Archive | February 15, 2013

Dad’s home remedies

My dad may have had a Masters in Education and a BA in History and Math but when it came to household remedies he was strictly from the farm. This lead to some interesting treatments growing up. Bactine, no it was mercurochrome and methiolate on cuts. I can tell you right now those hurt like holy hell. Give me Betadine any day.

His cure for sunburn was to shove you in a hot shower. He said it brought out the burn and kept it from getting worse. Growing up before sunblock was waterproof as part of a very fair skinned threesome this lead to much screaming coming from the bathroom. The only thing that stopped him was when I finally got a third degree sunburn after two days of rafting down the American River. This was still before waterproof sunblock and we had gone with my dad’s adult Sunday School class and their families. When we got off the river on Sunday night I went to put my jeans on and I was too swollen to get them on. At that point I was just red but on the drive back to LA I started to look like an burned marshmallow and turn black. It only got worse from there and when we got home I refused to have anything to do with a hot shower. Why my parents didn’t think to get me to the ER I don’t know but we only went for broken bones when I was little.

By the next morning my thighs, one arm and my face were really bad and off to the doctor I went. The Doctor couldn’t believe I looked like that and started to prescribe all kinds of things and even mentioned the burn ward to my mom. As we were leaving the nurse pulled me aside and told me to go to the health food store and get 100% aloe vera gel. We did and the relief was immediate and though I pealed over and over again for literally months I never needed anything else except aspirin . I’m just glad you can only see the scars when I get really hot in bright sunlight.

But the worst were my dad’s cold/bronchitis etc cures. Some of which I still use and some I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. They thought I had bronchitis my first two years of life and I was treated with every antibiotic known in the 50’s which is why I’m allergic to sulfa drugs. It turned out I didn’t have bronchitis. I was allergic to baby powder but by then the damage was done to my lungs and the first place a cold heads is my lungs. I’ve had pleurisy and bronchitis so many times it’s ridiculous. All I had to do as a kid was cough and I’d start hearing things like, “Did you grease your chest?” This was short for have you put the extra strength Balm Ben Gay on? Because if you didn’t he was going to grab you and do it for you. I think he couldn’t stand the sound of the barking seal at high tide. That stuff is not meant for chest colds but his theory was anything that warmed the chest was good. He would have done mustard plasters if mom had allowed it. Meanwhile my skin is threatening to peal off from pain. If you put the adult strength on a fair skinned child it equals PAIN! But it does work if you can stand it.

If you had a stuffy nose the Mentholatum came out and he’d chase us around and shove it up our noses. I was an adult before I knew Vick’s existed.

We looked like refugee children when we were sick. Dad would put us in his old white tee shirts which dwarfed us and kept the grease in one place. This was before greaseless, scentless remedies. If that didn’t work I was soon to be head over a pot of boiling water on the stove with a towel over my head and something foul smelling in the pan.

Now I’ll settle for a handful of Vicks and some orange juice and an Ibuprofen.

Snow, uh no.

I’m having a good laugh. I work in a thirteen story building but the bottom floor is named 0 and so the 10th floor where I work is really the 11th floor. The wind is blowing a gale outside and from the bank of windows my cubicle sits on you can see all over.

Right now there are clouds of white objects floating up by our windows and people started commenting and thinking they were clouds of bugs. Some one even said something about snow. It’s 70 degrees outside. Uh no.

I had to disillusion them. It’s the white petals being blown off the Flowering Pear trees that are around the building.

It is really pretty though. Kind of magical looking and a lot better than clouds of gnats. I’m amazed that the wind is blowing them up so high.

Why I know and I have no faith

To know, To doubt and to have faith

Oxford English Dictionary defines:


A strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.


a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction

To know:

be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information

To believe:

accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of


accept the statement of (someone) as true


have faith, especially religious faith


hold (something) as an opinion; think or suppose

I defined those for a reason. I hold the opinion and therefore believe that paganism has no room for faith. Faith and doubt are inextricably linked. If you have one you will have the other. On the other hand I know that there are goddesses and gods. I know that nature has spirit. I know that there are things other than ourselves . I know that spells work. I may not know how it’s going to work but I know it will. I have no doubt in these things.

How do I know these things? I have seen them I have felt them and I have touched and been touched by them. I don’t need to trust that these things exist. I know that they do.

I know that prayer and spells work. I have seen them work too many times. I think that relying on faith is an Abrahamic thing. We are raised in the predominately Christian ethos that is all about having faith and so we try and apply what we have been taught and instead end up going blind. I think as pagans we have a responsibility to seek and to know and not believe. I think having to believe in anything in the religious way is a major weakness. If you are relying on faith you have not opened yourself up. You are wandering around in the dark hoping that something you think might be true, is.

I know my goddesses and gods. I have met them . I have talked to them and they have answered. I have seen them in nature and I have seen nature spirits. I grew up with ghosts. I know that people visit who have passed through the veil and have more freedom once they are loosed from their physical bodies. The Gaels believed we were spiritual beings having physical experiences and not the other way around and from what I have seen that is more true than it’s Christian opposite.

To have faith is to doubt. It’s why there are crises of faith. It’s because you are too closed off to obtain the knowledge that would let you know the truth.

I know that trees can talk. I’ve heard them. I know there are gods and goddesses. I’ve met the ones I have bonded with and from that I know that there are other goddesses and gods that I have not interacted with. I can see my sisters interact with their chosen goddesses. Just because Oshun or Yemaya or Frigga hasn’t touched me in some way does not mean that they do not exist. It only means that these deities don’t feel the need to interact with me. I’m not suited to be their priestess. It does not mean I don’t think they exist.

I know that dragons exist because I know people who interact with them and have been chosen by dragons just has I know the Fae exist because I have met a few.

So Pagan, why are you choosing to live in the dominant religious arena of belief and faith and doubt and are not seeking to know?