Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wherein I Find a Chicken in the House and a Lesson to be Learned

There’s a chicken in my house.  Staring at me from the living room.

What The Fuck.

You see, last night after my druid meeting I had to bring in the tomatoes from the cold.  We have a great little greenhouse that my MIL gave us.  But it’s not enough to protect my tomato transplants from possible frost warnings. This morning I have to move those same tomatoes back outside so they get enough sun and water to be useful.  I’ve put too much work into these damned tomatoes to stop now.  I propped the door open. That was my mistake.  

Now I’m chasing a chicken through the kitchen. In fact we are doing fucking laps around the kitchen as it runs from me and circles the countertop island.  I am dancing with this goddamn chicken and I really don’t think it’s funny. I’m not in a good mood.  And yet, in front of me there is this ridiculous chicken walking along with her awkward chicken gait and her big stupid yellow feet and her bouncy stupid head.  On lap three around the kitchen she looks back at me.  She’s taunting me and I know it.

I hate myself for laughing.

I am unhappy, goddamn it!  Life is kinda sucky right now. I am feeling drained and tired and I did not sleep well.  I don’t really want to talk about it. Which is good, because the chicken really isn’t a great conversationalist. 

Goddamn chicken.

Chickens in the house really ought to be dead.  I think of the tarragon roasted chicken I made for dinner last night and the potato sorrel sauce that really was an excellent lemony addition.  I consider that this egg layer might be tasty too, if I could ever catch her.

New tactic.  I ignore her. This is reverse chicken psychology. I have a psychology degree.  I can do that.   I go get another flat of tomato transplants noting where I accidentally stepped on a couple in the dark last night and take it back to our tiny adorable pop-up greenhouse.  There are more chickens waiting in the yard.  They follow me, knowing that the taller beings tend to bring food and scraps.  I kick at one as I get near the garden.

You have to understand: chickens are garden destroyers. They eat my seedlings. They scratch my seeds.  They undo my patient and careful work.  I realize in this moment that chickens are my nemeses.  This is both hysterical and depressing.  I sneak inside and pull the mesh garden gate across hoping they won’t notice that the electrical fence surrounding the garden is currently unplugged.  I deposit the transplants in the warmth and protection of the greenhouse and go back inside.

The chicken looks at me from under the dining room table.
I move toward her.

It is then that I realize that I am herding her directly toward the children’s playroom and panic rises in my chest. I have visions of chicken poop in the lego bin, of havoc wreaked and messes made and it is a mad race between her and I to get to the opening.  I pull the sliding doors shut before she can reach me.  I am faster than a flapping chicken.  It’s a super power. I feel pleased.   We make eye contact and I begin the chase again.   This time I move faster which upsets her little chicken psyche.  She flaps and squawks and makes a run for the living room.  I’m right behind her. I flap my arms and herd her toward the door.  She makes a break to the right and we do the kitchen loop a couple more times.  Finally I use my hands and skirts like a reverse matador and wave her toward the foyer.  We pause.  She’s clearly agitated. This adventure is not turning out as she had hoped. I can see her wondering, “Why do the big and small wingless beings go in here so much?”

The back door is a light I want her to move toward.  I say, “Go into the light little chicken, go into the light!” If she won’t go into this light, I think, I’m going to do her in and she can go into the other greater light at the end of the tunnel.  I carefully maneuver myself forward so as to not startle her into making another break for the kitchen.  Finally she turns and sees her brethren and the grass glowing emerald in the sun.  The grass really is greener on the other side, and she runs awkwardly for the door. I slam it behind her and sigh. 

The moral of the story?

Sometimes the awkward, stupid, parts of life are what make it worth living.

For my loved ones and friends who are having a hard time right now: I love you. Hang in there.  And maybe chase a chicken or two.  It’s kinda theraputic.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I am the next She-Hulk

I’ve heard people say pain is a great teacher.  I suppose my question was always: “What exactly was I supposed to learn from incapacitating pain?” It is sometimes so bad that I have to hide in a darkened room.  Every once in a while the thought of a drill to the skull sounds like a reasonable plan if it would just relieve the pressure. 

The thing is, that pain is there for a reason.  My selfness is rooted in my body. My body is rooted in my environment. My environment is rooted in culture with food, McDonalds, perfumes and all the chemicals that float through our lives.

I went to an allergist once. He told me I was chemically sensitive.  He also said there was nothing he could do because what I had wasn’t an allergy. These things bother everyone, he informed my younger self. It’s just that some people’s bodies are less capable of dealing with all those toxins.

I cried in his office.

He did not help me.  Doctors often can’t.   The system they are immersed within is not there to help people.  I’m sure there are a lot of people in the medical world who want to help people, but the system clouds their ability to do so.  They are force-fed rules and regulation that may or may not be useful.  Like S.H.I.E.L.D. the fault lies in the organization, not every individual.

However, there’s a message hidden within what he told me.  He gave me that information so that he could dismiss me.  But I took that message in a bottle out and examined it.  I wiped my eyes and began my own studies.

“These things bother everyone.”

He was right.  Later I had a child with food sensitivities. (Another thing that allergists dismiss) Much later my husband started eating a low inflammation diet. I tried the Whole 30 with him and damn if it didn’t work.  I had friends who started doing the same things and it worked for them too.   Our bodies are only as good as the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink.  We live in poisoned times. My question now is, “Why are we surprised?”

The number of people with food allergies rose by 50%  between 1997 and 2011 according to the CDC.   That’s a lot.

Allergies are defined as an immune response to a protein.  If there’s no protein there can’t be an allergy.  Proteins by their very nature are biological. An immune response to one is pretty much the body saying, “Hey! That’s not me!! That’s some biological thing that is not me-ish! Get rid of that crap!”  That’s what the old white man in his imposing office was trying to explain to me. That’s the thing that made me feel crazy enough to cry in a doctor’s office in front of an old white man. 

But it’s not even half the story, and now researchers are actually studying the very thing I was feeling all cray-cray about.    It’s called TILT or Toxicant Induced Loss ofTolerance.  Basically it means that people can feel horribly allergic to things that aren’t proteins. 

According to research done by Dr. Claudia Miller this kind of intolerance comes from an initial exposure to some sort of chemical.  After that, the body no longer can properly deal with even small amounts of many chemicals. Their bodies change fundamentally and permanently including the nervous system, immune system, endocrine system and more.

This is what super powers actually look like.  We’ve been exposed to Gamma radiation.  We’ve been dumped in the waste of our own society.  Super powers look like joint pain, migraines, stomach illnesses of every sort, rashes, sore throats, and doctors who tell you there is absolutely nothing.  Nothing they can do.  Nothing there. Nothing but the failure to thrive. 

I am She-Hulk. I just don’t get the advantage of being impervious to harm or turning green.  Also, how come her shirt stays on when the Hulk’s shirt always falls off?  Anyway, back to the topic, dear reader.

We are the result of exposure to the environment that our species has created.   I know so many of us.  We are all struggling to succeed when our own bodies betray us.  It has been my life’s work to succeed anyway. 

So I have carefully crafted my life so that I can exist.  I eat a low inflammation diet, influenced by the work of Gary Taubes, Mark Sisson, and Melissa Hartwig.   I hold my breath when I have to go down the laundry detergent isle in the grocery store. I exclaim how wonderful that cake looks and then don’t eat it because it’s bought from the store and I have no doubt it has soy oil in the frosting.  I take a lot of Benadryl.

If you suffer from sensitivities there are still not a lot of answers.  The best that you can do is avoid  your triggers.  There appears to be a connection between sensitivity reactions and addictive behaviors that is evolving a new theory of illness where chemical sensitivity and addiction are seen as two ends of a spectrum of a certain kind of human reaction to their environment.

Claudia Miller created a self test for sensitivities that can help you or those you know to identify if they are chemically sensitive.  This is useful, since it appears that once you pass the threshold you are likely to continue to become more sensitive unless you make an effort to try to avoid your chemical triggers.  Often people who are trying to deal with allergies feel as if they are going through a “detox” stage.  When you’re allergic to a thing often times you also crave it, even when it makes you ill and you know it. This anecdotal evidence is backed up by research that indicates the connection is real and the difficulties seen with addiction are just as embedded within chemical intolerance issues.

I didn’t get a choice about “going green”.  I had to switch to home made cleaners to survive.  I eat simple home cooked food so I don’t get ill.   I avoid bars, crowds, smokers, and people with big hair so I don’t end up gassed into a migraine. My friends and loved ones understand and do their best to be respectful. I really appreciate it.

Bruce Banner has to avoid things that make him angry so he won’t go green. I have to avoid things that make me ill and it has turned me green in the end. Somehow it doesn't make it better that I get to be like Bruce Banner and Jennifer Walters.  What does make it better is that the changes I've had to make have helped me to walk in balance with the earth.  It also makes it better when I can help people to avoid the trap of despair I felt in that doctors office so long ago. If you do suffer from chemical sensitivities, know that you can do things to help yourself and that you're not alone. Good luck. 

(This was going to be an essay on lessons to be learned from prolonged illness. It’s become a series.  Dear reader, if you found this useful, please consider donating or buying my art to offset the research time and cost of purchasing academic papers. Thank you.)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Beltane Coloring Page

It's the time of year when herbs come into season. I've been harvesting chives, sorrel, and violets.  So in honor of the herb harvest I created a coloring page from Celtic myth.  The brother and sister pair of Airmid and Miach are the goddess of herbal healing and the god of surgical healing.  So enjoy the healing of coloring while thinking about this pair of healing deities.

I hope you're all having a wonderful Beltane!

To download the printable version, click here.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Voice for the Earth

This is the speech I wrote to share at last weekend's Earth Day event in Detroit.  It was a bit scary leaping off into the world of speeches and belief.  It's not easy for me to think I'm worth hearing. But that's the thing. This isn't about me. This is about the Earth:

The essential quality that I see as necessary for us is flexibility of mind. By letting go of what is supposed to be important and right as told to us by the mainstream we can rethink a better vision of what is truly important. 

 We are the tribe of the outsiders.  We know who we are.  Those who think differently than the mainstream.  I see it within many subgroups, pagans, poly, kink, gamers, geeks, we are the people who think outside the box and that kind of thinking is exactly what is needed.  We live in difficult times.  This is the time of peak oil and growth overshoot.  We live in the time of confirmation of climate change and the knowledge that we as humans have the power of the gods to shape our very existence.  With great power comes great responsibility and this responsibility is on each and every one of us.  We have the responsibility to find a better way to live.  To seek a vision of sustainability not only for the spirits of the land and the gods and the goddesses, but for our children, and their children, and for ourselves as well.  This is both an altruistic calling and a selfish one.  

I have had visions of the future. I have seen the earth as a great river, a flood that comes and wipes us away as flotsam and twigs.  She is powerful and there is only so much she can do to protect us from ourselves.  In my vision I saw us as bits of twig and leaf being washed away by the force of the waters.  But then, one twig caught another and braced against the bank.  More and more twigs and leaves came together and caught branch to branch, leaf to stem.  We built safe places in the onrushing flood, reaching out to catch others. And with each stem and each leaf our safe space became stronger.  With each new person caught we were more able to create something new.  This is the vision I give you.  It is not a vision without fear.  It is not a vision without pain.  But it is a vision with hope.  We have been told that this is the beginning of the age of aquarius.  We have been told that this is the dawning of a new era.  I tell you that a new era will not come unless we ourselves work for it.  We are the Tribe of the Outsiders and this is our quest.  To seek and make a vision of the future that is better than what has been gifted to us.  We are pagans.  We are the children of the Earth.  I would say unto you  we have the choice to birth a world that is equal for all,  that celebrates all people of all races, genders, and choices. that lives our belief that we are walking on the sacred earth with every step.  We have this power.  This is the ultimate power from within ourselves to shape ourselves into something new and better.

The acceptance of your own ultimate power and responsibility is a fearful thing.  The knowledge that we are the ones that will birth this change, that our parents could not do this thing that there is no certainty to sustainability and safety  is formidable.  But we must do this.  Incrementally, one small change at a time.  One choice, one meal, one garden.  Let go of what the media tells you. Let go of expectation and outdated ideas of success.   We are the Tribe of the Outsiders.  Let us embrace our gifts that we may find our vision and lead the way to a true sustainable, beautiful, joyful new time that we may gift to our children and their children.

May it be so.

Thank for your time.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Love your Mother!

The Earth Mother, I mean. 

It's that time of year when we celebrate Earth Day.  The one day of the year when we are supposed to remember to love the earth.  This year, down in the Detroit area I will be one of the featured speakers this weekend at Seeds, Sun, and Sustainability: an Earth Day Event.

My presentation will be on sustainability in an urban or suburban environment.  I thought about printing out a handout full of resources, but it naggled me to print paper copies of something for an earth day event.  So instead I thought I'd share my annotated book list with everyone.

Happy Earth Day!

Book on nature and spirituality:

Pagan Visions for a Sustainable Future
Ed. By Ly de Angeles, Emma restall Orr and Thom van Dooren
This one has got a bunch of contributors.  I don't agree with everything they say, but it's good to think about.

Collected Poems 1957-1982
Wendell Berry
This guy was a poet in New York who went back home to his family farm in Applachia.  He is the poet of the farmer.  Check out his poem The Farmer's Manifesto. 

Connecting with the Land: Nature Relationships in Multiple Dimensions
By Adam Davis 
Adam is a pagan and ADF member of long standing who studies ecology as his life's work.  Buy this book.

Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth: an Introduction to Spiritual Ecology
By John Michael Greer
This is a lovely small primer on thinking about the intersection of ecological principles and spiritual development. The meditations are well worth it.

Listening to the Land
By Derrick Jensen
This is a compilation of a series of interviews the author conducted with a number of men and women who are doing great work to preserve and renew our earth. It's incredibly inspirational.

A Sand County Almanac
By Aldo Lopold
This is a classic in the field of ecology and environmental awareness.  Written in a time when ecological degradation was just beginning to be recognized he has a unique awareness.  Nor is he just some crazy hippy, the dude loved the wilderness but wasn't blinded by that love.

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit
By Daniel Quinn
A thoughtful novel about a talking gorilla.  No really. Go read it anyway.

Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind
Ed. By Theodore Roszak, Mary E. Gomes, and Allen D. Kanner
Another compilation of essays, this time on the intersection of ecology and psychology. The essay by Roszak is worth it by itself.

Homesteading Skills:

Worms Eat My Garbage
By Mary Applehof
Learn how to make stink-free compost in your apartment or small house.  For realz!

Four-Season Harvest
By Eliot Coleman
The ultimate guide to season extension, this one is for the seasoned gardener that wants to take their space to the next level.

The Garden Primer
By Barbara Damrosch
This fine lady happens to be the wife of the guy who wrote the book before this one. She's also an excellent gardener in her own right, and if you've never gardened much before, this is an excellent book to have.

The Long Descent
By John Michael Greer
This is a serious book about a serious topic, talking about peak oil and other modern issues. 

Food Not Lawns
By H. C. Flores
A great garden book for beginners and experienced gardeners it has wonderful ideas about how to think outside the box, build community, and make life better through food. 

Keeping Rabbits and Poultry on Scraps
By Claude Goodchild and Alan Thompson
This was written for Depression Era America. Cool both for the information and the cultural differences. 

Gaia’s Garden: a Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture
By Toby Hemenway
A beginner's guide to permaculture, be careful. You might just get sucked in to a totally new and wonderful way of thinking.

How To Grow More Vegetables
By John Jeavons
A radical activist who wanted to put his money where his mouth is.  His work is excellent for those who want to grow a lot of vegetables in a small space.

Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally
By Robert Kourik
A dense tome of gardening and permaculture knowledge.  You will feel like a gardening wizard reading this one.

Lasagna Gardening
By Patricia Lanza
A great book for the beginner trying to turn a lawn into a garden. 

The Illustrated Guide to Chickens
By Celia Lewis
Beautiful pictures, a forward by the Prince of Wales (for real! He's a total sustainability nut) and lots of good info.

The Naturally Clean Home
By Karyn Siegel-Maier
Lots of recipes, good ideas, and gentle advice.

The Foxfire Books 1-12
By Eliot Wigginton
These are a series of books of the collected knowledge of rural Appalachia.   Some of it is fascinating, some of it is useful, and some of it is just plain weird.  You can pick them up in kindle these days so you don't have to comb the used bookstores to get the complete set like I did.


Vegetables Every Day
By Jack Bishop
This is a great book when you want to know how to cook that weird veg you found at the farmers market or got in your CSA share. 

The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved
By Sandor Ellix Katz
A manifesto of radical cooking, it will show you the edge of what is possible in sustainable cooking.

Wild Fermentation
By Sandor Ellix Katz
My bible of fermentation, where I learned to make sauerkraut and kimchee. I've tried most of the weird things in this book and his advice is sound.  It doesn't hurt that he's queer and HIV positive and using lacto-fermented foods to help himself stay healthy while he lives in a queer commune. This dude is cool.

By Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
Worth it just to learn how to make a brine for a chicken or your own breakfast sausage. Seriously, home-made breakfast sausage is an amazing thing.

For Cod and Country: Simple Delicious Sustainable Cooking
By Barton Seaver
This is a book about how to eat fish and not feel like you're destroying the oceans doing it. Organized according to season with simple wonderful recipes, I loveses it.  

Melissa’s Great Book of Produce
By Cathy Thomas
With a name like that, how could I not love this book?  Plus it's organized by type of produce so you can just look up that crazy weird lumpy thing in the store and find out what a bitter melon or a malanga is for. 

Beyond Bacon
By Stacy Toth and Matthew McCurry
The bible of how to eat the glorious animal known as a pig.  I won't go into why the pig is such an awesome sustainable animal, when raised locally in woods eating acorns and allowed to assist in plowing and insect removal simply by rooting in garden fields, and providing high quality fats that are good for your brain and...  wait. I wasn't going to tell you all that. Oh well. 

The Joy of Pickling
By Linda Ziedrich

Another bible of pickling, this time with quick pickles and vinegar pickles included too.

Get reading and trying things out because you know you love your Mother!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Long Eye: Sight Meditation and the Future

People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told to see.”

--Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

To see is an essential part of existence for most of humanity.  We constantly look and take in visual information, only when we close our eyes do we shut off this vast river of input.  As an artist I think a lot about what I see.  I know that much of my job  is to simplify visual input and organize it in pleasing or useful ways.  There is the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and I imagine there might be some writers out there who would happily argue that point.  But unfortunately, maxims and clichés exist because there is truth to them. 

So let us consider a meditation on sight.

First a bit of background:  as a druid and a farmer as well as an artist, and I think a lot about how humans interact with the non-human.  I read a fascinating book called Sight and Sensibility by Laura Sewall many years ago.  She is a researcher into cognitive psychology who has become a researcher into ecopsychology.  If you don’t recognize that term I wouldn’t be overly surprised, it’s a rather new branch of psychology that argues that human psychology evolved within a matrix of non-human input and species and that we should consider that as part of pathology and optimal development of the human psyche.  In Sewall’s book she talks about going to Africa.  In her journeys on that continent she disovers, to her shock, that she no longer needs her prescription glasses for near-sightedness.  Her long distance vision had improved vastly while she viewed the wide-open spaces of the savanna.  When she returned home to the United States her vision again deteriorated.   This drove her to think about how our environment affects our selves.   When she had the opportunity to look out on the wide vistas she could see, but when she came back to the closed in walls and cities here, she could not.

We laugh at our “first world problems” the cell phone trap at the restaurant table, the struggle to live our lives, but we downplay the significance of these things.  We are animals, just as much as a fox or an otter.  We are animals who have kenneled our selves, tied our collars tight to the side of the walls.  We walk our days seeing human things; surrounded by our own ideas like a strange variant of Being John Malkovich.   We have built ourselves a very pretty prison.  But lets face it: I’m not jumping ship and neither are you if you’re reading this on your phone or computer screen.

Here’s what I’d like you to try:

Go outside or find a window, any window.  If you can find one high up, that might be better. Take a deep breath, and another, and one more.  Look up.  Look to the sky and see if you can find a cloud. If you can’t find a cloud, pretend there’s one there.  Do your best to focus on that cloud and let all distractions fall away.  See the color of the sky and the whiteness of the cloud.  Notice how your eyes react to looking so far away.  Then after a time of looking up, slowly bring your gaze downward to the edge of the earth.  Note if the color of the sky changes or if the texture of the clouds is different there.  Focus on the horizon that you have found for a time and allow yourself to rest in that ever present moment of wondering what might be on the other side. Take a deep breath and exhale completely. Take stock of how your eyes feel, how your body feels, and how your emotions feel.

I find this kind of exercise to be so relaxing.  If you can go outside and lay in the grass to do it, by all means do so!  I’ve just given you solid reasoning for the importance of lying in the grass watching the clouds.  You can thank me later. Not only is staring off into the distance good for your overstressed eyes, it’s also good on a spiritual level.

David Abram, an eco-philosopher, argues that the horizon is the physical representation of the future:

The visible horizon, that is, a kind of gateway or threshold, joining the presence of the surrounding terrain to that which exceeds this open presence, to that which is hidden beyond the horizion.  The horizon carries the promise of something more, something other.”

When I was in high school I used to look off into the sunset through the picture window in my parent's living room.  It seemed somehow more profound than it really ought to have been.  Sometimes I had strange moments of clarity and knowing when I stared off into the horizon. If the horizon is the future rooted then it is also a representation of fate and maybe a way to access it.

Interestingly, in Lithuania the goddess of the dawn, Aušrinė and Laima, the goddess of fate are connected.  According to the scholar A. J. Greimas, Laima is seen as Aušrinė’s godmother who blesses the dawn at her birth.  The rainbow is the symbol of Laima and is likened to the colors of the dawn as well. As Aušrinė begins the day, so does Laima prophecy the fate of babies at the dawn of their lives.

So we have this idea of fate and future, dawn and the horizon that comes together from multiple sources.  It is something to think about, at least.  Maybe if you find that you need to know the future of a thing (and make sure you really need to know) you should find yourself in that liminal space between night and day and seek out the line between land and sky.  In the moment between one breath and the next you might find that you know the answer you seek.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Breaking the Cycle: Demeter

If you’ve been pagan very long or interested in classical Greek literature at all you’ve probably run across the myth of Demeter and Persophone.  You have heard how Demeter’s daughter was joyful in her youth, frolicking with the nymphs when she was abducted by Hades and dragged down into the underworld.   You may have been party to discussions about how awful abduction was, the symbolic rape themes, or the attempt to set such a thing within a cultural context where asking the father for the hand of a woman was more than enough without asking that woman’s permission.  You may have wondered, like I have wondered:  did Persophone eat those seeds on purpose?

I’m not going to talk about any of that.

I’m going to talk about breaking the cycle.  Let’s review.  First we had Gaia, the most primordial earth mother of the Greek pantheon. She gives birth to her husband, Ouranos who was the big boss, and then has a passel of children by him.  He stuffs them into the earth rather than letting them out, and she aids her youngest son Cronos, to kill his own father in order to save his siblings.

Next we had Rhea, the earth mother goddess of the next generation, who also married Cronos, the high king of this generation. She too has an entire pantheon worth of children but this time her husband eats the kids, hiding them within his own body, rather than that of his wife. I wonder if it caused him the kind of pain it caused Gaia.  In the end, due to Rhea’s intelligence and cleverness, the children are again released, and Olympians are finally born.

There’s a pattern laid out here: fear of the children of sky and earth and the attempt to escape the inevitability of the next generation where children are hid away and the youngest son, aided by his mother the earth, must do battle with his own father for the survival of his siblings

But that’s not what happened here at all.  Persephone is the Earth’s daughter in this generation.  She’s not stuffed into some cave or belly, she’s happy.  She’s frolicking with the tree spirits and picking flowers.  Demeter isn’t even married to Zeus, the earth and sky did procreate and create Persephone, but that’s it.  Zeus, as we all know, is married to Hera, Queen of Gods.  The son that was to have overthrow Zeus was in fact not Hera’s child, nor the Earth’s child at all, but Metis’s. She was  a goddess of crafty thought and wisdom.  Zeus follows in his father’s footsteps, but this time he doesn’t eat all his offspring (and a good thing he didn’t too, he had a lot of kids)  but he did eat Metis.  Athena then bursts from his skull to become the goddess of wisdom, war, and crafts, and swears to have no children herself.  She is the inheritor of Zeus and chooses the entirely end the progression of generational battle by simply not having children.

Is this a perfect outcome? Nope, at least by my standards it’s not okay to eat your siblings, it’s not okay to give your daughter to your brother in marriage, and it’s not okay to expect your other daughter to not procreate so that you can stay King-of-All-the-Things forever.  But it’s a damn sight better than what his parents did.

As much as the generational saga of the Greek Gods reminds me of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, thankfully their tale doesn’t end with their progeny getting eaten by the jungle.  (Sorry for the spoiler!)  In the end, there is hope within it as well as all the various encodings of cultural expectations and symbology.  There are echoes of self-reliance, the complicated relationship of parent to child and husband to wife, and most of all, the power to take action and make change.  Sometimes I think change is all there is.  Every once in a while I want to go found a new sci-fi based religion on Octavia E. Butler’s Earthseed. (She’s amazing. Go read her stuff.)

That’s the thing.  We read to understand.  We learn to create a broader framework for our own ethics, values, and actions.  If the myths and the stories of the ancients don’t help us do that then they are failing.  But they do.  Each person may get a different lesson to learn, but within the macrocosm of the monumental upheavals and drama of the deities we see our own lives writ large.

Recently I came across an article about how the experiencesof our ancestors directly affects our own genetics.  Not only does this mean that the pain and success of the past truly is ours, but the choices that we make directly affect future generations.  Each of is us caught in our own generational drama, even if we don’t chose to procreate.  I hope my retelling of these tales aids you in your own thoughts about the future and the past, dear reader.

May the blessings of the Gods and Spirits be upon us all.


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