Saturday, May 16, 2009

I may not be fluent in Sci-Fi, but I'm conversational enough to get my point across

Sarah - "I hated the new Star Trek movie."

Me - "I'm sorry, but I am not at liberty to discuss the new Star Trek movie."

Sarah - "Why not?"

Me - "You know how, in the Marvel Comics Universe, the US government passed the Superhuman Registration Act, and a group of superheroes led by Iron Man supported the legislation, while another group of superheroes led by Captain America opposed it? And then the X-Men came forward and declared neutrality?"

Sarah - "Yes. Yes, I'm aware."

Me - "Okay. In this situation, you're Captain America, Jack's Iron Man, and I'm the X-Men."

Sarah - "Ah. I understand your position completely. 'Nuff said."

And you know what's scary? Ever since we had that conversation, I just can't stop thinking, "Hell yeah, I'm a motherfucking X-Man."

Freakin' finally.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

T-shirts are Freudian. Or Jungian. Or something.

I had a weird dream last night. As scripted by the executive producers who loiter about out in my head:

On a rainy weekend morning, Treecat drove me to the outskirts of San Jose, California, and dropped me off at a retreat center, where Bo and I were working as volunteer counselors at a summer camp for troubled teens and/or developmentally-disabled adults (that part was kind of hazy), none of whom caused us any problems. And that was it.

What got me was how normal everything was. Usually, the dreams I can remember are high intensity and make no damn sense. This time, it was just me going to orientation and checking in on the group sessions and taking a cigarette break. On top of that, I woke up exhausted... although when you think about it, I basically went to bed, put in a full day's work, got up and went to the office.

I wish I hadn't picked this week to cut coffee out of my diet, because hot tea is not cutting it right now.

Noted author and occultist Draja Mickaharic contends that vivid dreams clean the subconscious of blocked energy, thus resolving and releasing it. I fully embrace this theory. For example, I once had a dream in which my twin brother and I were walking through the neighborhood where we lived when we were kids, my arm resting comfortably on his shoulder. And as we entered our childhood home, just the two of us after so many years, I slammed his face into the front door.

Now that was a release of unresolved energy. But summer camp? Troubled teens and/or developmentally-disabled adults? Matching T-shirts? (We were all wearing matching T-shirts.)

I don't get it. Anyone got a background in psychoanalysis?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Success has clearly gone to my head

As a follow-up to that Big Name Pagan thread...

"So what all do you have going on today?" Jack asked.

"Well, let's see," I said. "I need to do some shopping and run by the office, and I'm going over to Co-Witch B's house tonight. Oh, and I'm also supposed to give Deborah a call, but I don't think I'll have time for that."

"Excuse me?" Jack said. "You're planning to blow off Deborah Lipp?"

"Of course not," I replied. "It's just going to be a busy day, and..."

"You know, three years ago you were all, 'ZOMG, Famous Wiccan Author Deborah Lipp reads my blog!!!' And now you're like, 'Oh, I simply can't be bothered to speak with her.'"

The rat bastard. He's not even Pagan.

Deborah says hello.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Honey, A+ for effort. The rest of the class fails.

One of the members of that Houston-based Pagan list I moderate has spent months trying to get a serious discussion going. Most recently, she posted a document titled Twelve Signs of Spiritual Awakening and asked if anyone was familiar with it.

To be frank, "signs of spiritual awakening" are a little too indigo for my tastes, but I'm hesitant to say so in a public forum. One's perception of the spiritual is a deeply personal thing; just because something isn't particularly glowy to me doesn't mean it's not important to someone else, and vice versa. In my experience, the best course of action when faced with... let's say, a rationality-deficient metaphysical concept is to nod and smile, thereby evoking the same in return.

With that in mind, here, in order of appearance, are the responses the Spiritual Awakening post has received so far:

Shoot, and I thought most of this was just menopause and getting older.

Sounds amazingly like what Jim Jones and David Korresh told their followers, along with a few hundred other cult leaders.

Sounds like menopause to me - hahahahaha

Jim Jones was really crazy. They say he was a big time speed freak.

Soy milk is supposed to be good for menopause.


Awesome.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My BNPs can beat up your BNPs

After reading Cat's wonderful post on the nature of fame in the Pagan community, as well as the subsequent reviews on The Wild Hunt and The Stroppy Rabbit, I need to make a confession.

I drop the names of my famous Pagan friends into casual conversations. But I only do it to make other people feel insignificant. So that's totally okay.

Before you dismiss me as a complete dickhead, let me explain. We don't really have standard-issue Big Name Pagans in Texas. We are, however, infested with people who believe themselves to be BNPs... or, more accurately, people who would like the rest of us to understand that they could be BNPs. Unfortunately, they're just too darn modest and down-to-earth to accept their rightful places in the NeoPagan firmament.

"Someone actually asked if I was ever going to write a book!" they'll say, feigning wide-eyed disbelief that their fellow New Agers would think so highly of them. "Can you believe that? Just because I have 35 years of experience and a direct link to the Divine and 60 generations of Witches in my family and an official certificate of appreciation from the Goddess Herself and a Lulu account, people think I should write books! Little ol' me! Me me me! Ha ha!"

When dealing with this particular species of yutz, name-dropping is decidedly not recommended. If you say something like, "You know, a friend of mine just put out a new book," they'll shove a ringbinder into your arms and scream, "Tell her to read my manuscript!" No, name-dropping is reserved for those locals who talk about their relationships with BNPs in the same way that they claim to be initiates of ancient Mystery traditions (i.e., "There's no way for anyone to prove I'm lying"), not realizing that I am much, much better at psychological warfare than they are.

The last time I went to a pub moot, I spent most of the evening watching a pasty young man spin tales of his great and powerful Witchiness for an appreciative female audience. I swear I didn't have plans to engage him or smack him around or anything, but then he said the Magic Words:

"I grew up with Isaac Bonewits' son."

I couldn't resist. "Ohmigod, you know Arthur?"

"Um, who?" He asked.

"Arthur," I said. "Isaac Bonewits' son."

He stuttered a little. "So... you know Isaac Bonewits?"

"Oh, geez, no," I said with a carefree smile. "But I'm friends with Arthur's mom. It's so cool that you know him! I'll tell him you said hi."

And then he was all, "Uh, Ireallywishyouwouldn'tdothat," and added that he didn't exactly grow up with Isaac Bonewits' son as much as he maybe kind of hung out with him a little at a festival once. The girls sitting next to him glanced at each other and drifted away.

Okay, so I am a complete dickhead. But I'm also a fan of truth in advertising.

The two pretty much cancel each other out.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

This probably won't go horribly awry

Pax, my very proactive Chief Priest, has been making noises about organizing an official StrifeFest, wherein Strifemongers from around the globe would converge on a specific location, hang out for a few days and get to know one another sans Internet.

Self-serving though it may be, I really like the idea--if anything, my readers seem to get along well. Unfortunately, such an endeavor is far beyond my managerial skills. Plus I don't think I could fit all 58 of you in my guest bedroom.

So instead, I decided to start a Yahoo! Group.

Hey, if Robin Artisson can have his own listserv, why can't I?

My loyal, beloved Strifemongers, I give you...

Caer Strife.

Think of it as our personal Fortress of Solitude. Or perhaps an incredibly elitist interpretation of Twitter. Either way, it's a little slice of Internet just for us.

Bring your tales of magico-religious trainwrecks, your run-ins with fundamentalist Christians, your favorite jokes and your unique perspectives on the NeoPagan experience. (Junior and Red Delicious, just bring yourselves. And maybe some brie.) Be irreverent, be silly, promise to make me laugh on a regular basis, and do your best not to shank each other.

Let the Strifemongering begin in full force.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Daydream Believers

The following is a transcript of a phone call from my buddy Georges:

Me - "Hello! How are things?"

Georges - "Things are great! Work's going well, I'm being magically attacked by a coven of teenage Witches, and I'm dating again."

Me - "Wait, what?"

George - "It's nothing serious. We've only gone out a couple of times. But he seems nice."

Me - "Back up a little further."

Georges went on to explain that his twentysomething-year-old ex-boyfriend has fallen in with a group of scrappy young pseudo-Pagans, who spend their free time hanging out at Denny's and casting Dark Spells of Vengeance on those who oppose them. Being fairly well-versed in alternative spiritualities, Georges asked his ex what tradition they practiced, and was told, "Our people come from Massachusetts."

Me - "Are they associated with Laurie Cabot or something?"

Georges - "Um, no. They believe themselves to be the descendants of the first Witch families of Salem."

Me - "Georges... that's the plot of The Covenant."

Georges - "I thought it sounded familiar. Oh, and also, they think they're dragons. Or Cherokee, I forget which. Both, maybe?"

Me - "So basically, they're teenage Cherokee witch-dragons from Salem."

Georges - "That sounds about right."

Me - "My head hurts."

Georges - "I know."

Now, I don't begrudge these kids the right to live in cinema-inspired Fantasyland. I do, however, find it odd how badly they want to impose their fantasies on others--in this case, sending Georges cryptic threats regarding the Evil Magicks they've worked against him. It's not "We put a curse on you" as much as it's "We need you to pretend that we're capable of putting a curse on you, so that we don't have to go back to boring old reality, where we're kind of unpopular."

After we talked, Georges' ex informed him that the coven would be hexing him again, Georges being a happy, healthy guy, and thus an affront to their Twilight-esque sensibilities. I wish them the best of luck, and I hope that one day, they achieve a semblance of maturity and join the rest of us in the Real World (tm). It's not always the nicest or fairest of places, but it does have its perks.

And no relatively few dragons.