conditioned by T.V., movies, Facebook, YouTube, twitter, Instagram, the news, to view the killing of another as entertainment. ENTERTAINMENT. Like the Romans…
When I was I kid the Cold War was a thing. It was real. No one thought that the Soviet Union would ever fall. And then it DID. To my children Viet Nam, the Soviet Union, Korea, Watergate, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, these are all just things they must learn about in history class. Like WWI and WWII were for me. But I was a history major (BA)and then a humanities major (MA) and then a philosophy and religion major (MA). I see the threads running through history making themselves seen today. I see history repeating itself. Hatred of other is not sustainable. No one thought Egypt would fall, and it did. No one thought Rome would fall, and it did. No one thought the Soviet Union would fall, and it did. No one thinks the United States will fall, but it can. From what I can see, it will.
We must stop the trajectory of this sinking ship. We must stop the hatred of other, first in ourselves and then work to help others overcome it in themselves. We cannot continue to allow corporations to buy our governments. We cannot continue to wallow in our apathy and numb ourselves with social media, T.V., drugs, alcohol and/or stuff. I am guilty of this numbing myself. It is so easy to believe it will all work out. People will not succumb to the hatred. But they are succumbing and it is not going to fix itself. WE need to do it. WE need to take action. WE need to see life, our lives and the lives of others so different from us, as valuable. As worthy of our compassion, our empathy, our kindness. Even those we disagree vehemently with do not deserve to die.
We can disagree with others without killing them. We can discuss, try to convince, or work on some sort of middle ground someplace so that we can further work on ending the corruption of soul that seems so prevalent. We can not change the world if we are all dead…or all soul dead.

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2016 is clearly the year of transition, change and challenges

I moved to Texas seven years ago. Since coming here I have been seeking community. I have met some amazing and loving people that have become and remain my good friends. It is the nature of my life that I have friends that fulfill different needs/wants for different parts of my life. So in some ways my need for friendship and community has been fulfilled.

In others, however, it has not. I have been wondering what it is that I seek and what it is that I am not getting. It took a trip to a friends wedding and seeing and hanging out with many old friends for me to finally put my finger on it, or more to the point, my heart around it. Since being here in Texas I have stretched myself beyond my normal comfort levels in many areas. I have attended meetups where I don’t know anyone! (a big stretch for me!) At these meetups I have made some truly lifelong friends.

I have also started a meetup group called Eclectic Pagans in Diaspora in hopes of encouraging a more diverse group of attendees and from traditions out side of Northern European/Celtic traditions, with limited success. My goal in the meetup has always been a flat structure where leadership would be passed from person to person and I would serve mostly as a facilitator for transition of leadership. In this I have not been successful. I clearly have not been able to make my intentions clear enough, or have not attracted people who feel comfortable with shared leadership. No matter, the responsibility is mine.

What I have been seeking is a community of equals working together towards something greater. It seems that that goal is best met in other ways than a meetup group. Due to lack of interest, probably due to a lack of appropriate leadership on my part, I have decided to end Eclectic Pagans in Diaspora meetup group. For those that are still interested in keeping in touch, there is a 10K Sanctuary Facebook page, you can follow this website, or you can friend me on Facebook. My personal FB page is fairly political and very left, just be forewarned.

I will be continuing with the mission and vision of 10K Sanctuary. The mission of creating a physical place for Pagans devoted to Goddess to worship in community and in safety and the larger vision of creating a retirement community for our Elders to retire with comfort and safety. Mary Tufts continues to develop her organic regenerative farm and still offers apprenticeships should you want to learn how to grow food sustainable in Texas. To contact her email: MaryTufts@10KSanctuary.com and she will give you all the information you will need to enter the apprenticeship (scholarships are available as is a sliding scale).

~Liona

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Saying Goodbye

Today at about 3:00am my friend and the treasurer of 10K Sanctuary, Mahlon Arnett died. Mahlon was an active member of the Hutto community and always supportive of, and active in, 10K Sanctuary. He believed in the vision of a physical space to gather and worship together for Pagans and a place for our elders to retire in safety and comfort.
He is survived by his beloved wife Robbi and his two sons, Bert and Mahlon III. His loss will be deeply felt. He joins his daughter Megan and his many ancestors that have passed through the veil before him.
What is remembered lives.

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starting and stopping and starting and stopping…

The world has become so strange to me. Or perhaps I have become strange. I don’t know. Anyway, I keep coming here to write and I start. I write something and then it is not quite right. So I stop. Then I start again. Aaand then I stop again. This has been going on for awhile. I decided I can just say I don’t know what to say. Do I address the craziness in the world? Do I discuss the day to day in my life? The presidential election? Turkey? Pakistan? France? Africa? Boko Harum?
In my head all of this is connected. Prying it apart into small, understandable paragraphs, that turn into more paragraphs…Everything needs backstory and explanation. I feel somewhat paralyzed about where to start and where to stop so I keep doing both.
My day to day life has become very, very busy. Gardening, home improvements, son home from school for the summer, and traveling. I begin student teaching in the fall. Regular money coming in will be nice for me and for my family. My husband has a good job, but I hate not having a job or my own money…
Tamir Rice…yes still on my mind and so many others. He is/was the same age as my son. I think about his mom a lot…. My heart feels like it is always breaking for someone’s unnecessary loss. I wonder what I can do to help. I mean I know what to do to help change things in the world, but how does one ease the pain of a mother who watched her child die? I don’t know that it is even possible,…
Heavy sigh.
My life is good. I am loved. I have excellent friends. I love many people and I am an excellent friend.
Texas is making me crazy I think. This place is not for the weak. So many people tell me I am strong. I am not sure I am strong enough for this kind of crazy. I worry all the time about shit I never even thought of before. Perhaps this is good…but mostly it is crazy making. The thing about free floating anxiety (which I have) is that it floats freely and really doesn’t give any warning about what is going to trigger it.
see? so stream of consciousness. And still so filtered! I am going to post this time though because, really, it’s been a long time. I have written long things and short things- then I hit the delete button.
I wonder if there is still even an interest in a temple here in Central Texas…
I know there is a need, particularly for our elders. But I cannot do it alone. The meetups, now help at Ihop, have been unattended for the last three months by anyone but me and my friend that comes with me. That is disheartening. And a big fat waste of my time. So that is the totality of my bitching session… And of this post.

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endings and beginnings

2016 has proven to be an exciting year of change. Some of the excitement is good, some not so good and other changes are just changes.

For the last two years Eclectic Pagans in Diaspora has had the gift of meeting at a local Bed and Breakfast, The Gold Coat Inn. This has afforded a certain amount of freedom in regards to being able to bring pot luck at times, wine or just staying past 10pm without worrying about the the wait staff losing money. However our hosts, Catherine and Jo are retiring and moving to Oregon. YAY for them! As a result, EPID will be combining our meetup with North Austin Pagan Meetup at the IHOP in north Austin, on hwy 35 just south of Wells Branch Pkwy.

The North Austin Pagan Meetup meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month and is hosted by Cristina Ayala and sometimes, me (Liona Rowan). There is a lot of crossover in these two groups and it only makes sense to combine them. Making EPID more accessible to Austin folks and still remain accessible to Pagans living in Williamson and other northern counties.

I hope you will join me in congratulating Catherine and Jo on this exciting new phase in their lives and thanking them for the use of their beautiful space! gcI meeting place172

More exciting news! ADF Hearthstone is in process of finding land for their new temple. Chris and Amanda Godwin have been working hard to share their love of Druidry in Austin and opening their grove to new members who are interested in following the path of the Druids.

Here at 10K Sanctuary our work continues. goatkissesmaryMary Tufts continues her work on her organic, regenerative and permaculture farm. If you are interested in learning about natural farming, please contact her! She has many learning opportunities including a year long apprenticeship (scholarships and trades are available).

My personal life continues to change and evolve. My firstborn is getting married in October. And in August my lastborn, my husband and I are going to Japan! After not leaving the state of Texas for several years, I will be going to Japan and to the Bay Area twice for two separate weddings (our board member and my good friend, nadirahNadirah Adeye, is also getting married!) In addition I will begin student teaching in the fall in pursuit of a teaching credential. While this is my heart work, it does not pay the rent. The mundane world still demands attention, as so many of us know.

Please join us on the fourth Wednesday at IHOP on May 25. Remember there will be no more meetings the the Gold Coat Inn.
Blessings!
Liona 🙂

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Life Frets

Yesterday our hot water tank broke. It happens, no matter what it is a bummer, an expensive bummer. Back in December I had set some new goals for myself. Those goals-not exactly resolutions- were/are to be physically, spiritually and financially fit. Short and sweet. I have been working out at the gym 4-5 days a week. So far not losing any weight but losing inches so I’m counting it as a win and in doing so feeling better, stronger and motivated to keep going.

My husband and I finally calculated our net worth after I found some worksheets online. While we were doing it I said, more than once, I can see why people avoid doing this! It is very unpleasant. However, like every shadow that needs to be addressed, it is only unpleasant at first. Once we saw on paper what we were unconsciously doing to ourselves we created a plan immediately. Now, just two months later, we are able to pay for our hot water tank replacement without charging it (or finding a way to live without hot water)! YAY US! In addition we have also restructured our finances so that we are paying down our credit cards and have already paid off several. It is quite a feeling of relief to see that we gained control BEFORE we ran off the tracks completely.

Both of us have different challenges with our relationship with money. Mine is seeing money as an adversary that must be overcome. I have been working on this for many years. First acknowledging that one CAN have a relationship with money and that that relationship can be dysfunctional. Then doing the emotional heavy lifting that goes with changing any dysfunctional relationship…

I’m not going to lie. It has been and will continue to be a challenge to continue to incorporate the changes in our lifestyle. But short term minor discomfort will lead to long term benefits…like maybe, possibly being able to retire before we drop dead.

Being spiritually fit also continues to be ongoing. For me that involves reading and then thinking deeply about what I have read. Asking myself how this does or does not apply to me, my relationships, my work in the world. I have been reading bell hooks works on love. I cannot recommend them enough. I am reading in this order: The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love; All About Love: Visions; Communion: The Female Search for Love. Be prepared though, while hooks writing is very accessible the content will rock your world.

In other news, I recently had an essay published in an anthology. The anthology is Jesus, Mohammad and the Goddess edited by Trista Hendron. My essay is called Fuck Abraham, really it is. essaypageinmohammedjesusgoddess

goddessmohammedjesus The title started as a joke between Trista and me. Then we both agreed that maybe that was the title. She posted it on her website and many people read it simply because of the title, so I left it.

My garden continues to grow. I continue to grow too. I hope you are also growing.

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Imbolc/Brigid is over and soon Ostara/Spring Equinox will be upon us

Depending on where you live, how you celebrate the cycles of the year and what they mean to you will be different. I have lived in Texas for seven years now. Every year the weather and the seasons have been different. It has been challenging for me to get a handle on the transitions and what they mean to me.

I lived thirty years in California. I was an avid gardener there and familiar with the ebbs and flows of drought vs non drought years. The changing of the seasons, while not as extreme as in the north east where I was raised, were very distinct to me. With climate change and normal variations of weather patterns how the cycles play out here and for me personally can be quite disorienting.

vision board
Even with this disequilibrium I always make an intention board for Imbolc to set the tone for the year. I have done this for over twenty years now. Some years I have great expectations, others not so much. I have found over the years that I leave more and more room open on the intention board to allow for Goddess to lead me where she wants me and for what I need to enter my life, rather than just what I want. I’m sure I am not the only one to notice that getting what one wants is not always the best thing to have happen…

As my son grows older, the baby that is now thirteen, egg hunts are no longer high on his list of fun things to do for Ostara/Spring Equinox. In our family planting seeds for our future garden was a standard part of our Spring Equinox celebration. In Texas if we wait until Spring equinox to start our seeds our plants will die from the heat before they have a chance to bear fruit. A lesson learned the hard way! We have not yet decided how we will celebrate the Spring Equinox this year. I’m a little saddened by the idea of not having an egg hunt, and not really having seeds to plant for our garden.

garden 2016
Our garden is already prepared and seeded for this year. In February! shaking head, times change and so must we. shrug. Life is all about change and transitions, at least for me. This year is no exception. I look forward to having my first successful garden in Texas. I’d love to be able to pick tomatoes from the yard again… So far we have planted, asparagus, rhubarb, bush wax beans, beets, carrots, potatoes, bush cucumbers (who knew?!), snow peas, regular peas, and some other stuff I forgot. It looks like I will need another bed because I want lettuce, spinach, artichokes (I will buy plants) tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, loofahs, and eggplant.

However you have celebrated Imbolc/Brigid and however you will celebrate Ostara/Spring Equinox I hope that your celebrations include your beloved family, both biological and the families we choose for ourselves. Remember to celebrate our Mother from whom all gifts eminate. It is She that we live upon, it is She that feeds us, it is She that is the air we breathe. Tread lightly upon Her so that our ancestors will also be able to plant seeds in their gardens in the spring and harvest in abundance in the fall.
Blessings,
Liona

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Exciting News!

10K Sanctuary in collaboration with one of our board members, is offering a farming apprenticeship! If you have ever wanted to learn about permaculture, sequestering carbon, no till farming, making things grow in Texas (!!) or goatlings (!!!) backyard goats lady loves baby link check out the Regenerative Farming Apprenticeship page here. Make sure cruise through all three pages. We are very excited to be able to offer this and hope that many people will avail themselves of this opportunity to learn regenerative farming from the ground up. (he he- see what I did there?) I mean goatlings! what could be cuter?!

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