Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bone Singer Studio

Loving Susanne Iles' art and prose. For better/worse, "fine art" purchasing is not in this life's budget.

From Susanne's essay "The Dragon and Creation: Reclaiming the Sacred":

"When the work was finished the world was bountiful, but heavily laden with trees and large animals, mountains and villages. The Creator feared the Earth would collapse under its own weight. Aido Hwedo offered to support the world by coiling under it in a circular fashion, its tail in its great mouth. The Creator knew Aido Hwedo detested the heat and created a great cosmic ocean for it to sleep in. Red monkeys who lived in the sea were directed to attend to Aido Hwedo’s needs by feeding the dragon iron bars whenever hunger came. In this myth it was important for the monkeys to keep the dragon eternally fed, otherwise it would start to eat its own tail and the world would surely be destroyed."

I enjoyed the whole essay, and appreciated some dragons. Particularly for us, think about Aido Hwedo's diet.

Suppose we are subject to a growing surplus of iron/war/strength during this Kali Yuga. Doesn't feeding it to the foundation of the world, so we can support life and continue the unfolding of existence, sound like a good idea? Better than creating the Military-Prison-Industrial Complex, and more generally straight-jacketing our viewpoints and activities to that of zombies. The Fon people who generated this myth live on the old "slave coast" of Africa, which kind of distracts from the humorous subterranean monkey image.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hello -- Liberty Is a Pagan Goddess

Filed by: Patricia Nell Warren
October 5, 2008 6:00 PM

o the creators of that Republican campaign commercial that appropriates the Statue of Liberty -- I've got news for you. You're hawking the wrong symbol. In fact, you're stealing a symbol that actually shoots a big hole in all the fundamentalist churchy propaganda put out by your party during this election.

Liberty is a pagan goddess. Obviously you weren't paying attention in history class. It's spelled G-O-D-D-E-S-S. There's a test on this tomorrow.

The Goddess of Liberty isn't found in the Bible. (If you really studied the Bible, you'd know that.) She comes straight out of Greek and Roman pagan tradition, complete with that toga and sandals. Under the name Libertas, She appeared on Roman coins as an emblem of the emancipation of slaves. She often wore a liberty cap that the newly freed Roman was allowed to put on in a special ceremony at Her temple.

Devotion to Her was revived during the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment, when Europeans began to kick off the shackles of state Christianity. Finally Liberty made the leap to the Americas with colonists and founders who were educated in that classical tradition of government by republic. Her image was stamped on the very first coins minted by the new republic of the United States, along with the old liberty cap and our new national motto LIBERTY. And She was on our money for nearly two centuries. It took your Bible-believing friends nearly a century of lobbying to get the motto changed to "In God we Trust" (Act of Congress, 1865).

Next it took your Bible lobby nearly another century to to get that "heathen" (as the lobby called Her) removed from our coins entirely. It was done so stealthily that -- even as She became our national icon, with the Statue of Liberty going up in New York Harbor in 1886 -- the public didn't notice. She was off the cent by 1857, off the nickel by 1912, off the quarter by 1930. The last Liberty dollars to be minted for circulation came in 1935. Wearing Her liberty cap, She was still on the dime till 1945. As the Walking Liberty, She was on the half dollar till 1947. How appropriate that She saw us through World War II and the victory over fascism. But our government was evidently not grateful to Her for the victory. After 1947 -- poof! She was gone.

Nations always put their most important symbols on their money. Nearly two centuries of a pagan goddess on our money is proof that the United States of America was not "founded under God." If it was -- if your Bible buddies had that kind of clout in 1776 -- our coins would have showcased Jesus from the start.

Yes, Liberty is a pagan. She keeps company with Isis, and Juno, and Tara, and White Buffalo Woman. She wasn't recommended in any Catholic encyclicals. She wasn't touted by Martin Luther, or Cotton Mather, or R. J. Rushdoony. Anywhere that the love of liberty finally awoke in the hearts of thinking Christians in Europe and the U.S., it was because they borrowed the idea of Her from the pagan ancients -- and they knew it was an idea whose time had come because they'd seen the abuses of non-thinking religion up close. Yet some fundamentalists today are even talking against Her statue in New York Harbor, calling it the "Whore of Babylon." One day, that magnificent monument to the most human side of our history -- immigrants who came here to find liberty -- may also be demolished.

In your ad, the book that the Statue carries in one arm is not the Bible. It's the pagan Book of Knowledge -- the schoolbook of thinking statespeople who were freeing themselves from coercive belief and enslaving government. The Latin word for book is liber. That's because the great minds of Greece and Rome had figured out that there is no emancipation without education. The torch She carries is another symbol of education. It takes data, not dogma, to shine into the darkness and make things clear for us.

Maybe that's why your party has let American education go to the dogs -- graduating more and more Americans who are ignorant enough to believe all the religious lies and propaganda that they're fed -- including the myth that "America was founded under God."

For us in the LGBT world, the Goddess of Liberty is a life-saving, sanity-saving symbol -- the ultimate icon. To come out, to be honest with ourselves about who we really are, we've had to educate ourselves, little by little. We've had to crack that Book of self-knowledge. We've had to shine that torch into the terrifying, fearful darkness of the closet where we spent so many years.

During LGBT History Month, we deal formally with the tons of old religious dreck that the conservative religion-mongers like you are still try to pile on us -- all the old corrosive, coercive, dark beliefs and misinformation about sexual orientation and gender identity that made each of us live in waking nightmares during childhood and youth in different religions -- that each of us had to leave behind and burst out into our own personal daylight..

It's too bad about you folks who created that campaign ad. You say you want to lead us, but you aren't even free yet.

reprinted from the Bilerico Project: daily experiments in LGBTQ

Monday, October 13, 2008

if your only tool is poetry, all your problems look like

And the sublime comes down
To the spirit itself,
The spirit and space,
The empty spirit
In vacant space.
What wine does one drink?
What bread does one eat?

Wallace Stevens
The American Sublime

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


It's driving me MAD, this cartoonish empire.

There's this martial law stuff;

The prisoner in his own free country being intentionally driven insane by policies being carried out by people who are alarmed at what they're carrying out;

More prisoners, Muslims of Chinese origin, whom a judge orders MUST be released LIKE, RIGHT NOW! They were cleared for release in 2004, but the institutions headed by our elected representatives won't release them to their home country cause, you know, they might be persecuted over there. The judge ordered they be released into good ol' America, and also ordered that on release, they MUST NOT then be detained by immigration officials.

It's such a cartoon of itself, it's too much like Radio Free Albemuth, it's like RoboKeystoneCops. Kafka wrote about stuff like this generations ago. And so did Orwell. Terry Gilliam made a movie of it in the 1980s. And so on and so forth ...

I'm sure if I started voting again, essential change and the triumph of justice would occur before it's too late. But seriously, I'm confident that the Democrats would not hesitate to use that martial law stuff against whomever they deem deserving. I remember learning about the Stanford Prison Experiment and other experiments where ordinary people abuse authority because they're given tacit permission. That seems to be a major part of this whole authoritarian-culture-destroying-the-world-for-10,000-years problem.

So, about 45 minutes ago, I was about to start blogging angrily, but it was time to put dear daughter to bed. I return to the computer and see the weather prediction: highs in the 70s (F), partly cloudy, lows in the 50s, all week. Focus on the positive! Appreciate the abundant blessings of the unnameable divine source!

"Continue planting things that you can eat" still seems to be the most sensible thing to do, no matter what happens in the disconnected consensus realities of finance and government. Trillions of dollars--gone!!

And maybe go get another glass of homebrew.

"Jesus said, lock up all the Muslims!" --Appendix to the Bible, by Brother Mark