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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sleeping Giant awakens....


The earth has slumbers along as mankind has evolved  Yet in her sleep she dreams of us, however, we seldom return that consideration. and now she stirs as her dreams become restless with the influence of the reality of mankind and our potential for creation...and destruction. This is not only metaphor, but reality of what is currently going on in the world today.
Some things we do not consider on daily meditations have now been the focus of a few...The scientists, the clergy and even the Government have begun to take notice of not just civil unrest, but the Earths unrest as we have gone beyond the Natural Balance of life on this planet and tipped the scales, and not in our favor apparently.
Take a look at this...

If the moving and shaking, and the obvious awakening of deep earth movements and breathing doesn't get your attention, how about the issues of Climate Change? There is a lot to be said of mankinds acceleration of release of 'greenhouse' gasses into our atmosphere, and the effects are worldwide, although not all the world is aware of them. A simple example for the USA can be seen and explained here... http/www.epa.gov/climatechange/ and another look at weather pattern changes and forecasts can be found here... http/www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/21/2012-extreme-weather-climate-change_n_2348079.html
So what does this mean to us? It means that we have not single handed caused this, it means we had a hand in accelerating this. Shifting soil and rock, extracting fluids and gasses, and destableizing the ground wasn't bad enough...we burned materials that changed our protective dome of life giving air into a depleted source of life support and altered the temperatures and weather patterns that sustain life for this planet. Couple that with the destruction of forests worldwide, the paving over of nutrient rich soils with concrete and asphalt  and we can see a dramatic global reduction of our life support system for us.
And we haven't even covered trash, waste and our ever growing landfills and our toxic pollution by oil, coal and gas companies. Take a look at...http/www.greenstudentu.com/encyclopedia/pollution  There you can read about air, water and soil issues that we, yes we as a whole, have created. As consumers of the good of the companies that have played a large roll in creating this, we not only accept this, we endorse it and encourage it to continue.
My point is, although we did not cease to exist on 12/21/2012, we better wake up to the facts that we might not get many more times to become aware and start corrective measures to ensure that we are still around  by the end of 2013.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Global Change...a man made disaster?


Climate change is not the only 'global' issue we face when it comes to the health and sustainability of our planet... there is another issue we face that we can directly influence it, because we (humans) are the source and cause of 85% of it. It's called Global Structural Change.

It would normally take hundreds of thousands of years to move as much topsoil, gravel and stone around the surface of the Earth, as it has taken mankind only a few centuries. It would tale millions of years for the under-structure of mountains to be hollowed out, and salt domes to be emptied by water solutions, for arid plain's under-fields of water and oil to me drawn to the surface and the rise, and or fall, of grounds to elevations more suitable for life....and mankind has done this in less than a century. Globally.

We move substrate from under solid ground, pump fluids and gasses into hollowed out salt domes and empty coal caverns. We pump water into bedrock crevices to flush out stable channels of under-structure. We drain ponds, lakes and swamps, and fill them with strata to place even more weight than was once there before. And we remove entire mountains from where they once stood and redistribute that matter across many miles of land unaccustomed to that weight and have less structural support deep within the crust lining. And we wonder why earthquakes, landslides and flooding is an issue in our modern world.



We humans see only the surface, and only consider a few hundred feet at the most when we do these things. And although we know and have an understanding of Geology, Physics and basic Earth Science of density and tensile strength, we forgot the simplicity of the domino effect and the ripple patterns that we learned in our youth. Once one thing is removed, or placed, and even replaced, it will effect all things in the old and new places....creating short term and long term issues.

The Earth is not just rotating on it's axis, nor just revolving around the Sun; it is expanding and contracting, the tectonic plates move, the crust rises and falls on its own in its own time of new lift and under supplementation. The Earth is literally 'breathing' and shifting mass in gas, liquid and solid forms all around itself. That we have no control of, yet can influence either in a positive way or a negative way. However, the Earth will do as She pleases, and although we may argue with Her and with ourselves, we cannot win that fight.

In moving mass earth in stone, sand and soil, we shift millions of tons around. We tip the balance and things beyond our scope of control begin to shift and shake. Like a sponge, the compression once removed, it expands. Like a spring held under tension, once the tension is lessened or released, the spring moves to a more suitable or natural state. That is what the crust of the Earth is, and how it acts and will react, given time and the right influence for it.

And what about water? We humans in America, while experimenting with nuclear explosions and military weaponry, managed to poison the largest underground fresh water deposit in Nevada... although a desert lays above it, we now have millions of people living there and are desperate for constant and reliable fresh water sources from the neighboring states. We deposit crude oils and gasses into our coastal waters. We release toxic chemicals into our air which taint our rainfall rendering it all but useless to natural life, and at times deadly to any life that consumes it or touches it. And Americans are not the only ones to be guilty of this....most 'developing countries' have done the same, over and over.

And speaking of air, we need that balanced equation of inert gasses to be able to live here. Oxygen alone will not sustain us well, and the amount of it is also a factor; too much and we die, too little and we die. Not just humans, but all animals. We need our plants to thrive, if the animals are to live, including humans. Yet we clear-cut rain forest for soy beans (removing 80% of that area's ability to produce oxygen), level meadows and forest alike to cover it with concrete and asphalt, which not only removed the oxygen machine in place, but now we up the ante by creating carbon gasses and other toxins by our machines not designed for life support, but for our own comfort.

The 'Global Changes' that we face today are clearly, for the most part, our own doing. And we have gone way past the tipping point in regaining positive influence any time soon, and now have to ride out the damage ongoing and to come, while trying to install corrective change and positive influences to shore up our failing under-structure and rebuild the life support machine that we so ignorantly have been dismantling.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Energy, Economics and Environment...a few facts.


     Intrigued by many inputs about power/energy consumption and production numbers posted all over the web and in social media concerning Green energy versus fossil fuels....I decided to do some digging of my own to see what was true, false, and the comparisons and potentials for improvement globally in our energy consumption of fossil fuels and increase use of renewable energy.
     In 2011, the US electricity generation was 4344 billion kWh gross, 1874 TWh (43%) of it from coal-fired plant, 1047 TWh (24%) from gas, 821 TWh (19%) nuclear, 351 TWh (8%) from hydro and 121 TWh (2.8%) from wind. Annual electricity demand is projected to increase to 5,000 billion kWh in 2030, though in the short term it is depressed and is not expected to recover to the 2007 level until about 2015. Annual per capita electricity consumption is currently around 12,300 kWh. Total capacity is 1041 GWe, less than one tenth of which is nuclear.








First let's look at some numbers from the USA:



2009 daily statistics....18,690,000 bbl/day of oil consumed and this is the most recent statistic that can be confirmed as agreed upon by the National Energy Board. Imagine the numbers for 2010-2012 as we have increased volumes of vehicles on the roads each year. 






most recent statistics....1,060,000,000 short tons of coal used yearly for heat and power generation.


The USA has 104 nuclear power reactors in 31 states, operated by 30 different power companies. Since 2001 these plants have achieved an average capacity factor of over 90%, generating up to 807 billion kWh per year and accounting for 20% of total electricity generated. Capacity factor has risen from 50% in the early 1970s, to 70% in 1991, and it passed 90% in 2002.








Solar energy actually dropped production from 1998 (almost 11 million VDC) to 2009 (about 7.5 million VDC) Many argue that Solar power will never equate much more than a secondary or supplement source, however that argument is lead by the oils and coal industries. We have already seen proof from other Nations that Solar power can become not just a supplement source, but a mainstay production of energy not only in individual or isolated usage, but for municipal and National applications. All across Europe, in areas of Africa, and in Australia, Solar power is a principal source of power.




The United States’ wind power capacity reached 47,000 MW by the end of 2011. Although growing by an estimated 16% yearly in production, wind energy still only accounts for less than 2% of US Power production.



Produced hydroelectricity was 282 TWh (2008).
 66.8% of the total renewable power in the U.S. in 2008. 6.4% of the nation's total electricity production. The potential for hydroelectric growth in the US is amazingly underdeveloped due to both government and corporate arguments as well as environmental issues. However, before Nuclear energy, the USA used hydro-electrical energy as almost 40% of its National power production.  It is the most widely used form of renewable energy, accounting for 16 percent of global electricity consumption, and 3,427 terawatt-hours of electricity production in 2010, which continues the rapid rate of increase experienced between 2003 and 2009.


     Now, I know I have not included geothermal power, Natural gas power and a few other ongoing and developing resources for electrical production, and that is mainly due to lack of verifiable facts or information to apply it to a National level. Yet we are seeing the mainstay of Hydro, Wind and Solar potentials and growth of not only production, but as replacement over the 'traditional' energy or power sources. (Much to the dismay of energy companies who are still trying to delay if not destroy green energy growth and applications) As a Nation of growing concerned citizens about such issues over preservation of Natural resources and environmental preservation, we need to be better informed about these growing 'green energy' possibilities and potentials.

Now look at this chart and information...from Germany:

In 2010 the gross electric power generation in Germany totalled 621 billion kWh. A major proportion of the electricity supply is based on lignite (23.7 %), nuclear energy (22.6 %) and hard coal (18.7 %). Natural gas has a share of 13.6 %. Renewables (wind, water, biomass, photovoötaic) account for 16.5 %.
Electricity production by energy sources
Electricity production by energy sources, Germany 2010

Now look at the growth of energy production and energy sources in Australia:


Or how about Spain....:

Even France is showing a growth out of it's Nuclear and toward renewable (albeit slowly)...
Would you like to see the charts of American Power production by source?.....
So maybe you wonder what my point is..
As a Nation, we are the foremost consumers of Fossil Fuels worldwide, and the last place runners in renewable energy source development. We even began reduction of hydro-electrical energy production in favor of Nuclear and Natural Gas power plants. 
Even our consumption of oil in transportation is decades behind other countries as far as railways, commuter bus lines, and fuel economic vehicles are concerned. We are not only loosing the race to new and renewable power sources, we are running out of time to not only stop the needless pollution  for our energy needs, but save what is left of our delicate balance of wilderness/wildlife and  life on this planet.
It is not about the economics sustainability... it is now about the environment survivability.




Thursday, December 6, 2012

Life's Journey...Or Ours?

   
 Sometimes, we walk a path already well marked and well trodden. Sometimes we find ourselves blazing new pathways. Often we are lead by a compass of some sort, marked by our desires, goals and dreams. At times we find our compass is only a hint at the direction we are headed. So what makes us continue... what changes our path? Many times we label things as happenstance, or 'life getting in the way'. But is it?

     Few of us believe in coincidences, yet we still find excuses that include the 'event' in our path as something that happened and we cannot control it. True, we are limited in controlling things in our lives as we are only a part of the co-creation of our world. Yet we have these obsticals and events there as part of our path, not a deterrent. How often we forget that. Trailblazing or following a well marked lane, we will always have the opportunity to find or experience things differently than what we expect. And thanks the Gods for them!

      How would we learn if not for those unscheduled events about maintaining direction...personal fortitude...determination... character...and always holding on to hope? If everything went as we expected, how droll would life be? Why would we seek balance, seek experience  even seek spirituality without conflict of some sort to our plans? Lets face it, conflict is a big part in every known religion...there's good and evil, dark and light, elements of earth vs water and air, and fire vs. water and earth... this is just an example but clearly marked in all religions. These are all lessons of balance, either by attaining them or removing balance from their interactions.
     We strive for enlightenment, balance, harmony...yet we avoid the conflicts and dislike venturing close to them.....and these are our lessons and teachers of the very goals we set fourth to achieve. How do you learn these things without taking the lessons or avoiding the teachers? Life gives the test before the class as many have said and destiny is a two part principal...one of creating what we desire by our own action, and one in creating what we need by Universal manipulation beyond that which we can control.
      I have been taught that knowledge is only the beginning of wisdom, what we know helps us decide action and course to follow. Wisdom is tested by what you do when you don't know what to do, and based on the knowledge that you can hold to comparison of the situation. Experience is our only teacher then, and that is where we will find ourselves, while we walk our paths in life. Equipped with will, desire, motivation, and with any luck, a strong moral and personal fortitude of self worth...we travel along looking for our goals, answers and destiny. Many times we find out that the path we actually are on, takes us much further along many lesser venues that we needed to experience so that we could better understand if not appreciate the path we chose to begin with.

     So we refer to our compass, and at times draw our maps through our journals. We find ourselves lost at times, and at other times set hard on our chosen coarse. We blaze through tangled jungles of confusion, sail seas salted with hardships, climb above mountains of personal issues, and wade through wondrous meadows of emotion. Such a journey is worth it....even if you are uncertain of the destination. And what of that?...a destination?
     We reach many crossroads between now and our chosen destination. We even change course in our quest to find a better path to it. But what is that destination? Where are we willing to go to get there from here? And why is it so important for us to reach it? Questions that we encounter, ideas that we meet, and perspectives that we begin to see all will ask us, and remind us, of that destination, and our purpose for finding it or achieving it. Sometimes it is a good thing to find a point in our journey to rest and reflect upon the  destination and our value that we place on it. It also allows us to take stock in our growing supply of knowledge and our new found skills learned.
     Whatever your answer, it is right for you, and only you. Whatever your destination, path, choice...these only you can decide on. The rest is up to the Universe to collaborate and work in conspiracy with, and against, to create the perfect experience that you will meet next along the way.
     Journey well, rest often, and may we meet sometime while on our way...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Storm Rant

   I don't know about anyone else....
but if this government spend a single penny on rebuilding Wall Street and trading houses, I will support the rioters that will appear! 7.2 million people need our help on the East Coast, and it is the People that this Government is supposed to support and defend. All the World Trade and Bank Corporations have the money, they can rebuild themselves... the People have each other. 
   We don't need world trade right now, we need American know-how and muscle, American determination to get our country back from these international thieves and scamers and rebuild our Nation as a strong self sustaining country without the inflated dependency on foreign goods they we used to make here in America.
    We do not need the illusionary currency that these International Banks are driving this country further into debt...to them... We need National currency that this country has dominion over, not some private corporation.
    And lastly, we do not need polititions in our government, we need people who know how to govern a Nation, not politic themselves into more money for them while our tears are unattended and out cries are ignored. We need people who work for the People of this Nation, not some multinational group of thugs and thieves stealing our country one job, one product, one trade, at a time.
So take note America, civilian or government employee,...Rebuild America by rebuilding the security of the People, their homes, their families, their jobs, their future. 

Because without the People, this Government doesn't stand a chance.
And we have had enough excuses, enough litigation, enough apathy....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My New Book

Today I finished my working handbook project....actually finished it a few weeks ago, but tired of reading it, re-reading it, and tweaking here and there, and actually editing stuff OUT. So I contacted some peers, contacted some publishers, found some decent deals, (for myself and my reading audience) and proceeded to publish the work as finished.
A Pagan Clergy Handbook: Letters, Essays & Observations by- Rev Sean (Shadar) Bigham
was published on Lulu Publications and is available in print for $12.95.
The handbook is just that, a handbook. Not overly bulky, not overly complex, (at least not for those who have studied in the Pagan traditions and have entered into the Clergy services beyond the functions of the Priesthood) and slim and small enough (6x9 trade book size)to be able to be carried along where ever you may go. No, it is not a how to manual for Clergy, it is however a resource suggestion and guide for such functions as counseling, ministry work, community bulding and continual education for Clergy while serving their community.
composed of letters between myself and various Pagan Clergy, essays on topics such as Universal Laws, Mystery of Religion, and observations of myself and others...rather they are condensed versions or footnotes of conversations during my 20 years of community service as Clergy. I kept this open to all traditions of Pagan and Neo-Pagan practitioners, held no custom or traditional values above any others, you know, quite generalized, yet concise information with enough lead and detail to help guide others into and along the way of our duties and responsibilities as Clergy.
I am still working on 'One Man's Philosophy; A Druids Journal, and will one day have it completed and available to the public. I am still offering classes and discussions on What Modern Pagan Clergy is Today, and many other topics that we cover as teaching Clergy, ministers and Advocates of our various Pagan faiths.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Spring into Summer: Cycles and Seasons

   This Spring I agreed to stop working on my journal (One Man's Philosophies; A Druid's Journal) and begin getting another book going into the forefront of my works, 'A Pagan Clergy Handbook'. So I spent the better part of our slow arriving Spring reading and researching so that I could encompass as much as possible that we clergy face almost daily. Then, after so much reading (4 to 6 hours daily and 2 to 4 hours nightly) I began to gather essays, letters, and clips of emails and messages along with topics already addressed in our (Temple of the Stone) clergy handbook and Book of Order. That was the easy part.
      By late May, I began in earnest to write again, focusing on simple and complicated topics that I thought were the most important in "what clergy are, and what they do", and so began the headache of discovering my "going off on tangents and overstating the obvious". What came next was a laid back 'discussion' type writing style that allowed me to explain some things as if to someone who has never been involved in Pagan communities. Rereading that, I went out and discussed a few things, again, with Pagans and non-Pagans, clergy members of many faiths, and gathered their responses and questions. I found my 'crystal ball'!
   Re-write, re-write, re-write... that became my mantra for a week. I had discovered a few things about understood labels, common allowances in definition, and a much better understanding of how to take my years of study of the American Witchcraft Traditions, Wicca and Pagan / Neo-Pagans traditions and explain things from a more simple approach. True, not everyone will agree with some of my terminology, however, it is based on common acceptance of various things and varying traditions. I sent out a few emails to friends , mentors and peers for further discussions. I sat and began to write once more; adding into some, editing out some, and saving notes for other possible chapters as well as adding some overseen and forgotten subjects.
   Entrenched in my pondering, I became complacent with my current collection of 'background music' playing continuously from the laptop. I began to search often for more and new music. In doing this, I remembered a CD sent to us from a Pagan band in Boise Idaho (yeah, color me surprised as well). So I put it on, and actually sat for the next hour or so memorized by the songs and sounds of this wonderful group. It was nothing less than inspiring for me, and I began to write once again. The words flew, the culture of Pagans ( in general ) awakened in sentences of understood ethos, and it became more simple to explain.
   Being Pagan clergy in this modern world, with it's social political bias and religious intolerance is hard enough, but to write about it in positive affirmative ways was the challenge. I refused to get too into the debates of religious definition, legal requirements and equality. I simply see all paths of enlightenment as true religious experiences, even if and when I disagree with their methodology, mythology, or doctrines. I have always felt that true religion is between me and my God(s), and no one can take that kind of faith away. So I focus on not the Priesthood aspect ( those who create ceremony and dispense the sacraments) but on the Minister or Pastoral aspects of the clergy. That function of administering to the needs of the community in spirit and mental/emotional council. In my research, clergy of every faith follows almost the exact types and systems of council. And the community demands that as well.
  So, here it is, early June. I am only about half-way into the handbook, and yet the flow is beginning to ease into a slow ebb of distant tides. What once rushed to be written down, now flows more like dreamy clouds aloft in the sky, refusing to touch down. That too inspires me to re-read and meditate on the depths of certain subjects. I let common sense do a lot of talking, and i phrase metaphor more perceptibly.  I have nothing new to write, and I don't want to re-write or hack what has already been written by me or by others.
But too I am reminded of an old adage; "Never fear moving slowly, only fear standing sill." I know what I must do, yet not yet how I am going to do it. To finish this work before Summer ends is my goal, yet I have yet to find the path that leads me to it... Maybe it is because of the cycle of the seasons, and the change in pace.
   Each season has it's own pace, and it will affect those of us who live close in the cycles. It is because of our esoteric knowledge and the exoteric customs of our religion that we connect deeply with the seasons. (A point I teach upon in my lessons as well as in my journal.) I hope to get those lofty clouds to land softly soon, and regain my strength in writing that has been given renewed roots and such wondrous sprouts. It will soon be Summer and thus the height of growth. May we each find that in each other, and help nurture it along. 

   One last note
Here is some info about that wonderful band...
Check out Boise, Idaho's very own Pagan Band!

Though their foundations may be traditional, Beltane's sound is quite “modern”. One can hear the influence of everything from Celtic violin, to Middle Eastern rhythms, to Native American flutes, and classic American rock guitar.

Ultimately, Beltane’s sound is about the human voice, and its ability to create beauty, and to share messages, feelings and stories. The lush female harmonies, and the beauty and integrity of the lyrics are central to their sound.

Take a journey through the pagan goddess myths of the Celtic lands and beyond. Beautiful female voices backed up by world and rock instrumentation, create a unique and evocative listening experience. Enjoy their new, self-titled CD, “Beltane”.


You can purchase “Beltane” at:

The Record Exchange 1105 W. Idaho Boise, Idaho
83702 208-344-8010

Crone’s Cupboard 712 N. Orchard Boise, Idaho 208-333-0831

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/beltane
www.amazon.com
iTunes

Check out their official website at:
www.beltanesongs.com


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Making a simple 'Sun Gun' to view Solar Events

To safely view the sun during solar events, one can buy solar goggles, or use a #12 or higher strength welders lens(for short term viewing, about 30 seconds) but how can you share the experience with others? This can be done by a using a pin hole projector, which is okay, or by making a 'sun gun' projector, which is a little better and is safe for everyone.
These are relatively easy to make, and there are several types and styles to choose from. A solar eclipse safety page ( http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/how2.html ) is a good source as is this site - http://transitofvenus.nl/wp/observing/six-ways-to-see-the-transit/ . Both have good ideas that anyone can use with simple tools and a little know-how. My style is a convergence of a few I found, and works well.
What you need: a 5 gallon bucket, a small monocular (I used a scope off my old Daisy air rifle) a tripod or stand to support the 'sun gun' a back board and some bright white paper or card stock. Some duct-tape or bungee cords to hold it to the stand.
First, measure the diameter of the monocular or scope, the end opposite of the eye piece. Drill a hole of that diameter in the center of your bucket. I was able to use my mounting brackets for the air rifle to hold my scope in place, but you can duct tape yours in place through the hole. You can adjust the focus on the eye piece now or later, just DO NOT look at the sun through it while doing so, you can blind yourself that way.
After securing your bucket to your stand, you can use the wire handle and some small bungee cords to adjust and hold the proper angle. I placed a small hose clamp on my stand post and another through it to attach my bungee cords. You want to place your back board about a foot beyond the open end of your bucket to get a good projected image. My back board is a 1x10 shelving board that I taped a piece of white card stock on for better clarity. I used a scrap 2x4 for it's back rest. Now it's time for some aiming...
By using your back board, aim your sun gun at the sun, watch the shadows cast on the board, DO NOT look at the sun to aim. When your bucket shadow is nice and round, the sides cannot be seen you are almost certain to begin to see a bright dot, about an inch or so round, appear. That is the sun.
Now center your image into the shadow of your bucket. Now you can adjust your back board and or your eye piece for the best clarity safely by watching the projected image on the back board.
Now sit back and enjoy your solar event. This can be used to watch eclipses, transits of Venus or Mars, or just to watch the clouds float across the sun. (This last photo was taken with light cloud cover so it does not appear as bright when the sky is clear.)
One last note: DO NOT LEAVE YOUR SUN GUN UNATTENDED!!!! Focused light can begin to burn your back board and it can damage your lenses on your scope or monocular. Take a few frequent breaks and either cover your lens or move it as to not be aimed at the sun to avoid damage to the equipment.
I hope you enjoy many solar events o come!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Beltaine... May Day...


Beltaine... May Day...

    I have always had a place in my heart and childhood for Spring rites, and May Day was always the best. As a child, we learned about May Day and it's roots in school (sadly not taught much here in America any longer) and even did the May Pole Dance as a school project during the Spring Fairs. The events that bring about the 'new life' were the center of my life during the first few weeks of Spring, and I watched in wonder as the plants and animals around me aged and grew so quickly from my 'snails pace' growing. It was here, at about the age of 8, that I discovered that time moved differently for everything.
    Beltaine has been a wonderful time for all the peoples of the Earth in one form or another, and by several various names and cultural traditions. A time of 'new beginnings', a time of community gatherings, a time for planting, a time to revel in making it through the harsh winters months and finding life springing out all around us. Trade and wars were halted just to revel in life affirming ceremony and ritual feasts were held in honor of lords and ladies, Gods and Goddess alike. Truly a time to be with friends and families.

    Much honor is given to our Gods and our gratitude bestowed upon alters and fields ready for a new season. This was a cause for many to take hand in hand and celebrate rejuvenation of the land. And here I hold fond memories, as I once also I embraced a lover and friend on a Beltaine morning in a field ready to be planted. Memories from that day have carried me a long way, and always have been part of my ritual. There is a lot to be said about sex magic... but not here, not now. To May Day instead...
    This year my 'home community' hosts once again their May Day festival just outside Memphis, Tennessee. This years theme is 'Back to the Roots', and I definitely cannot wait. A trip back there is always good for me, and to be there with them at festival is even better. Rekindling old acquaintances, meeting new friends, swapping old and new stories and just soaking up the Mississippi River's wonderful energy in the forest.            Yeah, it is a 35 year tradition for us, and I have only missed a few times since my first attendance in 1994. There is a lot of history there, and most any Pagan in the Mid South can tell you a bit of it as well.

    Also May Day (May 1st) this year is a call to strike by the members of the Occupy local, state and National movement along with Occupy Wall Street. Why? They remember May Day as the Labor Unions day of rest. It is a day to celebrate life, not to toil away one's life for others. Unions and non-union workers are all being encouraged to take the day off. Students of schools, colleges and universities, as well as teachers are being invited to take a day out of class. Families are being challenged not to shop, bank, or do any type of non-family engagement also. It's all about celebrating life with the people in your life that matter.
    I know that I am going to enjoy myself this Beltaine. I am co-hosting an event on the 29th of April for our local Pagans here in Idaho Falls. I will be traveling down for family and friends in the Mid-South for the May Day Festival (11th – 13th). And somewhere along the way, I will try to find a nice field, ready for planting...  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

America's Spring Rising

With all the Winters wet and dreary days behind us, for the most part, I see renewed activities ongoing with the Occupy and 99% movements all around the Nation. people have spent much of the winter waiting to see if this continues, or falls to the wayside. We have not stopped! America is no longer in it's deep slumber of government and media induced dreams and illusions. The Occupy Movement grows stronger every day, and their voices shout out; Wake Up!
We are seeing many new faces and hearing many new voices just in the last few weeks, as more and more people realize that we are not just some passing fad, and mean to create change in our Nation by expressing our voices, our concerns and our needs to our government. Groups like the 99% Declaration , OWS , Occupy Together , and even the Democratic Underground have been doing a lot of things in favor of the U. S Citizen, even when most of the Nation was not aware of the goings on.
We the People, yes all of us, have a voice to cry out with, and we all have issue(s) with how our government has been run  and run down by these 'elected' offials. 'Elected' by corporate spending, private monies, and most of us never voted for them, yet they won. It is time to place the People back infront of the government concerns, and not these privatized corporate mongers of self worth and demand our Constitutional Rights be returned to us, WE the People.
That is what is going on now, people like you and me, getting together, working on the avenues of redress for our grievances against our current sitting government and addressing the Nation. We started in humble lots and squares all across our Nation, to place ourselves in-front of our Nations government, our Nations media, and were systematically denied our rights, news coverage, and personal safety from government harassment. If it weren't for Livestream, U-Stream, RT TV, and many other Private On-Line media like YouTube, we would have never been seen nor heard. However, we do have the power of the free press and media sources outside government control, and we know how to use it. It gives us back our power of the media. And now, once the mainstream media and government controlled media has realized that we are not going away or will be silenced, they are slowly getting on board. A friend wrote a guest editorial in our local paper ( Kay Finley, who is running as a delegate in the 99% Declaration site) and I am going to share the important things she said:

4-4-12 Guest Editorial

Where are the people?  The people of the United States have been left out of the public discourse.  The jobless rate, foreclosures, healthcare, gas prices are all reported as “How will it affect Obama’s re-election?”  “Will that affect the Republican candidates?”  For the last two years, since the Supreme Court ruled on the “Citizens United Case”, Pacs, Super-Pacs, and media celebrities are important.  The people-not so much.
But the Constitution of the United States gives power to the people through the First Amendment “…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  Redress – to remove the cause of a grievance or complaint (Webster ‘s New Collegiate, 1979).  
Now we have a website set up to help “We the people” reclaim our power.  The 99% Working Group, Ltd. is planning for a General Assembly in Philadelphia during the week of July 1, 2012.  On the website (the99declaration.org), set up to facilitate the process, people can sign up to run as delegates  (two from each of the legislative district), register to vote for a delegate ( a separate contracted entity will conduct the voting), give input to the preliminary set of grievances, add a new grievance, and share the plan with others.  After the delegates are elected (June 1, 2012), it will be their responsibility to pare the grievances down to less than 10.
The final ratified and signed Petition for Redress of Grievances will be presented to all 535 members of the 112th Congress, the nine members of the Supreme Court, the President of the United States and each of the political candidates seeking federal public office in the November 2012 general election. Each of the political candidates will be asked to respond to the ratified petition and each of their responses, or lack thereof, will be shared with the voting public in a series of wire press releases made in each of the 435 Congressional districts prior to the November general election.
As the real concerns of our country keep mounting, the President and Congress appear to be in continual campaign mode, not willing to do the work we elected them to do.
The 99% Working Group, Ltd is putting a tremendous amount of energy to help us regain a say in our government.  All people of the United States are encouraged to participate.  The more of us who give in-put, the more effective we can be.  It is our country that is at risk.  “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country (John Kennedy).

We have not yet begun our 'battle' in regaining our Rights, and repairing the damage done by the greedy governmental officials that have help steal and limit our National Freedoms.
Join with us!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Druids Journey Home

   Like many other trips I have taken, the ones that lead me back to my 'home' of family and friends in my Mid-South region is always adventurous. Traveling out of the mountainous regions of the Mid-West, seeing the mountain of Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado slip off into the distance in the mirror enforces the understanding of time markings of our country, and I realize that I am traveling back through time, home to an older place in my history and the Earth's history. From the high plains to the deltas, I slip into visions of the past, mine and what the world must have looked like before my 'time'. It is invigorating, and humbling.
   Events fall into place, leading me to make changes to plans, and make new plans, so that the trip is always moving and I accomplish my outlined desires. It is a challenge of time, Nature, and the modern mundane world that I readily accept rather that allow it to discourage me. Weather in the early Spring is my first hurdle, with it's snow storms, high winds, and risky roads. The open plains then raise the bar with rolling thunder storms accompanied with their tell tale winds threatening tornado eruptions. Nature reveals her strength and mastery of the elements as she breaks into Spring with a fury of shaking off the old winter. She is Alive with power for any to observe,.... and most of the people do not see this majestic display as such, only head the warnings of ill weather and hold up in safety.
   The events that bring me home also change and challenge me. Sometimes for reunions, other times it is festival. This time it is due to family, and servitude to the community that I once broke daily bread with. Family, the life long friends whom you cannot avoid so easily as some passing acquaintanceship, but whom you would not trade for, even for their heartbreaks. My family is spread out across this Nation, but most reside here, in this old South. Here where roots run deep for many of us, and our fierce pride raises many interpersonal issues. And although I have simple plans and many aspirations for my family, they too are forming plans and the bartering commences as soon as one reveals their plans to another until a compromise is laid out and all work toward.
   I then begin to focus on my vocation as teacher, councilor and clergy. Being clergy in itself is a demand so great it easily swallows us in our service. That passion and faith drives us forward through many issues, and now is no exception. I gather, host and present ideas and concepts to other clergy of faith, clergy of other faith, and practitioners who have interests in the education and resources that we share in the service. This relay of information and the community feedback allow us as peers to share many ideas and information about our vocation, our community needs, and how we can continue to build toward our common goals. No, we do not always agree, but even then we address these differences not as arguments, but as a continued discussion of choice, decision, and practical applications of our various faiths and teachings that still bring us together and move us along. It is not so easily done, however, through replication and repetition,  it becomes easier for us to achieve co-operation and interfaith growth in our community. This takes a lot of my limited time here, but the rewards are invaluable.
   Now I spend time in the presence of my 'home community', peers, Elders, and friends. Time well spent in council, discussion, and the ever present and evolving work around the church for Spring events and building onto and into the church property. Working forward here as well toward goals and achieving simple steps in our Spiritual lives. Here too I contact the 'professionals' needed in finishing up family needs, and work in research of church needs. I slip right into my 'old roll' that I carried for many years of my service here as if I were only gone a few days rather than close to a decade. Meeting new faces, and embracing old friends, this part of my journey is well worth it.
   As my time here draws to a close, last minute ideas and delayed events and plans now surface to my daily thoughts. I begin to iron out the wrinkles of my over-all plans and event changed goals. My easy going style starts to change into my purpose directed mode of interaction, I become a bit more serious in my actions. Still, I am subject to the hospitality of my hosts, and work with them and their needs willingly. here too I see the purpose why I became clergy, and remember my oaths of servitude, and await my 'turn' in getting my personal needs met.
   Home, a place that changes with time, and purpose. I long for my return trip back to my new home, and yearn for the comfort of family and friends there, and yet I see myself secretly desiring that I could remain just a bit longer. It is a selfish thought I know, but there all the same. Yet my time here is shortened by another day, and another day closer to my return. And even though when I leave here, my thoughts and promises never do completely. I dream of the people and places here, I remain in contact for them all each and every time they call.
   And the only regret I hold, is that I cannot simply teleport back each time.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Living Daily Your Beliefs



I have spent the majority of my adult live in the service of others. My chosen career path is that of 'maintenance', structural, commercial, and industrial mostly. I enrolled in classes and took courses to learn electrical, plumbing, boilers and steam systems and studied with carpenters, cabinet builders, painters, wall paper and dry wall installers, all to better my knowledge and further my experience is achieving the best methods and practice that I could offer. From my 'tinkering' with household appliances to my certifications in auto mechanics, I enjoy what I do in maintenance.
I have another vocation, based a lot on my career choice, and my faith. It is another 'maintenance' position in life as well. Through this vocation, I am allowed to help others, honored to assist in the maintainability of proper function of others. I am a Priest. It was not an over night decision, and it took many years (and still does) to learn the required techniques and information that this vocation calls for. Courses in psychology, sociology, religious science, history, comparative religious studies, all just to be able to perform one function of a Priest.
The comparison of maintenance man and clergyman in my daily life, helps me to teach others how to better serve themselves and their communities. You see, in maintenance, we are not always 'repair men'. The actions we take in maintenance is to ensure continual operations or sustainability, which can be done quite often by a 'tweak' here or a 'support' there. Rarely do we need to repair or rebuild what it is we are working on. A Priest does the same, only with different tools and much more complicated subject matter. The clergy help maintain individuals strength in faith, education of religious custom, and foster a desired outcome, or product, that the religion and the community desire. These are just the aspect of councilor and instructor for a Priest, There is ever so much more...
Each religion relies on a basic set of principal beliefs, an understanding of Deity or Divine Presence of Being, has a set of customs or rituals, and in short holds a traditional concept in how one should live and interact with others. There is a lot to understand, much information to retain, and many protocols to learn, adopt and practice. The only way that I have found to achieve this, is to honestly live it on a daily basis. Every act becomes a sacred ritual for me then, every word then becomes a blessing toward others. We live our religious beliefs in our lives beyond holding ceremony, observing the Holy Days, or in study of our religious works. Your religion is not 'what' you are or 'who' you are, but 'what' you do and 'how' you live.
We each have daily rituals in life; from waking up, washing, eating, working, playing, and going to bed. Connect those simple mundane things, in your mind and spirit, and recreate that religious understanding of the Divine Within. Every act will become less mundane, and will acquire a more sacred meaning in your life. The simplest ways to live a Spiritual path, is to live simply believing that we are Spiritual creatures. It takes no more time to do it, than all the time you want. It is easy to do, with the mindset of achieving it, and it will only take a lifetime to master.
Many journeys await you, greet them with eager anticipation for the lessons that they will give you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I AM LIVID

 Anyone who has met me can tell you one thing, I am mostly straight forward about my observations and reserved about my opinions. Anyone who has spent a day with me can tell you that I am blunt yet not brutal, and handle a lot of things with an amount of diplomacy and patience to see things through to the end. And everyone who has spent at least a week around me can testify to my position on standing on my principals, holding to my oaths, and 'walking my talk'. So when people mistake me for some run of the mill so and so, I have to remind myself that they have not had the benefits of experience about my person, nor fair warning of my personality.
     I have been recently offended and internally injured. My ethical standards attacked, my Faith tested, and my service as clergy belittled and questioned. Normally this combination of events and affronts would not phase me so, however, due to the personage of this individual who has made the ill fated mistake of performing it, I AM LIVID. 
     This was not a 'concerned family member trying to save my soul', that I have always dealt with through my teachings, and usually theirs as well, with tact and diplomacy, respect and understanding. This was not some random stranger to my faith or religious beliefs, for they too I handle quite well and help inform or educate them, or the very least accept our differences and agree to disagree. This was a supposed educated, experienced and fellow practitioner of a Pagan faith.
     One who tried to convince me I was at odds with my teachings. That I was in breach of Ordains, By-Laws and contracts as a clergy-member. That I was being disrespectful, one the verge of attacking or shunning them. That I was refusing advise and council, even friendship. There was only one, slightly important, mistake... That this person was not only wrong, that this person not only openly lied, that this person mistakenly implied threats... no non of that really. It was that this person not only made the mistake to blatantly attack me, it's that I will not tolerate that kind of action by someone who supposedly knows better and that they consider themselves my equal or better! This person will be held accountable.

Monday, January 30, 2012

What I learned from Dr. Debu Majumdar

    I had the opportunity Sunday, to go and listen to a man speak about something I have been juggling with within myself. The man was Dr. Debu Majumdar, past President of the Board at the UU Church in Idaho Falls and an author of children books that teach moral stories based on the Hindu stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The speech was titled simply; Occupy Wall Street Signals a Need for Return to Ethics.
 The message however was much more profound, at least for those of us who have trying to find the balance within us of being a good citizen, and a good spiritual person. I say this because of the good judgment of separating our faith from our politics and governing laws. Debu has been a devout believer of the Hindu teachings and ethical standards and has managed to form strong ties in his waking life to them, and weaving them into his mundane work as well as his political views.
   I had been wrestling with my civic responsibility(s) to my fellow citizens and my religious obligations to my community while I have been active in the ever growing social movement of the Occupy Wall Street campaign. As an active citizen, I have attended events and General Assemblies held by our local Occupy Idaho Falls groups and those of Occupy Pocatello, as well as interacted on a National scale of communication and interaction with the many various Occupy groups online, sharing ideas and developing plans of action to help educate the public and address our elected officials. As a clergy person of my faith, I have helped develop and implement action and communication of peaceful assertion and ethical behavior. True they both compliment each other in application, yet I had felt that together, they limited my ability to do more. Sunday, I sat there and realized that they did not.
   Debu brought up many things that we had all mentioned or focused on in our activities or assemblies concerning our Nation in general, our Government in action, and our future in specifics. Being a history and mythology buff, I had several times pointed out the parallels and patterns that we had fallen into as a Nation and how it had played out in the past with other countries. Debu pointed out that this country, this culture, has no long standing mythology, but does have a well documented history that we all learned as children, however, they lack much of the moral and ethical teachings that accompany the majority of cultural mythologies. Every culture that has come and blended into this great melting pot of a Nation, has brought these mythologies and cultural teachings, yet they have been played down if not removed from our education system. With such downplay in favor of science and math, we lost much more than 'faery tales' and 'ancient history', we lost the advantage of instilling into our progeny a solid foundation of ethics. I know, Christians that read this will be up in arms, but the Bible has been so over interpreted and forced onto individual thought, that the majority of the younger generations have long since pulled away from it. Sad, but true.
   As a clergyman of faith, and a spiritual person, I learned that to teach a religion or cultural belief, we must allow for the individual understanding and expression of personal interpretation. Allowing the 'student' to think, rather than telling them what to think. Faith is belief, not one based on outside definition, but in personal understanding. I too believe in the understanding and investigation of science, history, and accurate literature of cultural arts and expression. That is a belief based on facts and evidence supported by various pieces of science and history. I have blended them so deeply in my personal life, that I must always be wary of not being perceived as a manipulator of others. And I always encourage others to do the research, to think for themselves, and to be strong in their findings.
   But back to Debu... He expressed that it has more than years for this country to come to this state, but it has taken generations. He pointed out that the generation gap has grown so much, that it has gone from grandparent - grandchild to parent – child. Whereas; our children cannot fully function in communication of ideas, goals and simple ethics outside of their own generation, leaving parents, and grandparents at a loss of how to convey to them these moral choices and good behavioral patterns. Sounds like something for 'family practice councilors'? Look what 60 years, roughly 3 full generations, of this has lead our country into. These children today, have lost so much due to our failures in our generation, and the oversights of our parents generation, and the lack of communicating and keeping in-touch with our grandparents generation. Personal ethics, business ethics, social morals, and just plain common sense has been overwritten by such things as our modern society has promised us by it's technical advances.
   In place of savings, we strive for a credit rating, which requires us to borrow money and enter into debt willingly. In stead of the practice of business to raise standards of living, it raises the requirement to raise the cost of living, with the ultimate goal to 'make money' rather than quality products. In place of electoral officials working for the common goals of the people, we have allowed bribed politicians to pander to these same money minded businesses to prevail over us. There are so many places in our comparatively short history as a Nation, that we allowed these things to come to pass, without looking toward our future as a sovereign and sustainable country. Too many 'short sighted' laws have been passed that it is now common place for our legislators to through 'quick fixes' at our Nations problems, so that they can pas it off to someone else. How can we have become so complacent, so blind to this open proof of non-responsible or irresponsible acts by our government? It is simple, we do it on a personal level almost as often, if not more so, and we won't even go into the daily business dealings that make 'white collar crime' a common place term in our lives.
   That is a big bite to swallow. We are responsible. It has been a trickle down affect for generations, going back to our great-grandparents easily, and further back if we spent the time searching it. We have allowed more and more of our generations to accept and conform to a level of complacency, that the modern response to government action of corporate rulings is; apathy. Somehow, somewhere, we forgot to care, unless it happened to us directly. We forgot how to care about our fellow citizen, we blinded ourselves to facts about laws, and we forgot how important our voices and our votes really were. We were told that we didn't matter, and we believed it. We allowed our freedoms to be trimmed and limited by our government and we allowed our government to be regulated by private corporations and big business interests. (The twisted comical part is, that these corporations are crying 'foul' when the government places regulations on them, and then convinces the government to 'privatize' the regulations by outsourcing to 'third party' companies, that they have even more influence on.)
   The answers? That is now the issue. We have over 60 years to review what needs to be changed, adjusted, or repealed. The overview? Get money out of politics by removing the corporate person-hood granted by 'Citizens United' act, regulate influences of our politicians by not allowing them to be seated on corporate boards of private businesses while they hold a public office, and limiting if not completely removing the ever growing crowd of lobbyists in our legislative process. That is a good start, and mandatory before continuing I believe. 
   Next? Return the authority of this Nations currency back to the government of this Nation and out of the hands of private banks that hold no allegiance nor true investments in the well being least not the sustainability of this Nation. Then focus more on our National infrastructures that are failing our Nation; Education, Labor, Communication, Roads and Bridges, Harbors and waterways, Power grids and resource management. I'll even go so far as to focus on a National plan to increase research and general application of renewable resources for heat and power, building transit systems that increase interstate and National transportation, i. e. bus, train and waterway transit plans that resemble those of other Nations.
From here, we have to get there, from there...well only our future is at stake.