Stupidity lives in Minnesota
by Jack Halberstam
I was watching Monty Python’s The Life of Brian from 1979 recently, a hilarious rewriting of the life and death of Christ, and I realized how outrageous most of the jokes from the film would seem today. In fact, the film, with its religious satire and scenes of Christ and the thieves singing on the cross, would never make it into cinemas now. The Life of Brian was certainly received as controversial in its own day but when censors tried to repress the film in several different countries, The Monty Python crew used their florid sense of humor to their advantage. So, when the film was banned in a few places, they gave it a tagline of: “So funny it was banned in Norway!”
Humor, in fact, in general, depends upon the unexpected (“No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”); repetition to the point of hilarity “you can…
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Day 11 – Ritual and Worship
I’m having a hard time with this one. Maybe because I was away for a few days in OR actually doing ritual and not talking about it. Or maybe because I hate the word ‘worship’. It brings back bad memories of childhood church when I had to go and I had to sit for hours and listen to things I, quite frankly, was not interested in. If it hadn’t been for choir and the music and it had been up to me I never would have gone and I hate entering churches now, even Unitarian ones. They aren’t personal and they aren’t intimate.
I’d rather be outside or in someone’s living room than in a church. I have no illusions about people who go to church and the people who run them. My mom was the Executive Secretary for the church Music Dept. When you have 8 or 9 or more choirs at any one time then you have a lot of people running in and out and you have a lot of drama from people who are trying to pretend they are holier than each other. I met some genuine saints growing up but there were an awful lot of cardboard ones too and I couldn’t walk away from them because I saw them several times a week because the family social life was totally absorbed in the Church and heaven forbid, one of the kids act human or go out of line. Just where you want to stick a contrarian child, not! Add to that an anti-gay set of people and 3 kids in the family and all the ministers have kids that are gay and hiding it, and a mom that isn’t sure she is still going to get into heaven because of us and it’s just really festive. At 60 years old I can pretty well be sure I’m not going to ever be a church goer ever again.
I prefer other words or even wordless concepts to the word ‘worship’ I know what I do and I know what I like but I don’t call it ‘worship’ especially since that concept feels out of balance and one way. I know my practice isn’t one way because I can feel it when it works or I get an answer even when I don’t like the answer.
Ritual is another story. I love rituals, big and small. I prefer the small ones and I prefer the plain ones. I’m not big on the ones that are huge and grandiose, the kind with costumes or interpretive dance make me itch. It may be because of being raised in that church but Presbyterians aren’t big on grandiose. Flowers and a plain altar, most of the time with no cloth and just the plain wood and stone of the sanctuary. No big drama or statues taking walks, no incense being wafted about. Say what you mean and do it with reverence and heart and be done with it.
And that is pretty much what we did for Di’s Companion and Bard consecrations this weekend with the addition of a few toys like light up wands and s’mores after ritual. I’m afraid I’m an Emperor’s New Clothes kind of pagan. I’m more likely to notice you’re really naked than listen to what you are blabbing about if you don’t really mean it or you’re doing it for show. I used to call myself Emperor’s New Clothes coven, membership of one, now that I have our lovely Grove not so much but I suppose I will always have those moments, always. Give me a tree, a cup of water and my hand and that’s all I need for a ritual, my heart and mind will do the rest.
Seven of Arrows
Ungrounded fears and confusion lead to instability and panic, self-torture through guilt or illusion and the need to deal with fragmented or rejected aspects of personality.
…attacked by anxieties and nightmares, unable to see a clear way out as ungrounded.
The solution is to protect one’s boundaries, call in warmth of support; the need for intense physical activity to help one to ground some of the panic.