Tag Archive | philosophy

Judging light and dark

There is a lot of talk about “microaggression” and that it can occur when a white person says they don’t see colour, fine but what if it’s true?

I was born blind in my left eye and partially sighted in my right eye. I did not become sighted until I was seven years old. I spent a lot of those first 7 years being tortured by different methods to see if they could “wake” my eye up. Things like patching my “good” eye, yeah, make the kid completely blind. Drops, bandages, dark rooms, light rooms, obviously none of it worked. When they went in to do the surgery they found out the muscles on both eyes were only loosely connected, the left worse than the right, which did explain why the left eye used to roll on its own. This grossed a lot of people out including my first grade teacher who used to find ways to punish me for grossing her out.

Anyway, when one is small and has a disability, you learn to judge what is safe and good and learn your prejudices through other means than sight very quickly. You have to.

I learned to depend on how a person made me feel and what I heard in their voice.  I still use those methods to judge people. When I meet someone new I often close my eyes or disengage my sight and listen to the person. Yes, I can still turn the sight on and off. I still look seeing and my eyes are open but I’m not seeing you. I have no idea why that trick stayed but it is useful.

Everyone to me has a texture. If you have a nice texture, I will like you just fine but if you have the texture of burlap or sandpaper or spiky (I really don’t like spiky) , I won’t. Which is why most of my close friends feel soft in some way to me.

People’s voices to the non-seeing have music. People whose voices have uncomfortable music and I don’t mean anger but more conveying harshness or dislike or hate or other nasty things, I will not trust.

Getting my sight has never changed the way I judge people. I don’t care what you are wearing, or whether your hair is crazy. I really could care less what your physical presence is unless you are a spae invader.

Dark and light do not normally bother me unless I’m in the hold of depression. It would be pretty stupid to not like the dark when you have spent so much time in it. The world growing up was pretty grey, black and dark. My most painful moment in my entire life was the moment they took the bandages off my eyes the first time and the doctor shown the light in my eye. It hurt so bad like knives had been stuck in my eyes. Breaking bones and having several surgeries since then did not hurt as much as that did. So I associate light and white with pain. I only wear white under duress, my closet looks like it belongs to a goth even though I’m not.

So if I say grief is a big black dog it isn’t because I associate black or dark as a negative, that is literally how I see grief. It is the image that has always been there since my great grandmother died when I was 5. I don’t know if someone I knew had a big black dog but it is my personal association. I do know that the people next door had an enormous black standard poodle that used to knock us down but my dog is more Newfie or Bull Mastiff.

Anyway for me saying colour doesn’t matter is simply the truth. I was way past the age of learning that prejudice by the time I was seeing. FYI: I’m still not totally seeing since only one eye works at a time. If you haven’t learned to see with two eyes but the age of 5 you never do but since my surgery was experimental they didn’t know that in 1961. You can’t judge every one alike no matter who they are.


A thought on September 11

On September 11, 2001 in this country, Buddhists got up to go to work, Hindus got up to go to work, Jews got up to go to work, Muslims got up to got to work, Pagans got up to go to work and Christians got up to go to work and by the end of that day, one religion would be demonized and one religion would be out for blood. I will leave you to decided which was which. All I know is that the world changed forever that day and not for the better.

We have lost freedom in so many ways because a few men decided to hurt people they had never met and never broken bread with and never looked in the eye to see their humanity. This was an evil deed.

But the revenge of another set of religious fanatics caused just as much harm and set into position that most of us could not even imagine before that day of the Tower card of the tarot deck.

The Tower card is about catastrophic change that you are supposed to learn from? I’m afraid the US just learned how to hurt people more and for a few people it created enormous wealth, and all of them believing their Book is the real one and that their Book was the truth and all of them wrong.

There are many truths and no one person has the right to tell another there is only one truth and only one book or only one god and I can’t remember anywhere in that book where it says there is only one god, it doesn’t. It says it’s god is the right one among many.

Thou shalt have no other god before me for I am a jealous god – it flat out says there are other gods and that you must choose the Abrahamic god not that he is the only one.

In my father’s house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for  you – there are many gods and Jesus went to clear a place for his followers, it doesn’t say that heaven is only for his followers.

I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the father but by me. Again it doesn’t say there is only one god just that you should choose his father over others.

Now, fourteen years after that fateful world changing day. We live in a polarized world where one selfish bunch of twits say they are being persecuted while they persecute everyone they don’t agree with and call it freedom.

Another bunch of selfish twits across the ocean force their followers to kill everyone they don’t agree is practicing their religion in the RIGHT way. This leads to little three year olds dying on a beach instead of gleefully playing in those waves.

I hurt for the world I see now. I hurt for the children to come who may never know a peaceful world. I hurt for the world where people think it’s more important to kill their neighbor than love them. I hurt for the world that lives in fear of another fateful day instead of living this one for all it’s worth. We are never promised more than today and the people who died on September 11 and all those since then who have died learned that.

We have only today and really only the minute and hour we are living in. Nothing more and nothing less. Make this minute count. Can we live it in love? Can we live it in peace? Can we live it free from want or pain? Can we ease another’s want or pain? Can we live?


Life is for living

And love is for giving

And joy is for passing around

Join hands with each other

And love one another

And let’s let the music abound

Life is too short to waste it on gloom

Don’t let your love slip away so soon

Join hands with each other

And love one another

And let’s celebrate this good day.

I’ve always loved this song but it has hit me lately that people seem to have forgotten the first line. LIFE IS FOR LIVING. I bring this up because yet another person has said a something that drives me buggy. “You’ve done so much in your life”. If it’s said by a woman it goes with a look that is either envious or is followed by the question, “Didn’t you ever want to get married and have kids?” Then I get a pitying look or confused when I say “no”.

If a guy says it, they are either disapproving or wondering how I did stuff. I tell them I take chances and that at 60 I’ve had time to do shit. Girls can do anything they choose to do. Life had no gender.

Either way, it makes me wonder about people. You can’t do things or have adventures if you don’t get off the couch and live.

I don’t live my life wrapped in cotton wool and I grew up in the age where the predominant button worn was “Question Authority.” Now kids are taught do what you are told. Don’t question authority, be a good little girl. Bad things don’t happen and if you don’t like something, say you don’t want to do it and you won’t have to. BULL SHIT!

When those things don’t line up and they fail at something or bad things happen, they yell “TRIGGER WARNING”. Well, if you are always avoiding life, you are going to have a big surprise when life doesn’t avoid you.

People die, bad things happen to you, and sometimes you have to do things you don’t like. DEAL WITH IT!

When I was a little girl, I played with the boys most of the time because a dirt clod war in the tree house was more fun than tea in my play house. When I had to play with a Barbie, we sent her down the Amazon to explore not to put stupid fashions on her. As I recall she ended up hanging from a tree and we left her there.

When I was two I jumped off the roof because if Mary Martin could fly in Peter Pan if I got up high enough yelling “I can Fly!” I should be able to, uh no but it didn’t stop me from trying. Things happened that were bad. My dad beat the shit out of me and I would tell myself I was saving my mom and little brother from being hit and I probably was. I got molested by the man next door and never told a soul at home. My dad taught me how to defend myself when I was in 7th grade and I used what he had taught me in college when I was almost raped two different times. What did it teach me? It taught me that I was strong and could take life when it got bad. Being born blind in one eye taught me I could get along if I needed to and I could take the bullying that I got for it. And that I could protect others by standing up to bullies and that that scared bullies. When I was at an event at a college a blind girl attended and I remember being so mad at her. She was absolutely helpless even though she had a cane. She insisted she be walked everywhere even places she had already been taken. She had a cane! It was a college campus with braille markings and wide cement walkways. There was no excuse to be helpless except that her parents had taught her she was.

Working at camp I had adventures, I got struck by lightning. I learned if I had to kill a rattlesnake that I could even though it scared me. I took kids on backpack trips in the wilderness. We dealt with the pervert that was spying on the staff at night. When I was still at home my dad and I went down the American River when it was at flood and a Class iv not once but twice and I got a 3rd degree sunburn with the scars to match but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world because it was amazing. One of the most fun things I’ve ever done. I took rock climbing because to get my degree I had to either take sailing or rock climbing and I broke my foot on a rock face. I still got an A in the class because I kept coming on crutches. I learned that I really hated the idea of falling but if I had to I could climb and that I could trust the guy on the other end of the rope. I chose rock climbing because I really hate to get wet or swim.

I was always one of a few girls in those classes. My specialty was Outdoor Resource Management/ Naturalist Interpreter. I took a lot of math and science to get that degree and I also took Survival, backpacking, High Risk Outdoor Adventuring (which mostly involved how wilderness could kill you) and a lot of other classes that women just did not take. The women in the Rec dept were taking Recreation for the disabled, Playground management and all the acceptable “girl” courses and they were boring as shit.

You do not grow without doing something, without taking chances, without getting bruised and broken and burnt. I still have a lot of growing to do but I’ve learned to love and lose when most of my family has died starting with my great-grandma when I was 5. I’ve had my heartbroken when I lost family, friends and lovers, pets or jobs and I get back up and I don’t yell “TRIGGER WARNING”. Real life doesn’t have trigger warnings. I’m not saying anything is easy. It isn’t and it can be very hard. I’ve had deep depressions, and I have tried to leave the planet when I was younger because my heart hurt. I won’t ever do it again unless I get a terminal diagnosis but if I do I will have lived first.

I have to say that my grandmother was the one who taught me to be brave and to have adventures. She went to the Yukon Gold Rush in 1906 when she was 16 with her girlfriend on a freighter. Before there were cruise ships or even very many phones, no planes if it got scary. She arrived in San Francisco shortly after the quake and came home with postcards of the devastation. When she was here in LA she climbed the local mountains before there were roads in the Angeles National Forest. Those wouldn’t be built until the 1930s. She was a silversmith, a leather worker. She did all kinds of needlework. She read constantly. She taught me divination and I have no idea where she learned it. When I was little she and my grandpa drove me all over LA to have adventures and see and do things. The first gift I got after my eye surgery was a beautiful book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales because she wanted to let me know she knew I would be able to see when everyone else was wondering if the operation would work. She taught me to trust and to try and I have for the most part. I have learned there are things to fear in life but courage means do it if you can and if you can’t accept that part of you to but you have to at least try.

Always remember to live or you will be old and wonder what you’ve missed and you will say to someone, “Wow, you’ve done a lot.” And you won’t ever have done anything. If I hadn’t learned those things I wouldn’t have come out in 1979 when very few were out of the closet. I wouldn’t have left the safe but boring and non-working for me, haven of the Presbyterian church I was raised in to be a pagan. I wouldn’t have been able to write my stories because I wouldn’t have had the experience to able to write.

Go out today and do something you’ve wondered about. Do something new. Learn something. Do something that might hurt, read something hard or painful. Face life with a full heart. Life is an adventure and you will miss the adventure if you don’t. Why watch Indiana Jones when you can be Indiana Jones even in a small way. BE AN ADVENTURER!.

Some of us are warriors and fighters

Today is a day with mixed emotions. I’m glad Marriage Equality has now been assured in all 50 states and DC. I wish my brother and his husband could have seen this day. It would have meant a lot to him and made his cancer treatment and hospitalizations so much easier than it was. There will always be grieving over that.

I posted the warrior meme this morning since that has always been a big part of my character. And being a warrior has nothing to do with being a soldier or following orders. Being a warrior is about knowing when to fight and how to fight and if it is something or someone you need to fight for at all.

I protected my little brother when my dad needed to hit someone. I always made sure it was me he hit and not my mom or my little brother.

I fought when people bullied me for being blind before my surgery or for being different. and I was the dumb one who would step in when someone else was getting picked on.

I listened and protected the kids from real dangers at camp like snakes and critters and even the year we had Peter Pervert at camp and I listened when they told stories about being abused at home and we did what we could for them, it was never enough and it broke your heart.

I’ve been an out and proud fighter for gay rights since I came out at the end of 1979. I’ve been in pro-choice protests. I’ve fought for the rights of women when I was in college when I was supposed to be a figurehead President of Women Students (oops, not good at being a figurehead) and my best friend was the ASB president and oh man, did the dean of students hate me for that, to the point of spreading rumours I was pregnant so when I was nominated for outstanding woman on campus in 1975 I didn’t get it since I wasn’t going to stand in the quad naked to prove I was a virgin. I was part of United We Circle which started about the time of the Lady Liberty League to stop the defamation of pagans. Our first protest the first Hocus Pocus movie. We burned out because it was just too much on top of everything else we were doing at the time but we tried.

I now get to find out if I am a cancer warrior like my little brother. I had to wait 90 days to take a second blood test because the first one was positive but there can be false positives. I’ve already had a massive amount of testing over the last 5 months and only the one positive for anything.

Yesterday morning, 8 vials of blood were taken for testing. Now I have to wait until next week to see if it was positive again and I’m admitting I’m scared. It takes a lot to scare me. Cancer scares me.

I’d rather face 6 rattlesnakes with just a sharpened shovel than have cancer. I’ve done the snake thing, I know what that takes but I’ve already had symptoms for almost a year. I need to know what is causing me to be sick all the time. I need to know and when I find out I suppose I will pull up my big girl panties and start to fight that monster too.

But sometimes there comes a time where you just want to lay down your armour and lance and lay in the grass and breathe under some trees. Today, I’m tired.

So how do we use the “Celtic Triads”?

So how do we use the “Celtic Triads”?

I use them as a thinking tool or to put it in a better way, I use them for contemplation. There are many sources of triads so it isn’t hard to find books of them from the Carminia Gadelica, to sources in Gaelic. Studying Gaelic is a big help in understanding the mindset of the people who created them. For instance, Scots Gaelic has no present tense but Irish Gaelic does. One of my Gaelic teachers said this was because to state something in the present you had to state it in future tense because what you are doing now you would be doing a minute later. The other way to state doing something in the present is to use the active participle. I am reading, I am running. One must be in the moment actively heading some where other than the state you were in the past. You must use the verb “to be” to be doing something in the present if you don’t use the future tense.

I don’t believe in the whole mind-wiping stillness kind of meditation. I do however believe in contemplation which is a much more active thing. The triads are perfect for this. To stop and slow to take apart an idea does me much more good and gives me more rest than the Eastern form of meditation. R.J Stewart teaches a form of walking meditation in his classes that I like a great deal.

I do not believe people were put her to suffer but to learn, grow and become who we were meant to be. I do not think we are nothing but part of a great whole that needs every part to work well, therefore, cogito ergo sum.

I think therefore I learn, I create, I become.

So take any triad: At the heart of every injustice there are three: Lies, Rage and Greed.

And take it apart How unjust is a lie? What is the nature of the lie? What is a lie? Et cetera.

And continue to take it apart and then put it back together to see if you find it to be true.

Why the “Celtic Triads” are important

What are called the “Celtic Triads” are the basis for most Druidic thought according to what historical documents we have and yet very little is said about them in modern Druidry. They can be difficult to find which considering that every Druid had to memorize them, you would think more of them would have survived whole but they haven’t unless you go looking for them. Most that I have found are still in Gaelic.

The main thing about them is that all three pieces of the triad are equal. They never appear to be weighted in any way which makes the combinations interesting to study and a big window into the thought processes of the Druids.

Here are a few:

Three things that make a fool wise: Learning, application and patience. We in the West tend to emphasize Learning and not pay attention to the other two. How often is patience stressed in this age of fast food information and when you are teaching to a test, how do you learn to apply what you have learned to the real world?

Three paths to downfall: To allow one’s passions to rule, to be self indulgent and to refuse to learn by example. Having grown up in a house with people whose ancestry was primarily Scottish and my mom was half Swedish, we were always taught that our passions and our emotions should never be what rules us. Passions should be hidden from the world. It’s something I got in trouble for over and over again. It was just considered bad manners to emote all over because everyone had things to be passionate or emotional about but you shouldn’t impinge on another’s personal space. But it was equally important to not indulge yourself because someone might not have as much as you and you might make them feel less than and that was not okay. The hardest for me was to learn by example. I tend to like going my own way and making my own mistakes but I have learned a lot from watching and deciding what I didn’t want to be and the main thing I didn’t want to be was my mother.

There are three things from which one should never stray: Belief in one’s self, Belief in a higher self and belief in the truth. I find it interesting that truth and one’s self are not the same thing but they are equal in importance.

Know that there are three things that illumine every darkness: Truth, Nature and Knowledge. Too many times in today’s world everything is about pursuing “the truth” (“The Truth is out there”) or knowledge, and nature is something to ignore, drive past or exploit but to be a well-rounded interesting person one does have to be grounded in the natural world and I know I have to be to even be a little sane.

There are three things that are better than riches: Health, Freedom and Honour. Sometimes I think we forget that any of these three are important. We do damage to our health by polluting and using chemicals the companies that make them say are safe and then 20 years of use or more later it’s, “my bad, oops that stuff can kill your but oh well we’re filing for bankruptcy so you can’t hold us accountable, we made our money.”

We get less free every day with every piece of date we give up about ourselves and every time different governments tell us we can’t speak our truth or assemble with people who think like us. And who talks about their honour anymore. It’s gotten me called a nutjob at work more than once when I have failed to comply with an unethical request or demand.

So, if everything in a triad is of equal importance than other triads are also equal, goddesses like Brighid or the Morrigan or the Tres Madres that have three parts and all of those parts are equal so for Brighid, inspiration, healing and artisanship are equal faces of who she is and of equal importance.

Day and night and the liminal spaces in between are of equal importance as is being awake, sleeping and the times in between something a lot of us who short our sleep time should remember more often.

The Gaelic* peoples saw all life as a triad and all of it holy, something maybe we should remember more often in this modern world.


*I say Gaelic because the culture of the Celts was very far spread and not necessarily the same but the Gaels, and in particular the Scots and Irish and Welsh had very well defined cultures that still exist in their people today.